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Review: Julia’s House Goes Home

Julia and her friends are looking for a place to set their home when things go wrong and Julia must gather her friends and find their home.

Story: Ben Hatke
Art: Ben Hatke

Get your copy in comic shops! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

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First Second provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Review: The Essential Guide to Comic Book Lettering

The Essential Guide to Comic Book Lettering says it all in the title, if you want to learn about comic book lettering, this is a must get.

by: Nate Piekos

Get your copy in comic shops! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

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Preview: Art of Rush: Serving a Life Sentence

Art of Rush: Serving a Life Sentence

(W) Hugh Syme, Stephen Humphries
In Shops: Oct 13, 2021
SRP: $99.99

Newly expanded and updated, this beautiful coffee table book delves into the 40-year relationship between Rush and their longtime artist and illustrator, Hugh Syme, with a foreword by drummer and lyricist Neil Peart!

Containing original illustrations, paintings, photography, and the incredible stories behind each album that Hugh Syme has designed with the band since 1975. The book’s narration was written by music journalist Stephen Humphries and includes in-depth interviews with each Rush band member and the artist. The Art of Rush also contains entertaining anecdotes and commentary from a wide array of notable musicians, actors, athletes, writers, radio personalities, and Rush insiders about their favorite Rush album covers, which clearly reveals how vital and impactful the visual representation of their music has been through the years. One of the hallmark’s of Rush releases is the considerable care and consideration that goes into each one-including the conceptual artwork. Readers may be surprised to discover just how much effort went into each concept and the execution for every album cover!

Some of the regaled stories include furtively crossing the border for a guerilla-style shoot for A Farewell to Kings, trying to herd a warren of rabbits for the cover of Presto, descending into the depths of an autopsy lab to find a brain for Hemispheres, and a stunt involving fire, whiskey, and photographer Deborah Samuel for Moving Pictures. But no history of the band’s art would be complete without the story of the creation of arguably the band’s most iconic image, The Starman from 2112.

“From the first time Hugh and I met, we shared a level of communication that would sustain us through all the years of discussing art by long distance,” said Rush’s Neil Peart. The Art Of Rush is a must for fans of Rush, art, and music everywhere.

Art of Rush: Serving a Life Sentence

Review: The Art of Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess’ Stardust – An Informal History by Charles Vess

Explore the world of Neil Gaiman and Charles VessStardust as Vess opens up his vault of art. The book features sketches, pencil drawings, inked art, fully rendered paintings, and the secrets behind it all.

Art: Charles Vess

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
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Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Why Boromir Was the Best Character in the Fellowship of the Ring

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since eight-year-old me read an 1,008 page fantasy novel called The Lord of the Rings (And The Hobbit too because it’s an actual children’s book.) just so I could be allowed to watch a fantasy movie called Fellowship of the Ring on VHS. There was also the Fellowship of the Ring video game for GameBoy Advance that had characters from the book, like Tom Bombadil, but would glitch out midway through the Mines of Moria. This was a glitch that not even the Prima strategy guide or GameFAQs.com could fix.

As you can tell from this introductory paragraph, The Lord of the Rings has been a huge part of my life. Along with Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia, and good ol’ Redwall, it was my first fandom and is partially why I’m interested in genre fiction and, by extension, write for this website. One thing I love about going back and re-watching The Lord of the Rings films is seeing how my relationship with the characters and themes has evolved over the years. For example, when I was younger, I hated how “slow” the scenes in The Shire were at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, and would fast forward to when Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) began their journey. Now, I understand the contrast between the idyllic, adorable life of the Hobbits with the darkness that pervades the rest of the film as Peter Jackson shifts the tone from light comedy to fantasy thriller, and how these scenes establish the intoxicating power of the Ring through its effects on Bilbo (Ian Holm), Gandalf (Ian McKellen), and Frodo.

Boromir

My relationship with a character that has changed the most is Boromir, who is played admirably by Sean Bean (Game of Thrones, Goldeneye). He joins the Fellowship of the Ring at Rivendell and is the only main cast member to die permanently. When I was younger, I thought he was the heel to Aragorn’s babyface and preferred his kinder, younger brother, Faramir (David Wenham), who is a wonderful character and may get an article of his own when the 20th anniversary of The Two Towers and The Return of the King rolls around. However, as I’ve gotten older, I started to connect with him as a flawed, tragic figure that ends up making a big sacrifice that sets up the hobbits, Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd), on their own hero’s journey. While studying texts like the Song of Roland, Beowulf, and Dante’s Inferno (Boromir is totally what medieval theologians would call “a virtuous pagan”.), I started to see Boromir as a more modern version of the tragic hero archetype, who is consumed by pride and greed, but ends up redeeming himself in the end through death. He is a glowing example of the rich intertextuality of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic as well as Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens’ film adaptation, and how these works are in conversation with older myths, legends, and stories.

