Comics

Weekly Trivia 8: The Osamu Tezuka Edition

August 18, 2014 | Thomas | Comments (5) Facebook Twitter More...

Astro Boy Volume 1For this week's edition of our literary trivia challenge, we're asking you about a legend of Japanese Manga!

Considered to be a master of the form in Japan, Osamu Tezuka at one point trained to become a doctor, before he (wisely) chose to follow his heart and become a manga artist. One wonders if some of the adventures of his character Black Jack came from his experiences as a medical student...

In one of Tezuka's best known series, he chronicles the life of one of the world's great religious figures. Tell us who Tezuka wrote about for a chance to win a book!

OR:

Tell us what world leader's life would make a great comic and why! If we like who you choose, you could win a book too!

There are only a couple of rules to this contest:

1) You have to be a resident of the city of Toronto to win a prize.

2) Your answer has to be submitted by Thursday (August 21) at 11:59 PM if you want to win.

3) You need to provide us with a valid email address if you want to be considered for the prize. Otherwise, how will we get in touch with you? Don't worry, we'll keep your address secret (see below for more info).

Winners will be contacted at the end of the week.

Your name, your e-mail address, the books you read and your thoughts about them are your personal information. Why do we need your personal information here?  Well, we want to publish your reviews, and we need your name and e-mail address to help administer the contest.  The Public Libraries Act is the law that lets us do this.  We'll be protecting your privacy every step of the way, but if you have any questions about how we're going to do that, you can contact TPL's Privacy & Records Management Officer, 789 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, M4W 2G8, 416-395-5658 or by e-mail at gnettlefold@torontopubliclibrary.ca

Jeffrey Brown Gives Word Out a Shout Out!

August 6, 2014 | Thomas | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

 

 

Hey comic fans! One of our favourite graphic novelists Jeffrey Brown was in town earlier this summer. When he was here, he stopped by a library to meet some folks, and give Word Out some props.

If you haven't checked out Jeff's comics, you should. Because they're awesome. You can let us know which of them are your favourites in the "Your Recommendations" page on the Word Out site!

Darth Vader and Son Incredible Change Bots  Star Wars Jedi Academy

Sewing, Patterns, & Cosplay

July 23, 2014 | Amy | Comments (5) Facebook Twitter More...

Ballgown cosplayers
These must have been a lot of work! Does anyone know what show or game they're from?

Despite my many years of sewing costumes, I still prefer to work from a pattern whenever possible. As I joke to my friends, “if it has armpits or crotches, I need a pattern.” It’s vital to construct these areas well for fitting, flattering, and  -- most importantly! – allowing the wearer to actually move.  If you’re going to a convention or a party, you will be very grateful for that mobility.

Of course, some costumes from RPGs, anime, or other sources are so ridiculous and cumbersome that the wearers can’t move that well, no matter how well-fitted the crotch or armpits are!

Where can you buy patterns?

I used to be a big fan of Simplicity patterns, because, as the name implies, they’re pretty simple and straightforward to use. Unfortunately, Fabricland no longer stocks Simplicity/New Look, as of August last year, due to a price increase. BlogTO has a list of some of the best independent fabric stores in Toronto, however, so you can always check them out!

Patterns can also be purchased online, even through Amazon, but make sure you are buying a new, unused pattern. There would be nothing worse than buying a pattern and finding it isn’t your size! 

Continue reading "Sewing, Patterns, & Cosplay" »

Gods and Warriors

July 18, 2014 | Alice | Comments (10) Facebook Twitter More...

Fan_of_norse_mythology_by_red_ipod on deviantart dot comUnlike the climate they come from, the myths of the Norse gods have been hot ever since the movie Thor (speaking of hot...). Suddenly, there are books about being a teen in the United States of Asgard, gory graphic novels about warlords of yore, and tales of gods and Valkyries retold in times both ancient and modern. It's not the only mythology that has enjoyed a bit of popularity lately, with Percy Jackson bringing the Greek monsters to your bookshelf and movie screen, but definitely, the Norse myths are having a moment.

