Monday, December 20, 2010

OtherWorlds: How to Imagine Paint and Create Epic Scenes of Fantasy Book Review

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OtherWorlds: How to Imagine Paint and Create Epic Scenes of Fantasy Book Review
About the Book: With OtherWorlds,you will learn to draw and paint fantasy scenery. Also disc over how to bring forth ideas more quickly, and communicate a sense of place that evokes a range of emotions, especially the thrill of taking an exotic journey to explore the unknown. Enjoy Tom Kidd?s lively and personal step-by-step instruction that includes information on materials, observing nature, drawing, form, color, creating special effects and more. You will learn to create scenes so vast they take your breath away with exquisite skies and aircraft, rugged terrain, glittering cites, spectacular rock formations, stormy seas, magnificent forests and more.


Our Take: This new book, OtherWorlds, is a great book by Tom Kidd that features his fantasy artwork.  He shows you the materials that he uses for each piece, along with the thought that goes into lighting and backrounds.  The painted works are absolutely fantastic and will definately please any fan of fantasty art.


How to Buy: Amazon.com

Weirdo Noir: Gothic and Lowbrow Art Book Review

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Weirdo Noir: Gothic and Lowbrow Art Book Review


About the Book: Like a corpse in a zombie movie, the Goth movement has been resuscitated stronger, more powerful, and more contagious than ever before. From fashion to music, Goth influences have crept into every area of pop culture, and nowhere is that influence creepier, more fascinating, and more playful than in the art world. Weirdo Noir is the follow-up volume to Weirdo Deluxe, the book that brought the once underground Low Brow art scene to prominence in the public eye. In these pages you'll find the latest and greatest work from 30 Low Brow arists who have embraced the dark side, employing gothic themes in their art. Spooky and witty, Weirdo Noir is destined to become a classic of the millennial Goth aesthetic.


Our Take: Art is a tricky area.  A lot of people that I encounter feel that classical art isn't accessible to them.  What this book does is collect some of the best emerging lowbrow modern artists.  This collection includes personal favorites of mine like Tara McPherson.  All of the artists embrace a goth or underground theme.  This is a fantastic book that will give any art fan or anyone curious about modern art a great look into what is out there on the scene!  I highly recommend this one.


How to Buy: Amazon.com

50 Modern Artists You Should Know Book Review

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50 Modern Artists You Should Know Book Review


About the Book: A century and a half of masterpieces is covered in this chronologically arranged volume that beautifully captures the development of art in a new age.

Starting with James Abbott McNeill Whistler and ending with Matthew Barney, nearly every prominent figure in Modern art is represented in vibrant double-page spreads that show how these artists continued to redefine norms and challenge tradition. Fascinating biographical and anecdotal information about each artist is provided alongside large reproductions of their most celebrated works, stunning details, and images of the artists themselves. A color-coded timeline spans the entire volume, showing overlapping careers and important historical dates. From the impressionists to the surrealists, the cubists to the pop-artists-readers will find a wealth of information as well as hours of enjoyment learning about this popular and prolific period in art history.


Our Take: I'm an artist and a student of art, so when I see a book titled "50 Modern Artists You Should Know", I certainly pay attention!   This book features artists from Dali to Van Gogh all the way to my personal favorite Henri De Toulouse Lautrec!  Each artist gets at least one full-color image and a small bio about them with a timeline and picture of the artist.  This is a great reference to flip through and a nice way to educate you or someone else on some major artists from the past 200 years!


How to Buy: Amazon.com

Street Sketchbook: Journeys Hardcover Book Review

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Street Sketchbook: Journeys Hardcover Book Review


About the Book: Fans of the hit graffiti title Street Sketchbook will delight in this new volume dedicated to the journeys both geographical and imaginative of street artists. Twenty-six of the hottest new artists working worldwide today have opened up their sketchbooks to share their impressions as they travel on road trips, trek halfway across the globe, and explore internal landscapes. From widely diverse backgrounds, these cutting-edge artists share one crucial decision: to bypass conventional routes for the creative road less taken, the urban streets and alleyways. From doodles on a bus in Central America to fully realized murals spanning the Israel-Palestine border, Street Sketchbook: Journeys is an engrossing travelogue of visual free expression.


Our Take: I love looking into the sketchbooks of various artists.  As an artist myself I find it to be very inspirational.  This new volume of the Street Sketchbook series gives us 26 street artists.  Their artwork is very unique and low-brow, so its especially fun to see their sketches.  The hardcover book features hundreds of pages of great drawings.  Everything from true doodles to works that could be a finished piece, this book has it all.  It really enjoyed looking through this one and I'll definately be doing so again in the near future.  We highly recommend for any art fan!


How to Buy: Amazon.com

The Art of Drew Struzan Book Review

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The Art of Drew Struzan Book Review

About the Book: He is the favorite artist of both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and the artist behind some of the most iconic images of our time… he is Drew Struzan.

Struzan has worked on the posters for the biggest films of the last 30 years. Blade Runner, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and E.T: The Extraterrestrial to name but a few.

The first ever book to cover Struzan’s iconic poster artwork in depth, with the final artwork for each piece accompanied by background and anecdotes from an exclusive interview with the artist. With an introduction to Struzan’s philosophies and techniques, this stunning hardcover will include photos, sketches and reference material, plus closeups and a brief history of each poster featured, from Star Wars to The Goonies.



