Castellucci

Shade the Changing Girl: amazing, gorgeous new comic about aliens and mean girls

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Vertigo has tapped Cecil Castellucci (previously) and Marley Zarcone to reboot Shade, a Steve Ditko character last rebooted as a weird 1990s comic book about a transdimensional alien shape-shifter poet who used a "madness vest" in his quest to stem the tide of insanity leaking from Earth into his dimension; in Castellucci's capable hands, the new Shade is a fugitive who steals the madness vest in her escape to Earth and finds herself in the body of a Megan Boyer, a comatose mean girl who was about to have the plug pulled on her. Read the rest

To do in San Francisco: Cecil Castellucci and Ben Loory at SF in SF

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The next SF in SF event features Cecil Castellucci (previously), author of books as varied as Odd Duck and Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure and Ben Loory, author of The Baseball Player and the Walrus and many other titles. Read the rest

This Day in Blogging History: Odd Duck's a great picture book; Pinkwater's Yggyssey; UK cinema copyright warnings are bloody obnoxious

One year ago today Odd Duck: great picture book about eccentricity and ducks: Cecil Castellucci's Odd Duck is the story of Theodora, "a perfectly normal duck" who likes her routine -- swimming, stretching, taking books out of the library, buying duck kibble, doing craft projects (with duck burlap, naturally) and star-gazing. When Chad moves in next door, Theodora can tell she's not going to get along with him. He makes weird abstract sculptures, dyes his feathers funny colors, and talks a mile a minute.

Five years ago today In The Yggyssey: Pinkwater takes on The Odyssey: The Yggyssey: How Iggy Wondered What Happened to All the Ghosts, Found Out Where They Went, and Went There, a tribute to (what else?) The Odyssey. The Yggyssey picks up a few years after the world-shaking final battle that concludes Neddiad, and switches POVs to Yggdrasil Birnbaum ("Iggy" for short), the tomboyish female lead of the Neddiad, daughter of the famed cowboy Captain Buffalo Birnbaum, a retired silent film-star.

Ten years ago today UK cinema copyright warnings: a call to action: "You are not permitted to use any camera or recording equipment in this cinema. This will be treated as an attempt to breach copyright. Any person doing so can be ejected and such articles may be confiscated by the police. We ask the audience to be vigilant against any such activity and report any matters arousing suspicion to cinema staff. Thank you." Read the rest

Cecil Castelucci's Tin Star: first five chapters free

Every new Cecil Castellucci book is cause for celebration around here, and her latest, Tin Star -- the first volume in a new young adult science fiction series -- is no exception. Castellucci's got a gift for characters and dialog (this being part of her success in her extensive work in comics) and a stellar imagination. The story -- researched in part through workshops with NASA for science fiction writers -- is a tale of romance, escape and adventure on a remote space station where the charismatic leader of a colony ship is revealed for a monster.

The first five chapters of Tin Star are a free download (other formats here), so you can make up your own mind. But I know that my copy of Tin Star's going straight into my Christmas holiday reading pile. Read the rest

Odd Duck: great picture book about eccentricity and ducks

Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon have a new picture-book/kids' comic out from FirstSecond today called Odd Duck, and it's a delight (no surprise there, I never met a Cecil Castellucci project I didn't like).

Odd Duck is the story of Theodora, "a perfectly normal duck" who likes her routine -- swimming, stretching, taking books out of the library, buying duck kibble, doing craft projects (with duck burlap, naturally) and star-gazing. When Chad moves in next door, Theodora can tell she's not going to get along with him. He makes weird abstract sculptures, dyes his feathers funny colors, and talks a mile a minute.

When both of them are stuck together overwinter (Theodora never manages to migrate, and Chad breaks his wing making abstract sculpture) they discover a shared love of the stars, and become best friends. But when they overhear a mean duck in town say, "Look at that odd duck!" they both assume she's talking about the other one, and that kicks off a rotten fight, and a lot of soul-searching.

This is a beautiful parable about eccentricity, friendship, self-awareness, the majesty of the night sky, and the benefits of balancing a cup of tea on your head (for posture!). The artwork is gorgeous (thanks to FirstSecond for supplying the first chapter excerpt below), and the writing is absolutely charming. When I got my advance copy, my five-year old demanded nightly readings of this one for a solid week.

