Bookhunter, by Jason Shiga. Published 2007 by Sparkplug Comics.
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Bookhunter, by Jason Shiga, is a brief graphic novel about a special agent from the Library Police, tracking down a missing, rare manuscript that has been stolen from the fictional Oakland Public Library. As a librarian, graphic novels about libraries and librarians always catch my eye, so when I saw Bookhunter in my local comics shop it was basically a no-brainer as to whether or not I'd read it.
It's a fun book, full of action and activity, as well as a detailed, funny look at library procedures and technology- preservation, security, circulation. Shiga has fun with the "behind the scenes" of the library, and presents the staff as knowledgable, smart and cagey when it comes to tracking down the thief. The dinosaur displays added a bit of humor, although Shiga has written the whole book with tongue firmly implanted in cheek. Shiga utilizes library jargon liberally and smartly, and I enjoyed the action scenes- the chase, the investigation. Character development is fairly thin in Bookhunter- I think the investigator is supposed to be a funny, noirish character but he came off flat. The other characters are just placeholders. And I think Shiga draws scenery and activity with a little more verve than he does the people, and the sepia-tinted panels gave the whole comic a slightly old fashioned feel.
Well, Bookhunter is a good time of a graphic novel. People who like libraries will get a kick out of it for sure, and there is very little in the way of violence or sex (basically none) so it's a fine choice for teens as well as adult readers. It reads quickly, and it's full of movement. Not the best thing I've ever read, but fun and worthwhile.