• Twitter's daily gun death tally is a reminder that America has a problem

    A mass shooting is defined as four or more people shot in one location, but Seattle ad agency Cole & Weber believes that mass shootings happen every single day in America, just not all in one place.

    This week marks the 1000th gun death in this country since 2018 began. Tired of the status-quo and lack of action, the agency took a break from regular client work in an attempt to keep this issue top of mind — not just once, but every single day.

    A team worked together to develop technology that uses constantly-updating gun data to automatically create a video every morning that shows the number of people who were killed by guns the day prior, and a first-person street view where the shooting took place. Each death is ticked off with the gut-wrenching sound of a gunshot, one after the next, creating a sobering message that this violence is happening all around us, all the time. The video creation is fully automated, and targeted at influencers, politicians, their aids, and the media via Twitter account: @DailyGunDeaths.

    The project was started after an employee found out their friend was shot during October's Vegas shooting. While the friend survived, it motivated the agency to start looking into ways to address the issue.

    Knowing that this is a complex problem, the message was to keep people talking about how to enact effective change. To not let the conversation just fade away. In the message accompanying the video, people are asked to share concerns with politicians, local and national, letting them know that they need to start working to find a solution.

    While the account's current following leans towards gun-control advocates, the agency says they want gun rights supporters as well. "It's all about getting people to stop circulating their go-to talking points, and start having a real dialogue to address this issue."

    If you'd like to check out or support the project, you can follow it on Twitter @DailyGunDeaths.

  • Never-before-published edition of Francis Ford Coppola's notes and annotations on The Godfather

    The Godfather is my favorite Christmas movie of all time. It's a Christmas movie right? Well, it's my favorite movie, and I watch it every year at Christmas. To me, it's as close to a perfect film as I think you can get. I've read Mario Puzo's novel. I've watched every special feature. So, when I heard that this book even existed, I got excited. This is a reproduction of the notebook that director, Francis Ford Coppola, used to bring this wonderful movie to life. It not only lifts the curtain showing how The Godfather came to be, but it reveals Coppola's invaluable techniques for crafting a story.

    Coppola went through Mario Puzo's novel page by page, developing a synopsis that would shape the script and the direction of the film. Each scene is detailed with tone, setting, and pitfalls. Exposition is trimmed, and some characters are cut completely in order to create a story that would work cinematically.

    The book's pretty hefty, since there's a whole other book within it. It also includes a wonderful introduction by Coppola, and behind the scenes photos of the young cast. If you're a big fan of The Godfather or if you're interested in how film adaptations are made, definitely pick this up.

    See sample pages from this book at Wink.

    The Godfather Notebook

    by Francis Ford Coppola

    Regan Arts

    2016, 784 pages, 8.5 x 1.5 x 11 inches, Paperback

    $38 Buy on Amazon

  • A curated catalogue of artists Shag's creativity over the past three decades

    Whenever I'm drinking rum, which is fairly often, I imagine myself living in a Shag painting. Josh Agle, better known as Shag is a pop art master. His paintings are highly sought after, and for good reason. The brightly colored scenes of Shriners, swingers, tiki, and the surreal is always evocative and entertaining. I'm lucky enough to have a few prints of his, and dream of one day having my whole house filled with Shag art. This book is the most comprehensive collection I've seen, including details about his past, his process, and how his art has changed over the years.

    I could, and probably will, spend hours paging through this book, enjoying each one of his paintings, prints, and merch. That's one thing I love about Shag, is that there always seems to be something new to find in his paintings. It's also really interesting to see how his work has evolved over the years. From his early days creating album covers, to his most recent utopic scenes, you can really see how his style and tone has changed.

    This is a must have for any mid-century obsessive, tiki deviant, or pop art lover. Display it proudly on your coffee table or liquor shelf.

    SHAG: The Collected Works

    by Josh Agle

    AMMO Books

    2017, 192 pages, 9.0 x 0.8 x 12.2 inches, Hardcover

    $26 Buy on Amazon

    See sample pages from this book at Wink.

  • Presented in stark black and white, Batman Noir takes on the origin of comics' greatest super-villain, The Joker

    Let me start off by saying, this black and white reprint of The Killing Joke is a gimmick. I know it's a gimmick. You know it's a gimmick. But dang in this case, the gimmick works. The Batman Noir series is part of a recent trend where DC is reprinting some of their most popular books in stark black and white, so that you'll purchase them again or for the first time. While some of the other Batman Noir comics really lose something with their lack of color, The Killing Joke feels like it should have always been this contrasty.

