Posts tagged Titan Books

Martin Robinson – The Art of Castlevania – Lords of Shadow

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art ofAuthor: Martin Robinson
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Video game art
ISBN 13: 9781781168950

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Castlevania is a multi-generational video game series developed and published by Konami. The franchise was first released in 1986, but has evolved from a side-scrolling platformer into a full-scale adventure series – and has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. The series is a fan-favourite, and has influenced generation after generation of games since first being released.

Review: Encompassing three Castlevania titles, the book is a showcase of the art of the game. Debuted in 1986, Castlevania has been around a long time. An adventure game, Castlevania art tends towards the dark and gothic. As the 25th anniversary of Castlevania approached, it was reinvented by MercurySteam, a process that is explained in the Introduction to this book. Kudos on a complete redirection of the game without losing the integrity of it.

In this book, much of the space is dedicated to depictions of characters, weapons and environments (my favorite part) with some commentary. It is very interesting to see the evolution in areas. Carmilla, for example, begins as an almost humanoid character. With the advent of MercurySteam, she undergoes a transformation to a much more human incarnation (and in fact reminds me of Kate Beckinsdale for some reason).

The depiction of the full map from Mirror of Fate act 2 (Trevor; page 167) is beautiful and haunting enough that I could easily see something similar hanging on my wall.

Just a warning – there are game spoilers included within the book, so be aware! I loved the dust cover art, Gabriel at his finest.

Purchase Link: titanbooks.com/the-art-of-castlevania-lords-of-shadow-7204/‎

David A. Goodman – Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years

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Author: David A. Goodman
Reviewed by: Will
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: TV and Movie
ISBN 13:   9781781169155

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Summary:  For the first time, an ‘in universe’ history of Star Trek, complete with excerpts from Starfleet records and intergalactic intelligence, including James T. Kirk’s official biography and newly translated Klingon reports.

Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of the United Federation of Planets.

This unprecedented illustrated volume chronicles the pivotal era leading up to Humankind’s First Contact with Vulcan in 2063, the Romulan War in 2156, the creation of the Federation in 2161, and the first 150 years of the intergalactic democracy up until the year 2311. Meticulously researched, this account covers a multitude of alien species, decisive battles, and the technology that made the Age of Exploration possible. It includes field sketches, illustrations, and reproductions of historic pieces of art from across the Galaxy, along with over fifty excerpts from key Federation documents and correspondence, Starfleet records, and intergalactic intelligence.

Review: Reading as a history lesson at times, this book depicts the first 150 years of the Federation.  Encompassing official documents such as the articles of federation, biographies of key historical figures and explanations of important moments, the book is an interesting font of Trekkie knowledge.

There are copies of the Captain’s log, which were probably the most familiar to me.  For a true Trekkie, this may not be perfect but as a casual Trek watcher (and no, I haven’t ever read the books) it was mostly new to me information.  It should be noted that I have just the book, not the book and the stand, which speaks in Sulu’s voice.

It was a little disconcerting because it truly seems like an actual history book, not a fiction piece.  Probably my favorite quote in the entire book is by Matthew Decker, Starfleet Commander, stardate 4197.3,  “I’m starting to realize that ‘we come in peace’ only means something if they are clear on the fact that we can also kick their ass”.  Remarkable how much that pertains to current day situations.

Recommended for Star Trek fans who like a lot of background on their favorite series.

 

Roman Dirge – Lenore Purple Nurples

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Author: Roman Dirge
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Graphic Novel
ISBN 13:   9781848563919

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Summary:  Everyone’s favorite cute little dead girl is showcased in all her morbid glory in this new collection of the timeless comic strip from Roman Dirge.

Return once against to the dark, surreal world of Lenore, the girl with a knack for unintentional mayhem and occasional wanton destruction in this fifth volume. Contains Lenore (Vol. 2) #4-7.

Review: Let’s be honest – I was a little embarrassed by how much I loved Lenore.  She’s cute, adorable and oh, yeah, she’s also dead.  Therein lies the allure of it – she’s so macabre and at times so gross that you can’t help but giggle, even if it’s a horrified one.  When she thinks she is a “poop chop”, seriously I didn’t want to laugh.  But I did.  As Lenore herself says, “Let us never speak of this.”

