Tag Archives: Comics

What’s In A Comic?


What’s in a comic book or a graphic novel? What is it about the illustrations and the stories inside their covers (or their covers!) that keep bringing readers back for more? Well, that’s a loaded question, isn’t it? But I am nothing if not overly ambitious and I just so happen to be a giant nerd (and self-proclaimed graphic novels aficionado), so to break in my first shiny new blog post I thought we could get into it a little. Plus, it’s a big month for the comics industry, at least in North America. It was Free Comic Book Day on May 4th and, on the Canadian side of things, several comics arts festivals will be running in major cities across the country including Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto, which I’ve visited a few times myself. It’s always such a fun surprise to see what indie artists have been cooking up and you never know who you might run into (Ryan North in 2010 was a big highlight for me).   

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe we should start at the beginning. After all, what’s in a comic, a graphic novel? What is a comic, really? After a Google deep dive (and a scouring of several encyclopedia listings, all hail Brittanica), here’s what I’ve got for you.

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So what are Publishers Pushing? Or: A Public Library Association Conference Adventure.

My alternative title might make this post sound more grandiose than it is, but if you’ve already fallen for the clickbait, you may as well read the rest of the post, right? I’m a nerd, I make no attempt to hide or apologize for this fact. And it should be evident that one of my flavours of nerddom is library nerd. So imagine my elation when my application for Vaughan Public Library to send me to the Public Library Association Conference was approved. VPL coordinated with libraries across southern Ontario to send a busload of librarians across the border and down to Columbus, Ohio, for three days of library programming and learning. It was a blast, and I’ve come back with ideas I can use for my programs and things that I need to talk to people higher up to implement. Sorry, there are no spoilers about any of that, but since VPL is constantly innovating, you shouldn’t be at all surprised when new things happen; just astonished by what they are.

The cover of Llama Destroys the World by Jonathan Stutzman, Illustrated by Heather Fox. Read this book. I don't care if it's a picture book. Read it! It's amazing and hilarious and laughter is good for you.

So, why am I even mentioning this if I won’t divulge what I learned? Because alongside the informative lessons was a giant vendor hall packed with all kinds of neat stuff. Including therapy dogs! I very much want some of it for my own branch, but precisely what I’m hoping for is another thing I’m keeping hush-hush1. Aside from the doggos and cool STEAM stuff, though, there were a whole lot of publishers there giving out books. Sometimes advance copies, sometimes signed copies, sometimes just regular copies, but the point is: I brought back a whole bunch of books. Piles of books. More books than any librarian should ever collect2. But it’s soooooo hard to say no to a free book! And, to be fair, I mostly tried to be a good uncle and took books for my..? I had to look this one up: Niblings. So, I don’t have to worry about storing them, and get to thrust that issue on my siblings while still being the cool uncle.

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Instant Gratification with Hoopla

The cover of The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

We’ve all been there: it’s 2:00am, you’re fighting a losing battle with insomnia and decide it’s time to give up and do some reading. But alas and alack! You finished your book earlier that night!1 You don’t worry, though, you know Vaughan Public Libraries has you covered with digital resources. You check Overdrive, but everything you want to borrow is already checked out. While you’d love to learn French, you’re not there yet, so you give Cantook Station a pass for the moment. And because it’s just one of those nights, your headphones are in another room, and bed is too cozy to leave, so an audiobook from AudioBookCloud is out. TumbleBook Library and TeenBookCloud are aimed a little young for your tastes that evening. So your next place to check is Hoopla to see what they’ve got in the Instant Borrow category and… oh! You’ve heard of this The Midnight Library book, and instant borrow means there’s no wait to get it, perfect! And then, suddenly you’re halfway through the book and it’s time to get up for the day. This has happened to everyone, right? I’m not alone? Eh, fine, my readers know I embrace my weirdness.

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