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Comic Creators Want You to Sign Up for the Library during Library Card Sign-Up Month

Steenz Library Card

The American Library Association’s Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table (GNCRT) is partnering with comic creators in support of Library Card Sign-Up Month in September. 

For the month of September, the GNCRT will be featuring a new creator each day posing with their library card. Showcasing comic creators in this #GetLibraryCarded campaign spotlights the mutually beneficial relationship between creators and libraries in support of literacy, intellectual freedom, and creative expression – we are stronger together. 

This is the first advocacy campaign of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table. The GNCRT coordinates ongoing advocacy and outreach at several national comic conventions including hosting professional development sessions and booth or pop-up libraries including at Comic-Con International: San Diego, C2E2 and New York Comic-Con. The GNCRT is committed to professional development within librarianship – and committed to public outreach and advocacy around comics and graphic novels and comics readership at all levels. 

Follow @libcomix and @ALALibrary on Twitter to see your favorite comics creators #GetLibraryCarded! Participating creators include writer/artist Jimmy Palmiotti (Harley Quinn, Marvel Knights, Painkiller Jane), cartoonist Dav Pilkey (Dog Man, Captain Underpants), artist/editor Christina “Steenz” Stewart (Archival Quality, Rolled & Told), and writer Lilah Sturges (Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass, The Magicians: Alice’s Story), and more.

Around the Tubes

DC's Year of the Villain #1

The weekend is almost here and that means Free Comic Book Day! Who’s excited for the best day of the year which takes place this Saturday! What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

The Beat – The Death In Uncanny X-Men #17 Is a Trans Panic Murder, & It’s Not OK – An important read and something to think about the latest issue.

Kotaku – Soldier Arrested After Going AWOL To Watch…Avengers: Endgame – That’s some dedication.

Yahoo Finance – Rakuten OverDrive Now Offers Marvel Digital Graphic Novels to Public Libraries and Schools Worldwide – A smart move to move into as many libraries as possible.

The Mary Sue – Why The CW’s Batwoman Casting Raised Concerns About Jewish Representation – An interesting read.

Reviews

CBR – DC’s Year of the Villain #1
CBR –
DCeased #1
The Beat –
Invasion From Wrestletopia #1

Review: Archival Quality

AQCoverYes, Archival Quality is a ghost story about a young archivist named Cel, who gets haunted by a woman named Celine, who received a lobotomy when the Logan Museum (The setting for the graphic novel.) was a sanatorium in the early 20th century. But it’s also about relationships, mental health, coping with anxiety and depression, and messy human things in general. Ivy Noelle Weir does an excellent job fleshing out her small cast and giving them distinct ways of speaking, passions, life goals, and senses of humor while Steenz turns in some of the most adorable comic book art I have ever laid eyes on.

Steenz is also a gifted storyteller, who knows when to use a beat panel, facial expression, or sound effect to set up a joke or bring on the waterworks. A decent portion of the story happens in fragmented flashbacks to Celine’s life , and she uses a subdued sepia palette to keep the story grounded and not become some melodramatic Gothic potboiler. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that kind of story.) There are plenty of ghosts, skulls, and unexplained occurrences, but Weir takes her time with the mystery side of Archival Quality and gives the characters fairly realistic reactions to the strange phenomena around them. Hooray for common sense moments like when Cel asks her boss, the curator Abayomi, why they are hiring a third full time staff member when barely anyone visits the Logan Museum.

A refreshing thing about Archival Quality is that the characters aren’t stereotypes or even archetypes. For example, Cel’s boyfriend Kyle could easily be written as an ableist villain, but Weir and Steenz give him layers of warmth and caring as he just wants Cel to feel better and find the help she needs. (Seriously, Steenz draws the best hugs.) However, that help might not involve a relationship with him, and Kyle does put hi. Weir and Steenz don’t fall into messy breakup cliches and organically show Cel and Kyle’s relationship break down over time with little things like them not moving in together or Cel not checking in with him via phone or text.

The Logan Museum does have terrible cellphone and Internet service, and Weir and Steenz seed in some ideas about our reliance on technology to connect with each other without turning Archival Quality into some kind of technoparable. The lack of contact with the outside world, the presence of mysterious women with dreams, and phenomena like missing teeth in artifacts turns Logan Museum into a kind of emotional laboratory where feelings like inadequacy, anxiety, and anger are intensified. But it’s also a cool space where Holly, Cel’s immediate superior, can show off her medical know how to solve a mystery, and stories of people with mental health issues can be restored and told and not locked away like their friends and family did to them when they were alive.

