Monday, 11 December 2006

Xmas Hell Part 2: Book Ideas

If you can’t think of anything interesting to give to people during this festive period, a great but traditionally uninspiring backup plan is some kind off written word type literary fare, but usually that’s a big and dull silly idea. So I bring forth some GOOD ideas for books this Christmas-

• The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear; by Walter Mayer
Bluebear is a blue bear, but I’m sure that’s pretty obvious to you, and this book tells the tale of his first 13 ½ lives (he has 27 you see). Set in the mysterious world of Zamonia the tale marries all manner of different genres including fantasy, Sci-Fi and classic fairy tales. Despite weighing in at over 700 hundreds pages the book is about as easy to read as you could wish for and is beautifully illustrated throughout.
I randomly came across this when my mother brought home a big pile of books from the library, being a simple fellow it was the pictures that enticed me. Of course this lead to me reading the actual words, and they are, well, very good. It was one of those very rare books in this world that I couldn’t stop reading, any spare time I had would see me with my nose wedged firmly between its pages. So therefore I recommend it to you.
If you do like this, Moers wrote a second book, set in the same universe. Rumo is the tale of a Wolperting (it’s a bit like a dog), who armed with Dandelion (it’s a talking sword) will one day become the greatest hero in Zamonia. I am in the middle of reading it as we speak, and I have to say it’s a whole load of good.

• The Walking Dead v1-5, written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tony Moore
Zombies are cool; everyone loves them at the moment, and rightly so. But one thing oft lacking with thee whole zombie hoopla is a good story to back it up. That’s where The Walking Dead comes in. The story is centred on a small-town police officer named Rick Grimes who, at the start of vol. 1, gets shot. We rejoin him sometime later in a hospital bed; he is alone, confused and for some reason in a world over run with those loveable scamps, the “un-dead”.
Now I know what you thinking, that sounds like a million other Zombie filled romps, however, what sets this apart from pretty much all the other stories out there is that this one concentrates more on the people involved and the lives that’s they lead, the human interaction. This allows the stories to be much deeper than it could have been, and therefore when the zombies do actually get involved it’s a much more shocking, as you generally care (or dislike) the characters involved.
The book is drawn by Tony Moore, and is black and white throughout, and to put it simply is quite beautiful, albeit beautiful in a “world full of flesh eating zombies” kind of way.

As it stands there are 5 (soon to be 6) trade paperbacks available, collecting up to issue 36 of the comic book. Obviously, start with vol.1 if you’re buying for someone who hasn’t read the books yet. Or if you’re feeling fancy a hardcover collecting issue 1-24 is also available.

• The Halo Graphic Novel (HGN), written/draw by various artists.
This is one, I have to say, that I haven’t actually had the pleasure of reading yet, but as it’s on my Christmas list, I think ill be allowed to write about it here.
The HGN is composed of 4 separate stories based in and around the Halo universe, and four completely different stories at that, ranging from a tale of armour testing to the story of how the people of New Mombasa fought against those evil folk the Covenant.
Each different story is presented in a completely different artistic style and looks incredible throughout,. Also the book comes complete with a gallery section with comprises of images from the halo universe from all manner of Marvel/ Bungie artists.

OK so that’s the three main ideas I have for you, but here are a few extra that might tickle your fancy.
• Marvel Zombies; Trade paper back/hardcover.
The title kind of gives it away, all your marvel favourites are hear in zombie form, and there hungry, so much carnage ensues. It’s silly but fun, and looks fantastic.
• Any thing by Edward Monkton.
Whether you plump for the Penguin of Death, the Pig of Happiness or even the Madness Hamsters you know you’ll be getting a small hardback book of sheer random greatness. Go here to learn more.
• The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and other Stories; written/illustrated Tim Burton.
A selection of poems telling the tale of a selection of rather “interesting” children, ranging from Roy the toxic boy and Junk Girl too Oyster boy and my personal favourite Jimmy, the Hideous penguin boy. The tales vary from being deeply the depressing to highly hilarious, but usually flit between the two. Oh and the illustrations are fantastic too.

Ok, I think that will be enough suggestions for you for now, if you still cant decide what too get your loved ones, I shall return shortly with some DVD suggestions.

Thanks again to the ever inspiring Matt Thomas

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