Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Here's Clue #7 for our Summer Reading Murder Mystery! There's only one clue left before the August 2nd Finale Murder Mystery Dinner at the Blum House, but there's still time for you to sign-up and play along! It's not too late to join in on the fun!
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Here’s the second installment of our “Seven Questions with Staff” series! Jed’s been with us at the library for almost four years. He has a variety of jobs around the library, but some of his favorites are doing graphic design, marketing, teaching computer classes to beginners, and planning fundraisers. When he’s not at work, he’s usually spending time with his family or is involved with an event around the community.
Q: What are some of your favorite albums?
A: “Songs for Silverman” by Ben Folds, “In Between Dreams” by Jack Johnson and anything by The Format, Bruno Mars, Cold War Kids, Gavin DeGraw and Coldplay.
Q: What types of photos do you “Like” on Instagram?
A: Scenic photos. Food photos. Animal photos.
Q: Where are some of your favorite places to go in the area?
A: The St. Louis Zoo, CityGarden, Willoughby Farm, St. Clair 10 Cine ($3 movies, yeah!) and any Goodwill/Salvation Army Store, ever.
Q: What’s the last film that you saw at a movie theater?
A: The Fault in our Stars. (Again…gotta love that St. Clair 10!)
Q: Growing up, what was your first real job?
A: Aside from mowing lawns, my first job was at Collinsville’s Dairy Freeze (on St. Louis Road).I think I was one of only a handful of male employees in its storied history. I worked there for four summers, I think.
Q: If you could be on one Reality TV Show, which one would you choose?
A: The Amazing Race.
Q: Do you have a celebrity doppelganger?
A: I’m told that I look like Tom Cruise at least once or twice each week, and I’m not really sure how I feel about that.
Posted by Jed Robbins, Library Assistant
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
Saturday, July 05, 2014
Superheroes have become an entertainment juggernaut the like of which the world has never seen before. Characters like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man have become fixtures in modern media around the world to an extent that eclipses even Mickey Mouse in his heyday. It is not unusual to see their likeness plastered just about anywhere, be it hawking merchandise in stores or teaching kids morals in schools.
The staying power of costumed crusaders alone is a feat that has barely been achieved in history. Batman and Superman first hit pages more than seventy years ago and they are as popular with kids today as they were back then. It is not just that these heroes have endured, it is that they continue to grow more popular as time marches on. In this regard it could be argued that they have already eclipsed some of their fictional peers such as pulp characters like Tarzan and cartoon hall of famers like Bugs Bunny. Today’s heroes occupy a realm alongside the great myths of the old world. It is not impossible to imagine that in the future Superman will be held in the same esteem as Hercules and other myths are today.
DC Comics more or less started the ball rolling in 1938 when Superman made his debut in Action Comics #1. From there DC was off to the races, introducing nearly all of their characters who we still know today, such as Batman, Wonder Woman, and Flash, over the next few years. Marvel Comics would jump on board with the introduction of Captain America in 1941 but would have to wait nearly twenty years to assemble a roster that could compete with DC’s. It wasn’t until 1962, when a young man named Stan Lee entered the scene, that Marvel would recruit its most well known characters like Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, and The X-Men.
There are generally considered to be four main eras in superhero history. A fifth age, sometimes dubbed “The Platinum Age”, constitutes comic books before Superman. The superhero archetype began with Superman in what is now recognized as the beginning of “The Golden Age” of comic books. Superheroes sprouted up in a more conservative world and one engulfed in World War II. As such, heroes were wholesome and patriotic while villains were generally one dimensional and unsympathetic. These more straight forward stories rarely dealt seriously with social issues and represent a simpler, more innocent time in popular entertainment.
Comics transitioned in to “The Silver Age” at the start of the Sixties. This period is marked by comics embracing their capacity to be a vehicle for social discourse. In the changing world of the 1960s, comics and superheroes began to first navigate the choppy waters of culture and society. “The Bronze Age”, considered to run somewhere from the early seventies to late eighties, more aggressively confronted rampant social issues such as alcoholism, drug use, and racism.
