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1. KidLitCon Update!

2014KidLitConLogoThe 8th Annual Kidlitosphere Conference is rapidly approaching. KidLitCon is an annual gathering of children's and young adult book bloggers. It is incredibly fun, educational, and rewarding. This year, KidLitCon will be held in Sacramento, CA, at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, on October 10th and 11th. The theme is Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit: What’s Next? As one of the organizers of this year's conference, I wanted to give you all a quick update of what's been going on with the KidLitCon planning. 

My friend and KidLitCon14 co-chair (with Sarah Stevenson), Tanita Davis from Finding Wonderland, has an excellent new post up at the Kidlitosphere Central blog: What Do We Mean When We Talk About "Diversity" and How Can YOU Contribute to the Conversation? 

Tanita discusses the general buzz around diversity these days, and acknowledges that it can be difficult to even define what we mean by seeking more diversity in books and blogging. There are, after all, many types of diversity. She makes a few suggestions for both diversity-themed and more general session topics that might be submitted for KidLitCon. She concludes:

"We blog, because blogging gives us a voice. We blog about diversity, because we’ve all got different voices. Use yours.Sign up to join a panel or a session or to pitch an idea for this year’s KidLitCon. You can be a part of a game-changing conversation."

So how about it? Do you, in all your uniqueness, have something to contribute to this year's Kidlitosphere Conference? Session proposals will be accepted for one more week, through August 1st. Program Coordinator Charlotte Taylor from Charlotte's Library is standing by for your submissions. If you have an idea but wish to discuss it more informally, you can always email her

We also shared a post recently by this year's Author Coordinators, Melissa Fox from Book Nut and Reshama Deshmukh from Stacking Books, about ways that authors and publishers can get more involved with KidLitCon. Here is their enthusiastic conclusion:

"KidLitCon does have the best of everything: Good books, good conversation and amazing KidLit bloggers under one roof!! We hope you can join us and we look forward to seeing you there!"

Even if you aren't interested in making a presentation, or being actively involved as an author or publisher, you are still more than welcome and encouraged to come to KidLitCon and observe (or participate from the audience). We're expecting librarians, authors, teachers, parents, booksellers, publishers, and readers. Registration Coordinator Maureen Kearney from Confessions of a BIbliovore is ready to accept your KidLitCon14 registration form at any time. Registration closes September 19th.

 

I've submitted my registration form, and can't wait for KidLitCon. October. Sacramento, CA. Kindred spirits talking about ways to get books into people's hands. Don't miss it!

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.  

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2. Remodeling: Buying and Updating a Foreclosure is now on sale!

Remodeling: Buying and Updating a Foreclosure is now half price with this coupon code: FN83G
at Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/71560


How we coped with selling a house--at last--looking for a new house, buying a new house that was a foreclosure and needed lots of work, and then remodeling it since it didn't even have a kitchen sink!  (And the only appliance they left was an old dishwasher.  We had to replace the utility sink too so that our only water source was in the two bathrooms at the far end of a long rancher...)

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3. SDCC 14: Aspen Comics Another “Aloha”

By David Nieves
Aspen Comics beat their own drum through the walls of Hall 9 today at SDCC. Panelsts included EIC Vince Hernandez, Beth Sotelo, Siya Oum, Jordan Gunderson, Giuseppe Cafaro, T.G Roberts, J.T Krul, Josh Reed, and Scott Lobdell. Festivities were led as usual by Frank Mastromro and Peter Steigerwald, kicking off with the traditional thunderous “aloha”.

While the company didn’t have a ton of new announcements, the panel went through much of their current offerings. *Damsels in Excess* was up first, written by Vince the book has exclusive SDCC covers that will be available through their online store in limited quantities. The Siya cover is the gorgeous and we’ll post the file in a bit.

That led into Siya talking about her book *Lola xoxo*. Her upcoming plans include a spinoff volume called “Wasteland Madam”. Afterwards an official volume 2 will be released but not solid dates were given for either book.

Peter Steigerwald’s long awaited Zoo hunters was once again teased. In Peter fashion once again “it’ll be out soon”.

Last years hit *Jirni* came back with a new volume. Writer J.T Krul promises more danger and excitement with a Conan like story in the upcoming final acts of the chapter. The collected edition for volume 1 will be available soon.

*Seven to Die* is the new Aspen novel by T.G Roberts. Her pitch for the story was a tale about a huge universe but focusing on the adventure of a girl exploring her new found mystic items.

Fathom has a Halloween comic called *Fathom: Adventures of Ernie*. A coloring book for kids, Aspen is attempting to reach out beyond their young adult audience. Like the family they are he group chimed in saying, “Vince is still trying to solve the puzzles inside.”

Soulfire and Fathom will have big plans soon to be announced for next year. But they are putting out Marvel style source books for both the properties. The books are to get readers of their newer properties who don’t pick up the flagship line an enticing blueprint of their properties.

