Sunday, June 11, 2023

Incoming Books: Week of June 10, 2023

For my birthday, which was last week, I ordered myself a big box of mostly remainders from the fine folks at Edward R. Hamilton.

Four points before I dive into the list:

Imprimus, Hamilton is a great source for people who like random books; I've been ordering from them for probably thirty years. You'll rarely get exactly the thing you want, but you can find lots of things that look vaguely enticing at great prices. 

Secundus, once you hit middle age, I strongly recommend buying yourself the presents you really want, on whatever occasions present-buying is appropriate. (Or just at random times: you're an adult, you can do what you want.) Don't wait for other people.

Tertius, I'm going to divide the box into three parts, because I got twenty-some books and I'm not going to spend all day today typing them out. (I'm going to spend some time today, and a similar amount of time over the next two Sundays doing so, because everything in moderation.)

Quartus, My links here, as always, are to that giant hegemonic retailer. But these books were all available much cheaper from Hamilton not long ago, and may be available still. I'd recommend checking there first, if anything looks enticing.

So, the first cluster of Hamilton books are Comics and Related Books, presented in roughly size order, since that's how they're currently stacked:

How to Be a Motorist is a 1939 book of humor "by" the British cartoonist Heath Robinson - I think his drawings came first, but I could be wrong - and "written by" K.R.G. Browne, who I think was a jobbing writer hired to turn a sheaf of funny Robinson drawings into a book. I've never seen much of Robinson, but he's always called the UK equivalent of Rube Goldberg, and that's enough to be worth diving into.

You Have Killed Me is some kind of noirish mystery/detective thing, by Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones - I think originally a miniseries and then collected in this book. I've read a bunch of things Rich wrote over the years without ever focusing on him as a writer with specific strengths and weaknesses, but I don't think I've ever read a book by Jones - which is odd, since she's been making comics for a while, and works around areas I usually enjoy. I can only shrug and point out it's a large, capacious world.

Anno Dracula: 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem is a comics extension of the novel series of the same name by Kim Newman. Newman wrote this, with art by Paul McCaffrey. I'm not sure if it adapts part of the first Anno-Dracula book, or is some kind of side-story; it seems to be set in the time period of that first book. (Later novels were set much later in time; I think Newman is commiting alternate history, though I'm a few books behind at this point.)

All's Fair in Love & War is a collection of single-panel cartoons about love, edited by Bob Eckstein. Eckstein has been doing a bunch of books like this for, oddly enough, the Princeton Architecture Press: I'd previously seen The Ultimate Cartoon Book of Book Cartoons, which was comprised of cartoons about books and the bookish. This is not officially related to The New Yorker, but it borrows a lot of design sense from that magazine and most of the contributors are closely associated with it as well. So it's not not a New Yorker book.

Love & Vermin is a collection of the cartoons of Will McPhail, who regularly appears in The New Yorker. McPhil has been busy recently: he also had the full-length graphic novel In., and it looks like both of those were published last year.

Wordless Books: The Original Graphic Novels is not what I thought it was. It's a study by David A. Berrona about the wordless, mostly woodcut, books made by people like Franz Masereel and Lynd Ward in the early years of the 20th century. I thought it was a collection of half-a dozen or so of those books, with annotations and commentary, but, no, it has excerpts from a couple of dozen but none in full, and it has a lot of text for a book called Wordless Books.

MacDoodle St. collects a late-70s strip by Mark Alan Stamaty (whose kids' book Who Needs Donuts? was a staple of my youth and whose long-running Washingtoon was also excellent) about, unsurprisingly, New York City. I've been vaguely looking for this book for a few years now - something about Stamaty's art imprinted on me very young - so I'm thrilled to have it in hand.

The P. Craig Russell Library of Opera Adaptations, Vol. 2 is just what the label says: adaptations of Parsifal, Ariane & Bluebeard, I Pagliacci and some Mahler songs, done in comics form by Russell. Russell has adapted a lot of operas into comics, as opposed to everyone else in the world, who have done approximately zero opera adaptations. I think I've read some parts of this, or maybe other Russell opera books, in the past, but that was a long time ago. This book is copyright 2003, but the work is mostly from the '80s, so I had a lot of opportunity to do so long enough ago that I don't remember clearly. 

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