Tag Archive: graphic novel


I really don’t think that there are many movies made from books that can hold a candle to the book that inspired them. Most of the time when I have read a book and enjoyed it I am very reluctant to see the movie version. There are many movies from books that I remember being TERRIBLY disappointing on so many levels, but usually I just don’t understand why they have to change something from the book to put it in the movie. It’s like they think that the movie-going public doesn’t read or is really stupid or something. But the bigwigs in Hollywood should know better by know, shouldn’t they? I mean, hello??, Harry Potter??? Like everyone who saw those movies hadn’t read the books? In this day of Avatar-esque technology is there anything that is written in a book that can’t be put in a movie? I mean, come on!

Because of past disappointments like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, My Sister’s Keeper, The Devil Wears Prada, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Jane Austen Book Club, Memoirs of a Geisha, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, P.S. I Love You,… really the list just goes on and on…. I generally try to stay away from movie versions of books I have loved. I will, however, gladly go and see movies that have been made from books that I have not yet read, or do not plan on reading. The Help would be an excellent recent example. Despite our library having 3 copies of this book, there has been a list of holds on it as long as my arm since about May this year. I suppose I could have put my name on the list and waited my turn… but I wanted to see the movie! So I did. And it was awesome. 🙂 And now, when I finally get to read the book, I can be pleasantly surprised and happy about how much better it is than the movie. 😉

So why, you ask, am I ranting about movies today? Well because the books I am going to be featuring in this post have already been made into a movie. One that I, thankfully, saw before I ever read the books. So now I can like them both for their own special reasons. 🙂 I think that I’m going to make this my goal from now on: Never watch movies of books you have read if you can possibly avoid it because you know it will make you angry. 🙂 Probably a good rule of thumb right? 😉

Here they are, the books I’ve chosen for this week. Maybe you should go and find the movie first though … just saying. 😉

Book covers for all 6 Scott Pilgrim books

The Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Summary:

Scott Pilgrim is 23. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is in a band. And he is dating a highschooler. Needless to say, drama will ensue. However, it won’t come from his high school aged girlfriend but rather from the girl he falls for next. Ramona Flowers. The girl with 7 evil exes who must be defeated to win her love. Good luck, Scott.

Review:

So first let me say, I did not discover this book on my own. There was a class at library school that was totally about graphic novels. I didn’t take it, but not because I was not interested. More because it was on a Friday at 9am in the summer semester. And I’m sorry because maybe this makes me a bad person, but I was not about to take a class on a Friday in the summer. It was hard enough going to school in the summer as it was. (Sunshine seems to be detrimental to my ability to learn.) However, this class took a field trip to see the movie based on these graphic novels and opened it up to those of us not cool enough to have taken the class. Which was pretty decent of them if you ask me. 😉 Now this was great, I like any reason to go and see movies, but what made it even better was the personal connection those of us on that trip had to this series/movie. You see, the character in the books and the movie named ‘Other Scott’ is based on a man who went to library school with us last year. Not shockingly, his name is also Scott. So it was very cool to see our Scott immortalized in film. 🙂

Since this movie came out I have been wanting to get my hands on these books. And let me just say that they did not disappoint. The movie was, in my opinion amazing… which is why I have forced friends to watch it with me on several occasions and I know that at least one of them has gone on to do the same to her other friends :D… and like I said above, when a movie is based on a book and is actually not bad, you know the book is going to blow your mind.

Bryan Lee O’Malley is a great writer. He also happens to be a great graphic novelist. His characters are so well fleshed out that you really feel that you are experiencing things alongside them, rather than just sitting back and watching a show. Also, he has managed to capture portraits of people that you already know. Everyone knows a guy like Scott who tries too hard and just really couldn’t get his life together if he tried. They know the girls that he used to date, like Kim, who are bitter but still hang out with him… which creates a crazy dynamic. And we all know people like Stacey (Scott’s sister) and Wallace (Scott’s roommate) who love Scott, but are not at all blind to his failings and don’t hesitate to call him on his stuff. Especially when it allows them to lord over him. As it invariably does, because, let’s face it, Scott kinda fails at life a lot of the time. 🙂

This is also an epic underdog story. Scott is not super talented, not super handsome, not super smart, and definitely not super smooth with the ladies. And this is why you root for him. You want him to succeed because you know what at least some of that feels like.

