Back in April, I volunteered at MoCCA Arts Fest - an annual festival held by the Society of Illustrators and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York City. It was an interesting experience in terms of attending a graphic arts festival and volunteering. The festival was small, and showcased many homegrown, DIY graphic artists and publishers. If you were looking for capes, storm troopers, or one of the big two, this was not the festival for you. There was a greater focuses on the artistic nature of graphic art and a little on storytelling. The biggest publishers in attendance were the likes of First Second Books and the Pantheon imprint. The management of the volunteers was a little disorganized, but overall the festival for attendees was intimate and affordable ($12 at the door/$15 for the weekend). Professionally, I’m not sure if I would add this to my list of conferences and festivals to attend for collection development purposes like the New York City Comic Con, but it was an eye-opening experience for identifying other components, like the smaller publishers and imprints, to keep in mind.
listening :: Metallica – Week #3 of Metal May
watching :: Many TV show/series finales, not a lot on the movie front
reading :: A Game of Thrones – Summer 2013
wanting :: the work day to be over – new phone and friends
working :: Nothing! And it feels great. I’ll resume running more soon…
writing :: …that’s a different story.
thinking :: about today’s staff development day, the nuances of last night’s The Office finale, and my finite meeting social skills.
(inspired by Erin at Library Scenester)
I know that at someone point I’ve mentioned that we have a patron that loves to sign the Library up for magazine subscriptions with false names. Really random, nonsense names for all sorts of magazines.
As a result, we receive multiple issues of Good Housekeeping, Shape, Runner’s World, and the like for “Harry Hogwartson” and “Batman Laserspeed” every month.
Last week, a Runner’s World came in for a “Cassidy Cumberbund”.
Borderline creepy, but also funny.
Cassidy Cumberbund, that’s not my name ::clap clap:: that’s not my name ::clap clap::
(Picture from my meeting yesterday at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. It’s just down the road from where I work and the campus was so beautiful and lush at dusk.)
listening :: Megadeth – Week #2 of Metal May
watching :: Jesse Owens by PBS — since I read The Book Thief over spring break, I haven’t stopped thinking about it and Jesse Owens is an important…plot component?
reading :: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, just in time for summer vacation
wanting :: tickets for BookExpo America. I just need to push “submit”. Neil Gaiman! Helen Fielding! Jim Gaffigan! (also, it’s 45 minutes to lunch)
working :: on my final final projects and updating this site
writing :: el wordpress posts (there’s quite a few in the vault), since this is going to be the summer of getting on a review schedule
thinking :: summer plans and visiting folks – FYI Amanda, I think that I’m going to be in Williamsport near the end of May/beginning of June.
(inspired by Erin at Library Scenester)
What are you guys up?
This book took the young adult/library reader’s advisory world by storm this past winter. All the librarians and bloggers out there were reading. Being at the point of midterms when it was most popular, I thought I could write off Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park until the summer. But John Green’s review in The New York Times convinced me to make it a spring break priority read. Green’s review, like others’, was vague and mysterious. They emphasize that the story is nothing that we’ve ever seen before, but seem to not go into detail about how it is so different. This is intentional. Like love its self, Eleanor & Park leaves you speechless and unable to accurately, wholly describe how it makes you feel the way you feel about it.
The year is 1986. Alan Moore’s Watchmen has just hit newsstands and The Cure is blasting on cassette players; Facebook and the Internet is years from being developed and mainstreamed. Eleanor and Park couldn’t be any different. Whereas Park is the “passably popular” half-Korean, half-Caucasian boy-next-door, Eleanor is the “big”, red-headed new girl in Omaha, Nebraska. Park comes from a stable household — Dad’s a Vietnam vet who met Park’s Mom during the war. Eleanor’s family (if it can be called that) life is a patchwork of abuse and dysfunctionality after the divorce of her parents and the recent marriage between her mother and monstrous stepfather.
The relationship of Eleanor and Park doesn’t begin romantically – initially Park loathes her sitting next to him the bus, and she’s not very fond of him either. They find common ground though as she reads the X-Men over Park’s shoulder on their daily, silent school bus rides together. Their relationship plays out over the course Moore’s Watchmen — which Rowell deftly uses as both references and literary device to convey the greatest theme of the book, and of life.
