Sunday, February 28, 2010

Linky Link: Plagiarism and Copyright for this week

Part 1: Hot Topic, the store
First, flying around on my [private] Twitter Feed this week was the accusation that Hot Topic (popular teen "punk/goth" store) ripped off yet another Indie Artist with a t-shirt design. Since this is buried so deep in Twitter now (and was Retweeted [RT] often by web comic artists who fall under the "Indie Artist" category), see this link for thoughts and links to the original design. It seems Hot Topic did keep to their word and took the work down.

Now, just two days ago I saw this RT from web comic artist Rene Engstrom (of AndersLovesMaria fame - NSFW) saying Hot Topic had ripped off artist Kawaii Not by using her images in two buttons without her permission. Kawaii Not's images are difficult to link to as the buttons were all listed on the same page and hard to find without serious searching, but the images were basically the same as the Hot Topic buttons. The Hot Topic image links are in the RT and it seems, just two days later that Hot Topic has taken these buttons down as well (they are "Error Links").

I bring this up because one of my favorite web comic artists (Jess Fink - def. NSFW) had a design of hers taken about 2 years ago which was already a Threadless shirt at that point. Here's an excellent write up about that issue.

While I seriously should be more angry at the designers (and I am), it is Hot Topic's fault to be selling it. Hot Topic has been very good at taking stuff down when asked, but I can't help but wonder what is or isn't original about the stuff that isn't Twilight, Invader Zim, Lenore or "brand names" any more.

Part 2: Bleach Vs. Incarnate
I'm really not going to go into this one mainly because I have not read Bleach yet and Johanna Draper Carlson (I hope I'm attributing this to the right author) does a beautiful write up at Comics Worth Reading. She's included most of the links I've seen just browsing on this topic and I think it brings up a great point about "scanlations" (scans of titles unreleased in the U.S.A. [usually Japanese Manga] available freely on the Internet that may be in the original language or "fan subbed" [translated into English by fans]). I honestly did not know all of the history about scanlations or how the Japanese felt about plagiarism until I read this article.

Why bring these up? As I write these, I realize they are more relevant plagiarism cases for teens. Here are some great "real world" examples of what happens when you are caught and how fast this stuff moves. Basically, I think lessons like the two above are more likely to stick with students than those of "don't copy an author's work for your paper."

Part 3: Books too!!
Music, movies, TV shows, and other general media aren't the only things getting pirated any more and as librarians we need to be aware of this. Books are going that way too. Laurie Halse Anderson recently posted about "Book Pirates": Part 1 and Part 2. I suspect that the more we see eReaders coming out, the more book pirating will happen. I believe that as librarians, we need to be aware that this exists and try to do our little part in educating users.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Review: Otomen volume 1

Title: Otomen Vol. 1
Author: Aya Kanno
Illustrator: Aya Kanno
Publisher: Viz Media
Copyright: 2009 (2006 Japan)
Price: $8.99
ISBN: 978-1-4215-2186-2
Summary: Asuka Masamune may be the manliest man anyone knows, but he harbors a secret: he loves cute and girly objects and hobbies. When he first encounters boyish Ryo, she is facing a gang of bullies and defending a boy. Asuka immediately falls in love with her and realizes he has to face his identity while keeping his reputation intact. Enter Juta, a flirt, a playboy, and secretly one of the most popular shojo manga artists whose muse is Asuka. Juta can see the attraction between Ryo and Asuka and decides to provide a little divine intervention, while enjoying delicious bento lunches prepared by Asuka. In this volume, Asuka helps Ryo as she prepares to celebrate her manly father’s upcoming birthday. When her father discovers that he can bake, Asuka is challenged to fight with Ryo’s father.
Thoughts: Asuka, Juta, and Ryo provide a delightful and funny group to observe in this shojo manga. Immediately from the start, you know that one of the major plot points will be about Asuka as he works through his identity crisis and learning to please himself and not others. Juta provides great comic relief in the story, causing me to laugh out loud (at least once). Also, the fact that he is secretly the author behind the parallel manga in the story provides a great plot point. This is a deeply layered shojo manga that isn’t just about romance and I look forward to reading more of this series.
Will Teens Like It? Probably. The identity crisis occurring, the comedy, and the quirky story are all great points to this title.
Things to be aware of: Possibly mild language.
Bonus: ALA Great Graphic Novels 2010

Reviewed a library copy.

ALA Great Graphic Novels 2010

It seems to me that many librarians know about YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults, but do you know about YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens? As I understand, this is "the" list to go to if you want to build a "great graphic novel" collection. In the past, I have had major qualms with the lists as I glanced over them. My biggest issue was that it seemed like many titles weren't appealing to teens, but this was me. The 2010 list though certainly has a diverse selection of books and I can say that I like the diversity. I recognize many titles and manga is making more of an appearance than it used to.

Why do I bring up this list? Aside from the fact that this is a good resource for librarians, I have decided to work through as much of the list as I can. I was surprised that as I looked over the list I have yet to read a single title (as of this moment I've read one and am working on the second)! Also, a working knowledge of the literature being discussed is very useful to me.

So there you have it. I hope to read and review all of ALA's Great Graphic Novels for 2010 and give useful reviews.

Also, please pardon me as I attempt to find my voice for this blog. Today, I had my mom proof my reviews and she gave me some good feedback. I keep picturing myself "tripping" as I work through a very overgrown path. I know that the path will clear out, but it will take some time. My mom and I have been talking about blogs and identities, which is interesting if you think about it as you have to figure out boundaries, which I'm trying to do now and post reviews.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! I had a semi-plan for this post today. I was going to define Shojo Manga after a Shojo Manga review and tell you my first exposure (Mars) and some current faves (Otomen, Captive Hearts). Instead, I spent a good portion of the weekend spending time with The Philosopher Musician, talking to a good friend, and trekking to the museum today to see an awesome exhibit.

