Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall Reading: Crumb, Pullman, Wynne Jones, Gaiman

Just finished Crumb's Book of Genesis. More "begat" listings than I needed--"Noah begat John, Jacob and Ezekial, John begat Rachael, Mary and Rufus, et al. But Crumb is merely being totally faithful to the text, in which the original writers sought to trace the lineage of the giants of the Old Testament right back to Adam and Eve! But that minor gripe aside, the many stories (from Noah's Ark and the flood, to the destruction of Sodom and Gamorrah, Egypt's Pharoah and the Seven Years of Plenty and of Drought) at fun to read and beautifully drawn in Crumb's realistic style. His only editing seems to be that each of the major female characters seem to be the idealized Crumb Jewish Girl or woman, strong and well-formed, right down to protuberant nipples. Pretty racy ladies and sometimes with their own agends to keep the linage going (read: time to "lay down" with an important guy and procreate some mail heirs). And I did learn quite a bit. Crumb did a serious and excellent work on the first 50 chapters. I've read it's sold over ...100,000 copies already and is going back for a new printing. I've taken copies to several shows recently and it's always a conversation piece. My buddy Ken Sanders (Ken Sanders Rare Books) in Salt Lake City sold out his initial order in just hours.
Also just discovered a new sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, both a wonderul film by Miyazaki and a fine book by award-winning children's author Diana Wynne Jones. Her other work is mostly excellent.
Philip Pullman is another fine "young adult" author, just read his short tale "Once Upon a Time in the North--which comes complete with a game. It is a spin-off from the "Dark Materials" trilogy from which was made The Golden Compass. This goes back to describe the first meeting of Lee Scoresby, the Texan Balloonist, and Iorek Byrnison, the armored Bear. Very nicely done. Pullman also has done other excellent YA titles, including the Sally Lockhart series and The Tin Princess.
Hellboy Library Vol 3 just appeared and I enjoyed reading "The Conqueror Worm" which is loosely based on the Edgar Allan Poe poem. Wonderful work with a stirring introduction by director Del Toro.
Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book won the Newberry Award recently, the highest honor for a kids/young adult book. I believe it also won the Hugo Award for best novel. It's a wonderfully enjoyable book and I highly recommend it. It's still available in a small hardcover edition which sells for just $17.99. Support your local bookstore, they should have it or can order it. Perfect for kids of all ages.