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1. Happy Birthday Emma Watson!

Today Emma Watson is celebrating her 24th birthday! Ms. Watson is currently shooting her first takes of Regression, today, as it is the first day on set. According to Emma's tweet, the first day of shooting is "a very cool birthday present". Please join us in wishing Emma Watson a very happy birthday!

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2. Webcomic alerrt: Sam Alden debuts his new “MS Paint” comics

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I saw Sam Alden reading these at the NY Comcis SYmposium the other night and let’s just say it gets better and better. He uses a 500×500 pixel grid to do everything.

1 Comments on Webcomic alerrt: Sam Alden debuts his new “MS Paint” comics, last added: 4/15/2014
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3. Nice art: RUN DMC by Ed Piskor

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Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree NOW EISNER NOMNATED history of rap/hip hop has been a huge sales success or Fantagraphics, with Volume 1 going back to press three times. It’s like that! Volume 2 is out in August!

Via HipHopGoldenAge:

0 Comments on Nice art: RUN DMC by Ed Piskor as of 4/15/2014 4:31:00 PM
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4. Live Coverage of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup on Pottermore

We have some really exciting news from Pottermore: J. K. Rowling is adding new content to the site about the current Quidditch World Cup as it takes place in real time. Information about the opening ceremonies and the first match, which was between Norway and the Ivory Coast, can be viewed in the newly opened area of the Daily Prophet offices, which is in Diagon Alley. The reporting was done by none other than Ginny Potter:

Hot off the press! Reporting from the Patagonian desert for the Daily Prophet, Ginny Potter brings you the latest news of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup. 

Visit the Daily Prophet offices in Diagon Alley, recently opened on Pottermore.com, to read all about the opening ceremony of the tournament, and why it is bound to reignite the debate about restricting mascots ‘to herbivores, creatures smaller than a cow and nothing that breathes fire’. 

Find out why the Argentinian Council of Magic has come under fire from Chief Consulting Magizoologist, Rolf Scamander, and read his exclusive interview with the Daily Prophet. 

You can also read the report from the official Daily Prophet Quidditch correspondent, Ginny Potter, about the eventful first match of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup between Norway and Ivory Coast, which was played on Sunday. The last time these two teams met, the match lasted for five days. Find out which team was victorious this time around, and read more post-game analysis. 

Visit the Daily Prophet offices in Diagon Alley on Pottermore.com to read this exclusive writing by J.K. Rowling. Remember to keep an eye out for more reports from the Patagonian desert!

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5. 2014 Eisner Nominations: It was the DeFractions year…and a lot of other great things too

Hawkeye 011 000 e1372785848612OKay I had to only take a quick look at these but wow…looks like the (one nomer or great work) rule was in effect thius year. Great to see works hat flew under the rader like Graha,m Chafee’s Good Dog get a nom; and some old friends whose names I see here that personally I’m really hapy for. Also, a special congrats to Beat alum Zainab Akhtar for her nom for Comics and Cola!

The DeFraction household is the overall winner with Hawkeye, Sex Criminals and Pretty Deadly getting a bunch, including for artist Emma Rios.

Really a great fresh list of comics well worth exploring.

Three titles lead the list with more than 3 nominations each: Marvel’s Hawkeye, Image’s Saga, and DC/Vertigo’s The Wake. Hawkeye is nominated for Best Continuing Series, Best Writer (Matt Fraction), and Best Penciller/Inker and Best Cover Artist (David Aja). Saga has received nods for Best Continuing Series (which won the category in 2013), Best Writer (Brian K. Vaughan), and Best Painter and Cover Artist (Fiona Staples). And The Wake is nominated for Best Limited Series, Best Writer (Scott Snyder), Best Penciller/Inker (Sean Murphy), and Best Cover Artist (Sean Murphy/Jordie Bellaire). Bellaire is also nominated in the Best Coloring category, for her work on The Wake and on numerous titles for other companies.

Titles garnering 3 nominations include Fantagraphics’s Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 (Best Short Story, Single Issue, Writer/Artist for Jaime Hernandez), Top Shelf’s March: Book One, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Best Publication for Teens, Reality-Based Work, and Penciller/Inker), and Candlewick’s Bluffton: My Summers with Buster, by Matt Phelan (Best Publication for Teens, Graphic Album–New, and Writer/Artist).

Other titles with multiple nominations are East of West (Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta, Image), Nowhere Men (Eric Stephenson and Nate Bellegarde, Image), Pretty Deadly (Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos, Image), Sex Criminals (Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, Image),Hip Hop Family Tree (Ed Piskor, Fantagraphics), Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life (Ullie Lust, Fantagraphics), The Adventures of Superhero Girl (Faith Erin Hicks, Dark Horse), The Fifth Beatle (Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, and Kyle Baker, Dark Horse), Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground (Darwyn Cooke, IDW), Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth (Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell, LOAC/IDW), Rachel Rising (Terry Moore, Abstract Studio), The Art of Rube Goldberg (Abrams ComicArts), The Encyclopedia of Early Earth (Isabel Greenberg, Little, Brown), Watson and Holmes (New Paradigm), The Complete Don Quixote (Rob Davis, SelfMadeHero), When David Lost His Voice (Judith Vanistendael, SelfMadeHero), Hilda and the Bird Parade (Luke Pearson, Nobrow), and High Crimes (Monkeybrain).

Among publishers, Image and Fantagraphics top the list with the most nominations. Image has 17 plus 3 shared. In addition to the nods for Saga, East of West, Nowhere Men, Pretty Deadly, and Sex Criminals, nominated Image titles include Lazarus (Rucka and Lark) and Rat Queens (Wiebe and Upchurch). Fantagraphics’s 18 nominations—besides Love and Rockets, Hip Hop Family Tree, and Today Is the Last Day)—are spread among such titles as Good Dog (Graham Chaffee), Julio’s Day (Gilbert Hernandez), Goddam This War (Tardi and Verney), The Heart of Thomas (Moto Hagio), and several archival collections.

Dark Horse ranks third with 12 nominations (plus 1 shared), including 2 for publisher Mike Richardson (Best Anthology for Dark Horse Presents and Best Limited Series for 47 Ronin with Stan Sakai). IDW’s 9 nominations include 5 in the archival categories, with 3 of Scott Dunbier’s Artist’s Editions up for Best Archival Collection–Comic Books and 2 of Dean Mullaney’s Library of American Comics collections up for Best Archival Collection–Comic Strips. Mullaney has 4 nominations in all.

DC and its Vertigo imprint are next with 8 nominations plus 2 shared, the majority going to The Wake. Ranking next is SelfMadeHero with 7 nods (including 3 for When David Lost His Voice and 2 for The Complete Don Quixote), followed by Marvel’s 6 (plus 4 shared), led by Hawkeye. Drawn & Quarterly’s 6 nominations include books by Peter Bagge, Tom Gauld, Rutu Modan, and Art Spiegelman.

Other publishers with multiple nominations include First Second, Nobrow, and Top Shelf (4 each) and Abstract Studio, BOOM!, Candlewick, and TOON Books (3 each). Eleven publishers have 2 nominations each, and another 31 companies or individuals have 1 nomination each.

Individual creators with the most nominations are David Aja, Matt Fraction, Gilbert Hernandez, Sean Murphy, Matt Phelan, Nate Powell, and Fiona Staples, all with 3. Nineteen creators can boast of 2 nominations.

Named for acclaimed comics creator the Will Eisner, the awards are celebrating their 26th year of highlighting the best publications and creators in comics and graphic novels. The 2014 Eisner Awards judging panel consists of comics retailer Kathy Bottarini (Comic Book Box, Rhonert Park, CA), author/educator William H. Foster (Untold Stories of Black Comics), reviewer Christian Lipski (Portland, OR Examiner), Comic-Con International board member Lee Oeth, library curator Jenny Robb (Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum), and Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist/critic James Romberger (Post York, 7 Miles a Second).

Voting for the awards is held online, and the ballot will be available soon at www.eisnervote.com. All professionals in the comic book industry are eligible to vote. The deadline for voting is June 13. The results of the voting will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 25 at Comic-Con International.

The voting in one Eisner Awards category, the Hall of Fame, is already completed. The judges chose the nominees earlier this year, and voting was conducted online.