    Removing all the color makes one of the darkest stories in the Batman mythos, even darker. If you haven't read it, Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's story dives into the Joker's origins, and his belief that one bad day is all that separates humanity from madness. While generally considered non-canonical the story had a huge influence on the comics, and how Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan would depict the Joker on film.

    So why should you purchase another copy of a book that most Batman fans already have? Well, it's beautiful. The matte hard cover is gorgeous and the added art looks amazing. This edition also includes both additional comics from 2008's deluxe edition, but does not have the introduction or epilogue, which I don't miss. So, if you haven't read The Killing Joke, or if your current copy is dog-eared and fading and you want something to display on your shelf, definitely pick up a copy.

    Batman Noir: The Killing Joke

    by Alan Moore, Brian Bolland (Illustrator)

    DC Comics

    2016, 112 pages, 7.8 x 0.6 x 11.8 inches, Hardcover

    $14 Buy on Amazon

    See sample pages from this book at Wink.

  • A sushi comic from the sick, twisted, and food-obsessed mind of Anthony Bourdain

    Like Sushi? Like hyper violent yakuza movies? Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi is a comic that could only have come from the sick, twisted, and food-obsessed mind of Anthony Bourdain. And I'm pretty sure he'd take the whole sick and twisted mind thing as the compliment it was intended to be. The latest book, Blood and Sushi is a prequel to 2013's Get Jiro!, this time we learn the backstory of how Jiro went from Yakuza enforcer to renowned LA sushi chef.

    By day, Jiro helps run his father's crime empire along with his maniacal half-brother, but by night Jiro trains to become a master sushi chef. His two sides are on a collision course that plays out across Japan and leaves a bloody wake. The artwork is incredible. Each frame balances the futuristic Japan, the beauty of the cuisine, and the grizzly katana-induced carnage.

    This comic is full bore, unhinged, Bourdain madness. If you're familiar with his travel shows, then you've probably gotten a taste of his dark humor, disdain for vegetarians, and obscure cinematic references — but the Jiro series takes it to a new level. It's violent. It's weird. I can't get enough.

    Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi

    by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose


    2015, 160 pages, 7 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches, Hardcover

    $15 Buy one on Amazon

    See sample pages from this book at Wink.

  • Nick Offerman shares his misadventures in sawdust and workshop projects for all levels

    I got into woodworking recently after buying my first house. I started building furniture not so much as a hobby, but because after buying a house I couldn't afford furniture to fill it. My thinking was, why spend a couple hundred bucks at Ikea buying a wobbly table, when I could buy a couple tools off Craigslist, get some lumber, and build exactly what I want. My utilitarian need to create something I could eat dinner off of, turned into a deep respect for woodworkers. So I was excited to read Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop. It combines my newfound joy of gluing wood together, and my fandom for all things Nick Offerman.

    If you're not aware, Offerman is an actor, comedian, author, but throughout it all he's been working with wood as both a hobby and way of life. While Good Clean Fun is filled with Offerman's sense of humor, it's very much a shop book. You will learn how to build a birdhouse whether you like it or not.

    Offerman sets up the book, explaining some Shop 101 tips, then he and other members of his woodshop walk you through how to build different projects. They explain how to cut, sand, join, and finish things ranging from dining chairs to a wooden kazoo. This isn't a joke-per-page book, well it is, but it also gets very technical. So if you have no interest in sawing, drilling, or the smell of cedar, this probably isn't going to be your book. But if you're looking to get some sawdust in your hair (it gives your hair a je ne sais quoi) then this is a perfect book to start with.

    Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop

    by Nick Offerman


    2016, 352 pages, 8.4 x 1 x 10.3 inches, Hardcover

    $25 Buy one on Amazon

  • Anthony Bourdain's new cookbook is as much an artbook as it is recipes

    Anthony Bourdain is an idol of mine. I read his breakout book Kitchen Confidential while I was working in a dingy Teriyaki Bar. I've watched as he's eaten his way around the world. I've read every book he's put out. I was first-in-line to pick up his only other cookbook released more than a decade ago — a collection of recipes from his time working at New York restaurant Les Halles. But his new one, Appetites: A Cookbook, is much more personal and really captures who I imagine Anthony Bourdain to be.

