With such a wide variety of titles, we’re pretty fortunate to get a pretty amazing cross section of reviewers.
Here are a few kind words about several of our titles:
Philosophy: A Discovery in Comics
“Margreet, with help from her husband/colorist Yiri, does exactly what I’d hoped she’d do. I got an overview of philosophy with difficult concepts explained in a variety of ways. I got an introduction to the basics that left me with a desire to learn more. I love a book where, just when I think, “I need an example to understand that,” I turn the page and Yiri is telling Margreet, “It’s getting a bit abstract now…Can you give a concrete example here?” And she does.”
“In short, colorful, humorously self-reflective chapters, de Heer takes us on a tour of the biggest questions and the most famous names of philosophy, ending with the personal philosophies of some surprisingly interesting people rarely thought of as philosophers. The characters and arguments of philosophy come brilliantly to life through a series of quirky, memorable conversations.”
– Teacher Librarian
“It might seem odd to think of Wilde’s classic tale of the statue that loved his city and the swallow that loved the statue as a tale of horror. But there’s something profoundly horrific in the way the statue can only give the precious and finite parts of his body to save the city he loves. Russell’s illustrations slip delicately between the terrific pain the prince sees and the fragile joy the bird helps him deliver.”
– Teacher Librarian
Still Haven’t Read TAXES, THE TEA PARTY AND THOSE REVOLTING REBELS? Here’s Some Reviews To Convince You To Read It Right Now…
“A history of the nation’s birth that gets exactly the treatment it needs: irreverent admiration for the pluck of visionaries, rueful honesty about the founding ideas that still shape our reality.”
– Teacher Librarian
“Accessible, thought -provoking , and highly discussable, this version of how the United States became independent of the British Crown may well inspire readers to see the relevant aspects of studying history as well as reading nonfiction comics.”
– School Library Journal
“An accurate but irreverent retelling of the American Revolution and the events that led up to it. Mack’s colonists talk like real people—with attitude—which helps bring the facts of history down to earth in a way modern readers can relate to.”
– School Library Journal
And finally, a rather conservative look at the book, which is certainly provocative, albeit not particularly accurate.
“Rather than an honest attempt at history, it comes off as a pro-liberal statement, where government corrupts those in charge, and that regular people are easily manipulated.”
As we announced last week, the Florestan Recital Project announced the release of its world premiere recording of Libby Larsen’s The Peculiar Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes, based on Rick Geary’s book, The Beast of Chicago.
We also got a chance to chat with Aaron Engebreth, the Artistic Co-Director of the Florestan Recital Project about how this project came into existence.
What was the genesis of the project?
The project has a number of different ‘genesis’ points, actually. Florestan Recital Project commissioned the composer Libby Larsen to create a new work for one of our past projects, the American Vanguard Festival. Vanguard was a three-day celebration of contemporary American Art-Song which took place at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in March of 2010. Florestan was completing our final year of a three-year position as Artistic Ensemble in Residence at the College, and the festival was a culmination of our time and experience there. Libby was interested in creating a piece that would focus on violence in America, and we thought sounded interesting, important and timely. We really had no idea that she would set the confessions of H.H. Holmes until much later, and we were very taken with the direction.
For a year or so, here and abroad, we presented various performances of the piece in traditional recital form. When we began the process of recording the piece, we really were determined to make it a cross-disciplinary ”event” rather than a conventional CD release. I wanted very much to release the piece free of charge, in hopes that more people would hear it, and we thought that the story and the music practically begged for a visual component. The setting of the World’s Exposition in Chicago is evoked in Libby’s music in an alarming and very direct way, and we began thinking of ways to create this visual atmosphere without detracting from the music and words themselves.
Pete Goldlust and Melanie Germond, our marketing and design partners extraordinaire, immediately let us know about Rick Geary. They knew Geary’s work and that was really the genesis of the visual collaboration. Rick and his publisher were extremely supportive and interested in the project, and thought is was a great fit for his incredible illustrations, so after we read his book, there really was no more to say.
It was a perfect fit, artistically.
Had the music already been scored and the book was a match or did the book itself inspire the soundtrack?
In this case, the music came before we, or Libby Larsen, knew about Rick’s novel. In many cases with classical song composition, the reverse is true, but this time Libby’s libretto and music were the impetus for us to go and find out more about H.H. Holmes. And did we ever.
The project reminds me a bit of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, using music to literally illustrate the story. Was that an inspiration?
Peter and the Wolf was not a direct inspiration for this project, though it and pieces like it find similarities because of the non-traditional approach of combining seemingly unrelated art forms. At its core, Art Song does indeed use music to illustrate a story. That story can be a narrative, poetry, prose or many other written forms. Florestan Recital Project began was founded in 2001 with the firm belief that words and music, if you let them, can quite simply make us better people.
Words and music augment our ability to gain perspective into characters, emotions and places that we might otherwise never dare venture, and thereby augment our constant state of becoming. Holmes is a rather extreme example of a character to gain perspective into, but the fact remains that whether one is listening to French poetry set to music, or the confessions of a madman set to music, the experience can enter you and change you. It’s an inspirational art form.
