Graphic novels and comic books seem to have a stigma attached to them; they are not seen as “real books” or considered “real reading.” And, in addition to this association, there appears to be an underlying feeling that women are unwelcome to read them as it seems to be a male dominated genre. This may simply seem like a singular opinion, yet statistics reflect this as reality. Growing up reading comic books, with thanks to my older brother, I have experienced this situation firsthand, even into adulthood. This knowledge and personal experience has lead me to create an inclusive, welcoming Comic Book Club to celebrate the many excellent comic and graphic novel titles out there.
Diversity and visibility are important elements of Comic Book Club, not only for titles that we will be reading, but to those attending as well. This book club will be open to not just adults, but to teens sixteen and older as well—because I remember those days of reading an amazing book or series and having NO ONE to discuss it with. So, if you dig the titles we are reading, I want you to know that you are more than welcome to attend!
Our first title that we will be kicking off with in January is Moonstruck by Grace Ellis (Lumberjanes) and illustrated by Shae Beagle. This is a brand new and ongoing series that debuted in 2017 and is a real page turner! Inside the world where Moonstruck takes place, creatures that one would typically find in fantasy fiction are living alongside humans in everyday life. It is here that we follow the everyday trials of a barista named Julie, who longs to live the most normal life possible. However, there is one exception. She is a werewolf, and for others—as well as Julie—this creates drama.
Julie, her girlfriend, and her steadfast centaur best friend find themselves in the midst of a magical conspiracy. During this pastel-hued supernatural jaunt, Moonstruck shines a light on some real world issues, such as bullying, emotional anxiety, and feeling different from those around you.
For the month of February, we will be reading March, written by Congressman John Lewis and co-author Andrew Aydin (Bitch Planet) with illustrations by Nate Powell (Sounds of Your Name). In this award winning non-fiction graphic novel, Lewis shares his first-hand experience and struggle for civil and human rights.
The first volume specifically focuses on Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama and his life changing encounter with Martin Luther King, Jr. and their subsequent collaboration. March was chosen not just for its focus on a powerful, historical event, but also to bring awareness to the nonfiction subgenre of graphic novels.
The month after, we'll focus on Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, “Earth’s mightiest hero”! Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Pretty Deadly) is an excellent primer for those looking to become acquainted with an ultimate heroine and her place within the Marvel universe—especially for those that are looking forward to the film release of Captain Marvel that debuts just days before the book club meeting! This synchronicity will give ample opportunity to discuss film vs. comic book adaptations, no doubt.
To get started reading these selections for Comic Book Club, check out Lawrence Public Library’s digital service, Hoopla Digital. A physical copy of each title will be available to read from our collection, yet this book club is 100% digital! Hoopla is excellent for reading graphic novels and comic books as it recreates a naturalistic reading experience, shifting from panel to panel on the page, precisely the way you would with the physical book. Plus, it is simple to use, great for reading on the go, and compatible with a myriad of digital devices.
If you find yourself intrigued by these titles, or by comics in general, consider joining Comic Book Club. We will be meeting on the second Saturday of every month at 1 p.m. in Meeting Room A at Lawrence Public Library. For questions or further information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or come hang out with us on January 12th. See you there!
-Ilka Iwaczuk is a Readers' Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.