Monday, May 10, 2010

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 5/8

Welcome to yet another Monday morning, where one of the very few joys is the weekly "Reviewing the Mail" post here at Antick Musings. (I'm not claiming it's a huge joy.) As usual, I have a stack of books that bright-eyed, optimistic publishers have sent out into the world, hoping for fame and fortune -- or at least a few decent quotes and media clips from third-rank blogs such as this one. I may not get to review all of these books in full -- even with my current back-breaking Book-A-Day pace, I get further behind every week -- but I can at least pause briefly to glance at them and let you good folks know something about them.

This week is different, though -- I'm leading off with something I spent my own money on -- and was happy to do so. It did come in the mail, though, so that's my excuse for mentioning it here...

Matt Feazell is one of the best and funniest little-known cartoonists in the US. He's been publishing minicomics for twenty-some years, all in his deceptively primitivist stick-figure style. His height of fame was probably when he was doing back-ups for Scott McCloud's Zot! comic in the late '80s, but his work has been remarkably consistent for more than two decades: it's always funny, and moderately cynical (in a wry, midwestern sense rather than the corrosively nasty cynicism of coastal types like yours truly). He's only had a few books out over that long stretch of time -- ERT!, from Caliber Press in the mid-90s, is particularly fun, if you can find it -- and I managed to miss the one he published this decade for nearly seven years. The Amazing Cynicalman collects the weekly strip that Feazell did for several independent weeklies from 1997 to 2002, and was itself published by Feazell's company, Not Available Books, in late 2003. (Remember: in the future, all books will be Not Available!) Matt Feazell is one of the least-known great American originals, and I was so late finding this book that it may only be four or five years before he has another new one!

DAW books sent me their three mass-markets for June:
  • Tanya Huff's The Enchantment Emporium, reprinting last year's standalone urban fantasy -- it's standalone right at this moment, but I wouldn't be surprised if Huff writes more to make it a series -- about a magical Canadian family and the Calgary magic shop that one young woman finds herself running.
  • Faery Moon, by P.R. Frost, is also a reprint from hardcover -- this one is the third in an urban fantasy series about Tess Noncoire, who is both a bestselling fantasy writer and one of the secret Buffy-esque protectors of the world. (I will stoutly avoid making any comments about wish-fulfillment here.)
  • And Is Anybody Out There?, an original anthology of fifteen SF stories about SETI and other searches for extraterrestrial life, edited by Nick Gevers and Marty Halperin. It includes stories by Ia Watson, James Morrow, Alex Irvine, Yves Meynard, Jay Lake, Paul Di Filippo, Sheila Finch, David Langford, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and others.
Vertical continues their twice-a-year program, working through Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack series, with Volume 11, publishing on May 25th. (I reviewed the first and second volumes of this amazingly demented, but fabulously entertaining, series for ComicMix a couple of years back.)

I also reviewed the graphic novel Prince of Persia -- which neither adapts nor is the basis of the upcoming movie, nor does it have any direct connection to any of the videogames in the long-running series -- for ComicMix back in 2008. That graphic novel -- "created" by Jordan Mechner, who also created the video game series; written by A.B. Sima; and illustrated by LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland -- is being reprinted in a new trade paperback edition by First Second just in time for the movie. (And it's a steal, too -- only $7.99 for two hundred pages of full-color, on good paper, printed well and at a comfortable size.)

Also from First Second this summer -- and from nearly the same team: Jordan Mechner writing, with art by LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland -- is the original graphic novel Solomon's Thieves, a swashbuckling medieval story about the Knights Templar that will be the first in a trilogy.

Jane Lindskold's "Breaking the Wall" series, inspired by Chinese mythology -- reaches a third book with Five Odd Honors, which Tor is publishing in hardcover on May 11th.

And last this week is a cute and very useful book that won't be of any help to me -- I've long since given up any hope on being able to draw, and now just try to hold the line on writing legible words now and again -- Christopher Hart's Cartoon Cute Animals. It has lots and lots of tips and step-by-step drawing schematics, so anyone who has some drawing talent could definitely use this and start drawing cute animals pretty quickly. Watson-Guptill is publishing Cartoon Cute Animals this month; look for it wherever you buy your how-to-draw-stuff books.
Listening to: Rollercoaster Project - Hoods Up
via FoxyTunes

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