Monday, October 25, 2021

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 10/23/21

At the time I write this, I have only one book to mention. That may change before this post is scheduled to go live, so I may be editing this intro, or have added more stuff below. I guess you'll just have to read on to find out.

That one book, for now, is the graphic novel Year of the Rabbit by the Cambodian-born French cartoonist Tian Veasna. Veasna was born in 1975, three days after the Khmer Rouge took over his home country, and his family fled almost immediately. This is the story of his family - I'm not sure how much time it covers, whether it's just the exodus or a longer family story, whether it gets into their settling in France (and anywhere else parts of his family might have gone) or not.

But that's what books are for: you read them to find out what's in them. This one was published in France in 2019, translated into English by Helge Dascher for an early-2020 publication, and I'm just getting to it now.

Stop Press! Two more books have arrived in the mail: one a publicity copy, and one that I paid for.

The publicity copy is an excerpt - in the format that was called a "blad" back when I worked in publishing, for reasons I never knew - of a graphic novel coming next summer. Captain America: The Ghost Army is written by Alan Gratz, illustrated by Brent Schoonover, and will be published by Scholastic's Graphix imprint next August 2nd. It's set during WWII, and also has a map in the front matter covering a swath of Eastern Europe that includes Castle Doom, Castle Dracula, Castle Russoff, Castle Mordo, and Wundagore Mountain. If all of those locations do not figure in the book's action, I will be very disappointed.

Yes, this is a new graphic novel about a major Marvel character, with a Marvel logo on it, published by someone else. That may be a harbinger of something: I only call your attention to it.

The other thing is an artifact called Book, which is the new They Might Be Giants record and also a gigantic red book-shaped object, filled with pages I have not yet seen because the shrinkwrap is still in place. I think it's an art object in its own right, and not just a super-gigantic lyrics booklet for the new record (which is included in the book, somewhere, in CD form). There's photography by a guy named Brian Karlsson, and design by another guy named Paul Sahre. I expect it will be Art.

As far as I can tell, this package is only available directly from the band, though the music will be available separately through all of the usual channels. (Thought the book does have an ISBN: 978-1-5387-0666-4.)

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