Sunday, August 22, 2010

Librarians and Libraries in Fiction II: Rex Libris

Turner, James. Rex Libris: I Librarian. San Jose: SLG Publishing, 2007.

Submitted by R. Stuhr

This is the first volume in a comic books series, with the tag: "The World's Favorite Butt-Kicking, Sesquepedalian Librarian!" I have volume one and two on my bookshelves. The second is Book of Monsters and was published in 2009. Each volume is made up of multiple issues, which can be purchases separately from SLG Publishing. Check out the Rex Libris Web site to read about one of the few vector based comic books in the world. Rex Libris has mythical qualities. When he isn't traveling across time and space, he is the Head Librarian at Middleton Public Library. The library, apparently has generous lending policies, because Rex Libris travels to the "farthest reaches of the galaxy" in search of overdue books, all the while fighting the forces of ignorance and darkness. He wears "super thick bottle glasses" and is "armed with an arsenal of high technology weapons." Zombies as well as recalcitrant borrowers figure into the plot line.

Within these pages you will find your blams, pows, zips, and zings (also thaks, thwopks, and schwifs).

Truthfully, I find slogging through a graphic novel, no matter how creative and how much about librarians not really my first choice of reading. But these have great black and white illustrations by Turner, and enough villains, odd creatures, black market weapons, and references to all the intellectuals of times past you could possibly want. Here is a tiny sample from book 1, I, Librarian:

"Find for the first time in print ever, the tumultuous tales of the public library system and its unending battle against the forces of evil. This struggle is not just confined to our terrestrial sphere but extends out into the farthest reaches of the cosmos ... and beyond! The librarian has faced patrons so terrible, so horrific, they they cannot be described here without the risk of driving readers mad. But enough prattle and preamble! Settle back with a cup of coffe and a donut (or other pastry if you prefer), and prepare to enter the secret world of ... Rex Libris 'I, Librarian.'"

Immediately, the reader is thrown into a confrontation between the librarian and a demanding patron:

"Puny Mortal! I am Kurui-No-Oni, Demon Spirit Samurai! I need no card! I take what I wish! Give me the book, lest I squash you like the sniveling little bookworm that you are!"

(Rex:) "Listen Bucko, the branch administrator sez nobody, but nobody, takes out a book here without getting a card and signing for it. And that includes you, Buster. .... And you're going to have to check that sword at the desk."

So that is just the very beginning--imagine where this winding tale can take you. Join Rex and his roommate Simonides (turned into a bird by Circe--a former villain and now cookie baker), on his travels and investigations (when the Montgomery Reading Room is overrun by vandals, they really are Vandals).

More on Rex Libris

Check out Volume 1 from Burling Library:

1st Floor, Smith Memorial PN 6727. T865x R48 2007

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