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Azuma was a prolific manga artist in the 70s and 80s and is credited as the godfather of Lolicon manga. He was also an alcoholic who dropped out of society more than once and struggled with serious depression and anxiety.
Disappearance Diary is his graphic memoir of four periods of his life: when he was homeless, when he worked manual labor, his artistic career at it’s height and subsequent burnout, and of his time in detox.
This work of graphic nonfiction perfectly illustrates an aspect of graphic literature which is unique to the form. Asuma deliberately draws light, fun, cartoony figures even as he is depicting truly horrifying personal experiences. As a result, it is often quite funny and enchanting even as we watch him descend to eating out of the trash, going through rehab, ruining his career, and grinding along as a gasfitter. For fans of Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London this is a must read.
What if comics could be mature, but not salacious? What if they dealt with life on a human scale as well as a superhuman one? What if that human scale involved people with families, with jobs, with bills to pay?
Busiek and Anderson don’t waste time with world building. They drop readers directly into a comics universe that is fully formed with characters who have depth and history right from the start.
This first Astro City book sets up a complex and multidimensional metahuman universe. This is a world where superheros go on dates, have messed up personal lives, and still manage to have fantastic fight sequences.
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….