July 25, 2011 | 6:19 p.m.
After years of hearing about the costumes, the crowds, the over-the-top pop-culture craziness known as Comic-Con, I finally broke down and joined the madness this weekend. At 8, my comics-loving son was finally old enough to appreciate this annual mecca of geekdom, and I was just curious enough to indulge him. What could possibly be so alluring to prompt 130,000 people to pay $175 just to get in, I wondered. Why would so many people come from so far to brave bumper-to-bumper parking lots and hotels costing $200+ per night and to do so wearing uncomfortable costumes and face paint? I found out Thursday, when my son and I got our badges and industrial-size Comic-Con backpacks and walked into the San Diego Convention Center. To my son, it was as if he’d just entered the world’s most giant toy store. […]
July 19, 2011 | 4:10 p.m.
COMIC-CON 2011: SPOTLIGHT ON JEFF SMITH (Friday, Room 5AB, 12:30 p.m.) It’s been 20 years since Jeff Smith was repeatedly rejected by newspaper syndicates declining his comic, “Bone.” Today that same comic has been serialized in graphic novels published in 28 countries with sales of more than 6 million copies in North America alone. Now the slapstick tale of the three Bone cousins getting lost in a Black Forest fairy tale is being turned into a screenplay for Warner Bros., and is celebrating its anniversary by throwing a party as part of this weekend’s Comic-Con International. (Smith is also featured on four panels and at multiple signings over the long weekend.) Not bad for a guy who started publishing “Bone” as an underground comic out of his garage in Columbus, Ohio. “I feel really lucky,” said Smith, who spent 13 years […]
March 24, 2011 | 11:08 a.m.
Susan Carpenter recently reviewed “Beyonders: A World Without Heroes” for the Los Angeles Times and said it tapped into a long legacy of dimensional escapades on the printed page. “For decades, kids have been inadvertently stumbling into alternate realities through children’s literature. In ‘The Chronicles of Narnia,’ it was a wardrobe that served as the portal. With ‘Beyonders: A World Without Heroes,’ it’s the yawning jaws of a hippo. This intriguing beginning leads to an even more imaginative quest in the kickoff to a new fantasy trilogy from Brandon Mull, bestselling author of the young-adult series “Fablehaven.” Jason Walker is just an average American teenager — studying for tests, practicing baseball and prepping to be a future dentist in the suburban idyll of Vista, Colo.” Read Carpenter’s full review. — Geoff Boucher RECENT AND RELATED Collins: Lawrence is “beautiful, unforgiving […]
Dec. 28, 2010 | 6:03 a.m.
REVIEW Books and movies have been banned. Music, art — they too have been outlawed by an evil regime known as the New Order and its hateful leader, The One Who Is The One. Gone are the days of individualism and integrity, and with it the easy availability of cheeseburgers and rock ‘n’ roll. Such is the world inhabited by teen siblings Wisty and Whit Allgood as they attempt to evade capture in “The Gift,” the second installment of James Patterson’s bestselling “Witch & Wizard” series for young adults. Armed only with a blank journal and a single drumstick, a wicked sense of humor and an awful ineptitude with timing, it’s up to the Allgoods to cast off the shackles of oppression. “The Gift” picks up exactly where the first book ended: With Wisty and Whit waiting to be hung by […]
Nov. 09, 2010 | 6:45 a.m.
Susan Carpenter of the Los Angeles Times recently reviewed the new graphic-novel adaptation of “The Little Prince” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 110 pp., $19.99). Here’s an excerpt… “The Little Prince” has long been beloved for its bittersweet pairing of a lost man and a searching youth. In the 67-year-old classic written by French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a little blond boy leaves his home on Asteroid B-612 and lands in the middle of the Sahara desert, where he meets a stranded pilot desperate to fix his plane. Through their interactions, the prince reawakens the aviator’s appreciation of the simple treasures in life, while the prince learns that grownups aren’t always “odd.” In a new adaptation, graphic novelist Joann Sfar reinterprets this French classic with reverence and in saturated color. Gone are the art-naïf watercolors that Saint-Exupéry inked for the […]
May 11, 2010 | 4:04 p.m.
LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK REVIEW Susan Carpenter recently reviewed Rick Riordan’s latest book for the Los Angeles Times, here’s an excerpt… In “The Red Pyramid,” the first book in “The Kane Chronicles,” Rick Riordan’s new series for middle readers, a child has godlike powers but doesn’t know it until strange things begin to unfold. A parent disappears, prompting introductions to ancient characters and travels to otherworldly places. There are battles with evil forces and a looming deadline by which the child must complete a mission, lest society descend into chaos. If this sounds like “Percy Jackson & the Olympians,” the author’s five-book, New York Times bestseller fantasy series — and source of the film “The Lightning Thief“ — that’s no coincidence. Why mess with a successful formula, especially if you can use it to make your new story just as […]