    The recipes are a mishmash of cuisines taken from Bourdain's travels and experiences, they're what he likes to eat, and what he feeds his family. You'll find new takes on old fare, like Mac and Cheese, Buttermilk Biscuits, and Thanksgiving Dinner. Also included, are recipes for some more worldly cuisine like Saffron Risotto, Banh Mi, and Poulet "Ev Vessie" Hommage á La Mére Brazier. Just don't expect a chocolate tart recipe, as Bourdain's not the biggest fan of baking sweets, or as he says, "Fuck Dessert."

    On the cover of Appetites: A Cookbook is an incredible painting done by Ralph Steadman, which sets up the elegant punk rock vibe that fills the book. The food being photographed is often gristly, squiggly, and to some people "gross," but it's shot in a beautiful way. There are shots of his Jiu Jitsu star wife putting someone in a headlock, friend and fellow cook Eric Ripert, and lots of vivid color, making this as much of an art book as a cookbook. This is a must for fans of Bourdain, or just people who are fans of food.

  • EveryDayCook – A welcome evolution from what Alton Brown did with Good Eats

    I discovered Alton Brown during the last few seasons of Good Eats, and I was instantly a fan. You've got to appreciate someone who can make a good martini. Brown's Monty Python humor and Bill Nye nerdiness was right up my alley. Since the show ended, he seemed to publicly take off his apron and put on a jacket, acting as host and performer in many popular shows, a podcast, and live road show. But, if you're like me, and missed Alton behind the stove, then get excited. EveryDayCook feels like his triumphant return as a cook.

    The book's a welcome evolution from what Brown did with Good Eats. While you won't find yeast puppets, you will find his familiar humor and meticulous attention to detail. Each recipe is broken down with Brown explaining how to prepare the dish in a simple and clear way. It's very apparent that this was a personal project for him, and that he had a hand in every aspect of the book, even the photography.

    Each and every picture in the book was taken using an iPhone. A 6s Plus to be specific. Why? Because he uses an iPhone. But then, because he's Alton freaking Brown he takes it a step further, and uses a top-down perspective for all of the photos. Now for non-photographers out there, just know, this is an incredibly difficult angle to shoot at. There are lighting issues, shadows can be a nightmare, you're left wondering what kind of masochist would do this? Alton Brown, that's who. It shows how much he cares. This is no cookie-cutter cookbook – it's uniquely his.

    The recipes are amazing. The photography's delightful. Pick up a copy.

    Note: Fans have found some typos in the book (nobody's perfect). A full list of corrections can be found here. And while a 2nd printing will of course fix all of these, if you grab a copy now, you'll have a cool collector's edition with a few fun Easter Eggs.

    See sample pages from this book at Wink.

    Alton Brown: EveryDayCook

    Alton Brown

    Ballantine Books

    2016, 256 pages, 9.3 x 9.3 x 1 inches (hardcover)

    $24 Buy a copy on Amazon

  • Symmetry – Utopias are never perfect, are they?

    Utopias are never perfect, are they? Symmetry offers some good heady sci-fi in the vein of 1984, Ender's Game, Equilibrium, or Fahrenheit 451. Imagine a world where humans are coddled and raised by machines, think Wall-E, but people haven't become total blobs. Gender and identity are decided by the individual when they turn thirteen. And all races have been separated, so that most people will grow up not even realizing that other nationalities exist. Then one day a solar flare causes the machines to shut down and the wall between nations to break.

    What follows is a great story that seems very relevant in today's world. I think Symmetry does what sci-fi does best, it makes you think about what's happening around you and where things might go if we aren't careful. It's clear that the creators spent a good deal of time thinking through these issues, and how the world in their book works. There's actually a pretty lengthy sociological write-up included that dives further into some of the ideas that helped shape the story.

    Volume 1 is satisfying, but definitely leaves you wanting more. The cel-shaded illustration feels like something out of a video game, which actually matches the story perfectly. Thankfully, Volume 2 is due out in December, so we'll get to explore more of this world. Get caught up.

    Symmetry Volume 1

    by Matt Hawkins

    Image Comics

    2016, 128 pages, 6.5 x 9.9 x 0.6 inches (softcover)

    $8 Buy a copy on Amazon

  • Kaijumax – Like Orange is the New Black, but the prisoners are monsters straight from Godzilla

    Kaijumax is a fun comic that will make you get all the feels for giant city-destroying monsters. It's like Oz or Orange Is the New Black, only the prisoners in this case are monsters straight from your favorite Godzilla movies. The monsters are kept in check by guards who have Ultraman-like power suits, allowing them to grow to skyscraper size and lay down their own form of justice.