The character who I connected with the most and ended up almost stealing the entire IloveAbacomic book during his flashback sequence was Abayomi, a polite withdrawn man, who seems a little too young to be a curator. At the beginning of Archival Quality, he seems a little too terse and impersonal, and Steenz draws him with purposefully stiff body language to go with his professorial glasses and starched suits that leads to a big laugh when he reveals his love for a copyright friendly toaster strudel-type breakfast pastry. But, towards the middle of the comic, Weir and Steenz reveal that he has interacted with Celine and did research on her leading to the disappearance of the old curator, Dr. Weston.

Abayomi must straddle the world of ghosts and world of corporate bureaucracy (The very invisible and ominous “board”.) and put on a face of extreme competency to hide his feelings about Celine and connection to her. This is the connection he shares with Cel, and they bond over their quest and are kind of friends with great chemistry. The turning point is a panel drawn by Steenz of a close-up handshake that is equal parts empathy and a business partnership. She and Weir also face the myth that men and women can’t be platonic friends head on in a scene where Cel impactfully (and hilariously) defuses the rumor that their “research project” is Abayomi trying to be with her romantically. For the record, I do ship them, especially after an epilogue type sequence.

Archival Quality has all the elements from a great comic from  Steenz’s art that has a distinct style and clearly conveys emotion, humor, and suspense to Ivy Noelle Weir taking time to let characters just be and not rushing their development for the sake of a creepy mystery. Plus it shows that it’s sometimes okay to be angry about things, sometimes it’s better to be alone than be in a relationship, and introduces a super rad, competent, and queer medical librarian in Holly, who is totally my professional role model as I work on my MLIS.

Story: Ivy Noelle Weir Art: Steenz
Story: 9.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Richmond Public Library Receives the 2016 SPX Graphic Novel Gift Program

this-book-is-for-you-spxThe Small Press Expo (SPX) has announced that the Richmond Public Library was the 2016 recipient of the Small Press Expo Library Gift Program.

This program, the first of its kind in the United States, is an outright gift of graphic novels to the library as selected by the library’s collections specialists, who selected 65 titles comprising 298 individual books.

There was a formal presentation of the books to Scott Firestine, Director of the Richmond Public Library by Small Press Expo Graphic Novel Gift Program Director Catherine Fraas on Saturday, September 10. The presentation was accompanied by special comics related events at the main library branch in downtown Richmond.

The books were selected by the library’s collection staff from the offerings of publishers Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, Drawn & Quarterly, Adhouse Books, Cartoon Books, and Koyama Press, all of whom support this program.

The artist Lucy Bellwood designed a special bookplate that has been placed in all of the books donated by SPX.

SPX’s Graphic Novel Gift Program is an expansion of the philanthropic and charitable endeavors that are part of its corporate charter, and is in addition to SPX’s annual support to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The targets of this program are public and academic library systems in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area as selected by the Small Press Expo.

The goals of this program are:

  • to facilitate the availability of graphic novels to readers of all ages utilizing public and school libraries,
  • to promote learning and literacy through the availability of graphic novels at local libraries, and
  • to provide library systems with additional resources by which they can purchase graphic novels and comics.

SPX will be held Saturday, September 17 from 11am-7pm and Sunday, September 18, 12-6pm at the North Bethesda Marriott Convention Center in North Bethesda, Maryland. Admission is $10 for a single day and $15 for both days.

hoopla digital Announces Deal with Archie Comics

archie logohoopla digital, the category-creating mobile and online service for public libraries, has  announced a new content agreement with Archie Comics. With the agreement, hoopla digital’s app and online service adds popular titles from Archie Comics’ three imprints – including acclaimed, best-selling titles such as the revamped Archie and Jughead; video game favorites like Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man; and Archie’s Dark Circle comics featuring genre-defying superheroes like The Black Hood. hoopla digital will also add the newly announced Betty and Veronica relaunch following the debut of the first issue this summer.

Archie Comics titles are immediately available for participating library patrons to instantly access on hoopla digital’s app and online service via their smartphones, tablets and computers.