Our Take: I had no idea how prolific the art of Drew Struzan was in cinema before I saw this new art book.  In fact, I'll fully admit that I had never even heard his name!  I certainly won't be forgetting it anytime soon, now!  He has painted realistic pieces for films from Harry Potter to Back to the Future, Indiana Jones and Star Wars.  There were actually some paintings in there that I thought were real pictures of the characters!  The best part of this book is the sketches of the designs and layouts for most of the posters that he didn't end up using!  Its a great behind the scenes look.

This great hardcover collection of movie posters is a must have for any art fan and movie fan.  Its absolutely fantastic!


How to Buy: Amazon.com

The Great LIFE Photographers Book Review

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The Great LIFE Photographers Book Review

About the Book: The Great LIFE Photographers is the most comprehensive anthology of LIFE photography ever published, featuring the best work of every staff photographer who worked for the famous magazine, and that of a handful of others who shot for LIFE. It was always the photographers who made LIFE great, and this is the most vivid and exciting portrait of those men and women that has ever been produced.

The book offers more than 100 portfolios including those of Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke-White, Carl Mydans, Gordon Parks, W. Eugene Smith, Robert Capa, Ralph Morse, Nina Leen, Harry Benson, Philippe Halsman, and Joe McNally, whose work for LIFE in the aftermath of September 11 was in the finest tradition of the magazine. Each portfolio includes a short biography, offering an intimate look at the people behind the lens.

Here are the defining moments of the 20th century, including MacArthur wading ashore by Mydans, Capa's D-Day landing at Omaha Beach and, of course, Eisenstaedt's sailor kissing the nurse. Here are the first pictures taken from inside the womb and the first taken from outer space. Here are powerful scenes from Tiananmen Square and from the American South during the Civil Rights movement. LIFE helped make icons of Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe, the Beatles and Michael Jackson, and those indelible photographs are here too.

This attractive new paperback edition is an affordable way to own some of the most memorable photographs ever made, stunningly reproduced in black and white and full color.



Our Take: Our review for this new book is going to be short and sweet due to the content.  LIFE magazine is famous for capturing American history with some of the greatest photographs of all time.  This new book, The Great LIFE Photographers, features hundreds of amazing photographs from past issues of LIFE.  You get everything from Marilyn Monroe and Fred Astaire to a cyclone survivor in Pakistan and the Spanish civil war.   I cannot recommend this book enough.  Its great to flip through anytime and is a great conversation starter.


How to Buy: Amazon.com

Cartoon 360: Secrets to Drawing Cartoon People and Poses in 3-D Book Review

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Cartoon 360: Secrets to Drawing Cartoon People and Poses in 3-D Book Review


About the Book: All skill levels and ages, particularly beginners who may have little or no experience, will learn how to draw a wide variety of fun, simple cartoon people. Author, Harry Hamernik starts with basic lines and shapes, and then lets you in on great secrets to redrawing your characters in many different poses that bring them to life. This encouraging book is loaded with techniques, exercises and step-by-step demonstrations that will give you results you can be proud of.


Our Take: I've always been a huge fan of animation art.  As an artist, I've encorporated a lot of animated themes into my work.  This new book gave me a few more ideas of what to work with.  This book covers everything from eye angles to head perspectives.  It takes you from the sketch and character development process all of the way to finishing up your works in adobe illustrator.  Overall its a great book and definately something great for anyone interested in animation art.


How to Buy: Amazon.com

Bryan Hitch's Ultimate Comics Studio Book Review

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Bryan Hitch's Ultimate Comics Studio Book Review


About the Book: The world's top comic artist Bryan Hitch explores his inspirations, approaches and techniques through a stunning collection of his finest pieces from Marvel, as well as brand new pieces commissioned especially for this book. Packed with information, practical tips on panel composition, storytelling, tools and materials, inspiration and references, how to break into the industry and much more, this is the long awaited guide and a must-have for Bryan Hitch fans all over the world. Including a foreword by writer, director and producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon, this is a veritable visual feast of dynamic, impactful art for comic fans all over the world.


Our Take: I'm always interested in art "instructional" books, as an artist myself.  Its always nice to get some tips from the pros and some new insight. I do enjoy Hitch's artwork and this is a great showcase for his work.  Its primarily just that, though, a showcase.  There isn't much art instruction or tips to be found.  There is a cool look at this pencil to ink artwork and some shots of his studio, which I always enjoy.  Thats not to say there is nothing to be learned, I did find a few good tips and some nics pencils to work off of.  Overall, its a nice book, especially if you're a fan of Hitch's comic book art. 


How to Buy: Amazon.com

Tunes: A Comic Book History of Rock and Roll Book Review

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Tunes: A Comic Book History of Rock and Roll Book ReviewAbout the Book: Engaging as well as informative, Tunes traces the rise of rock and roll through the format of comics. Capitalizing on the immense popularity of the graphic novel, Vincent Brunner has assembled illustrators and cartoonists to visually depict the history of rock music through comics. This unique approach will not only appeal to those who grew up with the bands, but also to an entirely new generation of budding fans. Full of colorful personalities from larger-than-life divas to modest men who made it big, the story of rock is compelling and diverse. From Elvis and Little Richard to the British Invasion in the 1960s and onward through the eras of punk, heavy metal, new wave, and grunge, this series of black-and-white graphic depictions ranges from hilariously personal to absolutely wild. Each strip is accompanied by humorous yet informative text recounting the early struggles, successes, and challenges of each band. Also included is a selective discography for each band or artist, highlighting their biggest hits or most memorable songs.


