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On Friday, the long running—22 years!—Brian Bendis message board shut down with the above message, and al of its archives went with it.
The Bendis Board was especially busy in the golden age of the message board (1998-2004) and hosted forums for many comics pros, including Gail Simone, David Mack, Kelly Sue DeConnick. I guess some of that will be available on the Way Back Machine, but with the CBR boards being scrubbed, the Bendis Board going away, and rumors of several other foundational message boards being shut down, a lot of comics history is vanished in a way that print just doesn’t offer. As I’m always reminding people, THE INTERNET IS NOT FOREVER.
Former forum member Albert Ching has a good look back including the reminder that it was an incubator for a whole generation of comics pros who posted and became friendly there, including Nick Spencer, Charles Soule, Joe Eisma, Joshua Hale Fialkov and Kody Chamberlain. A refugee message board has been set up here, according to comments.
I was active on the boards for a little while before time ran out, but there were some good people there…and some jerks, as always, but mostly good times.
Anyway, the Powers TV, er, filmed entertainment show, is in the works with Sharlto Copley as Christian Walker and Susan Heyward as Deena Pilgrim. I know Copley won;t be using that super South African accent he had in Elysium, but I can dream on. “My WAFF.”
Where is Milo Manara when you need him? The regulation baseball season has seven days to go, which can’t come soon enough for NY baseball fans, although the tearful Derek Jeter final sendoff still looms. In another fall ritual, baseball rookies were subjected to generally harmless “hazing.”A few years ago this consisted of just wearing a My Little Pony backpack around the bullpen, but since that’s practically normal now, the ritual has become much more complicated, as the NY Mets rookies were required to dress as female superheroes for the road trip from Atlanta to Washington.
While even I can’t ID all of them from left to right that’s Dario Alvarez, Wilmer Flores as Lady Thor, Dilson Hererra as a saucy Batgirl, unknown, Juan Centeno as Lady Green Lantern, unknown and slender rookie phenom pitcher Jacob DeGrom rocking a bold (some called it skimpy) “Pretty Patriot” outfit. Also unknown s Wonder Woman in the front row. Hey, they’re rookies who just got called up! I am saddened that we didn’t get to see Jeurys Famiglia as Power Girl.
While this is a hazing ritual everyone seems to be taking it with very good humor.
The week between SPX and the Brooklyn Book Festival has evolved into a real “indie super week” on the eastern seaboard, as touring cartoonists barnstormed and socialized at a furious pace. The week perhaps culminated in the Bergen Street Comic/Fantagraphics Brooklyn Book Fest kick off party Saturday, where Eleanor Davis, Michael Deforge, Patrick Kyle, Simon Hanselmann, Brandon Graham, Farel Dalrymple and Inkstuds’ Robin McConnell converged with the locals, as captured on the Fantagraphics Twitter.
The fun continued the next day at the Brooklyn Book Festival, although I was really only able to go to my own panel and quickly tour the booths, where everything seemed to be buzzing along. My panel—with Don Mishkin talking about The Warren Commission Report, Liana Finck on The Bintel Brief and Vivek J. Tiwary on The Fifth Beatle—went well as far as I could tell, with all three talking about a personal connection to the material and using comics for historical exploration. Apparently a photographer from Wikipedia was there and insisted on updating my photo, which, Puffy Sunday everyone.
And the fun continues tonight with two great events! Swing by the CBLDF and then hop on the Fulton St G to go to Desert island for the next!
Celebrate the Freedom to Read with the city’s greatest graphic novelists at CBLDF’s Banned Books Week Kick-Off this Monday, September 22 at 6:00 p.m.!
Join us to wind down another successful Brooklyn Book Festival, and to celebrate the opening of Banned Books Week, which this year celebrates comics and graphic novels! Mingle with comics creators and learn what you can do in your community to protect the freedom to read!
This event is free to CBLDF Members and Brooklyn Book Fest partners. $5 – $10 Suggested Donation all others.
Location: BRIC (647 Fulton Street, New York, NY) Time: Monday, September 22, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Price: $5 – $10 suggested donation
Eleanor Davis Slideshow at Desert Island:
Monday, Monday, Monday! Eleanor Davis is giving her LAST performance of the How to Be Happy tour at Brooklyn comic shop, Desert Island, 7-9m. You may have gotten your book signed at Brooklyn Book Festival but you haven’t L I V E D until you’ve seen Eleanor give her talk on the relationship of art and the artist.
AND TOMORROW, Super Week well and truly winds up with Hanselmann, Kyle and DeForge at Parsons as part of Ben Katchor’s Comics Symposium:
The 100th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 8 pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public. Please note 8pm starting time.
Presentations: Michael DeForge, Simon Hanselmann & Patrick Kyle.
Having self-published comics for the better part of the last decade, Patrick Kyle will discuss the logistics of playing publisher while balancing careers as both a cartoonist and illustrator.
Michael DeForge goes through different finished and unfinished projects he’s thrown away before publication. He discusses the value of abandoning projects, scripted versus improvised storytelling and the importance of digressions in the writing process.
Simon Hanselmann will discuss the Australian comics scene, the virtues of Tumblr as a distribution platform, making money, ‘the future’ and his general comics making process. Also: various crackpot theories and obscure in-jokes.
In The Observer Robert McCrum profiles Emmanuel Carrère: the most important French writer you've never heard of.
[Aside: that sort of claim should really be reserved for the truly obscure, not someone who has been widely translated into English (six of his books are under review at the complete review ...); along with 'Lost in Translation' it's probably the single worst and most over/ab-used article headline in (pseudo-)literary journalism.]
The occasion -- rather prematurely, as readers have to wait another month in both the US and UK -- is the publication of the English translation of Carrère's "non-fiction novel", Limonov (see the Farrar, Straus and Giroux publicity page [aside: that's a hell of a URL], or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk; I have a copy and should be getting to it in the coming weeks).
It's based on the life of the: "wrecked, transgressive figure of Eduard Limonov" (who you might also remember from Arslan Khasavov's Sense) -- whom McCrum also devotes considerable space to.
Disappointingly, McCrum doesn't discuss Carrère's new book, Le Royaume -- 640 pages about the early days of Christianity, and a book that has gotten much attention but failed to make even just the longlists for the biggest French literary prizes this fall, the Goncourt and the Renaudot (see the P.O.L. publicity page)
As noted, six of Carrère's titles are under review at the complete review; The Adversary still strikes me as his best.
As a United Nations Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson has been hard at work promoting support for women around the world. Recently, Ms. Watson stood along side UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, to launch the UN’s “HeForShe” Campaign, at UN Headquarters in New York. The HeForShe Campaign calls for boys and men world wide to participate in the gender equality movement. The campaign hopes to have one billion boys and men become advocates for stopping women’s global inequality. Ms. Watson, giving a speech at the event, spoke at length about her experiences and what she hope to see happen through the campaign. Rappler reports:
“It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining each other by what we are not, and start defining ourselves by who we are.”
“I want men to take up this mantle so their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human, too and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves,” Watson said.
“How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited to participate in the conversation? Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too.”
“I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society. I’ve seen young men suffering from illness, unable to ask for help for fear it will make them less of a man …. I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either. We don’t want to talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are.”
Watson said liberating men from stereotypes ultimately benefits women.
“When they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive, women won’t be compelled to be submissive. If men don’t need to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be strong,” she said.
“You might think: who is this Harry Potter girl? What is she doing at the UN? I’ve been asking myself at the same thing. All I know is that I care about this problem and I want to make this better. And having seen what I’ve seen and given the chance, I feel my responsibility to say something.”
“The more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain is that this has to stop.”
“Why has the word become such an unpopular one? I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men,” she said.
“My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. These influences are the gender equality ambassadors that made me who I am today. They may not know it but they are the feminists needed in the world today. We need more of those.”
She stressed that both men and women must work together for the girls and women who are less privileged than she. She cited women who earn less than men for doing the same work, child brides, and girls who are unable to finish their education.
The full length article from Rappler and the transcript of Ms. Watson’s entire speech can be read here.
With turmoil in the Middle East, from Egypt’s changing government to the emergence of the Isalmic State, we recently sat down with Shadi Hamid, author of Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East, to discuss about his research before and during the Arab Spring, working with Islamists across the Middle East, and his thoughts on the future of the region.
In your recent New York Times essay “The Brotherhood Will Be Back,” you argue that there is still support for the mixing of religion and politics, despite the Muslim Brotherhood’s recent failure in power. So do you see a way for Egypt to achieve stability in the years ahead? Can they look toward their neighbors (Jordan, Tunisia?) for a positive example?
Cultural attitudes toward religion do not change overnight, particularly when they’ve been entrenched for decades. Even if a growing number of Egyptians are disillusioned with the way Islam is “used” for political gain, this does not necessarily translated into support for “secularism,” a word which is still anathema in Egyptian public discourse. One of my book’s arguments I is that democratization not only pushes Islamists toward greater conservatism but that it also skews the entire political spectrum rightwards.
In Chapter 3, for instance, I look at the Arab world’s “forgotten decade,” when there were several intriguing but ultimately short-lived democratic experiments. Here, the ostensibly secular Wafd party, sensing the shift in the country toward greater piety, opted to Islamize its political program, something which was all too obvious (perhaps even a bit too obvious) in its 1984 program. It devoted an entire section to the application of Islamic law, in which the Wafd stated that Islam was both “religion and state.” The program also called for combating moral “deviation” in society and purifying the media of anything contradicting the sharia and general morals. The Wafd party also supported the supposedly secular regime of Anwar Sadat’s ambitious effort in the late 1970s and early 1980s to reconcile Egyptian law with Islamic law. Led by speaker of parliament and close Sadat confidant Sufi Abu Talib, the initiative wasn’t just mere rhetoric; Abu Talib’s committees painstakingly produced hundreds of pages of detailed legislation, covering civil transactions, tort reform, criminal punishments, as well as the maritime code.
The point here is that the Islamization of society (itself pushed ahead by Islamists) doesn’t just affect Islamists. Even Egypt’s president, former general Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, cannot escape these deeply embedded social realities.
Egypt is de-democratizing right now, but the Sissi regime, unlike Mubarak’s, is a popular autocracy where the brutal suppression of one particular group — the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists — is cheered on by millions of Egyptians. Sissi, then, is not immune from mass sentiment. A populist in the classic vein, Sissi seems to understand this and, like the Brotherhood, instrumentalizes religion for partisan ends. In many ways, Sissi’s efforts surpass those of Islamists before him, asserting great control over al-Azhar, the premier seat of Sunni scholarship in the region, and using the clerical establishment to shore up his regime’s legitimacy. Sissi has said that it’s the president’s role to promote a “correct understanding” of Islam. His regime has also been politically ostentatious with religion in its crackdown against the Gay community, leading one observer to note that
Religion is a powerful tool in a deeply religious society and Sissi, whatever his personal inclinations, can’t escape that basic fact, particularly with a mobilized citizenry.
Looking at the region more broadly, there are really no successful models of reconciling democracy with Islamism, at least not yet, and this failure is likely to have long-term consequences on the region’s trajectory. Turkish Islamists had to effectively concede who they were and become something else — “conservative democrats” — in order to be fully incorporated in Turkish politics. In Tunisia, the Islamist Ennahda party, threatened with Egypt-style mass protests and with the secular opposition calling for the dissolution of parliament and government, opted to step down from power. The true test for Tunisia, then, is still to come: what happens if Ennahda wins the next scheduled elections, and the elections after that, and feels the need to be more responsive to its conservative base? Will this lead, again, to a breakdown in political order, with secular parties unwilling to live with greater “Islamization”?
You began your research on Islamist movements before the start of the Arab Spring. How did your project change after the unrest in 2011? What book did you think you would write when you began living in the region — and what did it become after the revolutions?