Another one of the more popular 10 -for-10 books, *Legend of the Shadow Clan* will get a brand new volume. No new updates were given on the EA Iris movie.

Dellec volume 2 will come to retail this year. Once again Vince and Frank will be working together on the book. Shrugged also has plans to return but neither has a solid launch date.

A big announcement about the entire Aspen library will be made next month but today a deal was finalized with the digital publisher Madefire. More details need to be discussed but it looks like the entire Aspen library will get a fancy digital tratment. A Fathom mobile game is in the works. Aspen just signed a deal with a development firm to flesh out some new video games based on Aspen’s properties.

The lively audience Q&A closed their panel. Among some of the topics discussed were the company’s view of female characters. All of the panelist seemed to agree that it’s what they’re mostly known for to most people and sometimes that hurts sales among male readers. In Peter’s view male or female a good story is a good story.
One thing that we brought up was with the return of NBC’s *Heroes* would we see new digital transmedia material from the publisher or possibly bring back some of the old material. It’s a possibility but they would have to have talks with the network first.

NOTE: come back later as we’ll post all the stuff shown today later this afternoon as soon as we get it.

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4. New Work

furry baby_RobertaBaird
How strange that Nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude!  ~ Emily Dickinson

I’ve been working on a Halloween book for Pelican Publishing so I’ve been a little absent from the blog.  I just popped in to say hello! Hello!

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5. Beauty and the Beast



Join us for a one-hour autism-friendly performance of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Jr. on Saturday, August 2, 2014 at 12:00 noon.  Seats are still available, and now open to everyone.  Come to the Children's Room to reserve your spot, or call 516-921-0185 or email splchildrens@syossetlibrary.org.





Posted by Pam

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6. The Madmen of Benghazi review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Gérard de Villiers' 191st SAS/Malko Linge novel -- and the first to appear in English (next week) in about three decades, his timely 2011 novel, The Madmen of Benghazi.
       De Villiers got a nice publicity-boost from the 2013 The New York Times Magazine profile by Robert F. Worth, The Spy Novelist Who Knows Too Much; he passed away later last year, but still, publishing The Madmen of Benghazi in the US was a no-brainer -- this time under imprint Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (of Penguin Random House), rather than, as most of the dozen-plus previous Malko Linge-works to make it into English (mainly in the mid-1970s), from Pinnacle Books.
       Surely the title alone should make for decent sales -- despite the lack of any Hillary Clinton-conspiracy connection ... -- but it's a decent (if on the trashy side) piece of well-informed pulp spy fiction. You can see why the guy was so successful in France (and also why his books might not be quite to American tastes).

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7. Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans on ‘Angela’ #1

Angela, the character created by Neil Gaiman in another lifetime as part of the Spawn universe, will be receiving her own ongoing series later this year from the creative team of Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans.

Angela_Asgards_Assasin_Hans_Variant

I don’t know how we reached this point either, but that’s a packed lineup of creators up there. Jimenez is superstar enough, and his presence bodes well for the project. Gillen and Bennett will co-write the series, with Hans working on a back-up strip which’ll appear in each issue. That looks like her work on the cover as well.

The book will follow the character – revealed to be Thor and Loki’s sister in an Original Sin miniseries which either has or hasn’t started yet – as she decides to head off and make a name for herself in the Marvel Universe, primarily through the method of slashing people up and presumably growling at them a whole lot.

An ongoing series, the book will be edited by Wil Moss, and start in November.

3 Comments on Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans on ‘Angela’ #1, last added: 7/25/2014
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8. Grant Morrison’s Trippy Map of DC’s Multiverse

Grant Morrison’s got some structure in mind for his upcoming  Multiversity series and now we have a map to prove.  As you might expect, the map has a serious New Age feel to it.  Heaven and Hell show up in the ring around the multiverse along with Heaven and Hell in the “Sphere of the Gods.”  The “Monitor Sphere” surrounds the Sphere of the Gods.  Is that as in The Monitor and the Anti-Monitor (who’s recently turned up again)?  An excellent question.  The Rock of Eternity sits below the “House of Heroes”  in the center.

Entertainment Weekly has the announcement.

Multiversity-map_1400x1074

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9. SDCC 14: #comicsbeat Someone lost their tail in the toilet. #sdcc #sdcc2014


via Instagram http://ift.tt/1zdvumO

1 Comments on SDCC 14: #comicsbeat Someone lost their tail in the toilet. #sdcc #sdcc2014, last added: 7/25/2014
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10. Look What I've Got From Christmas Press!


Here it is, the latest beautiful picture storybook from Christmas Press, another Aussie small press, which does lovingly-crafted books only a couple of times a year, but worth waiting for.