Our Take: I'm a huge fan of music and comic books, so quite frankly this new Tunes book kicks ass!   Its basically a compilation of a bunch of comics from different artists telling the stories of various rock and roll bands from Metallica to David Bowie and Pink Floyd.  The illustration quality differs from story to story, but overall its a nice book.  Its fun to read through and a great addition to any comic book collection.


How to Buy: Amazon.com

The Book Of Buddhas Book Review

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The Book Of Buddhas Book Review

About the Book: Modern students who are drawn to the study and practice of Buddhism are not always able to easily learn the symbolic meaning of the various types of statuary connected to the study of this philosophy. In Buddhism, every symbol has a meaning and this book explores the symbolism of the ritual objects that are used on statues and paintings, as well as explaining the ritual meaning of the objects associated with Buddhism.


Our Take: Buddhism is as much a philosophy as it is a religion.  As with most philosophy there is a lot of confusion about what is what.  You may want to find some easy and clear details and this new book is a great way to do that.  Its not a guide to the philosophy, but rather to the different buddhas throughout time.  You can educate yourself about the imagery, symbols and characters associated with this ancient system of wisdom.  This book really is great, I found it highly useful and a nice little guide to have around. 


How to Buy: Amazon.com

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Star Wars - The Jedi Path Book Review

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Star Wars - The Jedi Path Book Review

About the Book: The Jedi Path, Fully Illustrated, with Removable Features and a Mechanical Vault

With the push of a button, the doors of the vault open in a wash of light and Star Wars sound effects. The inner platform rises, revealing this exclusive edition of The Jedi Path.

This ancient training manual, crafted by early Jedi Masters, has educated and enlightened generations of Jedi. It explains the history and hierarchy of the Jedi Order, and what Jedi must know to take their place as defenders of the peace in the galaxy—from mastery of the Force to the nuances of lightsaber combat.

Passed down from Master to Padawan, the pages of this venerable text have been annotated by those who have held it, studied it, and lived its secrets. From Yoda and Luke Skywalker to Count Dooku and Darth Sidious, they have shaped the content of the book by leaving mementos tucked within the pages, tearing out pages, and adding their personal experiences as tangible reminders of the lessons they’ve learned.

Through wars and rebellion, only a single copy of this manual has survived. It is now passed on to you.

The ancient Masters who wrote the text: Fae Coven, Grand Master and head of the Jedi Council; Crix Sunburris, Jedi Ace starfighter pilot; Restelly Quist, Jedi Chief Librarian; Skarch Vaunk, Jedi Battlemaster and lightsaber expert; Bowspritz, Jedi Biologist and expert on the Living Force; Sabla-Mandibu, Jedi Seer and Holocron expert; Morrit Ch’gally, Jedi Recruiter; Gal-Stod Slagistrough, Jedi leader of the Agricultural Corps.

Jedi who added personal commentary: Yoda, Thame Cerulian, Count Dooku, Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Darth Sidious, and Luke Skywalker.

Removable features: A letter tracing the book’s history, a severed Padawan braid, a metal Jedi Credit medallion, a Jedi starfighter patch, a burned poster of the Jedi Code, a map of the Jedi Temple, a lightsaber diagram sketched on the back of a napkin from Dex’s Diner, and a note on the missing pages torn from the book by a Sith.

Created in collaboration with Lucasfilm—along with an acclaimed Star Wars author and revered Star Wars illustrators—this volume provides new insights into the history and lore of the Jedi Order while introducing never-before-seen ships, creatures, characters, and details about how one trains to become a Jedi.

The Jedi Path is for adults, and is intended for ages 14 and up.

Our Take: To call this book a book is truly a disservice to this product.  Its far more than just a book, its an entire experience.  An awakening, of sorts.  Admittedly, I am a huge Star Wars fan.  I mean, who isn't right?   This book is one of the most amazing Star Wars products that has come across my plate....ever.

From start to finish..you open up this vault edition hardcover with the push of a button and WHOOSH...lights and sound effects appear to reveal this book in all it's grandure.  The hardcover text is a fictional work that was said to have been written by great jedis of the past.  This is the last edition of the text, hence why its protected in this great vault and includes some cool pack-ins like a padawan lock of hair, starfighter patch and more.

The book itself is fun to read through for any Star Wars fanatic.  This one carries a heavy price tage, but hey we fans are used to that, right?  This one is worth the money.  It really delivers in both content and experience.  The presentation is fantastic and the book is a great read.  This one is a home run!

How to Buy: Amazon.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jackass: 10 Years Of Stupid Book Review

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Jackass: 10 Years Of Stupid Book Review



About the Book: On this, the auspicious 10th anniversary of jackass, this deluxe hardbound photo book will celebrate and commemorate this iconic crew for lasting so long in the “here-today-gone-tomorrow” world of entertainment pop culture. The book will not only span the 10 years of jackass, but will also include the Big Brother magazine days that came before and ultimately gave birth to the franchise on MTV, as well as a few of the other entertainment projects between, i.e. Viva La Bam, Wildboyz, and Nitro Circus.

