Books


Feb. 03, 2015 | 3:31 p.m.

‘The Sculptor': Scott McCloud molds a tale of art, love and death

"The Sculptor" (featured image)
If you could trade decades of your life for the chance to achieve your dreams, would you? It’s the deal that Death offers a young artist named David in Scott McCloud’s new graphic novel,  “The Sculptor” — 200 days to live in exchange for unfettered creative ability. David is granted the power to sculpt with his bare hands “at the speed of thought,” McCloud explains, and the intensely focused protagonist races against his death countdown to create something lasting and important. But when he struck the bargain to end his life, he didn’t expect to fall in love. In “The Sculptor,” which is out today from First Second, McCloud inks a heartbreaking tale of the meaning of life, the impact of art and the transformative influence of love in gorgeous black, white and blue. The Eisner and Harvey Award-winning author […]
Jan. 13, 2015 | 7:30 a.m.

Exclusive: Kate Beaton to follow ‘Hark! A Vagrant’ with ‘Step Aside, Pops’

'Step Aside, Pops' by Kate Beaton (featured image)
Cartoonist Kate Beaton, the author of 2011’s acclaimed “Hark! A Vagrant” and the wildly popular webcomic on which it is based, is announcing a follow-up to her bestselling debut. “Step Aside, Pops,” due out in September from independent comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly, will feature Beaton’s sharp wit and cheeky takes on literary and historical figures — Ida B. Wells, the Black Prince and Benito Juárez are just a few. “Step Aside, Pops,” named after Beaton’s cartoon featuring a feisty velocipedestrienne, boasts more than 150 pages of her work, mixing new material and cartoons previously published on the webcomic she began in 2007. Beaton started posting her comic strips online to show her friends, but rapidly gained devoted followers (nearly 100,000 on Twitter alone) drawn to the Canadian cartoonist’s offbeat and irreverent humor. Her illustrations have also appeared in The New […]
Jan. 08, 2015 | 6:00 a.m.

Exclusive: Ben Hatke’s ‘Little Robot’ cover revealed

'Little Robot' (featured image)
“Little Robot,” an upcoming graphic novel from Ben Hatke, is the tale of an unlikely friendship between a lost, childlike robot and the little girl who helps him explore the world. The all-ages graphic novel is due out Sept. 1 from First Second, and Hero Complex readers get a first look at the book’s cover, which features the diminutive heroes. Hatke is best known for his bestselling “Zita the Spacegirl” graphic novel series, which introduced a galaxy-trotting superheroine on a mission to save her best friend from an intergalactic doomsday cult. Hatke has also contributed to the “Flight” anthology series and is the author of the children’s book “Julia’s House for Lost Creatures.” In “Little Robot,” which began as a series of watercolor cartoon strips Hatke published on his website, a curious robot befriends a shy girl who’s handy with […]
Dec. 05, 2014 | 8:58 a.m.

Holiday gift guide: ‘Hobbit,’ Batman, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ more

Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide 2014
Ho, Ho, Ho(dor)! It’s the time of year for geek-friendly holiday shopping. Whether you’re shopping for fans of “Game of Thrones,” “Star Wars,” Batman or Captain Marvel, the annual Hero Complex holiday gift guide has you covered. This year’s selections include some family-friendly video games for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U; gorgeous hardcover books celebrating the anniversaries of Marvel Comics, Batman, the Teen Titans, “Alien” and Hello Kitty; a Godzilla toy that’s probably bigger than your dog; and a quadcopter camera drone, among other selections. Click through the gallery above for a peek at our selections. Items are listed below, sorted by cost. Under $25 “Living Language Dothraki,” $3.99 app, $19.99 audiobook, $30 online course: Athchomar chomakaan! The Khal or Khaleesi in your life must command the Dothraki language before commanding the troops, and thanks to Living Language’s new course (offered as an app, CD and guide […]
Oct. 31, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.

Halloween read: P. Craig Russell takes on Gaiman’s ‘Graveyard Book’

GRAVEYARDBOOK-CP4
Neil Gaiman, author of the “The Graveyard Book,” didn’t have to think twice before choosing an artist to adapt the sweet and spooky coming-of-age tale into a graphic novel. “It wasn’t like I had a shortlist,” Gaiman said. “I went to [P.] Craig Russell and said, ‘Craig, how would you like to do this?’ And he did. … The reason I love working with Craig is Craig knows what he’s doing and is so brilliant.” Russell, the Ohio-based illustrator and graphic novelist (“The Ring of the Nibelung,” “Night Music,” “Elric”), and bestselling fantasy author Gaiman (“American Gods,” “Stardust”) have collaborated on half a dozen projects, beginning with the 50th issue of Gaiman’s “Sandman” comic (“Ramadan”) more than 20 years ago, and including “Coraline” and several short stories. “The Graveyard Book: Volume 2,” out this month from HarperCollins in time for Halloween, […]
Oct. 24, 2014 | 12:33 p.m.

