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News in Youth Services

Monday, April 30, 2018

Super Heroes and Free Comics

I grew up loving superheroes as a kid.  Actor Adam West will always be Batman to me.  Superheroes continue to stand the test of time, as you just have to watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory to know that adults are still into superheroes and comic books.  Many of the blockbuster movies released in the past year have been about superheroes.  Black Panther (2018) made over $404 million in ticket sales worldwide.  Rumor has it that Avengers:  Infinity War is projected to bring in the same if not more than Black Panther.  Don't forget about our beloved animated superheroes who are returning to the screen after 14 years... Incredibles 2.  I'm sure that will be a huge success.  This leads me to believe that no matter our age, we love our superheroes!

But how did comic books and superheroes begin in America?  Jewish immigrants played a major part in the origins of the comic book market.  During the Great Depression, immigrant communities were looking for ways to enhance their standing, both professionally and creatively.  Comic book writers Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Will Eisner, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were all children of Jewish immigrants, so you will see the immigrant story as a common thread in comic books, especially in the 1940's - the "Golden Age" of comics.  Take Superman for example.  He comes from another planet and lands in America to pursue a better life.

As early as the 1970s, comic books started to become more diverse.  Marvel introduced Luke Cage, AKA Power Man, who was the first African-American to have his own comic book.  In more recent years, there has been even more diversity with gender and race swapping going on.  Spider Man has become a teenager who is half African-American, half Latin-American.  Currently Thor and Wolverine are female characters.  Then there is Kamala Kahn, a young Muslim girl as Ms. Marvel.  How cool is that!

Help us celebrate comics and superheroes by participating in Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 5th.   Come for the drawing activities, Crunchyroll anime, and explore the science of superpowers from 1-3 p.m.  While you are here, please browse our graphic novel sections.  I have a feeling you will find something fun to read there.  Oh, and feel free to come in your superhero costume. This drop-in event is for all ages.

Superhero Graphic Novels

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