Summer Reading 2014

The popularity of comics

May 11, 2012 by  
Filed under News

Blockbuster films like “The Hunger Games,” The “Twilight” saga, and most recently, “The Avengers,” always seem to spark a renewed interest in the book(s) that preceded them. As someone who works in a library, and is a strong supporter of reading and literacy, that is a very good thing.

In the case of “The Avengers,” which is playing in theaters now, the source is a variety of comic books. Captain America meets The Hulk meets Iron Man meets Black Widow meets Thor, and they all join forces to fight Thor’s bad brother.

A recent issue of a comic book trade magazine listed more than 40 comic-book movies in various stages of production, including new “Batman” and “Spider-Man “ films. Wow.

Why is it that comic books have taken over the multiplex? There are a couple of reasons. First, special effects are much better today, allowing the comic book world to come to life on screen in a very exciting way. And, second, comic books are just really good – perhaps the best they have been in a long time.

In the mid 1990s, Marvel Comics, which had just emerged from bankruptcy, put a concerted effort into the quality of its materials. It brought on talented writers and artists, which led to re-vamped Daredevil and Spider-Man characters, among others.

Comic books, like all books, offer readers the chance to escape from their own life.  The comic melds words and images in a way that makes it creative and fun to read. The words and the pictures are allowed to breath in a way that the traditional novel just can’t allow.

The popularity of the comic book can also be attributed to its basic concept: Heroes and heroines fight villains and monsters. Good versus evil. And justice is done in a way that many of us wish were the case in the real world.

At BCPL, we have tons of comic books, also known as graphic novels, and they check out regularly. We also have a graphic novel discussion group, called Let’s Get Graphic!, that meets on the last Thursday of each month.

It’s that group, and the staff members who lead the discussion, Adam Chandler and Bryan Greene, who are putting together the upcoming Comic Book Expo.

The 2nd annual expo is being held this year at the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center, 1620 Winchester Ave., on Saturday, May 26, beginning at 2 p.m. The event will feature local comic book vendors and collectors, as well as a costume contest and a chance to win two tickets to see “The Avengers,” donated by the Kyova 10 Theater.

Special guest again this year is Beau Smith of Huntington, a well known comic book writer and columnist who has worked for DC Comics, Image Comics and IDW. Beau will have copies of his books to sign.

Space for exhibitors and dealers is still available. To reserve your slot, call Adam Chandler at (606) 329-0090. For more information on library programs and services, visit www.thebookplace.org

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