‘RoboCop: The Definitive History': See exclusive images from the book

'RoboCop: The Definitive History'
A new compendium about the cyborg film franchise “RoboCop” is out this week, and Hero Complex readers get an exclusive sneak peek at some images from the book. “RoboCop: The Definitive History,” from Titan Books, includes stills and behind-the-scenes images, concept art, storyboards, script extracts and new interviews. The 224-page hardcover is penned by British writer and documentary filmmaker Calum Waddell (“Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever”). The illustrated history chronicles the making of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 sci-fi classic as well as its sequels, TV spinoffs and this year’s reboot from Brazilian filmmaker José Padilha. The film franchise follows Alex Murphy — played by Peter Weller in the 1987 film and Joel Kinnaman in the 2014 remake — a cop who dies in the line of duty only to wake up as a part-man, part-robot police officer tasked with cleaning up a […]
Oct. 13, 2014 | 7:23 a.m.

‘Planet of the Apes: Evolution of the Legend': Exclusive first look

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (2014) concept art of the apes hunting wildlife in the forest. (TM & © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved)
Fans of “Planet of the Apes” can get a behind-the-scenes look at the series’ production in “Planet of the Apes: The Evolution of the Legend,” out Tuesday from Titan Books. The 256-page tome, from authors Joe Fordham of Cinefex and Jeff Bond (“Danse Macabre: 25 years of Danny Elfman and Tim Burton,” “The Music of Star Trek”), features production art, costume designs, makeup tests, posters, interviews with key crew members, and rare photos from the Charlton Heston-starring 1968 adaptation of Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel “La Planète des Singes” all the way through this year’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” which starred Andy Serkis as ape leader Caesar. The book also features a foreword by “An American Werewolf in London” director John Landis, who portrayed a friend of Jake (Michael Stearns) in 1973’s “Battle for the Planet of the […]
Sept. 30, 2014 | 9:02 a.m.

‘Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo': See Adam Muto’s story notes

"Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo" (featured image)
Fans of Finn, Jake, Marceline and the rest of the zany cast of “Adventure Time” are invited to a Los Angeles release party Thursday for a new book about the show’s art. “Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo” offers interviews with the show’s creator Pendleton Ward and its writers, storyboarders, animators and voice actors, as well as an extensive look at concept art, storyboards, early character sketches, background paintings and the series’ show bible. Hero Complex readers get an exclusive preview of some of Adam Muto‘s illustrated story notes for various episodes of the Cartoon Network juggernaut. Check them out in the gallery above. The lavish, 352-page volume, authored by artist and animator Chris McDonnell, is due out Oct. 14, but will be available at Thursday’s release party from 7 to 10 p.m. at the iam8bit gallery in Echo Park. McDonnell and “Adventure Time” artists Ako […]
Aug. 22, 2014 | 3:11 p.m.

‘Fringe: Sins of the Father’ preview: Read excerpt from new novel

Fringe: Sins of the Father
Much in the same way its spiritual predecessor “The X-Files” paired the paranormal with the procedural, “Fringe” — the spectacular sci-fi series created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci that drew to a close last year — imagined a world in which the fantastic lay just beyond the grasp of an unknowing populace. But of the many alien, unnatural threats that intrepid agents Mulder and Scully faced on Chris Carter’s landmark 1990s drama, “Fringe’s” time shifts and visits to parallel dimensions weren’t among them. Indeed, by the time its second season arrived, “Fringe” had established its own unique rhythms and preoccupations as its action centered around Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), an agent for the FBI’s Fringe Division, a covert operation set up to investigate extraordinary events, and her cohorts, the red-licorice-munching, off-kilter scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble) and […]
Aug. 14, 2014 | 12:03 p.m.

‘Spiderwick’ creator Tony DiTerlizzi returns to RPG days for ‘Realms’

Card illustration from Magic: The Gathering game by Tony DiTerlizzi. (Tony DiTerlizzi)
Children’s book author and artist Tony DiTerlizzi hit the jackpot with his first paid job out of art school: He got a one-way ticket to the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Though his career has taken him to places far beyond the worlds of role-playing games, DiTerlizzi’s heart has remained with those monsters and heroes. And now he’s returning again for “Realms: The Roleplaying Game Art of Tony DiTerlizzi,” a hardcover collection of his early work from Dark Horse Comics and Kitchen Sink Books coming in June 2015. Years before DiTerlizzi was known as the co-creator of “The Spiderwick Chronicles” or the “WondLa” books, he was an artist fresh out of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale who loved playing Dungeons & Dragons and needed a gig. On a lark, he sent a portfolio of monster drawings to TSR, the […]
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