Public Library Collection Development Issues for Comix and Graphic Novels


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  • Apologize for gross generalizations and language mangling.
  • Apologize for gross generalizations and language mangling.
  • Apologize for gross generalizations and language mangling.
  • Apologize for gross generalizations and language mangling.
  • Apologize for gross generalizations and language mangling.
  • Comix, moreso than some other communication mediums such as TV or newspapers, represents a distinct language. It has its own set of rules which must be understood in order to read the text. Like other languages, comix also has regional dialects which are the essence of this presentation. We are never taught how to read graphic language, but repeated exposure –and perhaps instinct- allow us to read words and pictures together. This combination can be very engaging, and sometimes even challenging. Like the spoken word, we can understand graphic language without understanding, or at least without being conscious of, its basics. This is isn’t a semiotics class, I want to keep things light, you won’t be graded!
  • Conventions, iconography, cliches, shortcuts, tropes, memes
  • Rhetorical questions revealing the basics of visual language. Objective to the subjective > universal to the personal Cultural homogeny is likely to result in us answering most of the questions similarly, the chances of differing answers increases as the questions progress. 1- Do you see a collection of lines, or do you see recognizable images? 2- Do you see this as two similar but distinct sets of figures which are existing at the same time, or do you see it as the same figures, depicting two events at different times? 3- Do you see the the first event occurring before the second one, or vice versa? 4- Do you see these events as occurring right now, in the past, or in the future? 5- Do you feel sorry for the cat head?
  • The strange little world of graphic conventions. Visual shorthand to convey ideas in a relatively static medium. Speech balloon is very common. Thought balloon is similar but BUMPY When we see it, we all know what it means. The creator doesn’t have to write “And then Batman said…, to which the Joker replied…”
  • Zig zag balloon Lines in the background – semiotics – signified and signifier - context
  • Number, curve, and placement of the lines all contributes to the description of the speed.
  • Notice the difference in the lines Signs that Snoopy has been hit = drawing itself, the stars, the tongue, the large Whop!
  • Notice that Snoopy’s dark balloon is smooth, not bumpy like a thought balloon. Snoopy didn’t talk at this point!
  • Now that we’ve seen the complexity that goes into our own visual language, try a different cultures! Changes in conventions can render it unreadable. What emotion is he experiencing?
  • For a quick rundown: Flipped / Flopped Graphic text (noises) would be backwards Running Teardrops – sad Screaming mouth and the blank eyes all contribute to the appearance of a frustrated / flustered figure Lines / text balloons – drama Teardrop = stressed
  • A lot goes on behind the scenes before we even get to the story. Understanding that, at least on some level, is crucial to the level of success in creating or reading graphic language, whatever language you “speak” as it were.
  • Apologize to creator. There is actually something odd at work here, beyond the fact that it’s almost entirely created from clipart. I’m going to give you a moment just to go over it and see what you think. The panels are out of order for western readers. Just like our language, graphic panels read left to right, top to bottom. Read as it is, the woman, fully pregnant in the first frame, is now slimmed down with 63 dirty diapers, and in the next one, is once again pregnant. Even for an amateur interesting things at work here. The lines and phone tell us how the two figures are communicating. Woman has no frame of reference, she’s floating in space, but considering she’s on the phone and standing up, I would assume that she’s home. Bottom left, the woman is now outside of a structure, probably her home. The driver’s position at the bottom of the stairs would indicate that he is just arriving Note also the little bit of text above the frame. It could easily be describing the first panel, but the fact that its actually touching the second box tells us that it belongs with it. Woman is shown as before and after pregnancy. Figures and objects break through the edges of the panel. This can be a very dynamic device in the hands of a skilled creator, here it’s just weird.
  • Masterful drafting skills. Evocative panels. Emotive speech balloons. Great pacing. Sense of personality, even from just the eyes.
  • I include this because no one teaches us how to read pictures, we just pick it up. Picture books are one place where we pick up the rules of reading pictures.
