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A Look at the Art of Dave Stevens

The Watchmen Official Film Companion out this week

By Tim Janson     February 16, 2009

Watchmen: The Official Film Companion
© Titan Books


Leading the way in new releases this week are a couple of new hardcovers from Tor, Valley of Shadows and Lamentation, and goth of them look really good. For horror fans, the book you have to check out is Hater. I’ve just started this book and it’s definitely a keeper. Titan Books is out with their third of the coffee-table/gift books based on the upcoming Watchmen film. I will have a review of all three of Titan’s Watchmen books coming up during “Watchmen Week” here at Mania. Oh…and later this week you’ll be seeing my article on the Top 20 Greatest Horror Writers of All-time. I hope you’ll chime in with comments and give it a bang and a dig!
In the News…
As reported this week by Jarrod Sarafin, Angles & Demons Director Ron Howard indicted that author Dan Brown is nearing completion of his third book about mystery-solving Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. Reportedly the book will be set in Washington D.C. and revolve around the shadowy Freemasons.
This week, publishing giant HarperCollins announced a major organizational restructuring that includes the folding of the Collins division. As with any restructuring there are layoffs and one of the casualties included Jack Womack, the Associate Director of Publicity at Harper’s Eos imprint, which publishes sci-fi and fantasy. Jack was a contact that I worked with and I’m sorry to see him go. This is further indication of how week the publishing business is these days. Just last week, a large Waldenbooks Store near my house closed down. This store had been around for some twenty years.
The Science Fiction Writers Association (SFWA) has announced the creation of the Solstice Award, given to individuals who have had "a significant impact on the science fiction or fantasy landscape, and is particularly intended for those who have consistently made a major, positive difference within the speculative fiction field." The inaugural recipients include Martin Greenberg, Kate Wilhem, and the late Algis Budrys. 
Would you like to get a free .pdf ARC copy? Author C.C. Finlay, and his publisher Del Rey are giving away a free PDF of his upcoming Revolutionary War fantasy The Patriot Witch, the first volume in his Traitor to the Crown series, due to be published April 2009. Check out this link for more details: http://www.ccfinlay.com/.
New In Fantasy
Valley of Shadows Brian Cullen (Tor hardcover)
After months of searching, The Seekers think they may have come to the end of their search for the Chalice of Fire that was stolen by Bricriu Poisontongue. But just as they are about to reach their goal, the wily thief slips away. Grimly, the Seekers once again set off after Bricriu to return the Chalice to the Red Branch. But the way is overrun with vampires and other creatures of the night controlled by the evil wizard Maliman. The wizard has escaped from his prison deep within the Great Rift and has begun to rebuild his army of followers. Bricriu makes his way to the Valley of the Shadows, a region ruled by the dead who lost their honor while alive and now try to draw the living into their evil kingdom. Here, the Seekers meet the greatest challenge of their search--with no choice but to follow Bricriu through the valley of the dead.
Lamentation Ken Scholes (Tor Hardcover)
An ancient weapon has completely destroyed the city of Windwir.   From many miles away, Rudolfo, Lord of the Nine Forest Houses, sees the horrifying column of smoke rising. He knows that war is coming to the Named Lands. Nearer to the Devastation, a young apprentice is the only survivor of the city – he sat waiting for his father outside the walls, and was transformed as he watched everyone he knew die in an instant.
Soon all the Kingdoms of the Named Lands will be at each others' throats, as alliances are challenged and hidden plots are uncovered. This remarkable first novel from an award-winning short fiction writer will take readers away to a new world – an Earth so far in the distant future that our time is not even a memory; a world where magick is commonplace and great areas of the planet are impassable wastes. But human nature hasn’t changed through the ages: War and faith and love still move princes and nations. 
The Magician’s Apprentice Trudi Caravan (Orbit Hardcover)
Set hundreds of years before the events of The Magicians' Guild, THE MAGICIAN'S APPRENTICE is the new novel set in the world of Trudi Canavan's Black Magician Trilogy. In the remote village of Mandryn, Tessia serves as assistant to her father, the village Healer. Her mother would rather she found a husband. But her life is about to take a very unexpected turn. When the advances of a visiting Sachakan mage get violent, Tessia unconsciously taps unknown reserves of magic to defend herself. Lord Dakon, the local magician, takes Tessia under his wing as an apprentice.
The long hours of study and self-discipline also offer more opportunities than she had ever hoped for, and an exciting new world opens up to her. There are fine clothes and servants - and, to Tessia's delight - regular trips to the great city of Imardin. But along with the excitement and privilege, Tessia is about to discover that her magical gifts bring with them a great deal of responsibility. For great danger looms on the horizon for Tessia and her world.
New In Science Fiction
Steal Across the Sky Nancy Kressb (Tor Hardcover)
The aliens appeared one day, built a base on the moon, and put an ad on the internet:
“We are an alien race you may call the Atoners. Ten thousand years ago we wronged humanity profoundly. We cannot undo what has been done, but we wish humanity to understand it. Therefore we request twenty-one volunteers to visit seven planets to Witness for us. We will convey each volunteer there and back in complete safety. Volunteers must speak English. Send requests for electronic applications to witness@Atoners.com."