However, I’ve started to connect with Boromir on a personal as well as intellectual level. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had to take on more responsibilities like a multi-faceted full time job, paying the bills, and relationships to name a few. So, I relate to Boromir’s struggles with balancing what his father Denethor (And, by extension, his home country, Gondor) want him to do, and what he personally wants to do with his life. Boromir’s constant mentions of Gondor and “his city”  could easily be substituted with “the project”, “the numbers”, or insert office jargon here. However, you can definitely tell that Boromir cares deeply about his city as evidenced by his monologue to Aragorn in Lothlorien where he uses poetic language and describes Minas Tirith as the “The White Tower of Ecthelion, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver”. Howard Shore’s score soars during this scene, and for a  second, it looks like we might get an Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Boromir team-up to save the day. Alas, that’s not going to happen partially due to Boromir’s father Denethor’s desire for power and a weapon to defend his country.

Basically, Boromir’s whole motivation as a character in Fellowship of the Ring comes from a flashback scene in The Two Towers extended edition where he celebrates a great victory for Gondor, gives a short speech, and then breaks out the ale. However, his celebration is undercut by the appearance of his father Denethor (John Noble) aka the ultimate middle manager. Denethor isn’t the King of Gondor: his actual rank is Steward. Basically, he’s keeping the seat warm until the actual king (Aragorn, in this case) returns and is like an interim head coach if the “interim” tag never came off for hundreds of years. You can definitely see this in the way Noble plays Denethor as if he has the biggest of sticks up his ass, berates Faramir for making a strategic retreat instead of fighting while outnumbered, and doesn’t indulge in a pint of ale.

In this wonderful scene, Boromir tells his father that he wants to stay in Gondor instead of traveling to Rivendell to take an object that was responsible for the death of one of the greatest leaders of Men. (Isildur aka Aragorn’s ancestor from over 3,000 years ago.) His brother Faramir, ever being the empathetic one and trying to earn his father’s favor, says he’ll go to Rivendell, but Denethor doesn’t think he’ll toe the party line and forces Boromir to go and get the One Ring for Gondor so they can defeat Sauron and Mordor. This is in spite of the fact that the One Ring has brought nothing but suffering and death and should be destroyed. In a more modern setting, Boromir would be a top employee sent by a manager to do something unethical to get an edge on a competitor, but it ends up hurting the company and the employee. It’s very much a lose/lose situation. 

With the information gained from this extended scene, Boromir’s behavior in the Fellowship of the Ring makes sense from the way he contemptuously throws down Isildur’s blade Narsil, which cut the One Ring from Sauron’s finger, in Rivendell to his firsthand knowledge of Mordor because it borders Gondor. I love how Sean Bean talks with his hands while delivering dialogue about how “one does not simply walk into Mordor”. On a more positive note, the way he treats the hobbits, especially Merry and Pippin, mirrors the way he treats his younger brother, Faramir. There’s a hilarious scene where he spars with them and then ends up being tackled by them and wrestling like a big brother and his younger brothers or nephews. In Moria, he helps them jump across a chasm in a tense chase sequence. These scenes add humanity to Boromir and show that beyond the company line of “bring the Ring to Gondor”, he cares about fostering close relationships with other people, and there’s a reason why his men were raucously cheering in the flashback scene. It shows that Boromir is more than just the mission his father sent him just like we’re more than our job titles and professions.

These moments counterbalance the scenes where Boromir acts condescendingly to Frodo (I hate how he ruffles his hair like the hobbit is a puppy.) and especially the pivotal sequence where he tries to take the Ring from him, tells him that he’ll fail in his mission, and that the Ring belongs to him. In this moment, the corrupt influence of the power of the Ring plus Denethor’s mission consumes him, and he acts like a total asshole leading Frodo to put the Ring on (Never a good idea.) to evade him. Boromir’s treatment of Frodo at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring has parallels to someone having a bad day and taking it out on a co-worker or even a totally innocent customer service professional for an unrelated reason. 