With titles such as “Here lies King Douche Nozzle”, you are taken on a sinister ride through un-life Lenore style.  My favorite chapter, “The Dweller in the Fridge”, contains pink cake and dead clowns in the basement.  I don’t even know what to say to describe it.  It’s very cringe-worthy and funny at the same time.   She faces down the Crepig Creeping with aplomb, blood and a lot of gore.

In the bonus features, there is a drawing of a baby rabbit, innocent and fluffy, standing over a deadly carrot with a bite mauled out of it.  It’s awesome.  There is also a copy of the first drawing of Lenore, who has evolved from looking dead to looking cute-dead, if that’s possible.  This was my first foray into the world of Lenore and I’m both scared and excited to try her again, gore and grossness and all.

 

Mark Salisbury – Elysium >> The Art of the Film

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Author: Mark Salisbury
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Publishing
Genre: Art
ISBN 13:   9781781162477

Rating: ★★★★½ 

 

 

Summary:  From Neill Blomkamp, the director of the acclaimed District 9, comes Elysium, an eagerly awaited sci-fi blockbuster starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.

All will be revealed in Elysium: The Art of the Film, which will feature a Foreword by Blomkamp, and wealth of stunning production art and photos, including the input of legendary designer Syd Mead (Blade Runner, Tron). 

 

Review: The odd thing for me about this beautiful book was that I hadn’t seen the movie at the time I read the book.  I kept it sitting on my desk, waiting until I got a chance to see it because I knew there would most likely be spoilers in it.  Finally I couldn’t stand it anymore and had to open the book.  Then the desire to see the movie was stronger than ever, even though yes, there are spoilers! 

 

First off, the mansions of Elysium, amazing.  There is a depiction on page 126 of this beautiful atrium with glass walls, a waterfall with a gorgeous rainbow running through it and two people sitting looking out on greenery with the city in the distance.  Contrasting against this is an illegal, with a gun, standing in the atrium with a trail of blood behind him.  

 

It was eerie at times how much the art actually looked just like the photographs.  A pic of Max  crawling from a vehicle compares with the drawing of Max dragging someone out of a vehicle and the talent in the art is obvious. 

 

Visually, the section depicting the Surgery, the implantation of the data port and the attachment of the Exo-Suit, oh my.  Bloody brains, peeled faces and just wow.  That whole section, gory as it is, is my favorite.  

 

The weapons, the vehicles, scenes and ideas are all here, alone with forward about the movie’s director and stars (Matt Damon, Jodie Foster , William Fichtner, etc) and the story arc make a great introduction to the art of the film.

 

 

 

 

 

Once Upon a Time: Behind the Magic

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once

Author: Titan
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: TV Companion
ISBN 13:   9781782760290

Rating: ★★★★¼ 

 

Summary:  Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, writers of Lost, have created a modern take on fairy tales with a female lead character, Emma Swan, who has moved to Maine. The show revolves around the adaptation of fairytale characters such as Snow White and Prince Charming who have been brought into the real world with no knowledge of their true identities, due to the Evil Queen. 

Review: If you are a Once fan you will for sure enjoy this book.  The book includes episode synopsis, interviews with the actors and many, many pictures.  This is my first item in the Once Upon a Time series and I read it front to back and then checked the pictures again back to front.  

Set in Storybrooke, this book is rich with information, gorgeous drawings (this series has the greatest costumes – personal favorites include Regina’s (Evil Queen) costumes and Malificent’s staff) and the interviews are worth reading.  Laura Parilla’s outfits are lovely but as Evil Queen, she’s deadly looking.  

Each episode is highlighted by pictures, plot line, introducing, once upon a time and did you notice (which I loved).  The book contains seasons one and two only. 

There are interviews with cast and crew alike and a section on props (chipped teacup!) that I enjoyed reading.  This book is a nice companion for fans of Storybrooke and Fairy Tale Land and quite possibly a lure for those who haven’t succumbed to the series charms yet.

 

 

 

 

 

Juan Ortiz – The Art of Juan Ortiz – Star Trek

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Author: Juan Ortiz
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre:  Art
ISBN 13:   9781781166703)

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

 

 

Summary:   What if every Star Trek: The Original Series episode was a movie event? What would the movie poster look like? This was the inspiration to develop a one-of-a-kind set of images for the series that launched a franchise. Artist Juan Ortiz has created unique retro-style art with the look of a 60s movie poster, comic book, pulp novel cover or advertisement, one each for all 80 episodes. 

