Welcome to The Hub’s second installment of Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten 2012! In our first post, we covered politics, social change, and ghosts. Today, we’ll be taking a look at media and politics, a classic superhero, and kung-fu (how’s that for a combination?).
Most of you are probably familiar with Brooke Gladstone, journalist and host of NPR’s On the Media. In The Influencing Machine, Gladstone tackles no less than 2000 years of media and politicking, but this book really shines when it comes to discussing media in our current age. Who produces it? Who consumes it? Can you even believe what you read anymore? What is media now that anyone can be a reporter? This book is a bit heavy on dialogue but with a subject this complicated, not to mention important, there is much to say. This title works particularly well as a graphic novel because the illustrations are pretty lively and often quite funny. Combined with Gladstone’s insight and delivery, it keeps readers challenged and engaged.
If you are a graphic novel reader that shies away from the superhero stuff, you might take one look at Roger Langridge‘s Thor: the Mighty Avenger and roll your eyes, but looks can be deceiving and the latest interpretation offers a take that is as fresh as it as amusing. While the basic premise remains the same, this particular incarnation of Thor has the feel of an awkward teenager who is smart enough to know he has messed up but can’t figure out what he did to make everyone so mad. Volumes 1 and 2 are a stellar example of how equal attention paid to illustrations, storyline and characters result in a complete package that definitely rises above the crowd. I was very disappointed to learn this utterly charming series has been cancelled, but maybe its place on GGNFT 2012 Top Ten list will persuade the publishers to continue it.
It is a rare graphic novel that can take all the elements of a classic martial arts movie, throw in some blaxploitation and contemporary humor and have it all work, but Kagan McLeod has done exactly that with Infinite Kung Fu. This graphic novel is truly epic at nearly 500 pages, but not one of them is extraneous. Meticulous in its layout, McLeod uses traditional paneling but incorporates calligraphy style brushwork to bring visual depth. I was particularly impressed with his ability to translate such dynamic movement to the page; the kung-fun really works here! The artwork is really quite stunning and serves the story beautifully but McLeod shines equally as a storyteller with a classic tale of good versus evil. Also, it’s hilarious. Not to be missed.
Stay tuned for GGNFT Top Ten, Part 3 coming soon!
— Summer Hayes, currently reading Finding Somewhere by Joseph Monninger