    The story follows Electrogor, a monster and father who was apprehended for chewing on power cables in order to feed his children. As the new monster at Kaijumax, you follow him as he learns the ins and outs of how the prison works. There's everything you could possibly hope for in a facility that houses the world's deadliest creatures: corrupt guards, drugs, gangs, and a cult of mecha-monsters.

    The artwork's incredible. It brings a lightness to the otherwise surprisingly heavy subject matter. If you're a fan of Godzilla, Power Rangers, Ultraman, or any other Kaiju movie or show, you'll see some familiar characters hidden throughout. This is one of the weirdest comics that I've read in a while, but I loved every minute of it. Give giant monsters a chance, and check this one out.

    See sample pages from this book at Wink.

    Kaijumax Season One

    by Zander Cannon

    Oni Press

    2016, 168 pages, 6.6 x 10.1 x 0.4 inches (softcover)

    $8 Buy a copy on Amazon


  • If you're in for Lovecraftian horror and Nazi punching, pick up B.P.R.D: 1946-1948

    I can't get enough of Mignola's occult investigators. The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense first appeared in the Hellboy series, however the comics have spiraled off to rightfully stand on their own. This HUGE hardback collects stories from the Bureau's early years, not long after its creation in 1944. If you've been following the series, this collection fills in a large gap between the organization's inception, and where the Hellboy comics pick up in the modern day.

    A year after WWII ends, the Bureau is left trying to stamp out one of Hitler's last ditch efforts to turn the war around. Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, Hellboy's guardian, is seen here as a younger man battling the forces of evil, and trying to prevent the Reich from amassing power yet again.

    There's so much to love about this book – vampires, an evil Nazi head in a jar, sentient chimpanzees. The artwork is incredible. Mignola worked with a whole slew of illustrators all who brought a unique interpretation to the gothic style that fills out this world. Knowing a little about the Hellboy universe is helpful, but not necessary. If you're up for some Lovecraftian horror and Nazi punching, definitely pick this one up

    B.P.R.D: 1946-1948

    by Mike Mignola

    Dark Horse Books

    2015, 472 pages, 6.9 x 10.4 x 1.4 inches (hardcover)

    $24 Buy a copy on Amazon

  • Aliens 30th Anniversary: The Original Comic Series

    Aliens is one of my all-time favorite movies. A perfect mix of action, sci-fi and horror, which I would argue hasn't been replicated. Then there's Alien 3, and everything that came after it. I don't like to talk about that. But, in 1988 after Aliens came and four years before the next movie would come out, this comic series ran which gave me the followup story I wanted.

    The series has been published as Aliens: Book One, Aliens: Outbreak, and in novel form as Aliens: Earth Hive (a lot to keep track of), but since these publications were made after Alien 3 came out, names were changed to avoid confusion from the films continuation of the story. So Wilcks = Hicks and Billie = Newt. Thankfully this comic doesn't do that. This printing features the comic as it was intended to be read with the characters we're familiar with.

    The story picks up a few years after the film ended. An adult Newt and aged Hicks are struggling to deal with the horrors they witnessed, and Ripley is ominously missing. The black-and-white comics really capture the gritty world that the movies take place in, expanding on it in the best way. Although the comic ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, the story is continued in Aliens: Nightmare Asylum, but you will have to deal with the name change of the main characters.

    The book itself is beautiful. And black. Very black. It feels like something that was designed by H.R. Giger himself. Why I'm most excited about this rerun of the series is because it gives me some hope at seeing a movie that truly succeeds Aliens. There's been a lot of back and forth, but Sigourney Weaver, Ellen Ripley herself, has been in talks with Neill Blomkamp (director ofDistrict 9), and the two are championing a new Alien movie. One which might retcon everything that happened in the later movies. This would mean that the cinematic world might very well line up with these comics. It's a stretch, and might never happen, but I like to dream. Aliens fans will definitely appreciate this one.

    Aliens 30th Anniversary: The Original Comic Series

    by Mark Verheiden (author) and Mark A. Nelson (illustrator)

    Dark Horse Books

    2016, 184 pages, 8.3 x 12.4 x 1 inches (hardback)

    $17 Buy a copy on Amazon