CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 5. . . .October 2, 2009.
Comic Books and Manga. (Crabtree Contact).
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3835-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3813-8 (RLB).
Comic books, strips, etc.-History and criticism-Juvenile literature.
Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.
Review by Tanya Boudreau.
In the 1960s, comic book fans were introduced to the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, Iron Man, and Spider-Man.
These famous characters were created by writer Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. Lee worked with artists such as Jack Kirby, Don Heck, and Steve Ditko.
Marvelís heroes did not just fight bad guys. They also had real-life problems, such as relationships and school.
Comic Books and Manga was written for reluctant readers in grades 6-9. It delves into the vast world of comics (American and British), graphic novels, and manga. Written at a grade 3-4 reading level, the information in this book is arranged into seven short chapters (2 to 6 pages in length) with a table of contents in the front, an index in the back, and a page of Need-to-Know words and websites.
Photographs and artwork appear on every page of this well-designed book. They show comics being read by people of all ages, and from all around the world. The 99 is being read by a young Indonesian boy. Tintin is shown being read by a Tibetan man, and a photograph on the first page shows a comic book artist from India working at his desk. In this book, readers will be introduced to some famous comic book and manga artists and see several old illustrations from as early as 1885. Readers can also compare early strips of The Dandy, The Yellow Kid, and The Beano to newer panels from Lone Wolf and Cub, artwork from the movie version of Persepolis, and a Peanuts strip in Spanish.
With its eye-catching pictures and illustrations and interesting facts and information, this book touches on several important areas in the field of comics and manga. This book definitely has the potential to turn some non-comic book readers into comic book readers!
My only suggestion for this book would be to include more photographs of females reading comics or working on comics. There is only one picture of a female reading in this book, and itís near the end in the chapter on manga. Comic books are popular with females as well as males, and this reality should be reflected in the photographs. If I were to add more information to this book, I would add a section on small press comics, books and series that are being turned into graphic novels (i.e. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys) and a listing of comic book awards and their winners.
Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.
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