30 January 2008

Emma, Volume 1

I picked up my first volume of Kaoru Mori's historical romance/maid manga Emma in August and have been all atwitter with fangirl enthusiasm for this manga ever since. I've talked it up so much at work that, not only has the YA librarian started collecting it, but one of my reference cohorts is reading it, too. I've recommended it to my best friend and The Husband and I am recommending it to you, too.

If my recommendation isn't enough, then how about that of the "Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library?" YALSA named the entire series to its 2008 "Great Graphic Novels for Teens" List. The same list which names such masterpieces as The Plain Janes, Re-Gifters, and Crossing Midnight.

Amusingly, the English translation of Emma is published by CMX which is an imprint of DC Comics. Apparently, DC knows what it's doing ...

What is not to love about this manga? Here we have the story of a Victorian maid with a mysterious past who loves and is loved, across all class and cultural lines, by an upstanding young gentleman of good breeding. Of course, their love is condemned and they must struggle against great obstacles to be together and, in doing so, uncover some surprising truths. It's Upstairs, Downstairs with a heavy dose of Dickens and Bronte. It's a fantastic story told extremely well with such detailed and historically accurate illustrations that I could spend many happy hours just looking at the pictures.

Sadly, this series is coming to in end in February with the publication of volume seven. I have the 6th volume on hand now, but am loathe to read it before I have the end on hand, as well. When I have the last volume, I will sit down and read them all straight through and then ...

I'll probably read them all over, again.

Emma, Volume 1 by Kaoru Mori (CMX, 2006)

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi was on the Colbert Report last night, but Tivo neglected to tell me. However, thanks to the magic of the Internets, I can watch it anytime (and as often) as I like:

In 2003, I read the Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood quite by accident. I'd just finished reading Milton Goes to the Vet by Hayde Ardalan, a French artist who lives in Switzerland. I saw Persepolis on the shelf, thought something like "oh, another French comic!" and never looked back.

Sometimes, impulsive choices are the best ones.

Frequently compared to Maus because of its content and graphic style, the Persopolis series is simply stunning. I grew up knowing very little about the conflict in the Middle East -- either, it wasn't taught in school or I wasn't paying attention, but I don't remember covering the 1979 revolution (I do remember covering the US Civil War every damn year). These books are extremely well-told and fantastically illustrate Iranian history in the late twentieth century. I devoured the books whole and then moved on to everything else Satrapi.

(I only regret reading Chicken with Plums. That was a disappointment, but not a terrible one as it moved me to go make chicken with plums -- a dish I would never have tried otherwise).

25 January 2008

Query: (ti: lesbian and ti: handbook) and au: brittenham

Was trying to place an OCLC loan request for Dale Brittenham's The Lesbian Handbook (Dalhousie Press, 1966) when I happened to glance at the item's note field:

The shadow world of female homosexuality revealed in clear, uncompromising terms! Candidly describes lesbian activity in all its deviant forms -- from casual bar pick-up to elaborately planned orgies!--Cover./ Includes bibliographical references (p. 125-128).

Good times.

21 January 2008

Graphic Novel: ♥ Minx ♥

I’m incredibly pleased to see that The Re-Gifters, one of favorite Minx titles, has made the ALA’s “2008 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens” list. I’m a big fan of the Minx title and it’s great to see these volumes get the recognition they deserve. Minx is DC's newish YA girl graphic novel line -- I think they're supposed to be comic books for girls who don't know they like comic books. Those I've read have been excellent and, while I keep promoting Minx comics at work, I don't know how much these titles will inspire their readers to explore the rest of the DC universe. Some of the Vertigo titles are attractive and appropriate for YA girls, but how will tween girls find them?

It doesn't help that DC seems to release the Minx titles so randomly. We haven’t had a fresh Minx since Kimmie666 in November. I guess Ross Campbell’s Water Baby is coming out in June, but that’s an awfully looong time to wait (thankfully, I have the new-ish She-Hulk series to keep me happy).

Scuttlebutt says we should watch for these Minx titles coming in 2008:

All Nighter, written and illustrated by David Hahn
Burnout, written by Rebecca Donner and illustrated by Inaki Miranda
Clubbing in Tokyo, written by Andi Watson and illustrated by Josh Howard & Grazia Lobaccaro
Emiko Superstar, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Steve Rolston
Janes in Love, written by Cecil Castellucci and illustrated by Jim Rugg
The New York Four, written by Brian Wood and illustrated by Ryan Kelly
Poseur, written by Deborah Vankin and illustrated by Rick Mays
Token, written by Alisa Kwitney and illustrated by Joelle Jones
Water Baby, written and illustrated by Ross Campbell

Additional information about these forthcoming Minx title is available @ thecomicbookbin and CBR (also has summaries of the first batch of Minx titles, if you were living under a rock and missed their release).

While I haven’t heard anything, I would really like to see another Minx title by Aaron Alexovich. He did such a great job with the weird and utterly charming Kimmie66 (he also illustrated, but did not write, Confessions of a Blabbermouth, and it shows). Ah, Kimmie66 … Just the kind of thing I would have loved when I was thirteen. And still do now, at thirty-one.

(Serenity Rose, also by Alexovich, is not a Minx title, but is extremely well crafted and entertaining in adorably Goth way -- I would love to see more of it, too).