Reaching deep into the archives, the book will feature reproductions of Big Brother covers featuring Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Wee-Man, and Steve-O; subscription ads featuring Knoxville, Chris Pontius, and Wee-Man; skateboard shots of Bam, Pontius, and Wee-Man (possibly Dave England, too); Knoxville’s original “Self-Defense Test” article; random Steve-O and Knoxville stunt photos; and various stupid/embarrassing images of the staff.

Thereafter it will be a treasure trove of the most memorable and never-before-seen (deemed too controversial for television) images of the jackass stars doing what they do best. Not just a great gift for jackass fans, a truly remarkable document that will be as mesmerizing as it is shocking.



Our Take: We LOVE Jackass here at the Legion.  We regularly watch Johnny and the boys injure, embaress and mock themselves for our enjoyment.  Jackass isn't just about the stunts, its about the people.  The characters.  You get invested in each person and only then does Jackass really come together for you. 

This new hardcover book "10 Years of Stupid" is full of never before seen color images from the show and movies over the years, including the new Jackass 3D.   There is over 220 pages of cool pictures and behind the scenes information packing this book full.  Its a huge treat for me as a fan of the guys.  I learned a lot about the production and inner-workings of the show.  This book is bad ass and ideal for any jackass.


How to Buy: Amazon.com

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Marvel Comics: The End of Red Hulk?

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The End Of The Red Hulk?
 
The Red Hulk’s faced the greatest threats in the Marvel Universe—so just why is the all-new General Fortean the most dangerous? Discover the answer in Hulk 30.1, from the acclaimed team of Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman, as an all-new era for the Red Hulk begins with a SMASH, perfect for readers new and old alike. General Ross has gone from hunter to hunted and Fortean, equipped with the military’s most advanced hardware, will not rest until Red Hulk is taken down. Prepare for an explosive gamma-infused showdown between Ross and his most challenging nemesis yet!
 
“With the arrival of General Fortean, the cycle of the great hunt begins again in Hulk. But having been the hunter before, the Red Hulk will do things differently. And having watched his commander- Ross- all those years, so will Fortean” explains writer Jeff Parker. “It's classic Hulk big action that breaks new ground- breaks it to pieces, really.”
 
“Fortean is more dangerous to Red Hulk than an adversary that matches him in strength alone. Fortean can think like Ross,” added artist Gabriel Hardman. “As an artist, knowing how a character thinks is the key to drawing them. So when these characters meet, I'll be drawing a lot of well thought out smashing.” 
With the tables turned, who will become the most dangerous game? Fortean is only the first of many new terrifying villains who have their sights set on the Red Hulk! Be there when these two titans square off in Hulk #30.1!
 
HULK #30.1
Written by JEFF PARKER
Pencils by GABRIEL HARDMAN
Cover by RON GARNEY
Rated T+ …$2.99
ON SALE THIS MARCH!

Revisit The World of DEATH NOTE, in the All New BLACK Edition

 A SHINIGAMI DEATH GOD AND THE HUNT FOR AN ‘ETHICAL’ SERIAL KILLER TO ENTHRALL THE MANGA WORLD AGAIN IN THE RELEASE OF VIZ MEDIA’S DEATH NOTE BLACK EDITION 

New Edition Of The Riveting Supernatural Crime Mystery Features A Larger Size And Added Full Color Pages 

San Francisco, CA, December 13, 2010 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the release of DEATH NOTE BLACK EDITION, an oversized version of the acclaimed supernatural crime thriller. Volume 1 hits stores on December 28th and includes the first two editions of the popular manga (graphic novel) series as well as added full-color pages. The DEATH NOTE BLACK EDITION will be offered under the Shonen Jump Advanced imprint, is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, and will retail for $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN.

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects—and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal…or his life?
 

“DEATH NOTE took the manga world by storm and became an international bestseller with its sinister plot and captivating artwork,” says Beth Kawasaki, Sr. Editorial Director. “The BLACK EDITION is an ideal way for those who never read the original series to finally see what the buzz is all about in six volumes versus the original 12-volume run. For established fans or anyone that might have missed later DEATH NOTE volumes, the new version also presents a great opportunity to revisit the series with its larger trade paperback size, new cover design, and bonus color pages.” 

The original DEATH NOTE series, a 12-volume mystery created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and artist Takeshi Obata, continues to be a must-read among legions of ardent fans, having sold over 1.2 million copies in the U.S. to date. DEATH NOTE has spawned not only a fanbook (DEATH NOTE: HOW TO READ 13) and two novels (DEATH NOTE ANOTHER NOTE: THE LOS ANGELES BB MURDER CASES and DEATH NOTE: L, CHANGE THE WORLD), all published by VIZ Media, but also a 37-episode animated series (available streamed online for free at VIZAnime.com and on DVD from VIZ Media), three live-action feature films and a plethora of related posters, toys and action figures. The DEATH NOTE manga and anime are both rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens.  

For more information on DEATH NOTE, please visit DeathNote.viz.com.
To view animated DEATH NOTE episodes for free, please visit www.VIZAnime.com. 

