Category Archives: Graphic Novels

My Comics Addiction – where it came from and where it is going

My addiction to comics can be traced back to one specific comic book, I know this because it is always in my mind. Often not consciously thought about but it is there. The comic book in question is issue 27 of Saga of the Swamp Thing written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Steven Bissette and John Totleben. The story was called By Demons Driven.

As for these shrieking statues, I’ll not weep,
They’ll perish as they lived: dazed, witless sheep
In slaughterhouses far beyond their ken.
I shed no tear for those that die unshriven,
For they are men. Just men. And what are men
But chariots of wrath, by demons driven!

– Etrigan the Demon

Monsters, demons, possession, alcohol abuse, and pure, visceral storytelling… I still have the comic somewhere in a box at my parent’s house in Cape Town. I read somewhere that Moore wrote The demon Etrigan’s speech in iambic pentameter (who says thet comics can’t teach you anything?).

Growing up in Cape Town in the ‘80’s it was not an easy time to be a comics fan (comics were hard to find), after a particularly bad series of tests and exams my parents banned comics (well they tried to) I rescued the remains of comics from a box in the front of the house, the inner section of a batman 80 page special from the 1960’s I think, with a story about a Mexican batman and a villain with a parrot I can still remember the Batman deducing that the Mexican Batman was in league with the bad guy by seeing parrot claw marks on his colleague’s shoulder, there were also some Archie comics, Richie Rich a Spiderman mixed in with sundry other titles.

I hunted down comics where I could but they were few and far between in those days and it would be a few years before professional comic shops opened.

The first was Reader’s Den in Cape Town and later came Outer Limits which became my regular haunt when I was studying at the Cape Technikon. I collected the entirety of Preacher by Garth Ennis from Outer Limits but I am getting a bit ahead of myself.

Whilst in High School (and after my parents had forgotten about the comics ban) I was introduced to the Batman, and soon I was collecting Batman, Detective comics and Shadow of the Bat and Jim Balent’s Catwoman – only the early storylines as I did like a good story and an improbably voluptuous Selina Kyle could only keep my attention for so long. I collected Batman from the mid 400’s to the early 500’s. In between Batman and studying for tests and exams I discovered a corner store in Kalk bay where I lived that had a revolving rack stuffed with back issues of Justice League International (the storyline before it split into Justice League America and Justice League Europe) a FUNNY, dysfunctional super-hero story starring Batman, the Martian Manhunter Guy Gardner Green Lantern, Mister Miracle, Big Barda and others – just what I needed to take my mind off ever looming exams!

I was saved from superhero comics by 2000AD and discovered a number of writers that I still follow – Garth Ennis, Alan Moore again (it was the complete DR & Quinch trade paperback), Pat Mills and others. Then there was Hellblazer, Sandman – the creation of the Vertigo line in 1993 kept me reading comics, I still have the first issue of The Extremist and some of the Hellblazer comics (Hellblazer predated Vertigo) I have some loose copies of The Family Man and Fear Machine storylines. Along the way I flirted with Spawn by Todd McFarlane – I had number from 1 to the 60’s (I sold those to part finance my ‘plane ticket to the UK)

I spent many Friday afternoons at Outer Limits when it was still on the Cape Town foreshore (after I had finished at Tech.) I was introduced to Sirius Entertainment – they published Chi-Chian by Voltaire as well as his Oh My Goth series and the Dawn comics by Joseph Michael Linsner. The one true comics love of my early to mid-20’s was Preacher by Garth Ennis, I followed Garth from Hellblazer and regretted not an instant! One man’s search for god who has abandoned his creation, followed by Tulip – his ex girlfriend (now a hitwoman) and Cassidy an Irish vampire – it was spot on for my tastes at that time and even today I still love it! Whenever I go back to South Africa (usually once a year or so) I did out my Preacher box and reread the series – usually in the evening when everyone has gone to bed and my nephew Scott is not there as he loves comics but at 12 is too young for many of my comics.

I was also a fan of Bitterkomix – a South African publication mainly by Joe Dog and Conrad Botes two Afrikaner art students who were creating comics that were scandalising Stellenbosch University and Afrikaner culture (this was in the dying days of the National party led government prior to free and fair elections in South Africa.