Odd Duck Read the rest

New York Five: beautifully told coming-of-age comic from Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly

DC's Vertigo has published The New York Five, the sequel (and conclusion?) to the original Minx title. I've just finished it and it was worth the wait. The characters from the original story return seasoned by their first semester, wiser and more gunshy, but still filled with the wild, reckless energy that made them so engaging in the first volume.

Year of the Beasts: young adult comics/prose story of the summer when it all changed

Cecil Castellucci -- indie-rock star, young adult author, and all round cool-ass polymath -- has joined forces with illustrator Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole) to produce The Year of the Beasts, an extraordinary hybrid of young adult novel and graphic novel. Beasts is the story of Tessa and her younger sister Lulu, townie girls in a place where holidaymakers come for the summer, and the year they discovered boys. The carnival comes to town every June, and Tessa and Lulu go, and it is young Lulu, not Tessa, who finds herself kissing Charlie, the boy that Tessa has had a crush on forever. The summer yawns before them, as the sisters and their friends navigate the stormy, irrational seas of romance and hormones and coming of age, in a prose narrative that lays its characters' hearts raw and bare in that way that Castellucci is so good at.

Interleaved with these prose chapters are chapters from an allegorical graphical story, a comic about a girl who has become an avatar of Medusa and must attend high-school, despite the fact that when the scarf covering her snake-hair slips, she turns her schoolmates to stone, just as she has done to her parents. These comic-book chapters are a mystery to be solved by the riddle, which comes together in the final chapter.

Year of the Beasts is one of those stories whose earlier chapters are a kind of greased slide that makes the reader hurtle faster and faster toward an unseen landing, hinting at different possibilities until the climax is revealed in a thunderbolt, and it is at once inevitable, unforeseen, and terrible. Read the rest

Geektastic: anthology of nerdy fiction and comics

Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci's wonderful anthology of nerdy fiction and comics, Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd was a great read: the short fiction ran the gamut from soul-searing angst to high comedy and all the territory in between. Of particular note were Scott Westerfeld's "Definition Chaos" (a story about a gun-toting gamer and his nutsy ex-girlfriend transporting $80,000 by train to Florida to pay for a con's hotel deposit); Garth Nix's "The Quiet Knight" (a disabled LARPer finds his true self in boffer armor); Lisa Yee's "Everyone But You" (a baton-twirling midwesterner reinvents herself in a Hawaiian high school); Kelly Link's "Secret Identity" (the book's top piece; a novella about a girl who travels to New York to hook up with a man she met in an MMORPG, despite the fact that doing so will reveal to him that she has lied about her identity); and Libba Bray's heartbreaking "It's Just a Jump to the Left" (a girl discovers she can't escape her life at Rocky Horror)

Intercut with the stories is a series of charming one-page comics drawn by Hope Larson and Brendan Lee "Scott Pilgrim" O'Malley.

All told, Geektastic is a cliche-busting, smart, and funny book about celebrating your inner mutant. Highly recommended.

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd Previously:Boy Proof, a compassionate young adult novel about a weird, smart ... Janes in Love: graphic novel is a call-to-art for young people ... Read the rest

Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part four: Comics, graphic novels and funnybooks

Here's part four of our week-long "Best of Boing Boing" holiday gift guide: basically, it's a list of the bestselling items from among the stuff we reviewed this year, reflecting your favorite items from among our picks. Today's list is comics, graphic novels, funnybooks and the like.

Don't miss the previous installments: kids' stuff, fiction and gadgets!

Tomorrow's nonfiction day, and Monday'll finish up the series with DVDs and CDs.

