The Stan Lee Excelsior Award is the fairly young brainchild of school librarian, Paul Register. The idea of it is to promote reading for pleasure among children and teenagers, as well as raising the profile of graphic novels and manga among school librarians and teachers. In the past couple of years there’s been a variety of winners including lots of recognisable and popular superheroes. And the best part? It’s getting kids reading because they are the judges – they fill out rating forms on story, artwork, characters and dialogue, as well as their own comments and thoughts, to be totted up and announced in July. For a small fee schools can buy the shortlisted books and get their kids reading.
As a school assistant librarian I’m allowed to vote for the ‘Judge A Book By Its Cover’ award. In a similar vein to how the kids rate the books, I will be publishing weekly my opinions of the shortlisted books, starting with the librarian’s choice award, which is a great introduction to the short list.
Judge a Book By Its Cover Award (JABBICA) Librarian’s Choice
I have to say, all of the books look rather brilliant – colourful, exciting and enticing.
My eyes were immediately drawn to the books that had the heroes I recognised on the covers – Hulk, Batman, Captain America and the Justice League. The Indestructable Hulk cover is particularly attractive – the line work is smooth and the blend of colours masterful, reminding me of a watercolour painting. There’s a hell of a lot going on. Where The Judas Coin has fantastic composition and more of an old-fashioned art style, I prefer how Batman is presented for Earth 2, while Captain America is a bit too shadowy to really appreciate.
I’ve never read manga and I have to say Sherlock Bones doesn’t really look like my cup of tea. An interesting concept, though, nice and colourful – loads of the kids at school are going to love it.
As for The Halloween Legion…it’s the least interesting, the least fine.
The Judge a Book By Its Cover Award goes to…
My favourite cover, then, is Quantum and Woody. It’s fun, it’s colourful, and it look like the book behind it would be a right laugh. I like the way it’s drawn, I like the blues and contrasting yellows, and I like the goat.
Stay tuned for my ratings and reviews of the Stan Lee Excelsior Award shortlisted books.