Boromir

However, Boromir still has some good qualities and apologizes to Frodo (Even though Frodo is off in the netherworld of the Ring and can’t hear.) with Bean’s voice breaking as he comes to his senses. Fittingly, he ends up taking his little bros, Merry and Pippin, under his wing and protects them from the attacking Uruk-Hai whose only instructions are to capture Hobbits and kill everyone else. His protection of Merry and Pippin ends up being his redemption and inspires the hobbits to become soldiers in the armies of Rohan and Gondor respectively with Pippin mentioning Boromir’s sacrifice specifically when he swears his service to Denethor. Also, Pippin being in Minas Tirith ends up saving Faramir’s life as Denethor goes totally crazy and tries to burn his son to death because he has totally lost hope. It’s like he saved his brother beyond the grave, and in my head canon, he’s smiling somewhere as Faramir finds love with another kind, heroic character, who is underappreciated by her people aka Eowyn.

Boromir doesn’t have the traditional hero arc of Aragorn, who goes from pipe smoking, weather-beaten Ranger to well-groomed King of Gondor and atones for Isildur’s mistakes as he distracts the armies of Mordor at the Black Gate so Frodo and Sam can destroy the Ring. However, Boromir’s storyline is more relatable to me as a human and worker in a late capitalist hellscape because his passions and values are subsumed to a never ending for a bureaucrat (Denethor) desperately trying to hold onto power in a world where he has become quite irrelevant. 

In the end, Boromir doesn’t save the world or achieve some great destiny just like so many of us won’t be remembered in history books as great leaders or figures. However, he did have one great moment where he got to be himself and protect his surrogate brothers, Merry and Pippin. Boromir gives them hope that they’ll survive the next two films as well as returning to the Shire as sword-wielding, armor-wearing heroes. In a world where the wealth gap is increasing, the climate is rapidly changing, and a pandemic ravages the lands, I feel this one great moment where I know I made a difference is all I can hope for in life.

But, hopefully, it doesn’t involve me being shot through with some seriously gnarly arrows… 

Preview: The Art of Pulp Fiction: An Illustrated History of Vintage Paperbacks

The Art of Pulp Fiction: An Illustrated History of Vintage Paperbacks

In Shops: Sep 29, 2021
SRP: $49.99

Judge these books by their covers! Get immersed in the definitive visual history of pulp fiction paperbacks from 1940 to 1970.

The Art of Pulp Fiction: An Illustrated History of Vintage Paperbacks chronicles the history of pocket-sized paperbound books designed for mass-market consumption, specifically concentrating on the period from 1940 to 1970. These three decades saw paperbacks eclipse cheap pulp magazines and expensive clothbound books as the most popular delivery vehicle for escapist fiction. To catch the eyes of potential buyers they were adorned with covers that were invariably vibrant, frequently garish, and occasionally lurid. Today the early paperbacks-like the earlier pulps, inexpensively produced and considered disposable by casual readers-are treasured collector’s items.

Award-winning editor Ed Hulse (The Art of the Pulps and The Blood ‘n’ Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction) comprehensively covers the pulp-fiction paperback’s heyday. Hulse writes the individual chapter introductions and the captions, while a team of genre specialists and art aficionados contribute the special features included in each chapter. These focus on particularly important authors, artists, publishers, and sub-genres.

Illustrated with more than 500 memorable covers and original cover paintings. Hulse’s extensive captions, meanwhile, offer a running commentary on this significant genre, and also contain many obscure but entertaining factoids. Images used in The Art of Pulp Fiction have been sourced from the largest American paperback collections in private hands, and have been curated with rarity in mind, as well as graphic appeal. Consequently, many covers are reproduced here for the first time since the books were first issued.

With an overall Introduction by Richard A. Lupoff, novelist, essayist, pop-culture historian, and author of The Great American Paperback (2001).

The Art of Pulp Fiction: An Illustrated History of Vintage Paperbacks

Yen Press Announces 6 New Releases

Yen Press has announced a slate of upcoming releases that includes manga (In the Land of Leadale) and light novels (I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World; The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady; Ishura; and Another 2001), all scheduled for March 2022 release. Additionally, Yen Press announced If You Could See Love, a digital exclusive manga release set to debut in October 2021.

If You Could See Love (digital exclusive)

Story by Teren Mikami 
Art by Yuuki Nanaji

Mei Haruno was born with the troublesome ability of being able to see pink arrows indicating who people were in love with. In order to escape, she chooses to enroll in an all-girls’ boarding school in the hopes of never getting involved in romance again…only to discover not one, but two arrows directed right at her!

