Celebrated Summer, by Charles Forsman

Find in catalogThis is a Graphic Novel of two young men on an acid trip. They go from a hike on to a road trip, while their perceptions get weirder and weirder. The artist conveyed that well. At the end, I could relate to the character that just wanted to go home, to his lonely, predictable room.

Black Orchid, by Neil Gaiman

Fid in textBlack Orchid combines naturalism, corruption and intrigue into a colorful fantasy world that left me breathless at times. Gaiman’s story is well written. If you are a fan of Neil Gaiman, fantasy, or nature, you will love this graphic novel.

The Complete Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi

Find in catalogThis graphic novel tells the story of Marjane as a young girl and woman growing up in revolutionary Iran in the 1980’s. I absolutely loved this book for its story of perseverance, heart, and humor. Candidly Marjane tells a story of her family as they struggle to service through massive economical, religious, and governmental upheaval. As I turned page after page I could place myself there; realizing how difficult and important it was to tell such stories. I was profoundly stuck by how thankful I was to hear childhood stories that were so vastly different of my own. Good books open your eyes to a new world and show how we can learn from each other’s differences while also showing that we aren’t all that different from each other. And this book does just that! If I were to recommend only five books this summer this would be one of them!

Calling Dr. Laura : a graphic memoir, by Nicole J. Georges

Find in catalogNicole is a young geeky lesbian living in Portland when her girlfriend takes her to a physic for her birthday. Among the outrageous things the physic tells her are that she will marry a rich man, and that her dad isn’t really dead. The idea that maybe the latter is true sticks with Nicole, and she eventually finds out what’s what. This is the focus of the jacket copy and a large portion of the graphic novel/memoir, and yet it’s never as fully fleshed out as it could be. I’ve read this book twice and I still don’t totally understand if Nicole thought someone else was her dad, or just that her mom lied about her bio dad being dead. At times, just when she could go deeper, she pulls away. (i.e. a three question Q and A interlude about “this whole Dad thing” ends with “this concludes the dad edition of Q and A. Now back to our story,” Like, I thought this was the story?) A lot of the book tells interesting but somewhat disjointed stories about her childhood and her relationships with family and lovers. I love a couple lines–about her keeping secrets at a family Christmas (“I bode my time on the couch. Not being gay. Having a dead father.”) and her therapist’s take on her mother (“You’re mother is a turnip. She’s never going to be a sweet potato, no matter what you do or how good you are.” “Even if I–” “Yes, even then.”) The epilogue could have been super meaty but instead was truncated–too bad, there was a lot of unexplored material there! I like her black and white drawing style and her bouffanty hair and cat’s eye glasses.

Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek

Find in catalogThis book was a pleasant surprise to read. The art is fairly simplistic (compared to current standards), and the story is pretty straight forward, so don’t expect any mysteries to sneak up on you, but I will make the statement that the concept of the story was a mystery. It’s an innovative interpretation of Superman, and while I cannot say you’ll like it like I did, I’m willing to bet you will agree it is a unique story from beginning to end. If you’re a fan of alternate timeline/multiverse/what if style stories, this one is for you.

Serenity: those left behind by Joss Whedon

Find in catalogThis was my first graphic novel! It was fun. I am a huge fan of Firefly and Serenity, so thought this would be a good start into graphic novels. It’s a short story that takes place somewhere between the show and the movie. It was fun to try to read the language that makes Firefly what it is.

iZombie by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred

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Find in Library catalog

Every once in a while, a new interpretation provides a chance to discover – or rediscover – an older work.  When CW Network announced that “iZombie” would debut later this month as a midseason replacement, it revived interest in the original graphic novel series published a few years ago.

“iZombie” tells the story of an attractive young woman, Gwen, who happens to be a high-functioning zombie.  As long as she eats brains at least once a month – to which she has easy access in her job as a grave digger – she can function reasonably well in her “normal” world of Eugene, Oregon.  The problem comes in that she absorbs the memories – and unfinished business – of whomever she dines on, triggering a series of adventures for Gwen and her funky sidekicks, a girl ghost stuck in the Eugene of the 1960s and a were-terrier who gets furry every full moon.

Of course for local readers, the charm of the series is for its use of real Eugene-area locations: the University of Oregon campus, Shelton McMurphey Johnson House, McDonald Theater.  At the climax, after surviving a zombie invasion, when the purple tentacles of the soul-sucking creature from the fourth dimension wave hapless Eugeneans against the night sky, the background buildings are the LTD station and the Downtown Eugene Public Library.

Sadly, the television version relocates the story to a Seattle coroner’s office.  If this is a tale to your taste, I’d suggest you start with the books. – Connie Bennett, Library Director

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine

ShortcomingsAdrian Tomine does New Yorker covers, and I really liked his book of cartoons about his process getting married. (To a white woman; he is Japanese.) Normally I would never mention that but, Shortcomings deals a lot with a Japanese man interested in white women, and what it all means, especially to his Asian girlfriend. So, maybe it is somewhat autobiographical. Ben Tanaka does indeed have shortcomings. But I felt for the guy. His girlfriend breaks up with him without really telling him, he dates unsuitable white girls a bit, then follows his girlfriend to New York to not only find out she dumped him, but to hear her give him a laundry list of all his faults. Which he may have, but still, way to kick a guy when he’s down. An interesting graphic novel exploring race and desire. Loved his friend Alice Kim.

Reviewed by Katie

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Roz ChastIlluminating and depressing. New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast chronicles, with cartoons, sketches, and even photos, her 90-something parents’ declines and deaths. Chast paints a vivid picture of her parents, esp. her forceful mom who is full of little catch phrases, and how they dealt, or didn’t deal, with their mortality.

Reviewed by Katie

Siri and Me by David Milgrim

Siri & MeFun little comic about a techie who falls in love with Siri, who in turn keeps trying to set him up with a real life girl. If you have the time, though, watch the movie Her instead for a more thoughtful treatment of this theme.

Reviewed by Katie