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Hopefully by now you’ve all seen the debut of new contributor Kate Willaert’s column “By Its Cover” which looks at the best of the week’s cover designs—I’ve been wanting to add more craft-focused pieces to the Beat and this really fits the bill.
One thing that i found very interesting was the change in eye holes! If I were editing Spider-man, I would go nuts trying to remember what is “on model” or not. Props to all the artists who’ve made Spider-man a comics icon despite the complicated costume.
ALSO, no change in the costume from 1966 to 1984 — that must be some kind of record!
TweetFriday is art day! Friday is also the harbinger of the weekend, but who cares about that? Instead, take a look at all the pretty pictures I gathered for you from the shady, cob-webby corners of the Internet you dare not venture… (I can’t say more) FF by Mike Allred (you HAVE to click on this to [...]
Everything in this Horn Book article Board-book-a-palooza by Cynthia K. Ritter I agree with. Everything.
Speaking of HB, Roger’s blog has a new format. Love that bow-tied avatar of his. Who drew it, I wonder?
Don Tate has a fun piece about his time at the Highlights first illustrators intensive Founders workshop. He happened to stay in the same cabin that I did when I visited last summer. I had no idea I’d stayed where Floyd Cooper had. Fabulous!
Don’t get me wrong. I love Where’s Waldo but how dedicated am I? Not this dedicated. Yeesh! Thanks to Molly O’Neill for the link.
Dunno. If I were to find a title for this story of the 1500 pound Mo Willems sculpture of a pachyderm I think I would have gone with “Elephant and Piggie Iron”. But that’s me.
Who knew that random stills of that old Spider-Man cartoon could be this fun? Particularly when they involve librarians.
I love the way Stan Lee addressed his readers with such an intimate and glorifying phrase. True believers! Sure, you were just reading a Spiderman comic book, but he implied that this act joined you with a like-minded group, and certified your character as loyal and faithful.
I poked around looking for an appropriate “Face front” image, and found this poster in the Soviet Museum‘s digital collections. If you have a bit of time, check out the collection of pro-Lenin fairy tales. I also found an associated grumpy thread on Metafilter, comparing the ubiquity of this style of propaganda art in Soviet Russia to something like garish ads for fast food and grocery store mailers.
Face front, true believers! Today is beautiful, and we will face it with the resolution to do good.
The concept for the ‘Behind The Mask’ Project (to create a user-generated video of the Gloved One’s single was awesome, but considering the excessive direction fans were given regarding their submissions — as in instructions for... Read the rest of this post
I’m not telling you anything new by bringing this up now, but for those of you who may yet be unaware, the great Brian Jacques of the Redwall books passed away last weekend. I only had the pleasure of meeting Brian once at an event at the Campbell Apartment, and he was charming. I determined that the best way to speak to him was to bring up The Wind in the Willows, a book he adored. When I mentioned the Pan chapter he became wildly enthused, quoting whole passages verbatim. Later in the evening he would tell tales of fellow author and friend Paula Danziger (also deceased) and how she once leapt into a ball pen where she got firmly stuck. There are a couple obits worth mentioning of the man. Over at The Guardian Alison Flood recalls her talking animal phase while Julia Eccleshare writes his obit. The Telegraph gave their two cents. The Liverpool Echo had a great obit too, though it left me wanting to know more about the schoolteacher that taught Jacques, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, so thank you @PWKidsBookshelf for the link. Even the Audubon Magazine had a sweet take on the Jacques legacy (thanks to @MrSchuReads for the link). Can’t say I’m the world’s biggest fan of this British cover, though. A bit too symbolic for me.
Needs more fur.
Speaking of British covers, I was a little surprised to see that the British edition of When You Reach Me (which they seem to have only just now brought over there in paperback) sports the same Sophie Blackall cover as the one we have here in the States. Almost the same, I should say. Can you spot the difference?
Someone explain that one to me, please. I’m baffled. Anyway, I think I like the Aussie cover best an
I recently saw a preview for the musical Spider-Man: Turn Out the Dark. It’s not really a musical; it’s a spectacle. It succeeds as a spectacle, fails as a musical, and hangs itself as a Spider-Man origin story. It’s easier to find good things to say about the spectacle aspect, so I’ll start by reviewing that aspect of the play.
