Saturday, March 15, 2008

Recommended Listening:
Carmine Infantino

From Bostonist:
Carmine Infantino holds a singular place in the history of comic books. He started working in the industry during the Depression and his career lasted until the 1980s. During that time, he apprenticed under Jack Kirby and Joe Simon (the creators of Captain America), reinvented the Flash and redesigned Batman and Robin in the early 1960s for DC Comics, and, by the late 1960s, ran that company.

While he was editorial director (and, eventually, publisher) of DC, Infantino standardized its business practices, giving artists bigger paychecks and more rights over their artwork. At the same time, he infused the company with talent, bringing writers and artists such as Dennis O'Neal, Dick Giordano, Neal Adams, Joe Orlando, Joe Kubert, and Jack Kirby to the company. Under Infantino, DC, which had trailed Marvel Comics in sales and creativity throughout much of the 1960s, emerged robust, its titles guideposts to a more modern comic book.

Infantino will be in Boston on Sunday, the guest of honor at the Boston Comic Con. Bostonist got a chance to talk with him last week

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Book News, In Brief

Via The Wall Street Journal, via Publisher's Weekly: Borders has announced that they will begin displaying the books in their stores with the covers face-out. They predict that this will decrease the number of books that they carry by 5%-10%, but increase the number of customers attracted to "shiny things" and "pretty pictures" by up to 25%.

From the IndependentUK: When Robert Fisk heard that his biography of Saddam Hussein was selling well, one thing bothered him: he had never written one. Click on the link to read about Fisk's trip to Cairo to suss out the fake him. I'll admit, the whole time I was reading it, I was hoping that it would turn out to be Margaret Seltzer. I miss her already.

Three months after Terry Pratchett announced that he has Alzheimer's, and two days after he donated $1 million towards Alzheimer's research, The Guardian UK makes this bold claim about the famed fantasy author: As a satirist...he's right up there with Wodehouse and Evelyn Waugh. I'm slightly puzzled more people don't spot this. (Fans of Pratchett will also want to click here for a three part video interview.)

Time Magazine raves, Horton Hears a Who: Rated G for Glorious! "The new version...shows a pleasingly Hortonian faithfulness to the original story; and the process of fleshing it out Geisel's anapestic rhymes to feature-film length seems smart, sensible and organic." Thank goodness. Cuz after the filmic abominations that were The Grinch and Cat in the Hat, it was high time Hollywood got one of these right.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Recommended Viewing:
Chip Kidd on Book Cover Design

Book News, In Brief

Bad news for Eliot Spitzer is good news for Now that the disgraced senator has resigned, there's no one left to push for state tax on Amazon's sales.

The last book in the Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be split into two films. The first film is slated for release in November 2010, with part two following in May 2011. As if these British Scooby Doo adventures didn't feel long enough already.

NPR has an interview with book jacket designer Chip Kidd. Kidd's responsible for the iconic covers of such books as Murakami's Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, James Ellroy's Blood on the Moon and Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Recommended Viewing:
Neil Gaiman on H.P. Lovecraft

Top 5 Margaret Seltzer Related Posts
(that I haven't already referenced or pillaged)

5. Brother/Sisterhood, the gang-outreach foundation that Seltzer was reported to have started? Fake, too.

4. Seltzer's editor, Sarah McGrath, has a weak bullsh*t detector. According to this Mediabistro piece, she'd purchased another fake memoir for publication in 2006.

3. Inspired by Seltzer, YesWeekly lists the ten best fake memoirs, while the NYTimes makes a family tree of recent literary fakers. Homegirl made both lists.

2. Over at the Huffington Post, Linda Keenan welcomes Seltzer "back to whitey-town," and offers a seven step re-acclimation plan. Effing surreal.

And now, the #1 Margaret Seltzer related post that I hadn't already referenced or pillaged is:

Undercover Black Man takes writer Inga Muscio ("a far-left feminist, a self-styled 'anti-racist' and an atrocious writer") to task for lapping up Seltzer's stories and then quoting them in her own work. Excerpts are included, and the comments section is just as good.
Bonus: U.B.M. vs. Musico...on Musico's blog!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Free SF Short Stories Online!

Via BoingBoing:
StarShipSofa will bring you, in conjunction with the British Science Fiction Association, all five of the short stories that have been shortlisted for the BSFA Award for Best Short Story 2007 in audio narrated format for FREE. Starting Monday 10th March, StarShipSofa will upload one of the narrated stories each day.

Interested parties can click here to begin.

Book News, In Brief

The American Book Review has just released their list of the 100 Best Last Lines From Novels. When you're done with that, check out their previous list -- the 100 Best First Lines.

