Bookhunter

Bookhunter / Jason Shiga

Cold open

The metropolitan library system is divided into two equally important groups: the Librarians, who facilitate access to information and the Library Police who investigate crimes against it. This is their story.

(Gavel sound)

The Library Police have finally tracked down the individual responsible for the disappearance of multiple copies of Judy Blume’s Forever. While preparing to break into the criminal’s apartment and recover the books they discover that the fiend is holding the books hostage. Thanks to the quick thinking of the inspector and the creative use of a shotgun, the books are retrieved unharmed. But this is only the beginning…

(Opening credits)

(Commercial break)

Law

(Dramatic glasses removal)

A Caxton Bible on loan to the main branch of the public library has mysteriously disappeared without triggering any of the security systems.

(Dramatic glasses return)

The Library Police are called in to investigate the case.

(Dramatic glasses removal)

They must discover the source of the replica currently in the display case, how the culprit managed to get the book out of the library without triggering the security system, and what

(Commercial break)

(Gavel sound)

(Dramatic glasses removal)

the villain’s ultimate goal is. They’ll use the most up-to-date technology to track down the culprit and retrieve the stolen book … by any means necessary.

(Gavel sound)

Order

Shiga is mostly known for his non-linear, experimental style. Bookhunter is not one of those titles. It’s a straightforward 1970s police procedural with a cute setting and a slightly macabre sense of humor. It’s a solid acquisition if only to round out a graphic novel section with something not superhero or manga related.

It’s also pretty impressive in the way it integrates incredibly obscure facts about bookbinding and librarianship into the narrative. It almost works as library advocacy. The only thing that holds it back is the 1970s setting isn’t going to be persuasive to “everything’s online why do we need librarians” types.

Recommended to anyone looking for unusual comics, for getting comics (adult) non-readers into comics, fans of police procedurals with a sense of humor, and all librarians everywhere for all time.

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