Even as a spectacle, though, the pacing of it didn’t work for me. Most of the spectacular elements were in the first half of the show, so when the effects and wow elements were fewer (and repeating) in the second half, it was a let down. During the last hour of the play, I kept looking at my watch. If you see the play and leave at intermission, you’ll see the best parts. Grade for spectacle (especially the first half): A.
Spider-Man: The Musical
In a good musical, the songs move the story forward. Unfortunately, the music in this play didn’t do this very effectively. The actors often spoke a “recap” of the gist of the song in order to transition to the next scene or to move the story along. (If you see this play, bring along some tissues or napkins to stuff into your ears: some songs were so loud that I had to cover my ears with my hands; I didn’t enjoy those.)
As you may know, the songs were written by Bono and The Edge, and it showed. The songs didn’t have the structure or feel of a “Broadway musical,” which is okay in theory, but not in this execution. Sad to say, none of the songs were memorable – they didn’t have a great “hook” as do many Broadway songs or even U2 songs. Plus the feel of the music didn’t match up with Spider-Man’s character or story. Grade for music: B- (I’m being generous here, taking effort into consideration in my grade)
Spider-Man: The Origin Story
I’ve read (or seen) almost every Spider-Man origin story there is because I’m writing a book on origin stories that includes a chapter on Spider-Man’s origins. I was looking forward to this musical to see how it compared with previous origin stories of the Webbed Wonder. I was disappointed. There isn’t a whole lot of character development here, and there isn’t much more of a plot; what plot there is focuses too much on Mary Jane and not enough on Peter. Even though Peter/Spider-Man is a comic book character, his story is rich in the human drama of shouldering the burden of
The recent phenomenon of multiple performer injuries on the stage, which is plaguing the Broadway production of Spiderman, is not new. Several years ago, the producers of the hit show Stomp, had to halt production of their new show Slam, when numerous members of the cast were sent to ER’s, after mosh pit accidents, during initial rehearsals. Tonto was one of the unfortunate. My left eye socket was broken along with two ribs. Shame too—it would have been a big hit with the kids.
Obama to host youth town hall (in a one-hour event produced by MTV News and BET News that will see the president addressing 250 young people from varying backgrounds, taking questions from the audience and from viewers via Twitter. The special will... Read the rest of this post
'Kids are not going to want to see 30-minute infomercials' (says an exec behind The Hub by way of curbing revived concerns around the commercialization of shows built around Hasbro products. CEO Margaret Loesch adds that those will comprise less... Read the rest of this post
'Spiderman 4′ scrapped (for a reboot set in high school that will replace both director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire. Hmm.. but wasn't the first Raimi film an origin story? Also Paramount sets dates for the upcoming sequels to "Star Trek"... Read the rest of this post
Now we know why Disney announced it was producing its own Comic-Con like trade show! While everyone is still processing what this merger means (see today's Essentials), I was most curious about how the comic book faithful were feeling about this new... Read the rest of this post
I’ve been travelling and working more than I’ve been surfing and sharing lately. That will change this Summer, but for now it’s the reality of what seems to be The Conference Season. Here are some nifty links that people have sent me, and ones that I have noticed over the past few weeks. Sort of a random grab bag.
The MaintainIT project has a guest blogger from the Tonganoxie Public Library in rural Kansas. I’ve pointed to their website before as a way that a tiny library can make use of tech tools to really expand their presence and share a lot of information. Library director Sharon Moreland is detailing her library’s move from Sirsi to Koha and it makes for great reading.
Speaking of library blogs, Seattle Public Library has one called Shelf Talk which falls solidly into the category of “blogs I’d read even if I weren’t reading blogs for work” Right up top there’s an interview with Cory Doctorow talking about his new book Little Brother. Also noted is every librarians favorite category: lists, booklists to be exact. The blog manages to intersperse library information, local lore and trivia and book topics in a lively and attractive package. It’s a great model of what a library blog can be. Yay team!
Well, that was the original intention, anyway. I was going to find a series of interesting links involving authors and their daily lives. For example, here is the charming Cecil Castellucci talking about her life as it relates to her new YA novel Beige. I love, Ms. Castellucci. She stopped by my library one day in search of Mo Willems (this is true) and I had the opportunity to chat with her. I want to be her friend.
Remember, I don't review YA, so I'll never be able to give my opinion on her newest, but for a book that I DID review, check out her new graphic novel The Plain Janes, which is completely child appropriate and deserves a glance.
