MBR: The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

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Midwest Book Review

Mar 29, 2012, 5:09:17 PM3/29/12
The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

The Quality Companion
Mike Kooiman and Jim Amash
TwoMorrows Publishing
10407 Bedfordtown Dr., Raleigh NC 27614
9781605490373, $31.95, www.twomorrows.com

The Quality Companion provides the first look at the Golden Age
publisher whose productions included fine art, memorable characters,
and sparked such lasting, modern comic influences as Uncle Sam,
Phantom Lady, Plastic Man and others now appearing in DC Comics. It
consists of an encyclopedia A-Z character profile of all heroes,
reprints in full color several 1940s key stories from rare collector
comics, and blends a chronology withy an oral history and discussion
of the evolution of major Quality characters. Black and white images
accompany discussions of comics teams, creators and individuals in
this outstanding survey recommended for any definitive comic history

How to Write Comics
Stan Lee
Watson Guptill Publications
c/o The Crown Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780823007097, $45.00, www.watsonguptill.com

HOW TO WRITE COMICS comes from a legendary successful comic writer who
was the co-creator of Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk and other
classics. His coverage features the works of other major comics
artists, from Jack Kirby to Alex Ross, as it provides both a history
of modern comic books and a projection of their future. Chapters cover
the basics of how to create meaningful characters and plots, discuss
script challenges and different comic book styles, and shares the
basic tips on breaking into the comic writing industry, making this a
'must' for any serious, aspiring comic writer.

Titan Books
144 Southwark Street, London SE1 OUP, UK

Fans of Dik Browne's comic strip HAGAR THE HORRIBLE have two wonderful
titles to acquire that collect the dailies in two fine books in
chronological order. DAILIES 1974 TO 1975 (9781848562349, $19.95)
provides the Hagar family tree along with an introduction, then black
and white strips from Hagar's many Viking adventures. All Hagar's
mishaps, friends and family are featured in this comprehensive
collection. DAILIES 1976 TO 1977 (9781848562356, $19.95) offers more
black and white panels of adventures and insights into the
cartoonist's art as it further follows Hagar's exploits around the
world and at home. The two-volume set together provides a
comprehensive set of Hagar adventures perfect for avid fans who may
have missed some Hagar exploits.

Girl Genius Omnibus Volume One: Agatha Awakens
Phil & Kaja Foglio
Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
9780765331328 $34.99 www.tor-forge.com

Girl Genius Omnibus Volume One: Agatha Awakens gathers the first three
chapters ("The Beetleburg Clank", "The Airship City", and "The Monster
Engine") of Phil & Kaja Foglio's multiple Hugo-Award winning steampunk
comic series, set in a world where those gifted with "The Spark" can
warp the laws of physics with their inventions - and win the hearts
and minds of rabid followers with their unearthly charisma, no matter
how severe their mad scientist proclivities! The land is beset with
endless strife from experiments gone amok, belligerent Spark rulers
who see their subjects as little more than overgrown lab rats, a noble
caste that condemns biophysical resurrection, and worse. The
Heterodyne family were once known as Sparks who championed heroism and
justice, but they have vanished for twenty years, and in their place
the ruthless authoritarian Baron Wulfenbach struggles to keep war and
chaos at bay. Amid all this conflict, the young, kind-hearted
scientist-in-training Agatha Clay has lived a mostly sheltered life in
a university town, but her chance encounter with a thief kicks off a
cascading escalation of disasters. Between her talents and her
destiny, Agatha is about to cause endless trouble just by existing!
Fully recolored and relettered, Agatha Awakens is the perfect gift for
any comics fan who is new to Foglio's signature blend of caricature,
action, drama and zesty humor! Highly recommended.

Jared Gardner
Stanford University Press
1450 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304-1124
9780804771474, $24.95, www.sup.org

Comic strips and graphic novels arrived at a new level of literary
sophistication and academia awareness with the 1992 Pulitzer Prize
being awarded to Art Spiegelman for "Maus". Now this form of graphic
storytelling is an integral and universal segment of the literary
world. "Projections: Comics and the History of Twenty-First-Century
Storytelling" by Jared Gardner (Associate Professor of English and
Film, Ohio State University) is an informed and informative
exploration and analysis of the history of comics and graphic novels
within the context of an expanding interactive media that has melded
19th century comic strips into a 21st century literary and
storytelling art form that it is today. A seminal work of superlative
scholarship, "Projections: Comics and the History of Twenty-First-
Century Storytelling" is also a fascinating read for anyone with an
interest in the graphic novel, its origins, and its continuing
evolution as a literary art form. Organized into six major chapters
presented in chronological order (Fragments of Modernity1889-1920;
Serial Pleasures 1907-1938; Fan-Addicts and the Comic Book 1938-1955;
Archives and collectors 1990-2010; Coda: Comics, Film, and the Future
of Twenty-First Century Storytelling), "Projections" is a unique and
seminal contribution to personal, professional, and academic library
reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

Imagination and Meaning in Calvin and Hobbes
Jamey Heit
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9780786463541, $40.00, www.amazon.com

I have the honor of owning a complete collection of 'Calvin & Hobbes'
books that were the published collections of the popular comic strip
showcasing the imaginative adventures of a small boy and his 'toy'
tiger. The creation of cartoonist Bill Watterson running from 1985 to
1995, 'Calvin & Hobbes' became one of the most popular comic strips of
its time. Of particular and unique note was Watterson's refusal to
exploit his comic characters in usual merchandising tie-ins so common
with other successful cartoon characters. The 'Calvin & Hobbes' strip
was more than just a funny cartoon series, that little boy and his
tiger companion made observational comments on all manner of
philosophical issues and seemingly life-experience paradoxes giving it
a consistent intellectual heft that Watterson's contemporaries rarely
achieved. That's why "Imagination and Meaning in Calvin and Hobbes", a
220-page compendium of commentary and insights on the work of Bill
Watterson in his 'Calvin & Hobbes' series is such pleasure for we
dedicated fans of the now long out-of-print series. Thought and
thought-provoking, "Imagination and Meaning in Calvin and Hobbes" will
prove to be a popular addition to any community or academic library
collection, and is especially recommended for the personal reading
lists of any and all 'Calvin & Hobbes' fans.

Sunday Brunch
Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman
Andrews McMeel
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
9781449407971, $19.99, www.andrewsmcmeel.com

Sixteen year old Jeremy, son of Connie and Walt, struggles with sex,
career, school, sleep, and clueless parents in this comic book
collection that presents nearly three hundred of the best full-color
Zits Sunday strips in an oversized, lovely presentation. Essays from
other famous cartoonists round out this latest Zits survey of a teen's
perspective, making for an outstanding gathering highly recommended
for general lending collections and comic and graphic novels holdings


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Midwest Book Review
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