For more information on other Shonen Jump titles, please visit www.ShonenJump.com.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lisa Lampanelli Chocolate, Please Book Review

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Lisa Lampanelli Chocolate, Please Book Review

About the Book: An inside look at the life of Comedy's Lovable Queen of Mean, Lisa Lampanelli, as she dishes on everything from relationships, food, and fat to why once you go black, you never go back
In her jaw-droppingly hilarious and politically incorrect memoir, Lisa reveals all—including the dysfunctional childhood that made her the insult comic she is today, the subject for which she's best known (black men, black men, and more black men), and her hilarious struggles with her addiction to food and hot guys. By telling her story in her very real, very candid, very open way, Lisa shows her audience that it's okay to be yourself, even if it's just one rehab stint at a time. Lisa also takes readers behind the scenes at the roasts that have marked her comedy career and launched her into the comedy elite, and reveals the important "firsts" in her career, including her first time on her hero's program, The Howard Stern Show.

Chocolate, Please is a side-splittingly funny portrait of the woman behind the award-winning insult comedy

Our Take: Who doesn't love Lisa Lampanelli? She is without a doubt in the list of top five comics in the business right now.  You've seen her on the Comedy Central Roasts and heard her on Howard Stern.  She's always funny...always mean and never fails to deliver!  My wife and I saw her recently at a house show, she killed.  It was amazing.  Her delivery is flawless and her insults fly off her tongue with grace and elegance.

Lisa's book, Chocolate, Please, is now on paperback, so we thought we'd give it a read.  Her stories are hilarious, maybe even funnier than her insults that she is so famous for.    Lisa's take on life and love is not only insightful, but its beyond funny.  You'll laugh....and well, you'll laugh.  This book is a keeper and would make an ideal Xmas gift.

Lisa Lampanelli's Rules to Live By

Husbands and Other Useless Entities in the Delivery Room
Recently, it has become popular to turn the delivery room into a cocktail party with guests enjoying snacks and breezy conversation while Mom is getting tortured. They think it’s going to be fun to watch until they spend some time there. Every type of bodily function is on display and coming at you in 3-D. It’s like a Gallagher concert, except it’s entertaining.

Passing Down the Family Name
People feel the need to pass on their entire name to their offspring, as if the last name ain’t bad enough. Why give the kid both names? It’s a well-known fact that nobody likes sequels.

Family Trees/Genealogy
Family trees only matter if you’re betting on a horse or want to be a made member of the mob. Everyone’s family tree starts with a monkey and ends in disappointment.

Sibling Rivalry 
Sibling rivalry is the oldest psychological affliction known to man. It’s the reason Cain killed Abel. Their mom, Eve, liked Abel more.

Italian Families vs. Normal Families
Italian families are different from normal families. And by “normal,” I mean WASP families. There are many reasons for these differences. The first is volume. Italians whispering is screaming to a WASP.

Family Vacations
The term “family vacation” is an oxymoron. If you’re stuck with your family, it ain’t no vacation. We should call family vacations what they are: “Countdown to Dad’s public tantrum.”

Interventions
Interventions are a great way to lose a friend. That is because people don’t want to hear the truth about themselves. Addicts know they have a problem. Interventions are as bad as telling someone her boyfriend is cheating on her. Let her find out on her own. Remember: They always shoot the messenger.

Texting While on Dates
Texting on a date is completely inappropriate unless it’s a blind date, and by “blind date,” I mean the other person is blind. What could be more important on a date with me than me?

How to Buy: Amazon.com

Star Wars Art: Visions Book Review

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Star Wars Art: Visions Book Review

About the Book: When Star Wars debuted in 1977, it revolutionized mainstream American filmmaking, transporting fans to new galaxies and introducing them to countless now-classic characters, aliens, planets, and starships. In the decades since, the Star Wars Saga has become a phenomenon impacting cultures across the globe.

Just as George Lucas drew upon the work of N. C. Wyeth and Norman Rockwell for his own visual inspiration, he has now invited more than 100 well-known and promising artists to draw upon the entire Star Wars galaxy for inspiration. Star Wars: Visions collects these magnificent artworks for the first time. Featuring pieces by renowned artists such as Amano, Allan R. Banks, Harley Brown, Gary Carter, James Christensen, Michael Coleman, Kinuko Craft, Jim Dietz, Phillipe Druillet, Donato Giancola, Ann Hanson, H. R. Giger, Daniel Greene, Ron Kleeman, Arantzazu Martinez, Syd Mead, Moebius, Paul Oxborough, Alex Ross, Anthony J. Ryder, Dolfi Stoki, William Stout, Dan Thompson, Julie Bell and Boris Vallejo, Scott Waddell, and Jamie Wyeth, Star Wars: Visions is a breakthrough tribute to the worldwide inspiration that is Star Wars.

Our Take: We love Star Wars here at the Legion and we also love art books.  What happens when the two merge?  A fantastic new title Star Wars Art: Visions!  There is a TON of Star Wars art out there, but this book collects some of the most interesting pieces into one nice hardcover edition.  

The pieces range from the absurd and odd to the action-packed and stunning.  There is everything from parody to serious tribute in this book and its all good.  Star Wars is an amazing franchise and books like these really show what a force (no pun intended) it is on pop culture still in the 21st Century!  

This book is highly recommended for ANY Star Wars fan...you won't be disappointed.

How to Buy: Amazon.com

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A First Look at Marvel Comics Thunderstrike #1!

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Marvel is pleased to present your first look at Thunderstrike #1 (of 5), from creators Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, and Todd Nauck! Years ago, Eric Masterson laid down his enchanted mace -- and his life -- in defense of his fellow Avengers. From the halls of Valhalla to the streets of New York, scant has been heard of the hero known as Thunderstrike since…until now. Has an unknown force returned him to the realm of the living?  Or has his enchanted weapon finally sought out a worthy successor?  And just why are Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter in a race against the clock to discover the truth? Lightning will strike twice as a legend returns to the Marvel Universe this November in Thunderstrike #1 (of 5)!