I began my research on Islamist movements in 2004-5, when I was living in Jordan as a Fulbright fellow. These were movements that displayed an ambivalence toward power, to the extent that they even lost elections on purpose (an odd phenomenon that was particularly evident in Jordan). Power, and its responsibilities, were dangerous. After the Islamic Salvation Front dominated the first round of the 1991 Algerian elections, and with the military preparing to intervene, the Algerian Islamist Abdelkader Hachani warned a crowd of supporters: “Victory is more dangerous than defeat.” In a sense, then, I was lucky to be able to expand the book’s scope to cover the tumultuous events of 2011-3, allowing me to explore evolving, and increasingly contradictory, attitudes toward power. Because if power was dangerous, it was also tempting, and so this became a recurring theme in the book: the potentially corrupting effects of political power, a problem which was particularly pronounced with groups that claimed a kind of religious purity that transcended politics. The book became about these two phases in the Islamist narrative, in opposition and under repression, on one hand, and during democratic openings, on the other. And then, of course, back again. I knew the military coup of 3 July 2013 and then the Rabaa massacre of 14 August — a dark, tragic blot on Egypt’s history — provided the appropriate bookend. The Brotherhood had returned to its original, purer state of opposition.
The Arab Spring also provided an opportunity to think more seriously and carefully about the effects of democratization. Would democratization have a moderating effect on mainstream Islamist movements, as the academic and conventional wisdom would suggest? Or was there a darker undercurrent, with democratization unleashing ideological polarization and pushing Islamists further to the right? I wanted to challenge a kind of cultural essentialism in reverse: that Islamists, like its ideological counterparts in Latin America or Western Europe, would be no match for “liberal democracy,” history’s apparent end state. Any kind of determinism, even the liberal variety, would prove problematic, especially for us as Americans with our tendency to believe that the process of history would overwhelm the whims of ideology. In a way, I wanted to believe it too, and for many years I did. As someone who has long been a proponent of supporting democracy in the Middle East, this puts me in a bit of a bind: In the Middle East, democracy is simply less attractive. Yes. And now, since the book has come out, I’ve been challenged along these very lines: “Maybe democracy isn’t so good after all… Maybe the dictators were right.” Well, in a sense, they were right. But this is only a problem if we conceive of democracy as some sort of panacea or short-term fix. Democracy is supposed to be difficult, and this is perhaps where the comparisons to the third-wave democracies of the 1980s and 1990s were misleading. The divides of Arab countries were “foundational,” meaning that they weren’t primarily “policy” problems; they were the more basic problems of the State, its meaning, its purpose, and, of course, the role of religion in public life, which inevitably brings us back to the identity of the State. What kind of conception of the Good should the Egyptian or Tunisian states be promoting? Should the state be neutral or should it be a state with a moral or religious mission? These are raw, existential divides that hearken back more to 1848 than 1989.
You conducted many interviews to research Temptations of Power. How did the interviews craft your argument — whether you were speaking with political leaders, activists, students, or citizens? Feel free to mention some examples.
Spending so much time with Islamist activists and leaders over the course of a decade, some of whom I got to know quite well, was absolutely critical. And this book — and pretty much every thing I know and think about Islamist movements — has been informed and shaped by those discussions. I guess I’m a bit old-fashioned that way; that to understand Islamists, you have to sit with them, talk to them, and get to know them as individuals with their own fears and aspirations. This is where I think it’s important for scholars of political Islam to cordon off their own beliefs and political commitments. Just because I’m an American and a small-l liberal (and those two, in my case, are intertwined), doesn’t mean that Egyptians or Jordanians should be subject to my ideological preferences. If you go into the study of Islamism trying to compare Islamists to some liberal ideal, then that’s distorting. Islamists, after all, are products of their own political context, and not ours. So that’s the first thing.
Second, as a political scientist, my tendency has always been to put the focus on political structures, and the first half of my book does quite a bit of that. In other words, context takes precedence: that Islamists — or, for that matter, Islam — are best understood as products of various political variables. This is true, but only up to a point and I worry that we as academics have gone too much in this direction, perhaps over-correcting for what, decades ago, was a seeming obsession with belief and doctrine.
When religion is less relevant in our own lives, it can be difficult to make that jump, to not just understand — but to relate — to its meaning and power for believers, and for those, in particular, who believe they have a cause beyond this life. But I think that outsiders have to make an extra effort to close that gap. And that, in some ways, is the most challenging, and ultimately rewarding, aspect of my work: to be exposed to something fundamentally different. I think, at this point, I feel like I have a good grasp on how mainstream Islamists see the world around them. What I still struggle with is the willingness to die. If I was at a sit-in and the army was coming in with live fire, I’d run for the hills. And that’s why my time interviewing Brotherhood members in Rabaa — before the worst massacre in modern Egyptian history — was so fascinating and forced me to at least try and transcend my own limitations as an analyst. Gehad al-Haddad — who had given up a successful business career in England to return to Egypt — told me was “very much at peace.” He was ready to die, and I knew that he, and so many others, weren’t just saying it. Because many of them — more than 600 — did, in fact, die.
Where does this willingness to die come from? I found myself pondering this same question just a few weeks ago when I was in London. One Brotherhood activist, now unable to return to Egypt, relayed the story of a protester standing at the front line, when the military moved in to “disperse” the sit-in. A bullet grazed his shoulder. Behind him, a man fell to the ground. He had been shot to death. He looked over and began to cry. He could have died a martyr. He knew the man behind him had gone to heaven, in God’s great glory. This is what he longed for. As I heard this story, it couldn’t have been any more clear: this wasn’t politics in any normal sense. Purity, absolution. This was the language of religion, the language of certainties. Where politics, in a sense, is about accepting, or at least coming to terms, with impossibility of purity.
Are you working on any new publications at the moment?
I’m hoping to build on the main arguments in my book and look more closely at how the inherent tensions between religion and mundane politics are expressed in various contexts. This, I think, is at least part of what makes Islamists so important to our understanding of the Middle East. Because their story is, in some ways, the story of a region that is breaking apart because of the inability to answer the fundamental questions of identity, religion, God, citizenship, and State-ness. One project will look at how various Islamist movements have responded to a defining moment in the Islamist narrative — the military coup of July 3, 2013, which has quickly replaced the Algerian coup of 1992 as the thing that always inevitably comes up when you talk to an Islamist. In some ways, I suspect it will prove even more defining in the long-run. Algeria, as devastating as it was, was still somehow remote (and, ironically enough, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Algerian offshoot allowed itself to be co-opted by the military government throughout most of Algeria’s “black decade”).
This time around, there are any number of lessons to be learned. One response among Islamists is that the Brotherhood should have been more confrontational, moving more aggressively against the “deep state” instead of seeking temporary accommodation. While others fault the Brotherhood for not being inclusive enough, and alienating the very allies who had helped bring it to power. But, of course, these two “lessons” are not mutually exclusive, with many believing that the Brotherhood — although it’s not entirely clear how exactly this would work in practice — should have been both more aggressive and more inclusive.
You recently went on a US tour to promote and discuss Temptations of Power — any recent discussion items, comments or questions which supported your conclusions or refined your thinking that you would like to share?
During the tour, I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to discuss the more philosophical aspects of the book, including the “nature” of Islam, liberalism, and democracy. These are contested terms; Islam, for instance, can mean very different things to different people. A number of people would ask about Narendra Modi, India’s democratically-elected prime minister and somewhat notorious Hindu nationalist. Here’s someone who, in addition to being illiberal, was complicit in genocidal acts against the Muslim minority in Gujarat. But an overwhelming number of Indians voted for him in a free, democratic process. There’s something inspiring about accepting electoral outcomes that might very well be personally threatening to you. Another allied country, Israel, is a democracy with strong (and seemingly stronger) illiberal tendencies. Popular majorities
In some sense, the tensions between liberalism and democracy are universal and trying to find the right balance is an ongoing struggle (although it’s more pronounced and more difficult to address in the Middle Eastern context). So it makes little sense to expect a given Arab country to become anything resembling a liberal democracy in two or three years, when, even in our own history as Americans, our liberalism as well as our democracy were very much in doubt at any number of key points. (I just read this excellent Peter Beinart piece on our descent into populary-backed illiberalism during World War I. Cincinnati actually banned pretzels).
At the same time, looking at other cases has helped me better grasp what, exactly, makes the Middle East different. For example, as illiberal as Modi and the BJP might be, the ideological distance between them and the Congress Party isn’t as much as we might think. In part, this is because the Hindu tradition, to use Michael Cook’s framing, is simply less relevant to modern politics. As Cook writes, “Christians have no law to restore while Hindus do have one but show little interest in restoring it.” Islamists, on the other hand, do have a law and it’s a law that’s taken seriously by large majorities in much of the region. The distinctive nature of “law” — and its continued relevance — in today’s Middle East does add a layer of complexity to the problem of pluralism. This gets us into some uncomfortable territory but I think to ignore it would be a mistake. Islam is distinctive in how it relates to modern politics, at least relative to other major religions. This isn’t bad or good. It just is, and I think this is worth grappling with. As the region plunges into ever greater violence, with questions of religion at the fore, we will need to be more honest about this, even if it’s uncomfortable. This, sometimes, can be as simple as taking religion, and “Islam” in particular, more seriously in an age of secularism. I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes, which I cite in the book, from the great historian of the Muslim Brotherhood, Richard Mitchell. The Islamic movement, he said, “would not be a serious movement worthy of our attention were it not, above all, an idea and a personal commitment honestly felt.”
Heading image: Protesters fests toward Pearl roundabout. By Bahrain in pictures, CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
In the Independent on Sunday Christopher Folwer [sic ?] continues their admirable long-running series on overlooked literature with installment nr. 242 -- considering (some of) what still remains Untranslated (into English).
I am, of course, always thrilled when folks point to the enormous amount of great and interesting literature that has not yet been translated into English; recall PEN's wonderful PEN recommends-page (which they seem to have ditched recently, sigh ...) or Scott Esposito's Translate this Book ! selection at the Quarterly Conversation (and note that some titles from both these lists now are available in English, which is wonderful).
However, I'd be more impressed if, for example, Folwer didn't spend a paragraph explaining:
A friend from the Netherlands once told me: "If you want to understand who we are as a nation, you must read Character, written in 1938 by Ferdinand Bordewijk."
The Dutch classic concerns a bailiff who tyrannically rules over the slums of Rotterdam, and the ambitious son who becomes a lawyer in order to destroy him.
A keystone of 20th-century literature in its own country, it's impossible to find in an English translation.
A film version won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1998, but the book is still unavailable.
I understand that folks may currently be boycotting Amazon.com and hence don't do a simple book search there, but come on, you don't need a fact-checker to know (or at least figure out) that Peter Owen published E.M.Prince's translation of this in 1966, and that Ivan R. Dee reprinted it in 1999; my copy ($7.50 at Strand, purchased August, 2007), pulled from my bookshelf and beside my laptop on my desk as I write this, belies the fact that: "it's impossible to find in an English translation"; see the Ivan R. Dee publicity page, or get your own copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
And, yes, the Bordewijk may be a Dutch keystone -- but it's a widely-circulated-in-English one, and given how much else really isn't available in English (just from the Dutch: a pile of Gerard Reve, for one; J.J. Voskuil's epic Het Bureau for another; pretty much anything by local favorite A.F.Th. van der Heijden for a lot more ...), well ... not the greatest example.
Well, at least Folwer has some other nice catches, right ?
By contrast, Angel Ganivet's masterpiece about the Latin temperament, Idearium Español, remains untranslated.
Where is the translation of that Ángel Ganivet masterpiece ?!??
Oh ... wait.
Right there: Eyre & Spottiswoode published J.R. Carey's translation in 1946, as Spain: an interpretation.
With an introduction by R.M.Nadal.
So, yeah, worst researched (and fact-checked) 'literary' article of the week -- as the only two supposedly untranslated titles he explicitly mentions turn out to have been translated.
I hope they get their money back, because that is some beyond-belief shoddy work.
(And people complain about 'book-bloggers' .....)
And a real disservice and wasted opportunity, because there's so much that really hasn't been made available in English yet.
(I was going to note that, while Folwer accurately notes that: "The mass of Holocaust literature, novels in Yiddish, Norwegian, German, Baltic, and Eastern European languages remains untranslated", that this is perhaps not the greatest untranslated issue/oversight to be concerned about -- valuable though it no doubt is, there seems to be a reasonable amount of Holocaust literature available in English -- and maybe a peek beyond the merely European (everything Folwer talks about is European ...) is warranted.