Moving on, proof positive that Neil Gaiman is charm incarnate.
Two facts come to mind. The fact that he evinces no fear of the large furry rodent flying about his head proves that he IS Neil Gaiman. The fact that he has a bat in his house establishes that, yes, he does indeed live in the Midwest.
Well, so that was my intention with today's Video Sunday. And then I saw that Galleycat had posted the YouTube preview of the French adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis. The French speakers amongst you will appreciate this.
After that, everything broke down completely. Animation seemed a good way to go. Eric Berlin had linked to a nice and wholly illegal version of Calvin & Hobbes (which tied in nicely to the Chicken Spaghetti discussion on old C&H earlier this week. I was going to put it here. Heck, I copied the URL and everything. But look what happens when you click on it now.
Looks like old I-won't-sue Watterson actually brought action against whoever created this. Color me disappointed. Only a book trailer for a picture book could cheer me up now.
That's the stuff. Sent by illustrator Brian Floca himself no less.
And, for those of you who may have been a bit disappointed by the latest Spiderman film, take comfort. Here's a look at a bit of Spiderman ala Japan that is so oddly charming, I know I would have adored this film as a kid.
Because what is more children's literature related than comic books? This came from the Sandbox with love. I love how the woman could only memorize one line for the show.
Which is to say that I didn't have much time to rustle up anything. Still, enough cool items popped up this week to make up for the loss. The best known of these is the first. By now I'm sure that many, perhaps most of you have already seen copyright law described with the sole use of Disney clips. Well, if not, here it is. Some people say it makes their teeth hurt to watch, but you can't deny that it's skillfully done.
You know I'd sooner die than link to an ad. Then I saw this. I didn't know it was an ad until I hit the end. I think that shadow plays have enough kid cache (though, to the best of my knowledge, no picture book has ever taken advantage of them) to include them here. Thanks to Megan for the link.
For the aspiring authors amongst us, the Great American Children's Novel is Holes. Nuff said. You may not agree with this assessment, however. If that is the case then consider writing one of your own. This video shows you how.
And finally, last week I linked to Spiderman in Japan. This week it's Bollywood and Spiderman's been... uh... chickified. I could only really watch about a minute of this, but it was a good (if painful) minute. Voila.
One of my favorite things in the whole world is watching movies about writers, the good ones and the bad ones.
I giggle at the effortless way their pages stream out of the typewriter, I feel inspired by their struggles at their day jobs, and I wish I could be half as witty as those writers on the screen.
Today, GreenCine has an elaborate essay about the way real writers are portrayed on the screen. It includes an impressive list of films to watch, and the writer has a real affection for these movies. Put a couple on your to-watch list and save them for a rainy day.
"The journey from book to film is reversed and turned in upon itself: we witness not the translation of the mind's eye of the writer into a visual, fixed medium; instead, the fixed visuals of film are used to dramatize the writer in the act of using their mind's eye."
As long as you are thinking about book and movies, why not revisit our posts about the fine art of novelization--turning movies into books. We've run features on Christa Faust (Snakes on a Plane) and Peter David (Spiderman 1, 2, 3).
This morning parents all over the land were slapping their heads with annoyance at having forgotten about World Book Day until being reminded that a costume would be needed five minutes before setting off to take their children to school. Or maybe that was just me.
Lack of preparation necessitated a fudge - a Nemo mask instead of a proper costume - but once inside the school gates there was little need to be embarrased. Sure, some parents (who are these people?) had really gone to town - I saw a passable Oliver Twist, what could have been a Jim Hawkins from Treasure Island and what looked like a refugee from Les Miserables. But these literary pretenders were seriously outnumbered by the Spidermen, Sportacuses and Disney Princesses, which I did feel was a little bit of a sad indictment of what our 4-6 year olds consider as characters from books.
Still, World Book Day cannot be a bad thing - children will spend the day listening to, reading and talking about books which is a cause for celebration. And, speaking personally, to make up for forgetting a costume and thinking that Nemo is a literary character, tonights' bedtime story will be a scene from Crime and Punishment.
Jeremy Ettinghausen, Digital Publisher
PS Over the next few days I'll be at the annual SXSW interactive festival. If you happen to find yourself in Austin, Texas on Sunday, come watch me try to sound intelligent talking about Stories, Games and Your Brand.