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Robin | Jen | Alison | George | Katie | Wil | Gina

Robin

who?
Yes, that is me over there on the right, in comic form (as seems only fitting.) My name is Robin Brenner, resident comics and graphic novel enthusiast at Cary Memorial Library in Lexington, Massachusetts. I am currently working as a Library Technician and now have my Masters Degree in Library Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a hope to go into teen services in either a public or school library. I graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1999, majoring in Creative Writing, studying fine arts (yes, I did that drawing to the right) and in general realizing just how cool librarians are.

where?
At the moment, I live just outside of Boston.

why?
I've been working on developing the graphic novel collection at Cary Memorial Library with our resident Young Adult Librarian. About 5 years ago, I was asked to do some research into graphic novels, and the rest is history! I cannot claim to know even close to the amount many fans out there know, but I do know libraries, I'm beginning to know teens (heck, it wasn't all that long ago that I was one myself), and I am certainly enthusiastic (if you haven't noticed that already.)

what's your favorite graphic novel?
No! Don't make me choose! All right. Currently, I've been very impressed by Fables and Blankets. I also recently adored Sparks and the continuing Ultimate series from Marvel. My manga infatuation continues with Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, Pet Shop of Horrors, and Only the Ring Finger Knows.

who's your favorite comic books character?
Well, that's a tough one, but I'd have to say Oracle, co-star of Birds of Prey. Oracle, once Batgirl and known in civilian life as Barbara Gordon, is quite the woman. Her career as Batgirl ended after a nasty trick by the Joker paralysed her from the waist down, but she rebuilt her life and her strength using the tools available to her. Once a reference librarian, as Oracle she now uses her information-seeking skills and the Internet to be the information broker for her mentor Batman, Nightwing, and the Black Canary. She also trains the current Batgirl. She's just way too cool for words.

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Petra

who?
I graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1999 with a major in medieval European history. More recently, I just completed a Masters degree at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (which interesting qualifies me to practice neither law nor diplomacy). I am currently catching up on sleep after 2 years in grad school, indulging in large quantities of guilt free reading, and looking for a job that lets me incorporate pop culture and conflict resolution. If you come across one, let me know.

where?
Boston.

why?
It's all Robin's doing. One day I'm looking at her skeptically as she enthuses about Batman: Year One and wondering who exactly this Alan Moore person is; a year later I'm structuring my Master's thesis around Warren Ellis' vision of the future. Plus, I get a nifty little portrait of me.

what's your favorite graphic novel?
I can only have one? Ah . . . Ultimate Spiderman, I guess. Although, Queen & Country is running a very close second.

who's your favorite comic books character?
Jenny Sparks, The Authority ° spirit of the 20th Century, kicks a whole lotta ass and doesn't put up with anyone's crap, what girl doesn't aspire to that?

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Jen

who?
Like my partner in crime-- er, esteemed colleague, I'm a Library Technician at Cary Memorial Library in Lexington, Massachusetts. I'll receive my MLS from the University of Illinois in 2005. When not glued to a computer I'm usually walking around (sometimes in front of oncoming traffic!) with my nose in a book. I graduated from Oberlin College in 2000. If it weren't for librarianship, I would want to be a rock star by day/superhero by night. Or maybe vice versa. My favorite book of all time is Pride and Prejudice.

where?
I live with my sweetheart outside Boston, MA.

why?
I've always loved comics, and I got into graphic novels in college when I was introduced to Neil Gaiman's Sandman series. I also love to share my opinions, so I'm thrilled that Robin's letting me contribute!

what's your favorite graphic novel?
My current favorite comics would have to be Paradise Kiss, Pet Shop of Horrors, and Hopeless Savages. Other favorites include Meridian, Transmetropolitan, Top Ten, and Castle Waiting. And...oh wait, you asked for just one?

who's your favorite comic books character?
For Best Comic Character I nominate the Doctor from The Authority. He's a former addict who now draws on the knowledge of all the world's past shamans (like Gandhi and Einstein!) to do cool things like turning the forces of evil into trees.

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Alison

who?
I'm not a Vulcan Science Officer, but instead the Research Publications Coordinator at the Harvard AIDS Institute. Currently I'm formulating a plan to leave the fascinating world of international public health for art school next fall (off to make some comics of my own!). What does all this have to do with my BA in English Literature, you ask? Ha! Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

where?
Bouncing like a Ping-Pong ball between downtown Boston and Davis Square, Somerville.

why?
Because Robin invited me! And because ever since I picked up my first issues of Sandman and Transmetropolitan, I knew I had stumbled onto something really exciting. Surrealistic stories and fantastic artwork all between the same two covers ° who says you can have too much of a good thing?

what's your favorite graphic novel?
Gah! OK, listing just one is out of the question, sooo Fortune and Glory for the sheer thigh-slappin' hilarity of it all; the Authority series because that is one of my favorite alternate realities of all time; and The Invisibles (OK, OK, we haven't reviewed it yet, but these were the first comics I ever read, and they're creepy, seditious, and fantastic).

who's your favorite comic book character?
Lord Fanny: butt-kicking, cross-dressing, weather-controlling, Aztec shaman of The Invisibles. Hmmm╔ or maybe Delirium from Sandman. I'd dress up as either of those girls for Halloween.

