Summer reads from our Overdrive comic collection

Make the most of your downtime this summer and catch up on a series you’ve been putting off with our comic collections on Overdrive. We’ve got a range of long-running series for all ages and fans, as well as some recent graphic novel hits from 2021.

Just download the Overdrive app to your device of choice, find Wellington City Library in the library listings, sign in with your library card number and PIN (the last four digits of your phone number), and download a great comic like one of these!

Omnibus Editions 

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The best way to get into a long-running series is to grab an omnibus. These collections have anywhere from 20 to 50 issues apiece to keep you covered for any long rides or beach reading. For fantasy fans, we’ve got the first four Omnibuses of Mike Mignola’s beloved Hellboy, five collections of Stan Sakai’s celebrated Usagi Yojimbo saga, and an omnibus of the The Witcher comic series. If you’ve just caught up on The Boys on Amazon or rewatched Avatar The Last Airbender or Buffy over the lockdowns, why not check out the comics as well?

TV and Film 

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Speaking of film and TV, 2021 was a huge year for comic-to-film adaptations. The first season of Invincible dropped and rocked viewers with its epic battles and family melodrama; if you can’t wait until the next season, you can read the entire series in three big compendiums on Overdrive. For the Marvel fans, we’ve also got collections of Shang-Chi, the original Eternals series by Jack Kirby, and the first four volumes of the most recent Venom comic. Tales from the Umbrella Academy: You Look Like Death continues the Umbrella Academy story from the hit comic and Netflix show. And if the recent Denis Villeneuve film wasn’t enough for you, you can also check out Dune: the Graphic Novel, Book 1

Finally, you can also catch up on the Marvel Star Wars books, including the first four volumes of Star Wars and all five volumes of the acclaimed Darth Vader run by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca.

Superheroes

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If you’re looking for a sizeable superhero story to tide you over this summer, why not check out Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers, starting in Avengers: Disassembled and continuing in the first four volumes of his New Avengers run, which has Spider-Man and Wolverine join the team for the first time. For the MCU fans, we have the Young Avengers Ultimate Collection, collecting the first twelve issues of the teenage heroes inspired by the Avengers, some of whom started appearing in this years’ Disney+ shows. And for more Marvel-set teen drama, there’s The Runaways, the hit comic by Saga writer Brian K Vaughn and Ms Marvel artist Adrian Alphona, about a group of teenagers who go on the run after learning that their parents are supervillains.

We have the first six volumes of both Ta-Nehisi Coates’ run on Black Panther, and the first six volumes of Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s The Immortal Hulk, both critically-acclaimed series that revitalised their respective characters and came to a close this year. On the DC side, we’ve got Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s opening issues on Batman, the ‘Court of Owls’ storyline, and Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly’s beloved All-Star Superman. And to put you in the Christmas mood, what better book than Klaus, the secret superhero origin of Santa Claus himself?

Graphic Novels 

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For mature readers, there’s a number of long-running graphic novel series on Overdrive as well. For the history nerds, there’s Shigeru Mizuki’s Showa, a four-volume series cataloguing the history of Japan during the era of Emperor Showa from 1926 to 1989. From Image Comics, we have the first nine volumes of both the pop-god urban fantasy series The Wicked + The Divine, and the space epic on love, war, and parenting Saga (which is coming back from hiatus in January, so now’s the best time to catch up!). And with Taika Waititi announced to direct the film of Jodorowsky and Moebius’ acclaimed space epic The Incal, why not check out the original comic?

We’ve also acquired a number of new graphic novels to read digitally, including cartoonist Andi Watson’s dark comedy The Book Tour, Tania Ford and Nnedi Okorafor’s sci-fi immigration parable (and winner of the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Work) LaGuardia, Alison Bechdel’s newest comic The Secret to Superhuman Strength, and Emei Burrel’s political biography We Served the People: My Mother’s Stories.

Manga 

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Overdrive is the place to be to get your manga fix, whether to catch up on a series or check out a classic from the long history of Japanese comics. For starters, we’ve got the first six volumes of Kousuke Oono’s recent hit The Way of the Househusband, which follows a yakuza giving up the criminal life to pursue the path of quiet domesticity. Plus, the first 10 volumes of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the first 10 of Naruto, the first six of Bloom Into You, and all 27(!) currently published volumes of My Hero Academia.

When you’ve caught up on your series, why not check out a classic manga as well? We have the first 8 volumes of the original Astro Boy series by ‘god of manga’ himself Osamu Tezuka, two omnibuses of the ‘magical girl’ series, Cardcaptor Sakura, and the whole series of 90s sports manga Ping Pong in its two volume ‘Full Game’ editions.

Children’s Comics

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We have comics to keep kids of all ages and interests entertained this summer. Our Overdrive collection has 24 volumes of the long-running Pokémon Adventures manga, which goes through all the Pokemon games and generations in comic form, and every volume of both Dav Pilkey’s beloved Dog Man, and the Eisner award-winning Lumberjanes.

For lovers of magic and mythology, we have all the collections of The Magical Adventures of Phoebe and Her Unicorn, as well as George O’Conner’s hit comic of Greek mythology retellings The Olympians and the Dragon Kingdom of Wrenley series, starting with The Coldfire Curse.

