Posts Tagged ‘Graphic Novel’

American Born Chinese

August 13, 2012

American Born Chinese

August 13, 2012

American Born Chinese

Author: Gene Luen Yang

Title: American Born Chinese

Genre: Multi-Cultural Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 233

Geographical Setting: San Francisco, California

Time Period: Modern/Mythical Time

Plot Summary: This is a graphic novel that blends traditional Chinese mythology with racial stereotypes and understanding identity. This novel has three separate stories. The first is the tale of the Monkey King, a Chinese Myth. The second story follows a Chinese boy named Jin Wang who moves from China-Town, in San Francisco, to an all white suburb and his struggles to fit in. The third story follows a white-American boy named Danny whose Chinese cousin comes to visit. “Chin-Kee,” his cousin, displays all the racial stereotypes of Chinese peoples. This novel won numerous awards including the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album.

Subject Headings: Chinese – Graphic Novel; Chinese Mythology — Graphic Novel; Race identity– Fiction; Chinese Stereotypes – Graphic Novel

Appeal: Thoughtful, Engaging, Honest, Candid, Detailed, Engrossing, Complex, Realistic, Mythical, Thought-Provoking, Multiple- Points of View, Artistic

Three appeal terms:  Candid, Mythical, Complex

Three fiction read-alikes:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

This book is a look at Junior, a teen-ager, who is a Spokane Indian. He lives on the reservation with his family, but decides to go to an all-white high school. This book contains wonderful illustrations and deals with race-identity and racial stereo types.

Black and White by Paul Volponi

This book looks at the disparities in the justice system between blacks and whites in America.  It follows the story of two friends, one black and one white: Marcus and Eddy. They both play basketball and are best friends, but one day they both commit the same crime, will one be treated differently than the other because of race?

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This novel is a classic in American Literature. It is a story about a black man who is wrongly accused of a crime and the white lawyer who goes against the “norm” to represent the accused.  It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961.

Three related non-fiction titles:

Chinese Mythology: An Introduction by Ann M. Birrell

This book includes over three-hundred Chinese myths translated by Anne Birrell. The reason this book is so amazing is that many of the myths are from classical texts that have never been translated for the west.

Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah

This novel is a true account of Adeline Mah’s childhood told as the classical Cinderella story. Her father re-marries after her mother dies in child-birth and the life she and her siblings have to endure at the hands of their “wicked” step-mother. She is treated the worst of all.

Driven Out: The Forgotten War against Chinese Americans by Jean Pfælzer

This is a look at the shocking truth behind the systematic purging of Chinese people from 1848 till the 1900s in the West. This is a true story of triumph over adversity as the Chinese did not sit still for this treatment and fought back for their civil-rights.

– Charles Ford

300

August 8, 2012

300

August 8, 2012

300

Author: Frank Miller

Title: 300

Genre: Historical Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 1999

Number of Pages: 88

Geographical Setting: Sparta

Time Period: Ancient Greece

Plot Summary: This is a historical fiction graphic novel which tells the tale of the brave Spartan 300. Led by their King, Leonidas, they fought alone against the invading Persian army. The Persians led by Xerxes, numbering over a hundred-thousand strong, are repelled at the battle of Thermopylae by the Spartan 300. Brilliant illustrations abound in this epic graphic novel.

Subject Headings: Ancient Greece – Graphic Novel; Sparta — Graphic Novel; Historical– Fiction; War – Graphic Novel

Appeal: Bloody, Historical, Thrilling, Action, Diabolical, Dangerous, Dark, War-torn, Suspenseful, Brilliant, Fast-Paced, Artistic

Three appeal terms:  Bloody, Historical, Dark

Three fiction read-alikes:

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

This graphic novel takes place in a post-apocalyptic totalitarian England. It follows a man donned in a Guy Fawkes mask that uses terrorist style attacks to bring down a regime that holds the nation hostage. It has themes of freedom and the loss of one’s identity.

