Comic Books: not just Super Heroes in capes!

By Dennis Deacon (library assistant, Moredon and Rodbourne Cheney Library)

When people think of comic books, or graphic novels, often Super Heroes in bright clothes fighting outlandish villains come to mind. Superman, Spiderman and Batman have been popularised by recent cinema outings.  However the spectrum of tales covered is as broad as found in “regular” novels.  Here are just some examples of titles held in Swindon libraries, available to reserve online for free via our library catalogue:

mendel's daughter1.    A Treasury of Victorian Murder by Rick Geary
A tongue in cheek look at three cases with information taken from newspapers printed at the time.

2.    Mendel’s Daughter, A memoir by Martin Lemelman
Bringing to life the true story Lemelmans mother as a girl in 1930’s Poland and her eventual escape from Nazi persecution

3.    Gemma Bovery by Posy Simmonds
Bored of life in London, Gemma Bovery takes off for France.  This title captures the absurdities of daily life both at home and abroad.

murder at the vicarage4.    The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie and Norma
An illustrated interpretation of Miss Marples first case. Nothing ever happens in the peaceful village of St Mary Mead. So it seems almost incredible when Colonel Protheroe is discovered shot through the head in the vicarage study. Unfortunately for the murderer, there is someone in the village who knows everything, sees everything and hears everything – and she intends to work out who killed the Colonel. Her name is Miss Marple!….

5.    Goldfinger by Ian Flemming
Bond, James Bond…as he appeared in the pages of the Daily Express in the 1960s.

6.    Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
A 14 year old is forcibly recruited into MI6, in days transforming him from Schoolboy to Superspy.

pride of baghdad7.    Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughn (art by Niko Henrichon)
Spring 2003, an American bombing raid unintentionally frees a pride of lions who roam the streets of the decimated city lost and confused…but free.  Through the tale of the lions this story raises questions about the true meaning of liberation – can it be given, or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live in captivity?

8.    Ender’s Shadow Battle School by Orson Scott Card
In the future wars will be fought with forces led by children with brilliant minds.  If Bean is to become one of these elite warriors he must first survive life in Rotterdam as a homeless refugee and unwanted orphan.

9.    Daniel X Alien Hunter by James Patterson
As well as his successful thriller novels, Patterson also has a flair for sci-fi.  Daniel X works alone. Having watched from the shadows as the brutal murder of his own parents unfolded before him, he has been forced to make his own way in a dark and unforgiving world with a heavy task handed to him.

Y the last man10.    Fables, Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
Fabletown – where fairy tale legends live alongside regular New Yorkers.  Old King Cole is the Mayor, ably assisted by Snow White with the Big Bad Wolf as the towns Sheriff investigating the murder of Snow’s sister, Rose Red.

11.    Y The Last Man, Unmanned by Brian K Vaughan.
Summer 2002, a plague suddenly strikes destroying every living thing on the planet with a Y chromosome – apart from one young man, Yorick and his pet helper monkey Ampersand.  Why him?  Well that’s what Agent 355 hopes to find out.

preludes and nocturnes12.    The Sandman, Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman.
Roderick Burgess wants immortality by capturing the embodiment of Death herself, however his spell goes awry and he captures her little brother, Dream, who is far worse than his sister could ever be…  The first volume in Gaiman’s series that ran through the 1990s, this introduced the key characters combining myth, magic and black humour.

Okay, so I couldn’t ignore the Super Heroes entirely…

13.    Jenny Sparks, The Secret History of the Authority by Mark Millar
Jenny Sparks, the Spirit of the 19th Century.  Born January 1st 1900, destined to die December 31st 1999.  She saved the world.  A lot.

Superman True Brit14.    Superman, True Brit by Kim Johnson and John Cleese.
A different take on the story of Superman, where the young alien crash lands in Weston-Super-Mare rather than Kansas…