At first, everyone thought it was a joke. But it wasn’t. This is the story of three of those volunteers, and what they found on Kular A and Kular B.
The Forever War Joe Haldeman (St. Martin’s)
The Earth's leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand--despite the fact that the fierce alien enemy they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away. A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties and do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home. But "home" may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time dilation caused by space travel, Mandella is aging months while the Earth he left behind is aging centuries...
New In Horror
Hater David Moody (Thomas Dunne Hardcover)
Society is rocked by a sudden increase in the number of violent assaults on individuals. Christened 'Haters' by the media, the attackers strike without warning, killing all who cross their path. The assaults are brutal, remorseless and extreme: within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people become frenzied, vicious killers. There are no apparent links as a hundred random attacks become a thousand, then hundreds of thousands. Everyone, irrespective of gender, age, race or any other difference, has the potential to become a victim - or a Hater. People are afraid to go to work, afraid to leave their homes and, increasingly, afraid that at any moment their friends, even their closest family, could turn on them with ultra violent intent. Waking up each morning, no matter how well defended, everyone must now consider the fact that by the end of the day, they might be dead. Or perhaps worse, become a killer themselves. As the status quo shifts, ATTACK FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER becomes the order of the day... only, the answers might be much different than what you expect....
Buffy Omnibus Vol. 6 (Dark Horse Comics TPB)
The Buffy Omnibus series continues with Volume Six, delving further into Season Four of the acclaimed television series, and launching readers into the heart of Season Five. Buffy and Angel, who's now a resident of Los Angeles, must reunite to fight new foes, but Buffy's current flame, Riley Finn, isn't too keen on the former lovers reuniting under any circumstances. Meanwhile, things begin to heat up between Willow and Tara.
New in Non-Fiction
Watchmen: The Official Film Companion Peter Aperlo (Titan books)
It is the most eagerly awaited comics-to-film adaptation of them all. The graphic novel that changed an industry is now a film, directed by Zack Snyder (300), and Watchmen: The Official Film Companion is the essential guide to this cinematic event. A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985 in which costumed super heroes are part of the fabric of everyday American society. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present super heroes. Their mission is to watch over humanity… but who is watching the Watchmen? Featuring exclusive interviews with the cast and crew, and scores of photos, this is the comprehensive guide to the new movie event.
Capsule Reviews
Brush with Passion: The Art and Life of Dave Stevens Dave Stevens (Underwood Books)
The world lost a great talent when artist Dave Stevens passed away in 2008 after losing his battle with Leukemia. Stevens was in the process of finishing up this book, part auto-biography and part tribute to his incredible artistic legacy. This book covers Steven’s life and work from his first professional work inking Russ Manning's pencils for the Tarzan newspaper comic strip, through his time working in the Hanna-Barbera animation studio, to his creation of The Rocketeer and his friendship with reclusive pin-up model, Bettie Page. Along the way you will be treated to an incredible showcase of Stevens’ art. 
Stevens ranks with the very greatest pin-up artists, displaying a playful artistic sense without being overly graphic. You’ll read about the development of the Rocketeer film and Stevens involvement and opinion of the final product. Stevens’ friendship with Page was sincere and thoughtful. Notoriously private, Page was helped by Stevens to get compensation for the use of her image. This was an incredible talent and an incredible man who left us far too soon. Fantastic book, filled with scintillating, full-color images. Grade A+


Salem: Queen of Thorns Chris Morgan, Kevin Walsh (Boom! Studios Graphic Novel)
Boom Studios has been one of the most impressive independent comic book companies to come on the scene in the past few years. Their comics are fresh and unique, well produced and always a treat to read. Salem: Queen of Thorns is a graphic novel set within the puritanical American era of the Salem witch trials. Warrior-priest Elias Hooke is a Solomon Kane-style adventurer although far darker (believe it or not) than Robert E. Howard’s creation. Hooke was a member of an ancient order of witch hunters but turned away from them when he became disillusioned with the innocents he’d been responsible for killing. Now Hooke is on the trail of the original witch, the Queen of Thorns, and the very aspect of God’s wrath. 
The book features a lot of action and a good deal of blood and gore. The look of the art and the dialogue is fairly authentic to the time period, any more so and it could become distracting to the reader. The only drawback I saw is that with five different artists and two different colorists, there was a lack of consistency to the art. The artists were quite different in their styles and it was easy to tell when one’s work ended and another’s started. I would definitely like to see more of this character. Grade B+


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