But, as the above examples show, this article is is no way to be taken seriously, so why bother arguing points like that .....
They should just pull it and kill it and put us out of our misery.
And maybe try commissioning authors who have a vague idea of what they're writing about.)
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At Guernica Philip Zimmerman has a Q & A with Daniel Kehlmann: Forging the Artist.
Kehlmann's novel F recently came out in English (to surprisingly little notice so far), but in this interview he also reveals -- shockingly, to me -- that he messed with the ending of Me and Kaminski in the English translation:
I wrote an ending with a lot less pathos for the English version.
I didn't really rewrite it, but I cut it down to a few paragraphs, much more minimalistic, sort of a Raymond Carver thing.
Apparently, you see:
German can take a lot more pathos than English can.
From their remotest origins, treaties have fulfilled numerous different functions. Their contents are as diverse as the substance of human contacts across borders themselves. From pre-classical Antiquity to the present, they have not only been used to govern relations between governments, but also to regulate the position of foreigners or to organise relations between citizens of different polities.
The backbones of the ‘classical law of nations’ or the jus publicum Europaeum of the late 17th and 18th centuries were the networks of bilateral treaties between the princes and republics of Europe, as well as the common principles, values, and customary rules of law that could be induced from the shared practices that were employed in diplomacy in general and in treaty-making in particular. Some treaties, particularly the sets of peace treaties that were made at multiparty peace conferences — such as those of Westphalia (1648, from 1 CTS 1), Nijmegen [Nimeguen] (1678/79, from 14 CTS 365), Rijswijk [Ryswick] (1697, from 21 CTS 347), Utrecht (1713, from 27 CTS 475), Aachen [Aix-la-Chapelle] (1748, 38 CTS 297) or Paris/Hubertusburg (1763, 42 CTS 279 and from 42 CTS 347) — gained special significance and were considered foundational to the general political and legal order of Europe.
This interactive map shows a selection of significant peace treaties that were signed from 1648 to 1919. All of the treaties mapped here include citations to their respective entries in the Consolidated Treaty Series, edited and annotated by Clive Parry (1917-1982). (Please note that this map is not intended to be an exhaustive representation of the most important peace treaties from this period.)
Traveling through Scotland, one is struck by the number of memorials devoted to those who lost their lives in World War I. Nearly every town seems to have at least one memorial listing the names of local boys and men killed in the Great War (St. Andrews, where I am spending the year, has more than one).
Many who served in World War I undoubtedly suffered from what some contemporary psychologists and psychiatrists have labeled ‘moral injury’, a psychological affliction that occurs when one acts in a way that runs contrary to one’s most deeply-held moral convictions. Journalist David Wood characterizes moral injury as ‘the pain that results from damage to a person’s moral foundation’ and declares that it is ‘the signature wound of [the current] generation of veterans.’
By definition, one cannot suffer from moral injury unless one has deeply-held moral convictions. At the same time that some psychologists have been studying moral injury and how best to treat those afflicted by it, other psychologists have been uncovering the cognitive mechanisms that are responsible for our moral convictions. Among the central findings of that research are that our emotions often influence our moral judgments in significant ways and that such judgments are often produced by quick, automatic, behind-the-scenes cognition to which we lack conscious access.
Thus, it is a familiar phenomenon of human moral life that we find ourselves simply feeling strongly that something is right or wrong without having consciously reasoned our way to a moral conclusion. The hidden nature of much of our moral cognition probably helps to explain the doubt on the part of some philosophers that there really is such a thing as moral knowledge at all.
In 1977, philosopher John Mackie famously pointed out that defenders of the reality of objective moral values were at a loss when it comes to explaining how human beings might acquire knowledge of such values. He declared that believers in objective values would be forced in the end to appeal to ‘a special sort of intuition’— an appeal that he bluntly characterized as ‘lame’. It turns out that ‘intuition’ is indeed a good label for the way many of our moral judgments are formed. In this way, it might appear that contemporary psychology vindicates Mackie’s skepticism and casts doubt on the existence of human moral knowledge.
Not so fast. In addition to discovering that non-conscious cognition has an important role to play in generating our moral beliefs, psychologists have discovered that such cognition also has an important role to play in generating a great many of our beliefs outside of the moral realm.
According to psychologist Daniel Kahneman, quick, automatic, non-conscious processing (which he has labeled ‘System 1′ processing) is both ubiquitous and an important source of knowledge of all kinds:
‘We marvel at the story of the firefighter who has a sudden urge to escape a burning house just before it collapses, because the firefighter knows the danger intuitively, ‘without knowing how he knows.’ However, we also do not know how we immediately know that a person we see as we enter a room is our friend Peter. … [T]he mystery of knowing without knowing … is the norm of mental life.’
This should provide some consolation for friends of moral knowledge. If the processes that produce our moral convictions are of roughly the same sort that enable us to recognize a friend’s face, detect anger in the first word of a telephone call (another of Kahneman’s examples), or distinguish grammatical and ungrammatical sentences, then maybe we shouldn’t be so suspicious of our moral convictions after all.
The good news is that hope for the reality of moral knowledge remains.
The good news is that hope for the reality of moral knowledge remains. – See more at: http://blog.oup.com/?p=75592&preview=true#sthash.aozalMuy.dpuf
In all of these cases, we are often at a loss to explain how we know, yet it is clear enough that we know. Perhaps the same is true of moral knowledge.
Still, there is more work to be done here, by both psychologists and philosophers. Ironically, some propose a worry that runs in the opposite direction of Mackie’s: that uncovering the details of how the human moral sense works might provide support for skepticism about at least some of our moral convictions.
Psychologist and philosopher Joshua Greene puts the worry this way:
‘I view science as offering a ‘behind the scenes’ look at human morality. Just as a well-researched biography can, depending on what it reveals, boost or deflate one’s esteem for its subject, the scientific investigation of human morality can help us to understand human moral nature, and in so doing change our opinion of it. … Understanding where our moral instincts come from and how they work can … lead us to doubt that our moral convictions stem from perceptions of moral truth rather than projections of moral attitudes.’
The challenge advanced by Greene and others should motivate philosophers who believe in moral knowledge to pay attention to findings in empirical moral psychology. The good news is that hope for the reality of moral knowledge remains.
And if there is moral knowledge, there can be increased moral wisdom and progress, which in turn makes room for hope that someday we can solve the problem of war-related moral injury not by finding an effective way of treating it but rather by finding a way of avoiding the tragedy of war altogether. Reflection on ‘the war to end war’ may yet enable it to live up to its name.
The Roosevelts: Two exceptionally influential Presidents of the United States, 5th cousins from two different political parties, and key players in the United States’ involvement in both World Wars. Theodore Roosevelt negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War and won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize. He also campaigned for America’s immersion in the First World War. Almost 25 years later, Franklin Delano Roosevelt came into office during the calamitous aftermath of the Great Depression, yet during his 12-year presidency he contributed to the drop in unemployment rates from 24% when he first took office, to a staggering mere 2% when he left office in 1945. Furthermore, the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt encouraged discussion and implementation of women’s rights, World War II refugees, and civil rights of Asian and African Americans even well-after her husband’s presidency and death. Witness the lives of these illustrious figures through this slideshow, and take a look at the first half of 20th century American history through the lives of the Roosevelts.
“[Theodore] Roosevelt used his bully pulpit to shape public opinion on many subjects. Conservation of natural resources received special emphasis…. Earlier presidents had done little to protect scenic places and national parks against the wasteful exploitation of the environment…. The president achieved much, creating five national parks, four national game preserves, fifty-one bird reservations, and one hundred and fifty national forests” (Lewis L. Gould, Theodore Roosevelt, 43). Public domain via the Library of Congress
In 1909 and 1910, after finishing his second term as president, Roosevelt traveled to Africa on safari. While abroad, the American public grew increasingly fascinated with Roosevelt and “to satisfy popular demand, [Theodore Roosevelt] recruited a friendly reporter, Warrington Dawson, to recount the progress of the hunt for the press corps. When Roosevelt returned first to Europe and then home in the spring of 1910, it was to intense popular acclaim everywhere.” (Lewis L. Gould, Theodore Roosevelt, 52). TR (center, facing sideways) on safari, 1910. Public domain via the Library of Congress.
Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft
“Taft was a first-class lieutenant; but he is only fit to act under orders; and for three years and a half the orders given him have been wrong. Now he has lost his temper and is behaving like a blackguard.” (Theodore Roosevelt to Arthur Lee, dated May 1912, from the Papers of Lord Lee of Fareham.) After leaving office in 1908, Theodore Roosevelt’s relationship with his personally-selected successor, William Howard Taft, soured due to policy differences. Theodore Roosevelt decided to run for an unprecedented third term against President Taft in 1912 as a third-party candidate. Theodore Roosevelt and his newly-founded Progressive Party were ultimately defeated by Democratic candidate Woodrow Wilson in the general election. Theodore Roosevelt and William H. Taft, c. 1909. Public domain via the Library of Congress.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt with his mother, Sara
“Franklin grew up in a remarkably cosseted environment, insulated from the normal experiences of most American boys, both by his family’s wealth and by their intense and at times almost suffocating love…. It was a world of extraordinary comfort, security, and serenity, but also one of reticence and reserve.” (Alan Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 4). Franklin Delano Roosevelt with his mother, Sara, 1887. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
FDR at Harvard
“Entering Harvard College in 1900, [FDR] set out to make up for what he considered his social failures [as a boarding school student at] Groton. He worked hard at making friends, ran for class office, and became president of the school newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, a post that was more a social distinction at the time than a journalistic one. (His own contributions to the newspaper consisted largely of banal editorials calling for greater school spirit.)” (Alan Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 5). FDR as president of the Harvard Crimson, with its Senior Board in 1904. Public domain via the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library.
FDR and Polio
In August of 1921, Roosevelt fell ill after being exposed to the poliomyelitis virus. “He learned to disguise it for pulic purposes by wearing heavy leg braces; supporting himself, first with crutches and later with a cane and the arm of a companion; and using his hips to swing his inert legs forward…So effective was the deception that few Americans knew that Roosevelt could not walk” (Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 18-19). Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fala and Ruthie Bie at Hill Top Cottage in Hyde Park, N.Y . Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library.
FDR and the Great Depression
Depression breadlines. In the absence of substantial Gov’t relief programs during 1932, free food was distributed with private funds in some urban centers to large numbers of the unemployed. February 1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum, Photo 69146. Public domain.
FDR and the New Deal
“When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took the oath of office as president for the first time on March 4, 1933, every moving part in the machinery of the American economy had evidently broken…. Roosevelt right away began working to repair finance, agriculture, and manufacturing…. The Roosevelt agenda grew by experiment: the parts that worked stuck, no matter their origin. Indeed, the program got its name by just that process: Roosevelt used the phrase “new deal” when accepting the democratic nomination for president, and the press liked it. The “New Deal” said the Roosevelt offered a fresh start, but it promised nothing specific: it worked, so it stuck.” (Rauchway, The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction, 56). Franklin Roosevelt at desk in Oval Office with group, Washington, D.C. 1933. Library of Congress, Harris & Ewing Collection. Wikimedia Commons.
FDR and the New Deal
In the beginning of his presidency, Roosevelt proposed a “New Deal.” Over time, it “created state institutions that significantly and permanently expanded the role of federal government in American life, providing at least minimal assistance to the elderly, the poor, and the unemployed; protecting the rights of labor unions; stabilizing the banking system; building low-income housing; regulating financial markets; subsidizing agricultural production…As a result, American political and economic life became much more competitive, with workers, farmers, consumers, and others now able to press their demands upon the government in ways that in the past had usually been available only the corporate world” (Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 61). “CCC boys at work–Prince George Co., Virginia.” Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum
FDR and the Social Security ct
President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, at approximately 3:30 pm EST on August 14th, 1935. Standing with Roosevelt are Rep. Robert Doughton (D-NC); Sen. Robert Wagner (D-NY); Rep. John Dingell (D-MI); Rep. Joshua Twing Brooks (D-PA); the Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins; Sen. Pat Harrison (D-MS); and Rep. David Lewis (D-MD). Library of Congress. Wikimedia Commons.
