Gwen O’ Poole finds herself living in the wonderful world of Marvel comics. And of course she has powers, because who doesn’t have powers or cool gadgets or- “What do you mean she doesn’t have any of that?” So the newly dubbed Gwenpool uses the only tools at her disposal to save/ruin the day, knowledge of how the comics usually turn out. Getting chased by bad guys on a rooftop? There’s a convenient mattress truck to jump into. Tough poorly written bad guy? She knows just what to say to give him depth and turn him sympathetic to her. Giant head in a chair trying to kill her? Well that one might take some work but she’s got ideas, and friends! Even the threat of cancellation isn’t enough for her to stop bringing the hijinks. A fun ensemble cast of characters, followed by a number of cameo heroes as is custom, combined with the wonderful writing creates a truly memorable series that doesn’t wear out its welcome. The writing by Christopher Hastings combines meta humour about how comics work as well as just some heartbreaking moments thrown in to mix up the pace. The art is absolutely charming as well, with absolutely delightful covers in each of the volumes that are a treat to look at. Take a look between the panels and find Gwenpool on a library shelf near you!
My Hero Academia
Format: YA Graphic Novel
Who it’s for: Teens and Adults
Attention all heroes in training! There’s only one manga to read if you want to see a new take on the superhero genre. My Hero Academia is the tale of a world where 80% of the world develop powers, known as quirks. Ranging from super strength, to fire powers, to…..being a frog. Our protagonist is Izuku Midoriya, nickname Deku, one of the limited number of people born without a quirk, and thus is mocked for his desire to become a hero. But everything changes after a fateful encounter with the number one hero, and idol of young Midoriya, All-Might. This 9 foot, American oriented hero is the hero of the masses, but hold a fateful secret that Deku soon learns, giving him his chance in order to ascend the ranks and join the prestigious hero academy UA.
From here we’re treated to a delightful assortment of classmates and heros who are just trying to navigate high school life while also occasionally (ok, very often) fighting off villains and even worse, homework! One of the best elements is the growth of the characters in this series, where the ideals of self-sacrifice are examined, and what it means to the future, as well as learning from your mistakes and growing from them. Of particular note is Bakugo, the prodigy childhood friend of Deku turned school bully until fate finds them even ground, shaking Bakugo’s perspective and forcing him to grow as a result.
Overall, I’ve found My Hero to be a fantastic love letter to American superhero comics while still taking it’s own spin on the subject. It’s great for Teens and Adults, if you’re looking at it for younger readers, there’s enough language and action to recommend you to first take a read through to see if it’s right for them. My Hero has also spawned a fantastic anime series and their first movie is actually about to hit our shelves so there’s never been a better time to check it out, Plus Ultra!
Golden Kamuy by Satoru Noda
Publication Date: June 06, 2017
Format: Graphic Novel
Who’s it for: Teens, Adults
Golden Kamuy is the exciting tale of Sachi Sugimoto, veteran of the Russo-Japanese war, who finds himself wrapped up in the hunt for a trove of hidden Ainu gold. Golden Kamuy paints an interesting picture of survivalist and Japanese society at the turn of the 19th century. Going by the moniker of “Immortal” from his war days, Sugimoto finds himself joined by a variety of allies, from the young huntress Asirpa and the cunning “Escape King”, while opposed by historical figures along the way. The map to the gold is tattooed on the skins of 24 escaped death row convicts, hunted by multiple groups tracking the treasure. Some of the prisoners are inspired by prolific American serial killers, including H.H. Holmes and Henry Lee Lucas.
Golden Kamuy has recently received an anime series, and has proven to be a surprise hit. What really drew me to it was the fantastic interplay between characters, as well as the interesting subject matter. The characters really develop interesting relationships with each other, and sometimes antagonists have surprising moments of depth which really add to their interactions with our heroes. There’s a lot of detail to the hunting aspects prevalent in Ainu culture, and teaching quite a bit about utilizing all of the parts of an animal that I didn’t know about. Golden Kamuy starts as a thrilling hunt for lost gold but quickly becomes more than that, the stories of numerous characters quickly entwining themselves and creating a number of memorable moments and personality clashes. See you in the wilds! Find it in our catalog now.
The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, and Travis McElroy
Publication Date: July 17, 2018
Format: Graphic Novel
Who’s it for: Teens, Adults
A story of three brothers and their dad playing dungeons and dragons is a tale as old as time. If that time also included irreverent humor, wanton violence, and one overly dramatic elf. The hit podcast turned New York Time’s best seller has hit your local library shelf. If fantasy, bad jokes, magical jellyfish, and goblin slaying sound like your kind of fun, welcome to The Adventure Zone!
Here There Be Gerblins starts off with our three heroes bungling their way into a rescue of their employer from a lair of goblins, and they only make things worse from there. Our champions will encounter perils such as giant spiders, the Zone of Truth, and even tea with a bugbear (heavens!) Magnus the fighter is brash and will charge into any situation, Merle is the cleric who never knew he could heal, and the Wizard Taako who’s more interested in looking good than saving the day. But don’t forget Griffin, our dungeon master as he makes things harder for our heroes, and maybe make a few puns along the way.
Featuring the charming art of artist Carey Pietsch bringing to life these larger than life characters. They even have a section at the end of the comic dedicated to fanart to show off all the different fan perceptions of the characters from when they were a podcast. If you’re looking for a new graphic novel series to invest in, volume 2, Murder on the Rockport Limited, is already announced for next year. So roll for initiative and prepare for goofs, it’s the Adventure Zone!