Welcome to the Part-Time Fanboy picks of the week for August 13, 2014! Each week some of the crew at PTF will pick their most anticipated books for that Wednesday’s releases based on their own individual tastes. Hopefully this list will help give you, the discerning comic book reader, some ideas on what to pick up at the comic shop during that particular week.
By: Ed Piskor
Ed Piskor’s fantastic Hip Hop Family Tree’s first volume gets a new printing and the second volume is finally released!
I grew up in the New York tri-state area when Hip Hop and Rap first exploded onto the scene. When I heard my first rap song I quickly declared to my fellow seventh graders that it was sure to be a fad. Luckily, I had lots of friends who were heavily into Hip Hop and they introduced me to a world of music lyricism that ended up shaping the music culture for the next several decades.
Hip Hop Family Tree explores the beginnings of Hip Hop during a time when it was a fresh and exciting art form that was just developing in urban neighborhoods. Piskor utilizes an artistic style that harkens back to the newsprint comics of old and really speaks to the material he’s writing about. It is the perfect history lesson on a musical revolution that changed the face of pop culture forever. This is a work that entertains and educates all wrapped up in a retro yet professionally looking package. For fans or this kind or music or for people who actually lived through the era this is a must read. It will take you back to the years when Hip Hop was young and fresh. It’s a fun course on all the events that helped this musical style become a cultural powerhouse which would re-shape music for the latter half of the twentieth century and beyond.
By: Arthur DePins
Let’s face it, anything that has the word “zombie” in it is bound to grab my attention. While I’m more attracted to the more traditional gory horror zombie, Zombilennium looks to be somewhat of a refreshing take on your typical run-of-the-mill horror story. From the descriptions that I’ve read about the series it almost seems as if the concept was lifted straight out of an abandoned Hanna Barbera pilot. Basically, you’ve got a vampire and he runs an amusement park which employs, what else, only the undead. See? If that isn’t Saturday Morning Cartoon fodder I don’t know what is. This volume looks to be particularly interesting as the humans in the surrounding neighborhoods start to get resentful of the gainfully employed undead and start making moves of their to get jobs own at the fun park. Zombillenium’s charming concept along with Arthur DePins’s striking digital art make it a must read for this horror/cartoon junkie.
First of all, I’m cheating a little this week. Neither of my picks are comic books, though they are both comic related. Indulge me. It’s my birthday.
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Two master storytellers who passed too soon, Jim Henson and Anthony Minghella worked together on a television series based on obscure European and Greek myths. The stories were framed by a man (John Hurt in the first season, Michael Gambon in the second) telling stories to his talking dog, an amazing puppet (animated by Jim’s son Brian).
This collection of stories was adapted from a wider source of myths, including some from Japan, China, and Russia. Some of the stories are adapted from unproduced screenplays that Minghella wrote.
If you’ve ever seen any of the episodes, you’ll know why this is my pick. If you haven’t, then all I’m saying is that you’re in for a huge treat. This book has illustrations by Hannah Christenson and Eva Eskelinen as well as photographs from Jim Henson Studios taken during the show’s production. If you’re a fan of mythology or Jim Henson (or both!) then this is bound to be a treat for you.
by: Amy Pascale
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Joss Whedon has proved to be a gifted writer, showrunner, producer, and director. A third-generations screenwriter, he has been working in entertainment for over 25 years and has made huge contributions to genre work. In fact, he’s been key toward moving genre storytelling into the mainstream.
This book covers his life as a writer, from his beginnings on “Roseanne” and “Parenthood” through the “Buffy” and “Angel” phenomenons and covers the wild ride that was “Firefly.” Oh yeah, there’s that little Avengers movie, too.
If you’re interested in “how the sausage gets made,” there are few people who understand filmmaking and television like Whedon. There’s a great excerpt from this biography available here. If that gets your interest, I think that this will make a great poolside read for the end of summer.
By: Ray Fawkes
Publisher: Oni Press
Ray Fawkes is the cartoonist behind the experimental graphic novel One Soul, which was a fascinating release. Fawkes used a grid page layout to explore multiple lives throughout time from birth to death. Each page showed one moment in each of the person’s life. Each person maintained their same position on the page until they were no longer alive. Comics has always played with time and space in a unique way, and that book amplified it through an even more unique lens. This release has a similar design and may be a formalistic sequel but you don’t have to have read One Soul to understand or enjoy The People Inside. It similarly explores 24 individuals and their relationships. Once again, he experiments with page layout and juxtaposition, and how it influences how we perceive time while reading comics. This trailer for the book gives you the barest glimpse at what he’s doing. He’s a fascinating creator. Absolutely no one else is doing this kind of storytelling in comics.
By: Jim Woodring
Jim Woodring is another singular creator. His surreal landscapes and character designs will twist your mind. This book collects odds and ends of his work starring his alter ego simply named Jim. It’s sort of a hypothetical autobiography, imagining himself in his own weird universe that he created in his celebrated Frank stories. This book contains comics, as well as prose and illustrations. Woodring’s art is vibrant, colorful, adventurous and may have the ability to transmit LSD into your brain. He’s a madman, but there is a whimsy and gentle charm to his characters that help ground the reader. His various Frank books are perhaps more well-known and not to be missed, but if you’re looking for a single-volume sampling, this is a great place to start.