Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Library of Graphic Novelists - Colleen Doran

As you may remember, back in June I reviewed the Library of Graphic Novelists from The Rosen Publishing Group. I was, at the time, very disappointed to find that the King County Library System had only purchased five of the six volumes. I filed a complaint about not having the sixth volume and a request for it, the Colleen Doran volume, through interlibrary loan. Less than a month later I got a notice that the KCLS was ordering the Colleen Doran volume for the system, and I finally got a copy of the book this week.

Going into this book, I knew very little about Doran. I knew she did a book called A Distant Soil, and I had heard someone say once that she was an Aquaman fan, but that was about it. What little I've seen of A Distant Soil didn't really impress me much, so I'd never bothered to pursue it further.

After reading this book I know quite a bit more about her, and I'm going to seek out the first volume of A Distant Soil to give it a second chance. Since the last time I read it, I picked up an issue somewhere in the middle of the story, starting at the beginning sounds like a much better idea. Um... anyone know which volume is the first? The book indicates that the story was started twice, but it never actually lists the volumes in order. I'll also be giving Orbiter a try, although I'm less hopeful on that one since Warren Ellis' writing never seems to hook me, for some reason.

As with the other books, this is an excellent look at the comic book world. I'm still not sure why Doran was selected, but I suspect it has to do with her experiences as a self-publisher and her uphill battle against sexism in the industry. I liked that Ramona Fradon was mentioned (with an Aquaman sketch!) and Friends of Lulu was given props as well. Like the other books, the reading level was simple, aimed at young adults.

The six books in this first set are actually a decent look at comic books and how they are created, if you are a person who knows little or nothing about comics. The price range indicates to me that these books are aimed at libraries, and not the casual reader. I would love to see these in every school library, as a great introduction to the other side of comic books.