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Tag Archive: Abrams


Review by C.J. Bunce

A new edition of a book about the popularity of Fawcett Comics‘ original Captain Marvel, the world’s mightiest mortal–the superhero renamed Shazam and featured in a new movie this month starring Zachary Levi–will be the perfect trip through time for fans who have enjoyed the character in his many stories going back to his debut in 1939.  My personal favorite Captain Marvel stories can be found in the original Whiz Comics (all in the public domain and available to read online now here) and as drawn by Alex Ross in his landmark graphic novel with Mark Waid, Kingdom Come.  For the first time in a softcover edition, Chip Kidd’s Shazam: The Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal has been reprinted by Abrams ComicArts just in time for the release of the film, Shazam!

For those not in-the-know, this is the Captain Marvel who now goes by Shazam (the word that causes him to bring forth his powers)–the one owned by DC Comics today, and not the one owned by Marvel Comics and also in theaters now in the movie Captain Marvel (reviewed here at borg).  Shazam: The Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal is a historical work, and it doesn’t hesitate to use the name he’s always been known as by his fans.  As told by writer Chip Kidd, the Captain Marvel fan club had 400,000 people in it in its best year in the 1940s, and Fawcett projected 40 million followers of the character in books and film.  Captain Marvel books sold 1.3 million copies per month, not a common feat even today.  Does anything approach that kind of fan club status today?  At the height of the character it was more popular than Superman and Batman, and so of course the character had hundreds of tie-in products.

Readers will marvel over a reprint of the entire story from Captain Marvel Adventures, Issue #1–created by two then unknowns: Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, and reprints of several colorful covers from Whiz Comics, Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel, Jr., Mary Marvel Comics, WOW Comics, Master Comics, America’s Greatest Comics, Spy Smasher, and even Hoppy, the Marvel Bunny, plus pages of scans of original comic pages from ex-Fawcett staff.

The book uses photographs from a collection of some of the scarcest superhero collectibles known, including images of books, toys, and paper ephemera for Captain Marvel and the entire Marvel Family–superhero kids like Billy Batson–the boy who turns into Captain Marvel–and his friends who use the Shazam powers but remain as kids.

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Named for legendary comics creator Will Eisner, the Eisner Awards saw their 29th presentation this weekend.  2018 Will Eisner Hall of Fame inductees included Carol Kalish (pioneering direct sales manager for Marvel Comics), and Jackie Ormes (first black female newspaper cartoonist, for the strip Dixie in Harlem featuring the character Torchy Brown).  Sixteen others were considered for the honor this year, and Charles Addams, Karen Berger, Dave Gibbons, and Rumiko Takahashi were inducted.  Joye Murchison Kelly and Dorothy Roubicek Woolfolk were awarded the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing.

Tom King (Batman, Batman Annual #2, Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1, Mister Miracle) and Marjorie Liu (Monstress) tied for Best Writer, with Liu the first woman awarded in the category.  “Monsters” was the dominant theme of this year’s awards with Monstress (Image) and My Favorite Thing is Monsters (Fantagraphics) taking the most wins.

We congratulate all the winners and nominees.

Here are the winners awarded at the ceremony, in bold, along with the nominees by category:

Best Short Story

  • ”A Life in Comics: The Graphic Adventures of Karen Green,” by Nick Sousanis, in Columbia Magazine (Summer 2017)
  • “Ethel Byrne,” by Cecil Castelluci and Scott Chantler, in Mine: A Celebration of Liberty and Freedom for All Benefiting Planned Parenthood (ComicMix)
  • “Forgotten Princess,” by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Antonio Sandoval, in Adventure Time Comics #13 (kaboom!)
  • “Small Mistakes Make Big Problems,” by Sophia Foster-Dimino, in Comics for Choice (Hazel Newlevant)
  • “Trans Plant,” by Megan Rose Gedris, in Enough Space for Everyone Else (Bedside Press)

Best Single Issue/One Shot

  • Hellboy: Krampusnacht, by Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes (Dark Horse)
  • Barbara, by Nicole Miles (ShortBox)
  • Pope Hats #5, by Ethan Rilly (AdHouse Books)
  • The Spotted Stone, by Rick Veitch (Sun Comics)
  • What Is Left, by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (ShortBox)