This one is written by well-known children's and YA novelist Ursula Dubosarsky and illustrated by the amazing David Allan. YESSS!

I'll be reviewing it shortly, as it comes out in early August, but couldn't resist sharing this with you.

I know what the next book is - a collection of Christmas-themed children's stories - because I have a tale in it myself, a story set in Australia in a world where Armorique, the setting of Wolfborn, exists and can be looked up on Google. :-) I have recently realised, though, that I forgot the triple moons, so it isn't the same world as Wolfborn, exactly... Oh, well.
Anyway, look out for my review of Two Tales Of Twins, coming soon!

0 Comments on Look What I've Got From Christmas Press! as of 7/26/2014 12:44:00 AM
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11. SDCC ’14: Mighty Avengers Relaunches with Captain America in the Lead

Did you know that Falcon is Captain America now? Just thought it worth mentioning ahead of time, so this article doesn’t confuse you. He’ll be the lead in a relaunch for Mighty Avengers in November, you see, with Al Ewing and Luke Ross on as the creative team for the series.

Captain_America_and_the_Mighty_Avengers_Luke_Ross_Cover

 

The team, as you can see, seem largely to have remained intact. Monica Rambeau is up there, along with Blue Marvel, White Tiger, and I think Luke Cage with rocket feet.

You’ll also see Spider-Man trying to catch up with them in the image – having annoyed all of them back when he was inadvertently ‘superior’, one of the first storylines will see him attempt to rejoin the team, to the particular dismay of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones.

Sam Wilson will be the lead role in the book now, as he assembles the team once more specifically for himself to lead. Starting in November, Captain America & The Mighty Avengers will be an ongoing series.

1 Comments on SDCC ’14: Mighty Avengers Relaunches with Captain America in the Lead, last added: 7/25/2014
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12. Etisalat Prize judges

       They've announced the panel of judges for the next Etisalat Prize for Literature -- awarded to a first work of fiction, first published in (and hence presumably written in ...) English (sigh) by an African author (with African citizenship). (The official site has it as the 2014 prize; press reports suggest 2015, presumably since that's when they'll be handing out the prize .....)
       Worth a mention, because it's a pretty impressive panel that includes: Jamal Mahjoub, Alain Mabanckou, and Tsitsi Dangarembga.

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13. Beer Chicken Restaurant Review, Magdalena (Lima), Peru 5 stars out of 5 Muy Bueno

Food Review: Beer Chicken Restaurant During my 11 days in Lima in June, my friend Ana and I ate in many colorful cafes and restaurants. But when I go back July 31, I know my favorite place to revisit will be the Beer & Chicken restaurant owned by Jaime Ugaz and @Claudia Poblete who were kind enough to sit down with us and enjoy a meal of beer-marinated rotisserie chicken, fries, ample side vegetables and a killer house Chablis. The chicken falls off the bones, and when we were finished eating, there was nothing left but bones. It was exceptionally tasty and tender. The dessert choices were many but we elected to split a crème brulee, and it was a brilliant choice. Every morsel that went down into our mouths was lamented, because we wanted the dining experience to last forever. Beer and Chicken is located in the upscale Lima, Peru section known as Magdalena. There is parking on the property, but also on the nearby steep streets. The ambiance is comfortable with lots of wood backdrop, especially along the spacious bar, and tiled walls that I found quite attractive. The service was exceptional. Our waiter was always in sight, keeping one eye on our needs, whether it was to refill a glass of white wine or bring an additional vegetable side dish. The prices were reasonable for all the food. Come with a hearty appetite if you happen to live in or visit Lima, Peru. I had chicken in several restaurants on my visit. This was one meal I enjoyed and will never forget. — with Claudia Poblete and Ana Bay.

0 Comments on Beer Chicken Restaurant Review, Magdalena (Lima), Peru 5 stars out of 5 Muy Bueno as of 7/25/2014 7:34:00 PM
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14. The Beat Podcasts! – SDCC ’14 Day 2: Don Rosa, Eleanor Davis, Lucy Knisley & Archie Comics

logo-pod-more-to-come-1400.pngLive from San Diego Comic Con, it’s More To Come! Publishers Weekly’s podcast of comics news, interviews and discussion with Calvin Reid, Kate Fitzsimons and The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.

In part two of More To Come’s San Diego Comic-Con special, Calvin Reid talks to Don Rosa about Scrooge McDuck, European fans and Carl Barks; Eleanor Davis on her new book How to Be Happy; and Lucy Knisley about her new book An Age of License. Meanwhile, Heidi MacDonald interviews Archie Comics President Mike Pellerito and sr. v-p Alex Segura about Life With Archie, dead Archie and zombie Archie. All this and more from Publishers Weekly’s More To Come!

