The Times has published an article with recommendations of gifty graphic novels for the 2009 holiday season. I’ll have my own in the next few days, but theirs is an eclectic bag and includes many obvious choices (Scott Pilgrim, Fables, Gaiman books). One notable entry surprised me (in as much as I wouldn’t normally expect the haughty tabloid to feature a book published by Marvel… hell, I wouldn’t ordinarily expect Marvel to publish such a non-superhero, mass-market-friendly book:
Dorothy’s journey to Oz may seem a well-trod path, but “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” a retelling of the L. Frank Baum novel, feels delightfully new. It is filled with characters (the queen of fieldmice) and concepts (Emerald City visitors must don special spectacles or risk blindness) from the original text, which the writer, Eric Shanower, has used to maximum effect. The illustrations, by Skottie Young, are often stunning, especially his depictions of what Dorothy and friends see when gazing upon Oz.
Also, Cory Doctorow recently posted a gift guide at BoingBoing and in it included, among other gems, the superlative Norman Saunders art book.
Norman Saunders was a prominent illustrator for Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang, Modern Mechanics, pulp detective, western, war, and science fiction magazines, men’s adventure magazines, and bubblegum cards and stickers, including Wacky Packages and Mars Attacks. Anyone interested in 20th century magazine illustration pretty much has to have this book in his or her library. I devoured the 368 technicolor pages filled with examples of his work from the 1920s to the 1980s.
FP has copies in stock, signed (by Norman’s son David) and unsigned.