Laika (Nick Abadzis) Graphic novel tells the sweet and sad story of the first space-dog Original Boing Boing post

The Perry Bible Fellowship: The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories (Nicholas Gurewitch) Hilarious, surreal webcomic Original Boing Boing post

Invention of Hugo Cabret (Brian Selznik) Award-winning steampunk graphic novel for kids Original Boing Boing post

Good as Lily (Derek Kirk Kim) Ass-kicking girl-positive graphic novel for young readers Original Boing Boing post

The Plain Janes (Cecil Castellucci, Jim Rugg) Funny, spirited little story about a gang of girls named Jane at a strait-laced high-school, rejected by the mainstream, and their art adventures. Original Boing Boing post

100 Days Of Monsters (Stefan G. Bucher) Book showcases blob-to-monster art Original Boing Boing post

Army @ Love Vol. 1: The Hot Zone Club (Rick Veitch) Romance/war comic deals out the offensive yuks Original Boing Boing post

Three Shadows (Cyril Pedrosa) Haunting and dreamlike graphic novel of love, bravery and sacrifice Original Boing Boing post

St. Trinian's: The Entire Appalling Business (Ronald Searle) Ronald Searle's original dark, weird and hilarious St Trinian's comics Original Boing Boing post

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need (Daniel H. Read the rest

Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part two: Fiction

Here's part two of my Boing Boing Holiday Gift Guide -- wherein I list the bestselling items that have been reviewed here in the past twelve months. Today, it's fiction. Don't miss yesterday's Kids' stuff and stuff about kids post, too! (Note that some of these titles appeared on yesterday's kids' list -- I wasn't sure how to handle cross-referencing for items that qualified for more than one list, so I just duplicated them for people who wanted to dive straight into the fiction list -- say -- rather than picking through the kids' list too)

Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology (John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly) Post-Cyberpunk Anthology shows how sf has changed since the Mirroshades era Original Boing Boing post

Halting State (Charles Stross) Halting State: Heist novel about an MMORPG Original Boing Boing post

Interface (Neal Stephenson) Neal Stephenson's underappreciated masterpiece Original Boing Boing post

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (John Joseph Adams) Anthology of apocalyptic fiction Original Boing Boing post

Futures from Nature (Henry Gee) 100 short-short sf stories from Nature Magazine Original Boing Boing post

The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent (James Morrow and Kathryn Morrow) A chance to read sf from outside of the Anglo Bubble Original Boing Boing post

Little Brother (Cory Doctorow) My bestselling young adult novel about kids who hack for freedom Original Boing Boing post

The Starry Rift (Jonathan Strahan) Science fiction anthology for teens Original Boing Boing post

Steampunk (Ann and Jeff VanderMeer) Steampunk: the anthology Original Boing Boing post

Distraction (Bruce Sterling) Bruce Sterling's visionary novel Distraction: still brilliant a decade later Original Boing Boing post

The Yiddish Policemen's Union: A Novel (Michael Chabon) Wonderful blend of hard-boiled and Yiddish ironies Original Boing Boing post

Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales Of The Here And Now (Cory Doctorow) A six-edition series of comics adapted from my short stories by an incredibly talented crew of writers, artists, inkers and letterers Original Boing Boing post

Goodnight Bush: A Parody (Gan Golan, Erich Origen) A Goodnight Moon satire for the electoral season Original Boing Boing post

Saturn's Children (Charles Stross) Stross's robopervy tribute to the late late Heinlein Original Boing Boing post

Crooked Little Vein: A Novel (Warren Ellis) Comic net-perv novel that would make Goatse blush Original Boing Boing post

Random Acts of Senseless Violence (Jack Womack) Unflinching, engrossing, difficult coming-of-age story Original Boing Boing post

Boy Proof (Cecil Castellucci) A compassionate young adult novel about a weird, smart, angry girl Original Boing Boing post

Cycler (Lauren McLaughlin) Smart YA novel about sex and sexuality Original Boing Boing post

Anathem (Neal Stephenson) A great story, set in an alternative reality where people take long-term thinking seriously Original Boing Boing post

The Armageddon Rag (George R.R. Read the rest

Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part one: Kids

Well, it's coming up to the holidays and I've started to make my list and fill it in. As a starting point, I went through all the books and DVDs and gadgets I'd reviewed on Boing Boing since last November and looked at what had been the best-sellers among BB's readership, figuring you folks have pretty good taste! As I was taking a walk down old review lane, I realized that many of you would probably be interested in seeing these lists too, so I've turned them into a series of blog-posts that I'll be sticking up, one per day, for the next week or so. Today I'm starting with kids' media and media about kids and child-rearing. Later this week, I'll do fiction, nonfiction, comics and graphic novels, CDs and DVDs and gadgets and everything else, one a day. Hope this helps you with your holiday shopping as much as it's helped me with mine!

