Formerly derided as lazy reading, these days graphic novels have come into their own and offer some of the most complex and interesting stories around. Classic comics themes of adventure and humor are still the most prevalent in the format, but nonfiction and historical fiction are gaining in popularity. Some of the newest additions to our jGraphic Novels collection showcase the format’s growing diversity. Let’s start with the sixth volume in the American history series “Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales,” Alamo All-Stars. This book covers the convoluted early history of Texas and its ties to Mexico. The historical facts are kept flowing through the funny narration of Nathan Hale and questions from his executioners. Tangential stories from the lives of Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and Vicente Guerrero help keep the story personal.
Matt Phelan’s retelling of Snow White brings the classic fairy tale to the 1920’s, starting in the glamour of the Jazz Age and on into the Great Depression. While Snow is still very familiar, most other characters are given interesting updates, as seven dwarfs become seven street urchins and the Evil Queen is the Queen of the Vaudeville Follies. The mostly grey-scale illustrations draw inspiration from film noir, giving an atmosphere of intrigue to a familiar story. We’ve included this title on our Mock-Caldecott Award List because of that extra interest the illustrations add to the story.
What starts as an interesting concept, a boy who can jump in and out of the dreams of others, soon becomes the basis for a new fantasy-adventure series. Dream Jumper by Greg Grunberg follows Ben as he navigates the highs and lows of real world middle school while also learning how to control his dreaming abilities. He soon learns a bit more than he bargained for about his family and the troubles facing the dream world. The illustrations have a very Saturday morning cartoon look to them. With a movie already in the works, you’ll want to check this one out before Hollywood takes over.