Best Short Story
“Go Owls,” by Adrian Tomine, in Optic Nerve #13 (Drawn & Quarterly)
“Mars to Stay,” by Brett Lewis and Cliff Chiang, in Witching Hour (DC)
“Seaside Home,” by Josh Simmons, in Habit #1 (Oily)
“Untitled,” by Gilbert Hernandez, in Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 (Fantagraphics)
“When Your House Is Burning Down, You Should Brush Your Teeth,” by Matthew Inman, http://theoatmeal.com/comics/house

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
Demeter, by Becky Cloonan (self-published)
Hawkeye #11: “Pizza Is My Business,” by Matt Fraction and David Aja (Marvel)
Love and Rockets: New Stories #6, by Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
Viewotron #2, by Sam Sharpe (self-published)
Watson and Holmes #6, by Brandon Easton and N. Steven Harris (New Paradigm Studios)

Best Continuing Series
East of West, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta (Image)
Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction and David Aja (Marvel)
Nowhere Men, by Eric Stephenson and Nate Bellegarde (Image)
Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)
Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image)

Best Limited Series
The Black Beetle: No Way Out, by Francesco Francavilla (Dark Horse)
Colder, by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra (Dark Horse)
47 Ronin, by Mike Richardson and Stan Sakai (Dark Horse)
Trillium, by Jeff Lemire (Vertigo/DC)
The Wake, by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy (Vertigo/DC)

Best New Series
High Crimes, by Christopher Sebela and Ibrahim Moustafa (Monkeybrain)
Lazarus, by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark (Image)
Rat Queens, by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch (Image/Shadowline)
Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image)
Watson and Holmes, by Karl Bollers, Rick Leonardi, Paul Mendoza et al. (New Paradigm Studios)

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7)
Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas, by Philippe Coudray (TOON Books)
The Big Wet Balloon, by Liniers (TOON Books)
Itsy Bitsy Hellboy, by Art Baltazar and Franco (Dark Horse)
Odd Duck, by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon (First Second)
Otto’s Backwards Day, by Frank Cammuso (with Jay Lynch) (TOON Books)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)
The Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks (Dark Horse)
Hilda and the Bird Parade, by Luke Pearson (Nobrow)
Jane, the Fox, and Me, by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault (Groundwood)
The Lost Boy, by Greg Ruth (Graphix/Scholastic)
Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard, vol. 2, edited by David Petersen, Paul Morrissey, and Rebecca Taylor (Archaia/BOOM!)
Star Wars: Jedi Academy, by Jeffrey Brown (Scholastic)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)
Battling Boy, by Paul Pope (First Second)
Bluffton: My Summers with Buster, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
Boxers and Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
Dogs of War, by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox (Graphix/Scholastic)
March (Book One), by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
Templar, by Jordan Mechner, LeUyen Pham, and Alex Puviland (First Second)

Best Humor Publication
The Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks (Dark Horse)
The Complete Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes and Rob Davis (SelfMadeHero)
The (True!) History of Art, by Sylvain Coissard and Alexis Lemoine (SelfMadeHero)
Vader’s Little Princess, by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle)
You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, by Tom Gauld (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Anthology
Dark Horse Presents, edited by Mike Richardson (Dark Horse)
Nobrow #8: Hysteria, edited by Sam Arthur and Alex Spiro (Nobrow)
Outlaw Territory, edited by Michael Woods (Image)
Smoke Signal, edited by Gabe Fowler (Desert Island)
Thrilling Adventure Hour, by Ben Acker, Ben Blacker et al. (Archaia/BOOM!)

Best Digital/Webcomic
As the Crow Flies, by Melanie Gillman, www.melaniegillman.com
Failing Sky, by Dax Tran-Caffee, http://failingsky.com
High Crimes, by Christopher Sebela and Ibrahim Moustafa, http://www.monkeybraincomics.com/titles/high-crimes
The Last Mechanical Monster, by Brian Fies, http://lastmechanicalmonster.blogspot.com
The Oatmeal by Matthew Inman, http://theoatmeal.com

Best Reality-Based Work
A Bag of Marbles, by Joseph Joffo, Kris, and Vincent Bailly (Graphic Universe/Lerner)
The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, and Kyle Baker (M Press/Dark Horse)
Hip Hop Family Tree, vol. 1, by Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)
March (Book One), by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, by Ulli Lust (Fantagraphics)
Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story, by Peter Bagge (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Graphic Album—New
Bluffton: My Summers with Buster, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, by Isabel Greenberg (Little, Brown)
Good Dog, by Graham Chaffee (Fantagraphics)
Homesick by Jason Walz (Tinto Press)
The Property, by Rutu Modan (Drawn & Quarterly)
War Brothers, by Sharon McKay and Daniel LaFrance (Annick Press)

Best Adaptation from Another Medium
The Castle, by Franz Kafka, adapted by David Zane Mairowitz and Jaromír 99 (SelfMadeHero)
The Complete Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, adapted by by Rob Davis (SelfMadeHero)
Django Unchained, adapted by Quentin Tarantino, Reginald Hudlin, R. M. Guéra et al. (DC/Vertigo)
Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground, by Donald Westlake, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
The Strange Tale of Panorama Island, by Edogawa Rampo, adapted by Suehiro Maruo (Last Gasp)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint
The Creep, by John Arcudi and Jonathan Case (Dark Horse)
Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, by Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
Heck, by Zander Cannon (Top Shelf)
Julio’s Day, by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
RASL, by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books)
Solo: The Deluxe Edition, edited by Mark Chiarello (DC)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips
Barnaby, vol. 1, by Crockett Johnson, edited by Philip Nel and Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)
Percy Crosby’s Skippy Daily Comics, vol. 2: 1928–1930, edited by Jared Gardner and Dean Mullaney (LOAC/IDW)
Prince Valiant vols. 6-7, by Hal Foster, edited by Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)
Society Is Nix: Gleeful Anarchy at the Dawn of the American Comic Strip, edited by Peter Maresca (Sunday Press)
Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips, vol. 1, edited by Dean Mullaney (LOAC/IDW)
VIP: The Mad World of Virgil Partch, edited by Jonathan Barli (Fantagraphics)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books
Best of EC Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
Canteen Kate, by Matt Baker (Canton Street Press)
In the Days of the Mob, by Jack Kirby (DC)
MAD Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
Will Eisner’s The Spirit Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
Adventures of a Japanese Businessman, by Jose Domingo (Nobrow)
Goddam This War! by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney (Fantagraphics)
Incidents in the Night, Book One, by David B. (Uncivilized Books)
Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, by Ulli Lust (Fantagraphics)
When David Lost His Voice, by Judith Vanistendael (SelfMadeHero)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia
The Heart of Thomas, by Moto Hagio (Fantagraphics)
The Mysterious Underground Men, by Osamu Tezuka (PictureBox)
Showa: A History of Japan, 1926–1939, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)
Summit of the Gods, vol. 4, by Yemmakura Baku and Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
Utsubora: The Story of a Novelist, by Asumiko Nakamura (Vertical)

Best Writer
Kelly Sue DeConnick, Pretty Deadly (Image); Captain Marvel (Marvel)
Matt Fraction, Sex Criminals (Image); Hawkeye, Fantastic Four, FF (Marvel)
Jonathan Hickman, East of West, The Manhattan Projects (Image); Avengers, Infinity (Marvel)
Scott Snyder, Batman (DC); American Vampire, The Wake (DC/Vertigo)
Eric Stephenson, Nowhere Men (Image)
Brian K. Vaughan, Saga (Image)

Best Writer/Artist
Isabel Greenberg, The Encyclopedia of Early Earth (Little, Brown)
Jaime Hernandez, Love and Rockets New Stories #6 (Fantagraphics)
Terry Moore, Rachel Rising (Abstract Studio)
Luke Pearson, Hilda and the Bird Parade (Nobrow)
Matt Phelan, Bluffton: My Summers with Buster (Candlewick)
Judith Vanistendael, When David Lost His Voice (SelfMadeHero)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
Nate Bellegarde, Nowhere Men (Image)
Nick Dragotta, East of West (Image)
Sean Murphy, The Wake (DC/Vertigo)
Nate Powell, March (Book One) (Top Shelf)
Emma Ríos, Pretty Deadly (Image)
Thomas Yeates, Law of the Desert Born: A Graphic Novel (Bantam)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
Andrew C. Robinson, The Fifth Beatle (Dark Horse)
Sonia Sanchéz, Here I Am (Capstone)
Fiona Staples, Saga (Image)
Ive Svorcina, Thor (Marvel)
Marguerite Van Cook, 7 Miles a Second (Fantagraphics)
Judith Vanistendael, When David Lost His Voice (SelfMadeHero)

Best Cover Artist
David Aja, Hawkeye (Marvel)
Mike Del Mundo, X-Men Legacy (Marvel)
Sean Murphy/Jordie Belaire, The Wake (DC/Vertigo)
Emma Ríos, Pretty Deadly (Image)
Chris Samnee, Daredevil (Marvel)
Fiona Staples, Saga (Image)

