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Written by Frank Miller, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli
This wonderful exploration of one of the great origin myths of comics is Frank Miller at his best. Batman is shown to be fallible and fumbling. He needs to find his way and at first he stumbles.
This is also the origin story of Commissioner Gordon. At this point, he is a lieutenant recently arrived into Gotham’s deeply corrupt police force. He has to deal with backstabbers, makes his own grievous mistakes, and beats the crap out of green berets.
Mazzucchelli went for a flat palette that is reminiscent of newspaper comics and a nice nod to the genus of the comic book. When he finds his footing, we see another great Miller vision of Batman. Batman becomes the coolly calculating, precise, and genuinely dangerous hero we know.
It is really fun to read this and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns for a kind of bookending of Batman: his beginning and his post retirement return to action.
Celebrating the NEW Queens Library at Mitchell-Linden with a parade and lion dancers, September 30, 2013.
Queens Library President & CEO Thomas Galante led the parade along with Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, Council Member Peter Koo, State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Assembly Member Ron Kim, and Queens Library Board Chairwoman Jackie Arrington.
The celebration concluded with the feeding of a book to the lion—in place of the traditional lettuce—as a boon to the lifelong learning this space will foster in northern Flushing.
Thanks to Borough President Helen Marshall and Council Member Peter Koo for making this project possible.All photos courtesy of Dominick Totino Photography.
On #ThowbackThursday — Three kinds of transportation, only one of which is any good now, sit idle at the flooded Flushing Airport after the massive hurricane of 1938. Winds from this storm hit a staggering 121 mph! Want to know more? Read the QL blog here: http://ow.ly/pfP2E
This is quite possibly the strangest graphic novel in the Queens Library collection. It is a bizarre crime/political novel that incorporates transvestism, murder, chemical weapons, bizarre and complex sexual interactions, and student radicals. It is incredible that this comes from the godfather of manga himself—and very odd to think of this coming from the creator of Astro Boy.
This work is absolutely NOT for kids. Not only are there some quite mature relationships in it the story itself is incredibly complicated. This is absolutely not a prurient, trashy work but it does use some pretty out-there situations to drive the narrative. This was published in serial form in Japan from 1976-1978. It is fascinating to see Tezuka’s view of America as a superpower and its influence in Japan in the cold war of the 1970s.
This is at times a difficult work. You have been warned. At the same time it is utterly fascinating, compelling—a trainwreck over nearly 600 pages of incredibly detailed, often incredibly disturbing manga from one of the great creators of the form. This is a book that you may very well read in one sitting, then feel like you need to take a shower afterwards. Genius!
Before they were part of Gantry Plaza State Park, Long Island City’s massive gantry cranes were a bustling hub of rail traffic and industry. Here we see a Long Island Rail Road switch engine hauling a string of freight cars off a barge on a frigid day in 1947, with Manhattan’s two most iconic skyscrapers (this was before the World Trade Centers, remember) proudly visible in the background.
Written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Andy Kubert
This graphic novel takes the incredible conceit of setting the Marvel Universe in the time of Queen Elizabeth. It is a fascinating worldview with familiar characters like Dr. Strange, Nick Fury, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and more—all placed in the court of the Queen and the early American colony of Jamestown.
The character design is utterly incredible, it is amazing to see these figures reimagined in this historical setting, and figuring out all the nuances is one of the great pleasures of the book.
Gaiman has written an almost perfect narrative. There are some logical stretches and deus ex machina, but the argument could be made that he is being true to the theater of the period.
Kubert’s art is great. He never lets the mask slip. Marvel fans will be delighted with the puzzles presented, especially with the astonishing character design. The action is fluid and the plot twists and turns. It is a delightful read, and you feel smarter after you have finished it.
At Queens Library at Whitestone, Children’s Librarian Susan Scatena lived up to the promise she made to her young readers and read to a real live alligator on Sept. 12.
Scatena told the kids she’d share a literary moment with the big reptile if at least 300 children registered for the library’s summer reading, and if they collectively read at least 4,000 books.
They exceeded their goal; 344 children registered and finished 4,595 books. So Scatena read Mercer Mayer’s “There’s an Alligator Under My Bed” to Wally and his reptile trainer Erik Callendar, while hundreds of neighborhood children looked on.
No word on how Wally regarded the literary portrayal of his species, but he did seem to be smiling….
For Throwback Thursday, a glimpse back at Queens Library’s very first Book Bus. “The Pioneer” was launched in 1930, christened by the mayor and painted deep burgundy and gold. Here it is in July 1934, serving the children of Laurelton, Queens, on 225th Street. (Photo credit: Queens Library, Archives, QBPL Photographs)
This quiet work of utter genius is best enjoyed here, in New York City, the town that it was created in and about. These stories are so perfectly set in our city that they almost feel as if you could not really understand them unless you lived here. There are tiny details, small gestures, that only a New Yorker would get and that is part of the charm of this work
Eisner’s genius is completely on show in these tiny, quiet, brilliant vignettes. While he coined the term “graphic novel” to describe his work A Contract With God (also set in NYC), these are graphic short stories. They are tight, flawless, perfect little graphic narratives that can move you to tears, make you laugh, and see happening in real life in the city all around you.
Eisner works in monochrome—no color, just subtle washes of grey to fill the space between crisply delineated lines that tell an entire story on a single page. There are love stories, crime stories, hoodlums and quiet heroes, but mostly there are simple moments of regular lives in this biggest of American cities.