If You Could See Love is a sweet girls love series involving a protagonist with the ability to see who others are in love with. This fun and comedic series appeals greatly to passionate fans of yuri manga. If You Could See Love will be available exclusively on digital platforms.

If You Could See Love (digital exclusive)

In the Land of Leadale (manga)

Original Story by Ceez
Art by Dashio Tsukimi
Character Design by Tenmaso

Keina Kagami’s life ended when a power outage caused her life support to fail…and thus begins her new life two centuries later in the world of her favorite VRMMORPG, Leadale. She is now Cayna, her high elf game avatar, and several things about this version of Leadale are familiar: its abundant nature, its clear blue sky, and even some of the NPCs she created. But the question remains—what has happened over the past two hundred years…?

In the Land of Leadale is a manga adaptation of the Yen On light novel series, a mysterious isekai tale told from the point of view of a female protagonist. An anime adaptation of In the Land of Leadale is set to begin airing in the Winter 2022 season, which will greatly increase the fan base of this charming tale.

In the Land of Leadale (manga)

I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World

Story by Miku
Illustration by Rein Kuwashima

A door to another world stretches out before a boy who’s been brutally bullied all his life. This alternate reality grants him access to all sorts of things, like cheat skills and a portal that lets him travel between his old and new worlds! Can this class loser turn his life around back home…? 

I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World is a new isekai fantasy involving a protagonist who goes from weak to strong…albeit with a bit of cheating! Combining action, school-life storytelling, and romance, I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World is a light novel series that fits right in line with what core fans of the category are eager to consume.

I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World

The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady

Story by Piero Karasu
Illustration by Yuri Kisaragi

Despite her supposed ineptitude with regular magic, Princess Annisphia

defies the aristocracy’s expectations by developing “magicology,” a unique magical theory based on memories from her past life. One day, she witnesses the brilliant noblewoman Euphilia unjustly stripped of her title as the kingdom’s next monarch. That’s when Annisphia concocts a plan to help Euphilia regain her good name—which somehow involves them living together and researching magic! Little do these two ladies know, however, that their chance encounter will alter not only their own futures but those of the kingdom…and the entire world!

The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady provides light novel and yuri fans with everything they’re looking for in a great series—adventure, comedy, and, of course, sweet girls love romance! Today’s market has quite the appetite for yuri light novels, as seen with the success of Yen On’s The Executioner and Her Way of Life.

The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady

Ishura

Story by Keiso
Illustrations by Kureta

In a world where the Demon King has died, a host of demigods capable of felling him have inherited the world: a master fencer who can figure out how to take out their opponent with a single glance; a lancer so swift they can break the sound barrier; a wyvern rogue who fights with three legendary weapons at once; an all-powerful wizard who can speak thoughts into being; and an angelic assassin who deals instant death. Eager to attain the title of “One True Hero,” these champions each pursue challenges against formidable foes and spark conflicts themselves. The battle to determine the mightiest of the mighty begins.

Ishura,a rising star in the world of light novels, is a tale of epic proportions—one that involves a battle among several almighty combatants. With a unique premise unlike anything published in English in recent years, Ishura is extremely appealing to core light novel fans looking for a great read.

Ishura

Another 2001

Story by Yukito Ayatsuji

It has been three years since the calamity of 1998 that claimed the lives of many students in Yomiyama North Middle School’s class 3-3. After being placed in the cursed class, Sou Hiratsuka will have to work alongside class of 1998 survivor Mei Misaki in order to avert a new disaster. But as mysterious accidents and deaths pile up despite their countermeasures, the pair will be forced to reckon with Yomiyama North’s deepest mysteries…

Another 2001 is the highly anticipated sequel novel series to Yukito Ayatsuji’s Another, the compelling and iconic horror story from Yen On. Another is one of the most celebrated works of horror in the world of light novels, manga, and anime and is a must-read for the many fans who have discovered the series as the genre has grown to be one of the most beloved in the industry.

Another 2001

Ablaze Reveals New Artbook and Manga Releases for December

THE DRAGON UNIVERSE

by Olivier Ledroit and Laurent Souillé
MSRP: $29.99 ·
Release Date: December 22nd

Dragons. They reign above the eternal snows or in the depths of the abyss… They are marvelous, magical, malicious creatures… But where do these winged creatures with sparkling scales and fearsome claws come from?

