"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Samurai News From Dark Horse Comics

One of my favorite comic book series is getting extended! See press release below from DH:

Yo Ho Ho, a Samurai’s life for me . . .

Shiro and Yoshiko are like two ships forever taken in different directions by the wind. Their quest to be together has taken them from Japan to China to Paris to Egypt, where their reunions have been fleeting. And yet, they have pledged to belong to only each other, “If not in life, then in death.”

Samurai: Heaven and Earth Volume Three kicks off on the open sea, with star-crossed lovers, samurai Shiro and his love Yoshiko torn from each other’s arms after being reunited at the end of volume two. This time, Shiro crosses the open seas in pursuit of Yoshiko, who has again fallen into the hands of his arch-nemesis, the Spaniard, Don Miguel Ratera Aguilar. The journey takes them to the New World at the dawning of the golden age of piracy. Shiro is now a reluctant crewman on an English privateer during Queen Anne’s War, when colonial powers battled for supremacy in the Caribbean and the Americas. When he hears of a Spanish nobleman with a beautiful Asian woman at his side, Shiro knows his enemy, and his lover, are close at hand.

Shiro must enlist his crewmates in his quest, characters whose origins span both historical and literary pedigrees. Will this marauding, motley crew be just the allies Shiro needs to finally be reunited with his lady-fair, Yoshiko, for once and for all?

“Ever since the idea of Samurai: Heaven and Earth first occurred, this is the story we’ve wanted to tell, the one we’ve been pointing toward. Putting a samurai warrior amidst a crew of Caribbean cutthroats is the most fun you can have in comics, as far as Luke and I are concerned. I’ll gladly walk the plank if this isn’t the best volume yet,” writer Ron Marz said.

Acclaimed creators Ron Marz and Luke Ross reunite for the next volume of their historical epic. Samurai: Heaven and Earth Volume Three, a five-issue limited series, sets sail in spring, 2008. Each issue has a retail price of $2.99.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I'm at Comic-con!

I'll be popping in and out of AmoXcalli in the next few days with links to the dedicated Comic-Con blog my co-workers and I are working on over at AWN. Here's my first day of fun.

Informed Art - Comic-con Revealed

I was most happy to see all the great books and authors there!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Comics Briefly - 7/24/2007 - Publishers Weekly

Comics Briefly - 7/24/2007 - Publishers Weekly

San Diego Comic-con Still Packing Them In - 7/23/2007 - Publishers Weekly

San Diego Comic-con Still Packing Them In - 7/23/2007 - Publishers Weekly

Comic-Con Blogging Commences in Earnest

I'm heading down to Comic-Con in San Diego Thursday morning and will be staying for the whole show. My co-workers at AWN and I will be blogging constantly from all different angles of the show. Look for news, interviews, party happenings, cool stuff and lots and lots of images posted every night from the happening Gaslamp section of San Diego.

Deron Yamada, our splendiferous Art Director and lovingly called the Great Volcano God Yamada has designed a rockin header for the blog and we like it very much. All hail the Great Yamada!

Informed Art - Comic-Con Revealed

Hope to see you at the Con.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Xilonen Ceremony

Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc
Ofrece su
Fiesta del Maíz 2007
El camino que nuestros niños graciosamente caminaran para orgullo y honra de nuestra historia y de nuestro futuro.
¡!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ¡
The flowered path our children will walk in search of our people’s glory.

Prospect Park
Echandia St. in East Los Angeles
(Two blocks north of Cesar Chavez- by the White Memorial Hospital)
Saturday July 28 Sábado
Danza Azteca * Presentación de los niños * Música
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
info.: (213) 481 8265
¡Todos están invitados! Everybody is welcome!

Este día estaremos introduciendo a los niños pequeños (hasta 4 años) al camino del maíz.
Llame para mayor información.
Traiga su silla y su propia sombrilla. No bebidas alcohólicas ni drogas; por favor.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Random House Launches Color to Read

This looks so cool!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Turning Civilians into Comic Book Geeks - 7/17/2007 - Publishers Weekly

Turning Civilians into Comic Book Geeks - 7/17/2007 - Publishers Weekly

Looking for a Few Good Stories - 7/10/2007 - Publishers Weekly

Looking for a Few Good Stories - 7/10/2007 - Publishers Weekly

See, like I'm always saying - ygood stories are important.

Neil Gaiman at the Movies - 7/17/2007 - Publishers Weekly

Neil Gaiman at the Movies - 7/17/2007 - Publishers Weekly

The First Tortilla: A Bilingual Story

The First Tortilla: A Bilingual Story
Author: Rudolfo Anaya
Illustrator: Amy Cordova
Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
ISBN-10: 0826342140

Rudolfo Anaya, author of one of my all-time favorite books, Bless Me Ultima has written a magical and lovely folktale about the origins of that of us Mexicanos/Chicanos, the delicious tortilla. The First Tortilla is the story of Jade, an indigenous girl that lives in a small village near a volcano. Her village has been suffering through a drought and all their squash and bean plants are dying. Jade prays to the Mountain Spirit to bring rain so that the precious plants will live and her village won’t go hungry.