The LATimes lays the smackdown on lying memoirists past, present and future. The author of the piece -- a memoirist, herself -- then goes on to talk about her experience with publishers: they never asked for any proof that what she'd written was true, nor did they ever hire an attorney to check things over.

Via: The Independent: "It’s every author’s worst nightmare: what would you do if the book you’d so carefully written was accidentally deleted? Anna Pavord had to face such a crisis. But as she discovered, she’s not the first writer to be cruelly separated from her work." (For the full story, click here.)

Via The School Library Journal: "The average book in New York public school libraries is between 21 to 25 years old, and current state aid isn’t keeping up with the cost of books, leading to the unacceptable aging of collections, says a new report by the New York Library Association."
So what. A good book is timeless, right? Wrong.
"Borges also points to several outdated books recently pulled off the shelves of some public school libraries, including The First Book of Science Experiments, published in 1952, and Soviet Society Today, released in 1989."
(For the full story, click here.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Book News, In Brief

Massachusetts is supposed to be too liberal for this sort of small-minded crap. Care of A long-running bestseller, "The Lovely Bones," tells the story of a 14-year-old girl who was raped and killed by a neighbor. The book remains popular in local libraries and soon will be made into a movie. But in Waltham, a local parent says the novel by Alice Sebold is too graphic. She wants it removed from the shelves of the library at the John W. McDevitt Middle School. "I read it cover to cover. They say this book is about healing and hope, which it's not," said Diane Thompson, who has two daughters at the school. "The guy committing the crime doesn't get punished. The mom runs away from her family."

An Ian Fleming biography has been ordered pulped by the powers that be for including several court documents from the notorious Thunderball plagiarism case. What's the notorious Thunderball plagerism case, you ask? (It's okay. I'd never heard of it, either.) According to the, Fleming took the story from a Bond-based film script he and a couple of other guys had written and turned it into his bestselling book -- claiming sole authorship. In 1963, Fleming had to pay costs of £50,000 to Kevin McClory, the film producer who had developed the storyline with him. The case took its toll on Fleming's health, causing heart problems, and he died just nine months later aged 56. McClory died two weeks later, the victim of a bullet shot from the end of a Montblanc fountain pen. (Okay, so that last part isn't true.)

The new publishing model: Everyone gets published. Offering this hyperbolic "everyone" $1.50 for every 1,000 page views that their writing garners is Associated Content, a site co-founded by Google advertising honcho Tim Armstrong and his former college roommate, Luke Beatty. Here's how it works: Once a submission is run through Associated's "yield management system," the company then sends the writer a one-time, up-front fee that typically ranges from $4 to $20. Additionally, Associated pays contributors $1.50 for every 1,000 page views their article generates. Associated then distributes the story directly to specific websites that are in its network, but also on its own website. A good - or, rather, well-read - article can generate its creator a few hundred dollars, but most submissions are geared toward a more limited audience with a specific interest that traditional media companies wouldn't produce an article about. Geoff Reiss, the company's CEO, says that so far, the site has "published" 380,000 articles, and is adding 1,000 a day.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

2 New Disney Books

New release!
Working with Walt: Interviews with Disney Artists by Don Peri
Fans of Didier Ghez' Walt's People series will be interested in this similar collection of conversations with many of Disney's main artists, designers and directors.
From the review:
Collected together, these interviews begin to resemble a puzzle. And each conversation, as Herb Ryman states in his interview, is a little part of the puzzle, the jigsaw puzzle, that goes into the portrait of Walt Disney. Through these voices, Peri preserves views of the Disney magic from those who worked closely with him. Working with Walt provides absorbing, informed accounts of Walt Disney, as told by people who knew and worked with him closely.

New Release!
Consuming Innocence by Dr Karen Brooks
From the review:
Disney is continuing its tradition of being G-rated entertainment's biggest mother flickers. Ever since Bambi's mum hit the clover in 1942, Disney, in particular, has been giving mothers the flick from their scripts, even if they existed in the source material. The move provides an adversity in the plot for the central (young) character. Mother characters, by nature, elicit too much strength. By being there as the one to run to when things go wrong they steal the thunder. Much easier to kill them off - the earlier the better - and let the audience concentrate on the child. And it works. Over and over again. From Bambi to Snow White, Tarzan to Pixar's Finding Nemo, Herbie Fully Loaded to the current, classically formulated Hannah Montana - Miley Stewart's "mom" died when she was only a few years old (Brooke Shields played her in a dream sequence) - the mother flicking flourishes...Brooks says in her book it is the fathers who clearly benefit from Disney's matricidal tendencies. "Patriarchy replaces, oppresses and even elides matriarchy in the Disney galaxy," Brooks says. "And we have to begin to consider what this teaches our kids - particularly about family and women's roles."