THUNDERSTRIKE #1 (of 5) (SEP100542)
Written by TOM DEFALCO
Pencils by RON FRENZ & TODD NAUCK
Cover by RON FRENZ
Rated A…$3.99
FOC – 10/29/10, ON SALE – 11/24/10
 
To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit www.comicshoplocator.com

Friday, October 15, 2010

Vintage T-Shirts Book Review

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Vintage T-Shirts Book Review

About the Book: With the addition of just a few letters or an image the simple T-shirt can become a personal billboard. What started as the standard issue undershirt of the U.S. military, by the mid-1970s had evolved into a means of self-expression and individualism. Musical taste, political slant, favorite TV show or movie, vacation destination and brand preference — it's all on a tee.

From DIY to the mass market, the printed T-shirt has been embraced by fashion designers and artists, street culture and brand-building corporations. Yet its basic form and function are unchanged. This quintessentially American item — best teamed with a pair of blue jeans — remains the simplest and most direct way of broadcasting our ideals and allegiances, sense of humor and cultural passions.

Selected from the collection of Patrick and Marc Guetta, owners of World of Vintage T-Shirts on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, this book assembles over 650 stone-cold classics of the genre. Drawn primarily from the golden era of the 1970s and 1980s, these vintage T-shirts are not merely nostalgic artifacts; they represent an historical record of political, popular and corporate thought in America. Vintage T-Shirts documents the most striking variations on this infinitely versatile garment. With an introduction on the history of the T-shirt in American popular culture by Alison A. Nieder, Vintage T-Shirts is an essential work of reference for anyone interested in pop culture, fashion, or graphic design

Our Take: The title of this book is Vintage T-Shirts and boy, they aren' t joking!  This book is oozing with picture after picture of amazing t-shirts from yesterday!    This sucker is heavy with almost 400 pages of retro-goodness!

The subjects covered on the shirts are everything from bands to movies, pop-culture references and cartoons!  I saw shirts from Star Wars, Ninja Turtles, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Mr. T and more!  Does it list EVERY shirt?  Of course not, because in the age of iron-ons there were a ton of options, but I found a number of shirts that I used to own in there and many others that I recognized.  This is a great reference guide and a very, very fun book to have around and enjoy.  It should definately grace your coffee table!

Toulous-Lautrec Book Review

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Toulous-Lautrec Book Review

About the Book: The world of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was inhabited by denizens of the street and night life of fin-de-siecle Paris - with its dance halls, bars, brothels and circuses. Portraying this world in his paintings, drawings , posters and prints, Lautrec created a vibrant body of art that earned him lasting renown. Lautrec was born in 1864 into one of the oldest noble families in France. At the age of 13 it was discovered that he suffered from a genetic defect that prevented the bones in his legs from continuing to grow. Small in stature and singular in appearance, Lautrec lived his life with a passionate intensity, choosing to dwell among the Bohemian and exotic characters he depicted in his canvases. He died at the age of 37 after excessive drinking had severely debilitated and finally destroyed him. During his short career, however, he not only painted, drew, and designed posters, but also worked with stained glass and bookbindings. The essays in this book discuss the full range of Lautrec's career and artistic activities - from his youthful sketchbooks and examples of applied art to the seminal pictures and posters at the end of his life. The essays also focus on the cultural milieu and social history of the period, analyzing the marketplace in which Lautec worked, the implications of his exhibitions and his association with other artists, designers and literary figures. The book is the catalogue for an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London from October 10, 1991 to January 19, 1992 and at the Grand Palais in Paris from February 18 to June 1992.

Our Take: I am a lover of art and I am myself an artist...and one my all-time favorite artists is Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec!  You may not know the name instantly, as he is far from a household name like Van Gogh or Degas, though he studied with them.  You may know him from his most famous work from within the infamous Moulin Rouge.  He was even portrayed in the famous movie by John Leguizamo.  

Those that have an interest in art should definately check out Toulouse, his work was amazing.  He had a sketchy style that was impressionist in nature, but really pushed the boundries of what that meant with his often lurid subject matter.  This book by Matthias Arnold is a great little biography, coupled with dozens of full-color glossy pages of his work.  Its a fantastic read and a nice little book to have around the house for all to enjoy!

Mummies of the World Book Review

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Mummies of the World Book Review

About the Book: This compelling book provides a historical, cultural and scientific look at mummies and mummification and proves that fact is as compelling as fiction. As the companion catalogue to the Mummies of the World exhibition, this book features mummies from a variety of natural environments and several cultures, including Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe and Ancient Egypt.

The book reveals not only many of the techniques that ancient cultures used to preserve the bodies of the dead, but also the many natural processes leading to the preservation of bodies in desert sands, ice or acidic bogs, or even in attics.

Nearly thirty scientific essays, with outstanding photographs and illustrations, bring together the latest research in mummy studies, with contributions from archaeology, anthropology, palaeopathology, biology and many other disciplines. With dignity and reverence, this volume shares the hidden information contained within the mummies.

Our Take: When I first looked into this book I figured it'd be another book about Egypt.  You hear the term Mummy and thats just where your mind goes.  Don't be fooled!  This book is so much more than that!