Listen to this episode in streaming here, download it direct here and catch up with our previous podcasts on the PublishersWeekly website, or subscribe to More To Come on iTunes

 

0 Comments on The Beat Podcasts! – SDCC ’14 Day 2: Don Rosa, Eleanor Davis, Lucy Knisley & Archie Comics as of 7/25/2014 6:56:00 PM
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15. Publishing Jobs: ABRAMS, HarperCollins, Rowman & Littlefield

This week, ABRAMS is hiring a publicist for its adult imprint, while HarperCollins is seeking a marketing coordinator. Rowman & Littlefield needs a publicist, and Bauman Rare Books is on the hunt for a rare bookseller. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

Find more great publishing jobs on the GalleyCat job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented GalleyCat pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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16. Learn How Satoshi Kon Edited Space and Time

In his four features and one TV series, the late anime director Satoshi Kon developed a unique style of cutting and editing, says Tony Zhou in a new video essay.

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17. SDCC 14: #comicsbeat The year the shoe broke. Does anyone have duct tape? Srsly. Calling all cosplayers. #sdcc #sdcc2014


via Instagram http://ift.tt/1rFmZOX

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18. #618 – Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Ex-Pat Dog by Jackie Clark Mancuso

9780615545424-cover.

Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Ex-Pat Dog

written & illustrated by Jackie Clark Mancuso

presenting Hudson

distributed by Small Press United         6/05//2013

978-0-615-54542-4

Age 4 to 8     36 pages

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“When Hudson, an adventurous Norwich Terrier, moves to Paris, he loves the new sights and smells. But when he tries to make friends, he is surprised to discover that the dogs only speak French. Little Hudson’s desire to make friends and thrive in his new environment is so strong that he learns a new language. Hudson becomes a Parisian, or Paris-Chien, (chien means dog in French).”

Opening

“Hi. My name is Hudson. My mom is a writer and we’ve come to live in Paris for a year.”

Review

Poor Hudson, the real-life dog who owns author/illustrator Mancuso, he now lives in a new culture, with a new language, and one he does not understand or speak. Hudson tries to make friends, but cannot understand anything the French pooches are saying. He wants to go back home. Mom said no, but did have an idea.

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I like the beginning of Paris-Chien. Hudson tells us about life as a dog in Paris. People take their beloved pooches everywhere.  One guy even takes his dog to work at a shoe store where he greets people. The dog also greets entering customers. How cool is that? Even restaurants accommodate dogs with a human; sometimes with the best table. Hudson also goes to all sorts of places, along with his mom. No matter how he tried, poor Hudson cannot communicate with any other dog.

The story flows nicely from point to point. When Hudson takes lessons in French—Mom’s brilliant idea, taught by a French Poodle (of course)—he begins to pick up the language and other dogs can now understand him. Hudson even found himself a girlfriend! She is a lovely looking French poodle. Did you expect any other breed? The illustrations are nice. Done in gouache, the bright areas are nearly flawless and the lighter areas give the illustrations texture. I love Hudson as he studied—with heavy black glasses perched on his snout.

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Children who like dogs will love Paris-Chien, as will adults. Anyone who has experienced the dog culture of Paris will recall memories of time spent there on each page. The animals are adorable, with many breeds represented. There is also a cat, and a squirrel (which is risky given how dogs take off after the rodents). Ex-pat Mancuso’s Parisian dogs are obedient and stay where the illustrator places them in the real Parisian locations. The funny and unexpected twist in the story is good.

Dog parks are finally starting to appear throughout the US, but with Paris dogs having nearly free reign (going to work, and in and out of restaurants. When Hudson cannot find a place to play, and the park he finally finds does not allow dogs—the only one in all of Paris—I loved the twist. Inside the back cover is a list of French words with their English counterpart. Maybe kids who read about Hudson will learn French right long with the smart ex-pat canine. Debut author / illustrator Jackie Clark Mancuso lived in Paris with her dog, Hudson. She based the locations on places she and Hudson frequent.  Now that he knows some French, Hudson is a happier dog, willing to somplete their tour of Paris.

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PARIS-CHIEN: ADVENTURES OF AN EX-PAT DOG. Text and illustrations copyright ()C 2012/2013 by Jackie Clark Mancuso.  Reproduced by permission of the author, Jackie Clark Mancuso, Los Angeles, CA.

Buy Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Ex-Pat Dog at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryiTunesauthor’s websiteat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Ex-Pat Dog HERE.

Meet the author / illustrator, Jackie Clark Mancuso, at her website:   http://jackiemancuso.com/

Find more books the Small Press United website:   http://www.smallpressunited.com/

French Press.

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paris chien adventures of an ex pat dog

 

 

 

 

 

 


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: chinldren's book reviews, dogs, Hudson, Jackie Clark Mancuso, making friends, Paris, Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Ex-Pat Dog, picture book, Small Press United

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19. SDCC ’14: Scott McCloud’s Big Flashy Solo Panel

Photo by Henry Barajas.