 

Review: While I am a great fan of movie art books, this one is a little bit of a twist.  This oversized book showcases the work of Juan Ortiz in a very specific way.  As I read the author interview, Juan gives insight into the how and why of this book.  “It was like eating cookies, I had to do more”.  

 

What Juan did, of course, was to produce an old style movie poster for each of the episodes of Star Trek.  There is a bit of poetic license in the art, of course.   My personal favorite is “The Trouble with Tribbles’, mainly because it looks like Starship is shooting pom poms.   These are very 1960s posters.  

 

The back of the book contains a commentary, each poster with title, episode info, quote from the show and commentary by the artist.   The quotes can be awesome (on my favorite, Tribbles, the quote: “From my observations, it seems they’re bisexual, reproducing at will. And, brother, have they got a lot of will.”    

 

To be honest this is suited much more to a Trekkie fan than to the general performing arts.  I think it would be more meaningful to those who are engaged with the show and have seen all the episodes.  I looked at it strictly from the art perspective and enjoyed it, but I lacked that connection to it.  Recommended for Star Trek fans.

 

Gallery 1988 – Cult Movie Art 2

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Author: Gallery 1988
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Movie Art
ISBN 13:   9781781167519)

Rating: ★★★★½ 

 

Summary: INTRODUCING THE SECOND CULT MOVIE-ART BOOK FROM GALLERY 1988, ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST TALKED ABOUT ART GALLERIES!     An impressive cult movie art collection, featuring art from Gallery 1988, a Los Angeles art gallery that focuses on pop-culture themed artwork. Be prepared to see your favourite cult movies as you’ve never seem them before!This second volume of Cult Movie Art collects the best of the last two years of the show, with pieces inspired by Escape From New York, Shaun of the Dead, Ghostbusters, The Princess Bride, The Big Lebowski and many moreGallery 1988′s annual cult movie-inspired Crazy 4 Cult art show has become a phenomenon. 2012′s show moved from LA for the first time, with a triumphant opening in New York 

Review: As I skimmed through this large coffee table size art book for the first time, I thought, oh how interesting.  Then I went back to really look at the art and I ended up spending probably too much time just reveling in it.  In an odd way, I like books about movies more than I like most movies.  This, though, had some great artistic renditions from movies I’ve seen and liked, so all the better.  

From a purely humorous standpoint, ‘The Warriors’ by Dan Goodsell was my favorite.  I saw that movie at the drive in, on TV, on video, on DVD and it’s ridiculously camp.  But this photo, of them (in the vests, OMG) as bacon, egg and toast?  I laughed, kept looking through the book, kept going back for Warrior breakfast foods and laughing more.  Epic for me and I carried that big old book to a dinner so I could show it around, making sure that picture was shown first.   

From an eery viewpoint, the ‘You Are My Lucky Star’ by Mark Englert is my winner.  Again, a movie I’ve seen repeatedly (Sigourney Weaver, you are the queen) and this captured an essence of that movie perfectly.  Dark, alone and creepy beautiful. 

Some movies are represented more than once – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, for example.  ‘Oompaball’ by David Soames is my favorite here.  Escape from New York (call me Snake) is another.   Kudos for  ‘Check Please’ by Derek Deal – from Spaceballs, an all time favorite in our house. 

The book runs the gamut from Ghostbusters to PeeWee Herman to Shaun of the Dead to Jurassic Park.  Which artist or art will be your favorite may not necessarily depend on which movie you loved.  I am not a fan of Edward Scissorhands but I loved the ‘I Can’t – Diptych’ by Nick Comparone and the ‘Pastel Paradise’ by Danielle Rizolo, both symbolizing that movie.

This was a great escape to look at, ponder and laugh with.  The ones that encompass “various” movies, such as ‘8-bit Spring Break’ by Roger Barr and Louis Fernet-Leclair, well you can spend way too much time looking at all the details there.  Very recommended, especially for movie fans.

 

 

 

Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins – Complex 90

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Author: Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Mystery
ISBN 13:   9780857684660

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

 

 

Summary:   Hammer accompanies a conservative politician to Moscow on a fact-finding mission. Arrested and imprisoned by the KGB on a bogus charge; he quickly escapes, creating an international incident by getting into a fire fight with Russian agents.

