And Then I Read: ASTRO CITY 30

AC30Image © Juke Box Productions.

The conclusion of a two-part story of an alien invasion from the viewpoint of a young alien boy, with the invaders being Astro City’s super team, The First Family. When Zozat, the alien boy, finds one of the dreaded enemy, the human boy Karl, injured and on the ground near his home, the two of them find they have more in common than either of them thought. And Zozat has to reevaluate much of what he’s always been taught. Writer Kurt Busiek brings insight and humanity to a story that resonates in today’s world when so many are fearful of those who are different, or might attack them and their way of life. Too bad most of the people who might learn from the story probably won’t ever see it, but perhaps a few will.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: JACKED 2

Jacked2Image © Eric Kripke and Glenn Fabry

Josh’s life has been revitalized by a nootropic drug he ordered online. “Jacked” is the brand name, and it seems to have given him youthful vigor, enhanced perception, and even surprising strength. We know there’s going to be a price to pay for all this, Josh does too, but he’s feeling so good, he can’t stay away from the pills. His family are giving him new respect, and he’s doing things for them he thought were no longer possible.

“Jacked” has not necessarily made Josh wiser, though. He has a thuggish neighbor with an annoying dog (see the cover), and while common sense would say stay away, Josh gets involved when the neighbor is beating his own wife. The repercussions of the encounter are already looking pretty dangerous for Josh.

I love the art, the writing is fine, and this book has been a nice surprise for me: not something I would probably have tried if it weren’t for the people involved, not really my kind of story, but I’m enjoying it a lot.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: AUTUMNLANDS 7

Autumn7

Image © Busiek & Dewey.

A new story arc begins with the surviving magicians and townsfolk from the fallen sky-city now apparently on a smaller sky-craft (sky village?), with their leaders still squabbling and fighting for control of their now limited power. Their savior, the soldier they conjured from the distant past, is not among them. Learoyd and his young friend Dusty have been left behind for dead at the scene of the battle with the bison-men. Learoyd nearly is dead until Dusty pulls him from the river. The rest of the issue is largely a dialogue between the two of them that covers lots of interesting ground: the history of this world, its magic, Learoyd’s past, their enemies, and what they might need to do next. I think this may be my favorite issue so far.

Recommended.

Pre-Raphaelites at the Delaware Art Museum

MorrisBookCoverImages from the Delaware Art Museum collection.

The Pre-Raphaelite collection at the museum is the best I’ve seen outside England, and has the largest number of paintings by Dante Gabriel Rosetti, one of the founders of the movement. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, as they called themselves, flourished in the second half of England’s 19th Century into the early 20th Century, and their name comes from the idea that they wanted to look back to Medieval times for artistic inspiration, before the Renaissance artists epitomized by Raphael. They also drew inspiration from natural forms. A good example is this book cover design in pen and ink by William Morris, my favorite creator of the group. It’s the only piece they have by him, but it’s a gem because it shows Morris’s process in the notes on the right. Continue reading

More American Illustrators at the Delaware Art Museum

LeyendeckerCountryGentlemanImages from the collection of the Delaware Art Museum.

After enjoying the Howard Pyle galleries, Ellen and I continued to the American Illustration galleries. The museum seems to have a large collection in this area, which is only fitting since many of the top American Illustrators studied in Wilmington, Delaware, the home of Howard Pyle’s illustration school. I don’t know that Frank Leyendecker was one of them, but this is a charming cover for “The Country Gentleman” magazine from 1918 of a soldier writing home and the spirit of his mother embracing him. Continue reading