This collection of illustrations on the theme of dragons brings together acclaimed illustrators and comic book authors from around the world: French, English, Danish, Spanish, Italian, American, Canadian… From John Howe, designer of The Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia, to Todd Lockwood, illustrator of Dungeons & Dragons, and Olivier Ledroit, creator of the Chronicles of the Black Moon, and Adrian Smith, one of the authors of Warhammer, and more… They’ve pooled their talents in a Tolkien-style universe where dragons coexist, fight Dwarves, Orcs, Elves and Humans…

THE FAIRY UNIVERSE

by Various Artists
MSRP: $24.99
Release Date: December 22nd

Our world is inhabited by mysterious and elusive spirits: the Elves and the Faes. Once we accept this evidence, we still must recognize them, approach them, and sometimes be wary of them… Illustrator Olivier Ledroit used all his skill to approach them, sketch them, and deliver this comprehensive guide to the most remarkable Faes and Elves.

The result is this illustrated encyclopedia, which combines an extraordinary history of dragons, with gorgeous, full-color art, that captures every majestic and fearsome detail of these wonderful scaly behemoths. The Fairy Universe offers readers the keys to a magical and poetic world through hundreds of drawings by Ledroit, spread over double pages in stunning watercolor and pencil, with illuminating words by Ledroit and writer/colleague Laurent Souillé.

CAGASTER VOLS. 1-6 BOX SET

by Kachou Hasimoto
MSRP: $29.99
Release Date: December 22nd

It’s the year 2125, and a strange plague called “Cagaster” appears. One-in-a-thousand people is infected by this disease, which turns humans into monstrous cannibalistic insects. Two-thirds of humanity is decimated… 30 years later, young expert bug exterminator and mercenary adventurer Kidow and newfound friend Ilie struggle to survive in this brutal new world, while delving into the mysteries of the plague and its causes.

Kidow is tasked with finding Ilie’s mother, after being entrusted with her by her dying father. Meanwhile, the battle continues to rage against the mutated population of Earth, with the code possibly being cracked to finally end the nightmare. Cagaster is a thrilling shonen adventure into a strange apocalyptic universe, somewhere between Mad Max and Attack on Titan.

Published by Tokuma Shoten in Japan, Cagaster has been adapted into an anime series by Gonzo Animation called Cagaster of an Insect Cage under the direction of Koichi Chigira (Tokyo Babylon, Full Metal Panic!, Last Exile) and is streaming now on Netflix!

CAGASTER VOLS. 1-6 BOX SET

Discover the Secrets of Alexandria in this New Look Inside The Art of AMC’s The Walking Dead Universe

AMC NetworksSkybound Entertainment, and Image Comics have unveiled an all-new look inside The Art of AMC’s The Walking Dead Universe, the upcoming hardcover going behind-the-scenes of all three of AMC’s landmark The Walking Dead TV series, featuring an in-depth look at the iconic town of Alexandria, top secret details on the evolution of Merle Dixon, never-before-seen concept art from The Walking Dead: World Beyond, and more.

The Art of AMC’s The Walking Dead Universe is available at comic shops on October 20, 2021 and everywhere books are sold on October 26, 2021, featuring an in-depth compilation of behind-the-scenes pre-production and production art from AMC’s three iconic TWD series—The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond. Plus, fans will discover never-before-seen original sketches, concept art, storyboards, special product illustrations, and more from the shows inspired by Robert Kirkman’s comic book turned pop culture phenomenon.

Marking AMC Networks’ first venture into book publishing, The Art of AMC’s The Walking Dead Universe, from writer Matthew K. Manning and Creative Director John J. Hill, also features an introduction by Chief Content Officer of  The Walking Dead  Universe Scott M. Gimple and fun facts from creators and crew members on all three series.

The Art of AMC’s The Walking Dead Universe standard edition can be pre-ordered right now everywhere books are sold, in both print and digital formats, along with TWDUShop.com. A special edition, featuring a new cover by superstars David Finch & Dave McCaig, can be exclusively pre-ordered at the Skybound Store. The AMC Networks Publishing Limited-Edition Exclusive featuring a new cover utilizing the three-circle symbol displayed throughout the shows by Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbairn is also available to pre-order here. 

Book Review: My First Book of Girl Power

Women can be amazing super heroes and Downtown BookworksMy First Book of Girl Power takes you through some of DC Comics’ most well know super heroes.

We’re joined by Graphic Progeny to see what our youngest reviewer has to say about the book!

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Bookshop


Downtown Bookworks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

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