Our Gang: A Racial History of the Little Rascals by Julia Lee The cherubic innocence of Hal Roach's Our Gang series delighted children and adults throughout the nation in the early years of cinema. But as racial politics changed the adventures of Alfalfa and his friends were criticized for their past connections to racism. Author Julia Lee attempts to debunk the cries of Our Gang's fraught past by looking at the series from a racial angle. Blending individual episode analysis with the history of the series, Lee tells the tale of Roach's desire to make a series about real children
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What's worth reading in the month of May?
A highly detailed look at the art of this superhero blockbuster.
Batman V Superman — Dawn Of Justice is a landmark event in the DC Extended Universe. It marks the first time the company’s big three — Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman — have shared the screen together in a major motion picture. With decades of visually stunning comic pages to pull material from, the film needed to be equally impressive, and it largely succeeds in this aspect. Batman V Superman — Dawn Of Justice: The Art Of The Film takes a look at what goes into making such a film, from concept to finished product, detailing these legendary characters’ worlds.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ covers everything you need to know about Frank-N-Furter and company and then some.
Richard O’ Brien’s gender-bending musical The Rocky Horror Show premiered in London in 1973, at the height of the U.K.’s glam-rock craze. Although most glam entertainment eventually dissipated, Rocky Horror remained the one true constant from that time, retaining its kitschy ‘70s glory throughout the decades. The film version introduced Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf to a worldwide audience and taught millions of devoted fans how to do “The Time Warp”. The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ from the Applause Books FAQ series, covers everything you need to know about Frank-N-Furter and company and then some.
This new book details the technology in the film belonging to Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
Through the years, the Batman character has been known for his gadgets and technology. These have ranged from the ridiculous (Bat Shark Repellent, anyone?) to the really cool (The Batmobile, the Batcave, and the Batsuit and cowl, itself). There is no shortage of this tech in the new movie, Batman V Superman — Dawn of Justice as, after all, Batman is just a man, and taking on the likes of Superman requires more than just fists. The Batman V Superman — Dawn Of Justice: Tech Manual takes an in-depth look at the many varied bits of technology used in the
Book Review: The Amazing Spider-Man: The Ultimate Newspaper Comics Collection Vol. 2, 1979-1981 by Stan Lee and John Romita
Marvel legend John Romita's four-year run on on Spidey's daily comic strip adventures draws to a close.
The trouble with a daily serialized story is how long it takes for anything to happen. Thanks to IDW’s continuing collections of notable comic strip runs, that trouble has been eliminated. Here in one handy book is two full years of Spidey adventures, notable not just for its complete stories but for its top-notch contributors: Spidey co-creator Stan Lee and Marvel legend John Romita. Lee spins a web of memorable tales here, but the real hero is Romita due to his masterful output of fantastic daily artwork for four years, starting at the strip’s inception in 1977 through most of
It's a wonderful celebration of a bygone era.
Joseph Campbell is quoted telling others to follow their bliss and fans of Classic Hollywood should be glad co-authors Karie Bible and Mary Mallory have heeded that advice as their own love for the era and its stars have led to them sharing photographs from their collections, which they found by “scouring eBay, searching vintage paper shows, and visiting movie collectible stores,” as revealed in the book’s Introduction. The objects of their shared desire compromise the majority of the images in Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays 1920-1970 from Schiffer Publishing. The book is a treasure trove of 221 fantastic photos, with
A deeper look at the colorful characters of The Blacklist.
Now in its third season, The Blacklist, which stars James Spader as Raymond Reddington, a former Navy Officer turned super criminal turned FBI informant, is one of the more riveting dramas on television, network or otherwise. The premise of the show is that Reddington willingly hands over a list of the worst of the worst criminals — the blacklisters — in exchange for immunity from prosecution. The catch is that he will only work with Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), a young agent who may or may not be his daughter. Keen keeps a detailed dossier of all the blacklist members,
What's worth reading for April?
Spring has sprung, so let's see what's worth putting on your bookshelves this month. Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick Kate Bolick's book is a mixed bag of personal memoir, feminist history, and biography, all of which makes for good, if patchy, reading. Bolick details the female fear of "spinsterhood," charting its applications throughout history and her own personal fears of being alone. When Bolick takes the time to focus on the actual issues regarding the spinster trope - including the rise of the cat or bag lady - the book takes on a fascinating feminist
Like the best episodes of the Original Series, the conflicts are believable, the stakes are high, yet there also are moments of humor.