Are there any other mashups like this planned, or any particular comics that you’re hoping to adapt in this method?
We’re up for anything. We have nothing similar to this release planned in the future, but we very much hope to do more. Interestingly, Geary wrote an entire treasury of Victorian murders, so there is plenty of opportunity within that thread. We would welcome suggestions and inquiries for future projects and we hope to have more comic collaborations in the future. To be honest, this would have seemed a highly unlikely combination to me even six months ago; classical art song-meets serial-killer-meets graphic novel. But now that we’ve merged them, I find myself wanting to do many more. It’s my great hope that readers of comics will find this as interesting and illuminating and we are confident our classical music listeners will.
For more details, visit www.florestanproject.org
Founded in 2001, Florestan Recital Project promotes song repertoire in concerts, masterclasses, and educational residencies. By combining a dynamic core ensemble of committed artists with meticulous research and programming, Florestan has delighted audiences with a wide range of both established and unfamiliar repertoire.
And on October 31st they will unveil their latest project, the release of its world premiere recording of Libby Larsen’s The Strange Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes, based on Rick Geary’s book The Beast of Chicago.
At the height of the Gilded Age, during Chicago’s finest moment of international glory, a man known as H.H. Holmes quietly and secretively carried out one of the most horrifically perverse and murderous crime sprees in American history. Against the ornate backdrop of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Holmes built an elaborate chamber of horrors in which he staged the methodical and grisly murders of up to 200 people, becoming America’s first known serial killer.
This macabre subject matter provides the basis for an exploration into the darkest corners of the human psyche. The work explores the unfathomable impulses that drove Holmes to commit his crimes. Scored for baritone and piano, Larsen’s song cycle interweaves passages of period parlour music with texts from Holmes’ own confessions. The result is a work that is both haunting and engaging–a perfect platform for Florestan’s “deeply felt, and impeccably prepared” performances (The Boston Globe).
This groundbreaking recording project will be accompanied by the simultaneous release of an accompanying animated video featuring illustrations from artist Rick Geary’s acclaimed graphic novel.
For more details, check out the Florestan Recital Project’s website, and check back on Halloween to see this exciting new project.
Extra! Extra! The Reviews Are In!
Latest Review Quotes for Stan Mack’s Taxes, the Tea Party and Those Revolting Rebels, Margreet de Heer’s Philosophy – A Discovery in Comics and P. Craig Russell’s The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde Vol.5: The Happy Prince
Stan Mack, author of TAXES, THE TEA PARTY, AND THOSE REVOLTING REBELS: A History in Comics of the American Revolution, heads to the 2012 Alternative Press Expo (APE) on October 13 and 14 in San Francisco.
APE presents the very best in alternative, small press, and self-published comics, with an Exhibit Hall packed with cutting-edge creators. This year’s Exhibit Hall features over 400 exhibitors, including some of the biggest indie comics publishers, plus artists and DIY creators showcasing their comics, books, zines, original art, hand-made items, and much more.
Stan Mack will bring his new book, Taxes, The Tea Party and Those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution and will be signing throughout the weekend at the NBM booth (#203)
A cartoonist de-mythologizes the Founding Fathers and makes them more ‘like us’”says The New York Times. Uncannily relevant to today’’s world. Learn about the original revolt against taxes: the Boston Tea Party, and the original Occupy movement: the Rebels in revolt against the status quo. A whimsical and informative pictorial history featuring a chubby, insecure King George III, rebellious and misunderstood colonists, loudmouthed and insensitive aristocrats, and more. Updated from the original Stan Mack’s Real Life American Revolution published by Avon books in 1994 .
Stan will be appearing at the NBM booth throughout the weekend (Booth #203) and can also be found on Saturday, October 13th at the 12:45 PM panel, Comics as Political Statement which will focus on everything from one-panel political cartoons to graphic novels that lead us to question our political mindsets, comics have always been an important part of the political sphere. Stan will join Eric Drooker (Flood, Blood Song), Miriam Libicki (jobnik!), and Ben Katchor (Julius Knipl, The Cardboard Valise), to discuss with Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum) the ways in which their political attitudes affect their work and the ways they hope their work will affect the attitudes of others.
For more information, visit the APE website, HERE!
If you spend anytime online, sooner or later you’re going to come across boingboing.net, one of the web’s best and widest read sites, which covers everything fantastic or interesting.
Today, editor Cory Doctorow reviewed Stan Mack’s book, Taxes, The Tea Party, and Those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution, much to our delight.
Here’s some excerpts of what he had to say:
“Mack’s history of the American revolution is simultaneously breeze and accessible — drawn and told in the style of wicked editorial cartoons — and a deep look at the conflicting motives, attitudes, and narratives of all the parties to the American War of Independence.
The truth is a lot grimier, a lot more tangled, and a lot more interesting.
This humanized account of the dawn of the American project is a beautiful piece of work, and a strong tonic against the whitewash of history. “
Read the entire review here.
Now seek out those fantastic people at tables A8-A9!