Summer Reading List!

As if there wasn't enough new stuff that needs me to buy it, there are several new books out now that are amazing!

GODZILLA: AWAKENING is a hardcover, 80-page graphic novella that serves as a prequel to the movie (now that the movie is out, and was amazing!)  It tells the story of Serizawa's father, the formation of MONARCH, and the battle with the first MUTO, which is a completely different monster than the ones in the film.
Although the limited page count is crammed full of action, character development, and flashbacks, I found myself confused at several places.  Also, there are three different lead artists, and the juxtaposition of their styles is rather obvious (people suddenly turn sketchy and Frank Millery), and the wispy new MUTO and crowded, irregular panels sometimes make it difficult to tell what's going on.  The story is good, and actually fits in well with the new film, adding to it rather than exploiting it.  Don't get me wrong, there are a couple of pages that are worthy of being framed, it's just that the whole thing felt a bit rushed (or needed another 15 or 20 pages).  The good news is, at $20 retail, I got mine from Amazon for $12, which was a great deal.

STAR WARS STORYBOARDS is something I thought would never happen, and it was worth every penny.  All of the original geniuses are here, and the ones still with us give ample commentary, and share anecdotes.  But the star of this huge hardcover is the artwork! Now, don't misunderstand what an assembly this book is.  In Joe Johnston's words, the organizers had to "cherry-pick" to assemble the sequences, otherwise we would have gotten a huge volume per movie (which would be fine by me), as many versions of many scenes existed.  That said, it still is so well done, you won't mind.  I should point out that there's no reason to delete any scans you have of any Star Wars storyboards, such as any looking like this:
Whereas this is a "complete" board (that contains notes, script information, and numbers), only the artwork is used for this volume, which again makes sense and saves tons of space.  Completists like myself would have loved huge, comprehensive volumes of complete storyboards for each of the original films, but I assume this is the best we are ever going to get, and it's very, very good.  To add to that, the $40 cover price ended up being only $25 for me on Amazon, so the decision was made.

And, we save the best for last.  EIJI TSUBURAYA, MASTER OF MONSTERS, by  August Ragone, is back in print.  I don't know how I ever lived without this book, but somehow I missed out the first time.  Brimming with amazing photos, even hard-core enthusiasts will learn new things.  Ragone's writing is very clear, and he keeps the action moving without feeling rushed, and there is a lot of ground to cover.  Essential.

If that's not enough, soon THE ART OF JAPANESE MONSTERS, by Sean Linkenback, will make landfall, which we will discuss when it hits.  If you haven't ordered this book, don't miss it!

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