#QP2018 Nominees Round Up: Manga and Graphic Novels

Scooby Apocalypse Vol. 1 by Keith Giffen
DC Comics
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
ISBN: 9781401267902

What if you took the characters from Scooby-Doo, re-imagined them as badasses in the modern day, and pitted them against a mystery where the monsters are real and horrifying? Then you’d get Scooby Apocalypse

This isn’t your parent’s Scooby gang. Shaggy is a hipster, foodie dog trainer paired with mutant science experiment Scooby at a top secret lab. Daphne and Freddie are renegade paranormal reality show hosts. And Velma is a research scientist for an evil corporation. In volume 1 we see how a variety of strange clues bring these misfits together. Leading them to a terrifying mystery that threatens the world.

Pick this up if you like dark and gritty re-imaginings of classic characters. Recommended for anyone who grew up watching Scooby-Doo, and are fans of horror comics.

–Jessica Ormonde


My Hero Academia vol. 9 by Kohei Horikoshi
Viz Media
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
ISBN: 9781421593401

My Hero Academia vo. 10 by Kohei Horikoshi
Viz Media
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
ISBN: 9781421594378

In a world where most people have some kind of superpower, called a “quirk”, it really stinks to be the one guy without any. That’s Midoriya. He’s has all the makings of a great hero: brave, compassionate, and driven. But no quirk. Then one day he meets his superhero idol, All Might, and is given the chance to inherit the powers of the world’s greatest hero. Now he is enrolled in a prestigious academy for future heroes where he must learn to control his power, prove himself to his classmates, and become the world’s greatest hero!

In volume 9 the students of U.A. High School go to summer camp where they must work on controlling and harnessing their quirks.

In volume 10 Midoriya’s rival/bully, Bakugo, has been kidnapped by villains. It’s up to Midoriya and his classmates to save him.

This action manga has excitement and endearing characters. Great for fans of Naruto, Bleach, and Attack on Titan.

–Jessica Ormonde


The Water Dragon’s Bride Vol.1 by Rei Toma
Viz Media
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
ISBN: 9781421592558  

The Water Dragon’s Bride Vol.2 by Rei Toma
Viz Media
Publication Date: July 4, 2017
ISBN: 9781421592565

In the manga series The Water Dragon God’s Bride, a modern day girl named Asahi is suddenly transported from a happy life to a strange, cruel world. Her only friend is a boy named Subaru. When the locals decide to offer her up as a sacrifice to the Water Dragon God the ever cheerful Asahi must learn to survive a world where the people are superstitious and callous, and where her life is at the mercy of the distant and unfeeling Water Dragon God. The story has an optimistic tone that compliments the darker elements. Deeper depths are hinted at for all characters, including the crotchety Water Dragon God. The illustrations range from cute to beautiful. The mix of innocence and darkness makes for a compelling story that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next volume. Great for fans of fantasy and manga.

–Jessica Ormonde


Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Vol.1 by Ukyo Kodachi
Viz Media
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
ISBN: 9781421592114

Boruto is the sequel manga to the wildly popular Naruto series. It follows the new generation of ninja as they train and battle enemies. Many of the characters are children of ninjas from the first series. The main focus is Boruto, son of Naruto from the first series. He yearns to step out of his father’s shadow and is resentful of how his father puts work before family. He’s placed on a team with Sarada (daughter of Sasuke and Sakura) whose dream is to be the next Hokage, and has her own issues with a often absent father. This sets up new characters with room to develop, and hints at future story arcs. The illustrations are dynamic and similar to the original series. This volume introduces new characters and expands on the world of Naruto with new ninjutsu, villains, and personalities. Recommended for fans of Naruto, action manga, and anime.

–Jessica Ormonde


The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains by Jon Morris
Quirk Books
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
ISBN: 9781594749322

Move over Superwomen (see the book by Hope Nicholson), there are new villains in town! Well, not quite NEW villains. From the very first pages, Morris makes his premise clear: “What good is a superhero without a decent supervillain?” Digging deeply into the archives, Morris breathes new life into some of the “most forgotten floes and oddball blackguards.” Diehard graphic novel/comics fans and reluctant readers alike will delight in the beautiful color graphics and the compendium of esoteric meanies.

Each new villain is introduced with an epigraph of their cheesiest taunt or most notorious line. Sidebars introduce readers to the villain’s nemesis, their creator, debut information and an author’s choice piece of trivia. Morris chooses to organize his parts as the Golden Age, the Silver Age, and the Modern Age and then presents the villains, in all their glory, alphabetically. This is a tongue in cheek companion to Morris’s other entry in Quirk Books’ stable: The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History. Reluctant readers with a taste for vintage villains will appreciate the format that can be skimmed, skipped through, and returned to without having to keep tangled plots clear in their heads.

–Jodi Kruse


The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen: Awesome Female Characters from Comic Book History by Hope Nicholson
Quirk Books
Publication Date: May 2,  2017
ISBN: 9781594749483

Hope Nicholson has demonstrated that she is the ultimate comic nerd and feminist in this compilation of diverse female characters under alliterative title with the kind of sheer cover that fascinates teen readers. Nicholson has clearly scoured the comic nether regions to assemble a cast of female characters–both fabulous and flawed–and present them to readers.

Organized by decade, with an introduction to what was going on in the comics/graphic novel publishing industry and a conclusion that features an iconic character from the decade, Nicholson has created a nonfiction book that will appeal to a specific niche of reader: the comic fan. Each superwoman is given her own profile which includes her name, a snappy description of her character, a defining quote by the character, her creators, and the issue in which she first appears. Nicholson then proceeds to analyze each of the 100 characters in terms of their development and the characteristics that make each of them a worthwhile contribution to the world of comics.  Each character’s profile is wrapped up with an “Essential Readings” blurb that tells readers where they can locate the actual comic. Profiles are augmented by either the cover or a panel from the original comic book in which the superwoman was featured.

This is clearly a labor of love for Nicholson who fills around 200 pages of content, an index that spans over five pages and art credits that take up two. Her audience is clearly not just intended to be comic curious teens in search of girl power. Her narrative is cheeky and informed, but she doesn’t shy away from commenting on a character’s overt sexuality and–in the case of the seventies characters of Pudge: Girl Blimp and Zelda the Witch–including panels that feature feminine nudity that are sure to get less mature readers tittering, not that the miniscule costumes of the bodacious superheroines of the nineties leave much to the imagination, either.

Overall, this is a title for the diehard comics history fan. The one-page profiles are filled with trivia and analysis, but readers can pick it the book up, read it, and put it down without fear of losing the plot.  The feminist lens used to evaluate the characters provides the added bonus of a weightier substance to a title could otherwise be as easily dismissed as the artists and characters it celebrates.

–Jodi Kruse

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.