Monday, March 28, 2011

Creature Tech by Doug Ten Napel - April 14th

Creature Tech is a black and white graphic novel inked and written by Doug Ten Napel, the creator of the Earthworm Jim video game series. Similar to the quirky platforming video game, Creature Tech is a humorous take on graphic novels. It is essentially a science and religion debate with some monster cats and space eels thrown in for good measure.

The book club for Creature Tech will meet on Thursday April 14th at 6:30 p.m. at Koelbel Library. Here are the discussion questions:

1. What about Dr. Ong changes throughout the graphic novel? What were the catalysts? Map out his transformation.

2. Creature Tech was written over the course of many, many years. Is there any evidence of this when reading it?

3. What is the significance of the strange scene in which the parasite is "crucified?"

4. Why is Blue the mantis important to the story? What does he teach us?

5. What is the importance of Blue's near death experience?

6. The introduction calls Creature Tech a better animated "film" than any of Pixar's offerings. Do you agree?

7. Do you think Ten Napel is spiritual? Do you think his views could be classified as agnostic, Christian, or atheist?

8. The parasite turns Dr. Ong into an Iron Man-like tragic superhero. How is Dr. Ong different from other superheroes and their depictions?

9. Why does Dr. Ong have a crucifix around his neck in the last third of the book? Where did it come from?

10. Dr. Ong's father is upset by the existence of the "real" Shroud of Turin. Why?

11. Why did Dr. Ong throw the water balloon at Katie? Was her reaction correct? She can now be considered "beautiful," but what kind of lesson is that?

12. What is the significance of Dr. Ong keeping the parasite quite possibly for life? What happens in Dr. Ong's life after the last page?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Superman: Red Son Discussion Questions

Superman: Red Son is an Elseworlds what if tale about Superman. The what if is: what if Superman had been born in Russia instead of Smallville, Kansas? This alternate universe has Lois Lane as Lois Luthor and Jimmy Olsen as Lex Luthor's advisor. The book club for it will take place on March 10th at Koelbel Library starting at 6:30 p.m. Here are the discussion questions:

1. What parallels does Superman: Red Son draw to other graphic novels based in historical events? Titles that come to mind: Maus, Berlin, Persepolis, Sacco's works.

2. What about Superman's moral code stays the same when he's Russian? What's different? How is he the same and different in general?

3. The ending of Superman: Red Son reminded me of the ending of Watchmen. Why?

4. Many, many superhero graphic novels ask the reader if the world is better off without them. Using this graphic novel's take, should the world even have superheroes?

5. What other alternate universe one-shots have you read and enjoyed?

6. Batman's silly hat. Your thoughts?

7. How did Superman negatively and positively effect the Russian Empire? Can this be said for regular superman and the United States?

8. Superman: Red Son brings up the age old nature versus nurture argument. Is it in Superman's nature to be good, or did the environment he grew up in change him?

9. Superman stories like Kingdom Come, All-Star Superman, and The Dark Knight Returns all seem to keep using similar ideas of Batman vs. Superman and Superman's strong moral code. Is the Man of Steel becoming stale? Can you think of any other commonly used plot threads in Superman stories?

10. Much of the criticism of Superman: Red Son is that its far too short for what it's trying to do. Your thoughts?

11. How did you feel about the very ending of the book, the last few pages?

12. How do Lex Luthor's actions mirror those of current world politicians? Luthor uses a means to an end-type approach.