Kick-Ass by Mark Millar

This graphic novel follows Dave Lizewski, a teen-ager, who decides to become an actual super-hero. Go with Dave on his crazy adventures as he turns into the hero Kick-Ass and teams up with vigilantes Big Daddy and Hit Girl as they try to take down a ruthless-gangster.

The Book of Five Rings: A Graphic Novel by Sean Michael Wilson

This graphic novel is the illustrated adaptation of the great samurai Musashi Miyamoto’s work: The Book of Five Rings. It is a guide, not only of strategy and the samurai way, but also a look into the battles that Musashi himself fought.

Three related non-fiction titles:

Complete Maus: A Survivors Tale by Art Spiegelman

This graphic novel is a look at the horrifying holocaust brought about by the Nazi’s in World War II. Following the story of the author’s father, Vladek Speigelman, and his son (author) coping with his father’s story of surviving the holocaust. In the novel the Nazis are drawn as cats and the Jews are mice.

Nevsky by Ben McCool

This graphic novel is the true account of one of Russia’s greatest heroes Alexander Nevsky. It follows his great exploits where he helped to create a Russian nation by defending his country against the Teutonic Knights from the Holy Roman Empire. With his army of mostly ordinary citizens Nevsky defeats the invading knights at the battle of Lake Peipus while greatly out-numbered.

Onwards Towards our Noble Deaths byShigeru Mizuki

This graphic novel is a semi-biographic look at a Japanese infantry unit at the end of World War II. These soldiers were instructed to follow the samurai way and go into battle and die a hero’s death for the greater glory of Japan. Refusal to do this also meant death, what will they do?

– Charles Ford

Fun Home

November 18, 2009

Author:  Alison Bechdel

Title:  Fun Home: a family tragicomic

Genre:  Gay/Lesbian

Publication Date:  2006

Number of Pages:  240

Geographical Setting:  Beech Creek, Pennsylvania

Time Period: 1960 – 1980

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: A non-fiction account of the author’s life that describes growing up living in Beech Creek, Pennsylvania with her closeted homosexual father, a distant mother and two brothers.  The family ran the local funeral parlor part time and her father was also an English teacher at the local high school. Her father is killed in an accident that may or may not have been a suicide. The book talks about what it was like to grow up in a family like this as well as the author’s realization that she, too, is gay.  She also works through her relationship with her father in hindsight as she learns the facts of his life and also in relation to the accident and his death.  The story is told in a graphic novel format.

Subject Headings:  Bechdel, Alison, 1960-Comic books, strips, etc., Father and daughterComic books, strips, etc., Closet gayComic books, strips, etc., Lesbian teenagersComing outComic books, strips, etc., BrothersComic books, strips, etc., English language teachersComic books, strips, etc., Gay menComic books, strips, etc., Undertakers and undertakingComic books, strips, etc., Parent and childComic books, strips, etc., Children of divorced parentsComic books, strips, etc., Funeral homesComic books, strips, etc., Teacher-student relationshipsComic books, strips, etc., DivorceComic books, strips, etc., DeathComic books, strips, etc., Historic preservationComic books, strips, etc., CartoonistsUnited StatesComic books, strips, etc., Autobiographical comic books, strips, etc., Autobiographies (Adult literature) Comic books, strips, etc., Graphic novels (Nonfiction)

Appeal:  Non-fiction, Memoir, Graphic Novel, Graphic, Gay/Lesbian, Intellectual, Literary, Realistic, Frank, Humorous, Ironic, Books, Authors, Past, Childhood, Sad, Fast paced, Emotional, Historical, Award Winner, Accessible, Artistic, Relatable, Discovery, Father/Daughter, Mother/Daughter, Family, Relationships, Coming Out.

Three terms that best describe this book: Intellectual, Literary, Relatable.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Non-fiction

Loving Ourselves: The Gay and Lesbian Guide to Self-Esteem by Dr. Kimeron Hardin – This book talks about self-esteem and self-worth for those in the gay community.  Written by a licensed clinical psychologist.