Mummies of the World is a fantastic book by Alfried Wieczorek and Wilfried Rosendahl that delves into not only the idea of mummification, but the decomposition of the human body and the extensive science behind it all.  This isn't light reading, but its FULL of great information on a unique subject.  You won't find a better resource for the topic than this, we highly recommend!

How to Buy: Amazon.com

Acrylic Innovation Book Review

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Acrylic Innovation Book Review

About the Book: A creative joy ride!

Acrylic is often used as a substitute for oil paint or watercolor, but the real gold mine is in allowing the medium freedom to do what it does best. This book shows how today’s artists are doing exactly that. It’s loaded with original artwork and valuable insight from 64 artists, incredibly diverse in styles and subjects, each using acrylic in unique ways to create expressive and personal art. 

· 64 artists offer their individual ideas, approaches and inspirations for working with acrylic paints

· 29 styles, ranging from photorealism to minimal color field and everything in between, are explored through artist profiles, artwork and boundary-breaking “challenges” that provide dynamic starting points for your own art

· 29 step-by-step demonstrations illustrate acrylic-driven techniques you can take straight to your work, including collage and assemblage, reverse painting, printmaking, accidental stenciling, working with metallic mixtures and more

A follow-up to the best-selling Acrylic Revolution, Acrylic Innovation takes you outside your comfort zone. Dip in whenever you feel the urge to experiment, have fun and see fresh and exciting results.

Our Take: We love art instruction and tip books here at the Legion!  I'm an exhibiting artist and I've worked rather extensively with acrylic myself, so I was curious to see if this book had anything to offer and how helpful it really would be.

I found that most of the tips were sound and well explained.  There are a few that require more visuals to show the steps involved, unfortunately when you're a professional and you can do something so simply, you forget that others may feel lost in your minimal instruction.  The book also comes with a handy-dandy CD that will help guide you through some of the tips.

Overall though, a great book and definately something to check out if you're into painting with acrylics.

How to Buy: Amazon.com

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dc Comics: The 75th Anniversary Poster Book Book Review


Dc Comics: The 75th Anniversary Poster Book Book Review
 

About the Book: Here are 100 of the most important, most incredible, and most bizarre comic-book covers from DC's incredible archives all perforated and ready to display in your apartment, dorm room, or cubicle. From Action Comics #1 and Batman #1 to lesser-known heroes like Mister District Attorney, this oversized compilation features every major milestone in DC's extraordinary history: Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Watchmen, Fables, 100 Bullets, and much more.

On the reverse of each poster are images of related covers and entertaining commentary, often with remarks from the cover artists themselves. Complete with a foreword from longtime DC Comics veteran Paul Levitz, this amazing anthology is a must-have item for any comic-book fan.

Our Take:  We are into any Batman or Dc Comics related book that comes out.  We'll give them all a fair shake.  I actually really enjoyed this DC Comics poster book by Robert Schnakenberg, because it was light reading.  The posters in the oversized book come with perforated seams, so that you can tear them right out and frame or hang them on the wall.  The book features a variety of covers from Superman and Swamp Thing to Batman and Wonder Woman.  The covers all have a vintage feel to them too, its pretty fantastic.  

We highly recommend this one, its a great gift for Xmas, but don't forget to pick one up for yourself!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dragon's Domain Book Review

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Dragon's Domain Book Review

About the Book: The ultimate practical dragon art book from fantasy art legend Bob Eggleton, designed specially to introduce you to the materials and techniques you will need to paint amazing dragons and monsters. Packed with photographs, design drawings and notes, step-by-step projects and final artwork to help beginner artists master the essential techniques. Detailed Dragon Workshops show the development of Bob?s classic dragon paintings, from conceptualization through to final execution, including Eastern and Western dragons, sea dragons, space dragons, elemental dragons and other fantastic beasts.

Our Take: The book Dragon's Domain bills itself as "The Ultimate Dragon Painting Workshop" and honestly, I'd have to agree.  The readers here all know that I'm an exhibiting painter myself, but I've never delved into the realm of fantasy art, though I have a deep respect and appreciation for it.  Dragon's Domain is a really handy new book that takes readers through various techniques involved with sketching, constructing and painting fantastic fantasy art dragons!

The author, Bob Eggleton, takes you though everything from serious to cartoony concepts and gives you great tips that really make you think while developing your artwork.  This is a fantastic book and I definately recommend to anyone interested in starting to draw or perfecting your drawing of dragons!

How to Buy: Amazon.com

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes Book Review

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Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes Book Review
About the Book: Your whole life you've been taught to avoid making a mess: Try to keep everything under control, color inside the lines, make it perfect, and at all costs, avoid contact with things that stain.
This book asks you to do the opposite of what you have been taught. Think of it as your own personal rumpus room. A place to let loose, to trash, to spew, to do the things you are not allowed to do in the "real world." It's time to make a mess.
The only three rules you'll find in this book:


1. Do not try to make something beautiful.


2. Do not think too much. (There is no "wrong.")


3. Continue under all circumstances.

Our Take: We see a lot of books here at the Legion.  What really grabbed me about MESS is that its more like a performance art book!   The pages encourage you to tear and write and mess them up!  They want you to destroy the rule book and feel free to be creative.  I think the message here is really to re-invent the wonder and creative magic behind books that they have lost in recent years.  I, for one, absolutely loved it!  I went to work screwing the book all up and I'm quite proud of my work!  I recommend you pick this one up immediately!  It'd make a great gift.