Baby's First Mythos (C.J. Henderson) Cthluhoid picture book Original Boing Boing post

Invention of Hugo Cabret (Brian Selznik) Award-winning steampunk graphic novel for kids Original Boing Boing post

Good as Lily (Derek Kirk Kim) Ass-kicking girl-positive graphic novel for young readers Original Boing Boing post

The Plain Janes (Cecil Castellucci, Jim Rugg) Funny, spirited little story about a gang of girls named Jane at a strait-laced high-school, rejected by the mainstream, and their art adventures. Original Boing Boing post

Little Brother (Cory Doctorow) My bestselling young adult novel about kids who hack for freedom Original Boing Boing post

The Starry Rift (Jonathan Strahan) Science fiction anthology for teens Original Boing Boing post

St. Read the rest

Boy Proof, a compassionate young adult novel about a weird, smart, angry girl

I've just read Cecil Castellucci's 2005 debut novel Boy Proof and it's delightful to discover that she's every bit as talented a novelist as she is a graphic novel writer (The Plain Janes, the first volume in the outstanding Minx graphic novel series) and a rock musician (Nerdy Girl/Bite).

Boy Proof is the story of "Egg" (AKA Victoria), a self-made outcast in Melrose Prep, who is smart as anything about everything, except herself. She's an overachieving loner, a weirdo, and a science fiction geek, and she's alienated from both of her driven, entertainment-industry parents. She is a perpetual half-rage, but never really sure why, and she can't help but see the world as a hostile and foul place.

As the novel unfolds (and we get a tour of Egg's many deep fascinations and the people in her life who like her no matter what) she learns, by inches, to let go of some of the anger and figure out how to be happy as well as smart and driven.

Smart and miserable seem to go together so often, especially for kids, and Castellucci's clearly been there. The book brims with affection for Egg and her crummy attitude, and it's easy to empathize with her even as you hope for her to find a way free. This is the perfect hopeful and compassionate book for the sharp weirdo in your life. Boy Proof Read the rest

Janes in Love: graphic novel is a call-to-art for young people

Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg's Janes in Love is the wonderful sequel to The P.L.A.I.N. Janes, the debut volume of the Minx graphic novel imprint.

The P.L.A.I.N. Janes are an arts collective made up of high-school girls all named Jane, who stage daring, commando-style public art projects in the dead of night, transforming their tight-ass suburb into an outdoor art gallery. They're not just in it for the hell of it, either: their little suburb was the site of a terrorist scare and bombing that has everyone on edge and baying for authority.

The Janes won't take this lying down. They refuse to be terrorized, and continue making their art, even though it gets them in trouble with the authorities and their parents, and nearly drives them apart.

But the Janes aren't just serious art-guerrillas; they're also teenaged girls, and the art-shenanigans aren't doing much for their love-lives, or their friendships.

It all adds up to an utterly charming, absolutely inspiring valentine of a book, a comic-book call to arms for art as something that everyone can -- and should -- make. Janes in Love Read the rest

Plain Janes appearance in LA, May 24

The author and illustrator of the fine new graphic novel The Plain Janes are coming to Los Angeles's Secret Headquarters, my all-time favorite comic shop. I've just read The Plain Janes and found it superb -- a funny, spirited little story about a gang of girls named Jane at a strait-laced high-school, rejected by the mainstream, and their art adventures.

The event is on Thursday, May 24, 8PM-10PM.

Let us sum up THE PLAIN JANES for you real quick;

1. Lunch room rejects. 2. Multiple Janes. 3. Girl Gang. 4. Art attacks.

Castellucci is the author of Young Adult novels, THE QUEEN OF COOL, BOY PROOF, and most recently...BEIGE.

Her first graphic novel, THE PLAIN JANES, is illustrated by Jim Rugg of STREET ANGEL fame.

Link Read the rest