One of the interesting facets of library work is seeing how format changes the appeal of content. Some titles rarely check out in print, but are “best sellers” as audio books. Titles popular in large print may not be popular in regular print. One of the hottest new formats at the library is the graphic novel.
These materials are so new and changeable that it is even difficult to define exactly what a graphic novel might be. On the simplest level, Marvel’s “Daredevil, Volume 2” by Frank Miller is a bound compilation of fifteen stories originally published in the 1980s as comic books. “Smallville, Volume 1” compiles episodes of the television show by the same name, but presented in print in comic format. “The Great Cow Race: The Complete Bone Adventures 2” by Jeff Smith is another compilation of work originally published as individual comic books.
In this country, and at Hastings Public Library, Japanese manga is considered a graphic novel also. Most manga is originally created in book length volumes. Some manga is published in the United States following traditional western reading customs – the spine is on the left of the book and reads front to back and left to right. Ranma1/2 by Rumiko Takahashi is an example of this type of manga. The more traditional Japanese manga is printed with the spine on the right and reads right to left. “The Wallflower” by Tomoko Hayakawa and “Trigun” by Yasuhiro Nightow will give you a taste of reading the Japanese way.
Manga is so popular in Japan and around the world that there are also monthly magazines that blend pop culture and serialized graphic stories. “Shojo Beat” is targeted at teenage girls and offers fashion, music and movie news as well as new manga each month.
The largest collection of graphic novels can be found in the Teen Domain at the library, but the format has also been used by serious content creators like Art Spiegelman in “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale”, a Holocaust story, and journalist Joe Sacco in “Palestine”, a record of two months spent in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank.
To see story presented in a whole new way, check out one of these graphic novels at the Hastings Public Library.