Growing up in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, before VCRs became commonplace in households, we were limited to the whims of TV station programmers when it came to watching our favorite shows, unlike viewers today who have instant access and can even own copies of them. To revisit Star Trek at one’s leisure in those bygone days, the options were limited. James Blish adapted episodes into short-story collections, and industrious fans recorded shows off the TV onto cassette tapes, listening to them like a radio broadcast. Twelve episodes, selected from all three seasons, were given the photonovel treatment so fans
What’s fun about how Gould’s stories unravel is that they don't always end when expected.
As the Library of American Comics and IDW Publishing continue to collect The Complete Dick Tracy by Chester Gould, Volume 19 presents the dailies and Sunday strips from July 12, 1959 through to February 19, 1961. The book has an introductory essay, Max Allan Collins's "Dark Comedy and Careening Imagination" about the strips collected, and concludes with Richard Pietryk's look at the appearance of Gould's villains "Foes, Fashion, and Flies" and Jeff Kersten's "In Pursuit of Sanitation and Sanity" about the reaction from the public and newspapers to Flyface and about Dick Locher joining the strip as Gould's assistant, which
What's worth reading this month.
I'm an avid book reader and it's because of this avidity that I can read freely under the guise of "working." Kristen's Book Club will help you find the perfect film-related - or should be filmed - book to spend time with each month. We'll also look at upcoming novels soon to be adapted for the big screen. In this inaugural column we'll explore Superman's origins, more from the star of Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, and a Hollywood director receiving the biography treatment. Bending Steel by Alan J. Regalado One of the more analytical books available this month is Alan J.
An exciting glimpse into the making of one of the most exciting films of the year.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a phenomenon. It is the summer blockbuster beloved by millions, revered by critics, and held dear by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. There are so few films that are loved so universally throughout those three crucial audiences. Fury Road not only achieved that universal love, but transcended genre altogether to become something that it feels wrong to even label as a Blockbuster, or a critical darling, or an Oscars-sweetheart. There is something fundamentally urgent about how good it is, that makes an audience member want to watch it in theaters as many
An authorized look at the first two terrific seasons of TV's handsomest (and most horrific) show.
When I first heard about the Hannibal TV show, it seemed like a joke - the apotheosis of the modern reboot culture, where anything could be greenlit as long as someone, anyone had heard of it before. Hannibal the character himself had become very difficult to take seriously - from a figure of real menace in Silence of the Lambs to something more like a regular horror movie monster in the sequels (I haven't seen Hannibal Rising, but I understand it follows a rather familiar Sympathy for the Devil style storyline - Hannibal is Hannibal the Cannibal because he is
"An inside peek into how [they] go about creating the characters and crazy situations [viewers] see on TV every week." - creator JG Quintel
Created by JG Quintel, Regular Show regales viewers with the zany exploits of Mordecai the blue jay and Rigby the raccoon, two twenty-something slackers who find themselves in the caught up in very wild and very funny adventures. It is one of the most imaginative and entertaining animated programs on television, currently in its seventh season on Cartoon Network. Author Shannon O’Leary assists Quintel, who in his foreword states that with this book he and the staff wanted to “offer an inside peek into how [they] go about creating the characters and crazy situations [viewers] see on TV every week.”
Every bit as vivid, eye-popping, and gut-punching as the film, but slowed down enough that it can sit on your coffee table.
Having spent the better part of the year revisiting a familiar galaxy far, far away and allowing it to consume our hearts and minds as well as nearly every waking moment of our lives, it’s easy to forget that it was just last summer we paid a trip to another landscape quite reminiscent of one we had spent a great deal of time in during our youth. Of course, the trips we took to the post-apocalyptic wasteland George Miller created weren’t nearly as idyllic as our jaunts to Hoth or the Death Star; if the Star Wars universe which sprung
This book perfectly captures what was special about the show and the beauty behind it.