Best Coloring
Jordie Bellaire, The Manhattan Projects, Nowhere Men, Pretty Deadly, Zero (Image); The Massive (Dark Horse); Tom Strong (DC); X-Files Season 10 (IDW); Captain Marvel, Journey into Mystery (Marvel); Numbercruncher (Titan); Quantum and Woody (Valiant)
Steve Hamaker, Mylo Xyloto (Bongo), Strangers in Paradise 20th Anniversary Issue 1 (Abstract Studio), RASL (Cartoon Books)
Matt Hollingsworth, Hawkeye, Daredevil: End of Days (Marvel); The Wake (DC/Vertigo)
Frank Martin, East of West (Image)
Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien, Baltimore: The Infernal Train, BPRD: Hell on Earth, Conan the Barbarian, Hellboy: Hell on Earth, The Massive, The Shaolin Cowboy, Sledgehammer 44 (Dark Horse)

Best Lettering
Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground (IDW)
Carla Speed McNeil, Bad Houses; “Finder” in Dark Horse Presents (Dark Horse)
Terry Moore, Rachel Rising (Abstract Studio)
Ed Piskor, Hip Hop Family Tree (Fantagraphics)
Britt Wilson, Adventure Time with Fiona and Cake (kaBOOM!)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
Comic Book Resources, produced by Jonah Weiland, www.comicbookresources.com
The Comics Journal #302, edited by Gary Groth and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)
Comics and Cola, by Zainab Akhtar, www.comicsandcola.com
Multiversity Comics, edited by Matthew Meylikhov, www.multiversitycomics.com
tcj.com, edited by Dan Nadel and Timothy Hodler (Fantagrapahics)

Best Comics-Related Book
Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary, by Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen (Bloomsbury)
The Art of Rube Goldberg, selected by Jennifer George (Abrams ComicArts)
Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps, by Art Spiegelman (Drawn & Quarterly)
Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell (LOAC/IDW)
The Love and Rockets Companion, edited by Marc Sobel and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)

Best Scholarly/Academic Work
Anti-Foreign Imagery in American Pulps and Comic Books, 1920–1960, by Nathan Vernon Madison (McFarland)
Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation, edited by Sheena C. Howard and Ronald L. Jackson II (Bloomsbury)
Drawing from Life: Memory and Subjectivity in Comic Art, edited by Jane Tolmie (University Press of Mississippi)
International Journal of Comic Art, edited by John A. Lent
The Superhero Reader, edited by Charles Hatfield, Jeet Heer, and Ken Worcester (University Press of Mississippi)

Best Publication Design
The Art of Rube Goldberg, designed by Chad W. Beckerman (Abrams ComicArts)
Beta Testing the Apocalypse, designed by Tom Kaczynski (Fantagraphics)
Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, designed by Dean Mullaney (LOAC/IDW)
The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme: A Panorama, by Joe Sacco, designed by Chin-Yee Lai (Norton)
Little Tommy Lost, Book 1, designed by Cole Closser (Koyama)

9 Comments on 2014 Eisner Nominations: It was the DeFractions year…and a lot of other great things too, last added: 4/15/2014
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6. Best Translated Book Awards - poetry finalists

       As a judge for the fiction category for the Best Translated Book Awards (and, let's face it, someone whose reading is entirely dominated by fiction (as I noted recently, 91 of the past 100 titles reviewed at the complete review were of works of fiction)) I focus almost exclusively on that half of the BTBA (see also yesterday's mention) -- but, of course, there's also a poetry half to the BTBA, and the finalists for that were also announced yesterday.
       I've only even seen one of these -- but that one is under review at the complete review: The Unknown University by Roberto Bolaño.

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7. The Genre-Bending World of Hinterkind (Reviewing the V. 1 TPB, “The Waking World”)

vertigo-hinterkind-tpb-1Vertigo’s new fantasy-ish title Hinterkind recently released its first trade paperback collection, The Waking World.  If you only glanced at the covers, it’s probably not what you’re expecting.  Oh, sure it’s got the mythical monsters you’d expect to see in something like Vertigo’s elder statesman title Fables, but there’s a layer of science fiction, a layer that’s very close to zombie apocalypse and a bit more political intrigue than you might expect.

Writer Ian Edginton and artist Francesco Trifogli have created something that appears to be a bit more than the sum of its otherwise familiar parts.  Honestly, it reminded me the most of Planet of the Apes, but we’ll circle back to that.

Hinterkind is set 15 minutes into the future.  Mother Nature struck back against the humans in the form of a super flu virus.  Some people were naturally immune and they survived, gathering together in small communities in the ruins of the old cities.  What they don’t initially know, is that the creatures of fairy tales have also returned.  Led by the Sidhe (elves if you want to be common about it), the “Hinterkind” as they call themselves are ready for some revenge on the humans who drove them all into hiding those many years ago.  They’d also like to eat them.  Of course the humans are all a bit isolated and may not have quite figured that out yet.

The narrative goes primarily in two directions: the viewpoint of a group of survivors in the ruins of New York City and the viewpoint of the royal class of the Sidhe, who are more or less organizing the Hinterkind.  The human survivors are the world building story as they start to realize there’s a whole lot more going on in their world than they previously thought.  On the Sidhe side, there’s considerable variance of opinion on who should be running things and what should be done with the surviving humans.

There’s also, from both perspectives, events that really read like somebody took Ronald Reagan’s old campaign line about the scariest sentence in the English language being “we’re from the government and we’re hear to help” and really ran with it.

Why did this book remind me of Planet of the Apes?  A couple reasons.  The ruins of the world and the hunted humans which both somewhat jibe with the zombie apocalypse feel.  There’s a sequence in the tpb that can’t help but remind me of Beneath the Planet of the Apes and the politics of what should be done with the humans strongly resonates with the BOOM! sorely under-appreciated Planet of the Apes series a couple years back, which dealt with the political relations between apes and humans before the humans started losing the ability to talk.

Hinterkind is awash with SF/F tropes and there are many different things you could pick apart here as possible influences.  It’s very early in what’s obviously a much longer tale.  The “waking world” title refers to the Hinterkind waking up and returning and the humans slowly waking up to the fact they’re not alone and in a pretty bad spot.  The table is set for the two narratives to take off.  We see the initial skirmishes and conflicts appear.  Where it’s immediately going isn’t entirely clear, nor is it quite certain how quickly the threads will collide.

I liked it well enough.  Hinterkind does well in scope and carving out enough of its own identity.  What to compare it to for recommendations, though.  That’s a hard one because it combines so many things.  The press releases likes to compare it to Game of Thrones, probably based on the Sidhe skulduggery and having a couple different narrative threads.  I can see it, but I’m not sure that’s the most apt, this being post-apocalyptic and having many more magical creatures running around.  Game of Thrones meets Planet of the Apes might be the better Hollywood style tagline.  If you like fall of civilization stores and don’t mind mixing your science fiction and fantasy, that’s probably a good cognitive place to start.

On the other hand, if you don’t want scientists in your fantasy, this will probably cause you angst.

Perhaps the most important thing to say is Hinterkind is not some boiler plate Fables replacement, something you could have thought when it was rolled out.  It is it’s own thing and an enjoyable one if you’re not a purist to one particular sub-genre.

2 Comments on The Genre-Bending World of Hinterkind (Reviewing the V. 1 TPB, “The Waking World”), last added: 4/15/2014
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8. The Phantom of the Maine State Library.

Since I was super-popular in high school*, I spent a lot of time hanging out at the Maine State Library.

I did a lot of browsing and reading and so on, but because of this story—which broke when I was a freshman—I also spent a good amount of time just staring at the ceiling:

In the fall of 1991, employees at the Maine State Library in Augusta wondered if there was a ghost among the aisles.  Odd things, like flashlights, extension cords, and food from the break room refrigerator (mainly pudding cups), were disappearing on a daily basis. At first, security thought the culprits could be some of the workers hired to remove asbestos from the building. But their suspicions changed when, overnight, two refrigerators and a candy machine were nearly cleaned out, and a handwritten note of apology was left behind. As the thefts continued without any signs of a break-in, it became clear that someone was living in the library. 

It's so appealing to the Claudia Kincaid in me.

_________________________________

*AHAHAHAHAHAHA, just kidding.

 

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9. Marvel’s Tom Brevoort on the diminishing returns of relaunches

201404151351.jpg

Brief and to the point — over on his Formspring Tom Brevoort
was asked about Marvel’s continued hammer-blows of relaunches,

Do you think the frequent relaunches will eventually lose their sales-boosting effect?
marvelmaster616

Maybe. Many other things have over the years.


..and that’s where the creativity of comics comes in, I guess.