  • Beloved and historically significant picture book. 1928.
  • Principles of sequential storytelling are at work. Similar, adjacent pictures to describe progress through time
  • Comix represents a distinct language. It has its own set of rules which must be understood in order to read the text. Like other languages, comix also has regional dialects which are the essence of this presentation. Like the spoken word, we can understand graphic language without understanding, or at least without being conscious of, its structure. This is isn’t a semiotics class!
  • Manhwa – term within Korean, term for South Korean comics outside Korea China – mostly Taiwan and Hong Kong (more liberal)
  • Manga has a long history but took the form we know around WWII. Osamu Tezuka began around this time. Astro Boy was in the early 50’s.
  • Bambi was 1942. CULTURAL EXCHANGE The style and tradition are obvious. Connections with the west triggered this style of drawing and its conventions. This is an early example of cross-pollination in the comics field but it’s a trend that has never stopped.
  • In the 60’s and 70’s. Manga was serlialzed as today, and less serious. Gekiga was book format and often serious. This led to concerns about children being exposed to sex and violence in much the same way that there was the comic book scare in North America in the 40’s and 50’s. While Gekiga as a distinct format died out, the phrase remains to describe more serious less cartoony comics.
  • Also an example of Gekiga, or non-cartoony stle from the 1970’s Als an example of Decompression, where the story is spread out. Strong emphasis on visuals and character interaction. Check back when we get to Frank Miller! CULTURAL EXCHANGE 28 volumes? And the inspiration goes beyond comics. Quentin Tarantino gave it a nod in Kill Bill 2 when The Bride’s daughter chooses a film adaptation called Samurai Assassin as the movie she wants to watch.
  • Josei (or redikomi ) women Kodomo children Seinen men Shōjo young and teenage girls Shōnen young and teenage boys [ edit ] Genres Alternative (See also: Garo ) Gekiga (dramatic pictures) La nouvelle manga (Franco-Belgian/Japanese artistic movement) Semi-alternative (popular publication individualistic style) Battling companion (not an official name) Dōjinshi Fan-art or self-published manga Magical girl ( mahō shōjo ) Robot / Mecha (giant robots) Moé (also mahō kanojo or magical girlfriend) Shōjo-ai or Yuri, lesbian romance Shōnen-ai or Yaoi, gay romance Hentai , pornography KAWAII – “cuteness” - the cult of cuteness
  • Shonen-Ai – romantic love Bishonen – beautiful boy
  • Sexually explicit male homosexulaity For heterosexual women and homosexual men. YAOI = ( ya ma nashi, o chi nashi, i mi nashi ), "no climax , no punch line , no meaning," " Ya mete! O shiri ga i tai!" or "Stop! My butt hurts! Leads to Hentai – Tentacle Sex - specifics
  • Sweet smelling sexy super agent Fanservice Panty shot
  • Sweet smelling sexy super agent Fanservice Panty shot
  • Eye size
  • Laying on the ground = overcome with emotion Absence of a thought balloon = internal Ellipsis = silence / silent thought Emotive / Expressionistic background = conveying emotion
  • Gushing Tears – very upset Very abstracted thought balloon – convey the dark,tragic, and internal nature of the text Strange eyes = strange dog
  • Ellipsis = silence / silent thought Annotation = little help for the reader Blank face, squinting eyes = less innocent Heart = love
  • Little sparkles = throbbing veins = heightened emotion Hash marks on cheeks = blushing / flushed with anger Steam clouds = heightened emotion
  • Abstract background – pathetic fallacy Wisp of breath = various emotions Note that the little grrrs have been translated for the reader
  • Nose balloon = sleep Other translations “sniff” and “pfff”
  • Mushroom (sigh) = depression
  • Puffy wisp = heightened emotion Abstract background Decompression
  • Cat like features = cat-like qualities Sideways 3 Manga equivalent of growing devil horns Motion lines
  • Note we’re on Page 110
  • Closed eyes = cute, happy Hearts = love Bubble balloon = whisper / secret Ellipsis
  • Motion lines = suggest motion, lines vary with the nature of the motion. What about the japanese characters?