Inclusion of Archie Comics broadens hoopla digital’s collection of more than 500,000 movies, TV shows, music albums, eBooks, audiobooks and comics. hoopla digital partners with public libraries across North America to provide patrons with online and mobile access to dynamic digital content. The service’s catalogue already includes titles from DC Comics, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Valiant Comics and more.

hoopla digital’s innovative Action View creates one-of-a-kind immersive digital reading by allowing for full page and panel-by-panel views of comics and illustrations. There is no waiting to borrow titles on hoopla digital since on-demand content can be enjoyed by multiple patrons simultaneously. Patrons who use hoopla digital also avoid library late fees as digital content borrowing periods simply expire without charges.

hoopla digital has partnerships with more than 950 public library systems across North America including Toronto Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Boston Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library, St. Louis Public Library, and others.

hoopla digital Adds New Titles from Valiant Entertainment

hoopla valianthoopla digital is the category-creating mobile and online service for public libraries and today they have announced the addition of new titles from Valiant Entertainment. With the agreement, hoopla digital’s app and online service adds popular titles —through Valiant Entertainment’s global digital distribution partner Trajectory, Inc.— including the sci-fi superhero epic, X-O Manowar (Vol. 1-8);  the pulsating action series, Bloodshot Reborn, (Vol. 1); and the globe-trotting adventure, Archer & Armstrong (Vol. 1-6), to name a few.

Valiant Entertainment titles and more are now available for patrons to access instantly on hoopla digital’s app and online service via their smartphones, tablets and computers.

Inclusion of Valiant Entertainment titles broadens hoopla digital’s catalog of more than 400,000 movies, TV shows, music albums, eBooks, audiobooks and comics. hoopla digital partners with public libraries across North America to provide patrons with online and mobile access to dynamic digital content. The service’s catalogue already includes titles from DC Comics, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, BOOM! Comics and more.

hoopla digital’s innovative Action View creates one-of-a-kind immersive digital reading by allowing for full page and panel-by-panel views of comics and illustrations.

There is no waiting to borrow titles on hoopla digital since on-demand content can be enjoyed by multiple patrons simultaneously. Patrons who use hoopla digital also avoid library late fees as digital content borrowing periods simply expire without charges.

hoopla digital has partnerships with more than 860 public library systems across North America including Toronto Public Library, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Calgary Public Library and The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

New comic books will be added to the service weekly. The service is available only to patrons of participating public libraries.

Free Comics for Librarians from Papercutz

NICKELODEON MAGAZINEBudget-crunched librarians will soon be receiving some respite thanks to a new program from Papercutz. The publisher announced today that they will be supplying 100 free copies of Nickelodeon Magazine to libraries that support comics programming. It’s part of an effort by the publisher to fuel a growing trend in the school and public library space– “ComicCons” and other events focused on the fastest growing category in publishing – graphic novels.

Comic book conventions are well-known for a variety of attractions including creator appearances, costumes and, of course, exclusive promotional material from publishers. While many librarians have reached out to the comics creative community for appearances at events and patrons have picked up the costuming challenge, promotional items have been handled on an ad hoc basis, depending on the largesse of publishers or individual creators. This new program ensures that no comics-themed event will have to do without giveaways that incentivize reading.

Interested librarians simply need to contact Papercutz VP of Marketing, Sven Larsen six to eight weeks before their event. As soon as Papercutz receives a librarian’s request (including details of the planned event) they will dispatch 100 copies of the latest issue of Nickelodeon Magazine absolutely free (the library just has to pay for shipping).

BiblioBoard Expands Comic Books Collection to Include Popular Content from Valiant Entertainment

biblioboard valiantBiblioBoard has announced a new partnership with Valiant Entertainment to bring the publisher’s award-winning library to BiblioBoard’s Comics and Graphic Novels catalog for digital consumption in libraries nationwide. Spanning nearly one thousand titles, from Bloodshot to Divinity to Quantum and Woody and X-O Manowar, Valiant’s beloved universe of superhero characters are now available at the click of a button on BiblioBoard Library with no multi-user limitations or turnaways. This means no checkouts, returns or waitlists.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015, Valiant is one of the most successful comic book publishing companies in the history of the medium with more than 81 million comics sold and a library of more than 2,000 distinct characters, including X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, Archer & Armstrong, and many more. Established by a brain trust of legendary comics creators – including former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter; seminal Iron Man writer and artist, Bob Layton; and the visionary writer and illustrator of Wolverine: Weapon X, Barry Windsor-Smith – Valiant’s heroes and villains inhabit the largest independently owned superhero universe anywhere in comics.

In recent years the company has returned to great commercial and critical success, winning a Diamond Gem Award for Publisher of the Year and numerous industry awards and accolades. Valiant’s titles consistently rate among the best reviewed in comics.

BiblioBoard’s Comics and Graphic Novels catalog now contains over 3,500 titles with nearly one thousand titles from Valiant. Valiant Entertainment’s content is being sold as a ReadersFirst, subscription-pricing model with pricing tiered per library size, putting the collection within the budget of any library.