FDR and the Social Security Act
One of the most important pieces of social legislation in American History was The Social Security Act of 1935. The Act was part of Roosevelt’s Second New Deal (from 1935-38). The Social Security Act set up several important programs, including unemployment compensation (funded by employers) and old-age pensions (funded by a Social Security tax paid jointly by employers and employees). It also provided assistance to the disabled (primarily the blind) and the elderly poor (people presumably too old to work). Furthermore, it established Aid to Dependent Children (later called Aid to Families with Dependent Children, or AFDC), which created the model for what most Americans considered “welfare” for over sixty years (Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 51-52). Roosevelt said, “No one can guarantee this country against the dangers of future depressions, but we can reduce those dangers” (Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, 270). This is a poster publicizing Social Security benefits. Public Domain via Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.
FDR and the Second World War
When war finally broke out in Europe in September 1939, Roosevelt continued to insist that the conflict would not involve the United States. Roosevelt declared, “This nation will remain a neutral nation, but I cannot ask that every American remain neutral in thought as well.” Then, on December 7th, 1941, a wave of Japanese bombers struck the American naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, killing more than 2,000 American servicemen and damaging or destroying dozens of ships and airplanes. Roosevelt called it, “a date which will live in infamy” (Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 68). View looking up “Battleship Row” on 7 December 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) is in the center, burning furiously. To the left of her are USS Tennessee (BB-43) and the sunken USS West Virginia (BB-48). Official U.S. Navy Photograph. Wikimedia Commons.
FDR and the declaration of war
“The Senate and House voted for a declaration of war—the Senate unanimously, and the House by a vote of 388 to 1. Three days later, Germany and Italy, Japan’s European allies, declared war on the United States, and the American Congress quickly and unanimously reciprocated” (Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 75-76). United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the declaration of war against Japan, in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. US National Parks Service via Wikimedia Commons
The Big Three
Shown here are ‘The Big Three’: Stalin, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Tehran Conference, November 1943. At this time, war in eastern Europe had turned decisively in favor of the Soviety Union, which meant that Roosevelt and Churchill now had little leverage over Stalin. Even so, Stalin agreed to enter the Pacific war after the fighting in Europe came to an end. Roosevelt and Churchill promised to launch the long-delayed invasion of France in the spring of 1944 (Brinkley, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 83). US Signal Corps public domain photo.
Eleanor Roosevelt and the Second World War
An outspoken and publicly active First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt was active both on the homefront and overseas. Her visits drew crowds of people and welcomed her favorably and amiably. This resulted in positive press being written about the Roosevelts across the United States as well as Britain. Eleanor Roosevelt visiting troops in Galapagos Island. US National Archives and Records Administration
The Roosevelt Family
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt with their 13 grandchildren in Washington, D.C. in January of 1945 (Archivist note: This photograph was taken at FDR’s fourth inauguration. This is one of the last family photographs taken before FDR’s death.) Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt died of a stroke in on 12 April 1945. In the decades since his death, his stature as one of the most important leaders of the twentieth century has not diminished. “History will honor this man for many things, however wide the disagreement of many of his countrymen with some of his policies and actions,” the New York Times wrote the day after his death. “It will honor him above all else because he had the vision to see clearly the supreme crisis of our times and the courage to meet that crisis boldly. Men will thank God on their knees, a hundred years from now, that Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House” (The New York Times, 13 April 1945). Roosevelt’s funeral procession in Washington in 1945; watched by 300,000 spectators. Library of Congress.
The remaining 17 years that Eleanor Roosevelt lived after her husband passed away were years in which she carried out her humanitarian efforts and maintained the integrity of the Roosevelt name. The next President Harry Truman appointed Eleanor as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, and less than a year later, she became the first chairperson of the preliminary United Nations Commission on Human Rights. She also chaired the John F. Kennedy administration’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. To this day, she is quoted, and referred to with great respect and admiration for her efforts in human rights and politics. Roosevelt speaking at the United Nations in July 1947. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.
False: Generally speaking, college is still worth the money in the long run. According to the latest figures from the College Board, the median earnings for a person with a bachelor’s degree was 65% greater than those for someone with just a high-school diploma over a 40-year working career. Those with associate degrees, typically earned in community or technical colleges, had earnings that were 27% higher. What’s more, the job market of the future will continue to offer more opportunities to those with post-secondary education. By 2020, experts predict two-thirds of jobs will require at least some education and training beyond the high school level. Forty years ago, only about 28% of jobs required that higher level of education.
It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to college.
False: While there are colleges that charge upwards of $50,000 a year for tuition, room, and board (at least 175 of them, counting the half-dozen or so public universities that charge their out-of-state students that much) most colleges cost a lot less. Last year half of all four-year public-college students attended an institution where the annual in-state tuition rate was below $9,011. Some 85 percent of them attended a college where tuition charges were below $15,000. Private colleges charge more but with student aid from the federal and state governments and the colleges themselves, the price students actually pay is often substantially lower than the “sticker price.” Last year the average “net price” at a four-year private college was $12,460. And the average tuition at community colleges, where about four out of ten undergraduates now attend college, was about $3,300 a year.
Student debt is unmanageable.
True (and False): About 40 million Americans now carry student-loan debt and for many of them, particularly recent graduates struggling to get established in a tough job market, student-debt burdens are a real challenge. That’s evidenced by the rising rate of defaults on student loans. But according to the latest data from Project on Student Debt, for students graduating from college with debt, those who attended four-year public colleges had an average debt burden of $25,500. For comparison sake, a new Ford Focus automobile costs anywhere from about $17,000 to $35,000, depending on the options. The average debt level for graduates from four-year private colleges was $32,300. About 40% of student debt is for balances smaller than $10,000, according to the College Board.
Of all the factors that have propelled college prices up faster than the costs of most other goods and services over the past for 40 years, the cost of all those tenured professors isn’t one of them.
True: Actually, while college costs have been rising, the proportion of faculty members who are tenured professors, or on track to be considered for tenure, has shrunk precipitously during the same period. In the mid-1970s according to the American Association of University Professors, about 45% of all faculty members were tenured or on the tenure track; today only about one-quarter of them are. Full-time professors are well paid, but colleges now increasingly rely on faculty members who they hire annually, adjunct professors who they pay only about $2,700 per course, on average, and graduate teaching assistants. Meanwhile, factors that do seem to more directly drive up costs and prices include: growing numbers of administrators, new facilities, major reductions in state support, and the costs for student aid.
Online education takes place primarily at for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix and DeVry University.
False: For-profit colleges like those were among the first to use distance education-technologies to expand their enrollments, but online education is now increasingly commonplace in more traditional public and private colleges. According to the latest available data, more than five million students — about a quarter of the student population — took at least one course that was fully or partly online in fall 2012. About half of them took a class that was exclusively online. The medium, however, still seems more popular for certain fields of study. For both graduate and undergraduate education, the most common courses and degrees offered via distance education are in business, marketing, computer- and information-technologies, and health-related fields. In the future, students can expect to see more and more classes that use distance-education technology in a hybrid format, mixing face-to-face instruction with online components.
Headline image credit: Graduation By Tulane Public Relations, CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
From time to time, we try to give you a glimpse into work in our office around the globe, so we are excited to bring you an interview with Gemma Barratt, Marketing Manager for clinical medical journals. We spoke to Gemma about her life here at Oxford University Press.
When did you starting working at OUP?
I started working at OUP five years ago in the Online Products department as a Marketing Assistant. I worked on everything from Oxford Scholarship Online and the Oxford English Dictionary, to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Oxford Reference. I moved to become a Marketing Manager in the Journals End User Marketing team about a year ago and I now work on some of our major Clinical Medicine society titles.
What was your background before you started working at OUP?
I did my undergraduate degree in English literature and then a master’s in gender and culture. I originally planned on becoming an early years teacher, but was encouraged to do the MA instead and never went back! After my masters I volunteered for a number of arts festivals including the Cheltenham Literature Festival and Larmer Tree Festival, and ended up doing a six month marketing internship with Salisbury International Arts Festival.
What drew you to work for OUP in the first place? What do you think about that now?
Following my internship I knew I wanted to work in marketing and I was attracted to OUP because of the size and reputation of the organization, and that’s still true. The work ethos of OUP is something that I really value and if you like working with passionate and driven people this is certainly a good company to be in.
What is your typical day like at OUP?
My typical day is busy and challenging. It can include anything from recruiting new members of staff to troubleshooting issues raised by societies, working on new bids to training — it’s very broad and varied.
What’s the most enjoyable part of your day?
I enjoy being busy and there is always plenty to do. I attend a lot of meetings and for the most part this is one of the things I most enjoy. They are opportunities to troubleshoot issues, share new ideas, and work collaboratively with colleagues.
What are the biggest challenges of working in the Journals End User Marketing team?
One of the biggest challenges is also one of the biggest draws to being part of this team — it’s incredibly busy and there are a lot of people to work with. The work is varied and challenging and you need to be on the ball all the time to make sure that deadlines are met and the societies we work with are happy.
What do you see as the key skills for a marketing team in journals publishing?
To be robust, creative, and not to be afraid to question the way things are done to find better ways of working. Also to be able to juggle and prioritize tasks. There are always new things coming in so it’s important to be flexible. I also think it’s very important to be personable and friendly, as managing relationships within the department, OUP more widely, and externally is a huge part of a marketing team’s role.
What is the most exciting project you have been part of while working for the team?
Probably working on new bids — we work collaboratively with the editorial team and it’s really a chance to showcase what we can do and demonstrate our creative ideas and results.
If you didn’t work in publishing, what would you be doing?
I would probably be doing a PhD — my MA focused on remembrance of World War I through contemporary fiction, so perhaps an extension of that?
It is a well known fact that the Christian church has, in the course of its 2,000-year long history, often been torn with controversy over how to understand those four simple words, ‘This is my body.’
The Orthodox have never been entirely comfortable with the label ‘transubstantiation,’ and at the outset of the Reformation, the Catholic understanding of the Mass was one of the prime issues that provoked Luther to decry the ‘Babylonian captivity’ of the church.
Luther, of course, went on to denounce Zwingli’s view of the Eucharist as vehemently has he had the Catholic one, and slightly later the Reformed followers of Calvin decided that they disagreed with both Luther and Zwingli. The intensity of these debates is understandable in light of the fact that all involved assumed that a correct understanding of the Eucharist had a direct bearing upon the manner in which Jesus was present to his followers.
Was Jesus still here, bringing salvation to his church, or had he departed and left them to get by as well as they could on their own? Defining the nature of this ritual was intrinsically tied to understanding the purpose of this community. Although this story is one often told, the parallels it presents to Christian views on the Bible have often gone overlooked. For the sources of Christian communal identity for the past two millennia include not only a ritual meal but also a written book.
At first this assertion strikes the reader as so obvious it hardly merits mentioning. However, recognizing the importance of this principle accounts for some of the disconnect modern readers of the Bible experience when they attempt to read accounts of scriptural interpretation from late antiquity.
As recounted in Michael Legaspi’s The Death of Scripture and the Rise of Biblical Studies, in the past five hundred years the Bible in the West has undergone a transformation as it was abstracted from its previous home in a unified Christian church and resituated in the context of modern academia.
Such a move would have appeared quite foreign to Christians of an earlier age who assumed that the Bible could not be understood properly apart from grasping its place in the divine plan of salvation centered upon the person of Jesus Christ.
For example, Cyril of Alexandria, the fifth-century bishop of the city that served as the intellectual capital of the Roman world, liked to use a metaphor to explain the Bible’s purpose to his Christian hearers.
In his sermons and writings, he explained the presence of the Bible in the church by stating that Jesus had given this book to his followers, like a shepherd providing his flock with green grass for their nourishment.
Cyril, of course, knew that the Bible was written by countless persons over a vast span of time, and he tried, using the best tools available to him, to attend to that sort of historical detail. But what was most important, in his view, was the fact that when the Bible was read, Jesus himself was present to save, in a manner akin to his presence in the Eucharist.