Since the late 1980s comic books have widely been considered to simply be in “The Modern Age”. A more nuanced and specific analysis reveals two different trends for superheroes at the turn of the millennium. “The Dark Age” of comics began in the late eighties with super hero stories taking a more grim and violent turn with writers like Grant Morrison and Todd McFarlane. An emphasis on the occult and demonic was a trend at the time with characters like Spawn, The Crow, and Blade rising to a new level of prominence.
In the 2000s super heroes invaded the big screen and took over the Hollywood market with a consistent string of big budget, box office home runs and an overwhelming flood of nearly any comic title movie studios could get their hands on. While super hero movies had been big before with knock out hits like 1978’s Superman starring Christopher Reeves and 1989’s Batman directed by Tim Burton, it wasn’t until Marvel Comics took a stab at cinema that things really took off. 2000’s X-Men performed above expectations and when Spider-Man shattered records in 2002 the wheels officially came off. Since 2000 there has been more than fifty (!) super hero movies including ground breaking hits like The Avengers and The Dark Knight. There is no end in sight either, as Warner Bros. and Marvel Studios have multiple hero movies a year already scheduled almost all the way up to 2020.
Comic books from this time reflect the shift and have begun to transition to what I have dubbed “The Blockbuster Era”. In an attempt to hook fans of the movies and appeal to the ever expanding market of new kids growing up in the hero craze, books have generally moved away from the bleak exploits of “The Dark Age” and have adopted their big screen counterpart’s penchant for family appeal, accessible stories, and a heavy focus on action and spectacle.
The library is a natural home for super heroes, who despite their far reaching influence in to all realms of marketing are still at essence characters of media. From page to screen, we have superhero fans of any age covered. There is even a brand new “Superheroes” display in the Graphic Novel section on the main floor highlighting a rotating selection of the most popular and significant titles. Whether you are a longtime fan or a rookie looking for something to read, come to the library today to spend some time with your favorite heroes!
Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Here at the library, we're always looking for ways to help our patrons get to know our staff a little bit better. In our continued efforts to do so, we're unveiling a "Seven Questions with Staff" series of blog and Facebook posts over the next few months. Each member of our staff will be asked seven questions. We hope you enjoy their (sometimes silly) replies as much as we do!
We're starting off the series with Terry. Terry has been with us at the library since September 2012. In that time, he has transitioned from being a Page to a Clerk. A film student at ASU, Terry regularly contributes cinema related writing to the blog and is always happy to provide a recommendation for a movie at the front desk. In his free time, Terry runs a YouTube page with millions (no joke!) of views dedicated to his stop motion videos and exhibits his paintings around the St. Louis area.
Q: What's your favorite restaurant in Collinsville?
A: The Sandwich Shop. I regularly spend my lunch breaks there.
Q: What's the last TV show that you binge-watched?
A: Unfortunately, it was "2 Broke Girls". I'm not proud of that.
Q: If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?
A: Probably Will Friedle. I've actually been mistaken for him before. In my wishful thinking universe, it would be Johnny Depp.
Q: What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
A: I would have to say "Baseball's Best Burger" at the Gateway Grizzlies game in GCS Stadium. It is true decadence - a Bacon Cheeseburger with a Krispy Kreme Glazed Donut as a bun.
Q: Which letter of the alphabet describes you best?
A: "T". I imagine most people would pick a prominent letter in their name. My second pick would be "Y"!
Q: What's your favorite movie?
A: If I had to pick just one movie, it would probably be The Dark Knight. I find it more efficient to represent my tastes by listing my favorite directors - Tim Burton, Quentin Tarantino, Peter Jackson and (of course) Steven Spielberg.
Q: Would you rather be a giant rodent or a tiny elephant?
A: Definitely a tiny elephant.
Posted by Jed Robbins, Library Assistant
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
Happy Cluesday! Here's Clue #4! Even though we're now halfway through, it's not too late to join in on the fun! (Er, well, it is too late for Jed...) Simply visit the library's Main Desk to register and pick-up your Solution Sheet; then you can start playing along!