Friday, July 25, 2008

The Sandman (Vol. 7): Brief Lives by Neil Gaiman

Brief LivesThat’s right, two of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels in one week. In Vol. 7: Brief Lives, Delirium, the youngest of the Endless decides that she wants to find her older brother, Destruction, who left the family and his responsibilities 300 years ago. She first goes to her sisters Desire and Despair but they refuse to help her in her quest. She then goes to her brother Dream and to her surprise he agrees to accompany her on a journey through the waking world to locate their long lost brother. What starts out as a trip to bring things back to the way they were, ends up changing The Endless forever.

The last couple of volumes our tall dark dream man only had cameos where in this volume he was the leading man. It is a fast read for me as I was anxious to see what the final destination of their journey had in store for them...I was not disappointed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

GUD Issue 3 Pre-launch Contest

GUD Magazine Issue3On the Monster Librarian blog they announced a contest from GUD (Greatest Uncommon Denominator) magazine, who I had recently added as a friend on Goodreads. What a small cyber world we live in. GUD magazine is full of entertaining stories, art and poetry. The Issue 3 Pre-launch Buzz Contest is basically what I am doing here. You post about their contest with a link back to the GUD Issue 3 Pre-launch Contest post, then leave a comment on the GUD Issue 3 Pre-launch Contest post that you did in fact post on their the GUD Issue 3 Pre-launch Contest, then you will be entered to win a full set of GUD, Hardcopy Issues 0-3.

They are also offering 2 bonuses. Bonus #1 is the first 10 entries win a PDF of Issue 3, and sorry, but my guess is that train has long since taxied and taken off the runway. However, Bonus #2 is if you create an account by signing up you get a freebie from Issue 3. Hopefully I will not get in trouble for this, but my freebie was a short story The Dragon’s Thorn, Sword of Kings [& Fred]. I am currently reading The Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and I thought this story had a bit of that Pratchett humor in it. The story was a fun and amusing quick read. But, here is where I let the cat out of the bag or should I say bat, and how they are going to lure you in. Oh yes, that cool looking cover you see above...is a diagram of a steam bat model! And they say they have instructions on page 205 of the magazine. If that doesn’t cry hours of electrifying entertainment I don’t know what does?

Please go take a look at their site, if you don’t want to take part in the Issue 3 Pre-launch Contest, you can still sign-up for an account, read your free sample story, get hooked and then back for the full issue (which is also available in a PDF downloadable format).

Hmmm, wonder if there are any steam bat races? Because I am sure with a few minor tweaks, steam bat model could easily be turned into the super turbo steam bat model. Though I am sure liability waivers would have to be signed.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Sandman Vol. 5: A Game of You by Neil Gaiman

The Sandman A Game of YouI am continuing in making my way through Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Volumes, not exactly in order mind you, but I have been able to follow along with out any issues. In fact that is the wonderful thing about Sandman, though all intertwined, the stories can also stand on their own.

In the A Game of You, we find Barbie, who we first met in the The Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll's House, living in a grungy city apartment building with a colorful cast of eccentric neighbors. The story would have been interesting enough just following the lives of this motley crew, but it also moves us back and forth from the warped world of this urban apartment to a dream realm of talking animals, a mystical stone, and an the evil Cuckoo. A bird? Perhaps. We do see glimpses of the Dream Lord, Morpheus, through out the book, but the story centers mainly on Barbie and her two worlds. Neil Gaiman’s books are always filled with surprises and unexpected turns and this one is no different. And as I have found with all the Sandman Volumes I have read, the artwork and design is out of this world.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Coloring Sheets

Dancing Skeleton Coloring SheetAt the Starbucks reading last week we had a few requests for coloring sheets with the dancing skeleton and alas we did not have any, BUT we do now! I just added to my web page, icatsnitram.com, not only the dancing skeleton, but the flying rat, circus tent and two puzzles. If there are any other Willow May characters that you would love to color, please let me know and I will see what I can do to also add them on my web page.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Starbucks KinderCare Reading

Willow May ReadingThe illustrator and I did a reading to a group of KinderCare children at Starbucks last Thursday. It was kind of like a summer field trip for them and it was cute as they all wore shirts that had “Summer Adventure” across the front. Of course listening to Willow May is always an adventure. After the reading we handed out coloring sheets, crayon boxes with character stickers on them, buttons and temporary tattoos. Starbucks handed out a slushy lemonade drink with a snack. It was a great bunch of kids, so polite and well behaved. I want to thank Anna at Starbucks and KinderCare for giving us the opportunity to entertain them a beautiful summer morning. The day before we were having 100 mph wind gust (perhaps exaggerated), but just a light breeze Thursday morning, and we finished right before the 100-degree hotness set in for the day. There are more photos on the publisher’s website if you want to take a look.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Castle Waiting By Linda Medley

I just finished another graphic novel from Fantagraphics Books, Castle Waiting written and illustrated by Linda Medley. What I thought was going to end up being a retelling of the classic fairy-tale Sleeping Beauty, in graphic novel form, turned out to be much more. Oh, it still had castles, magic, mystical creatures, and happily ever after's. But not how, where or who you were expecting. All through the book I kept thinking I knew where the story line was leading, but it kept taking engaging twist and turns. I was pleasantly surprised all the way to the end. Castle Waiting is full of colorful characters, humor, and intriguing storytelling. At 457 pages, the hardcover book looks like an old fashion novel that was misplaced on the shelf with the rest of the graphic novels. Medley’s entertaining illustrations are a perfect compliment to her stories. I must say not only was it a fun book to read, but also looked quite charming on the nightstand.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Sandman Vol. 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman

The Sandman Vol 3 Dream CountryThe Sandman Vol. 3: Dream Country consist of 4 stories plus a bonus treat at the end. The first story, Calliope, is about a novelist who has become void of ideas. Desperate to write again, he makes a bargain to enslave a muse to consume her for his own inspiration. In A Dream of a Thousand Cats, a broken-hearted but brave Siamese ventures to the land of dreaming seeking out the Cat of Dreams for revelation. Warning to cat lovers, the beginning of this story is harsh and intense, but if you can make it through that, I think you will enjoy the ending. Next the Sandman invites his friends from the world of Faerie to join him for an enchanted performance in the World Fantasy Award-wining A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The final story does not have our Dream Man, but instead his sister Death. Fa├žade is about a lonely and isolated soul who is tired of living behind the masks. All four are fast-pace intriguing tales.

At the end they included Neil Gaiman’s script for Calliope with a few of his written comments. Since I am currently working on a graphic novel, I found the script both fascinating and highly amusing.