Small Press Expo Announces Prince Georges County Memorial Library System as the Recipient of SPX Graphic Novel Gift Program

spx-logo-240The Small Press Expo (SPX) has announced that the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) is the 2014 recipient of the Small Press Expo Novel Gift Program.

This program is an outright gift of graphic novels to the library as selected by the library’s Collections Specialists, and comprises 334 individual books. Including this gift, the Small Press Expo Graphic Novel Gift Program has provided 1,092 comics and graphic novels to libraries in the Washington, DC area since 2011.

On Saturday, September 6, there will be a formal presentation of the books to the the library by Small Press Expo Executive Director Warren Bernard and Graphic Novel Gift Program Director Catherine Fraas. The event will be held at the Spauldings Branch of the PGMLS.

The books were selected by the library’s collection staff from the offerings of publishers Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, Drawn & Quarterly, Adhouse Books, Toon Books, and Koyama Press, all of whom support this program.

The artist Eleanor Davis designed a special bookplate that has been placed in all of the books donated by SPX.

SPX’s Graphic Novel Gift Program is an expansion of the philanthropic and charitable endeavors that are part of its corporate charter, and is in addition to SPX’s annual support to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The targets of this program are public and academic library systems in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area as selected by the Small Press Expo.

The goals of this program are:

  • Facilitate the availability of graphic novels to readers of all ages utilizing public and school libraries.
  • Promote learning and literacy through the availability of graphic novels at local libraries.
  • Provide library systems with additional resources by which they can purchase graphic novels and comics.

SPX will be held Saturday, September 13 from 11am-7pm EDT and Sunday, September 14, Noon-6pm EDT at The North Bethesda Marriott Convention Center in North Bethesda, Maryland. Admission is $10 for a single day and $15 for both days.

Update – Senator Tom Coburn Vs. the 501st Legion

Star Wars - Darth Vader

Star Wars – Darth Vader (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each year Senator Tom Coburn produces a book of wasteful government spending. This year the Oklahoma Senator’s list featured a surprise, the 501st Legion. Yes the cosplayers who dress up as Star Wars characters and help raise money for worthy causes is mentioned in this year’s list. Don’t believe me? You can check it out on page 84 #52.

Coburn’s listing says:

52) Return of the Jedi – (MA) $365
Not so long ago in a library not so far, far away…

The struggle against the evil galactic empire and the dark side of the Force has come to Earth. Accompanied by Stormtroopers, Darth Vader was among the special guests at a federally funded Star Wars fan event that included a history of Star Wars, trivia, and “name that character” games. Those attending were encouraged to bring “their Star Wars toys and collectibles for show and tell as well as to dress as their favorite character.” On the library’s social networking website, it noted after the trivia contest, “the group played with action figures, did puzzles and took photo ops with their favorite characters.”

The Star Wars Day event, held at the Abington Public Library in Massachusetts, was paid for with $365 in federal funds, part of an $11,700 grant provided by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Star Wars franchise has grossed over $4.5 billion over the past 35 years, so taxpayers may wonder why the government is subsidizing fan events for one of the most popular and successful movie series in the universe.

But here’s the issue, the 501st Legion isn’t some official group funded by LucasFilm. The group is a charity fan organization. From their website:

From Article I of our Legion Charter:

“…The Legion is an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity within which to operate. The Legion seeks to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work…”

To Promote Interest in Star Wars
While a growing number of people are experiencing a reawakening of their Star Wars fandom, new generations are seeking ways to celebrate their passion for George Lucas’s modern mythology. The 501st Legion brings these fans together, reinforcing the enduring longevity of the Star Wars saga.

To Facilitate the Use of Costumes
Some fans are content to collect action figures…other fans want to be action figures. Nothing professes your passion quite like building your own detailed costume replica of a classic Star Wars villain, and there’s nothing quite like the feeling that comes from bringing the characters of Star Wars into the real world and sharing the magic with others.

To Contribute
While our organization was founded to simply provide a collective identity for costuming fans with similar interests, the 501st is proud to put its resources to good use through fundraising, charity work, and volunteerism. Read more about our charity work here.

Take a closer look at their page about their charity work. The wording Senator Coburn uses in his listing is intellectually dishonest, not properly explaining what the money was used for and also using that LucasFilm statistic as a red herring.

So, really that’s $365 for an event to get kids to come to a library with a Star Wars theme event. Getting kids excited about reading? I guess Senator Coburn doesn’t support that. Too bad since his state got a D in 2011 for the K-12 achievement index, placing the state in 35th place.

Update: Want to know how “evil” the 501st Legion is? Read this article.

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