It was a safe bet that Kate "Hark! A Vagrant! Beaton's first kids' picture book would be amazing, but The Princess and the Pony is incredible.
Princess Pinecone is a the smallest warrior in a kingdom of warriors, and she lives for battle. But every year on her birthday, her parents give her a cuddly sweater. What she really wants is a mighty charger, from whose back she might smite other warriors.
This year, Princess Pinecone put her foot down. She let it be known that nothing less than a huge, imposing horse would do.
Unfortunately, what she got was a cuddly, funny-looking pony whose eyes point in opposite directions. It refuses to be trained for warhorse duties. She rides it into battle anyway. When Otto the Awful spies her on the sidelines and charges her, the pony just stands there, while Princess Pinecone digs for her spitballs. Then it happens: Otto the Awful screeches to a halt, unable to believe how TOTALLY CUTE the pony is.
The mighty battle stops. The warriors crowd around the pony. They get in touch with their cuddly sides. So Princess Pinecone shares her supply of excess cuddly sweaters. And they all live happily ever after!
Beaton is one of the sharpest, funniest comics creators in the business. Her witty, take-no-prisoners feminism is absolutely on display here, but she doesn't go for an easy girl-power resolution: instead, she lets everyone be both a badass and a sentimentalist.
The spreads in this are amazing: the giant fight scene and the warriors in their sweaters? Read the rest
1" x 1", $6 at LA's Secret Headquarters, who note, "Anyone who gets it really gets it, ya know?" Read the rest
Please note that pending board approval, Boing Boing's new secret headquarters shall be this "decommisioned" underground missile silo pending sale for $300k in Roswell, New Mexico where our space brothers have already established a thriving happy mutant community. Read the rest
From Secret Headquarters, east LA's amazing, wonderful comics emporium: "For the past 9 years, we have been making comic related t-shirts and other apparel, and with the holiday season steadily approaching, these would make some killer gifts for niche comic fans."
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SHQ Cobra Shirt
100% Cotton - Hand printed in Atwater Village
Imagery inspired the classic World's Deadliest Fighting Secrets mail order "instructional booklet"!
APE SEX Shirt by Jaime Hernandez
100% Cotton - Hand printed in Atwater Village
First printing of Ray's shirt from Jaime Hernandez's ground breaking comic series Love & Rockets.
Hooch & Zines Beanie
The follow up to last year's "Coffee & Comics" beanie. Keep your brain warm while repping your two favorite things!
The Secret Headquarters — Goods!
Secret Headquarters, LA's finest comic store, is hosting a booth at the LA Book Fair this weekend, with a dynamite roster of previously unannounced comics creators for your meeting and squeeing pleasure. The full roster includes Jordan Crane, Jaime Hernandez, Paul Hornschemeier, Lisa Hanawalt and many more.
They're also debuting two new original publications at the fair, and will be displaying some of their ultra-rare stuff from the stores, including an original complete run of RAW. Read the rest
Secret Headquarters, my favorite comic store in LA (a very competitive field!), has opened a sister-store called Thank You Comics and Books, in Highland Park.. It's bound to be one of the great awesomesauce emporia on the west coast. Read the rest
Batman: Earth One is a reboot of the Batman story written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank. It's a timely book, coinciding with the conclusion of the trilogy of Christopher Nolan Batman films, and it offers a very good entry to the series for people who haven't followed it closely until now.
We've seen a lot of remixes and retellings of the Batman origin story, and I think this is my favorite to date. Johns dispenses with some of the less plausible aspects of the Batman myth, and presents us with a Gotham that is out of control, corrupt, dark and glorious. There's a haunted house, there are serial killers, Hollywood phonies, and a mayor named Oswald Cobblepot.
The book moves swiftly, hits all the right emotional notes, and is beautifully made and illustrated. I picked my copy up at Secret Headquarters on a recent trip to LA, on staff recommendation (I've never gotten a bum steer from SHQ). It's got me excited about Batman comics for the first time in 20 years.
Batman: Earth One Read the rest
Please do not outbid Boing Boing on the Sea Shadow, a stealth ship that the US Navy is currently auctioning off. The General Services Administration is requiring that the buyer dismantle and scrap the 1982 vessel within six months of purchase. But it's stealth! They'll never know that we've restored it and are using it as a secret headquarters off Rarotonga!
"Radar-evading Navy ship for sale in public auction" (LA Times)
Sea Shadow auction (GSA Auctions) Read the rest
Our guest co-host is John Hodgman, actor, "resident expert" on The Daily Show, celebrity judge, and book author. The third and final installment in his trilogy of Complete World Knowledge -- That Is All -- comes out on November 1.
