An Opportunity I'm Not Library To Pass Up

I don't like winter break very much. It's not that I don't like the time off (I do), and it's not like I don't like my family (I love them, that's why I come home), there just isn't very much to do in Chicago's north suburbs in late December and early January. Rather than find things to occupy me, then, I have often to make them.

Luckily, my local library has a pretty sweet graphic novel and collected comics collection. It's growing, too: when I started checking books out as a freshmen in high school, the whole shebang occupied maybe four bookshelves. Today, when I walked into the library for the first time in probably about a year, it took up four whole bookcases.

Clearly, someone at the Highland Park public library likes me very much.

I always use the opportunity of being home to read some stuff I wouldn't have read otherwise; things that just aren't my speed enough to buy, or things that are just too big, unwieldy or expensive for me to consider purchasing on a normal occasion. This vacation, I've chosen three things to read, all of which encompass both categories of comics I borrow from the library.

The first, Fantagraphics' complete collection of Gilbert Hernandez's Palomar, is my introduction to Los Bros Hernandez. That I've read nothing of their work means that I have a pretty big hole in my comics knowledge, and I hope the experience of this tale, which originally ran in the Bros' Love and Rockets anthology, is as fantastic as everyone says it is. The HPPL also has Luba, Locas I and Locas II, so it's possible I'll also get to at least one of those before the break is over.

The second, Top Shelf's collection of Eddie Campbell's Alec comics, entitled The Years Have Pants, is something I've thought about buying a couple times, on the strength of recommendations alone. It's a huge, beautiful, book- I hope I enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy looking at it.

The last maxi-sized comic currently on loan to me is Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly's Local, which looks about as perfect a comic for me as there ever was. If Wood's Demo proved anything, it's that he writes a great short comics story and this collection of twelve interconnected ones, about a girl who sets out from Portland, Oregon and just travels around the country, looks perfect. And pretty.

I'm hoping to review each of them; I'm curious how their massive size and quality paper changes the experience of reading comics. I'll let you know how it goes.

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