  • Japanese standards of nudity: For a junior high audience Female No detail Humourous Young
  • Chibi = big head, small body, stumpy arms Super deformed = chibi look for humourous effect Small pale nosebleed
  • More dramatic nosebleed
  • Very subtle explosive nosebleed
  • Clear Line style
  • Slapstick, puns, caricatures (esp. of Europeans)
  • Heavy metal magazine - Blueberry
  • Subtle! Lots of child nudity.
  • Erotica Heavy Metal magazine Acceptable male nudity.
  • .
  • Captain Canuck actually Canadian produced
  • Montreal – intersection of Europe and North America – produces some of the most literary and well received comics.
  • Decompression Very cinematic – comics were used as storyboard for film
  • The love affair with the adult-speaking child, and the stuffed animal
  • The anthorpomorphic animal
  • Gregory Peck
  • Comix represents a distinct language. It has its own set of rules which must be understood in order to read the text. Like other languages, comix also has regional dialects which are the essence of this presentation. Like the spoken word, we can understand graphic language without understanding, or at least without being conscious of, its structure. This is isn’t a semiotics class!
  • Public Library Collection Development Issues for Comix and Graphic Novels

    1. 1. Feb 2 - 2007 Presented by Douglas Davey Collection Development for Comix* and Graphic Novels
    2. 2. *Comix Formats <ul><li>Graphic Novels (GNs): book length comics </li></ul><ul><li>Comic Magazines : individual issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fragile but cost effective </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Comic strip collections: (e.g. Garfield) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not GNs but have crossover appeal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Comic-Illustrated Novels: (e.g. Captain Underpants) </li></ul>
    3. 3. Overview <ul><li>The Tests Or Hammering a Point </li></ul><ul><li>Graphic Language </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Traditions </li></ul><ul><li>Collection Development </li></ul>
    4. 4. Part One – The Tests! 1
    5. 5. The Sitcom Test ?
    6. 6. Sitcoms 1 of 10 Lucille Ball as Lucy on I Love Lucy 1951
    7. 7. Sitcoms 2 of 10 Scott Baio as Charles on Charles in Charge 1984
    8. 8. Sitcoms 3 of 10 Dixie Carter as Julia on Designing Women 1986
    9. 9. Sitcoms 4 of 10 Sally Field as Gidget on Gidget 1965
    10. 10. Sitcoms 5 of 10 Ernest Borgnine as Quinton McHale on McHale’s Navy 1962
    11. 11. Sitcoms 6 of 10 Thomas Haden Church as Lowell on Wings 1990
    12. 12. Sitcoms 7 of 10 Tyler James Williams as Chris in Everybody Hates Chris 2005
    13. 13. Sitcoms 8 of 10 Louise Lasser as Mary Hartman on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman 1976
    14. 14. Sitcoms 9 of 10 Fran Drescher as Fran Fine on The Nanny 1993
    15. 15. Sitcoms 10 of 10 Freddie Prinze as Chico on Chico and the Man 1974
    16. 16. The Novel Test ?
    17. 17. Novels 1 of 10 Jane Austen, Emma Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.
    18. 18. Novels 2 of 10 Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
    19. 19. Novels 3 of 10 Cervantes, Don Quixote In a village of La Mancha the name of which I have no desire to recall, there lived not so long ago one of those gentlemen who always have a lance in the rack, an ancient buckler, a skinny nag, and a greyhound for the chase.
    20. 20. Novels 4 of 10 Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
    21. 21. Novels 5 of 10 George Orwell, 1984 It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
    22. 22. Novels 6 of 10 Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York.
    23. 23. Novels 7 of 10 Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code Renowned curator Jacques Sauniere staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery.
    24. 24. Novels 8 of 10 William Gibson, Neuromancer The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.
