Friday, September 19, 2014

Alabaster: Wolves

Saturday, September 27, 11:30 am

Support Banned Books Week, bring a lunch and learn about the misunderstood history of a commonly censored genre from WCPL librarians and Epic Loot Games & Comics staff. Trivia (with prizes) after the talk. 


Banned Books Week: September 21-27, 2014

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read by bringing awareness to censorship and challenged materials. Every year The American Library Association with the national Banned Books Week planning committee selects a theme or genre of books that have been challenged. This year the focus is on the frequently challenged genre of comics and graphic novels. During the week leading up to Banned Books Week and throughout the week itself, we are devoting our Fine Print posts to graphic novels.  We hope to raise awareness of the ongoing threats of censorship and to spread knowledge about graphic novels as a unique form of storytelling


Let's be frank: I don't read a lot of graphic novels. I do own a few, though, and all of them are adaptations of books or short stories that I've read and loved. Thus, I present to you Alabaster: Wolves by Caitlin Kiernan, with artwork by Steve Lieber and Rachelle Rosenberg. This one's not on any banned or challenged book list that I'm aware of, but given what's made those lists so far, I'm pretty sure it could be a contender. Why? Well, there's violence in it, for one. It deals with the occult. There are assorted creepy-crawlies on every other page. And you know what? I'm okay with that because the heroine of the story is pretty awesome, and of all the characters Kiernan has created over the years, she's my favorite. Her name is Dancy Flammarion, and she's a rather mysterious albino waif who wanders the back roads and the empty places of the Deep South in search of the aforementioned creepy-crawlies. Commanded by a terrifying angel only she can see and armed with just a carving knife, Dancy goes where the monsters are, and she destroys them. She's so vicious with that knife that all the big bads know her name, and I'm telling you, it's a beautiful thing.

Dancy first appeared in Kiernan's excellent Threshold: A Novel of Deep Time, and she went on to star in several short stories of her own, all of which are collected in Alabaster. Wolves began as a five-part series of comics that has Dancy visiting a "bad part" of South Carolina, an abandoned hole of a town that, as you may have guessed by now, is overrun with werewolves, among other things. Accompanied by a wise-cracking bird and the ghost of a werewolf she kills early on, Dancy soon finds herself outnumbered and outgunned, so to speak, when the angel that has guided her deadly knife-wielding hand suddenly abandons her. Beyond that, you'll get no spoilers from me, so if you want to know if Dancy eventually puts down the pack or ends up as dog chow, well, you'll just have to read the graphic novel to find out. And if graphic novels really aren't your thing, you can always read the short stories.

Highly recommended for fans of dark fantasy and horror.

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