Rich has a briefer version of our continued sales charts that puts this in some perspective BTW.

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10. New Asymptote

       The April issue of Asymptote is now out -- and worth your while, top to bottom. Nevertheless, a few of the highlights:

       But don't overlook the rest, either !

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11. Clip: The Fault in Our Stars.

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12. Just in case you still haven't figured out my love of Vin Diesel.

From an interview about Chronicles of Riddick:

I was literally playing Dungeons and Dragons with Judi Dench and Karl Urban at nights after shooting. I will tell you that I was showing her Dungeons and Dragons books and showing her the different properties of Elementals.

Picturing that scene is just so adorable that I can't even.

Speaking of Karl Urban, WHAT THE HELL, FOX, WHY WON'T YOU JUST RENEW ALMOST HUMAN ALREADY??

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13. Leonardo da Vinci myths, explained

By Kandice Rawlings


Leonardo da Vinci was born 562 years ago today, and we’re still fascinated with his life and work. It’s no real mystery why – he was an extraordinary person, a genius and a celebrity in his own lifetime. He left behind some remarkable artifacts in the form of paintings and writings and drawings on all manner of subjects. But there’s much about Leonardo we don’t know, making him susceptible to a number myths, theories, and entertaining but inaccurate representations in popular culture. The following are some of my favorites.

Leonardo_da_Vinci_-_presumed_self-portrait_-_WGA12798

Leonardo da Vinci, Presumed Self Portrait, circa 1512. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Myth #1 – Leonardo was gay.

Leonardo’s possible homosexuality is one of the more prevalent – and more plausible – myths circulating about the artist, and has the backing of none other than Sigmund Freud. There’s no way of knowing Leonardo’s sexual orientation for sure, but he isn’t known to have had romantic relationships with any women, never married, and in 1476 was accused (but later cleared) of charges of sodomy – then a capital crime in Florence. Scholars’ opinions on the issue fall along a spectrum between “maybe” and “very probably”.

Conclusion: Maybe true.

Myth #2 – Leonardo wrote backward to keep his ideas secret, and his notebooks weren’t “decoded” until long after his death.

For all his skill, Leonardo was not a prolific painter – the major part of his surviving output is in the form of his notebooks filled with theoretical and scientific writings, notes, and drawings. His strange habit of writing backward in these notebooks has been used to perpetuate the image of the artist as a mysterious, secretive person. But in fact it’s much more likely that Leonardo wrote this way simply because he was left-handed, and found it easier to write across the page from right to left and in reverse. No decoding is necessary – just a mirror. Leonardo’s theoretical writings and other notes were preserved by his follower and heir Francesco Melzi, and were widely known, at least in artistic circles, during the 16th and 17th centuries. Published extracts began appearing in 1651.

Conclusion: False.

Myth #3 – Leonardo put “secret” codes and symbols in his works.

I’d rather not get into all the problems with The Da Vinci Code too much, but I have to credit this 2003 book, by renowned author Dan Brown, for a lot of these theories. Aside from the fact that the book is full of factual errors (example: Leonardo’s “hundreds of Vatican commissions,” which actually number in the vicinity of zero) and twists the historical record, its readings of Leonardo’s artworks are based on some fundamentally flawed conceptions about the making, meaning, and purpose of art in the Italian Renaissance. In Leonardo’s world, paintings like the Last Supper in Milan were made according to patrons’ requirements, with very specific Christian meanings to be conveyed. Despite Leonardo’s artistic innovations, the content of his religious paintings and portrayal of religious figures (with the exception of some details in an altarpiece from the 1480s) were not untraditional.

Conclusion: False.

396px-Mona_Lisa

Leonardo da Vinci, The Mona Lisa, between 1503-1505. Louvre. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Myth #4 – The Mona Lisa is a self-portrait/male lover in disguise/woman with high cholesterol.

Martin Kemp has observed, “The silly season for the Mona Lisa never closes.” The ridiculous theories about this painting abound. Here’s what we can say with reasonable certainty: Leonardo started the painting, probably a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, a merchant’s wife, while in Florence around 1503. For unknown reasons, he didn’t deliver it to the patron, however, and it ended up in the possession of his workshop assistant Salai (who some think was Leonardo’s lover – again, without evidence). There’s no reason to think that Leonardo recorded in this painting his own features or those of Salai, even if, as many art historians believe, he continued to work on the painting after he left Florence for Milan and then France. In a theory that deviates from the usual speculation about the identity of the sitter, an Italian scientist thinks that the way Leonardo portrayed the sitter shows she had high cholesterol. Right, because Renaissance paintings are straightforward, scientific images, pretty much just like MRIs and X-rays.

Conclusion: False.

Myth #5 – Leonardo made the image of Christ on the Shroud of Turin.

The Shroud of Turin is a relic purported to be the shroud that Christ’s body was buried in after the Crucifixion. According to its legend, the image of his body was miraculously transferred to the cloth when he was resurrected. The idea that Leonardo forged it depends on claims that the proportions of Christ’s face as depicted on the shroud match those in a drawing that is thought to be a self-portrait by the artist, and that Leonardo devised a photographic process that transferred the image of his face to the shroud. The fact that the shroud dates to at least the mid-14th century, a hundred years before Leonardo’s birth, just makes this already kooky theory even harder to buy. I’ll admit, though, that I haven’t read the whole book explaining it … and I’m not going to.

Conclusion: False.

Myth #6 – Leonardo was a vegetarian.

Vegetarianism would have been pretty unthinkable in Renaissance Italy (and veganism just plain absurd); people probably ate about as much meat as they could afford. The most commonly cited quote used to back up this claim is taken from a novel (see p. 227) and often misattributed to Leonardo himself. None of Leonardo’s own writings or early biographies mentions any unconventional eating habits. There’s really only one documentary source that might be relevant, a letter written by a possible acquaintance of the artist, who compares Leonardo to people in India who don’t eat meat or allow others to harm living things. Pretty tenuous, but vegetarians love to claim him.

Conclusion: Probably false.

Myth #7 – Leonardo invented bicycles, helicopters, submarines, and parachutes.

It’s true that Leonardo was fascinated with mechanics, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, flight, and military engineering, which he touted in his famous letter to Ludovico Sforza seeking a position at the court of Milan. Leonardo’s notebooks contain many designs for machines and devices related to these explorations. But these were, for the most part, probably not ideas that Leonardo considered thoroughly enough to actually build and demonstrate. In the case of the bicycle, the drawing was likely made by someone else, and might even be a modern forgery.

Conclusion: Not so much.

Leonardo_Design_for_a_Flying_Machine,_c._1488

Leonardo da Vinci, Design for a Flying Machine, 1488. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Myth #8 – Leonardo built robots.

While it sounds nutty, this one’s not so far off the mark, if you consider automatons – mechanical devices that seem to move on their own – to be robots. In a plot line of the cable fantasy drama Da Vinci’s Demons, Leonardo constructs a flying mechanical bird to dazzle the crowds gathered in the Cathedral piazza for Easter. A reliable historical record instead points to a lion that Leonardo made for the King of France’s triumphal entry into Milan in 1509. One observer’s description reads:

When the King entered Milan, besides the other entertainments, Lionardo da Vinci, the famous painter and our Florentine, devised the following intervention: he represented a lion above the gate, which, lying down, got onto its feet when the King came in, and with its paw opened up its chest and pulled out blue balls full of gold lilies, which he threw and strewed about on the ground. Afterwards he pulled out his heart and, pressing it, more gold lilies came out … Stopping beside this spectacle, [the King] liked it and took much pleasure in it.

Wow.

Conclusion: True.

If you’re interested in learning more about Leonardo, including the current locations of his works, read his biography from the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, or, for a longer treatment, pick up the accessible but smart book by leading expert Martin Kemp.

Kandice Rawlings is Associate Editor of Oxford Art Online and the Benezit Dictionary of Artists. She holds a PhD in art history from Rutgers University.

Oxford Art Online offers access to the most authoritative, inclusive, and easily searchable online art resources available today. Through a single, elegant gateway users can access — and simultaneously cross-search — an expanding range of Oxford’s acclaimed art reference works: Grove Art Online, the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, The Oxford Companion to Western Art, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, as well as many specially commissioned articles and bibliographies available exclusively online.

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14. lauramcphee: Colette et Louis XIV, chez elle au Palais Royale,...



lauramcphee:

Colette et Louis XIV, chez elle au Palais Royale, c1950 (Sanford H. Roth)



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15. Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan from Grove Art Online

In celebration of World Art Day, we invite you to read the biography of Ludovico Sforza, patron of Leonardo Da Vinci among other artists, as it is presented in Grove Art Online.

