Avengers: Infinity War – a staff review

Avengers VS ThanosGreetings library land,

Last week, I had the opportunity to go to an advanced screening of Avengers: Infinity War. The follow up to Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, this movie is directed by the Russo brothers (Captain America: Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War) this movie is the culmination of everything Marvel have done with their Cinematic Universe to this point.

Please note, I shall try and avoid spoilers as much as possible.

Based on Thanos Quest, The Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity graphic novels, the movie picks up where the mid credit sequence from Thor: Ragnarok ended and sets you off on an incredible journey, culminating in one of the largest cinematic battles since Lord of The Rings!

All of the cast are great, but the standout has to be Thanos, portrayed by Josh Brolin. One of my big concerns going into this moview was Thanos’ portrayal. In the comics, it often seems that there are two versions of The Mad Titan: highly intelligent, calculating and capable of character growth (as written by his creator Jim Starlin and to a lesser extent Dan Abnett and Keith Giffen) or a meglomaniacle destroyer and conqueror (most other writers and the Avengers Assemble cartoon). Thankfully, Brolin plays Thanos closer to his creators writing than others. You can almost, almost understand where Thanos is coming from and the justifacation of his actions (as horrific as they are). In many ways, this is Thanos’ movie and he owns the screen.

The interplay between the vast cast is really good, particulary Tony Stark, Doctor Strange and Star Lord of the Guardians of the Galaxy. There are many touching moments, particularly in the final act.Infinity Wars Insta pic

If I have a complaint, it is that Adam Warlock, a character who (in the comics) is intimatly linked to the Infinity Stones was not introduced in time to play a roll in this film. In the original Infinity Gauntlet story, Warlock was an essential part of the plot, rallying not only Earth’s heroes, but the various cosmic abstracts (such as Eternity, Chaos, Order and Galactus) against Thanos.

A solid 9/10 and don’t forget to stay until the very end of the credits!

Classic Graphic: The Moomin stories

moomin_history_tove_jansson-cfb36ad907e5b10ec440f2105589c600                               pee-hoo

Today is the birthday of Finnish author, artist and cartoonist Tove Marika Jansson. Tove was born in Helsinki on 9 August 1914 and died on 27 June 2001 at the age of 86.

Tove Jansson was a member of the Swedish speaking minority in Finland. She was raised by bohemian artist parents, who encouraged a love of nature and an appreciation of diversity in their children. Tove studied art in Helsinki, Stockholm and Paris. Her siblings also grew up to become artists.

Tove Janson is the most widely read Finnish author outside her own country. Shemoomin_by_marzymarrs-d8wj23y received wide recognition for her short stories, novels, picture books, plays and a comic strip. Tove also exhibited paintings and graphic art and was commissioned to create public art works. Although Tove wrote for both children and adults, she is best known and loved for her Moomin stories.

230px-Finn_FamilyIn 1945 Söderström & Co published Tove’s first Moomin story The Moomins and the Great Flood in Swedish. This was followed by Comet In Moominland in 1946 and Finn Family Moomintroll or The Magician’s Hat in 1948.

Tove continued writing about the adventures of the Moomin family throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In 1966 the International Board on Books for Young People awarded Tove the Hans Christian Andersen award, which is the highest accolade that can be given to a writer or illustrator of children’s books.

Following the translation into English of her books Tove was approached by a British publisher to transform her Moomin stories in a comic strip format. In 1954, the famous London newspaper The Evening News started to publish it. In order to allow his sister more time for her visual art projects, Tove’s brother Lars Jansson took over drawing the comic strip from 1960.  It ran up until 1974.

In 1970, Tove ceased writing Moomin stories with the publication of her ninth and last Moomin book Moominvalley in November. She later published a somewhat eerie children’s picture book called The Dangerous Journey in 1977, which is about different characters but takes place in the world of Moominvalley.

Tove went on to write an acclaimed novel for adults, which focuses on the relationship between a young girl and her grandmother who are living on an island. The Summer Book (1972) is her best known work of fiction which has been translated into English. Throughout her life, Tove produced six novels and five books of short stories for an adult audience.

Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories have been adapted for film, the stage, television series, an opera and a theme park. Her books have been translated into several languages.

You can reserve books about Tove Jansson’s life through the One Card Network online. Visit the official Tove Jansson website at http://tovejansson.com/

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CharactersA friend asked me to post about Tove Jansson, so I decided to explore the world of the Moomins, to discover why both children and adults are still captivated by them.

So you may ask, what exactly is a Moomin? Are they really trolls?

Fear not, the Moomins are not your average ugly, stupid trolls lurking in the mountains or under bridges, lying in wait to catch their next meal. The Moomins are cute, kindly fairytale characters who are plump and white and resemble hippopotamuses! They are intelligent, literate and make their home in a tower in Mooninvalley, living alongside a host of eccentric characters.

Tove’s stories are full of lighthearted humour. Her simple and colourful ‘retro’ style illustrations will appeal to children. She cleverly parodies many different concepts in her Moomin stories, from becoming famous, vanity, the theatre, the legal profession to buying unnecessary modern kitchen gadgets.