Nowadays as a respectable librarian earning a (fairly) decent salary with access ot the internet I have been collecting comics that I had only heard about when growing up and also trade paperbacks of comics I read. I have just finished rereading Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis – political futurist sci-fi with a distinct humanist bent bloody funny and sharp as a razor. I have an original B&W trade paperback of Rick Veitch’s Brat Pack, most of Alan Moore’s back catalogue and his ABC stuff.

I do most of my shopping at Gosh Comics which is, to my mind one of London’s best book shops. I have also started collecting individual comics again – only two series Saga by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples and The Massive by Brian Wood.

I collected The DFC for the entirety of its (too short) run and am debating with myself about subscribing to the Phoenix – I flip through it every now & then at Gosh but am afraid of committing in case I am hurt again.

I also read manga – but fairly infrequently these days (my time as the manga librarian is coming to an end) I still enjoy anime – particularly the movies released by Studio Ghibli, Madhouse and Gonzo.

It is so easy to get hooked on reading comics these days. Most public libraries stock graphic novels, if you are in a university or college take a look under 741.5 in the Dewey sequence. that is how I discovered Watchmen, Maus and Dark Knight returns when I was studying.

Or if you have money to spare check out your local comic shop!

It's Comics Time!

Sarah McIntyre has written a brilliant introduction to The Phoenix comic (it can also be used to explain why comics are awesome and good to read generally) on her site:

it’s comics time: calling all librarians!!! Read it now! It is brilliant!

Sarah is the creator of the excellent Vern & Lettuce comic that appeared in the lamented The DFC her work has also appeared in Nelson – a comic book by 54 comics artists about a day a year over 43 years in the life of a girl called Nelson.

The Holocaust: Graphic Novels

The term Holocaust, originally from the Greek word “holokauston” which means “sacrifice by fire,” refers to the Nazi’s persecution and planned slaughter of the Jewish people. The Hebrew word HaShoah, which means “calamity” or “devastation” is also used for this genocide.

The thought of what was wrought between 1933 & 1945, not just to the Jews but also to Gypsies, homosexuals, people with disabilities and many others is almost impossible to comprehend. It was inhumanity of a scale that dwarfs the imagination. I have known about what happened for years, it is taught in schools, many volumes have been written about what happened but until I visited the Holocaust exhibit at the Imperial War Museum several years ago, my knowledge was academic. Seeing the pile of shoes in the exhibit and the clothes worn by the inmates of the camps and everything else displayed there affected me so much that I am actually frightened by the thought of going back in to the exhibit.

In 2010 I was working for Brent Libraries and for Holocaust Memorial Day we were fortunate to have artist Maurice Blik a survivor of Belsen come in to Willesden Green Library to give a talk to a combined group from local secondary schools. I wept as I listened to him speak of his experiences as a child and the loss of his younger sister. He is a phenomenal artist and also a fantastic speaker.

That brings me on to graphic novels, it has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and that is true of comic books. The belief that comics could be more than disposable entertainment had already begun to change when Art Spiegelman’s Maus: a Survivor’s Tale was published, but it was this book more than many of the other graphic novels published in the late 1980’s that helped change that supposition.

Maus is the tale of Art Spiegelman’s troubled relationship with his father Vladek, a Holocaust survivor, and, through his conversations with his father the story of his family’s experiences of Hitler’s Final Solution. In Maus the Jews were represented as mice, the Germans as cats (Katzies), the French as Frogs and so on. Maus has been described as ‘the most affective and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust’ by the Wall Street Journal and after over 20 years of publication it is still a powerful and moving narrative of the Holocaust and the effect it had on the survivors. Art Spiegelman won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 after the second volume had been published. A companion volume entitled MetaMaus was published in 2011.

 

In the pages of METAMAUS, Art Spiegelman re-enters the Pulitzer prize-winning MAUS, the modern classic that has altered how we see literature, comics, and the Holocaust ever since it was first published twenty-five years ago.
He probes the questions that MAUS most often evokes – Why the Holocaust? Why mice? Why comics? – and gives us a new and essential work about the creative process.