Barbarian Lord - this graphic novel, just out this month, is based on a Norse tale and features some of the traditions of the ancient Scandinavian people, not to mention tons and tons of really bloodythirsty action rendered in a heavy comic style that reminds me a bit of Black Metal. This one is not in yet at the library, but worth keeping an eye out for if you want some so-old-there-wasn't-school-yet mayhem.

Valkyrie Rising - When a teenage girl goes to stay with her grandma in Norway, she learns about not only mythology, but also some well-hidden family history and her own destiny. A fast read with a seriously kick ass female heroine. Also available as an ebook.

Gospel of Loki - This is a longer book from the adult collection, but a really good read if you are up for something slightly denser. What really makes it is the voice of Loki, sarcastic, sardonic, and just the right mix of bad and stylish to have you with him all the way. I keep wanting to hand this off to people and tell them to read it!

Stork - This is an unusual one, in which a normal teenage girl suddenly discovers she is one of a group of "storks," women who pair souls with potential babies in utero. This involves making some calls about who will be the best moms, as well as some drama between the storks in their small town, and she has to learn to navigate all of this on her feet. It's lighter, but interesting. Also available as an ebook.

United States of Asgard - This series blends modern day USA with Norse mythology for a setting that makes the adventures of Asgardian teens accessible in a new way. The son of a famous berserker warrior and the daughter of a seer go searching for a missing god in the series opener, The Lost Sun, also available as an ebook.

Vinland Saga - this graphic novel was one of my picks for the summer, and I now have my hands on volume 2, with volume 3 in the system and waiting for me! :D  It's a seriously epic story, as the title suggests, of a young boy whose father, a former hero, has vengeance taken on him by his old Viking warrior tribe. This all happens in volume one, and by the end, we are well set up for volume two, with the young boy swearing to avenge his father in turn. These are not for the faint of heart, as the Vikings were a famously bloodthirsty bunch, but they are gorgeous and massive in scope, well worth the read if myth and battle appeal to you.

Loki's Wolves - The gods have long since died. Ragnarok, the end of the world, is coming. And it turns out that this time it's up to the teenage descendants of the gods to try to save the world -- if they can turn the course of mythology and beat the monsters this time around. This series is actually in the children's section, but so much fun I couldn't not include it, and it is written by two top-shelf YA authors, Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr, so.

And, of course, there's Marvel's Thor. Hero of comic books for decades, many of which are now bound into graphic novels under Marvel's excellent publishing programme. And Thor of the movies, with the delicious Chris Hemsworth wielding the famed hammer, Mjolnir. But did you hear the surprising and very interesting news about the Thor of the comic world that just came out this week? That Thor is going to lose his hammer, and a woman will step into his place, becoming a new Thor?

I wasn't sure what to make of this, especially coupled with the news, just a couple of days later, that Captain America will also have a change coming, and in this case, Falcon will become Cap. Falcon is also African American, meaning that Captain America will be a black man, another interesting move toward diversity and shaking up old images. A good friend of mine pointed out that this is allowing more people to see themseloves in Marvel's heroes, or as having the potential for heroism, which is a lovely idea.

What do you think? Can you completely reboot a character or a myth like that? Do you think it works and carries forward the attributes of a character in interesting ways, or do you think they should just start fresh with new characters instead?

 

Heroes Larger Than Life

July 18, 2014 | Alice | Comments (6) Facebook Twitter More...

Female_superhero_design_by_2d_artist on Deviantart dot comSuperheroes - who doesn't love them? Some of them larger than life, some built from mythology, some human and flawed, but all with the mission of keeping us safe on earth from the scourge of baddies everyday, alien, or imbued with powers of their own.

Larger-than-life heroes go way back into myth, lived in tall tales like John Henry, and last century, became the mainstay of comic books as heroes like Superman and Batman led the way, found fans, and spawned imitators, forming the core of the Justice League and the DC Universe. The Marvel Universe, of course, is the other best known comics empire, bringing X-men, Spiderman, the Avengers group of characters, and more.

These heroes have stood the test of time, with strong visuals, interesting back stories, ever-changing enemies, and the perennial goal of heroes everywhere, saving the day. They've been making suprhero movies and TV shows for decades now, too, expanding their popularity beyond the comic-reading crowd and bringing their appeal to a much wider audience. And what's not to love? The same visual appeal works on screen, there's tons of action, great storylines with interesting foes to defeat... Perfect!

