To my surprise, the Public Library is loaded with a real abundance of captivating graphic novels. The sign that sits atop the shelf announces, “They’re not just for kids,” although there is an additional section located in the “Teen Zone” area of the library.
“Teen graphic novels are wildly popular,” said Candace Bowers, a Mountain View librarian. “I think adults just haven’t discovered them yet.”
With the average price of a new book being about the equivalent of two gallons of gas, I figured embracing the age old tradition of checking out a few titles free-of-charge would be a cost effective way to get my fix.
As I approached the graphic novel section of the library, fashionably located against the wall in the back of the second floor, I immediately spotted copies of Black Hole and The Watchmen bound and wrapped in plastic protective sleeves in proper library form.
Seeing those classic titles being offered to the general public was truly a beautiful thing, and the overall selection of books was also a refreshing surprise, as the collection featured graphic novels that are rich in depth, culture and overall content.
“As with most books in our collection, we go by popularity, a proven author, good reviews, suitability for a public library, which are books that are appealing to a wide range of people,” said Bowers.
The Big Kahn by Neil Kleid and Nicolas Cinquegrani tells the unlikely tale of a recently deceased rabbi whose family quickly learns that the man they loved and preyed with really wasn’t the man they thought he was. The revelation came as the real brother of the so-called-Rabbi showed up to pay a surprise visit to his brother’s (devout, yet semi-disfunctional) family right before the mourning period called Shiva.
Oh satire, how I love thee: treachery, guns, booze and cigarettes all grace the pages of the book It Rhymes With Lust by Drake by Arnold Drake, illustrated by Matt Baker and Ray Orsin. Bullets and embrace, plaid suit wearing villains and a sexy protagonist. Yep, this book has them all.
Bigfoot; I Not Dead by Graham Roumieu might very well be not only one of the funniest graphic novels I’ve ever read, but also one of the funniest books in general. As the elusive forest creature struggles to find serenity in his beleaguered life after a hotplate related fire at his compound, he disappears saying “Like OJ, just want to run down highway for a little while and clear name later,” until he has the revelation that, “Me look totally awesome on camera.”
Of course, the selection of graphic novels doesn’t exclude the more bizarre and violent titles that are synonymous with the genre, which are also welcome on the shelves of the library.
Preacher, written by Garth Ennis, is one such title. The man that’s responsible for bludgeoning his readers with twisted brilliance is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. A forbidden affair between an angel and a demon spawns a mightier-than-God banshee who possesses the body of preacher Jesse Custer. Custer then sets out to hunt down God who subsequently ran away from heaven. Accompanied by his girlfriend Tulip and Irish vampire buddy named Cassidy, the trio embarks on a truly grotesque journey to bring down the almighty.
“If people think that graphic novels are just comic books, that they take a real book and just dumb it down, that’s not the case at all,” said Bowers. "Graphic novels stand on their own merit.”