Auschwitz by Pascal Croci begins and ends in a squalid room in former Yugoslavia in 1993, another graphic novel rendered beautifully in black & white, Auschwitz is a fictionalized story of an elderly couple trapped in the midst of the civil war that presaged the breakup of Yugoslavia. They relive their memories of being trapped in Auschwitz and what they had to endure to survive. Pascal Croci interviewed a number of survivors to make sure that his story was accurate, and based a number of incidences within the book on events that happened to his interviewees during the war. Auschwitz is relatively short – only 70 pages of story but it is no less harrowing for its brevity, it also contains background information to the creation of the book, including extracts from transcripts of the interviews and a glossary of terms used.

 

 

Eric Heuvel is the author and illustrator of A Family Secret, using the ligne claire style of drawing pioneered by Herge the creator of Tintin to illustrate the book, he tells the story of Jeroen, who, while searching in his grandmother’s attic for items to sell at a flea market finds a scrapbook created by his grandmother in 1936. On enquiring about what it was about, Helena starts telling her grandson about her youth in Amsterdam in the 1930’s and the arrival of Esther, a young Jewish girl, and her family.
A Family Secret is a wonderful example of a family split apart by politics and duty, viewed from the perspective of Helena who is telling the story. Using a child’s view for the narration gives the tale of the invasion of Holland and the indignities heaped on the citizens of Amsterdam and the Jews in particular. Helena’s father was a police officer and after the German occupation he had to become involved in clearing the Jews from Amsterdam and one evening he has to round up Esther’s family.

 

The Search, also by Eric Heuvel is a companion volume to A Family Secret and tells the story of Esther, and what happened to her before and during the war. Both volumes are told via flashbacks from contemporary Holland and America and focus more on what happened to Jewish families during and after the war and how some survived.
Out of all the graphic novels I read it was A family Secret and the Search that affected me the most, I found myself welling up whilst reading, this was in part due to my being a massive Tintin fan and seeing similar much-loved artwork being used to illustrate a heartbreaking story, these books are also the most positive, sad as they are.

A Family Secret and The Search are published by MacMillan, Teaching guides for both books are available from the US site.

 
 
Not all the graphic novels are black & white, Marvel Comics published a five issue mini series called Magneto: Testament, this is the backstory of Magneto, the greatest foe the X Men have ever faced. At first I questioned the idea of wedging a comic book villain into the story of Auschwitz and the events leading up to the final solution. It is not a super hero story, it is a story of the Holocaust and a boy who has to grow up quickly in the midst of the most inhumane conditions to not only survive but save the woman he loves and himself.
Writer Greg Pak and artist carmine Di Giandomenico bring you this heartbreaking and historically accurate look at one of the most popular characters in the X-Men canon.
Magneto: testament also contains extensive notes at the back of the book about the creation of the book and historical facts about Auschwitz as well as topics for group discussion.

 
 

Marvel Comics is not alone in publishing a Holocaust comic book, DC Comics published the amazing what if… story by Joe Kubert, titled Yossel April 19, 1943.

In 1926 Joe Kubert’s family tried to emigrate to America, but owing to the fact that his mother was pregnant with him at the time, their request was denied. Fortunately not willing to give up his family tried again shortly after his birth and they were successful with their second attempt.
With Yossel, Joe Kubert imagined what his life would have been like if his family had not made their second attempt.
As he wrote in his introduction:

If my parents had not come to America, we would have been caught in that maelstrom, sucked in and pulled down with the millions of others who were lost…
The usual procedure in cartooning is to do the initial drawings with pencil, then to apply ink over the pencils with brush and pen. The pencil drawings are then erased, leaving only the ink rendering.
The drawings in this book are pencil drawings…

As a concept the idea of a comic book composed of rough sketches does not sound too appealing, but when you open the book that does not matter anymore! You forget that these are only rough sketches; the sense of movement in them is amazing. I think that so much vitality would have been lost if they had been inked and coloured.
Again this is a fictionalised account of what might have happened to Joe (Yossel) and his family had they not left Poland. The date in the title is significant; the 19th April 1943 is the date of the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The Germans thought that they would be able to put down the revolt by the by then starving Jews in the ghetto in three days, but they were in for a shock, although poorly armed and hemmed in the Jews resisted until the 16th of May making the Nazi forces pay in blood for each foot of ground they took.