Finally, these books are super fast reads. There’s love and action (Hello, Scott does have to defeat Ramona’s 7 evil exes… did you figure he did that in a dance sequence?? Hells to the No! There are Chuck Norris style kick butt fight scenes :D) and drama… not to mention awesome pop-culture shout-outs and Bryan Lee O’Malley’s fabulous artwork. Plus the series is done. While I did read an interview with Byran that said that he might consider more Scott Pilgrim in the future, for the present time, he’s not going to be doing any additions to the series. So this means that you can grab all 6 books and get the full Pilgrim saga, no waiting. Instant gratification… ain’t it lovely? 😉 Now, I ask you, what are you waiting for? Go, get them!! 😀

Rating: 5 of 5 star rating

This book is Canadian and it doesn’t suck. (Yes W.O. Mitchell… I’m pointing at you. Again.) Please don’t think that I’m saying every Canadian book sucks. This is not true. But this book is Canadian. And it doesn’t suck. 😉 Also, Michael Cera’s in the movie.

See… there’s just so much to give 5 stars!! And there’s so much more awesomeness in the book!! I didn’t think it was possible, but it REALLY WAS! Ok… I might need to lie down. I’m a little overwrought. 😉 Just go read the books and you’ll know what I mean. Do it for me, ok? 😉

How to get these books:

  1. graphic novels

*Librarian note* Just a tip: Graphic novels live in a slightly different spot than other YA novels @ our library. We have chosen to shelve them as non-fiction, usually under the call number: 741. They are not, however, shelved with the other non-fiction titles. (Confused already?) Instead, they live on the top of the bookcase that houses video games, magazines and audiobooks/playaways. If you need help finding them, just head to the librarian at the desk upstairs. They’ll/I’ll be more than happy to show you exactly where they are. 🙂

A word picture, just for you!

So it’s confession time people. Brace yourselves. *cue dramatic music*

I have never read a graphic novel.

I know, I know! You’d think given how fabulously cool and up on trends in YA books I am (cough, cough…) that I would have been all over the graphic novel thing years and years ago.

Epic fail on my part.

Now I did grow up reading as many of these bad boys as I could get my hands on.

Cover art for an 'Archie' comic book Limited funds and smart parenting meant that I was pretty much restricted to what I could borrow from friends, but this allowed me to complete university without massive debt… so I suppose I should not be too bitter. Vintage 'Spiderman' comic book coverAnd there was some access to older copies of the classic comics, like Batman and Spiderman kicking around in my childhood too. So it’s not like I haven’t had access to the graphic format… honest!

But as for actually reading a graphic novel… nope. I remember, when a library that I worked in started adding them to the collection, being very confused as to why you started reading some of them from what we in the West consider to be the back of the book. This just really threw me for a loop. Apparently this is not hard to do. 🙂 This didn’t prompt me to read one though.

So I decided, in the interest of this blog and dragging myself into the 21 Century, to read a graphic novel. Not a whole lot of thought went into the selection… mostly because the 1st Scott Pilgrim was out and I didn’t recognize anything else on the shelf. (Clearly I did a lot of research before embarking on this journey. lol) But my fingers found me a wee gem, so I am happy to report my mission a success. 🙂

To further set the stage for this week’s book, I’m just going to share a classic video. I love fairy tales, but I also love when they get twisted up. The True Story of The Three Little Pigs or The Stinky Cheese Man (both found here) are excellent examples of what I’m talking about. 🙂

Like I said, here’s the wee video:

And now, our book!