On his stateside return, the government is none too happy with Hammer. Russia is insisting upon his return to stand charges, and various government agencies are following him. A question dogs our hero: why him? Why does Russia want him back, and why was he singled out to accompany the senator to Russia in the first place? 

 

Review:  I will be the first to admit that I am a terrible mystery solver.  I rarely figure out who dun what and I am notorious for skipping forward impatiently to find out what happened.   This was a very interesting book even before I read it in that the original manuscript was unfinished, left with Max Allan Collins just before Mickey Spillane’s death.   Mr. Collins finished the book and thus, Complex 90 makes its debut as Hammer #18. I was a little worried.  Rex Stout’s famous detective, Nero Wolfe, was a huge favorite of mine in high school and when the series was continued by Robert Goldsborough I was sorely disappointed.   I could tell the difference, I felt.  Here, I didn’t have that feeling as strongly.   

 

Set in 1964,  this installment of the Hammer series begins with Hammer accompanying a conservative Senator  on a fact finding tour of Russia with the result of an arrest by the KGB, and of course a very quick escape with guns blazing and Reds dying.  We then get to be with Hammer as he travels behind the Iron Curtain for a couple months as he attempts to shed light on what the hell is going on!  Hammer is, as always, a great character.  He isn’t perfect, he’s witty, smart and pretty blunt.  Sometimes you want to tell him to shut up (well, I did anyway) but he always redeemed himself for me.  As in most Hammer books, there is violence and it was occasionally graphic, but it’s always relevant to the story.  The sex scenes reminded me of James Bond and that was a little bit disconcerting, but that’s just me.  

 

The setting with the KGB, well, it’s a dated of course and you have to remember that as you read it.  There is a character who isn’t all that they appear and that showed itself fairly early, even for me.   Once Hammer is back in America he is sort of the focus of a possible international incident, with himself as the toy.  Interesting.  Hammer is best, however, when he is kicking ass without taking names and he does that well here.  It’s a good addition to the Hammer series, if a little bit formulaic.

 

Elissa Wald – The Secret Lives of Married Women

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Author: Elissa Wald
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: M/F Mystery BDSM
ISBN 13:   9781781162620

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

 

Summary:  Two identical twin sisters – one a sexually repressed defense attorney, the other a former libertine now living a respectable life in suburbia – are about to have their darkest secrets revealed, to the men in their lives and to themselves. As one sister prepares for the thorniest trial of her career and the other fends off ominous advances from a construction worker laboring on the house next door, both find themselves pushed to the edge, and confronted by discoveries about themselves and their lovers that shock and disturb them 

Review: Very difficult to decide what I thought of the two sisters who are the main characters of this story.  On the one hand, I am not a big fan of BDSM – kissing the belt just wasn’t something that appealed to me as a reader and this story goes way above and beyond that.  On the other, I felt that Ms. Wald did a good job in showcasing why these women were experimenting or living in the BDSM lifestyle and how it affected them.    

This had a feel of separate stories, which seemed a little disjointed.  I didn’t feel like it was one smoothly flowing plot line, despite them being related.   I felt Leda was a little more vanilla in terms of the sex scenes (which is to say, not vanilla at all but in comparison), while Lillian is more hardcore submissive.  Both are BDSM, just Lillian delves a deeper and I thought both had to come to terms with what they wanted.

A stalker, a protective husband, a lawyer attempting to find dirt on a witness and ending up finding out things about herself, those are the main points in this book.  Romance it is not, but if you enjoy the erotic with emphasis on heavy duty BDSM, this may be the book for you.

 

 

 

Scott C – Great Showdowns The Return

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Author: Scott C
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Cartoon
ISBN 13:    9781781168899

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

 

Summary:  A collection of an artist’s strangely good-natured confrontations between his favorite movie characters. 

Review: I went right down in the middle with rating this one because really how on earth do I rate it?  This hardcover book is just what the blurb says – good-natured confrontations between Scott C’s favorite movie characters.  Everyone is smiling, even as they get their guts burned off (by the aliens from Mars Attacks) or facing a smiley short Dark Helmet (my personal fave because I LOVE that movie). Even the disembodied horse head from Godfather smiles.  There are a few I didn’t recognize – not surprising since I miss a lot of movies – but there are many that I did. And it made me smile. 

There are no words in this art book.  It is literally just sets of movie characters facing each other.  Unique and interesting, if a little quirky.

 

 

 

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