(b Abbiategrasso, 3 Aug 1452; reg 1494–99; d Loches, Touraine, 27 May 1508).

Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. Sforza Altarpiece, 1495

Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. Sforza Altarpiece, 1495

Son of (1) Francesco I Sforza and (3) Bianca Maria Sforza. In 1480, several years after the death of his brother (4) Galeazzo Maria Sforza in 1476, he succeeded in gaining control of the regency but did not become duke in name until his nephew Gian Galeazzo Sforza died in 1494. His commissions, both public and private, were divided between Lombard and Tuscan masters. Milanese architects were responsible for many of his most important projects, including the construction of the Lazzaretto (1488–1513) and S Maria presso S Celso (begun 1491 by Giovanni Giacomo Dolcebuono) in Milan, and a farm complex, known as the Sforzesca, outside Vigevano. Several prominent Lombard sculptors, in particular Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, were commissioned to work on the façade of the Certosa di Pavia. Of the artists Ludovico encouraged to come to Lombardy, an undated letter reveals that he was considering Botticelli, Filippino Lippi, Perugino and Ghirlandaio as court artists. About 1482 Leonardo da Vinci arrived in Milan, where he remained as an intimate member of Ludovico’s household for 18 years. As court painter, Leonardo is documented as having portrayed two of Ludovico’s mistresses, Lucrezia Crivelli and Cecilia Gallerani. The latter may be identified with the painting Portrait of a Lady with an Ermine (c. 1490–91; Kraków, Czartoryski Col.). Much of his work was for such courtly ephemera as the designs for the spectacle Festa del Paradiso, composed in 1490. Another commission of which nothing survives was for a bronze equestrian statue honouring Ludovico’s father, which Leonardo worked on in the 1490s. A surviving work by Leonardo for the Duke is the Sala delle Asse (1498) in the Castello Sforzesco, Milan, where motifs of golden knots are interspersed among vegetation and heraldic shields.

Other Tuscans at work in Milan during the 1490s included Donato Bramante. As a painter, Bramante produced an allegorical figure of Argus (1490–93) in the Castello Sforzesco (in situ). The development of the piazza, tower and castle at Vigebano in the 1490s, one of the most important campaigns of urban planning in the Renaissance, was the work of Bramante, working perhaps with Leonardo, under Ludovico’s supervision. Ludovico also took day-to-day responsiblity for projects financed by his brother (6) Cardinal Ascanio Maria Sforza, for example Bramante’s work on the new cathedral in Pavia and the monastic quarters (commissioned 1497) at S Ambrogio, Milan. The illuminator Giovanni Pietro Birago was also active in Ludovico’s court, producing, among others, several copies (e.g. London, BL. Grenville MS. 7251) of Giovanni Simonetta’s life of Francesco Sforza I, the Sforziada.

Ludovico’s plans were destroyed by the invasion of Louis XII, King of France, in August 1499. Ludovico escaped, to return in February 1500, but following his final defeat and capture in April that year, he was confined to a prison in France for the remainder of his life.

Bibliography

E. Salmi: ‘La Festa del Paradiso di Leonardo da Vinci e Bernardo Bellincioni’, Archv Stor. Lombardo, xxxi/1 (1904), pp. 75–89
F. Malaguzzi Valeri: La corte di Ludovico il Moro: La vita privata e l’arte a Milano nella secunda metà del quattrocento, 4 vols (Milan, 1913–23)
S. Lang: ‘Leonardo’s Architectural Designs and the Sforza Mausoleum’, J. Warb. & Court. Inst., xxxi (1968), pp. 218–33
A. M. Brivio: ‘ Bramante e Leonardo alla corte di Ludovico il Moro’, Studi Bramanteschi. Atti del congresso internazionale: Roma, 1970, pp. 1–24
C. Pedretti: ‘The Sforza Sepulchre’, Gaz. B.-A., lxxxix (1977), pp. 121–31
R. Schofield: ‘Ludovico il Moro and Vigevano’, A. Lombarda, n. s., lxii/2 (1981), pp. 93–140
M. Garberi: Leonardo e il Castello Sforzesco di Milano (Florence, 1982)
Ludovico il Moro: La sua città e la sua corte (1480–1499) (exh. cat., Milan, Archv Stato, 1983)
Milano e gli Sforza: Gian Galeazzo Maria e Ludovico il Moro (1476–1499) (exh. cat., ed. G. Bologna; Milano, Castello Sforzesco, 1983)
Milano nell’età di Ludovico il Moro. Atti del convegno internazionale: Milano, 1983
C. J. Moffat: Urbanism and Political Discourse: Ludovico Sforza’s Architectural Plans and Emblematic Imagery at Vigevano (diss., Los Angeles, UCLA, 1992)
R. Schofield: ‘Ludovico il Moro’s Piazzas: New Sources and Observations’, Annali di architettura, iv–v (1992–3), pp.157–67
L. Giordano: ‘L’autolegittimazione di una dinastia: Gli Sforza e la politica dell’ immagine’, Artes [Pavia], i (1993), pp. 7–33
P. L. Mulas: ‘”Cum apparatu ac triumpho quo pagina in hoc licet aspicere”: I’investitura ducale di Ludovico Sforza, il messale Arcimboldi e alcuni problemi di miniatura Lombarda’, Artes [Pavia], ii (1994), pp. 5–38
V. L. Bush: ‘The Political Contexts of the Sforza Horse’, Leonardo da Vinci’s Sforza Monoument Horse: The Art and the Engineering, ed. D. C. Ahl (London, 1995), pp. 79–86
A. Cole: Virtue and Magnificence: Art of the Italian Renaissance Courts (New York, 1995)
L. Giordano, ed.: Lucovicus dux (Vigevano, 1995)
G. Lopez: ‘Un cavallo di Troia per Milano’, Achad. Leonardo Vinci: J. Leonardo Stud. & Bibliog. Vinciana, viii (1995), pp. 194–6
E. S. Welch: Art and Authority in Renaissance Milan (New Haven, 1995)
L. Giordano: ‘Ludovico Sforza, Bramante e il nuovo corso del Po 1492–1493′, Artes (Pavia), v (1997), pp. 198–205
G. Cislaghi: ‘Leonardo da Vinci: La misura del borgo di Porta Vercellina a Milano’, Dis. Archit., xxv–xxvi (2002), pp. 11–17
E. McGrath: ‘Ludovico il Moro and his Moors’, J. Warb. & Court. Inst., lxv (2002), pp. 67–94
L. Syson: ‘ Leonardo and Leonardism in Sforza Milan’, Artists at Court: Image-making and Identity: 1300–1550, ed. S. J. Campbell (Chicago, 2004), pp. 106–23
L. Giordano: ‘ In capella maiori: Il progetto di Ludovico Sforza per Santa Maria delle Grazie’, Demeures d’éternité: églises et chapelles funéraires aux XVe et XVIe siècles, ed. J. Guillaume (Paris, 2005), pp. 99–114

E. S. Welch

Oxford Art Online offers access to the most authoritative, inclusive, and easily searchable online art resources available today. Through a single, elegant gateway users can access — and simultaneously cross-search — an expanding range of Oxford’s acclaimed art reference works: Grove Art Online, the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, The Oxford Companion to Western Art, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, as well as many specially commissioned articles and bibliographies available exclusively online.

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Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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16. A brief review of the Ender's Game movie, via the FB.

I'm just going to go ahead and let Jeremy speak for himself:

Jeremy hates ender's game A LOT

Well, then. Glad to know I wasn't missing anything!

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17. A conversation with Alodie Larson, Editor of Grove Art Online

We are delighted to present a Q&A with the Editor of Grove Art Online, Alodie Larson. She began at Oxford last June, coming from JSTOR, where she spent four years as part of their editorial team, acquiring new journals for the archive. In the below interview, you’ll get to know Alodie as Editor, and also learn her thoughts on art history research and publishing. You can also find her Letter from the Editor on Oxford Art Online.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

When I was young, I would draw house plans (with elevations in the shape of animals) and make artwork with whatever I could find. In college, I studied architecture and the history of art; I completed my MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art, focusing on the architecture of Georgian England. Afterward, I moved to New York and lived in a comically small apartment with my brilliant friend who studied with me in London. She worked at Christie’s, and she kept me from straying too far from the art world while I worked at Random House. I began in the audio/digital department and later moved to the children’s division; I was lucky to learn from talented editors who were generous with their time. I became intimately familiar with Louis L’Amour novels, and I read Twilight when it was a stack of 8 ½ x 11 copy paper. I joined JSTOR in 2009, where I managed their list of journals in art and architecture. I contributed to a project to digitize a group of rare art journals like 291 and The Crayon, as well as to an effort to build a database of historical auction catalogs, all of which JSTOR made freely available along with their other content in the public domain. I also worked on business and sociology, which helped me to appreciate how research methods differ between disciplines. I am delighted to be here at Oxford as the steward of the Grove Dictionary of Art. In my free time I like to travel, visit museums, go to the opera, and refinish furniture. I am still somewhat disappointed that my current house plan is not shaped like a giraffe.