Book cover of Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

Summary:

It starts with the story of Sleeping Beauty you guys, do you really need me to retell that old yarn for you??? And then it changes into another crazy fairy tale… but I don’t do spoilers (or I really really try not to… ) so you’re not getting a summary. Sorry ’bout your luck. 😀

Review:

I know nothing about graphic novels, like I’ve already said. So I am really not qualified to comment on anything. That said, I have an opinion about pretty much everything, and that is what I’m going to share. 😉

While in library school last year I rediscovered a love for picture books. I understand why we move away from reading picture books when we are children. They are seen to be for young children, and are often written without too much depth or with heavy-handed messages that are just too shallow or preachy for older children. Also, we see books with fewer pictures being read by our parents, older siblings or other more grown up people, and since we generally want to be like them, this is what we aspire to. But I think that we should all return to picture books before we become parents. Well before this in fact. Graphic novels are a wonderful gateway for this to start happening more and more because they can be produced for every age group, not just teens.

So like I said, Castle Waiting starts with the story of Sleeping Beauty. It’s a pretty well known fairy tale and this book sticks true to the story as I remember it until the very end. Then things take off at a bit of a right angle to the traditional ‘happy ending’ we all know as standard for Western fairy tales. (Often the original fairy tale is not so kind as the Disney-fied version we’re all so used to. Grab yourself a book of Brothers Grimm tales and you’ll see what I mean.) The focus leaves Sleeping Beauty, now awake and with her ‘one true love‘ the Prince, and stays on the castle where she had been asleep for 100 years.The castle becomes host to all sorts of odd creatures and gains a reputation as a place for those without homes to find peace along their journeys.

I really liked some of the story arcs that began in Castle Waiting. (My research has told me that there is a 2nd book, and I’m seeing if we can’t get it for our collection as it would be nice to know where this all ends up.) And I also really enjoyed the story being told in pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’ll ever move away from all-text books completely, but it really felt different reading a book that engaged more than just the part of my brain that makes sense of words. I felt like I was using more of my brain to read, if that makes any sense. Also, it seemed to me that I was able to read the book faster than I would normally. I would bet that this is because we can understand pictures faster than we can read and comprehend words, so being able to both see the story in pictures and only have to read the dialogue made things move along much faster than normal. (If you don’t love words, maybe graphic novels are the format for you?)

The only thing I didn’t really get into in Castle Waiting was the way some of the characters were depicted. And this is where the graphic format lost me a little. With text, I can imagine a character looks how I want them too look. Generally the author has given a descripton of them, but if I don’t agree totally with their verbal summation of the character’s looks I can change my mental picture. With grahpic novels, there is no changing what you’re seeing. Unless of course you try to read with your eyes closed (very difficult) or get out the sharpie (*Please note, this is totally not advisable with library books. We make you pay for them if you sharpie them up, drop them in the bath or otherwise deface them. Just fyi.*). And unfortunately for me and Castle Waiting’s relationship, I didn’t like how some of the characters were drawn. Just a little too far from reality for my tastes. Or maybe too far from Disney’s reality. Damn Disney. 😉 But like I said, this was the only issue that I had with the book. Otherwise I think it’s a pretty cool reimagining of what happens after a fairy tale ends and the princess and her ‘true love’ move on with their lives. 🙂 You might want to check this out!

Rating:3 of 5 star rating

I think this book is a totally solid way to enter into the world of graphic novels. If you’re like I was and are looking for a way in, what better way to get familliar with the format than by taking a well loved fairy tale for a spin? Just mind the bearded ladies ok? 🙂 (Yes, that’s an inside joke. Read the book if you want to get it!)

How to get this book:

  1. book

And in celebration of the graphic way of telling stories, I’d like to share with you some of my fondest graphic formatted things. 🙂

Calvin and Hobbes:

Calvin - young boy- making strange faces

And Zits:

Enjoy!!