Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Indy Graphic Novel Library Project

I managed to finally land a full-time job a year ago.  It's at Fogler Library at the University of Maine, my alma mater.  It has been fantastic.  I was already in love with the campus after my four and a half years there almost twenty years ago, so getting an opportunity to work there, in the library, is amazing.

The library has the beginnings of a respectable graphic novel collection (though they are found in various spots throughout the stacks) including books by Joe Sacco, Art Spiegelman, Chester Brown, Neil Gaiman, Brian K. Vaughan, G. Willow Wilson, and others.  But I really wished they had more.  And then I noticed the suggestions sheet in the main reading room on the first floor.  So, a few months back, I began putting suggestions there.  One a month.  And the library has purchased every one, thus far.

I've steered away from the obvious books and tried to get in some eclectic work from small publishers.  So far, the University has added the following books:

Vietnamerica by G.B. Tran.  No, not a small publisher (Villard), but a book worthy of a wider audience and one I don't believe has gotten the attention it deserves:

Inanna's Tears by Rob Vollmar & mpMann (Archaia Press).  I was introduced to this story by Brett Warnock, when he discussed its online serialization at the Topshelf blog.  Great book that I featured in my Pulse column, back in the day.  Plus, it has a quote from me on the back cover.  So, cool!

Storeyville by Frank Santoro (Picturebox Inc.).  Santoro is an artist who has shot to the top of my must-read list since I first encountered his work in Cold Heat after the MoCCA Fest in 2007 (I believe).  His colors and fine-art background, coupled with a wealth of comic historical knowledge, makes everything he does interesting and challenging.  Great, great stuff.

and the latest addition is Joshua Cotter's Skyscrapers of the Midwest (AdHouse Books).  I only have a screenshot from the online catalog, as I am currently reading it.  At the halfway point, I can tell you the plaudits it has received are well deserved.  Emotional, heartfelt, and compelling - Cotter's story and art mesh together nicely to create something special here.  Well worth checking out.

As more graphic novels get added to the collection, I'll drop them here on the blog.  And if you have suggestions of some great independent graphic novels, let me know.


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