Whether it was the words of Moses or of the evangelist Mark, when Christians sitting in the basilica in late antique Alexandria heard the scriptures, what they experienced was Jesus himself speaking to them through that myriad of human voices.
And in making this assumption they were following a trajectory already begun in the New Testament itself. Had not the Apostle Paul declared that Christ was speaking in him (2 Cor. 13.3), and did not Jesus himself say that his words were ‘Spirit and life’ (John 6.63)?
For most twentieth-century historians, early Christian exegesis was regarded as unworthy of historical attention due to its failure to attain the standards of modern hermeneutical method.
Imagine the absurd parallel of modern scientists rejecting medieval views on the Eucharist on the basis that those benighted premoderns did not properly understand the chemical composition of bread and wine. Such a dismissal hardly grapples seriously with the way Christians tried to articulate the function of the ritual.
Late antique readers fair somewhat better when seen in their own context. If the Bible is viewed as the written and living voice of Jesus, then the task of interpretation comes to mirror this assumption.
Just as Jesus speaks through the human authors of the Bible, so interpretation must be a process of finding Jesus in those same words, so as to provide spiritual nourishment for Christians seeking to grow in virtue and understanding.
In this way, what Cyril and his contemporaries believed about the Bible determined the way in which they read the Bible as a community, and the consistency of their approach is laudable.
The Bible is open to a great many interpretive approaches, and the plausibility of those methods will always be a product of the community in which the reader is situated. Late antique Christians, who assumed that scripture functioned analogously to the Eucharist, at least managed to find an interpretive method that accorded with their communal experience of this book.
They've announced the shortlist for this year's Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books -- looks like interesting stuff (and I hope to get around to reviewing the Philip Ball).
The winner will be announced 10 November.
They've announced the longlists for the prix Médicis -- interesting because they also have a foreign-fiction category.
Among the titles to make the best foreign book longlist were the ubiquitous Evie Wyld's, Vladimir Lorchenkov's The Good Life Elsewhere, and Mohsin Hamid's How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.
Among the authors placing books on the French longlist are Antoine Volodine and Christine Montalbetti.
(I will also take this opportunity to note yet again how horrific the French-prize sites (or closest approximations thereto) are.
For years one could at least rely on the invaluable Prix-littéraires.net for all necessary French literary prize information, so it didn't matter what the official and quasi-official sites looked like, but since that site is no longer being updated the situation has gotten near-hopeless.
Get your acts together, folks !)
Everyone should “Listen to JImmy” Palmiotti that is. The veteran writer, artist editor and publisher is one of the most knowledgeable comics people out there. With his collaborators from Paperfilms, Justin Gray and Amanda Conner, he’s made a small publishing enterprise out of kickstarting a series of graphic novels based on the European album format. The seventh, Sex and Violence Vol. II is ending in a few days and we advise you to get in on the Amanda Conner/Dave Johnson action as soon as possible — the books will not be sold in any other way. We talked to Palmiotti a few months ago when he was Kickstarting the SF tale Denver and got his overall thoughts on using Kickstarter as a platform. This time out we talk about the storytelling process,finding artists and also find out how Harley Quinn, which he co-writes with Amanda Conner, has become one of DC’s bestselling titles, with a huge female fan base.
The Beat: Sex and Violence is billed as stories of “crime, lust, and redemption.” Are these stories that you carried around for a while or did you sit down to think of them just for this volume?
Photo by Seth Kushner
Palmiotti: I can’t speak for Justin, but I have had the FILTER story idea for a while and was at one point going to pitch it as a series, but never got around to it. I reworked it so it can be enjoyed as a single story with a beginning and an end. The other short story was something I came up with and thought it might fit perfectly into the book. A lot of the time story ideas hit me and I keep files on them, waiting for the right time or opportunity to place them. I have another story that I want to do and hope we can get to a volume 3 of this series.
The Beat: I know Justin Gray wrote one of the stories, but can you tell us a little about each of the three stories, and what interested you enough in your two to tell the tale?
Palmiotti: Justin’s is called RED DOG ARMY and its based on actual history. Hitler launched a full-scale invasion on Russia called Operation Barabossa, and Stalin, reacting to this, authorized a special unit to train dogs as anti-tank weapons, sort of a suicide dog squad. It’s a real interesting setting to tell a story and beautifully illustrated by Rafa Garres whom we worked a number of time with on Jonah Hex. The next story is called DADDY ISSUES and is about a mother and daughter living in a trailer park dealing with the men in their lives. Its got a very tales from the crypt feel but works perfectly here. Romina Moranelli illustrated it and it’s just beautiful. The last story is called FILTER and it’s a look back on a killer’s life and the things he has done to get to where he is today. It’s dark and cruel and will stay with you for a while, I think. Vanesa R. Del Ray illustrates that story, an art student I met a couple of years ago that is making a name for herself all over now. All three stories work together pretty nicely.
The Beat: Your two stories sounds like they have fairly unsympathetic protagonists, which I know can be a challenge. How do you make dark characters like this compelling enough for the reader to want to follow along?
Palmiotti: Well, with Daddy Issues, you sort of understand what they are going through, but in the end, these are killers and you should be scared to be around them. With Filter, I set out to give the reader an understanding of how someone goes from bad to worse. The interesting aspect of the story is there is a level or redemption to the character that makes him a bit more sympathetic. I think the trick is to humanize the situation into something we can relate to so we understand the extreme reaction the character takes. Honestly, all of these characters are scary on their own level.
The Beat: How do you find artists for these? You’ve said it’s like casting, and as a sometimes editor, I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes you think of an element of a comics story and an artist just pops into your head with just the qualities that will make it work. Do you keep a physical or mental folder of artists you want to work with?
Palmiotti: I actually meet most of them at conventions. They come by and show me their work and I can feel the enthusiasm. I keep a file and also give them my contact and hope they follow through and we chat again. The people that I end up working with are the ones that stay after me and keep sending their latest samples. I try to stay up as well on who is new and exciting in the field best I can. I buy just about every new book that comes out, which my local retailer, Emerald City loves. The casting thing is a perfect way of explaining what I do for each story, It’s one of the most important parts of the job. I always say the Marvel Knights gig was all about casting the right people with the right characters. The magic happens after that.
The Beat: Do you ever write a story for a specific artist?
Palmiotti: All of the time. All three of the stories in Sex and Violence are catered to the artist. I may have an idea, but once I know who the artist is going to be, I change it to fit their style. In the case of All Star Western and Jonah Hex, we always wrote for the artist. I think that’s how we got their best work. Issue 34 of All Star was made for Darwyn Cooke and once we knew G.I.Zombie was going to be Scott Hampton, the book took a creepier, grounded tone. I didn’t want to fight against his style. I also think the work is better for it.
The Beat: I talked with you a few months ago for your Denver Kickstarter and it sounds like you really have crowdfunding down to a science. Were there any tweaks to the model this time?
Palmiotti: Yes, I did a few after the Denver Campaign. The first thing I did is stop offering the expensive packages overseas because we felt the price was too high to ask for the shipping and to be honest, a lot of the packages got lost or damaged pretty bad. The next thing was limit the prints because we felt there wasn’t as big a need for them this time, and last, since this is a follow up of a series of books, we went back to press and reprinted the first book with two brand new covers by Amanda Conner and Dave Johnson, knowing a lot of people did not get the first one that might be backing the new one.
The Beat: Your Kickstarter books seem to have a very European feel to them and not just because you often use foreign artists. Is that part of the inspiration for these books?
Palmiotti: It’s based on my love of European comics and artists. I grew up on Heavy Metal and with that steady diet; it was bound to have its influence. I also like to make the books mature audience books, again, a very European thing. I feel I do a ton of all ages work for the mainstream, so we get to unleash ourselves here and do whatever works for the story.
The Beat: On another note, Harley Quinn has been a huge hit for DC and for the Paperfilms crew. I saw you talking recently about the fact that it has a lot of women readers. I know it’s all still anecdotal for DC but this audience seems to be one that is really growing quickly. Can you talk about your own experiences with that?
Palmiotti: Amanda and I have had a very busy year of conventions and signings and the thing we noticed from working on the Harley book is that the majority of the people coming up to us are females of all ages. We have only had this happen once before and it was for the Painkiller Jane series. The cool thing about this group is that we’ve had a large percentage telling us it’s the first comic book they ever bought and thanking us for not weighing down the title with continuity. They say they love that they can just pick up an issue and enjoy it without going broke or feeling left out and confused because they haven’t bought 15 other books. It’s something I am always aware of on all my books because I’m one of those people that, if I feel lost picking up a book, I never go back to it again.
What we are learning is that the traditional idea of done–in-one stories not selling in comics just doesn’t apply to the new audience buying the books, and believe me, most of that new audience are female. I think the problem right now is we have some people running the companies that just aren’t going out and trying new comics or interacting with the next wave of readers and keep pushing things the traditional way they did years ago. The retailers themselves are seeing this happening daily now and I feel it’s the reason Image comics will continue to grow and eventually outsell the big two, unless they start thinking outside the box and just make superheroes a PART of their publishing plan and not the entire thing and start looking at the different ways a superhero type of book can be done. Harley is one example , Hawkeye is another . The traditional graphics people associate comics with have been changing for years now and the market is embracing different looks and styles that are outside the house style and its pretty cool to see.
The thing that keeps me interested in comics is the prospect of new ideas, new voices and especially new methods of applied technology and connecting with the audience. It’s what keeps the Paperfilms crew and I trying new things all the time. As an example, we had a soundtrack scored on our last book DENVER and people loved it. That and the fact that people can go to Paperfilms.com and get digital downloads of our books, prints of Amanda’s work and copies directly from us is the next big for creators these days. That thing is the connection between the creator and the fan; something bigger companies have no real interest in promoting. This is also happening in all media. Things are changing fast, and for me, all for the better.
The Beat: You’ve made your Kickstarters a real cottage industry, What are your plans going forward? How many a year do you foresee doing and how long are you going to keep at it?
Palmiotti: I will keep making Kickstarters for as long as we have an audience for them. The people that back our Kickstarters are a lot of repeat customers and we are growing that fan base with every project. Our plans going forward are to do more of them and take on less work that we just do to pay the bills. Kickstarter has been a huge learning experience for us in so many ways. Each project teaches us what the audience wants from us. We look at the hard numbers, the comments and all the interaction and fine tune each and every new project to be able to connect better with the fans. We have only a few days left on SEX AND VIOLENCE VOL. 2 and after this, we have another book ready to roll that is a western graphic novel, something you would think we had enough of…but this one is different in a number of ways and we are super excited to announce it in a few weeks.
Lisa Hix of Collectors Weekly sat down with Trina Robbins and runs through a few chapters of Robbins’ Pretty in Ink, her third history of women cartoonists. The result is an immense article that could function on a primer on the history of women cartoonists going back more than 100 years, starting with Rose O’Neil:
Soon after her strip appeared, O’Neill became the first female staff artist for the humor magazine “Puck,” where she created many single-panel cartoons. She also fell in love and married a gorgeous and lazy heir named Gray Latham. As a successful illustrator and cartoonist, O’Neill was doing quite well financially, when she could keep her spoiled husband away from her money—he would blow her paychecks on gambling and drinking. She divorced him in 1901, and a year later, married a “Puck” editor named Harry Leon Wilson. While they were both artistically productive during their marriage, Wilson’s moody temperament clashed with O’Neill’s bubbly personality, and he hated that she often talked to him in a baby voice.
And on it goes through Grace Drayton, Fiction House, Tarpé Mills, Hilda Terry, Dale Messick, the rise of the superhero, the undergrounds, and on to Ms Marvel. (That’s a page of Mills Miss Fury above and if you can show me a more effectively colored page of comics in any era I’ll eat the paper its printed on.) If you’ve been following Robbins’ comics history research—as I have—you’ll find it a fairly familiar history, but one that once again reminds us that women have always been making and reading comics—which makes the various periods when it was insisted they don’t—and the burial of any previous history of female participation—all the more troubling and exasperating.
