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In Honour of Zombies, Ghosts, Ghouls... aka Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful

by Adrienne - 3 Comment(s)

Inspired this past May (which was Zombie Awarenes Month), this post reviews a few graphic novels that fit the theme. Fairies and Ghouls beware! Halloween is fast approaching and Calgary just had it's own Zombie walk on Saturday October 13th! Do you have your costume ready? Or are you a die hard Zombie fan who will wash and recycle their Zombie gear creating environmentally friendly apocalypse wear for All Hallows Eve? For great Zombie books and movies year round check out Alex's great Zombie Awareness Blog from last May.

For now, here are some ghouly graphic novels to get your Halloween grease moving. Grimericks by Susan Pearson and Monster Museum by Marilyn Singer are both illustrated by the lovely Gris Grimly. Think Tony Diterlizzi (The Spiderwick Chronicles) meets Tim Burton (The Nightmare Before Christmas) - on paper. Take MaryLou Jones; the java drinking, peter pan collar, blue polka dotted dress, blonde bob, pilgrim shoe wearing skeleton as a Grimly Zombie example. Both books are filled with witty puns to boot! Singer gets straight to the point with a Zombie poem that teaches us how Zombies "dance" and a ghost poem delineating all the family "types". Pearson's

Recipe for a Grimerick goes:

1 limerick, lightly salted

dash grim

slosh of spook juice

1 cup giggles

3 ripe guffaws

Mix together with 1 funny bone.

Chill in dank cave.

Turn the lights down low.

Lock the doors.

Look under the bed.

Read with relish!

I hate to admit it, but I'm actually not actually into Zombies (I know, I know ... please don't bite me!), I AM however, very into juicy, messy, blotchy, splotchy drawings. How to Draw Zombies a Fantasy Underground book by Mike Butkus & Merrie Destefano, is chock full of them! There is much exquisite mark making here showcasing all the delicate intricacies of the artists hand and/or personality - if you believe in hand writing analysis. Each drawing/painting/digital rendering is broken down step by step so that you can see all the layered marks in isolation like Mr. Dress Up - Zombie style! Anyone up for creating a Zombie Mr. Dress Up art piece? We would love to see your submissions on our Teens Create page. Looking through this gem, I have to admit that Zombies are fine ground for digging in & sketching out all the gory details. Mr. Dress Up challenge aside, if you could draw a Zombie what/who would it be?

Here are photos of Calgary's May 2012 Zombie Walk, and here are the photos for the October zombie walk. Calgary's Zombie community is Awesome!

If that's not enough, these stellar Zombie comics and novels should keep you entranced for awhile:

Plus for former Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans... we currently have Diary of a Zombie Kid on order!

When dealing with ghosts what fits the bill of beautiful? Perhaps when the meaning of a mystery lies in belief being it's own reward? Or perhaps when illustrations tinge on being creepy but really are pretty brilliant comic illustrations. Slog's Dad illustrated by Dave McKean, (who also illustrated The Sandman by Neil Gaiman) is a master at this. Written by David Almond, this graphic novel defies easy categorization or interpretation, embedding itself heavily in enigma.

Always save the best 2 for last, right? Here they are. The winner has to be Zombie's Vs. Unicorns, a great new anthology compiled by Holly Black (Team Unicorn) & Justine Larbalestier (Team Zombie). The two duke it out with witty commentary before each short story and the reader is left to decided who wins, Zombies?? or Unicorns?? This book includes many stars of YA fiction such as Scott Westefeld ( who is Justine's husband, did you know?), Libba Bray & Meg Cabot. Westefeld may have actually been playing in this sandbox for a long time. Ever think of nanos as Zombies? Specials anyone? Kathleen Duey included a particularly haunting addition in which you could most likely classify the Unicorn AS a Zombie. Isn't any creature that has eternal life sort of technically you know - a zombie? I, I admit my Zombie love is growing, fed by Unicorns of course!

Finally, because Halloween should always end with something wholesome - like apples... candied - we will end with Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol. This book could be described as Casper... for 16 year olds, with just the slightest bit of Creepy!! thrown in. If you fell down a well, ... well would you befriend that ghost? Join Anya B as she navigates private school with her ghost. As their friendship develops she discovers that being friends with a shade may or may not be all it's cracked up to be; and that somethings are more important than others. This debut graphic novel written and illustrated by Brogol is Great. It has won numerous awards... for good reason! Long live....

Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful cont...Art Graphix

by Adrienne - 2 Comment(s)

Okay so it's been quite awhile since I have written a blog in the Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful vein. In the interim I am happy to report that we at CPL have chalked up a considerably new awesome stock of graphic novels in! Herein are reviews of some of the best graphic novels that have crossed my path over the past few months. They are what I consider to be original in format, art and story;

Here be the latest: ART GRAPHIX!!!

Chopsticks: [A Novel] in pictures & news clips is a mystery that leaves you with plenty of questions. This beautiful new art book/ graphic novel written by Jessica Anthony (who also wrote The Convalescent), photographed and designed by Rodrigo Corral.

Page by Paige is a fun quick read of Paige Turner's adventures in her sketchbook after her family moves to New York. The images and text detail her journey towards becoming an artist. Inventive and profound whilst remaining light, Paige and her friends stir things up a bit as unconventional graffiti-ists "The Agents of Whimsy". Each Chapter is headed up with a new "rule"; rules that will help any aspiring artist to fill up the Page (or just adjust to a new school...)!

How would you use a camera to communicate your view of yourself and the world around you? How do you think your friends would? Please Read (if at all possible) The Girl Project by Kate Engelbrecht is a compilation of photographs and survey submissions that gives snapshot glimpses into the lives of REAL teenage girls... as Not seen on TV. The author of this book speaks to girls, "3 years ago I became fascinated by popular depictions of you. I didn't recognize you. Bratty. Slutty. Spoiled. Vapid. Mean - even vicious.... I didn't see myself in you or even relate to you. After all, I didn't know any teenage girls anymore, and like so many adults, I understood you only through the media...I started the girl project as a way to explore my questions and confusion.. This project has become less about my curiosity of you and more to do with making sure your lives get shared. Your lives are in fact deeply meaningful... I hope you see yourself somewhere in these pages and feel reassured that, in this world, you are not alone."

Cathy's Book by Stewart/Weisman/Brigg is an epistolary (book written in diary format) complete with doodles. pictures and notes inserted. This is one of those books that I picked up to read for five minutes and didn't put down until someone else walked in to the room and I realized what time it was... A fast paced action adventure with an ArtGrrl twist plus plenty of mystery and philosophy on the side. It also features a website and ph# you can call to enhance the story! MY favourite quote from the book reads, "Without us, the world is just things, Cathy. It's our seeing that fills them with meaning. To pay attention is a painter's sacred duty. That's what real prayer is, real meditation: to hold your attention to the world like a match, until it catches with the fire of meaning."

Last but not least Timbuktu based on the novel written by Paul Aster - adapted and illustrated by Julia Goschke - with beautiful paintings and sparse text. Told from Mr. Bones' point of view after his homeless former master passes a way and Mr. Bones tries to adjust to his new life (incidentally, Mr. Bones is a dog). Poignant and real, it brings a different perspective on the freedom of homelessness and a dog's loyalty as he learns, "..that memory was a place, a real place that one could visit, and that to spend a few moments among the dead was not necessarily bad for you, that it could in fact be a source of great comfort and happiness."

Happy Reading!

Prom Dress Extravaganza is back. In black. And red. And polka-dots…

by Jocelyn - 1 Comment(s)

Prom dress, don

Are you as scared of shopping as I am? Perhaps it’s something about malls (I feel too small in them), or the over eager sales representative that seems a little too enthusiastic to ask me about my clothing size. If you’re not my friend I am not going to tell you. Seriously. Whatever it is, I love clothes, don’t get me wrong, but am a little timid when it comes to setting foot into a store to look for new costumes with which to adorn myself.

Enter the much anticipated event called the Prom Dress Extravaganza…it’s got to do with dresses and it’s got nothing to do with the mall!

But speaking of which, even if you love the mall, you may not find what you’re looking for if you limit yourself. Nor will you find your own style if you copy a mannequin. So, even if you love shopping, you should come check it out.

Some of my best dresses are what is known as “pre-loved.” Actually, some of my best clothes in general are clothes that I have traded, or swapped, with my friends. This program lets you do just that – swap clothes, or just simply add some style to any new or used dress. A designer is going to be there to help you find your own new chic creative way of reinventing a dress. Not to mention that you will get to take a dress home – there will be many dresses, in many colours, and you could end up with the dress of your dreams.

It’s happening at both the Bowness and Village Square libraries. You do need to register, which you can do easily with your library card – natch! The link and the dates are as follows: Bowness, Saturday March 3rd from 1-2:30pm, and at Village Square on Saturday March 10th from, 1:30-3pm. To register, follow the link: http://calgarypubliclibrary.com/services/programs-events/register-for-programs?ad=s&dt=s&lc=s&pt=s&kw=prom%20dresses&pg=1