    25. 25. Novels 9 of 10 Toni Morrison, Beloved 124 was spiteful.
    26. 26. Novels 10 of 10 Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove When Augustus came out on the porch the blue pigs were eating a rattlesnake – not a very big one.
    27. 27. The Comix Test ?
    28. 28. Comix 1 of 10 Superman from DC Comics
    29. 29. Comix 2 of 10 Flash Gordon (various)
    30. 30. Comix 3 of 10 Enid & Rebecca from Ghost World
    31. 31. Comix 4 of 10 Nancy (various)
    32. 32. Comix 5 of 10 Katy Keene from Archie Comics
    33. 33. Comix 6 of 10 The Thing from Marvel Comics
    34. 34. Comix 7 of 10 Hawk Girl from DC Comics
    35. 35. Comix 8 of 10 Naruto from Naruto
    36. 36. Comix 9 of 10 Obelix from Asterix
    37. 37. Comix 10 of 10 Chi from Chobits
    38. 38. The Point <ul><li>Comix are a format, not a genre </li></ul><ul><li>Tastes vary within formats </li></ul>Varies Comix Print (Comix) Comix Varies Prose Print (Book) Novel Varies Sitcom Television Sitcom Genre (Content) Format (Packaging) Medium (Means of Delivery)
    39. 39. Part Two – Graphic Language 2
    40. 40. Graphic Conventions
    41. 41. A Cat & Mouse Game
    42. 42. Graphic Conventions Speech balloon
    43. 43. Graphic Conventions Zigzag balloon
    44. 44. Graphic Conventions Motion Lines
    45. 45. Graphic Conventions Stars
    46. 46. Graphic Conventions Dark balloon
    47. 47. Graphic Conventions Peanuts - 1953
    48. 48. “ Foreign” Languages Love Hina - Japan
    49. 49. “ Foreign” Languages Love Hina - Japan 1 4 5 3 2 7 6
    50. 50. Graphic Skills
    51. 51. Graphic Skills Unsuccessful: Diaper Service Flyer
    52. 52. Graphic Skills Unsuccessful: George Washington
    53. 53. Graphic Skills Successful: Bone
    54. 54. Picture Books
    55. 55. “ Picture Book” <ul><li>A book consisting mainly or entirely of pictures, esp. one for children who have not yet learned to read. </li></ul><ul><li>From The Random House Dictionary of the English Language </li></ul>
    56. 56. Picture Books Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag
    57. 57. Picture Books Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag
    58. 58. Picture Books Snowman By Briggs
    59. 59. Picture Books Snowman By Briggs
    60. 60. Picture Books The Comic Adventures of Boots by Satoshi Kitamura
    61. 61. Picture Books The Comic Adventures of Boots by Satoshi Kitamura
    62. 62. Part Three - Cultural Traditions 3
    63. 63. Asia <ul><li>Eastern Asia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Japan (manga) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Korea - esp. South Korea (manhwa) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>China (manhua) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Differing social mores </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nudity (male vs. female / child vs. adult / humorous vs. explicit) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Depictions of homosexuality </li></ul></ul>
    64. 64. Japan Astro Boy
    65. 65. Japan Bambi
    66. 66. Japan Manga / Gekiga (Akira)
    67. 67. Japan “ Lone Wolf and Cub” – Seinen (for men)
    68. 68. Japan Moé style
    69. 69. Japan “ Honey and Clover” Josei (for women)
    70. 70. Japan “ Eerie Queerie” - Shonen-Ai - Boys Love (BL)- Bishonen
    71. 71. Japan “ Fake” – Yaoi
    72. 72. Japan Najica
    73. 73. Japan Najica
    74. 74. Japan Najica
    75. 75. Japan Duck Prince
    76. 76. Japan Duck Prince
    77. 77. Japan Duck Prince
    78. 78. Japan Duck Prince
    79. 79. Japan Duck Prince
    80. 80. Japan Duck Prince
    81. 81. Japan Duck Prince