I have recently come across two biographies involving the Holocaust, the first the story of Lily Renée who was fortunate enough to be evacuated to England but her story is no less interesting – her ordeal as a refugee in England was one shared by many who escaped. The second is the official graphic biography of Anne Frank, adapted from her diaries and other works documenting her families life in Germany and Holland.

lily-reneeIn 1938, Lily Renée Wilhelm is a 14-year-old Jewish girl living in Vienna.

Her days are filled with art and ballet. Then the Nazis march into Austria, and Lily’s life is shattered overnight. Suddenly, her own country is no longer safe for her or her family. To survive, Lily leaves her parents behind and travels to England.

Escaping the Nazis is only the start of Lily’s journey. She must escape many more times – from servitude, hardship, and danger. Will she find a way to have her own sort of revenge on the Nazis? Follow the story of a brave girl who becomes an artist of heroes, and a true pioneer in comic books.
 
 
 
 

Anne-Frank-graphic-biographyDrawing on the unique historical sites, archives, expertise and unquestioned authority of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the New York Times bestselling authors Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon have created teh first authorised graphic biography of Anne Frank. Their account is complete, covering the lives of Anne’s parents, Edith and Otto, Anne’s first years in Frankfurt; the rise of Nazism; the Frank’s immigration to Amsterdam; war and occupation; Anne’s years in the Secret Annex; betrayal and arrest; her deportation and tragic death in Bergen-Belsen; the survival of Anne’s father; and his recovery and publication of her astounding diary.

 
 
 
 
Maus is already a staple in many library collections with the other titles not being as well-known but also deserving a space.
 
 
The Holocaust was not the only attempt at genocide in the 20th century, but it is the most well-known and reviled. To learn more about this and the Armenian Genocide, Rwanda, Darfur, Cambodia and others visit http://www.hmd.org.uk/

The Stan Lee Excelsior Award has a brand new website!

WHAT???

You do not know what the Stan Lee Excelsior Award is?

That is (as the French say) Incroyable!

Not to mention totally beyond the pale!

To remedy this sad lack of knowledge I have shamelessly taken this text explaining the award from their website:

The Stan Lee Excelsior Award is an exciting new book award for graphic novels and manga – where kids aged 11-16 choose the winner by rating each book as they read it!

In 2011, 8 graphic novels were on the shortlist, 17 UK secondary schools took part and 842 ‘Rating Forms’ were returned! The overall goal of this scheme is to encourage reading amongst teenagers. However, its secondary target is to raise the profile of graphic novels and manga amongst school librarians and teachers. This storytelling medium has been a largely underused resource within education for many years. The Stan Lee Excelsior Award attempts to highlight some of the amazing books that are out there – books that fully deserve to be in our school libraries alongside regular fiction!

The award was founded and is organised by the excellent Paul Register – who I may actually have met at a SLA conference in 2010 (but I could be wrong).

To find out more about the Award and Stan Lee himself co-creator of Spiderman and other eX(-Men)cellent super heroes click on the massive logo above or follow this link: Excelsior!

So you have had a complaint about a Graphic Novel or Manga title?

The first thing to do is don’t panic, the second thing is DO NOT WITHDRAW THE TITLE! Seriously do not withdraw it – this is important.

If you are the person that selects the Graphic Novel and Manga titles for your branch this is a run-down of how to cover yourself and your library service from complaints by parents, teachers and anyone who may have reason to complain about what their children have been reading.

1. Know your stock – you should personally have held and looked at every Graphic Novel and Manga item in your library. This will only take a few minutes, unless you have a large collection and need to go through everything, but once that is done all you have to do is grab every new title as it comes in. You do not have to read everything (but you can if you want to) leaf through the pages and look for any nudity, extreme violence or swearing. If you cannot find any then your collection is not doing its job.

2. When you find books that have swearing, violence or nudity make sure that is has a guidance label (Teen/YA, Adult Stock, or GN) on the spine. Most manga titles have age banding on the back cover, these vary from publisher to publisher but they are prominent.

3. Do not keep your Manga and GN collection in the Children’s Library, Have it between the Adult & Teen collections (if you do not have a Teen Collection you should start thinking about one). There are exceptions – a number of libraries keep The Simpsons, Tokyopop’s Cine-Manga and the Alex Rider GN’s in their Picture Books for older Readers collections.

4. Double-check the labels of the books, it is possible for some to creep through.

5. Start reading manga – this will help with stock development knowledge, suggesting titles to readers etc

6. Get to know the readers themselves – they know more than you do and are usually more than happy to suggest titles or discuss genres and series.

