We’ll be back to our continuing Ms. Marvel coverage next week, not because I have anything more pressing to discuss, but primarily because your humble professor is down with the flu and home sick today, and all my Ms. Marvel reference material is in a tidy stack in my office, which is of very little help to me, as it turns out.
Instead, let’s take a look at three fairly recent hardcover releases that I was very impressed by, starting with STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION: ON BOARD THE USS ENTERPRISE, by Denise and Michael Okuda.
I have to admit: when I first saw the book, my immediate response was, “Why the hell didn’t I write this?”
Seriously, though, as someone who’s done several of these big prose TREK projects, I know exactly how much work and effort goes into them, and if you can get the Okudas to write something like this for you, there’s no one better, as they’re the unrivaled experts on the Enterprise-D, having practically lived aboard the sets of the ship throughout the production of the series and films in their capacities as designers and technical advisors.
This is a beautifully put-together book, focusing on all the significant areas of the Enterprise-D, inside and out, with plenty of photos and lots of explanation as to how things work aboard a Federation starship.
And the icing on the cake here is the included CD-ROM that lets you take 360-degree tours of all the major sets aboard the Enterprise-D, from the Bridge to Sick Bay to the Captain’s Ready Room:
If you’re a NEXT GENERATION fan, this is definitely a must-have.
Going in just about as far in the opposite direction as you can, I was also really impressed by THE ART OF BETTY AND VERONICA, edited by Victor Gorelick and Craig Yoe.
This hardcover collection looks at Archie Andrews’ two best gals as they developed over the decades, focusing on all the great ARCHIE artists, from legends like Bob Montana, Harry Lucey and Dan DeCarlo, to today’s artists like Fernando Ruiz and Dan Parent.
It’s less of a history (although there is some) and more of an artbook, and the real treat here is watching how the characters change with the times, whether it’s the bobby-sox look of the late ’40s and ’50s, the psychedelic ’60s or a modern rock look for today.
Not to mention seeing Veronica dressed up like Xena, Warrior Princess…
Plus the extra treat of a “visual introduction” by Bruce Timm, whom I don’t recall ever drawing Betty and Veronica before…
It’s a real treat to see Archie take a look back at their history in such a serious and lavish manner. Here’s hoping they do it more often.
Finally, I’m just now diving into a book for which I’ve been waiting for months: GENIUS, ILLUSTRATED, the second volume in Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell’s THE LIFE AND ART OF ALEX TOTH, a three-volume biography of one of comics’ most talented, and most cantankerous, legends.
Full disclosure: I occasionally serve as copy editor/proofreader on many of these big historical artbooks for IDW, but on the TOTH trilogy, I don’t, and I’m glad, because it allows me to enjoy these mammoth undertakings as a reader first and foremost, and enjoy them I do. Mullaney and Canwell really go the extra mile here, with exhaustively researched text chronicling Toth’s career and personal life, having done extensive interviews with Toth’s family, friends and associates, as well as mining decades’ worth of Toth’s own voluminous writings and correspondence.
And of course, there are pages and pages of Toth’s original art to study and enjoy, from complete stories…
…to animation designs from his years working at Hanna-Barbera…
…to relative rarities like this non-fiction feature on how cartoons are created (in which Toth’s legendary lettering takes the spotlight):
GENIUS, ILLUSTRATED more than lives up to the high standard held by the previous volume, GENIUS, ISOLATED, and sets the stage for next year’s GENIUS, ANIMATED, which will focus solely on Toth’s groundbreaking work in animation. I can’t wait.
Scott Tipton wishes he had more time to read…