    82. 82. Japan Peach Girl
    83. 83. Japan Peach Girl
    84. 84. Japan Peach Girl
    85. 85. Japan Peach Girl
    86. 86. Japan Fruits basket
    87. 87. Japan Fruits basket
    88. 88. Japan Fruits basket
    89. 89. Japan Fruits basket
    90. 90. Japan Ranma ½ by Rumiko Takahashi
    91. 91. Japan Nosebleed – Dragonball Z by Akira Toriyama
    92. 92. Japan Nosebleed – Dragonball Z by Akira Toriyama
    93. 93. Japan Nosebleed – Dragonball Z by Akira Toriyama
    94. 94. Europe <ul><li>England’s market similar to North America </li></ul><ul><li>Continental Europe </li></ul><ul><ul><li>France / Belgium </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Italy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A comic culture </li></ul>
    95. 95. Europe Tintin by Herge (George Remi)- Belgium
    96. 96. Europe Asterix by Goscinny and Uderzo – French (sort of)
    97. 97. Europe Moebius / Jean Giraud - France
    98. 98. Europe Le Petit Spirou by Tome & Janry - France
    99. 99. Europe Le Petit Spirou
    100. 100. Europe Milo (Maurilio) Manara - Italy
    101. 101. What about Canada?
    102. 102. Canada Superheroes
    103. 103. Canada Drawn and Quarterly Press - Montreal
    104. 104. Cultural Exchange
    105. 105. Cultural Exchange Teen Titans
    106. 106. Cultural Exchange Teen Titans Go!
    107. 107. Cultural Exchange Sabrina the Teenage Witch
    108. 108. Cultural Exchange Sabrina the Teenage Witch
    109. 109. Cultural Exchange Sabrina the Teenage Witch
    110. 110. Cultural Exchange Kingdom Hearts
    111. 111. Cultural Exchange Lone Wolf and Cub / Sin City
    112. 112. Cultural Exchange Pavitr Prabhakar: Spider-Man from India
    113. 113. Western Pomo
    114. 114. Ice Haven Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes
    115. 115. “ Charles” Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes
    116. 116. “ Blue Bunny” Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes
    117. 117. “ Harry Naybors” Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes
    118. 118. Kingdom Come “ Planet Krypton”
    119. 119. Snake and Bacon Glamour!
    120. 120. Snake and Bacon War!
    121. 121. Snake and Bacon History!
    122. 122. Snake and Bacon Fantasy!
    123. 123. Snake and Bacon Canadiana!
    124. 124. Snake and Bacon Police drama!
    125. 125. Snake and Bacon Western!
    126. 126. Snake and Bacon Erotica!
    127. 127. Part Four – Collection Development 4
    128. 128. The Challenge <ul><li>Collecting Traditional Items vs. Comics </li></ul><ul><li>Still looking for high quality materials that will enlighten and entertain our patrons </li></ul><ul><li>But… most library staff have very little personal history with or interest in comics </li></ul>SOLUTION = EDUCATION
    129. 129. Suppliers <ul><li>COMIC BOOK STORES </li></ul><ul><li>Combine knowledge and supply </li></ul><ul><li>Can be intimidating </li></ul><ul><li>The Beguiling (Toronto) </li></ul><ul><li>The Dragon (Guelph) </li></ul>
    130. 130. Suppliers <ul><li>DISTRIBUTORS </li></ul><ul><li>Usually have a large stock </li></ul><ul><li>Can lack the personal touch </li></ul><ul><li>Some specialists: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>BWI </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diamond </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tinlids </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Devil’s Due </li></ul></ul>
    131. 131. Suppliers <ul><li>Automatic Release Plans (ARPs) </li></ul><ul><li>Saves time and energy </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks the level of detail you might apply </li></ul>
