New Pop Culture Books: Stephen King! Ducks! Columbo! More!

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Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. When Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.
    Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.
    King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy—and his dog—must lead the battle.
    Early in the Pandemic, King asked himself: “What could you write that would make you happy?”
    “As if my imagination had been waiting for the question to be asked, I saw a vast deserted city—deserted but alive. I saw the empty streets, the haunted buildings, a gargoyle head lying overturned in the street. I saw smashed statues (of what I didn’t know, but I eventually found out). I saw a huge, sprawling palace with glass towers so high their tips pierced the clouds. Those images released the story I wanted to tell.”

Jann Wenner has been called by his peers “the greatest editor of his generation.”
    His deeply personal memoir vividly describes and brings you inside the music, the politics, and the lifestyle of a generation, an epoch of cultural change that swept America and beyond. The age of rock and roll in an era of consequence, what will be considered one of the great watersheds in modern history. Wenner writes with the clarity of a journalist and an essayist. He takes us into the life and work of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Bono, and Bruce Springsteen, to name a few. He was instrumental in the careers of Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, and Annie Leibovitz. His journey took him to the Oval Office with his legendary interviews with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, leaders to whom Rolling Stone gave its historic, full-throated backing. From Jerry Garcia to the Dalai Lama, Aretha Franklin to Greta Thunberg, the people Wenner chose to be seen and heard in the pages of Rolling Stone tried to change American culture, values, and morality.

Before there was Kate Beaton, New York Times bestselling cartoonist of Hark! A Vagrant, there was Katie Beaton of the Cape Breton Beaton, specifically Mabou, a tight-knit seaside community where the lobster is as abundant as beaches, fiddles, and Gaelic folk songs. With the singular goal of paying off her student loans, Katie heads out west to take advantage of Alberta’s oil rush―part of the long tradition of East Coasters who seek gainful employment elsewhere when they can’t find it in the homeland they love so much. Katie encounters the harsh reality of life in the oil sands, where trauma is an everyday occurrence yet is never discussed.
    Beaton’s natural cartooning prowess is on full display as she draws colossal machinery and mammoth vehicles set against a sublime Albertan backdrop of wildlife, northern lights, and boreal forest. Her first full length graphic narrative, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands is an untold story of Canada: a country that prides itself on its egalitarian ethos and natural beauty while simultaneously exploiting both the riches of its land and the humanity of its people. 

A masterful mind hiding behind a dishevelled countenance, Lieutenant Columbo’s combination of earthy charm and razor-sharp reasoning has endeared him to a global audience for more than 50 years. Now you can take your love of Columbo to the next level with the help of The Columbo Companion — your indispensable deep-dive into the thrilling highs (and occasional devastating lows) of the greatest detective show of all time.
    From the acclaimed creator of the popular ‘Columbophile Blog’, The Columbo Companion offers fully revised and updated exploration of all 45 ‘classic era’ Columbo episodes that aired between 1968-78, covering:
• The highs and lows of each episode’s crimes, clues and gotchas
• Critiques of the cast, performances and production values
• Key milestones in the evolution of the Columbo character
• Behind-the-scenes snippets and fascinating facts about the production
Whether you’re a long-term fan or a recent convert, The Columbo Companion is the ideal accompaniment to the viewing experience to help maximise your appreciation and understanding of the series and its leading man.

In today’s world of instant information everyone knows everything about cartoon voices. Animation is a huge business, and Voice Actors are respected. But it wasn’t always so.
    For thirty years before the TV age, countless “Classic Era” cartoons from 1928 to 1970 were seen in movie theatres before the main feature. During that Golden Age, virtually every cartoon voice actor (with the notable exception of the great Mel Blanc), was resigned to being totally anonymous. Despite creating immortal voices like Droopy, Popeye, Elmer Fudd or Betty Boop, the actors’ names simply didn’t appear on screen.
    This book is the first to explore the development of voice artistry from the birth of sound movies to the dawn of TV cartoons, when “voices” finally got screen credit.
    Documented in this exhaustively researched history is the full story of how acting for cartoons slowly changed from squawks and grunts into an art form. From the earliest days when animators themselves were the only voices, through the gradual hiring of professional radio actors, this book finally names the many artists who were unknown for four decades.
    Illustrated with rare mugshots of hitherto unknown voices, Volume One is the studio-by-studio saga of how cartoon voice acting took off. Volume Two is the reference section, with insanely detailed voice credits for thousands of cartoons from top animation studios of the Classic Era. Animation fans can finally learn the full story in Cartoon Voices of the Golden Age, with never before told insights into one of the most undocumented areas of film history.

Marvel Studios’ Black Panther has become more than just a movie—it has shaped conversations about art, culture, science fiction, representation, justice, fashion, comics, creativity, and so much more. Celebrate the legacy of the film with this collection of all-new personal essays and reflections that shed light on its monumental impact, including firsthand stories from artists involved in the film, cultural analysis from journalists and academics, and thoughtful insights from writers and comics legends. Each contributor brings their unique expertise and experience to explore the film’s genesis and significance from every angle. Complete with gorgeous original illustrations, Dreams of Wakanda brings together a wide array of diverse and multifaceted perspectives that exemplify the many ways the film has impacted cinema, culture, and society.

See You At San Diego is the comprehensive chronicle of Comic-Con International and modern geekdom itself as told through countless stories by nearly fifty of the most integral members of the Comic-Con and fandom scene. This full-fledged oral history, bursting with intimate reflections, hilarious observations, and at times, heartbreaking, often thought-provoking stories, is about how the geek at last inherited the earth and the story of the transformation of mainstream American pop culture into comic book culture over the past century.
    Join some of the biggest names in fandom as they launch off at ludicrous speed into the spiraling galaxy of geek culture through the kaleidoscopic lens of the planet’s biggest pop culture gathering worldwide (clocked twice by Guinness!): the San Diego Comic-Con. With such special guests as: Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, Kevin Smith, Bruce Campbell, Felicia Day, Scott Aukerman, Stan Sakai, Sergio Aragon├ęs, Trina Robbins, the Russo Bros., Lloyd Kaufman, Tim Seeley, Kevin Eastman, and many others ― along with 400+ photos and art ― the book also features forewords by Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo) and by Jeff Smith (Bone), plus an afterword by Wu-Tang Clan’s own uber-nerd mastermind RZA.

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