I have been a fan of comic books as far back as I can remember. In my youth, I collected comic books. It just came with the territory of being a suburban teen in the years before Angry Birds, Facebook, and Star Wars LEGO kits became the norm.
I do not consider myself much of a collector these days. Now, I am just a reader. I buy comics, yes, but not the single issues. I go for the collections gathered in trade paperback form (TPB), and in some cases, hardcover. Reading is easier this way, and so is storage. Plus, if I spill a cup of coffee on my copy of Hellboy: Wake the Devil, I just go buy a new one.
As it turns out, TPB collections make it easier to check out comics from the library too. Yes, the Capital Area District Library has a very impressive collection of comics available. Plus, the collection goes beyond the ‘masks and tights’ most folks think of when they hear ‘comic books.’ For example, most of Doug TenNapel’s books are available—I highly recommend Creature Tech, Iron West, Bad Island, and Ghostopolis. The latter pair are great Young Adult reads. Younger readers should also check out the Bone series by Jeff Smith, which is one of my all time favorites. It is a hilarious mix of fantasy with a Wizard of Oz-like story.
For those with more grownup tastes, try Darwyn Cooke’s adaptations of Richard Stark’s Parker novels, The Hunter and The Outfit. They mix gritty storytelling, with simple, lovely artwork. Do you watch The Walking Dead? It started out as a comic book, and CADL has the TPBs.
Fans of classic superheros, like Superman and Batman, shouldn’t feel left out either. CADL has the Superman and Batman Chronicles TPBs, which collect the early issues from the late 1930s. These comics are different from the Superman and Batman we know today. In one early issue, Batman wants to kidnap the Joker from the hospital, and take him to a ‘famous brain specialist’ for an operation so he can be ‘turned into a valuable citizen.’ Wow.
No matter what your taste in comic books happens to be, the Capital Area District Library has something for you—and while you’re there, take a chance on a comic you may not normally read. You just might find a new favorite.