What is your favorite piece of art, of all time, and why?

I love Bernini’s David – the artist’s skill and inventiveness make this sculpture a singularly perfect object. In Bernini’s hands, marble seems to melt, as if it could be smoothed and stretched to his design. Grove’s biography explains this gift: “He felt that one of his greatest achievements was to have made marble appear as malleable as wax and so, in a certain sense, to have combined painting and sculpture into a new medium, one in which the sculptor handles marble as freely as a painter handles oils or fresco.” Unlike Michelangelo’s calm, anticipatory David, Bernini’s figure projects determination and energy. His body twists in motion, and as you circle him, you feel you are both being wound up together. I leave this sculpture feeling as if I have been flung out of the gallery, propelled by his purposeful strength.

David stands in my favorite museum, the Galleria Borghese, which adds to its grandeur as it is the original location intended for the sculpture. In the early 17th< century, Cardinal Scipione Borghese oversaw construction of the building—then the Villa Borghese—and commissioned David as well as a number of other stellar works from Bernini including Apollo and Daphne and Pluto and Proserpina. I relish seeing these sculptures in the magnificent home of Scipione’s original collection.

NLW Larson

Galleria Borghese, Rome. Photo courtesy of the Alodie Larson.

Since it’s impossible to get someone with an art background to answer this question briefly, I must add that I also particularly admire the work of Eduard Vuillard, Mark Rothko, Grant Wood, James Turrell, William Morris, Daniel Burnham, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Franz Kline, Xu Bing, and McKim, Mead & White. Closer to home, I have two favorite works of art that belong to me. The first is a watercolor sketch of Piccadilly Circus that I bought at a market in the courtyard of the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan. With minimal strokes it evokes the London crossroads on a rainy night in the late 50s (back when Gordon’s Gin and Wrigley’s Chewing Gum took up prime real estate in the neon collage).

Piccadilly_Circus_in_London_1962_Brighter

Piccadilly Circus in London, 1962. Photo by Andrew Eick. Creative Commons license via Wikimedia Commons.

The second is a watercolor illustration of “Dradpot the Inverted Drool” drawn by my grandfather, Max V. Exner. He devoted his life to music but was a terrific artist as well, and our family lore has it that he was offered a job with Walt Disney Studios in the 1930s when a member of the company saw him doodling in a restaurant.

Also, in a beautiful, financially responsible future, I will have enough disposable income to buy an original work by David Shrigley. I urge him to try to become less famous so that I can afford this.

What is your favorite article in Grove Art Online?

I’m grateful that this role allows me to learn about artists I’ve never studied, and my favorite articles to read are those on subjects with which I’m not particularly familiar. Our forthcoming update includes new biographies on an outstanding group of contemporary artists from Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan, Ghana, Senegal, and South Africa, which I have enjoyed.

I am partial to the articles written by some of my favorite architectural historians, particularly Leland M. Roth, whose Understanding Architecture (1993) is, I think, one of the most engaging introductory texts. His Grove article on the urban development of Boston gives a great overview of the subject. I also like David Watkin’s article on Sir John Soane. An excellent summary of Soane’s life and work, it is an absorbing narrative with entertaining flourishes. (“Despite Soane’s high professional standing, his idiosyncratic style was often ridiculed by contemporaries in such phrases as ‘ribbed like loins of pork’.”) I have always admired Soane’s work and his unconventional museum.

The breakfast parlour at Sir John Soane's Museum as pictured in the Illustrated London News in 1864

The breakfast parlour at Sir John Soane’s Museum as pictured in the Illustrated London News in 1864. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

What are some of the challenges of transitioning art history resources to an online environment?

Together, Grove and Benezit contain over 200,000 entries and images, and it is a challenge to organize that much information online in a clear, intuitive way that ensures researchers will find the articles they need. Many Grove entries first appeared in the print publication, The Dictionary of Art, and the article titles weren’t designed to fit well with modern keyword searches. Important essays can be buried within several layers of subheadings in long articles, sometimes with only date ranges as section titles. For a print work, it makes sense; you’d want all of the articles on a topic or region to be gathered together and located within the same physical volume. However, in an online environment, ideal heading structure would aid successful keyword matches and avoid cumbersomely long entries.

Despite the challenges, an online environment offers more powerful research options. Both Grove and Benezit are organized under a robust taxonomy, and this information allows users to narrow content by categories such as art form, location, or period. Rich search functionality and linking helps users to move between topics more swiftly than print research would permit. An online environment also allows our resource to respond quickly to new developments. We constantly update and expand the body of articles in our encyclopedia (though updates are not instantaneous, as our content is peer-reviewed, supervised by our distinguished Editorial Board and Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Nicola Courtright).

Oxford Art Online hosts thousands of images. Are there any challenges in hosting these on the site?

Yes, as with our articles, the volume of objects presents a challenge. Grove Art contains over 7,000 images, including many well-known artworks that would be discussed as part of an introductory survey course. Keyword searches usually connect researchers with the images relevant to their work, but we’re working to develop more powerful tools with which to both search and view images.

Obtaining image permissions can also be a challenge, but we are grateful for our partnerships with organizations like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Resource, Bridgeman Art Library, and the National Gallery of Art, which have brought a rich group of images to GroveBenezit, too, benefits from important partnerships with the Frick Art Reference Library and ArtistSignatures.com, which provide thousands of artists’ portraits and signatures on Oxford Art Online.

How do you envision art history research being done in 20 years?

I believe research in art history will become more collaborative, interdisciplinary, and international. Art libraries have undertaken enormously useful digitization projects, making objects in their collections available to scholars in far flung locations. I’m impressed with primary source projects like the collaboration between the Met and the Frick libraries to digitize the exhibition materials of the Macbeth Gallery, and Yale’s Blue Mountain Project, which digitized a collection of avant-garde art, music, and literary periodicals from 1848-1923. A number of other university libraries have excellent digital collections for art research, including the University of Washington, the Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin, Harvard University, University of Wisconsin, and Columbia University, which hosts the addictively interesting Robert Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery.

Courtesy of The Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Courtesy of The Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Whether through local collections or collaborative projects like the HathiTrust, JSTOR, and the DPLA, libraries and publishers are bringing a terrific breadth of important materials online. As content becomes more accessible, I think researchers will select online resources based on the caliber of their material and on the functionality provided the platform. Even as publishers’ brands may fall further behind the façade of library discovery services, I believe scholars will continue to value sources they can trust to maintain high standards of quality.

Art has always been an interdisciplinary field, involving history, politics, economics, and cultural exchange. In the coming years, I think it will be important to emphasize how art connects with these other fields. With the current national focus on careers in science and technology, art is sometimes cast as an academic luxury, but it is not. Its study involves issues fundamentally relevant to all of us. In the words of Albert Einstein: “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual toward freedom.”

Alodie Larson is the Editor of Grove Art and Oxford Art Online. Before joining Oxford, she studied the architecture of Georgian England at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and worked for Random House and JSTOR.

Libraries are a vital part of our communities. They feed our curiosity, bolster our professional knowledge, and provide a launchpad for intellectual discovery. In celebration of these cornerstone institutions, we are offering unprecedented free access to our Online Resources, including Oxford Art Online, in the United States and Canada to support our shared mission of education.

Oxford Art Online offers access to the most authoritative, inclusive, and easily searchable online art resources available today. Through a single, elegant gateway users can access — and simultaneously cross-search — an expanding range of Oxford’s acclaimed art reference works: Grove Art Online, the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, The Oxford Companion to Western Art, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, as well as many specially commissioned articles and bibliographies available exclusively online.

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18. The ballot for the 2014 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards...

March book one...has been released.

The YA contenders are:

Battling Boy, by Paul Pope
Bluffton: My Summers with Buster, by Matt Phelan
Boxers and Saints, by Gene Luen Yang
Dogs of War, by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox
March (Book One), by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Templar, by Jordan Mechner, LeUyen Pham, and Alex Puviland

Click on through for the other categories!

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19. What is it like to be a man in comics?

201404150429.jpg


So yesterday I tweeted this, and there was quite a bit of outcry before during and after about Janelle Asselin’s Tumblr post, linked to in this said tweet. The kind of short version of it all is:

• Janelle write a column on CBR about the cover for the new Teen Titans title, pointing out that despite starring teens, this book seems to be aimed at a non-teen audience, based on the cover.