Scott McCloud charming the crowd while he figured out some technical difficulties.

Thursday was a good day if you’re a fan of the Scott McCloud. McCloud and his adoring family rushed from his insightful panel with Gene Luen Yang. The rooms couldn’t have been farther apart, and the technical difficulties didn’t help. Luckily, his daughters Winter, Sky and wife Ivy accompanied him in the thick of things.

The comics theorist revealed the cover art Jaime Hernandez drew for his upcoming book “The American Comics” that will release on Tuesday, Oct. 7. McCloud asked that the audience refrain from taking pictures of pages from his upcoming book The Sculptor. He teased some intriguing pages that we won’t see again until (forever from now) Feb. 3 2015. The book is a 500 page love story about a sculptor named David Smith (no relation to actual American Abstract Expressionist sculptor and painter) that made it big at a young age, but the fame and fortune didn’t last long. He makes a deal with death so he can create anything he could phantom, but he will only have 200 days to live. With nothing to lose, Smith accepts the deal. But Smith didn’t anticipate meeting the love of his life.

McCloud wanted to dispel the rumor that has been floating around how long he’s actually been working on this book. McCloud said he came up with this idea in high school. “I couldn’t get the idea out of my head because it became a real story,” McCloud said. He heard that someone says he has been working on this book for 30 years or something ridiculous, but this book has been in the process for only five.

McCloud and his family read excerpts from the book. It was reenactments were dramatic enough to get some gasps and complete silence from the end of the reading. It was cruel for them to flaunt this powerful scene, and left the room begging for more. The characters are inspired by actual people in McCloud’s life. McCloud discussed the character’s desire and how important it is to the story. “I’m trying to find desires and a path that hasn’t been seen before,” McCloud said. “It takes it the edge of reason and beyond.”

mcloud2

The panel was starting to come to a conclusion, but McCloud took a few questions because of the late start. Someone asked “The Smartest Man in Comics” what the future has in store for the medium. He said he predicts that there will be an increase of female comic book creators. McCloud said the cross-legged manga generation that spent a lot of time at Borders have since went on to art school.

“Is it possible that 10 years from now the industry will be female majority? I think so,” McCloud said.

McCloud is hosting the fourth annual two-day comic book workshop on theory and practice on Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17 at the The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, 16926 Saticoy St. Van Nuys, CA. Click here to sign up.

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20. Marine Fish, Materiel? Material? A Former Technical Writer Investigates

So I just read an article that stated the inhabitants of old Scotland probably had as the mainstay of their diet meat and marine fish. What? asks I. Aren't all fish marine, as in, "of the water?"

Then technical writer DH appeared on my shoulder. "Remember materiel," she whispered in my ear.

How well I do remember materiel. On my first day as a technical writer--while still a student!--my boss plopped a 500 page technical report from the Army. "Edit this," he said.

I stared at that technical ream of paper in fear. What did I know of Army things? "This is what you're going to school for. You can do this," one of my inside voices said. I picked up my red pen and started reading. (In later months, I would switch to #2 pencil--the red pen made me feel as if I were yelling.)

A few pages in, I came across the word "materiel." My hand swiped up, my wrist cocked, but I held my fire. I knew only the material on my back or the materials needed for an art project, but this was a brave new world I was entering--a world wherein "materiel" might be a word. I cracked open my new Merriam-Webster and found materiel somewhere after material but before mateship. Glad was I, having harkened the internal editor, and gladder still for not having made an embarrassing edit on my first day.

Not all fish are marine fish; marine fish are saltwater fish, as opposed to fresh water fish. I will rest easy tonight with this new knowledge.

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21. Unassuming Barber Shop: Batman Country, Part Two

ubs

In case you missed the first portion of this special two-parter, it was revealed that Batman has conquered America and has established his black Bat-capital in a cave in Branson, Missouri.

That is not entirely true, but I do hope something of the story in the Bald Knobbers (cringey name aside) rang true for Batman fans. The vigilante story is old and real in America.

But is it enough to explain Batman’s popularity? We know many possible fictive sources for Batman – detective stories, operas, and movies – but what about other real ones?

There are a few possibilities. Both Bob Kane and Bill Finger, the co-creators of Batman, probably attended the 1939 New York World’s Fair. One of the Fair’s regular attractions was the skydiving “Bat-man”:

fr

There were many “Bat-Men” who jumped all over the country. They were so popular that Major Malcolm Wheeler Nicholson (who basically invented comic books), urged America to “consider the possibility of bat-man troops!” in a 1941 article.

ttom

But this might just be distraction, like billowing smoke from a Bat-capsule. We don’t really go to air shows that much anymore, after all. Is it Batman’s design motif? The vampire bat doesn’t even crack the top 25 of National Geographic Kids’ most popular animals. Certainly the car and Kevlar help, but you can’t last 75 years with just a black cape and pointy ears.

