Graphic Novel Review: Kristine Zorn

The cover of Love and War, volume one of the manga Library Wars by Kiiro Yumi

I read the first volume of Libray Wars, which is titled Love and War by Kiiro Yumo In the graphic novel I read, the story is set in a time where the government has decided to remove any books it deems offensive. In retaliation, libraries joined together to create a military group, the Library forces, to defend books by taking them into their collections where the books are protected. When she was younger, Kasahara, the protagonist, was protected by a Library Force soldier when she tried to buy a fairytale book that was considered offensive. This first volume of the manga focusing on Kasahara and the beginning of her training as she finally gets to join the Defense Force.

 

An example of how texture and screentones are used in black and white comics from Love and War, volume one of the manga Library Wars by Kiiro Yumi.
I picked this page because of the different textures of the leaves, the uniforms, and the backpacks, as well as the screentones used for shading.

The manga style of drawing is slightly abstracted in at the faces usually. The eyes are much bigger and mouth and nose don’t have much detail compared to a person in real life. However, the characters are still realistic enough and have their own details that the reader is more likely to view the characters as separate entities rather than insert themselves into the story as the character. In the chapter on color, Scott McCloud mentions the “vast differences” between color and black and white comics.  The panels he uses shows how different shades of color in color comic might be represented by different textures in a black and white comic. Manga is typically done in black and white and to show shading and replace the use of color artists use textures and screen tones. As Scott McCloud says, the lack of color does help the reader focus on the meaning of the words and what is happening in the manga. The textures are subtle enough that they don’t distract from what is happening in the story.

 

 

An example of how trails can direct the reader’s eye in a webcomic from Scott McCloud’s comic “I Can’t Stop Thinking #4”

In Scott McCloud’s chapter on time frames, he mentions how the reader is conditioned to read left to right. I thought it was interesting how he took advantage of the web to circumvent this typical way of reading. Already the web better lends itself to reading vertically because of scrolling but Scott McCloud pushed it even further in his webcomics by using what he calls “threads”. The reader’s eye can be pulled into a zigzag or swirly direction or upwards and then back down while they read instead of just moving from top to bottom as they scroll. The “threads” functionally work to help guide the reader so they don’t get lost but they also create more freedom in the arrangement of panels.

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