The Way Out: The Gay Man’s Guide to Freedom No Matter if You’re in Denial, Closeted, Half In, Half Out, Just Out or Been Around the Block by Chris Nutter – A book to help men deal with their homosexuality and to be a more authentic person living a true and authentic life.

The Other Side of the Closet: The Coming-Out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families, Revised and Expanded Edition by Amity Pierce Buxton – Insights and coping strategies for straight spouses and their families to cope with a homosexual partner and parent.

3 Fiction

My Heartbeat by Garret Freyman-Weyr – The story of a young girl, Ellen, who has a crush on her brother’s best friend, James.  When some kids at school ask her if her brother and his friend are in love, she doesn’t understand, but wants to find out what was meant.  When she asks her brother, Link about this, he refuses to discuss it.  James and Link have a falling out because of the secrets they share and Ellen, who loves them both, tries to help them repair their friendship and learn and understand the truth.

Lessons by Kim Pritekel – A girl goes off to college more so to escape her controlling parents than to choose a course of study.  She doesn’t really know herself yet. She finds friendship and maybe love with her Psych 101 TA who used to be her childhood babysitter.

David Inside Out by Lee Bantle – The story of David whose friend comes out to him but he doesn’t want to seem “gay by association” even though he has the same feelings.  The coming of age story of a boy trying to deal with his homosexuality.

Name:  Chris S.

Castle Waiting

April 1, 2009

Author: Linda Medley
Title: Castle Waiting

Genre: Graphic Novel
Publication Date: 2006
Number of pages: 457
Geographical Setting: Made up town of
Putney
Time period: Medieval
Series: n/a

Plot summary: The story begins with an adaptation of the classic Sleeping Beauty fairytale.  At the end of this prelude however, the price and princess leave their town and castle, and also the people that have lived their forever.  They leave the castle waiting for a new king that someday will arrive.  The story then turns to a girl named Jain.  She is forced to leave her home due to an abusive husband and is on her own to find a new place to live.  Jain is also pregnant!  Along the way she meets some familiar fairytale characters like the three little pigs, and also some new ones.  She arrives at the castle and meets many of the inhabitants, many are strange folk, but they all have many stories.  After her baby is born she starts to make herself at home.  She befriends a nun, Sister Peace, who lives at the castle, and she has a beard!  She shares her story of the Solicitine Nuns and all their hairy adventures.  Sister Peace tells of her friends and their times together.  In the mean time, all the inhabitants still are just waiting for something new to come along.

The artwork is in black-and-white.  The characters facial expressions are very detailed and speak more than the words.  It moves along quickly and is a great read for a first time graphic novel reader.

Subject headings: Graphic Novels, Fairytales, Fantasy

Appeal: adventurous, fantastical, romance, woman strength, girl power, exciting, fast-paced, magical, emotional, traditional, truthful, relatable, fun, light-hearted.

Similar works (fiction):

Romeo and Juliet by Richard Appignanesi-It is an adaptation of a familiar story; it also is in color, so a next step up for reading a graphic novel.

Age of Bronze: betrayal part one by Eric Shanower-Also draws from stories that many are familiar with, this one more with myths and medieval romances.

Runaways, vol. 1: pride & joy by Brian K. Vaughan-Story about friends that runaway and the strength of their friendship.  Similar to Sister Peace’s story in Castle Waiting.

Similar works (non-fiction):

American Widow by Alissa Torres; illustrated by Choi- depicts the struggles of a single woman after losing her husband in 9/11.  Relates to the strength of women.

Side Show: my life with geeks, freaks, and vagabonds in the carny trade by Howard Bone with Daniel Waladron-although not a graphic novel, it might interest the readers that were interested in Nessie’s story as the bearded lady in the circus.

Comics and graphic novels by Richard Spilsbury-accounts the principles of comics and graphic novels, how the artwork affects story and introduces mood.  Might be interesting for first time readers.

Name: Emily