By Brian Visser
I’ve always been drawn to comic books. For me, nothing beats the marriage of words and art to tell a story. There have been a lot of graphic novels that I’ve read lately the feature LGBTQ characters and stories. I wanted to share two of them with you, and, hopefully, they’ll bring you as much joy as they brought me. Both of these titles can be found in the Iowa City Public Library’s Comic, Graphic Novel and Manga collection.
It’s rare that a book floors me over quite like “The Prince and the Dressmaker” did. First off, Jen Wang’s art is GORGEOUS. There is a so much character and detail oozing out of each panel. Frances, the main character, is a seamstress living in Paris. One of Frances’ dress designs catches the eye of the crown prince, Sebastian, who hires her. The Prince has an unexpected request, he wants Frances to make him glamorous dresses that he’ll wear out on the town. Frances agrees and soon is accompanying Sebastian while he goes out as his alter ego, Lady Crystallia. Things are complicated by the fact that Sebastian’s parents are trying to get him married, and that Sebastian and Frances might be interested in being more than friends. This book is a delight and easily one of my favorite graphic novels.
“Bloom” by Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau was a wonderful surprise. Colored in different shades of blue, “Bloom” explores the relationship of two boys -- Ari and Hector -- as they spend the summer working in Ari’s family’s bakery. Only Ari isn’t interested in baking, but Hector loves it and is going school for it. Ari can’t wait to get out of town and is hopeful that he and his friends will hit it big with their band. Ari and Hector are pretty different. Ari is sulky while Hector is easy going, but, despite their differences, they fall for each other. There are these amazing two-page spreads throughout the book of the boys baking together and sharing warm, loving looks; it’s so cute. I hope there are more stories about them in the future.
• Brian Visser, Teen Services Librarian at the Iowa City Public Library