Young Moomin or Moomintroll, as he is known in the original Swedish version, is a sweet-natured, brave and somewhat naïve character, making his way in the world. Moomin lives with his close knit family, his mother Moominmamma, father Moominpappa and girlfriend Snorkmaiden.

Moomin familyThe Moomin family is always ready to embrace new experiences, meet new people and welcome them into their home.

Moonminpappa enjoys reading and philosophising. Moominpappa’s romantic view of himself leads to all sorts of grand plans such as moving his family to a lighthouse so he can write a grand novel. The more practical Moominmamma takes pride in her home and loves her garden. She prefers to live simply but comfortably.

Moominmamma is skilled at making others know that they may not have made the best decisions, without making her family feel bad about themselves. Her serenity helps us to realise that everything will eventually turn out okay. However, Moominmamma is not immune from falling into the trap of keeping up appearances and competing with her neighbour Mrs Fillyjonk!

Pretty Snorkmaiden is a dreamer. She and Moomin are devoted to each other.  However, she can be insecure, overly concerned with her Snorkmaidenappearance and with getting Moomin’s attention. The adopted Little My causes chaos in the Moonmin household but she is perceptive and brings other characters down to earth with her sharp observations.

Tove Jansson’s work is original and surrealOn their numerous adventures, many of the characters that The Moomin family encounters are of indeterminate species. For example, at first glance Too-Ticky appears to be human, until you notice her strange birdlike feet. The fearless Little My is so small she can fit incharacter_mymble_familyto the pocket of her half-brother Snufkin. She looks remarkably like her mother, older sister Mymble and her seventeen younger siblings. A ghost who haunts a lighthouse resembles a sausage with legs!

The Moomin books teach us about the importance of family and friendship and about accepting others for their uniqueness. They value living a simple life, staying close to the beauty of nature and just being happy. The Moomins are always ready to help other characters, as everyone is important and needs a purpose.

You can borrow the Moomin stories and graphic novels (which comprise episodes from the Moomin comic strip) across the One Card Network. Tove Jansson’s work has also been adapted to bring her characters to younger readers, through a series of new picture books. Search the catalogue online, or enquire next time you visit the Library. Why not also visit the official Moomin site: https://www.moomin.com/en/

And yes, I could be hooked.

Did you know… that today is international Batman day?

Created by Bob Kane, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 way back in 1939, the second major costumed superhero to be introduced by DC Comics after Superman. The Dark Knight is ranked second only to Superman in IGNs top 100 Comic Book Heroes of all time and has been adapted to both the small and big screen, with perhaps the most iconic portrayals being Adam West in the 1960s Batman TV Series, Michael Keaton in 1989s Batman (directed by Tim Burton) and Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Next year (2016) will see Ben Affleck take on the role in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

In comics, Batman has been written by such legendary figures as Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Grant Morison (who actually killed Bruce Wayne in RIP/Final Crisis) and Scott Snyder.

Almost as memorable as the Caped Crusader himself are his Rogues Gallery of villains which includes the sultry Catwoman and Poison Ivy, the fear inducing Scarecrow, criminal mastermind The Riddler, back-breaking Bane and the immortal Ras Al Ghul. None of these can compare, however, to the Clown Prince of Crime, the psychotic Joker

Why not checkout the library’s collection of Graphic Novels or DVDs and live the excitement that is…BATMAN.

Book Review: Messenger, The Legend of Joan of Arc

messenger

A graphic novel written by Tony S. Lee and illustrated by Sam Hart.

Joan of Arc was called The Messenger. In 1424, during the time of the Hundred Years War, 13 year old Joan claimed an angel visited her.  Her life’s purpose was to deliver messages from God. She was to take up arms, lead the French army to defeat the English invaders and their Burgundian allies, in order to free her country and place Charles VII on the throne of France. Unfortunately Joan’s life would be short and she would die a tragic death.

Did Joan really hear voices from God and the Saints or was she suffering from schizophrenia? Either way, her achievements were remarkable for a young, illiterate peasant girl with no military training, in medieval France.

Based on historical documents, including letters dictated by Joan during her imprisonment and the original transcripts of Joan’s trial for heresy before her execution, Messenger, The Legend of Joan of Arc is a powerful story. It tells Joan’s story from her time living with her family in the village of Domremy in northern France, to her campaign to convince the local authorities and Charles VII of her divine mission. You then experience Joan’s adventures on the battlefield and her eventual capture, trial and burning at the stake.

It is impossible to read Messenger, The Legend of Joan of Arc without having empathy for Joan. You will be outraged by her unnecessary death, due to the hypocrisy and treachery of the Catholic Church and appalled by the politics of war that lead to her betrayal by Charles. Joan’s love for her country, bravery and devout faith comes through to the reader in the narrative, as well as her acceptance of her coming death. The final page tells us about Joan’s legacy.

Use of colour is simple but the muted hues of watercolour reflect the moods of the story. For example, a battle will be portrayed in shades of red and yellow as opposed to the sombre tones of blue and purple used during the dark times of Joan’s trial for heresy. Language is designed for the modern reader.

Messenger, The Legend of Joan of Arc will make you think about true courage and strength of character, as opposed to weakness, corruption and the abuse of power. You will reflect on the rights of women and the value of life. You can read this exciting graphic novel through the One Card Network. Reserve it through the online catalogue or enquire at the Library.