If you are going through withdrawal from the cancellation of the ingeniously gorgeous television show Hannibal created by Bryan Fuller, then The Art and Making of Hannibal by Jesse McLean is the book you have been waiting for. The television show was adapted from the Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon and is rooted in the developing relationship between Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) It is organized by the appropriately named chapters of "Aperitif," "Entree," "Main Course," "Sorbet," "Dessert," and "Digestif." The "Aperitif" is a foreword by Martha De Laurentiis, who produced the television series as well
An uneven, yet informative look into a dimension of sight and sound.
The Twilight Zone… a dimension of sound. A dimension of sight. A dimension of mind. A land of shadow and substance; of things and ideas. Also, a pretty great television show that ran for a total of five groundbreaking seasons and left an indelible mark on popular culture. In The Twilight Zone FAQ, author Dave Thompson takes a look back on this thought-provoking series, reflecting on its birth and creation in the mind of the then-unknown Rod Serling, and following along as it went on to become a cultural touchstone and the blueprint for so many fantasy television series, movies,
Everything left to know about the trilogy that changed the movies.
Ever since Disney announced plans to continue the Star Wars film franchise, the pop-culture landscape has been flooded with products across mediums and more licensed merchandise than seems necessary. Hopefully not lost in the tsunami is Mark Clark's Star Wars 2.0 FAQ, an entertaining and informative reference guide about the Original Trilogy published by Applause Books. Before rushing headlong into that galaxy far, far away, Clark grounds the book in Earth history, offering chapters on the movie business, creator George Lucas, and Lucas' influences in creating Star Wars, such as Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, Joseph Campbell's The Hero with
It's an express elevator to laughs.
In a most unexpected crossover, Joey Spiotto combines murderous monsters with children's books in Alien Next Door: In Space, No One Can Hear You Clean. In the introduction, Spiotto describes how original alien-designer H.R. Giger saw some of Spiotto's work and reached out to collaborate on a collection of lighter-themed art, something that reached Giger's inner child -- something I became recently acquainted with -- but Giger's penchant for creating gothic, industrial, often phallic art wasn't well suited to making art for kids. Unfortunately, Giger passed before the collaboration could commence, but Spiotto moved forward with the project, and has
Each chapter feels like a lecture in an X-Files course that Mr Muir should be teaching.
I have been a confessed horror and science fiction TV show fan my whole life. It's a tradition that came from being part of the Star Wars Generation that clung to Battlestar Galactica and Space:1999 to get our fixes. I loved Frankenstein and Dracula but on TV I could only find that same subject matter on Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Twilight Zone. I was a huge fan of The X-Files from 1993 through the bitter end (almost - I mean, ratings don't lie, most of us didn't watch that last season). The end of the show left me
Beyond Mars is beyond awesome.
If you’ve never heard of Beyond Mars, don’t feel too bad; the strip was only featured in one newspaper, the New York Sunday News, and it only ran for three years (1952-1955). So there are probably a whole lot of fans that have overlooked the strip and some of them might even be pretty knowledgeable folks. But what it might lack in notoriety, Beyond Mars certainly made up for with pedigree. How many Sunday comic strips can boast one of the architects of the Golden Age of comic books and a Grand Master of Science Fiction as its creative team?
Book Review: Walt Disney's Donald Duck: The Complete Daily Newspaper Comics Volume 1 (1938-1940) by Al Taliaferro
Readers who get their hands on this may find themselves in the sweetest disposition.
Starting out as a supporting character in the 1934 Walt Disney short “The Wise Little Hen,” Donald Duck went on to become renowned and beloved the world over thanks to the talents of many skilled writers and artists. In addition his numerous animated appearances, Donald’s vast popularity is due in part to the comic strips and comic books he was featured in over the years. Author and animation historian David Gerstein reveals in his introductory essay, that the character made the leap to newspapers thanks to Disney staff artist Al Taliaferro, who drew the strip for over 30 years, from
Maltin makes film buffs happy once again with a new, complete guide of classic movies from the Silent Era through 1965.