Sure, you say. Sure, it's archetypal stuff of good versus evil, someone saving the world for us, even teams of heroes working together to protect everyone... but take away the visuals and what do you have left?

Icone pour Vallect, logiciel libre de lecture au college by Thibault frWell, it's true that comic books and graphic novels starring superheroes are the obvious format. And we have plenty of them at the library by the way. Marvel has even very handily started binding up comic book issues into graphic books, so you can place holds on them and read them in order, not missing any! (I know, right? Sweet.) We've also got plenty of books about superheroes and comics - histories, character encyclopedias, visual guides to the movies, and the like. They are huge fun to read and really visual for light browsing. I love these. But that's not what we're talking about, right? What about novels? Okay, we've got you covered.

V is for Villain - In a world where powered heroes rule everything and get the best treatment, how much does it suck to be the unpowered, way smaller younger brother of a major hero, and son of another? Enough to maybe push you toward joining up with some villains and trying to take apart the Hero-worshipping ways of society? Every villain has an original story, just like heroes...

Vindico - When a group of supervillains ar ready to retire they seek out some teens to train as their replacements. As the teens try to plot an escape, they are also gaining powers, and soon they aren't quite so sure which side they might end up on, and just where the lines between good and evil are, anyhow. Also available as an ebook.

Unlikely-Hero-of-Room-13BThe Unlikely Hero of Room 13B - This book is about a totally different kind of hero, though superhero names and personas are in a way a big part of the book. Here, a group of teens with OCD take on these names and characters to help give themselves strength. One of them, Adam, is struggling very hard to hold it together, and by the end, we discover in him and in some of his group members a type of heroism that is much quieter, but no less important. Also available as an ebook

Teresa Toten, the author of this last book, by the way, is coming to Northern District Branch on Tuesday evening. She's rumoured to be a great speaker - come join us!

And to close out, let me leave you with some fun quizzes. What kind of hero would you be?

Here are two quizzes about superheroes and one on supervillains, if you want to see what the internet thinks. Leave your results - or what YOU think - in comments!

 

Going to FanExpo? New to conventions?

July 16, 2014 | Amy | Comments (10) Facebook Twitter More...

Mummies Alive cosplayers
Mummies Alive cosplay!

FanExpo 2014 will be held in downtown Toronto from August 28th-31st!

If you’ve never been to an anime or fan convention before, they can be pretty overwhelming. Especially if you decide to go for your first time in a costume! Here are a few suggestions on the etiquette and common sense to follow!

Continue reading "Going to FanExpo? New to conventions?" »

Weekly Trivia 2: The Scott Pilgrim Edition

July 7, 2014 | Thomas | Comments (7) Facebook Twitter More...

Scott PilgrimOK folks! Time for the second installment of our weekly trivia contest, where we pick your brains about your book-based knowledge. In this week's edition, we want to know how much YOU know about Bryan Lee O'Malley's epic comic series, Scott Pilgrim.

One of the series' epic battles takes place at a famous Toronto department store. Tell us the name of the store and you could win a free book!

OR:

Where would you have had Scott kick some butt? Tell us the Toronto landmark where you think Scott should have dished out some pain pie and why! If we like your idea best, you'll win a book too.

There are only a couple of rules to this contest:

1) You have to be a resident of the city of Toronto to win a prize.

2) Your answer has to be submitted by Thursday (July 10) at 11:59 PM if you want to win.

3) You need to provide us with a valid email address if you want to be considered for the prize. Otherwise, how will we get in touch with you? Don't worry, we'll keep your address secret (see below for more info).

Winners will be contacted at the end of the week.

Your name, your e-mail address, the books you read and your thoughts about them are your personal information. Why do we need your personal information here?  Well, we want to publish your reviews, and we need your name and e-mail address to help administer the contest.  The Public Libraries Act is the law that lets us do this.  We'll be protecting your privacy every step of the way, but if you have any questions about how we're going to do that, you can contact TPL's Privacy & Records Management Officer, 789 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, M4W 2G8, 416-395-5658 or by e-mail at gnettlefold@torontopubliclibrary.ca