Lethbridge Public Library

May June 2022

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GENERAL 2022 MAY/JUNE HAPPENING 3 I love comic books. Today, comic books are an integral part of pop culture with larger-than-life superheroes dominating movies and streaming services. The eye- popping art, the timeless hero and villain stories, and the escapist fantasy first captured my imagination when I was a boy. There was excitement in finding the newest issue of Batman on the spinner at the drugstore or grabbing an Archie digest waiting in line at the grocery store. A big family treat was stopping at a Calgary Public Library branch. I would find a quiet corner and hunker down with stacks of Asterix and Obelix or The Adventures of TinTin. Whether it was a superhero book or a graphic novel from another country, comics and comic books took me to different places and taught me things about history, culture, personal struggle, and opened my eyes to different perspectives on the world. Comic books are so much more than people in tights flying across the pages or the screen. They are impactful and important and create new accessible pathways to stories and narratives that challenge perspectives. Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize winning Maus was recently the focus of some controversy in Tennessee for the content of the story. But Maus is a non-fiction work based on Spiegelman's interviews with his father, a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. The book brings that story of survival and struggle into sharp focus using the art and style of a comic book, making the narrative accessible in a different way than any textbook. The same could be said of John Lewis' narrative of his experiences as a civil rights activist in March, or how in Stuck Rubber Baby Howard Cruse tells a fictionalized account of sexuality and racism in the American South during those same civil rights struggles. Chester Brown's award-winning Louis Riel examines Riel's complicated life and legacy in a way that captures the internal struggles of one of Canadian history's most interesting figures. In Alan Moore's V for Vendetta, he channels the dystopian future of George Orwell's 1984 and brings it into a new era, one that readers can see reflected in some modern political and social realms. Books like The Boys, Saga, and Watchmen challenge our definitions of heroes and their place in society. And memoirs like Persepolis by Marjane Satrap and Blankets by Craig Thompson allow us to not only read their words but see what the authors think those words mean. Books should expand how we see the world and challenge our perspectives. The Library is the doorway to that world and offers opportunity for everyone to see things in new and exciting ways. And there is something special about immersing yourself in the words and art of a comic book. May 7 is Free Comic Book Day, but every day is Free Comic Book Day at the Library! If you're not a fan or have never tried out the world of comics, take some time and immerse yourself in these worlds by exploring what we have at Lethbridge Public Library. Discover new ways to hear familiar stories and maybe it will inspire you to think about new ways to tell your own. From the Board by Brendan Cummins, Board Member, Lethbridge Public Library

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