I promise that next weekend, you'll start seeing reviews of more recent titles. The main hang up is that I have four books to write reviews of and I need The Philosopher Musician to edit them (plus some). I have school work to do in there too...

ALSO, I went to the Main Library this weekend and walked out with a stack of graphic novels. Add to this that I also ordered a slew of them at the beginning of last week from the library. Problem? It snowed. A lot. So books didn't travel from their home library to mine until this weekend. I'm excited for the stuff coming in, but it is an awful lot.

In other news...

The Cybils 2009 Award Winners have been announced. In that slew of books I'm getting is the YA Graphic Novel winner. I'm very interested to read this one, especially now that it won.

GROG - Naruto Vol. 1

Title: Naruto Vol. 1
Author: Masashi Kishimoto
Illustrator: Masashi Kishimoto
Copyright: 2003 (1999 Japan)
Price: $7.95
ISBN: 978-1-56931-900-0
Summary: Prankster and trickster Naruto wants to become an adult. Unfortunately, his desire for attention has stopped him from being able to graduate school and become an “adult.” Naruto also harbors a secret that is linked into what happened to the town 12 years ago. In this first volume, Naruto does eventually graduate from school, but only after proving himself a more capable ninja than was first thought and after his secret is revealed.
Thoughts: In my first exposure to this, I really thought it was stupid and immature. Reading Naruto from the beginning, though, I find Naruto is a likable character. You can’t help but hope that he gets either the respect and/or the title that he is after. It is hard to tell if Naruto believes his connection to the town’s past or not as he is only focused on becoming the best Ninja. Overall, this title is a funny and interesting read. I can easily understand why teens like this title, but I would not recommend for anyone under the age of 13.
Will Teens Like It? Yes, popularity of Shonen Jump (which this is published under) and how many times teens have asked for this proves so.
Things to be aware of: “Ninja Centerfold” – Naruto’s transformation trick is to turn into a nude (yet important stuff is hidden) female. Language, such as “crap.”

Reviewed library copy.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

GROG - Love*Com Vol. 8 and 9

Title: Love*Com (Lovely Complex) Vol. 8, 9
Author: Aya Nakahara
Illustrator: Aya Nakahara
Copyright: 2008 (Japanese 2001)
Price: $8.99 each
ISBN: Vol. 8 – 978-1-4215-1741-4
Vol. 9 – 978-1-4215-1742-1
Summary: Tall Risa Koizumi and short Atsushi Otani are finally dating! The problem? They can’t seem to move from being friends to being a couple. Mainly, this is due to Risa’s lack of experience of being a girlfriend (or rather, no experience at all). In volume 8, Risa and Otani finally go on a date to an arcade, but just as things seem to finally be working out, Otani’s next door neighbor, Mimi, declares that she loves Otani and will fight Risa for his love. In volume 9, Otani seems to have no problem telling others he loves Risa, but never seems to tell her. This issue causes Risa to ditch Otani and go to the school festival with Haruka. 
Thoughts: I absolutely love the play on the covers for volume 8 and 9 as each person is the central focus with their two love interests. Unfortunately, I’m growing weary of the series. Risa is a fun character, but she doesn’t seem to have the drive to focus on her future. She lives for the moment and when all of her friends begin focusing on their futures, it really shows how immature Risa is. Plus, Otani continues to berate her and call her “useless”, “lame”, and many other demeaning things. Though it’s helping her realize her problems, she doesn’t seem to get better. When it can’t seem to get worse, Otani pulls a romantic moment and all is well…for a moment.
Will Teens Like It? Probably. It covers a lot of insecurities teens have and almost every character has an aspect of your close friends in there, magnified.
Things to be aware of: Nothing really. No sex. No nudity. No foul language. Just immature language. A major plus it is so clean.
Bonus: I first picked this series up because of a review I saw on Luckily, I’m not the only one reading this currently so if you want to be “spoiled” by someone else, go to Comics Worth Reading (a very good blog).

I reviewed library copies. WOO. Go Library.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

GROG - Hikaruo No Go Vol. 1

Title: Hikaru No Go Vol. 1
Author: Yumi Hotta
Illustrator: Takeshi Obata
Copyright: 2004 (1998 Japan)
Price: $7.95
ISBN: 1-59116-222-x
Summary: Hikaru Shindo is your average Japanese sixth grader looking to make an extra dollar or two. One day, as he is rooting through his grandfather’s attic, he comes upon an old, stained Go board. Only Hikaru can see the stains and as he cleans the stains, he releases the ghost of Fujiwara-no-Sai, an ancient Go master and tutor to the emperor. Hikaru, thinking that there’d be no harm, agrees to Sai becoming part of his consciousness, but Sai wants to play Go every day. How can Hikaru play Go when he doesn’t even know or like the game?
Thoughts: Hikaru No Go is connected to the popular Manga magazine Shonen Jump. This title is a fun read, even for those who don’t know the game Go. Hikaru is your typical selfish sixth grader who is starting to discover girls, which I found really funny, despite his best friend being a girl. This title has been fairly popular and rightly so as Hikaru tries to learn what makes Go players so intense. A solid read for middle school teens.
Will Teens Like It? Probably. There is enough stuff happening in the plot around the Go games that if teens don’t understand it, they’ll look away.
Things to be aware of: Nothing!
Bonus:  This is a title I’d recommend a middle school library looking into. While there are your usual teen antics, there’s nothing dirty or inappropriate.

The copy I read was a library copy.