How to Buy: Amazon.com

Pokerface: The Rise and Rise of Lady Gaga Book Review

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About the Book: In little over a year, Stefani Germanotta, a struggling performer in New York's Lower East Side burlesque scene, has become the global demographic-smashing pop icon known as Lady Gaga. She is a once-in-a-decade artist, a gifted singer, composer, designer, and performance artist who mixes high and low culture, the avant-garde with the accessible, authenticity with artifice.
Who is Lady Gaga? She is a twenty-four-year-old woman whose stage mantra--"I'm a free bitch!"--is the polar opposite of who she is offstage: isolated, insecure, and unable to be alone. She is an outrageous artist who wanted to be a sensitive singer-songwriter, whose musical heroes include Britney Spears, Billy Joel, and Bruce Springsteen. She is a woman who says no man can ever compete with her career, but who still isn't over the ex-boyfriend who said she was too ambitious. She claims not to care what people think, but spends her downtime online, reading what people have to say about her. She claims to be a con artist and utterly authentic. She is never less than compelling.
Based on over fifty original interviews with friends, employees, rivals, and music industry veterans, Poker Face is the first in-depth biography of the extraordinary cultural phenomenon that is Lady Gaga.

Our Take: Lady Gaga is one of the hottest names in music today.  The question is why?  This woman has only had ONE CD released!  One!  And she is absolutely huge.  It seems that every song of hers is a single and each better than the last.   One of the things that keeps us all interested in her is how enigmatic she is.  This new book, "Pokerface: The Rise and Rise of Lady GaGa", gives us a great insight into the woman behind the masks.

You rarely see Lady Gaga's face, its usually obscured by masks and glitter.  Her cosutmes are outrageous and are almost more famous than her music!  She is the Bowie-esque female glam rocker!  Not to mention the fact that she single-handedly brought back club techno music!  Thank you!

She is a fantastic business woman that knows what she is doing.  She is creative, to be sure, but she clearly calculates her career it hasn't happened to her by chance.  This new book is great for any fan.  It has great pictures and a TON of info on Gaga and her career to date. 


How to Buy: Amazon.com

Pokerface: The Rise and Rise of Lady Gaga Book Review

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

People Of Wal-Mart.com: Shop & Awe Book Review

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People Of Wal-Mart.com: Shop & Awe Book Review

About the Book: As Americans, we hold these truths to be self-evident: We will shop. And when we do, especially at our favorite supercenter, we will wear and do the most bizarre things possible.

From the wildly popular website PeopleofWalmart.com, this photo collection of Americans in their natural shopping habitat (70 percent of which is brand new and never before included on the website) presents people of all shapes and sizes wearing and doing everything imaginable in full view of their fellow shopping public. Plus, for the first time brand-new fan-submitted stories offer the most random experiences you can imagine!

So welcome to a world where no shoes and no shirt are no obstacles, where parking lots are filled with dead deer, Bengal tigers, and old men in thongs riding bikes. Once you meet the People of Walmart, you are sure to fall in love.

Our Take: Unless you live under a rock, you've been to PeopleOfWalmart.com!  This is hands-down the funniest site on the net.  My wife and I have been visiting the site several times a week for years.  Now, there is a FANTASIC book out called People of Wal-Mart.com: Shop and Awe.  This book highlights some of the best pictures that have been submitted, complete with snarky comments from the site creators themselves.  The level of horror that you'll experience just by seeing Wal-Mart shoppers from around the county is astounding!  You'll laugh, you'll cry and you definately won't be able to put it down!

How to Buy: Amazon.com

Spider Sense Spider-Man: Spider Man's Big City Showdown Book Review

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Spider Sense Spider-Man: Spider Man's Big City Showdown Book Review


About the Book: A rash of unspeakable crimes has befallen New York City—and Spider-Man is the lead suspect! The amazing web-slinger will have to devise some ingenious tricks to clear his name and stop his foe.


Our Take: I'm a huge comic book nerd, so when a book like this comes out, I jump on it to read to my kids!  What sets this new Spider-Man book apart from so many other that I've seen is absolutely the artwork by Andie Tong.  All too often you get very lame artwork in a kids book, but Tong went above and beyond.  He not only pulls off a great Spidey, but a wicked Carnage, as well!  The story is solid and fun, this book is a home run!


How to Buy: Amazon.com

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Batman Classic: Gotham Villains Unleashed Book Review

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Batman Classic: Gotham Villains Unleashed Book Review

This review is courtesy of our network Batman Website Legions of Gotham

About the Book: Gotham's most dangerous criminals are on the loose! After the Joker breaks out the city's nastiest villains from Arkham Asylum, Batman must act fast to locate the inmates and return them to custody. With Robin at his side, can Batman stop each and every one of these evildoers before it's too late?

Our Take: Here is another great new Batman storybook!   The collector in me jumps for joy with this ultra-modern look and fantastic story.  The story is loosely based on the 'Knightfall' story arc, where all of the villains escape from Arkham Asylum.  Robin by his side, Batman cleans up Gotham.  No shockers in this story, but some cool art and fun for collectors and kids alike!

Image Gallery:


How to Buy: Amazon.com or Harper Collins

Batman Links: Legions of Gotham
 

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