John spoke with Rob Beschizza, Ruben Bolling, and me about his book and many other things, including:
Our favorite comic book stores:
Bergen Street Comics (New York)
Forbidden Planet (New York)
Secret Headquarters (Los Angeles)
Meltdown (Los Angeles)
Forbidden Planet (London)
The Judge John Hodgman podcast
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Malachi Ward's slim science fiction comic chapbook "The Scout" is a perfect, Twilight-Zoneish science fiction short story in graphic novel form. It's the surreal story of an alien scout who awakes and discovers that he's already awakened -- and died -- before. 16 brief pages long, The Scout is a shining example of graphic storytelling, and Ward's surreal Golden Age science fiction line-art is just great. You can order a copy for $5 from Ad House books, and Angelenos can get a copy at Secret Headquarters in Sunset Junction, where I got mine.
The Scout Read the rest
I'm late to the party on Elephantmen -- the comic has been running since 2006 and there've been three collections to date. I've just read the first one, Wounded Animals and I've got that happy, warm feeling that comes from discovering something great, finishing it, and realizing there's plenty more where that came from (I discovered the series on a visit back to LA's Secret Headquarters, where the curated collection of comics never lets me down).
Elephantmen (which spun out of Image Comics's Hip Flask) is the a Dr Moreau-esque story of a race of human-animal chimeras created by a mad, savage doctor who wants to breed superwarriors to fight in an African war. The Elephantmen (who are not just elephant-human hybrids, but also hippos, rhinos, crocs, etc) are rescued from their maker and brought back to human society, the living brutalized evidence of the horrors of 23rd Century warfare. They are rehabilitated, given jobs and stipends, and eased into "normal life."
But life can never be normal for the Elephantmen; they were brainwashed to be merciless killers, they are traumatized and stigmatized. Some are cruel, some are wounded -- some are hunted.
Full of pathos and told in a series of disjointed, flashbulb vignettes, Elephantmen is great apocalyptic noir fiction, and the pulpy, over-the-top artwork (half EC comics, half Metal Hurlant) is a perfect complement.
Elephantmen Volume 1: Wounded Animals
Blacksad: hardboiled detective fiction about anthropomorphic ...
Sweet Tooth: gripping, post-apocalyptic graphic novel off to a ... Read the rest
Bueno Aires's Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid used to be a beautiful movie palace. Saved from the wrecker's ball, it is now one of the most majestic bookstores I've ever clapped eyes upon, a veritable temple to books.
Marilyn sez, "El Ateneo Grand Splendid in downtown Buenos Aires is a spectacular bookstore that retains all the glamour of its former life as a 1920s movie palace, with a original balconies, painted ceiling, ornate carvings and crimson stage curtains.
Photo by Bob Krist for National Geographic Traveler.
The Guardian named El Ateneo as one of the top ten bookshops in the world (along with Secret Headquarters):'Where else can you sit in a theater box and leisurely read a volume of Neruda, or sip a cortado where Carlos Gardel once performed?'"
Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid
Church converted into magnificent bookstore
Best Bookstore Ever: Powell's Technical
Young adult sections in bookstore -- a parallel universe of little ...
Infinite bookstore video
Pages Books in Toronto to close
Joe Hill -- Stephen King's son -- promotes indie bookstores ...
Photo of honor system at bookstore in Ojai, CA Read the rest
Emmanuel Guibert's graphic novel Alan's War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope is totally different from anything I've ever read. It's a picaresque memoir of a Californian soldier who was shipped to Europe during the last days of WWII, just in time to see the comic, banal, and wrenching scenes associated with the wind-down of hostilities. His is a soldier's story different from the ones we're accustomed to -- he and his comrades are sent to Prague at the cessation of hostilities to see if they can keep the Russians from claiming it in the post-war scramble. Afterwards, he wanders Europe as a chaplain's assistant, then as a civilian clerk for the military. He goes back to California, almost marries, breaks it off, goes back to Europe and bums around more there, meeting distressed artists, good and bad people, villains and everyday folks.
Cope dictated his memoirs to Guibert, an award-winning graphic novelist, after a chance meeting between the two in France. The two struck up a friendship and Guibert's affection for Cope shines through every panel. This is a kind of complimentary opposite to Maus: a story about a man whom war transformed into something better: tolerant, cosmopolitan, observant, and humane.
I discovered Alan's War through a recommendation from the inestimable Dave at Los Angeles's Secret Headquarters, my favorite comic shop in the world, during a visit there last spring. He'd read an advance review copy and couldn't say enough good things about this book. He was absolutely right (he's yet to give me a bum steer -- that table of recommended works running down the middle of the store is like a best-of-the-best in graphic novels). Read the rest