Monday, June 02, 2008

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 5/31

The mail was light this week, probably because all of trade publishing was obsessing about, preparing for, and traveling to BEA out in Los Angeles. (Except me -- that's the benefit of marketing a line of professional books; my bookbuyers aren't going to be concentrated at book-industry gatherings.)

Here's what did come in, all from the good folks at Random House:

Tigerheart by Peter David, a new retelling of the story of Peter Pan by a guy who's written a lot of stuff. I haven't been thrilled by recent reinterpretations of Barrie's creation -- the Dave Barry/Ridley Pearson books in particular seem to have completely lost sight of everything that made Peter Pan a specific character -- so I expect I'll have to read this to see if I can approve of it or not. Well, it looks like it's not all too long, and David is usually very readable -- though sometimes that shades over into glib and superficial. (We'll see.) Ballantine will publish Tigerheart on June 17.

The Essential Batman Encyclopedia is a new reference book by Robert Greenberger, a very nice guy who worked for me on a freelance basis for about ten seconds many years ago (before I really met him, I think). There may be two or three people in the world slightly more qualified to write this book than him, but Bob Kane is already dead. Given comics fans' mania for minutiae, I expect this will be a popular book, useful for solving arguments, or starting them. It's a Del Rey book, coming as a gigantic oversized paperback on June 20th.

Out of Picture Volume 2: Art from the Outside Looking In has no credited editor; it says it's by the "Out of Picture Artists," which is like measuring a piece of string by saying it's just as long as itself. It's the "sequel" to last year's Out of Picture, and, like the first book, it collects short comics stories by animators, storyboard artists, and other artsy people who are now or were once associated with Blue Sky Studios (home of the Ice Age movies, among other things). It will be published on June 3rd.

Since that list is so short, here's what I grabbed on my most recent trip to the comics shop:

Princess At Midnight is a very short book by Andi Watson, which I'd entirely missed before. (I don't remember it at all, though I suppose I must have seen it in Previews at some point.) It's from Image, copyright 2008, and is about a schoolgirl who's a princess by night, battling the Horrible Horde. It's clearly meant for much younger people than myself (and probably those with a somewhat different anatomical configuration), but Andi Watson's work is always fun.

Grendel: Devil Quest by Matt Wagner was the first of two Grendel-related books I picked up this week, both of them slim hardcovers reprinting short tales that fill in little chinks of Wagner's convoluted future history. This one is set at the very end of the Grendel timeline, about the search for the cyborg Grendel-Prime hundreds of years after War Child, and it ties into the Grendel-Prime story of Batman Grendel. (That will be enough to get all of the continuity addicts salivating.) This was published by Dark Horse in May.

And then there's Grendel: Devil Child by Diana Schutz, Tim Sale & Teddy Kristiansen, which is the second of the two Grendel small hardcovers. It's the story of Stacy Palumbo, who was Grendel's daughter and mother -- and it's full of happiness, gumdrops, and lollipops! (No, sorry -- it's a Grendel story, so everyone is miserable and evil and dies horribly in the end. I'm glad Wagner does other kinds of books; we'd all really wonder about him if his only work were the gloom of Grendel.) This one came out at the very end of April.

Hellboy Vol. 8: Darkness Calls by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo was shot out into stores ahead of the movie (as was the eighth B.P.R.D. collection; the folks at Dark Horse are no fools). It's the first major Hellboy story not illustrated by creator Mignola, who probably was too busy with that aforementioned movie over the past year or two.

And I also picked up some stuff at the library this week; mostly comics-related books that I'd put on hold:

The Best of the Spirit by Will Eisner was published by DC in November of 2005. It has an introduction/appreciation by Neil Gaiman, and no sign of who actually selected these stories. (I guess Eisner himself probably had a hand in it, since he was around at the time, but saying so would have been nice.) I've only read one or two Spirit stories, so I figured it was time to dive in (and this is much easier to dive into than the giant, expensive Archive Editions).

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle is the story of one animator's two-month stay in the capital of North Korea, the world's most isolated country. (He was overseeing production of a French TV show there.) Drawn & Quarterly published it in September of 2005.

And last was Popeye Vol. 1: "I Yam What I Yam", the first book reprinting the E.C. Segar "Thimble Theatre" comic strip (from the story in which Popeye appeared, because even in this age of massive strip-cartoon reprinting, nobody wants to read the adventures of Castor Oyl). Fantagraphics published this in November of 2006.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To be honest, it matters not one whit that Bob Kane is dead, as even alive he would've gotten a ghost writer to do the work anyway, while claiming the credit.

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