Batman’s creators might help provide answers. You probably know Batman’s artistic origin already, but the general public may not, so we have to keep repeating it. Bob Kane was a fledgling New York artist supposedly jealous of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the two creators of Superman. Kane pleaded to editor Vin Sullivan, who gave him a weekend to create a new superhero.

Kane needed help, so he approached Bill Finger, a former shoe salesman whom he had worked with previously on some Western comics. The result of their new collaboration was Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939. Finger wrote the script and Kane drew the action. Kane got the byline. How and why this happened is not fully known. Kane was a hustler and Finger was meek, though there was probably more to it than that. After all, most of this story, if not all of it, was first told by storytellers.

In that first issue, Kane swiped liberally from Henry Vallely and copied poses from “Flash Gordon.” Finger’s first script was probably inspired by pulp stories like “The Black Bat,” movies like “The Bat Whispers,” and a Shadow story. Superman had been crafted over several years and was something really brand-new. Batman was a smoky concoction of vigilante stuff thrown together to create a quick, commercial superhero.

Finger worked on Batman comics, including the first telling of the origin, in complete anonymity for decades. Kane drew only sporadically and wore ascots to parties. Finger is acknowledged by many as being responsible for some of the major chess pieces of the mythos. Kane appeared on The Tonight Show and died rich at 84. Finger died poor and alone at 59. This year, Kane is going to receive a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Kanedraws

As a consequence, fandom has not been kind to Bob Kane. Any mention of him at a Comic-Con panel usually results in some story about him stiffing a dinner bill forty years ago or bragging about supposedly dating Marilyn Monroe. In his autobiography, Kane even waxes breathlessly about fighting a gang as he swung around a lumberyard. Kane also claimed to have drawn the monthly Batman comic for decades when he positively did not. And he didn’t publicly recognize Finger’s contributions to Batman until after Finger was dead.

Still, there is no question that Bob Kane is the co-creator of Batman. He drew the first appearance of the character. For comics – which are words combined with images – that is half the whole world.

Still, Kane (and to some extent DC’s) treatment of Finger is considered by many to be wrong, even criminal. It is well-documented and crusaded upon, as it should be. But I am interested in crime of a different sort here.

Bill Finger’s early days have been mostly lost to time. Born in Colorado in 1914, Finger grew up with his immigrant parents and a sister. His father Louis, according to his World War I draft card, was a “cloak-maker.”

louis

Bob Kane was born Robert Kahn in 1915. When he was born, his parents ran a candy store in New York City. His father later worked for the Daily News as a typesetter.

Both Kane and Finger grew up on the Grand Concourse, a nearly five-mile stretch in the Bronx. They stared up at art deco buildings and gargoyles.

garg

They were not friends as kids. But they both saw bad things. Real things.

Crime in New York City during the twenties and thirties was on an escalating slope. On August 1, 1931, the New York Times ran a table titled “Homicides by Shooting.” In fifteen years, the number of murders in New York City tripled from 108 to 316. By 1939 – Batman’s debut – the rate had reached nearly two murders a day.

homicides

Every day, the papers were a blotter of theft and murder. Gangsters, passerby, and children were robbed and killed in streets and doorways. In April of 1939, the papers reported the tragic story of a brother and sister coming home from the movies to find their parents shot dead on the floor.

NJ

People lived in sadness and fear. It eventually turned to anger. When five children were struck down by stray bullets in the Bronx in 1931, Police Commissioner Mulrooney vowed that “We’re going to meet force with force…If they want war, we’ll give it to them.” Several articles urge the formation of “vigilante committees” to enforce the law themselves.

This is where Batman began.

In late 1937, when Kane was just breaking in and earning around $25 a week. A small article appeared in the November 28, 1937 issue of the Times titled “Woman, 75, Killed in Street.” It read:

Mrs. Augusta Kahn, 75 years old, of 1,160 Grant Avenue, the Bronx, was fatally injured shortly after 5 P.M. yesterday while crossing Broadway at 115th Street. She died on her way to Columbus Hospital . . . Alexander Novinsky, 26 years old, of 6,802 Nineteenth Avenue, Brooklyn. Novinsky was held on a technical charge of homicide.

Bob Kane’s mother was named Augusta Kahn.

But this wasn’t her. It was a different woman. It was someone else – a double somehow– who was very real. Was Kane even aware of the story? Who knows, though someone surely must have noticed it in the paper and told the family. Kane was living with his parents at the time. If he did know of it, it must have provoked a visceral response. Especially because of what would happen next:

Alexander Novinsky, 27 years old . . . arrested Nov. 28, last when an automobile he was driving struck and killed Mrs. Augusta Kahn . . . was discharged yesterday by Magistrate Edgar Bromberger in Homicide Court for lack of evidence tending to show culpability.