While this piece serves as a nice summation of the best known female comics artists from about the 1890s to the 1970s, it isn’t the whole story. I’m still waiting for the important women behind the scenes to get written into the history books. Folks like Ruth Roche, who wrote comics for the Eisner-Iger studio, and then joined Iger as partner after Eisner left. While not negating the importance of Will Eisner to comics history, the studio was then known as the Roche-Iger Studio and that’s gotta count for something. Roche was such a seminal figure in comics that Trina Robbins and Catherine Yronwode dedicated their book, Women in the Comics, to Roche…in 1985!
I’ve mentioned romance writer and DC editor Dorothy Woolfolk a few times here; surely her story must be an interesting one. Or Helen Meyer, the most successful comics publisher of all times in the US. As editor of Dell Comics she was not only one of the most powerful women in comics, but in all of publishing. Meyer testified in front of the Kefauver Commission, and while Bill Gaines delivered a legendarily painful performance, hers was polished and professional, even if she was willing to throw horror (and freedom of expression) under the bus.
Anyway, these three women and more are beginning to get mainstreamed into the pages of orthodox comics history. But even in researching this brief blog post, I was struck by how Sisyphean the struggle of women is. In Roche’s bio she’s called a pioneer, even though O’Neill and Brinkley were making comics a mere 30 years prior. It’s amazing how just about every woman becomes a “pioneer,” no matter how many have done the same thing before. Perhaps in the modern era of massiveachievement by female cartoonists we can admit that they aren’t the first, and they won’t be the last.
Hix’s article ends sweetly with Robbins signing at this years SDCC with Lily Renee, another one of the Fiction House lady squad…I can’t improve on it so I’ll swipe it, with a photo taken for The Beat by Bruce Lidl.
[Editor's note: At The Beat we're always trying to cover little known and emerging comics scenes, tus we're excited to present this look at the Nigerian comics scene and this weekend's Lagos Comic Con. For those who think Africa is all about ebola, think again.]
Nigeria may be wracked by Boko Haram and the threat of the dreaded Ebola virus, but the entertainment industry is booming in the largest economy in Africa. The Nigerian film industry, popularly called Nollywood, sells an estimated $800 million in mostly straight-to-video movies every year. What the films lack in production quality, they make up for in verve and melodrama–it’s hard not to get sucked into watching one if you happen upon one on television. The country also boasts a thriving independent press, and internet penetration is rapidly rising as the government pushes out broadband. Books, too, remain popular, led by the public intellectual and Nobel Prize Winner Wole Soyinka and the emergence of the national $100,000 NLNG Nigeria Prize– although a recent decision by the Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to place a crippling tax on imported texts has limited their availability. Piracy is also a problem. On my recent trip to Nigeria, I purchased a few CDs at what appeared to be a fancy music store and they all turned out to be pirated, and even the distributors of Nollywood films pirate the films they are supposed to be selling.
The comics scene in Nigeria has been thriving since the 1980s, but has yet to burst into the mainstream. There are tastes of what may soon emerge as youth in Nigeria fully embrace the internet—check out this sci-fi short on YouTube here, which includes an animated spaceship—but comics are still an emerging industry. On Friday, the third annual Lagos Comic Con will launch in the commercial capital of 20 million people. I corresponded with comics creator and co-founder Ayodele Elegba about the event, where we wrote about attractions, popular comics, Ebola, and cosplay.
Q: How did the Lagos Comicon get started?
Elegba: The Lagos Comic Con began in 2012 when I realized that the comic medium was not appreciated by the Nigerian public like it used to be in the 80s while I was growing up. I had previously published a newsletter to raise awareness about the scene but the response was low and people kept asking me where they could get comic books and if there were comics created by Nigerians. I wanted to debunk the myth and show people that Nigerian Comics do exist and that we have comic artists and writers here in Nigeria. That was when I decided to start the Lagos Comicon, with no funds but a dream to make it an international festival.
Q: What will you have at the event?
Elegba: This year the event is much bigger because we have included other genres of entertainment such as movies, games, and animations, which are like an extension of comic books. We will have a Comic Zone, where you can buy Nigerian Comics and meet African creators. We also have Nollywood Village: this is where you can buy Nigerian-made movies with an action/comics bent and meet A-list Nigerian film stars and music celebrities. We have the Game Zone, where we’ll run a competition this year called “Battle of the Game Lords,” where gamers will compete for a prize of over US$2000. We have an Arts and Culture Zone where we showcase fine arts, sculptures, paintings, and the beautiful culture of the Nigeria. We have a workshop session with 12 speakers who will talk about various genres of entertainment. Finally, we have the Kids Zone, where kids can play and have fun while their parents shop. We also have other segments like karaoke, exhibitions, dance performances and music performances from pop stars.
Q: What are some of the most popular themes in Nigerian comics (e.g. scifi, history, romance, adventure)?
Elegba: The most popular themes right now in Nigerian comics are magical or cultural, though we have superhero comics and military comics too.
Q: Are there any topics that you won’t find in other countries? For example, there is a series on President Goodluck Jonathan.
Elegba: Well Nigeria is unique, and there is a particular comic called Central Attack which deals with the issue of Boko Haram, the terrorist group in Nigeria.
[Interviewer’s Note: Central Attack depicts an elite government strike team that protects the country against the militant Islamic sect Boko Haram. You can read more about it here.]
Q: Who are the most popular comic book authors and writers?
Elegba: The most popular comic book artists are Ibrahim Ganiyu, Jide Olusanya, Stanley Obende, Mohammed Agbadi and many more. Writers include myself Ayodele Elegba, Wisdom Omon, Niyi, and Niran Adeniji.
Q: Piracy is a problem in Nigeria for fiction authors and for films. Is this an issue for comics in Nigeria?
Elegba: Right now there is no piracy in comics. Piracy dwells on the financial success of a products. Comics don’t have that yet.
Q: Will scares about Ebola cause any issues for attendance?
Elegba: I don’t think so. The Ebola scare has been well curbed by the Nigerian government and so far all cases of Ebola infections have been effectively quarantined and taken care of. We have also put in place measures for hand washing and sanitization at the event. We will be checking everyone’s temperature as they go into the hall.
Q: How is the internet affecting the comics scene in Nigeria? Can you buy local comics online?
Elegba: The internet is a developing media in Nigeria, but so far Nigerian comics are doing well. We have about five indigenous online comic stores in Nigeria now.
Will there be any cosplay?
Elegba: Sure, what’s a comic con without cosplay? There will be cosplay and there will be prizes for the winners.
[Deji Bryce Olukotun (@dejiridoo) is the author of Nigerians in Space, a thriller out now from Unnamed Press. www.returnofthedeji.com]
This was a tough month for Marvel. Original Sin is ending and none of their other events have really started yet. They also don’t have any real high profile series launches. So there are no books that really pop. There is a lot of attrition this month. Of the 72 books that also had an issue last month, only 12 saw growth in their numbers. That leaves 60 books that dropped in sales. 39 books dropped more than 5% or what might be considered a standard attrition. Luckily there are several major events coming soon which will drive sales up and a lot of books will be relaunching after these events which always bumps up the numbers at least temporarily. It is worrying however, that there are several series that just relaunched a year or for some 6 months ago and are already in trouble again. Let’s look at a breakdown of what came out this month:
76 books in total
11 double shipped books
5 X-Men books (7 if you count X-Factor and X-Force)
7 Avengers books (8 if you count the Ultimates)
5 100th Anniversary specials
11 Original Sin and Original Sin Tie-In books
1 titles over 100,000 copies
2 titles between 75,000 and 100,000 copies
9 titles between 50,000 and 75,000 copies
35 titles between 25,000 and 50,000 copies
29 titles under 25,000
2 $5.99 books
4 $4.99 books
64 $3.99 books
6 $2.99 books
Now let’s dive into the deep end with these numbers.
Thanks as always to ICV2.com and Milton Griepp for their permission to use these figures.
2. Amazing SPIDER-MAN
08/04 Am Spi #511 – 88,120
08/09 Am Spi #603 - 70,976
08/11 Am Spi #668 - 57,533
08/12 Am Spi #692 - 91,071
08/13 Superior #15 - 78,636 ( -2.7%)
08/13 Superior #16 - 78,087 ( -0.7%)
09/13 Superior #17 - 89,118 ( +14.1%)
09/13 Superior #18 - 80,178 ( -10.0%)
10/13 Superior #19 - 83,671 ( +4.4%)
10/13 Superior #20 - 85,309 ( +2.0%)
11/13 Superior #21 - 74,940 ( -12.2%)
11/13 Superior #22 - 81,250 ( +8.4%)
12/13 Superior #23 - 77,105 ( -5.1%)
12/13 Superior #24 - 76,131 ( -1.3%)
01/14 Superior #25 - 77,311 ( 1.5%)
01/14 Superior #26 - 72,591 ( -6.1%)
02/14 Supr #27.Now - 86,405 ( 19.0%)
02/14 Superior #28 - 75,477 ( -12.6%)
03/14 Superior #29 - 76,568 ( 1.4%)
03/14 Superior #30 - 75,431 ( -1.5%)
04/14 Superior #31 – 135,484 ( 79.6%)[13,234]
04/14 Amazing v3 #1- 532,586 ( 293.1%)[23,871]
05/14 Amazing v3 #2- 123,945 ( -76.7%)
06/14 Amazing v3 #3- 109,029 ( -12.0%)
07/14 Amazing v3 #4- 117,917 ( 8.2%)O.S. Tie-In
08/14 Amazing v3 #5- 101,655 ( -13.8%)O.S. Tie-In
6 mnth ( 17.6%)
1 year ( 30.2%)
2 year ( 12.0%)
3 year ( 76.7%)
5 year ( 43.2%)
10 year ( 15.4%)
Spider-Man drops 16k despite being an original sin tie-in. However, the wall-crawler stayed above 100k which is still good. This is really good considering that Spider-Verse is coming soon, which will likely help keep this book’s numbers high for the next few months.
3. Original Sin #0
04/14 Original Sin #0 - 73,024 [6,166]
05/14 Original Sin #1 - 147,045 (101.4%)
05/14 Original Sin #2 - 92,643 (-37.0%)
06/14 Original Sin #3 – 93,351 ( 0.8%)
06/14 Original Sin #4 - 88,508 ( -5.2%)
07/14 Original Sin #5 - 91,420 ( 3.3%)
07/14 Original Sin #6 - 89,324 ( -2.3%)
08/14 Original Sin #7 - 91,291 ( 2.2%)
Original Sin 8 was also solicited for this month but got pushed into the first week of September. This event series has stayed very steady around 90k and bodes well for Marvel’s next event Axis, which is right around the corner.
5. SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN
08/13 Superior #15 - 78,636 ( -2.7%)
08/13 Superior #16 - 78,087 ( -0.7%)
09/13 Superior #17 - 89,118 ( +14.1%)
09/13 Superior #18 - 80,178 ( -10.0%)
10/13 Superior #19 - 83,671 ( +4.4%)
10/13 Superior #20 - 85,309 ( +2.0%)
11/13 Superior #21 - 74,940 ( -12.2%)
11/13 Superior #22 - 81,250 ( +8.4%)
12/13 Superior #23 - 77,105 ( -5.1%)
12/13 Superior #24 - 76,131 ( -1.3%)
01/14 Superior #25 - 77,311 ( 1.5%)
01/14 Superior #26 - 72,591 ( -6.1%)
02/14 Supr #27.Now - 86,405 ( 19.0%)
02/14 Superior #28 - 75,477 ( -12.6%)
03/14 Superior #29 - 76,568 ( 1.4%)
03/14 Superior #30 - 75,431 ( -1.5%)
04/14 Superior #31 – 135,484 ( 79.6%)[13,234]
08/14 Superior #32 - 87,604 ( -35.3%)
6 mnth ( 1.4%)
1 year ( 12.2%)
Continuing the numbering from the Doc-Ock-as-Spidey run that ended in in April, this series serves as the starting point for Spider-verse the upcoming event which will run across several Spider-man books. It pulls in good numbers compared to its second to last issue from March. This concept continues to sell very well for Marvel.
