2014: An Exciting Year of Graphic Novels & Comics

Last year I started following two great series — one is a prequel of a highly acclaimed series started back in the late ’80s and the other started a whole new fandom by the writer of Y: The Last Man.

Sandman Overture

Sandman Overture Covers created by J.H. Williams, III and Dave McKean
Overture covers created by either J.H. Williams III or Dave McKean. I always have a difficult time deciding which cover to take home.

If you’re a fan of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series you need to go get Sandman Overture now at your local comic book shop. It provides Morpheus’s origin story with gorgeous art illustrated by J.H. Williams III that I drool over every time. The latest issue #4 was released last month on Dec 17 (not pictured). The release dates haven’t been consistent but I don’t mind. I savor the story I have so far and wait patiently for the next installment. There’s only two more issues left …

Saga volume 1 deluxe edition
Inside peek into the first deluxe edition released Nov 25, 2014.

The first issue of Saga was released back in March of 2012. I fell into the series late and only became aware of it last year. I can’t believe it took me that long because Brian K. Vaughan‘s creation has everything I appreciate in great storytelling. A story combining sci-fi and fantasy? Yes, please! Characters who are physically portrayed as ethnically diverse? Hell, yes! A rocket that’s also a tree?!?! I’m a fan for life!

And the artist for the series is wonderful! I love Fioana Staple‘s line work and vision. She portrays scenes so beautifully and with such warmth. I was lucky enough to see her and Vaughan in Saga’s panel at last year’s SD Comic-Con. One could see that Vaughan and Staples have a great partnership and play off of each other’s strengths to evolve the story to something even bigger, better, and more beautiful.


A page spread inside Here by Richard McGuire.
A page spread inside Here by Richard McGuire.

As a bonus to end the year was the publication of Richard McGuire’s Here. It is the book equivalent of your own visual time machine. (Possibly better than a “blue box”? Ok, that may be going a bit too far.)

I was unsure at first whether I should buy a copy. People from different eras were depicted in an indoor or outdoor setting. What was happening? At first glance I felt confused and wondered what was I looking at? But as I perused a copy in a bookstore I started falling in love with the concept and the art. I found there are threads of continuity running through the book as a whole once you really take a few moments to look through it. Very much worth your time and money!

2014: An Exciting Year of Graphic Novels & Comics

Favorite author and library advocate: Mr. Neil Gaiman

I have been a huge fan of the writer, Neil Gaiman, ever since I read Neverwhere back in the mid- to late-90s while I was in high school. In recent years, there seems to be more attention and discussion about why libraries are still a necessary part of a community and Mr. Gaiman has been a great vocal advocate for libraries, which makes me love him even more.

I had to buy this magazine a few months ago because Neil Gaiman was on the cover.

Thanks to Twitter I came across a wonderful article in the guardian featuring an edited version of Neil Gaiman’s lecture for the Reading Agency, delivered on Monday, October 14 at the Barbican in London. Some of my favorite excerpts:

“I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?

It’s simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.”

I devoured science fiction and fantasy novels as a child such as those written by Piers Anthony, David Eddings, and Anne McCaffrey. (If you’re interested in specific series or title recommendations let me know.) If it wasn’t for my local library (and my parents’ willingness to drive me almost on a weekly basis) I would not have had the pleasure of reading these authors’ works.
Mr. Gaiman goes on to eloquently state that

“… libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.”

As a child, libraries were my haven to access books that transported me to far-off places and activated my imagination. I still visit my local library almost on a weekly basis to read the newest novel, borrow books about artists, or learn about what’s involved in starting up your own craft business. If not for libraries I would not be the person I am today and I continue to grow as a person thanks to my local library.

Favorite author and library advocate: Mr. Neil Gaiman