    132. 132. Online <ul><li> > Sidekicks </li></ul><ul><li>One of the oldest and best graphic novel sites </li></ul><ul><li>Core lists (Top Ten, Ages, Genres) </li></ul><ul><li>FAQs / Definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Note for librarians </li></ul><ul><li>Links </li></ul>
    133. 133. Online <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Graphic Novels in Libraries Listserv </li></ul><ul><li>Just passed the ten year mark </li></ul><ul><li>Great for newbies and experts </li></ul><ul><li>Got a question? Just post it and watch the feathers fly. </li></ul>
    134. 134. Books <ul><li>Developing and Promoting Graphic Novels by Steve Miller </li></ul><ul><li>Graphic Novels Beyond the Basics: Insights and Issues for Libraries by Martha Cornog and Timothy Perper </li></ul>
    135. 135. Journals <ul><li>School Library Journal </li></ul><ul><li>Voice of Youth Advocates </li></ul><ul><li>Library Journal </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher Librarian </li></ul>
    136. 136. Publisher’s Catalogues <ul><li>DC </li></ul><ul><li>Marvel </li></ul><ul><li>Tokypop </li></ul><ul><li>Dark Horse </li></ul>
    137. 137. Age Appropriateness <ul><li>Less of a problem than it used to be </li></ul><ul><li>The Comics Code Authority </li></ul><ul><li>Publisher’s ratings (more below) </li></ul><ul><li>NO INDUSTRY STANDARD </li></ul>
    138. 138. Bindings <ul><li>Bindings can be a problem, even on higher end materials </li></ul><ul><li>Consider item’s length of service </li></ul><ul><li>Can ask for replacement </li></ul><ul><li>Binding is an option </li></ul><ul><li>Track the best / worst bindings </li></ul>
    139. 139. Comic Magazines <ul><li>Can be a great addition to the library </li></ul><ul><li>Cheap, popular, and they weed themselves! </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared for a high loss rate </li></ul><ul><li>Consider your patrons! Catalogue your comics! </li></ul>
    140. 140. Names to Know Jr. <ul><li>Osamu Tezuka </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Father of Manga” </li></ul><ul><li>Astro Boy </li></ul><ul><li>Buddha </li></ul><ul><li>Princess Knight </li></ul>
    141. 141. Names to Know Jr. <ul><li>CLAMP </li></ul><ul><li>Cardcaptor Sakura </li></ul><ul><li>Chobits </li></ul><ul><li>Clamp School Detectives </li></ul>
    142. 142. Names to Know Jr. <ul><li>Viz </li></ul><ul><li>Hikaru No Go </li></ul><ul><li>InuYasha </li></ul><ul><li>Naruto </li></ul>
    143. 143. Names to Know Jr. <ul><li>Tokyopop </li></ul><ul><li>Tokyo Mew Mew </li></ul><ul><li>Warriors (Erin Hunter series) </li></ul><ul><li>Fruits Basket </li></ul>
    144. 144. Names to Know Jr. <ul><li>Marvel > Marvel Age (all ages) </li></ul><ul><li>Spider-Man </li></ul><ul><li>X-Men </li></ul><ul><li>The Avengers </li></ul><ul><li>The Hulk </li></ul><ul><li>Runaways “AGES 12 AND UP” </li></ul>
    145. 145. Names to Know Jr. <ul><li>DC </li></ul><ul><li>Justice League </li></ul><ul><li>Batman </li></ul><ul><li>Superman </li></ul><ul><li>Shazam (Jeff Smith) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Suitable For All Ages” </li></ul>
    146. 146. Names to Know Jr. <ul><li>Graphix > Scholastic </li></ul><ul><li>Bone </li></ul><ul><li>Queen Bee </li></ul><ul><li>Goosebumps </li></ul><ul><li>Amulet </li></ul><ul><li>Magic Pickle </li></ul><ul><li>Baby-Sitter’s Club </li></ul>
    147. 147. Names to Know Jr. <ul><li>Papercutz </li></ul><ul><li>Hardy Boys </li></ul><ul><li>Nancy Drew </li></ul><ul><li>Classics Illustrated </li></ul>
    148. 148. Questions? ?