As Jade works in the garden, a blue hummingbird brings a message to go find the Mountain Spirit and ask for rain. Without a question for her safety Jade sets off, braving the volcano and follows the hummingbird to the very top where she meets the Mountain Spirit. She offers the spirit food made by her own hand and he is so pleased with it that he gives her the gift of corn which the ants have in a cave.

Jade tastes the corn and finds it to be sweet and delicious. She takes it back to the village and plants it. As the prayed for rain comes, the corn grows alongside beans, squash and chiles. Jade grinds the harvested dried corn, adds water and makes masa. She puts it on a comal or griddle and the smell soon permeates the village. Her parents taste it and find the corn tortilla to be wonderful. Soon Jade is teaching everyone how to make the tortillas and the people have a new staple.

I loved this story. It has elements of old Aztec legends like the ants in the cave with the corn. It gives a feel to how important water was and is to people. It tells how water was so important that people would move from a village if there was no rain. Children will get a sense of the importance of the tortilla as a staple.

Amy Cordova’s rich and colorful illustrations give a beautiful insight into the village life. Her depcitions of those beautiful indigenous faces are just amazing and give children a sense of how they lived and dressed.

I loved how the hummingbird, such an important figure in Aztec mythology was incorporate into the tale. This book is bilingual and the translation by Enrique R. Lamadrid is smooth and almost effortless. The book is recommended for ages 9-12 but I think children of pre-school age will love this book just as much. The bright colors and stunning illustrations are sure to capture their eyes and interest as much as the story read to them will capture their imagination and heart. Highly recommended.

Book Description from the publisher:

The First Tortilla is a moving, bilingual story of courage and discovery. A small Mexican village is near starvation. There is no rain, and the bean and squash plants are dying.

Jade, a young village girl, is told by a blue hummingbird to take a gift to the Mountain Spirit. Then it will send the needed rain.

Burning lava threatens her, but Jade reaches the top of the volcano. The Mountain Spirit is pleased. It allows the ants in a nearby cave to share their corn with Jade. The corn was sweet and delicious and Jade took some back to save the village.

Jade grinds the dry corn, adds water, and makes dough. She pats the masa and places it on hot stones near the fire. She has made the first tortilla. Soon the making of corn tortillas spreads throughout Mexico and beyond.

Reading level: grade 3 and up

The story of a young Mexican girl who saves her village by making the first tortilla with the help of the Mountain Spirit.

About the Author
Rudolfo Anaya, widely acclaimed as one of the founders of modern Chicano literature, is professor emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico. Anaya was presented with the National Medal of Arts for literature in 2001 and his novel Alburquerque (the city's original Spanish spelling) won the PEN Center West Award for Fiction. He is best known for the classic Bless Me Ultima. Amy Córdova is an instructor for the Taos Institute of Arts, Taos, New Mexico. She wrote and illustrated Abuelita’s Heart. Enrique R. Lamadrid is professor of Spanish folklore and literature at the University of New Mexico. In 2005, he was awarded the Americo Paredes Prize by the American Folklore Society in recognition of his work as a cultural activist.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In Case You Haven't Noticed...

I haven't been doing much reviewing because I've been working a lot, preparing for Comic-Con, working on a big presentation and re-designing AmoXcalli.

What do you think of the new layout? I've added more stuff to the blogroll and more is coming.

I'll be up and running with new reviews very, very soon.

Keep your eyes peeled too for up to the minute news and images from the Comic-Con in San Diego with our new dedicated Comic-Con blog Informed Art - Comic con Revealed which will be up soon at awnatcomiccon.animationblogspot.com. Rick DeMott, Shannon Muir and myself will have tons of interesting tales to tell from the floor, from the mysterious Hall H, panels and parties. I

Thursday, July 05, 2007

ComicCon Anyone?

I'll be at Comic Con in San Diego from July 26th to the 29th. Is anyone going? Would love to meet up if you are. My calendar is just starting to populate itself with meetings and fun parties.

Look for a special from the floor up to the minute account blog from AWN, that oh so fun place where I work. I'll be blogging with my co-worker and fellow blogger Rick of Ricks Flicks Picks fame (ricksflickspicks@animationblogspot.com). We're going to have a dedicated blog just for ComicCon but haven't yet decided what we're going to call it. We'll take suggestions!

Oh and if you have news related to Comic Con send it to editor@awn.com and we'll get it up on the site!

See ya in San Diego!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Help Support Read Books, Imix Books & That Yarn Store in Eagle Rock

I live in a great little city within the L.A. boundaries called Eagle Rock, so named for the enormous eagle-head shaped rock that you can see from the freeway. It's pretty amazing. The city is homey, a strange anomaly in Los Angeles. It has a small town feel and everyone seems to know everyone.

Eagle Rock is super duper kid friendly. I should know since I spend long Saturdays with my two grandkids roaming with a jogging stroller. The stores on Eagle Rock Boulevard in particular, are kid friendly. We have our special favorites and I hope they do well. I want them to stay in business. If you live in Eagle Rock or in the vicinity or are in L.A. for a visit, please stop by and say hi. Tell them I sent you.