This issue had an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. variant cover that maybe boosted sales a bit, but it also just seems to be pretty steady around 57k. There’s also an upcoming foray into the Ultimate Universe to meet Miles Morales. We’ll see if that helps boost sales.
So this reads like a huge drop, but it was also because the #1 issue did so well. Remember as well that 100k issues of #1 were ordered by LootCrate as a one-time offer. So really this should read as a 70% drop instead of 80%. There were re-orders on issue 1, so some stores sold out as well. It will be interesting to watch this series over the next few months, will it drop quickly, or will it steady out around 40-50k?
So this is the last issue before the Avengers jump forward 8 months into the future and not only wraps up many current storylines but tees up Axis and the 8-month time jump. Also this issue was an Original Sin Tie-in. Also this help boost the book’s sales up and position it nicely for the next arc to do well.
***This is normally where Uncanny X-men would rank, but this month’s issue got pushed back to the first week of September so there are no numbers this month. However, issue 23 did get 5,627 re-orders this month.
This issue had an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. variant cover and tees up AXIS, which leads to a bit of a sales bump. Interestingly, the next two months will be Axis set-up stories, and then this book goes on hiatus and is essentially replaced by Axis in October.
So normally, a title is expected to drop 40% from issue #1 to #2, so this is a bit bigger drop, but there was decent re-order activity on #1 this month, so basically the jury is still out on this book. Plus in a few months it will tie-in with Spider-verse which should boost its sales anyway.
33. ORIGINAL SIN #5.X
07/14 Original Sin #5.1 – 48,596
07/14 Original Sin #5.2 – 46,110 ( -5.1%)
08/14 Original Sin #5.3 – 44,139 ( -4.3%)
08/14 Original Sin #5.4 – 42,665 ( -3.3%)
This Original Sin tie-in followed Thor, Loki, and Angela. It ended up selling better than the Thor or Loki books normally do and will hopefully serve as a good lead-in to the new Angela series starting in a few months.
35, 43. NEW AVENGERS
08/09 New Avengers v1 #56 - 89,901
08/11 New Avengers v2 #14 - 56,035
08/12 New Avengers v2 #24 - 59,441
08/13 New Avengers v3 #9 - 60,534 ( 4.3%)
09/13 New Avengers v3 #10 - 60,682 ( 0.2%)
10/13 New Avengers v3 #11 - 63,231 ( 4.2%)
11/13 New Avengers v3 #12 - 58,807 ( -7.0%)
12/13 N Avengers #13.INH - 56,624 ( -3.7%)
02/14 New Avengers v3 #14 - 50,668 (-10.5%)
03/14 New Avengers v3 #15 - 47,178 ( -6.9%)
03/14 N Avengers #16.NOW - 48,731 ( 0.0%)
04/14 New Avengers v3 #17 - 45,885 ( -5.8%)
05/14 New Avengers v3 #18 - 43,668 ( -4.8%)
06/14 New Avengers v3 #19 - 41,989 ( -3.8%)
06/14 New Avengers v3 #20 - 43,962 ( -0.1%)
07/14 New Avengers v3 #21 - 42,699 ( 1.8%)
08/14 New Avengers v3 #22 - 42,797 ( 0.2%)
08/14 New Avengers v3 #23 - 40,018 ( -6.3%)
6 mnth ( -21.0%)
1 year ( -33.9%)
2 year ( -33.0%)
3 year ( -28.6%)
5 year ( -55.5%)
Final 2 issues before this book jumps 8 months into the future, which will hopefully give a nice boost to this book’s sales figures.
45. ORIGINAL SIN #3.X
06/14 Original Sin #3.1 – 45,338
07/14 Original Sin #3.2 – 41,756 ( -7.9%)
07/14 Original Sin #3.3 – 40,402 ( -3.2%)
08/14 Original Sin #3.4 – 38,899 ( -3.7%)
This O.S. tie-in was a crossover between Hulk and Iron and sold slightly better than either of them would have on its own.
48. DEADPOOL vs.
04/14 Dpool vs. Carnage #1 – 57,275 [4,497]
04/14 Dpool vs. Carnage #2 – 49,374 (-13.8%)[2,757]
05/14 Dpool vs. Carnage #3 – 46,688 ( -5.4%)
06/14 Dpool vs. Carnage #4 – 47,228 ( 1.2%)
07/14 Dpool vs. X-Force #1 - 54,762 ( --- )
07/14 Dpool vs. X-Force #2 - 45,047 (-17.7%)
08/14 Dpool vs. X-Force #3 - 38,471 (-14.6%)
This book is not doing as well as the Carnage series that preceded it. Next month this book wraps up and the Deadpool versus Hawkeye series starts. It will be interesting to see if the downward trend continues.
Last issue of the critically acclaimed Ellis/Shalvey/Bellaire run on Moon Knight and the sales are still remarkably high. As Ellis and Shalvey move on to their new Image book, this series will be taken over by Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood. Next month should be interesting, will the numbers drop with the new team?
After a 3 month delay Inhuman returns and honestly the drops aren’t that bad. Still, if Marvel has plans to make the Inhumans as popular as the Guardians of the Galaxy, a book plagued by creative changes and art delays was probably not the way to do it.
53. LEGENDARY STAR LORD
07/14 Leg. Star Lord #1 - 78,501 (---)[6,054]
08/14 Leg. Star Lord #2 - 37,109 (-52.7%)
Pretty big drop for Star Lord issue 2, but there were re-orders on issue 1, so retailers may be making adjustments to their orders still as this books finds its level.
This is a pretty big drop for the Amazing X-men as they hit the mid-way point of their second arc. This is when a book should be stabilizing, which makes me wonder if stores saw a lot of people dropping the series after the initial arc ended.
8% drop for this issue but since it had growth last month that means it is very stable. Plus look at this 6-month drop percentage. That is less than most books drop on their second issue. This is one of the most successful new series launches I’ve seen from Marvel. This brand new character sells in the same range as books like Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor and those books have a huge history with the company and several movies backing them up.
The drops on Silver Surfer are shrinking. Hopefully it will level out soon.
70. CAPTAIN AMERICA
08/04 Captain America v4 #30 - 38,465
08/09 Cap America Reborn #2 –125,234
08/11 Captain America #2 - 54,384
08/12 Captain America v6 #16 - 35,155
08/13 Captain America v7 #10 - 39,356 ( -3.5%)
09/13 Captain America v7 #11 - 38,521 ( -2.1%)
10/13 Captain America v7 #12 - 38,684 ( +0.4%)
11/13 Captain America v7 #13 - 36,147 ( -6.6%)
12/13 Captain America v7 #14 - 34,532 ( -4.5%)
01/14 Captain America v7 #15 - 33,433 ( -3.2%)
02/14 Capt AmericaV7 #16.Now – 36,534 ( 9.3%)
02/14 Captain America v7 #17 – 33,312 ( -8.8%)
03/14 Captain America v7 #18 – 33,642 ( 1.0%)
04/14 Captain America v7 #19 – 34,420 ( 2.3%)
05/14 Captain America v7 #20 – 30,341 ( -9.3%)
06/14 Captain America v7 #21 – 30,427 ( 0.3%)
07/14 Captain America v7 #22 – 34,563 ( 13.6%)
08/14 Captain America v7 #23 – 30,927 ( -10.5%)
6 Mnth ( -7.2%)
1 Year ( -21.4%)
2 Year ( -12.0%)
3 Year ( -43.1%)
5 Year ( -75.3%)
10 Year ( -19.6%)
Last month’s boost was due to a few variants, so this series is back to where it has stayed the last few months. Cap relaunches in November with a new #1 and a different hero wielding the shield and should see a nice boost to sales.
71. FANTASTIC FOUR
08/04 Fantastic Four #517 – 50,248
08/09 Fantastic Four #570 – 62,335
08/12 Fantastic Four #609 - 36,496
08/13 Fantastic Four v5 #11 - 32,665 ( -4.0%)
09/13 Fantastic Four v5 #12 - 31,426 ( -3.8%)
10/13 Fantastic Four v5 #13 - 31,561 ( +0.4%)
11/13 Fantastic Four v5 #14 - 28,679 ( -9.1%)
12/13 Fantastic Four v5 #15 - 27,610 ( -3.7%)
01/14 Fantastic Four v5 #16 - 28,045 ( 1.6%)
02/14 Fantastic Four v6 #1 - 65,775 ( 134.5%)
03/14 Fantastic Four v6 #2 - 37,569 ( -42.9%)
04/14 Fantastic Four v6 #3 - 34,930 ( -7.0%)
05/14 Fantastic Four v6 #4 - 33,263 ( -4.8%)
05/14 Fantastic Four v6 #5 - 33,336 ( 0.2%)
06/14 Fantastic Four v6 #6 - 33,177 ( -0.5%) O.S. Tie-In
07/14 Fantastic Four v6 #7 - 33,687 ( 1.5%) O.S. Tie-In
08/14 Fantastic Four v6 #8 - 30,674 ( -8.9%) O.S. Tie-In
08/14 Fantastic Four v6 #9 - 28,827 ( -6.0%)
6 mnth ( -56.2%)
1 year ( -11.7%)
2 year ( -21.0%)
5 year ( -53.8%)
10 year ( -42.6%)
This series continues to drop and now 6 months after its relaunch is right back at nearly the same number it was at before. It is still solicited for an issue 13 in November with the return of the old costumes. Maybe that will help the sales?
This book drops a little but for the most part is relatively stable. It was recently announced that after Death of Wolverine, this series will be replaced by a new book called Spider-Man and the X-men where the wall crawler takes on a guidance counselor role at the Jean Grey School. Wolverine and the X-Men wraps up in November with issue 12.
This series should hopefully get a boost with some Axis tie-in issues coming up soon. It is not in trouble but could use help leveling out before it gets too low.
77. ORIGINAL SINS
06/14 Original Sins #1 – 39,660
06/14 Original Sins #2 – 36,099 ( -9.0%)
07/14 Original Sins #3 – 34,686 ( -3.9%)
07/14 Original Sins #4 – 32,076 ( -7.5%)
08/14 Original Sins #5 – 29,250 ( -8.8%)
This book was a Young Avengers tie-in to Original Sin, but wasn’t solicited as one until issue 3 to preserve its secrets. I for one would have bought it if I knew it was Young Avengers. Still it sold pretty decently.
83. NOVA SPECIAL
08/14 Nova Special #1 – 26,743
This special is a crossover with Uncanny X-men and Iron Man and it sells a bit better than the main Nova book.
115. ALL NEW GHOST RIDER
08/11 Ghost Rider #1 - 24,440
03/14 All New Ghost Rider #1 - 50,072 ( --- )[2,567]
04/14 All New Ghost Rider #2 - 29,429 (-41.2%)
05/14 All New Ghost Rider #3 - 27,756 ( -5.7%)
06/14 All New Ghost Rider #4 - 24,627 (-11.3%)
07/14 All New Ghost Rider #5 - 21,820 (-11.4%)
08/14 All New Ghost Rider #6 - 20,679 ( -5.2%)
3 year (-15.4%)
Ghost Rider gets a new creative team and only a slight drop.
The only thing different about this issue from the last was that Deadpool guest-starred in it. No variants, or creative team changes… just Deadpool. Apparently, that is enough to boost sales by 3%. This will now be called the Deadpool effect.
120. SAVAGE WOLVERINE
09/13 Savage Wolverine #8 - 38,208 ( -6.7%)
10/13 Savage Wolverine #9 - 36,451 ( -4.6%)
10/13 Savage Wolverine #10 - 33,627 ( -7.7%)
11/13 Savage Wolverine #11 - 30,338 ( -9.8%)
11/13 Savage Wolverine #12 - 29,739 ( -2.0%)
12/13 Savage Wolverine #13 - 27,490 ( -7.6%)
01/14 Savage #14.NOW - 30,370 ( 10.5%)
02/14 Savage Wolverine #15 - 25,190 (-17.1%)
03/14 Savage Wolverine #16 - 24,008 ( -4.7%)
04/14 Savage Wolverine #17 - 22,350 ( -6.9%)
05/14 Savage Wolverine #18 - 21,599 ( -3.4%)
05/14 Savage Wolverine #19 - 21,144 ( -2.1%)
06/14 Savage Wolverine #20 - 20,725 ( -2.0%)
07/14 Savage Wolverine #21 - 20,050 ( -3.3%)
08/14 Savage Wolverine #22 - 19,124 ( -4.6%)
6 Mnth ( -24.1%)
Savage doesn’t tie in to the Death of Wolverine at all, so it doesn’t get a sales boost from the extra attention that series is giving the ol’ Canucklehead. Instead it continues its steady decline.