Told in alternating chapters about the title characters, Rowell’s writing is balanced with perspective. She weaves in relevant references to late 1980s musical mixtapes and (most importantly) comic books that never feels dated or trying to hard. Rowell depicts race relations, socio-economic constraints, peer abuse, and love as they would be in reality. At times, I thought that the “love” component was expressed heavy-handily between Eleanor and Park. But then I paused, and reflected back on what it was like to be a teenager.
Ah, to be a stupid teenager – to be so sure and confident in everything and to know nothing.
Eleanor and Park know a little more about life (especially E) by the end. I’ll always remember finishing Eleanor & Park on the tarmac of the O’Hara airport, aboard my flight to San Francisco for Spring Break. The sun was warm, but Illinois in March was also very cold. I read the ending several times. I savored the perfect and imperfect conclusion. As Moore’s Dr. Manhattan concluded at the end of Watchmen “Nothing ever ends”.
Thumbs: 2 out of 2
Do you remember your first love?
The nominees for the 2013 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were announced a few weeks ago, and I’ve been mediating about the nominees and hopefuls. I don’t follow the industry closely enough to know if there were any upsets or snubs, but I was pleased to see some familiar works on the list. We won’t find out who the actual winners are until July at the Comic-Con International in San Diego, but below are the categories annotated with my hopefuls for the ones I recognized and follow.
Best Short Story
Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
Best Continuing Series: Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)
Best New Series: Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)
Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7)
Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)
Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17): A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, adapted by Hope Larson (FSG)
Best Humor Publication
Best Digital Comic
Best Reality-Based Work: Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo & Me, by Ellen Forney (Gotham Books)
Best Graphic Album—New: Building Stories, by Chris Ware (Pantheon)
Best Adaptation from Another Medium: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, adapted by Hope Larson (FSG)
Best Graphic Album—Reprint
Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips
Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books
Best U.S. Edition of International Material
Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia
Best Writer: Brian K. Vaughan, Saga (Image)
Best Writer/Artist: Chris Ware, Building Stories (Pantheon)
Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
Best Cover Artist: Yuko Shimizu, The Unwritten (Vertigo/DC)
Best Coloring: Charles Burns, The Hive (Pantheon)
Best Lettering: Chris Ware, Building Stories (Pantheon)
Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
Best Comics-Related Book
Best Educational/Academic Work
Best Publication Design: Building Stories, designed by Chris Ware (Pantheon)
As you can tell, I’ve been drinking the Saga Kool-Aid – but if you haven’t read that series yet, you should fix that. I’m a little disappointed that Fiona Staples wasn’t nominated independently for her work in the series. She really makes that series come to life with her artwork. Chris Ware’s Building Stories came on my radar during The Morning News’s Annual Tournament of Books. Needless to say, I have quite some reading to do before July.
Have you read any of the nominees? Who are your hopefuls?
“Valerie, get her signed-up for the email list NOW!” – the owner/cashier as I was checking out, in regards to me being the only female participating in FCBD upon my own free will and not for my son/father/boyfriend/husband.
The first Saturday in May has been a scared day for as long as I can remember – it’s Free Comic Book Day! Long story short: Free Comic Book Day is an annual event at local comic bookstores across North America where a select number of comic books are free. The event is supported by Diamond Comic Distributors, and it’s a great way to sample new titles.
This year was a little different for me. Usually I go to my regular shop, Ray & Judy’s Book Stop, in Rockaway, N.J. but when I went there, they weren’t participating! After a quick Google search, I found that Funny Books in Lake Hiawatha was – and they delivered. Of the eight that I had initially scoped out, Funny Books had four. Not bad. I’ll live without them. And in the spirit of supporting local comic shops, I picked up the latest (and controversial) issue of Saga and the first issue of Great Pacific, which is new-to-me. Overall:
Saga #12 – Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Image)
Great Pacific #1 – Joe Harris (Image)
Picked-up: (We were limited to seven)
Superman: Last Son of Krypton (DC: Special Edition for FCBD)
Infinity – Jonathan Hickman and Jim Cheung (Marvel)
Kaboom! Summer Blast! (Boom Entertainment)
The Walking Dead – Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn (Image: Special Edition)
Mouse Guard/Rust flip book – David Peterson, Royden Lepp, and various (Archaia Entertainment LLC)
World of Archie Digest (Archie Comic Publications)
I debated for awhile to just buy the whole first volume of Saga, but opted out when I saw that the volume bound didn’t include the letters-to-the-writer section. They’re the best part!
Have you ever celebrated Free Comic Book Day?