As part of their Library of American Comics series, IDW Publishing just released Chuck Jones: The Dream That Never Was, a spectacular must-have book reprinting all (and more) of Jones’ ill-fated 1977-78 newspaper comic strip, Crawford. It’s an absolutely beautiful volume that recounts the story behind this character, which apparently Jones felt very close to. Editors Dean Mullaney and Kurtis Findlay reprint every strip, published and unpublished, of the daily and Sunday feature – mostly scanned from original art loaned by the Jones estate. Additionally, there is a complete storyboard to an unproduced 1969 Crawford TV pilot, and lots of rare photographs and Jones art that accompany Findlay’s introduction – which discusses in fine detail Jones’ post Warner Bros. experiences with Tower 12, MGM and ABC – new information overlooked in previous histories, including those by Jones himself! Crawford wasn’t one of Jones’ great creations, but it was a concept he never gave up on because the character was essentially a younger version of himself. This volume is essential for those who admire Jones as an artist and it will add to your understanding of his creative process. Highly recommended. Get it.
That “Mad, Mad” Rankin-Bass historian/enthusiast Rick Goldschmidt has done it again! After already throughly examining the “Enchanted Worlds” of Rankin Bass via books, websites, dvds and CD compilations, Rick has just self-published another volume that is the last word on my second-favorite R-B production (Rudolph will always be first): Mad Monster Party. It’s not so much a history as it is a celebration of all things Animagic, containing the entire MMP script (co-written by Harvey Kurtzman), chapters devoted to artists Jack Davis and Don Duga, voices Alan Swift, Gale Garnett, and Boris Karloff, musician Maury Laws, a b/w reprinting of the entire Dell comic book (above), the pressbook, lobby cards, posters and stills. It’s everything EXCEPT the movie itself (which Goldschmidt had a hand in restoring). You’ve seen the movie – now read the book. It’s also a great gift for the stop-mo maniac on your Christmas “chopping” list.