And while Comicfest sadly didn’t come to pass in 2021, you can read the comics of New Zealand comic artists on Overdrive, like Johnathan King’s new mystery comic The Inkberg Enigma and Kay O’Neill’s Tea Dragon series, starting with The Tea Dragon Society.

Treat Yourself to some Horror and History this Halloween

A lot of horror movies and books offer a commentary of modern times, but a more recent trend in horror writing is to add a horror scenario to a previous event or time in history. Graphic novels have really picked up this ball and ran with it, as the visual storytelling lets you quickly immerse a reader in a time and place.

This ‘horror in history’ approach can be a great gimmick to enliven an old horror trope, like throwing werewolves into the backwoods criminal underbelly of the Prohibition era (Moonshine) or vampires into the sun-drenched American Wild West (American Vampire). The best takes usually offer some kind of commentary on the times, whether its looking at the 1920s through the eyes of an underrepresented community, like the Sangerye family in Bitter Root, or examining a person’s life through the horror genre, like Sarah Winchester inheriting the Winchester rifle fortune and the ghosts of its victims in House of Penance.

For this spooky season, here’s a list of recommendations for horror comics set in different periods of history for you to check out.

Monsters from Mythology Return…to 1970s Detroit!

Abbott / Ahmed, Saladin
“While investigating police brutality and corruption in 1970s Detroit, journalist Elena Abbott uncovers supernatural forces being controlled by a secret society of the city’s elite. In the uncertain social and political climate of 1972 Detroit, hard-nosed, chain-smoking tabloid reporter Elena Abbott investigates a series of grisly crimes that the police have ignored. Crimes she knows to be the work of dark occult forces. Forces that took her husband from her. Forces she has sworn to destroy. Hugo Award-nominated novelist Saladin Ahmed and artist Sami Kivelä present one woman’s search for the truth that destroyed her family amidst an exploration of the systemic societal constructs that haunt our country to this day.” (Catalogue)

A House Haunted…by the victims of the Winchester Rifle!

House of penance / Tomasi, Peter
“A horrific story of a haunted house and one woman’s mission to wash away the blood curse of her husband’s invention from claiming her own life and soul” (Catalogue)

 

 

A Family of Monster Hunters…in the Harlem Renaissance!

Bitter root. Volume one, Family business / Walker, David
“In the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance is in full swing, and only the Sangerye Family, once known as the greatest monster hunters of all time, can save New York — and the world — from the supernatural forces threatening to destroy humanity. But those days are fading and the once-great family that specialized in curing the souls of those infected by racism and hate has been torn apart by tragedies and conflicting moral codes. A terrible tragedy has claimed most of the family, leaving the surviving cousins divided between by the desire to cure monsters or to kill them; they must heal the wounds of the past and move beyond their differences… or sit back and watch a force of unimaginable evil ravage the human race.” (Catalogue)

Werewolves stalk the mountains…at the height of Prohibition!

Moonshine. Vol. 1 / Azzarello, Brian
“Set during Prohibition, and deep in the backwoods of Appalachia, [this book] tells the story of Lou Pirlo, a city-slick “torpedo” sent from New York City to negotiate a deal with the best moonshiner in West Virginia, one Hiram Holt. Lou figures it for milk run– how hard could it be to set-up moonshine shipments from a few ass-backward hillbillies? What Lou doesn’t figure on is that Holt is just as cunning as ruthless as any NYC crime boss and Lou is in way over his pin-striped head. Because not only will Holt do anything to protect his illicit booze operation, he’ll stop at nothing to protect a much darker family secret… a bloody, supernatural secret that must never see the light of day… or better still, the light of the full moon” (Catalogue)

A ghost story…on the eve of the Russian Civil War!

The gift / Maeve, Zoe
“The Shining meets Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette in this gripping debut from an award-winning talent The Gift is a fantastical/horror retelling of the story of Anastasia Nikolaevna and the Romanov family, the last rulers of Imperial Russia before the revolution. Her childhood days are filled playing on the palace grounds, the guards always on watch. She recieves a gift of a camera on her thirteenth birthday and begins to document her days. It is through her dreams however, where her gift of seeing the supernatural is made evident. She witnesses a creature on the edge of her vision. But could this creature actually be real? When the revolution begins, Anastasia’s world comes crashing down and she must flee. But something is following her, and it might not be human.” (Catalogue)

A new breed of vampire rises…in the Wild West!

American Vampire. [Volume one] / Snyder, Scott
“From writers Scott Snyder and Stephen King, AMERICAN VAMPIRE introduces a new strain of vampire – a more vicious species – and traces the creatures’ bloodline through decades of American history. This first hardcover volume of the critically acclaimed series collects issues #1-5 and follows two stories: one written by Snyder and one written by King, both with art by future superstar Rafael Albuquerque. Snyder’s tale follows Pearl, a young woman living in 1920s Los Angeles, who is brutally turned into a vampire and sets out on a path of righteous revenge against the European monsters who tortured and abused her. And in King’s story set in the days of America’s Wild West, readers learn the origin of Skinner Sweet, the original American vampire – a stronger, faster creature than any vampire ever seen before.” (Adapted from Catalogue)