Who says print is dead? It’s been about a month since my last batch of book reviews and I’ve come up with four new books worthy of your attention – if not your hard-earned dollars…
The World History of Animation by UK animator Stephen Cavalier fills a void – it’s a perfectly suitable text book for those looking for a general international history of the artform and industry. As an animation history teacher myself, I find Giannalberto Bendazzi’s Cartoons a bit too dense for my students, and my own book, Animation Art, is long out-of-print. Cavalier’s book covers much of the same ground, so if you have the previous two you can skip this one – but if you are looking for a solid general history that covers the basics and then some, this fills the bill nicely. It covers the field right up through 2010’s Toy Story 3 and The Illusionist (Sylvain Chomet provides the Foreword), and the Appendix is filled with useful information, including all the Oscar winners, animation books and important websites (nice to see Cartoon Brew among them). Recommended solely for students and novice historians.
Oh Boy! More Craig Yoe books! Yes, Craig is a friend – and yes, I’m a huge fan – but his seemingly endless series of books, for IDW Publishing, are worthy of all the hype. Here’s two more: first up, The Best of Archie’s Mad House. I loved this Archie comic when I was a kid almost as much as I loved Mad and Cracked! I’m grateful this material hasn’t been forgotten. Yoe’s hardcover collects the mag’s funniest stories, including the first appearances of Sabrina the teenage witch, Captain Sprocket and Chester (Cool) and Lester (Square). The reproduction of comics pages is great and as usual, Yoe has a front section that gives the backstory of this oddball comic with rare artwork and a cover gallery. Buy this – its funny!
Amazing 3-D Comics is one amazing comics reprint book. Here, Craig Yoe has selected the best examples of the 3D comics from the 1950s, produced at the height of the first 3D craze. Most of the comics herein are of various adventure comics genres – but Yoe includes a healthy dose of funny stuff from Otto Messmer (Felix), Milt Stein and Norman Maurer (Three Stooges). I love classic 3-D movies and comics – this book satisfies my dimensional needs quite nicely. Joe Kubert contributes a new 3D cover and Introduction and of course, a pair of red-blue 3D glasses are included. Highly recommended!
Walt Disney Animation Studios The Archive Series: Layout & Background is the latest in the Archive series of large, lavishly illustrated books highlighting a different aspect of the classic production process. Previous entries in this series included Design, Animation and Story. These books showcase the art – there is hardly any text – and that’s as it should be. The large size and perfect reproduction makes it feel as if you are looking at the original pieces. In this case its background paintings and layout sketches by Eyvind Earle, Claude Coats, Walter Peregoy, Maurice Noble, James Coleman, Serge Michaels, Al Dempster, Bill Layne, Art Riley and Brice Mack. Amazing, beautiful stuff. A must-have for anyone with an interest in Disney and classic animation. This book will be released October 25th.