By Jason Larsen
Spring has finally sprung! To celebrate the arrival of warmer weather and blossoming flora and fauna, we at the library wanted to share some of our favorite comics about nature and weather. Our selections include options found both in our physical stack collections as well as our digital collection via ComicsPlus. So, sit back, relax, take an allergy pill if need be, and enjoy reading these potentially new favorite comics. And if you find yourself enjoying these types of comic works, keep an eye out for the new Graphic Science collection that will be launching soon at the Funk ACES library. If you are interested in learning more contact librarian Kelli Trei. As always, we encourage you to not just take our recommendation but to go and explore the comic collection for other works you might enjoy!
Comics Available on the Shelf
Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind (Hayao Miyazaki)
Nausicaä is considered an all-time classic manga story– it was turned into an anime before it was even finished in manga form! The story focuses on a young princess who explores a future Earth that has been mutated and poisoned by an event called the Seven Days of Fire. Nausicaa must navigate not only natural dangers all around her but also the warring factions fighting for the scant resources left. As forces seek to use the ecological horrors to their advantage, she begins to learn the truth behind the most toxic part of their world called the Sea of Corruption. What will Nausicaa do with this knowledge, and can it be used to save their dying world?
Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science (Philippe Squarzoni)
This work from journalist Philippe Squarzoni explores climate change and transforms the various concepts and theories around it into clear information for the reader. Examining the topic through various interviews with experts as well as scientific data, it presents a realistic view of the current situation and what actions can be taken to change it. Whether helping to affirm evidence-based action, busting myths about false hopes, or highlighting the call to action to effect meaningful change, the situation, the comic keeps the material relatable and grounded in everyday life.
Swamp Thing: the Bronze Age omnibus (Various)
Before the cartoon Captain Plant championed cleaning up the environment on Saturday morning TV, DC’s Swamp Thing was engaging the issues and dangers of environmental pollution among other horrors. The character today is known as a defender of the plant life on Earth known as the Green. Explore the early stories of this modern-age character as he slowly evolves from a swamp monster into his current eco hero form with this complete collection of the Swamp Things early stories.
Paying the Land (Joe Sacco)
Joe Sacco’s works range from smaller works like his travelogue journeys throughout the world, to more expansive works that focus on regions like Palestine and Bosnia. His most recent book focuses on his research and exploration of the Canadian Northwest Territories and centers around the Indigenous people of the region of the Dene. The history of the region is explored through various interviews with different members of the society ranging from trappers, activists, priests, and chiefs. Touching on an array of topics including policies such as residential schools, to the land having so many natural resources, it is attracting new government interest. All of these have impacted the Dene’s way of life and become the central focus of this work that highlights the cost of these policies and resource extraction efforts on both the land and the people who live on it.
Comics Available Through ComicsPlus
Animal Castle (Xavier Dorison and Felix Delep)
Animal Farm was a book that had the narrative that all animals on the Farm were equal. In this work influenced by the book, the concept is taken a step further in that the animals know upfront that they are not equal, especially those that rule from the castle on the farm. The story focuses on a farm ruled by a despotic bull and his army of attack dogs. As the animals are worked to death, a rat arrives on the farm and begins to show the others the power of civil disobedience. Are these new ideas the beginning of a revolution or instead the cause of a more vicious crackdown?
Guardian of Fukushima (Fabien Grolleau and Ewen Blain)
Over a decade ago a massive earthquake off the coast of Japan sent a tsunami wave into the northern region of Japan. In addition to the almost 20,000 lives lost, it also triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant. This manga follows the real story of a farmer who survived the wave and then returned to the irradiated region to care for his animals and the land. It is a story that touches on mythology, tragedy, and the human will to persevere– it is not to be missed.
Avatar: The Last Airbender–The Search (Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru)
When the Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series ended, there were several plot lines that were left unresolved. The creators of the show worked with Dark Horse comics to continue the story, picking up right after the show ended. The second arc of that series explores the bombshell dropped at the end of the series; Fire Lord Zuko’s mother was still alive. Gathering Team Avatar and an unexpected ally to help him with his search, Zuko begins a quest to answer the biggest mystery of his life, where did his mother go after his father banished her?
Rewild (Devin Grayson, Sal Cipriano, and Yana Adamovic)
What if a magical world was being damaged by our physical world? Would they let us continue our ways or would they decide to show us they exist? And how unprepared we would be to handle their judgment? This graphic novel centers on an engineer who is approached by a homeless woman claiming she is a fairy. She demands that he create a new type of park to mollify environmentally mutated magical creatures, or else our world will suffer. Is this just the rant of a mentally disturbed homeless woman or is it something far more real and frightening?
Seen: Rachel Carson (Birdie Willis and Rii Abrego)
Rachel Carson was a marine biologist who became an author that focused on America’s environmental crisis in the 1950s and 60s. Her bestselling works became the drive behind the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and warned of the dangers that using chemicals like pesticides would have on the environment. This biographic work explores her life from early childhood up to the time of her death.
Taproot: A Story about a Gardener and a Ghost (Keezy Young)
When his best friend passes away, Hamal is still able to be there for him. You see Hamal is as unique as a gardener can be in that he can see the ghosts in the world around him. But as his deceased friend adjusts to the afterlife, he starts to understand that Hamal’s gift is potentially at the center of local spiritual disturbances. How far does your love for someone extend when you are dead but they go on living?
The above-selected comics are some of our favorite stories about nature or science, but there are many more to choose from in the catalog, the upcoming Graphic Science Collection, or the ComicsPlus application.
And if you are unfamiliar with the ComicsPlus application, check out the video links below as they provide additional details on the application.