As soon as this series O.S. Tie-In issues ended, it dropped right back to the sales decline it had before, completely erasing any good that tie-in did. Invaders is still solicited through issue 12 in November and by that point I imagine it will be around 16k and we’ll be discussing its cancelation or relaunch.
This series was really cool, but just never found its audience in the direct market. It is solicited through November with issue 8 at this point. It will be interesting to see if they give it some wiggle room and see if the first trade helps it find an audience or if they cancel it.
This series (and some could say the Ultimate Universe) has been in trouble sales wise for a while. According to the November solicits, issue #10 begins a 3-issue climax, but the wording is unclear for sure if that means the cancellation of the series.
135. SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN
07/13 Superior Foes #1 - 61,413
08/13 Superior Foes #2 - 34,300 (-44.1%)
09/13 Superior Foes #3 - 30,081 (-12.3%)
10/13 Superior Foes #4 - 26,884 (-10.6%)
11/13 Superior Foes #5 - 23,694 (-11.9%)
11/13 Superior Foes #6 - 21,367 ( -9.8%)
12/13 Superior Foes #7 - 20,858 ( -2.4%)
02/14 Superior Foes #8 – 19,193 ( -8.0%)
03/14 Superior Foes #9 – 18,620 ( -3.0%)
03/14 Superior Foes #10- 18,437 ( -1.0%)
04/14 Superior Foes #11- 18,143 ( -1.6%)
06/14 Superior Foes #12- 17,826 ( -1.7%)
07/14 Superior Foes #13- 16,903 ( -5.2%)
08/14 Superior Foes #14- 16,604 ( -1.8%)
6 Mnth ( -13.5%)
1 Year ( -51.6%)
These numbers seem pretty low for a Bendis book, but I know a lot of creator-owned books that would kill for these kind of sales.
205. DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU
05/14 Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1 - 19,315 ( --- )
06/14 Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #2 - 13,093 (-32.2%)
07/14 Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #3 - 10,221 (-21.9%)
08/14 Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #4 - 8,563 (-16.2%)
21.6% Deadpool #33 (O.S. Tie-In)
17.6% Amazing Spider-Man #5 (O.S. Tie-In)
16.8% Daredevil #7 (O.S. Tie-In)
11.9% Hulk #5
9.4% Guardians o/t Galaxy #18 (O.S. Tie-In)
1.4% Superior Spider-Man #32
0.0% Secret Avengers #7
-4.1% Uncanny Avengers #23
-6.8% Nova #20 (O.S. Tie-In)
-7.2% Captain America #23
-9.0% Avengers #34 (O.S. Tie-In)
-9.4% All New X-Men #31
-10.5% Thunderbolts #29
-11.1% Thunderbolts #30
-11.5% Black Widow #9
-13.2% Kick-Ass 3 #8
-13.5% Superior Foes of Spider-Man #14
-15.1% Wolverine And X-Men #7
-15.1% All New X-Men #30
-15.2% Mighty Avengers #13
-15.5% New Avengers #22
-16.8% Wolverine And X-Men #8
-21.0% New Avengers #23
-23.2% Original Sin #3.4
-24.1% Savage Wolverine #22
-28.1% X-Men #18
-28.6% All New X-Factor #12
-34.6% Ms. Marvel #7
-35.3% All New Ultimates #7
-35.5% All New Ultimates #6
-36.6% Miracleman #9
-41.3% Avengers World #11
-42.2% All New Invaders #9
-43.1% Wolverine #12
-43.7% Amazing X-Men #10
-44.7% Wolverine #11
-45.4% She-Hulk #7
-52.6% Punisher #9
-53.0% X-Force #8
-53.4% Fantastic Four #8 (O.S. Tie-In)
-56.2% Fantastic Four #9
-64.9% New Warriors #8
1 Year Comparisons
67.3% Amazing X-Men #10
30.2% Amazing Spider-Man #5 (O.S. Tie-In)
27.0% Wolverine #12
23.5% Wolverine #11
12.2% Superior Spider-Man #32
8.3% Deadpool #33 (O.S. Tie-In)
7.9% All New X-Factor #12
5.8% Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man #4
4.4% Daredevil #7 (O.S. Tie-In)
-6.1% Fantastic Four #8 (O.S. Tie-In)
-9.7% Captain Marvel #6
-11.7% Fantastic Four #9
-15.3% All New Ultimates #7
-15.5% All New Ultimates #6
-19.9% All New X-Men #31
-20.1% Hulk #5
-21.0% Wolverine And X-Men #7
-21.4% Captain America #23
-22.1% Uncanny Avengers #23
-22.6% Wolverine And X-Men #8
-23.7% Nova #20 (O.S. Tie-In)
-24.9% All New X-Men #30
-26.5% Secret Avengers #7
-27.2% Avengers #34 (O.S. Tie-In)
-29.3% New Avengers #22
-30.9% Thunderbolts #29
-31.4% Thunderbolts #30
-31.5% Kick-Ass 3 #8
-31.6% Avengers Undercover #8
-32.3% Avengers Undercover #9
-33.9% New Avengers #23
-36.9% X-Force #8
-44.5% X-Men #18
-51.6% Superior Foes of Spider-Man #14
2 Year Comparisons
75% Deadpool #33 (O.S. Tie-In)
23% Wolverine #12
20% Wolverine #11
17% Punisher #9
13% Amazing X-Men #10
12% Amazing Spider-Man #5 (O.S. Tie-In)
7% X-Men #18
-4% Daredevil #7 (O.S. Tie-In)
-5% Hulk #5
-6% All New X-Factor #12
-12% Avengers #34 (O.S. Tie-In)
-12% Captain America #23
-16% Fantastic Four #8 (O.S. Tie-In)
-18% Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man #4
-21% Fantastic Four #9
-23% Captain Marvel #6
-28% New Avengers #22
-33% New Avengers #23
-40% Avengers Undercover #8
-40% Avengers Undercover #9
-45% All New Ultimates #7
-45% All New Ultimates #6
-48% Secret Avengers #7
-48% Wolverine And X-Men #7
-49% Wolverine And X-Men #8
-50% X-Force #8
3 Year Comparisons
86.7% Deadpool #33 (O.S. Tie-In)
76.7% Amazing Spider-Man #5 (O.S. Tie-In)
30.1% Wolverine #12
26.5% Wolverine #11
24.5% Moon Knight #6
8.8% Amazing X-Men #10
-8.7% Hulk #5
-9.8% Avengers #34 (O.S. Tie-In)
-9.8% All New X-Factor #12
-10.3% Daredevil #7 (O.S. Tie-In)
-15.4% All New Ghost Rider #6
-17.7% X-Men #18
-18.6% Thunderbolts #29
-19.1% Thunderbolts #30
-23.6% New Avengers #22
-28.6% New Avengers #23
-35.3% Avengers Undercover #8
-36.0% Avengers Undercover #9
-36.8% Kick-Ass 3 #8
-39.1% Punisher #9
-43.1% Captain America #23
-56.1% X-Force #8
-56.8% Secret Avengers #7
-65.0% All New Ultimates #7
-65.1% All New Ultimates #6
5 Year Comparisons
117.7% Guardians o/t Galaxy #18 (O.S. Tie-In)
43.2% Amazing Spider-Man #5 (O.S. Tie-In)
-0.4% Deadpool #33 (O.S. Tie-In)
-9.7% Nova #20 (O.S. Tie-In)
-16.9% Captain Marvel #6
-21.6% Punisher #9
-26.2% Wolverine #12
-28.2% Wolverine #11
-35.3% All New X-Factor #12
-45.5% Hulk #5
-49.9% Daredevil #7 (O.S. Tie-In)
-50.8% Fantastic Four #8 (O.S. Tie-In)
-52.4% New Avengers #22
-53.8% Fantastic Four #9
-55.5% New Avengers #23
-59.5% Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man #4
-60.4% X-Force #8
-63.3% Mighty Avengers #13
-75.3% Captain America #23
10 Year Comparisons
49.8% Silver Surfer #5
34.4% Iron Fist Living Weapon #5
15.4% Amazing Spider-Man #5 (O.S. Tie-In)
-7.6% She-Hulk #7
-17.9% Hulk #5
-19.6% Captain America #23
-22.6% Wolverine #12
-24.7% Wolverine #11
-29.4% Daredevil #7 (O.S. Tie-In)
-39.0% Fantastic Four #8 (O.S. Tie-In)
-42.6% Fantastic Four #9
-43.0% Punisher #9
-56.2% All New Invaders #9
-61.3% X-Men #18
-63.2% Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man #4
-66.5% X-Force #8
-75.0% Amazing X-Men #10
It is always interesting to look at these normal months where there aren’t any giant launches or major events, because you see more the real sales numbers when they aren’t inflated by other factors. We often talk a lot about Marvel’s top books, the ones that sell over 50k. What really keeps Marvel on top are those mid-tier books, the 25k to 50k books which make up 47% of Marvel’s units sold. This month we saw quite a few of those books drop below 25k, some of which are very new series. So the question then becomes why have some of these new series dropped so fast? Is it just that people aren’t interested in She-Hulk or Cyclops or Ghost Rider? Is it due to poor marketing, too many new launches? Which of these mid-tier books have caught your interest? Which ones failed to catch your eye? What should they do with future mid-tier book launches to catch reader interest and boost their sales?
Think about those questions and discuss below in the comments. Then prepare yourself for next month as the March to Axis begins, we visit the Edge of Spider-Verse, and we say goodbye to dear old Logan.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Solomonica de Winter's Over the Rainbow.
De Winter was born in 1997, which makes her the currently youngest author with a title under review at the complete review (and, I suspect, the youngest ever).
But what's most noteworthy about this book is that, although written in English, it has not yet been published in English (and doesn't have a US/UK publisher yet, to the best of my knowledge); instead the review relies on the German translation, Die Geschichte von Blue.
(A Dutch translation is also forthcoming, as Achter de regenboog.)
This makes for a peculiar addition to the index of foreign-language books under review that are not yet available in English .....
(This isn't entirely unheard of -- for various reason books sometimes aren't/can't (immediately) be published in the language they were written in -- including some written in English.
So, for example, Gabriel Josipovici's Only Joking infamously found a German publisher in 2005, but only appeared in English in 2010; Moses Isegawa's first novels were published in Dutch before they came out in English (Snakepit, for example, appearing in Dutch in 1999 and then only in the English it was written in in 2004).)
Die Geschichte von Blue was published by (Swiss) German publisher Diogenes -- who happen to be the publishers of Solomonica's dad, Leon's, books (11 titles) and Solomonica's mom, Jessica Durlacher's, books (5 titles) -- possibly making them more ... receptive to publishing Moonie's (as she's apparently nicknamed ...) debut.
As longtime readers know, I have repeatedly expressed surprise that Leon de Winter never caught on in the US -- a couple of his titles have been translated into English (notably the very good Hoffman's Hunger), but, despite spending a great deal of time in the US (where his daughter also went to school -- hence, presumably, her choice of writing in English), he just never figured the place/market out (a stint as a fellow at the Hudson Institute probably didn't help in that regard, either).
Jessica Durlacher also seems to have made no inroads whatsoever in the US/UK; it'll be interesting to see if the daughter can (eventually) break the family curse.
Seven of Leon's books are under review at the complete review, the Leon-Solominca combo is hardly the first time I've read books both by parent and child -- though it may be the first where I've reviewed books by both.
But now I'm really eager to read some of Durlacher's work: I don't think I've ever read books by three so closely related family members (siblings, yes, but not relatives of two different generations).