The driver who killed the other Augusta Kahn — someone else’s mother — went unpunished. Novinsky walked scot-free. Was it an accident, or something else? The courts ruled that there was not enough evidence to pursue it.

Just as forty unpunished murders provoked a solider to don a mask in the Ozarks, so might crime in the Bronx have inspired a fictional character to do the same. The cowl, the cape, the symbol and all the pulp stories and films that inspired the look of Batman — is a smokescreen. Crime is why it stuck.

I think that much of what we claim to like about Batman is a complete cop-out. The most common explanation of the character’s popularity is his “humanity.” What that usually means is that anyone – if they had enough money, ninja training in Nepal, gadgets, and a sidekick – could be Batman. But none of us really believes that. Batman is not real, even though we constantly act like he is. The only thing real about him is his genesis in crime, whether it is a story in a comic or the story of his creators.

When James Holmes killed twelve people at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012, the press made connections to the killer being inspired by the Joker. Most of this has since been dismissed, but it speaks volumes that this explanation was the first one that made any kind of sense to the general public. Not that Holmes was clearly psychotic and a killer, but that our response to him, at first, involved Batman. When Holmes first appeared in court several days after the shooting, survivors of the massacre showed up to the courtroom wearing Batman t-shirts.

james_holmes_hearing_batman_shirts

The current writer of the monthly Batman comic, Scott Snyder (who also teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College) has a theory about Batman that might help. In Batman #27 (note the number), Snyder (alongside collaborator Greg Capullo on art) has Alfred dramatically assess Bruce Wayne’s mission:

You keep us all around to bear witness, to see that you can do the thing that none of us could do for you. That none of us were there in the alley that night, not Gordon, not me, not anyone in this city. And you’re out to punish us for that every night.

capullobatman27

What Batman has made us watch for seventy-five years – an epoch in pop culture – is a one-man war that most of us don’t know how to fight. Batman isn’t about hope; it’s about fighting back against things bigger than us — crime, characters, and the Batkid’s cancer. It is not a place of light or peace or even nobility. It is a street in a city. Most of us can’t jump around on rooftops. But we can imagine that action — that rebellion — when we wear the black t-shirt. That we can do.

Batman is the most popular superhero in America because we all want to hit something sometimes. This applies to fandom as well. Sometimes it can be fairly vacant — Affleck, nipples — but sometimes it is more important. When Batman character The Spoiler, a teenage girl, was killed in the comics, fans began protesting the lack of a memorial to her in the comics’ Batcave. Marc Tyler Nobleman (with Ty Templeton) produced a book about Finger and led a massive campaign to get a Google Doodle to honor the writer. Filmmaker Kevin Smith (who has built an empire around a Batman podcast) also helps to run The Wayne Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to help stop the sexual traffic of children. Finger documentaries are being funded, Glen Weldon has a cool new book on the horizon, a new Batgirl is making waves, and for the first time, Bill Finger’s name was credited on a Batman comic. That last one has a simple explanation.

What matters is that these endeavors – all of them real – are small vigilante acts done in the name of Batman. It is not the fictional character or the dead men we rally around, it is that central story in Crime Alley. That’s the one that gets us. That’s the one that inspires us to do things, try to help, or just like Batman. That is where the humanity — and popularity — of Batman really lies: in the detective and the crusader, not the pull-ups in a cave.

On November 24 of 1939, just a few months after Batman’s debut, the winners of a kids costume contest were announced in the Times:

costumes
I won’t argue that “The Bat Man” is an infinitely better costume than “cotton picker” or “camera,” but Angelo Carbone didn’t just want to win a free chicken. With the exception of the boxer, all of the other costumes sound parent-selected. Not “The Bat Man.” Angelo saw something in a comic he liked and went for it. He saw something he needed to be.

As I write this in Cleveland, there was a break-in last night at the university I teach at. Three students – all studying – were robbed at gunpoint in the common room of their dorm. A few weeks ago, in the middle of a sunny day, young men walked into my favorite neighborhood bar, The Colony, and shot the owner, Jim Brennan, dead.

Why is Batman so popular? Look around you and read the news.

This is Batman Country. That should both empower and terrify us.

 

P.S.

Speaking of detectives: there is one last mystery to bring up.

In the late nineties, a story surfaced out of Boston suggesting that another artist may have created Batman well before Kane and Finger (and not Siegel and Shuster, as I’ve half-suggested before).

