Library 101: Spotlight on Graphic Novels

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Posted on: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 by Janet Kirby

Did you know that Kelly Library has a collection of graphic novels? To coincide with the theatrical release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this week we’ll spotlight some titles featuring the red, white, and blue hero.

The character, created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1941, was a patriotic symbol for the country during World War II and the early stories often pit him against the Axis powers (the cover of the first issue depicted the Captain punching Adolph Hitler). Appalled by the atrocities of Nazi Germany a young Steve Rogers tried to enlist in the army to fight for his country, but failed to pass the physical. He volunteered to be a test soldier for the Operation: Rebirth program, which greatly altered his physical form and reflexes, turning him into a super soldier. Due to the assassination of the inventor of the process, Rogers was the only successful subject. He was assigned to be a counter intelligence agent and a symbol for the U.S. military. After the war, interest in the character (and in superheroes in general) faded, and the book was cancelled in 1950. Superhero comics underwent resurgence in the early 1960s, and in 1964 Captain America was reintroduced (after being found suspended in ice by the Avengers). He has remained a popular character ever since, both in his own titles and with the Avengers. Captain America stories have dealt with real world subjects including World War II, the Watergate scandal, the Cold War, and terrorism. The character eventually graduated from the comics to television (both animated and live action), video games, live theatre, and film (the 2011 movie Captain America: The First Avenger grossed over $370 million worldwide).

Here are some titles from our graphic novel collection (located on the main floor of the library, near the CD and DVD collections):

Captain America, Vol. 1: Winter Soldier Ultimate Collection by Ed Brubaker. Graphic Novels  PN6728.C35 B78 2010. The murder of a longtime adversary leads Cap to a plot that threatens Paris, London, and Manhattan.

Red Menace: Ultimate Collection by Ed Brubaker.  Graphic Novels  PN6728.C35 B7775 2011. Cap crosses paths with new enemies while searching for his former partner.

Civil War by Mark Millar. Graphic Novels  PN6728.C58 M55. Captain America features prominently in this epic crossover pitting pro-registration heroes and their anti-registration foes.

The Avengers (Marvel masterworks series, volumes 1-3) Graphic Novels  PN6728.A9 L4. The original 1960s Avengers series that reintroduced the character.

The Ultimates Ultimate Collection. Graphic Novels  PN6738.U485 M5.  A reboot/reimagining of the Avengers team. The new feature film versions of the team borrows liberally from this series, down to a Sam Jackson inspired Nick Fury (several years prior to Jackson actually taking the role).