7. Get to know your local comic shop as above they should know what they are selling, be able to suggest stock and also (importantly) give a discount

If anyone has advice on preempting complaints or has dealt with a sticky situation and would like to share it please leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

Smart Study: How to Study Less and Get More

Smart Study: How to Study Less and Get More is a unique study skills graphic novel that teaches students how to develop good study habits.

Graphics and speech bubbles tell the story of Jane Genovese’s own personal experience of grappling with studies through high school and university to achieve great results.

As well as explaining healthy eating and the importance of regular sleep, the graphic novel shows how to use mind-mapping – a particularly effective technique for teenagers – and offers advice on managing stress levels through exercise and deep breathing.

Young reviewer, 15-year-old Shenton College student, Felia Veth, said:
Your comic wasn’t just true and heart spoken, it was also really funny and I can relate to it so much. I mean you could have just written all the advice down in monotone writing and drawn lifeless stick figures but by turning your experiences and advice into a witty comic I can now remember every bit of time saving info and advice. Thanks!

For a “Smart Study” information pack please send an email to
jane@learningfundamentals.com.au

If you would like to preview sample pages or order copies of this
graphic novel (RRP: $14.95AUD), please visit
http://learningfundamentals.com.au/smart-study-comic/

Fool's Gold Feature Page

Click on the cover to find out about the Graphic Novel Fool’s Gold created by Teenagers at the Dearne High School in Yorkshire.

Fool's Gold Competition

Win a full-colour copy of Fool’s Gold signed by the pupils and staff of The Dearne High School that took part in its’ creation.

This is currently the only signed edition available to the public.

To enter the competition answer this simple question:

What is the name of the group of friends in Fool’s Gold? (the answer can be found in the second interview question)

Answers in the comments section below.

Competition rules:

This competition is global.
One entry per person.
The winner will be chosen at random using random.org
The competition will close at the end of February 2010

Fool's Gold Buzz: from the Critics

“What’s most surprising about Fool’s Gold is how cohesive the overall storyline is. English teacher and project overseer Peter Shaw was able to involve such talent as GP Taylor, the writer of fantasy novel Shadowmancer, and former chief editor of 2000AD Alan McKenzie (whose book How to Draw and Sell Comic Strips, incidentally, should be any aspiring comic creator’s first stop), and it shows. Putting together such a project is no mean feat –mainstream publishers such as Marvel and DC often struggle under such lofty ambitions – and that this whopping 192 page volume exists at all is a credit to Mr Shaw and company.

Fool’s Gold is actually the second book by Dearne High, the first being Out of the Shadows: An Anthology of Fantasy Stories. I hope that it’s not the last such project from Dearne High, and that other schools are inspired to follow suit. As someone who has fought adamantly against genre and medium preconceptions, I genuinely believe that a generation of imaginative teenagers is being deterred from reading, and consequently writing, due to insipid and restrictive teaching.”

Carl Doherty www.shelfabuse.com

– –

“It’s not every day that you see a 130-page graphic novel produced by school children but Fool’s Gold is a notable exception. This book has come together through the collective efforts of the pupils and teachers of Dearne High, a Yorkshire school that’s trail-blazing new ways of interacting with its local community and the wider world.

You’ll have to alter your expectations about what a book by children might be like. Featuring a multi-layered story with additional material by a number of professional comic writers, artists, editors, photographers and novelists, this is an extraordinary feat of co-operation, merging real people from the school with local folklore and story telling. A phenomenal achievement.”

Andy Shaw of Grovel: Graphic novel news and reviews

Carousel: The Guide To Children’s Books:

“This graphic novel has been produced by pupils, between the ages 12 and 15, at Dearne High School in Rotherham. It features students, staff and current favourite authors in real situations. A first class production which many mainstream publishing houses would be delighted to have on their list. And a bargain price!”

