March: Graphic Novel Round-up!

Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison — One of the hottest writers in the industry, Grant Morrison, brings this Home Alone meets The Lord of the Rings story to life.Joe is an imaginative eleven year-old boy. He can’t fit in at school. He’s the victim of bullies. His dad died overseas in the Iraq war. He also suffers from Type 1 diabetes. One fateful day, his condition causes him to believe he has entered a vivid fantasy world in which he is the lost savior — a fantastic land based on the layout and contents of his home. His desperate attempts to make it out of his bedroom transform into an incredible, epic adventure through a bizarre landscape of submarine pirate dwarves, evil Hell Hounds, Lightning Lords and besieged castles. But is his quest really just an insulindeprived delirium — from which he can die if he doesn’t take his meds — or something much bigger?

African-American Classics 22 by Tom Pomplum (editor) — African-American Classics presents great stories and poems from America”s earliest Black writers, illustrated by contemporary African-American artists. Featured are “Two Americans” by Florence Lewis Bentley, “The Goophered Grapevine” by Charles W. Chesnutt, “Becky” by Jean Toomer, two short plays by Zora Neale Hurston, and six more tales of humor and tragedy. Also featured are eleven poems, including Langston Hughes” “Danse Africaine” and “The Negro,” plus Paul Laurence Dunbar”s “Sympathy” (”I know why the caged bird sings… ”)

Marzi by Marzena Sowa — “I am Marzi, born in 1979, ten years before the end of communism in Poland. My father works at a factory, my mother at a dairy. Social problems are at their height. Empty stores are our daily bread.I’m scared of spiders and the world of adults doesn’t seem like a walk in the park.”

Told from a young girl’s perspective, Marzena Sowa’s memoir of a childhood shaped by politics feels remarkably fresh and immediate. Structured as a series of vignettes that build on one another, MARZI is a compelling and powerful coming-of-age story that portrays the harsh realities of life behind the Iron Curtain while maintaining the everyday wonders and curiosity of childhood. With open and engaging art by Sylvain Savoia, MARZI is a moving and resonant story of an ordinary girl in turbulent, changing times.

Wandering Son, Volume 1 by Shimura Takako — The fifth grade. The threshold to puberty, and the beginning of the end of childhood innocence. Shuichi Nitori and his new friend Yoshino Takatsuki have happy homes, loving families, and are well-liked by their classmates. But they share a secret that further complicates a time of life that is awkward for anyone: Shuichi is a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. Written and drawn by one of today’s most critically acclaimed creators of manga, Shimura portrays Shuishi and Yoshino’s very private journey with affection, sensitivity, gentle humor, and unmistakable flair and grace. Volume one introduces our two protagonists and the friends and family whose lives intersect with their own. Yoshino is rudely reminded of her sex by immature boys whose budding interest in girls takes clumsily cruel forms. Shuichi’s secret is discovered by Saori, a perceptive and eccentric classmate. And it is Saori who suggests that the fifth graders put on a production of The Rose of Versailles for the farewell ceremony for the sixth graders — with boys playing the roles of women, and girls playing the roles of men.

The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long and Jim Demonakos — As the civil rights struggle heats up in Texas, two families—one white, one black—find common ground. This semi-autobiographical tale is set in 1967 Texas, against the backdrop of the fight for civil rights. A white family from a notoriously racist neighborhood in the suburbs and a black family from its poorest ward cross Houston’s color line, overcoming humiliation, degradation, and violence to win the freedom of five black college students unjustly charged with the murder of a policeman. The Silence of Our Friends follows events through the point of view of young Mark Long, whose father is a reporter covering the story. Semi-fictionalized, this story has its roots solidly in very real events. With art from the brilliant Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole) bringing the tale to heart-wrenching life, The Silence of Our Friends is a new and important entry in the body of civil rights literature.

The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen — Master storyteller Jane Yolen (Owl Moon, Sword of the Rightful King) and celebrated fantasy artist Rebecca Guay (Swamp Thing, Magic: The Gathering) weave a textured and lyrical tale of adventure, homelands, and heroism the hard way.Two hundred years ago, humans drove the dragons from the islands of May. Now, the last of the dragons rises to wreak havoc anew — with only a healer’s daughter and a kite-flying would-be hero standing in its way.

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