Even the newer series, “Teen Titans Go!” premiered as the #1 show in its time slot, not just for boys but for kids aged 2-11. Kids and teens are into the idea of the Teen Titans, and there’s money to be made off of even tangentially relating to that crowd. Virtually all of DC’s New 52 books appear to be aimed at the exact same demographic: Males 18-39. And this cover is made for that demographic. It shows that, once again, DC is relaunching a book with no thought to targeting wider demographics or a new audience. This is not a cover you run if you’re trying to appeal to teenagers, and it’s especially not going to appeal to teen girls. Sure, the team may not be the same as the animated Teen Titans team, but there are ways to frame the characters to draw in new readers. For one, they could look like an actual team. For another, you could avoid cluttering up the background with imagery that offers nothing to a new reader, instead creating a distraction from the team you’re presenting.

 

• Commenters took offense to this observation and acted like assholes. A comics pro took great exception to it on twitter. One sample:


There were like 1000 more, but this seems to kind of get to the heart of the marketing matter, which is what Asselin was actually talking about. I think it’s worth pointing out that The Teen Titans Go comic was indeed cancelled…in 2008 after a 55 issue run, which is longer than any currently running DC comics aimed at adults. 55 issues is hardly a failure, even allowing for the difference between 2008 and 2014.

• Anyway the original column has racked up more than 500 comments. Which is crazy. I know there is mad hate for the Teen Titans Go! cartoon among DC comics fans, and, seemingly, frantic hostility in regard to anything that strays from the core demographic. I know I make fun of Bombshells and Giant Tits Teen and all that, but I guess playing to the base is what works in the DCU, no matter what the size of that base is.

• AT THE SAME TIME, Asselin began an online survey regarding sexual harassment in comics that has gotten more than 1000 responses. And some of them used the sweet sweet anonymity of the internet to threaten Asselin with rape and imagine rape fantasies involving her and other prominent women in comics. From her Tumblr post:

I’ve gotten all manner of bullshit within the survey now, but at least the ones with the rape threats or other asshole comments tell me which responses to disregard.  If you really want to “get me” and prove that sexual harassment doesn’t exist in comics, I don’t know, maybe it’s better for you to answer honestly about how you haven’t been sexually harassed. Because certainly sending me rape threats proves my point, not yours.

 

• And you know, that’s fucked up.

So two things:

1) As far as the whole marketing thing goes, the Wikileaks for all of this is this interview with Paul Dini where he explains what really goes on in cartoonland, and why the female audience is dismissed. The DC Teen Titans cover is part of a whole legacy of that thinking—when I saw that and the New Suicide Squad cover, I thought they were both harsh-looking and seemed rushed, not because of the artists involved but just because that’s how things look now. And like I said, this is marketing to the base. For whatever reason.

2) I was chatting with a few men in comics and they were shocked about this whole rape threat thing. I’m sure I have way less of it than most women in comics for whatever reason, but I’ve had threats and posturing and innuendo and blah blah. Some people are devastated by this kind of thing, and I’m not here to judge them. But I’m kind of amazed that men are unaware of this. And it is true that male editors and writers and artists in comics have gotten death threats over some stupid comic book thing, so there is a whole culture of insane threats. But the rape thing is a special gift just for the girls.

And you know what? This is not women’s problem. This is MEN’S PROBLEM. I know most internet trolls are teenaged boys who don’t know any better, but this is MAN’S THING. This is something you men need to figure out and condemn and deal with. There should be MAN RULES about it, like how you’re not supposed to go into the urinal next to another guy, that kind of thing. Belittling, embarrassing, threatening and shaming women should not be some kind of masculine rite of passage. It should be the opposite of being a real man.

The other night, I was walking home, as I do just about every night, and someone threw a bottle at me from the high rise next to the building where I live. I didn’t see the bottle, but it landed behind me and shards of broken glass hit my head. There are some crazy people in my neighborhood—I live a few blocks from Bellevue—but in general it’s pretty safe. Someone threw an egg at me a few years ago, but that missed too. I do not feel that it was my fault that I was walking home at night and someone threw a bottle at me. I feel that it was my right to walk the street in front of my house. And I think most people would agree that throwing a bottle at someone walking home is the aberrant behavior here. And that’s what we’re talking about with these rape threats. They are the internet equivalent of bottle throwing.

Some people criticized my tweet on the basis that no woman should eve be threatened with rape PERIOD. And yes, no woman, man, child or anything in between should ever be threatened with rape for anything, not a video game review, a comic book cover criticism, wearing particular clothing, going out in public or anything ever. I did add “for analyzing a comic book cover” to highlight the absurdity of the whole idiotic event not because I think there are some things women do that should be answered with a rape threat.

In closing, I would like to salute the bravery and professionalism of Janelle Asselin. She put her opinions out there knowing what kind of response she would get and she still did it, in hopes of perhaps getting people to think and to shed light on matters that are not discussed enough. Just because these things are hidden does not mean that men do not have this problem.

I would also like to thank the many, many wonderful men in comics who have been supportive and proactive about this. Because, as I’ve said many times, comics people are the best people. A few rotten apples don’t spoil the barrel…but no one likes the smell.

I have turned the comments on this post off. If you like what I have said, there are social media buttons at the top of the post. Or email me at comicsbeat at gmail.com

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20. Money matters

By Valerie Minogue


Money is a tricky subject for a novel, as Zola in 1890 acknowledged: “It’s difficult to write a novel about money. It’s cold, icy, lacking in interest…” But his Rougon-Macquart novels, the “natural and social history” of a family in the Second Empire, were meant to cover every significant aspect of the age, from railways and coal-mines to the first department stores. Money and the Stock Exchange (the Paris Bourse) had to have a place in that picture, hence Money, the eighteenth of Zola’s twenty-novel cycle.

The subject is indeed challenging, but it makes an action-packed novel, with a huge cast, led by a smaller group of well-defined and contrasting characters, who inhabit a great variety of settings, from the busy, crowded streets of Paris to the inside of the Bourse, to a palatial bank, modest domestic interiors, houses of opulent splendour — and a horrific slum of filthy hovels that makes a telling comment on the social inequalities of the day.

Dominating the scene from the beginning is the central, brooding figure of Saccard. Born Aristide Rougon, Saccard already appears in earlier novels of the Rougon-Macquart, notably in The Kill, which relates how Saccard, profiting from the opportunities provided by Haussman’s reconstruction of Paris, made – and lost – a huge fortune in property deals. Money relates Saccard’s second rise and fall, but Saccard here is a more complex and riveting figure than in The Kill.

Émile Zola painted by Edouard Manet

It is Saccard who drives all the action, carrying us through the widely divergent social strata of a time that Zola termed “an era of folly and shame”, and into all levels of the financial world. We meet gamblers and jobbers, bankers, stockbrokers and their clerks; we get into the floor of the Bourse, where prices are shouted and exchanged at break-neck speed, deals are made and unmade, and investors suddenly enriched or impoverished. This is a world of insider-trading, of manipulation of share-prices and political chicanery, with directors lining their pockets with fat bonuses and walking off wealthy when the bank goes to the wall — scandals, alas, so familiar that it is hard to believe this book was written back in 1890! Saccard, with his enormous talent for inspiring confidence and manipulating people, would feel quite at home among the financial operators of today.

Saccard is surrounded by other vivid characters – the rapacious Busch, the sinister La Méchain, waiting vulture-like for disaster and profit, in what is, for the most part, a morally ugly world. Apart from the Jordan couple, and Hamelin and his sister Madame Caroline, precious few are on the side of the angels. But there are contrasts not only between, but also within, the characters. Nothing and no-one here is purely wicked, nor purely good. The terrible Busch is a devoted and loving carer of his brother Sigismond. Hamelin, whose wide-ranging schemes Saccard embraces and finances, combines brilliance as an engineer with a childlike piety. Madame Caroline, for all her robust good sense, falls in love with Saccard, seduced by his dynamic vitality and energy, and goes on loving him even when in his recklessness he has lost her esteem. Saccard himself, with all his lusts and vanity and greed, works devotedly for a charitable Foundation, delighting in the power to do good.

Money itself has many faces: it’s a living thing, glittering and tinkling with “the music of gold”, it’s a pernicious germ that ruins everything it touches, and it’s a magic wand, an instrument of progress, which, combined with science, will transform the world, opening new highways by rail and sea, and making deserts bloom. Money may be corrupting but is also productive, and Saccard, similarly – “is he a hero? is he a villain?” asks Madame Caroline; he does enormous damage, but also achieves much of real value.

