By Devin Burritt, Reference and Technology Librarian for York Public Library
I came to graphic novels and manga as an adult. As a kid, my idea of a comic was something that was expensive, only contained a tiny bit of a plot, and was more likely than not to be about a superhero. It’s not that I didn’t like them, but the idea of getting such a small portion of story before needing more was never appealing. I don’t remember what the first graphic novel I read was, but I do recall being surprised with how much I enjoyed the story, and how easy it was to visually digest.
Some of my favorites were created for the tween and teenage crowd. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol, Amulet by Kazuo Kibuishi, Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, and American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang all struck a chord with me for their great story-telling and beautiful images. I was also a big fan of Smile by Raina Telgemeier, who I actually got to meet (I’ve never been so star-struck in my life!). After I got used to reading graphic novels, I gave manga a try, and was happy to find that most of the anime I liked in college started as manga. Although it suffered from the same problem of the serialized comics I remembered from my childhood: most of the series I was interested in had a significant run and were being sold as collections of volumes.
Lately, most of my reading happens on eBooks so I can read in the dark after my kids fall asleep. That’s why I’m super-stoked about our newest digital platform: Comics Plus. Comics Plus is a digital library exclusively for manga and graphic novel content with unlimited simultaneous checkouts.
As a librarian, this is a HUGE deal. We rarely get that option from major publishers. As a user, it means that you get to see every title we have available and that if you want to read it….you just click on it! No waiting and no counting checkouts. While you won’t find the titles I listed in the previous paragraph—you’ll have to stop by the Library for those—you can get items from the industry’s top publishers including Tokypop, IDW, Dark Horse, Papercutz, and Yen Press. On my devices, the app is a little slow to get started, but once it is running I’m able to read and view at a normal pace on a device. Personally, I find reading them on my phone is actually easier than reading them on the computer, but the computer allows you to zoom in on some details that you might have missed on the smaller screen. I’m really looking forward to trying out this app more and reading They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Sheets by Brenna Thummler, and Iyanu by Roye Okupe.
Launch Comics Plus from our website in the “Library at Home” section. If you need any help installing the app on your device, please give me a call at the Library. I’m happy to help! Reach me at 207-363-2818 ext. 1019.
This article was originally published in the Library’s weekly “Shelf Life” column, which is featured in The York Weekly and SeacoastOnline.com.