YA Clicks June 2015
Anime, Graphic Novels, and Manga, Oh My!
Rebecca Purdy and the Web Surfers from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library
It seems we can’t get enough of superheroes these days. What started with comics has turned into blockbuster movies and now hit TV shows that result in spin off after spin off. The longevity of some of these comic book characters is truly remarkable. The Green Arrow, subject of the CW’s hit television show Arrow, first appeared in 1941, and has now spun off two new television shows, one of which will start the fall of 2015. Not to be left out, anime based on manga continues to be tremendously popular as does originally scripted anime.
Thankfully, the mindset that reading comics, graphic novels or manga isn’t “real reading,” while still existing, is diminishing. Wider availability has led to more teachers and librarians witnessing the reluctant reader who suddenly becomes an active one when presented with a graphic option.
Not only do libraries provide books and videos to feed this excitement, we are enhancing the fun through programming. Simply searching “anime club public library” illustrates the sheer number of ideas to replicate. In our library system, we’ve incorporated anime viewing and manga discussion into our gaming programs and recently hosted our first ever CRRL Con that brought 1,400 fans and vendors together.
No matter your programming budget challenges or collection gaps, your website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts offer opportunities to connect young people with their interests. The Web Surfers and I share sites for reading, watching, or just graphically geeking out.
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Beginning as a “community wide two year project designed to introduce teens, parents, librarians, and teachers to the exciting and extremely popular literary format of graphic novels,” Get Graphic continues to serve as a wonderful review resource. Novices can enjoy and learn from the brief introduction “What Is a Graphic Novel?” and menu options specific to Teachers and Librarians provide data for those target audiences, although there is some overlap. Key details include the benefits of reading graphic novels, for example, their ability to “present complex information in readable text” and to “engage reluctant readers and ESL patrons.” There are links to additional resources, including original content; such as “How to Read Manga” on the Teachers page. The blog promotes some events in the Buffalo, New York area, but it mostly contains detailed manga, comic, and graphic novel book reviews. While teens might enjoy some of the latter, this website has the broadest appeal for teachers and librarians.
No Flying, No Tights
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M J S A/YA
Avid fans of graphic novels as well as teachers and librarians should definitely check this site regularly. They make every effort to add a new review every day, but that rapid pace doesn’t detract from their quality. Reviews are detailed and insightful, offering not only a synopsis, but also a critique of the books’ merit. They frequently conclude by addressing the adult reader, making suggestions on audience and sale-ability in a library or classroom setting. Reviews can be limited by age level so interested teens can eliminate those recommended for kids, and even limit by their favorite genre. The same option is available for Manga and Anime. The site provides Comics 101, and a list of helpful Resources that includes examples of ALA’s support, comic book conventions and library run or librarian-adjacent blogs. Additional content includes interviews, booklists, graphic news and more.
Through YA Eyes
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Crunchyroll is well-known in the otaku community for providing anime to viewers while crediting and paying the owners. For a non-member, the viewing of anime is bombarded with annoying advertisements. There are commercial breaks throughout episodes, but these breaks often consist of the same ad or repeats of ones you saw during the last break. The site is clearly oriented towards teens and young adults as it features shows rated TV-14 and mature. While Crunchyroll has high quality videos for anime and appears to have official translations for manga, it does have its downsides. For one thing, it works best for members, which charges to read their surprisingly lackluster collection of manga. Furthermore, the website is a bit confusing to navigate in certain areas, but this may be due to blockages based on membership requirements. Despite displaying an array of information for at least some manga and a limited amount on anime, ratings are not clearly visible, if they are there at all. If you know what you are looking for and have the patience to watch the same ads over and over again, Crunchyroll may be the place for you. Don’t assume, however, that they will always have the series you have in mind.—Regan Flieg
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When you were a child, you probably pretended that you were a superhero at some point. Maybe you were Batman fighting a constant battle with the Joker, or maybe you were Catwoman crossing the line between good and evil. The DC Comics website offers information, comics, movies, and more about all of your favorite DC heroes and villains. You can brush up on your knowledge of each character by using the character tab, filtering them by type (individual or team) and by alignment (Heroes, Villain, or It’s Complicated). The character profiles offer back stories and summary of powers, which can lead to hours of entertainment. DC Comics is organized and easy to use and contains many colorful pictures of all your favorites. The navigation bar is conveniently located on the top of the page, so users can easily find what they are looking for. The search bar allows for users to type a character and find all kinds of content about that character, from a biography to comic books and graphic novels. DC Comics provides a wonderful resource to anyone interested in DC characters. Even someone like me, who doesn’t even like superheroes or comic books that much, could spend a long time exploring the site and learning about DC Comics’ good guys, bad guys, and in-between guys.—Leslie Weber
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This website offers information on Marvel’s comics, movies, videos, games, television, characters, merchandise, and more. It tells you about the latest Marvel comics and when they will be released and includes clips, trailers, and behind the scenes for Marvel’s TV shows and movies. It is hugely entertaining, especially if you are interested in comics, animations, and superheroes. They have all kinds of information and I would highly recommend this site to any people who love comics!—Hafsah Hussain
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This website offers information on all types of comics in many forms and genres, such as, horror, romance, biography, science fiction, western, educational, crime, and lots more. It includes many great stories, insights, and breaking news in the comic book world. They also have a podcast you can listen to and hear what they know about the comics. I really recommend this website to any comic lovers or people who would like to look into comics. You will be on it for hours!—Hafsah Hussain
Kudos for Library Teen Sites
Des Moines, Iowa
Visually impactful, the Des Moines site is easy to navigate and thus to use. A paint spattered image reminiscent of Jackson Pollack serves as the background for an immediately accessible catalog search. Scroll down and it’s repeated in different colors, tying elements of the site together. “Need a Good Book?” provides a selection of themed booklists presented via a scrolling carousel of book covers that link directly to the catalog. A more extensive, modern day pathfinder, “Superhero Origins” is linked from the “Research” part of the website. Not only does it include book recommendations, but hyperlinks to comic resources and “Area Clubs and Shops!” as well as hints for searching comic books and graphics novel in the library catalog. That last is such a simple idea, yet so helpful. A similar article is offered on the homepage entitled “College Bound.” Upcoming programs for teens are listed with date, time, and location clearly marked and hyperlinked to provide more information. Des Moines Public Library has created a terrific resource for teens.
Rebecca Purdy is the youth services coordinator for the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Web Surfers are a collection of teens willing to volunteer some of their time to see their names in print and help young adult librarians find good sites for their library blogs and Web pages.