Frank D. Foster II was a cartoonist who worked with Al Capp in the thirties. When he couldn’t get regular work, he abandoned comics for a job at what would become the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Supposedly, Foster had samples of a character named “Batman” that he shopped around New York before leaving for Washington — well before 1939. When Foster later saw fully-realized Batman comics in the forties, he was stunned — had they stolen his character? Foster and his family talked to an attorney in 1975, which was also when Siegel and Shuster’s plight was all over the news. After Foster died in 1995, his son Frank continued to ask questions. His website. OriginalBatman.com, reads: “Although there is no hard physical evidence, there is little room for doubt that people at DC saw the drawings. Most likely it was Bob Kane himself who was at DC at the time and claimed credit for creating Batman.”

foster
The problem is that there were no superheroes in 1932. Not til Superman. And these sketches are definitely of a superhero – the bottom face also looks very much like a Bill Everett Sub-mariner (thanks to fellow Beat contributor Jeff Trexler for that). At one point, Foster places the drawing even earlier, in the twenties. None of this is impossible, of course, but if true, then Foster’s Batman would have been the first superhero.

There are other problems of dates and letters, but take a look for yourself. Foster’s 1975 interview with the lawyer provides fascinating insight into how artists worked back then. And how the fallibility of memory complicates everything.

Is there any way to prove that Kane and Finger saw Foster’s drawings? They never mentioned him. Or did they?

In 1960, when Batman was well-established, Bill Finger wrote a script for Batman #135 called “Crimes of the Wheel.” In the story, the Dynamic Duo breaks up a gambling den, sending its leader, a man nicknamed “Big Wheel” to jail. He escapes and puts on a bright costume that is a garish copy of Batman’s. Now a villain with who uses wheel gadgets, he calls himself “The Wheel” (hey, it’s still better than “Bald Knobbers”).

balls

His ridiculous costume looks like a garish version of Batman’s. But he’s a moron and soon gets tossed back in jail. He gets made fun of — by other criminals, by Batman and Robin — for the entire issue. The character’s name who steals Batman’s shtick but fails? Frank Foster.

tec135

Is this pure coincidence or a hidden in-joke?  On his website, Foster’s son says of the original drawings by his dad:

I know he created Batman. It’s the first Batman. It was there, at the same place, at the same time Batman was published. There has to be a connection. The possibility of two men in 5,000 years of history arriving at the same character who’s a hero of the night, with the same name of Batman, at the same time, at the same place on the earth, is zero.

I don’t know what to make of Foster, but I do know that the possibility is never zero when it comes to talking about comics and culture. If we think of Batman as a cape and cowl, then sure, but as the fictional embodiment of our own fear of crime and desire for vengeance? That is more universal than zero. Perhaps more than we’d like to admit.

 

If you’re at Comic-Con, come to “Who Created Batman?” on Fri. from 2:30-3:30 in Room 26AB for a panel with Travis Langley, Tom Andrae, Athena Finger, Marc Tyler Nobleman, Denny O’Neill, Jens Robinson, Arlen Schumer, Michael Uslan, Nicky Wheeler Nicholson, and myself. PW is calling it one of the 14 Best Panels at Comic-Con.

Brad Ricca is the author of Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster – The Creators of Superman, now available in paperback. He also writes for StarWars.com. Visit www.super-boys.com and follow @BradJRicca.

0 Comments on Unassuming Barber Shop: Batman Country, Part Two as of 7/25/2014 6:56:00 PM
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22. Paul-Celan-Preis

       They've announced that Gerhard Meier will receive (on 9 October) this year's Paul-Celan-Preis, a leading -- and €15,000 -- literary prize for translation-into-German.
       He translates from the French and Turkish, notably the work of Orhan Pamuk, as well as authors including Amin Maalouf, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, and Yaşar Kema.

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23. Simon & Schuster Forms Distribution Partnership With Regan Arts

Simon & Schuster has formed a sales and distribution partnership with Judith Regan’s new imprint Regan Arts, a new division of Phaidon.

Under the terms of the agreement, Simon & Schuster will take care of the world-wide sales and distribution for Regan Arts titles in both print and electronic media. Regan Arts spent the spring hiring staff and working on new titles and is gearing up to launch its first books this fall.

“We are delighted to welcome Regan Arts and its authors to Simon & Schuster,” stated Steve Black, Vice President, Client Services for Simon & Schuster.  ”Our sales and distribution infrastructure are poised to provide them with the best possible service and help them to reach the widest possible audience.  We look forward to a very productive partnership.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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24. Artist Creates Intricate Mud Paintings On School Walls


Japanese artist Yusuke Asai  painted a classroom  in Sujata Village, India. Read more about the school and Ysuke Asai here.

0 Comments on Artist Creates Intricate Mud Paintings On School Walls as of 7/25/2014 9:50:00 PM
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25. Inspired by the Sketch Dailies topic today, and how much I loved...



Inspired by the Sketch Dailies topic today, and how much I loved using ink yesterday I created this! I know how nice it is to snuggle with your best friend, especially if it is sort of smelly, but happy with a tail.



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