Although some books on cinema should be taken with a few grains of salt, not just because of some ways that movies are described, but also the movies that were chosen as well. As with the late great Roger Ebert, whose books on cinema are still the standard for anyone who wants to study movies and loves them, beloved film critic Leonard Maltin has also written his fair share of successful and sometimes infuriating books on film culture. Fortunately for us, his newest book on classic movies should enlighten and infuriate once again, which is great because it allows for
Two "thinking machines" face off in this excellent pastiche that pits Sherlock Holmes against a Victorian precursor to the computer.
Early in the third season of Elementary, one of its episodes offered an intriguing premise: a sentient computer was suspected of killing its creator, and Holmes’ job was to perform a Turing test in order to ascertain whether said machine could really have the intelligence to intentionally kill a human. Of course, the answer was an unsurprising “no,” because the universe of a procedural just doesn’t have space for sentient machines. Nonetheless, the episode was possibly the most interesting one of the show, as it offered an intriguing and deeply relevant theme for Sherlock Holmes: that of man vs. machine.
It covers the history, and future, of backyard and basement punk-rock shows.
Pure punk rock, regardless of a band’s popularity or the decade in which they’ve performed, has pretty much been an underground form of music. Long associated with violence, destruction, and all-around malfeasance, young punk bands have always had a hard time getting gigs in normal, clean-cut venues. Daniel Makagon’s book, Underground: The Subterranean Culture of DIY Shows covers the scene in cities and towns of all sizes across the U.S., proving that punk is alive and well in places other than New York and Southern California. This informative, 192-page book is packed with interviews and histories of the DIY punk
Highly recommend for fans of adventure stories and comic strips.
Volume 7 in the Library of American Comics Essentials series focuses on the comic strip starring Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan. The Lord of the Jungle debuted in 1912 when Tarzan of the Apes appeared on the pages of All-Story Magazine. It was such a sensation Burroughs wrote numerous sequels, and allowed the story and character to appear in other medium. Tarzan of the Apes also became the title of a 1918 film and a 1921 Broadway production. Harry G. Franke III, editor of The Burroughs Bibliophiles, writes a very informative introductory essay explaining how advertising executive Joseph H. Neebe of
A deep dive into every aspect of The Shining combines academic analysis, technical explanations and fun facts for fanboys.
For a director whose output totaled only about a baker’s dozen of feature films, Stanley Kubrick embraced a remarkably wide range of genres during his nearly half-century career. There was a heist movie (The Killing); war movies (Paths of Glory and Full Metal Jacket); a big-budget swords-and-sandals epic (Spartacus); highbrow literary adaptations (Lolita and Barry Lyndon); the blackest of black comedies/satires (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb); foundational sci-fi (2001: A Space Odyssey); and Eyes Wide Shut, a YGIAGAM (Your Guess Is As Good As Mine). Then there’s his scary/funny take on the
Super shenanigans, madcap hijinks and tomfoolery... they sure don't make Men of Steel like this anymore.
At the risk of sounding like that old guy down the street wearing black socks with sandals and shaking a rake at those darn neighbor kids who just won’t get off the lawn, today’s comic readers just don’t know how good they’ve got it. In my day, if you wanted to take part in the classic adventures of your favorite superheroes, you had to embark on a quest to find the old issues and pay an exorbitant price, then live the rest of your life in fear that this highly priced item would become ruined and useless and your investment
It is sure to illuminate and inspire.
One of the most anticipated films of 2015 was Mad Max: Fury Road. After 30 years since the uneven Beyond Thunderdome, and with Tom Hardy taking over the lead role from Mel Gibson, there was understandable trepidation from fans about returning to the apocalyptic future that is Max Rockatansky’s Wasteland. However filmmaker George Miller, who has overseen the entire series, proved the doubting Thomases wrong with a sensational action film for the ages that is arguably the best of the series. Fury Road finds Max entering the fiefdom of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Bryne), a cruel ruler who controls the region’s
Bravo for Alex Toth!
Legendary artist and noted curmudgeon Alex Toth never made a secret of his continued frustrations with editorial interference, bad scripts, and the continued trend toward gritty anti-heroes in mainstream comics. So when given the opportunity to create his own comic series, he took a look back in time to the halcyon days when dashing film heroes like Errol Flynn and comic adventurers such as Terry and the Pirates buckled swash and took part in all manner of high adventure and derring-do. The end result was Bravo for Adventure, a throwback adventure that many consider to be Toth's seminal work -