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George

who?
My name is George Galuschak, and I'm the librarian at the Montvale Public Library in Montvale, NJ. I am 35 years old, and have the gray hairs to prove it. Unlike Robin, I cannot draw at all, so you'll all have to settle for a picture instead.

where?
I live in beautiful Northern New Jersey, the Traffic Mecca of the United States.

why?
I've been reading comic books for twenty five years. The first comic book I picked up was the storyline when the Flash (Barry Allen) was trying to find out who killed his wife, and got into a fight with Captain Boomerang.

what's your favorite graphic novel?
My favorite graphic novel of 2003 was Fantastic Four: Unthinkable, because I love character driven storylines and I also have a soft spot in my heart for the Fantastic Four. I'll let you know my favorite graphic novel of 2004 in about nine months.

who's your favorite comic book character?
Grimjack (aka John Gaunt).

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Katie

who?
Katie graduated in 2000 with an English degree and a large amount of student loan debt. She's currently looking to earn more student loan debt by entering grad school and taking on the world of Media Studies. By day she fights for the marketing and communication of nonprofits. By night she spends too much money on comics and music, blogs, updates her website, and goes to as many rock shows as possible.

where?
Boston, specifically the C train on the green-line.

why?
Because she wants to get sassy NFNT swag from Robin and be like the other cool kids. Also, she's been reading comics, manga, and watching anime since high school and wants to spread the love.

what's your favorite graphic novel?
While this question is clearly Robin's version of torture, if forced to identify a few, Katie's favorite comics would be Powers, Y the Last Man, the very beginning of Books of Magic, Enigma, Shade the Changing Man, Courtney Crumrin, Clover, and Hopeless Savages.

who's your favorite comic book character?
While this question is just plain mean, if forced to single out a few of the many, Katie would identify Courtney Crumrin, Det. Christian Walker, Delerium, Dick Grayson, Jessica Jones, Sophie Bangs, and Twitch and Zero Hopless-Savage as several of her favorites.

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Wil

who?
I'm a 27 year old Quality Assurance engineer with a penchant for comics. I majored in computer science in college, but none of that really matters here. I guess what WOULD matter is how long I've been reading comics, and the answer to that is: since I was very, very little. My start to comics were the old Uncle Scrooge and Richie Rich comics my parents found "tasteful" for kids. Also, my father had a small collection of Golden Age Legion of Superheroes comics that I liked to read. I used to draw my own wacky comics when I became coherent enough to write things with plots. Nowadays, I mostly read various manga, comics like Sandman, Exiles and old book collections of Legion of Superheroes.

where?
Outside Boston.

why?
I grew up with comics. My parents encouraged reading them and drawing them. I've always had an artistic nature to me, so I appreciate books with pictures more than books without. Comics are just another sort of books with pictures... Lots of pictures. Pretty, pretty pictures. Mmmm... Where was I?

what's your favorite graphic novel?
That's a tough one. I like so many. Exiles is a lot of fun... Very Quantum Leapish. I always like a good Sandman story too, as long as they don't get too chatty. I'm also a fan of the old stories from the Tales From the Crypt and Vault of Horror comics. They're pretty graphic.

who's your favorite comic book character?
Hmmm... Kaneda, from Akira. He's a faithful friend, and a real bad-ass when he has to be. Also, he's got a very nice bike.

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Gina

who?
Working in publishing, I spend a large portion of my day reading books. Then I come home and read more books. Sometimes, on special occasions, I interact with people. I have a degree in anthropology and not enough bookshelves.

where?
In the last three years, I've inhabited California, Oregon, Connecticut, and New York. I'm currently spending a good deal of time on the Metro North train (New Haven to New York).

why?
When I was in college, I ran a small comic book library. After graduating, having acquired a moderate amount of knowledge about comics from my sojourn in school, I looked around for something to do with it... and found Robin's excellent No Flying, No Tights.

what's your favorite graphic novel?
Stray Toasters, by Bill Sienkiewicz. Yes, I'm aware that you've probably never heard of this book before in your life. Nonetheless, the art is fantastic, and it's about a guy who tries to turn a kid into a toaster. How could a book possibly go wrong with such a subject?

who's your favorite comic book character?
My favorite X-character is Marrow (though she was better in the few issues that she was in Australia and had bone-antennae): my favorite character in the DC-verse is Impulse (Batgirl-- the third one-- is a close second): otherwise, the character who currently tops my list is Glenn Ganges from Kevin Huizenga's Or Else series.

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copyright Robin Brenner 2002-2004