Blog critic.org (Emm):
“The students have produced and starred in a graphic novel of such astounding quality that it is hard to believe that it was made by children.
Fool’s Gold is a graphic novel about books, learning, history and social responsibility.  It is a treasure hunt and ghost story that features the students themselves as the central characters.  At its heart, Fool’s Gold is an educational novel but it is far from boring; it is an exciting and interactive journey through history that broaches the main issues that children and young people had to face in the past.
The novel is an absolute gem.  Graphic novels have long been considered a less intelligent version of reading for pupils that found real books too hard to follow.  The students from The Dearne High have turned this notion on its head as the story-within-a-story tells of the organisation, planning and effort that goes into a collaborative effort such as this.  Far beyond the historical and social value of the story, the students are carrying the clear message that this is something that anyone can do…” 
It is no small measure of the success of this graphic novel that it has made me want to visit all of the locations that the children from The Dearne High visited and to learn more about the history of that time.  The fact that so many well known people volunteered their time to help with this project is impressive and also makes me want to learn more about them and their books. 
The description of the graphic novel says that it is a book written by students for students, but the quality is superb and I dare say that parents and other adults will want to read it, too.  I’m certainly not giving up my copy!”

The School Librarian Magazine – Rosemary Woodman

First: ‘The Book’
“This substantial graphic novel intersperses text chapters with chapters of strip cartooning and atmospheric digital imagery. Poetry, prose, photography and art are very effectively juxtaposed.”

Second: ‘The Creative Project’
“The story behind the book is an inspiration for secondary pupils, librarians and teachers looking for new ways to express creativity and to extend reading horizons.”

Comics Bulletin – Karyn Pinter

“Fool’s Gold is essentially a literary field trip. What a hell of a school project! I wish I had been able to write a comic for class–it sure beats book reports and standardized tests any day of the week. To be mentored on the project by some big name writers, including Bernard Cornwell, author of the Sharpe series, is also pretty cool. Helping out with the pencilling is Kevin Hopgood–a Marvel artist.

I’m pretty impressed–not just by getting some really cool people to help out with this comic, but by the kids who wrote it. When I say “kids,” I mean kids. The writers are all between 12 and 15 years old, and they’ve put together a graphic novel that is a very valiant effort–a very cool mix between a Harry Potter-esque mystery and paranormal investigation that centres on a mysterious sighting in a school of four ghosts (three sons and their father).

It is remarkable…that a school would give kids a chance like this to publish a comic. I wish any of the schools I attended had given students that option over the same old school newspaper or yearbook.”

Fools Gold Buzz: from the Writers

“It was so good to spend time with yourself and your students in Scarborough and Whitby.  I was amazed at their depth of understanding – obviously down to keen teaching.  I was so impressed with the last book by the school, I wanted to be involved.  Please pass my comment to the Head.  I visit hundreds of schools and your trip was one of the best organised I have ever been involved in.”

G.P. Taylor

“Many congratulations to all concerned on the publication of ‘Fool’s Gold.’  It’s great to see teenagers involved in such an inventive project – they obviously had great fun with it, and that’s something that shouldn’t be undervalued.  It was a terrific idea to include the graphic sections as well as more conventional text and the MSN conversations, and the whole thing is beautifully and professionally presented.  I hope ‘Fool’s Gold’ will give as much pleasure to its readers as it did to those who took part.  Thank you again for inviting me to contribute.”

Linda Newbery

“The book has arrived, and it looks fabulous.  I wish you every success with it, and want to congratulate everyone involved on a great team effort. Brilliantly done!”

Alison Weir

“Many thanks for my copy of Fool’s Gold: it is a quality production which I hope will sell many, many copies.  I’m proud to have played some small part in its creation.” 

Robert Swindells

“What makes Fool’s Gold unique, is the bold idea that somehow adults and children can co-exist in the same book, can be co-creators of a work of art; that journalism and poetry can co-exist with cartoon and photographs and songs and that somehow they can all be as important as each other. Many educators pay lip service to the idea of writing in different forms and styles and language registers and they reduce this to multiple choice questions and SATS-satisfying exercises.

In Fool’s Gold the excitement of writing is what makes the book tick, and what makes the book a constantly unfolding treasure box of styles and approaches.

And of course in the end it’s more than a book: as the head writes in his introduction: “Fool’s Gold has and will continue to act as a catalyst to increase students’ interest and enjoyment of reading and writing alongside the development of vital personal learning and thinking skills… vital to individual and collective success in our increasingly competitive global market.”

Or, to put it less elegantly: this is Pure Gold, not Fool’s Gold…”

Ian McMillan