One of the ongoing features I’m going to be working on here at the LCL is a tour through mainstream superhero comics organized around our very own Barbara Gordon: Mild mannered librarian by day, vigilante by night.
The Batgirl comic book title was just rebooted, meaning that its numbering was set back to #1 and the story has been started fresh. However, this being comics, it could never be that simple.
It turns out, some things in the Batgirl story have changed, many haven’t, timelines have been rearranged or compressed, and we can’t be sure yet what’s going on. This is a classic problem as a comics fan, not to mention a new reader coming to the medium, because the industry is full of strange artistic and publishing conventions and terms that don’t exist anywhere else.
In this series, we’ll take you through those, to explain how mainstream superhero comics work as a system, and how you can make sense of them, both as a reader and as a librarian trying to build a collection. In later posts, I’ll cover what this reboot actually is, how they’ve happened before, what the relationships between characters and their superhero personas are, and much, much more. Also, if you just want to find out what happens, I’ll also be doing a review of each new issue of Batgirl as they come out.
Next up: What’s up with this reboot?
Welcome to the home base of the League of Comics Librarians!
Like all super teams, the LCL has an amazing origin story: one day, a day only exceptional in being the first day of the quarter at a large educational institution offering a Masters in Library and Information Science, a group of young graduate students listened to their professor introduce the concept of a thesaurus. (In library land a thesaurus, or the index of an indexing language, is a document filled with words that have been carefully selected to describe stuff that you want to help people find, like books, articles, and journals.) After teaching about the powers of co-location and navigation held by mightily constructed thesauri, the professor put a question to his students: For what kind of stuff will you create a thesaurus? For four of those students, there was only one answer: Comics!
The LCL survived the end of their one quarter class to continue in their mission: To continue to craft their super thesaurus, and to help readers, new and old find the comics (or graphic novels, or manga or whatever else you want to call it) they will enjoy. We aim to help new readers break into this amazing narrative format and help long time fans break free of their reading ruts to find comics that are right for them in new and unexpected places. We believe there are comics out there for everyone, and we are here to help you find them.