For 2022 Librarian Henry has resolved to read more comics! Comics are not just superheroes in tight costumes beating each other up, and saving the universe by beating people up; comics cover every subject and genre, from tender love stories, heart-breaking childhood memoirs to terse thrillers.
Libraries have launched ComicsPlus a huge collection of comics and graphic novels available to download to a tablet or smartphone, or stream on a computer.
The collection is broad, deep, rich, and nuanced and offers choices for both dedicated and novice comics readers. There are 1000s of titles from well-known comic publishers like Dark Horse, IDW, Tokyo Pop and Kodansha, the Library Journal describes ComicsPlus as probably the strongest manga subscription service available in English – and its all free to use!
Download the app from your favoured app store and log in with your library card number and PIN.
So, whether like Henry you are returning to comics after years away or if you are a regular scholar of sequential art, here are some suggestions to get you started – oh and one audiobook!
Top non-fiction: They Called Us Enemy – By: George Takei with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott Art By: Harmony Becker
George Takei – yes that George Takei – had not yet started school when his family were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066.
This book acts as a reminder of a shameful time in history, and cautions us against how very easy it is to turn a neighbour into an “other”, into an enemy.
It is also just a portrait of a childhood, Takei recalls being a young boy and feeling, at first, like he and his family were going on an adventure. Not understanding his parents fear and humiliation, but just trying to play games, have fun.
It’s a tough read, but fells really necessary.
Top fiction: Goodnight Paradise by Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli
Goodnight Paradise is a murder-mystery set among the homeless population crowding Venice Beach in California, from the Eisner Award nominated creators Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli.
A compassionate a portrayal of the homeless, the story works as a painful family drama, twisty mystery, and powerful social critique.
Top audiobook: On Chapel Sands: The Mystery of My Mother’s Disappearance as a Child by Laura Cumming
In 1929 Laura Cumming’s mother Betty was kidnapped from a beach in Lincolnshire. It was “a prolonged moment of parental inattention.” The police were called to investigate but no one in the village of Chapel St Leonard had seen anything. For Betty’s parents the next few days were a nightmare.
Thankfully Betty turned up safe, in a house 12 miles inland. The circumstances that led to her being snatched were shrouded in secrets and lies, far from knowing nothing, people locally – locked in “acts of communal silence” that would continue for decades – knew far more than they let on.
Betty had no memories of the event as she grew older. After years of silence, secrets and allusions, Laura Cumming decided to investigate what really happened. This was the beginning of unravelling incredibly complicated family history.
Top children’s fiction: Iyanu Child of Wonder by Roye Okupe with art by Godwin Akpan
Iyanu is a fantasy-genre “chosen one” story set in a society based on Yoruba culture and history. Beautifully illustrated, with a complex world and a detailed plot.
This book is otherworldly and strong with a warrior girl as the main character.
What’s NOT to like!
Top Children’s non-fiction: The Z-Boys and Skateboarding by Jameson Anderson with art by Steve Erwin
This comic book is the story of the Z-Boys a group of skateboarders who, in the 1970s pretty much created the punk/skater subculture that exists to this day.
During a drought in the mid 1970s, the Z-Boys took their boards to empty pools, skating on the sides. The Z-Boys invented aerial skateboarding. It’s hard to imagine today, but before the Z-Boys, no one was skateboarding in bowls.
This is a fun graphic history of big hair, daring stunts and Californian summers!
Have you read any of the books featured this month? If so we’d love to hear what you thought! Leave your reviews in the comments below. Missed December’s book reviews? Catch up on them here.
You can find out more about libraries in East Sussex by visiting the East Sussex County Council website.