Fundamental questions about money are posed in the encounter between Saccard and the philosopher Sigismond, a disciple of Karl Marx, whose Das Kapital had recently appeared — an encounter in which individualistic capitalism meets Marxist collectivism head to head. Both men are idealists in very different ways, Sigismond wanting to ban money altogether to reach a new world of equality and happiness for all, a world in which all will engage in manual labour (shades of the Cultural Revolution!), and be rewarded not with evil money but work-vouchers. Saccard, seeing money as the instrument of progress, recoils in horror. For him, without money, there is nothing.

If Zola vividly presents the corrupting power of money, he also shows its expansive force as an active agent of both creation and destruction, like an organic part of the stuff of life. And it is “life, just as it is” with so much bad and so much good in it, that the whole novel finally reaffirms.

Valerie Minogue has taught at the universities of Cardiff, Queen Mary University of London, and Swansea. She is co-founder of the journal Romance Studies and has been President of the Émile Zola Society, London, since 2005. She is the translator of the new Oxford World’s Classics edition of Money by Émile Zola.

For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. You can follow Oxford World’s Classics on Twitter, Facebook, or here on the OUPblog.

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Image credit: Émile Zola by Edouard Manet [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons.

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21. Diversity in YA: A round-up of links and some thoughts on the silence surrounding the discussion.

At Book Riot:

It’s hard not to wonder why some of the largest voices in the YA world and kid lit world more broadly aren’t speaking up and out in visible ways. They have far less at stake than any author of color (and most women, white or not) would have doing the same thing, in part because their privileged position affords them them their platform. They do not succeed simply because they work harder; they have more advantages. This isn’t just pointed at authors with power. It’s pointed equally toward librarians, toward booksellers, toward major media outlets, and to anyone with a position to say something.

There’s no expectation for anyone to talk about everything. That would be impossible. But in a week where an announcement of an all-male, all-white panel coincides with a wealth of well-written, thought-provoking, and important conversations about diversity and there’s nothing but silence?

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22. Breastfeeding and infant sleep

By David Haig


A woman who gives birth to six children each with a 75% chance of survival has the same expected number of surviving offspring as a woman who gives birth to five children each with a 90% chance of survival. In both cases, 4.5 offspring are expected to survive. Because the large fitness gain from an additional child can compensate for a substantially increased risk of childhood mortality, women’s bodies will have evolved to produce children closer together than is best for child fitness.

Sleeping baby by Minoru Nitta. CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.

Sleeping baby by Minoru Nitta. CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.

Offspring will benefit from greater birth-spacing than maximizes maternal fitness. Therefore, infants would benefit from adaptations for delaying the birth of a younger sib. The increased risk of mortality from close spacing of births is experienced by both the older and younger child whose births bracket the interbirth interval. Although a younger sib can do nothing to cause the earlier birth of an older sib, an older sib could potentially enhance its own survival by delaying the birth of a younger brother or sister.

The major determinant of birth-spacing, in the absence of contraception, is the duration of post-partum infertility (i.e., how long after a birth before a woman resumes ovulation). A woman’s return to fertility appears to be determined by her energy status. Lactation is energetically demanding and more intense suckling by an infant is one way that an infant could potentially influence the timing of its mother’s return to fertility. In 1987, Blurton Jones and da Costa proposed that night-waking by infants enhanced child survival not only because of the nutritional benefits of suckling but also because of suckling’s contraceptive effects of delaying the birth of a younger sib.

Blurton Jones and da Costa’s hypothesis receives unanticipated support from the behavior of infants with deletions of a cluster of imprinted genes on human chromosome 15. The deletion occurs on the paternally-derived chromosome in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Infants with PWS have weak cries, a weak or absent suckling reflex, and sleep a lot. The deletion occurs on the maternally-derived chromosome in Angelman syndrome (AS). Infants with AS wake frequently during the night.

The contrasting behaviors of infants with PWS and AS suggest that maternal and paternal genes from this chromosome region have antagonistic effects on infant sleep with genes of paternal origin (absent in PWS) promoting suckling and night waking whereas genes of maternal origin (absent in AS) promote infant sleep. Antagonistic effects of imprinted genes are expected when a behavior benefits the infant’s fitness at a cost to its mother’s fitness with genes of paternal origin favoring greater benefits to infants than genes of maternal origin. Thus, the phenotypes of PWS and AS suggest that night waking enhances infant fitness at a cost to maternal fitness. The most plausible interpretation is that these costs and benefits are mediated by effects on the interbirth interval.

Postnatal conflict between mothers and offspring has been traditionally assumed to involve behavioral interactions such as weaning conflicts. However, we now know that a mother’s body is colonized by fetal cells during pregnancy and that these cells can persist for the remainder of the mother’s life. These cells could potentially influence interbirth intervals in more direct ways. Two possibilities suggest themselves. First, offspring cells could directly influence the supply of milk to their child, perhaps by promoting greater differentiation of milk-producing cells (mammary epithelium). Second, offspring cells could interfere with the implantation of subsequent embryos. Both of these possibilities remain hypothetical but cells containing Y chromosomes (presumably derived from male fetuses) have been found in breast tissue and in the uterine lining of non-pregnant women.

David Haig is Professor of Biology at Harvard University. he is the author of “Troubled sleep: Night waking, breastfeeding and parent–offspring conflict” (available to read for free for a limited time) in Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health. The arguments summarized above are presented in greater detail in two papers that recently appeared in Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health.

Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health is an open access journal, published by Oxford University Press, which publishes original, rigorous applications of evolutionary thought to issues in medicine and public health. It aims to connect evolutionary biology with the health sciences to produce insights that may reduce suffering and save lives. Because evolutionary biology is a basic science that reaches across many disciplines, this journal is open to contributions on a broad range of topics, including relevant work on non-model organisms and insights that arise from both research and practice.

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23. Kindle Daily Deal: Strange Chemistry title.

I love this press, and I make a point of buying their stuff whenever it's on sale.

SO HERE YOU GO, AMAZON. TAKE MY $1.99 AND GIMME MY COPY OF ROSIE BEST'S SKULK.

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24. Don Bartlett Q & A

       At the World Literature Today weblog Sarah Smith has a Q & A with translator (of Knausgaard, among others) Don Bartlett, Translating Norway's Love of Literature.

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25. Twelve Minutes to Midnight -- Christopher Edge

Twelve minutes to midnightI love this cover art. Very Gorey-esque, no?

London, 1899.

Bedlam Hospital has a disturbing problem: every night, at precisely Twelve Minutes to Midnight, the inmates begin feverishly writing gibberish—on paper, on the walls, on themselves; in pencil, in ink, in blood. In the morning, none of the inmates have any memory of their actions, and every night, the madness spreads further. Having exhausted every medical avenue*, the authorities turn to Montgomery Flinch, an author who has recently taken England by storm with his macabre tales of terror published in the Penny Dreadful.

Little do they know, Montgomery Flinch doesn't exist. The stories are actually written by thirteen-year-old Penelope Treadwell, the orphaned heiress who owns the Penny Dreadful.

But Penelope isn't going to let a trifling detail like THAT prevent her from investigating...

Pros:

  • Loads of atmosphere, action, and tense moments.
  • Details like the secret door leading to the SPOILER, and the mysterious, beautiful widow are nice nods to the genre and suggest a real affection for it.
  • Edge doesn't condescend to his audience: he doesn't over-explain plot points, and he never actually spills the beans about the specific events the prisoners are writing about. Deciphering those texts isn't necessary to enjoy the story, but they'll make a nice Easter Egg for any readers with a basic knowledge of twentieth-century history.

Cons:

  • I got the impression that Edge was shooting for Late Nineteenth-Century Verbose and Flowery, but there's a distinct lack of rhythm in the prose. For example: "Behind him, Alfie failed to hide the smirk on his face as he took a sip from one of Monty's discarded glasses before grimacing in sudden disgust." In other words, much of the book feels like one big run-on sentence.
  • There's nothing in the way of character arc or growth: at the end of the story, the main characters are exactly who they were at the beginning. (I suppose that could be chalked up as a nod to the conventions of the genre, but as always, I don't like that as an argument, as it suggests that genre fiction is somehow 'lesser' than 'literary' fiction. Anyway.)
  • For a smart girl, Penelope is amazingly slow to put two and two together. Also, three-quarters of the way in, a plot point requires her to suddenly possess Crazy Science Skills which she explains away by saying that she's 'always' had a strong interest in science. It was so out of left field that I wrote NANCY DREW MOMENT in my notes.

Nutshell: Plenty of atmosphere and action, but no character development or emotional depth.

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*I think? Hopefully this wasn't their first choice of solution?

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Book source: ILLed through my library.

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