SWORK Eagle Rock
2160 Colorado Blvd.
Eagle Rock, CA 90041
Sun.-Thr. 6 am - 11 pm
Fri.-Sat. 6 am - 12 am

Yummy coffee and pastries - lots of healthy organic stuff, a play area for the kids complete with blocks, train tracks and puzzzles. They just put in a nice new foamy floor. Jasmine's favorite thing is the Princess Potion, a pink concoction complete with sprinkles and a cherry on top. Aiden loves the Mint Chocolate Dinosaur with a big, fat gummy worm on top. I love their non-fat iced lattes using Fair Trade organic coffee. Yum

That Yarn Store
5028 Eagle Rock Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041
(323) 256-9276

Another one of my favorites is That Yarn Store. Where else can you sit and crochet or knit on comfy couches while the kids sit and play with blocks? There's classes aplenty and lots of fun activities like Saturday's 2nd birthday bash. They have some of the softest, nicest yarns ever. I just bought some lavendar bamboo yarn. Yep made of bamboo and a light summer weight. I'm making a shawl of it for my roommate Rachel to wear to Hollywood Bowl nights. Sign up for their newsletter. You'll love it even more if you stop by and meet everyone. I've whiled away many a pleasant hour there chatting and learning and just hanging. Wednesday nights there is Spin a Good Yarn Night. Pop in and say hi to David, Frannie, Jessamy, Lily, Max, Noah, Sarah & Thea. You'll be glad you did.

Read Books and New Magazines
4972 Eagle Rock Boulevard

This I have to say is my favorite of my favorites. Jeremy and Debbie Kaplan just opened in February a stellar new used bookstore. They have a wonderful collection, are extremely knowledgeable about just about everything book related and are super nice.

Jasmine has rapidly expanded her book collection and they always make sure to save her the Pig books that she loves so much. I do believe my granddaughter has the largest pig book collection in L.A. Aiden at almost two years old loves Judaica and can't seem to get enough of it. Each week he happily picks out books like My Hannuka Book or a Passover Haggadah written in Hebrew. Does it matter that we're not Jewish? Nope, but Aiden loves it and that's all that counts.

Debbie and Jeremy have a wonderful glass case with marvelous things in it like a children's story by Pearl S. Buck, Jack Palance's love story, etc. They are listed on Abebooks.com too, so if you can't get to Eagle Rock (and you're missing out on a wonderful little store if you can't), you can still buy books and support keeping them in business.

Imix Bookstore
5052 eagle rock blvd.
l.a. ca. 90041

Imix has a great kidlit section of bilingual English/Spanish books. They're a great Latino bookstore that sells cool Latino made jewlery, t-shirts and other stuff as well as books. They have a little art gallery in the back that always has something going on. You'll find lots of hard to find stuff here. They have great signings by Chicano/Latino authors too. Swing by.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Reviewing the Classics of Kidlit - Elizabeth Lund reviews Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett

By turns silly, funny, and scary, but always imaginative, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, originally published in 1978, has achieved the status of a classic. This book has a very simple plot, but the detailed drawings and the unique idea of food falling from the sky make it a perennial winner with kids.

One morning at breakfast, a pancake is accidentally flipped onto a young boy’s head. Later, his grandfather uses this incident as inspiration for a bedtime tall tale. He begins by playing with the phrasing and style of television weather reports to describe the town of Chewandswallow and its very unusual weather. At first, the idea of food falling from the sky and carrying dishes around everywhere seems fun. Much of the food is even kid-friendly—the ordinary weather of Chewandswallow includes hamburgers, pancakes, fried chicken, pie, and hot dogs. In just a few pages, Judi and Ron Barrett create a charming and surprisingly logical mini-society, even describing the town’s environmentally responsible ways of dealing with leftovers.

When the weather starts to change, the story becomes a true tall tale. First, Chewandswallow gets unappealing foods like Gorgonzola cheese and overcooked broccoli. My favorite drawing in this book has always been the picture of an unfortunate birthday party where the cake is made out of peanut butter, brussel sprouts, and mayonnaise. The expression on the face of the girl in the foreground of this picture is a perfect depiction of the disgust of a kid who doesn’t like what she’s being served. Then, the weather turns dangerous, with enormous pancakes, bread hurricanes, and tomato tornadoes. (While the townspeople certainly appear annoyed, no one seems hurt, keeping the book appropriate for younger children.)

Like the movie version of The Wizard of Oz, the real world is pictured in black and white and the imaginary world is pictured in color. The overlaid text and the use of panels give it an almost graphic novel feel.
Details like plates stacked in a coat closet, a couple fighting over a hog dog, and a baseball marquee reading “Game Called on Account of Pie,” keep children looking closely at every illustration. Ron Barrett’s unique style of line drawing captures both domestic settings and almost epic landscapes equally well. A few of the drawings have a definite 1970s flavor, which may invite discussions about what Mom, Dad, or Uncle Harry looked like when they were little.

This light and charming story is almost guaranteed to make readers hungry.