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The 800-page, two-volume hardcover book set Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie, published last year by Abrams (still in print and available here at Amazon), has been celebrated by fans as one of the best looks behind the scenes of Star Wars ever created.  The exhaustive, comprehensive collection of the concept art Ralph McQuarrie created for the original Star Wars trilogy will enlighten even the biggest fans of the franchise.  You may have known how closely McQuarrie worked with George Lucas to bring Lucas’s story to life visually, but only after stepping scene by scene through these images do you realize that when you close your eyes and think Star Wars, what you’re seeing was drawn or painted by Ralph McQuarrie.

Compiled by Brandon Alinger, Wade Lageose, and David Mandel, Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie takes readers chronologically through the films, and tie-in specials, documenting not only the familiar final visual McQuarrie created, but copies of retained interim designs that McQuarrie painted over.  So if your only familiarity is The Illustrated Star Wars Universe or the original portfolio reprints many of us had as kids, then this monumental volume is for you.  But this book set may not be in most readers’ budgets, listing at $250 and even on sale it can be priced at greater than $150.  Star Wars and Ralph McQuarrie fans now have a second opportunity to obtain a more affordable look at McQuarrie’s artwork.

Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie: 100 Postcards is Abrams’ latest bookshelf keepsake in the style of the successful Star Wars: Frames: 100 Postcards series reviewed previously here at borg.com back in 2015.  Selected from Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie, these panoramic postcards are a celebration of Star Wars as a masterpiece of design and world-building.  The deluxe full-color package also functions as a display frame: the box features a die-cut window, so fans can rotate their favorite production design paintings into view.

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On the Big Wheel.  On the bedroom wall.  On the Trapper Keeper.  On the toy box.  On the dresser.  Everywhere your parents didn’t want you to put ’em.  If you were a kid in the 1970s and 1980s and you collected Topps Star Wars trading cards, your sticker collection might look like this today:

Because the stickers that came one per pack ended up going anywhere kids are going to think they should go.  Or you might have kept your stickers intact–maybe you even made a complete collection of the trading cards–but, because of the nature of random inserts, your sticker collection looked like this:

If this describes you, then this new throwback book is just for you.

As a supplement to the series of books chronicling the original Star Wars trilogy trading cards (reviewed previously at borg.com here), the stickers are now available in a single volume from Abrams, Topps, and Lucasfilm, Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book.  Reprinting a selection of the original sticker images from these card sets as removable stickers, kids young and old can use them anywhere or place them on one of five double-sided pullout posters included.

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Named for legendary comics creator Will Eisner, the Eisner Awards will see their 29th year, to be announced at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con in July.  This year’s nominations have been selected, resulting in a banner year for Fantagraphics and Image Comics with 22 and 21 nominations, respectively.

We at borg.com never align with the Academy Awards, but always are happy to agree on Eisner accolades.  Artist Jill Thompson is nominated in three categories this year.  Her Wonder Woman: The True Amazon was our pick for 2016’s Best Graphic Novel, and is a nominee for the “Best Graphic Album-New” Eisner Award.  Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In was our borg.com pick for Best Single Issue last year, and Thompson, Evan Dorkin, and Sarah Dyer are up for the Eisner for Best Single Issue.  Thompson is also nominated for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist.

   

Kudos go to our friend, writer Jason Aaron, for his nomination along with artist Russell Dauterman in the Best Continuing Series category for The Mighty Thor (Marvel).  Other notable nominees are Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk for their Mockingbird series (Marvel) plus Cain’s nomination in the Best Writer category for that series.  The highest number of nominations went to Sonny Liew and his The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Pantheon), netting nods for Best Graphic Album–New, Best U.S. Edition of International Material–Asia, Best Writer/Artist, Best Coloring, Best Lettering, and Best Publication Design.  Archie Comics received nominations for Erica Henderson and Ryan North for Best Publication for Teens and Best Humor Publication for Jughead.

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