Monday, February 15, 2016

Between Books - Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago....Volume 4

I do love me some Star Wars!  I have to thank Disney for buying LucasFilm and reinvigorating the franchise.  And one of my favorite parts of this renewal is taking the time to look back at the Marvel Star Wars material from my childhood.  

Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago....Volume 4 reprints Marvel's original Star Wars issues 68 to 85 and King-Size Annual #3.  The majority of the stories are set between Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.  Luke, Leia and Lando split their time between missions to find Han's frozen body and track down a Rebel agent with important information, could it be about a new super weapon?  The three are continually on the run from bounty hunters, the Empire and aliens a plenty.  But really the stories serve to fill the time between the two movies.  This is followed by the Return of the Jedi adaptation and the return of writer Archie Goodwin and artist Al Williamson.  In the wake of the movie readers witness the Rebels attempting to make efforts to legitimize their new government, Han attempting to make a fortune for himself to win over a certain princess, the "return" of Boba Fett and more.  

I have several thoughts, but my biggest one is I continue to love this material.  

In the pages of the Marvel comic before Return of the Jedi, Leia wears a bikini.  And a young alien has a reaction similar to young Between Disney when he saw it later.  And the fact I got to witness this is a comic, before the movie came out, simply made me snicker like a school boy.  

The highlight is the return of Goodwin and Williamson.  Their combination of art and writing really did create a classic.  And I loved seeing Marvel bringing them back for what was truly a very special event.  I have also come to enjoy the writing of Jo Duffy who wrote the majority of his volume.  Between her work her and Power-Man and Iron Fist, Duffy shows her skill as a writer.  She developed stories that fans wanted to see, like the return of Boba Fett, perhaps before they knew they wanted them.  And you really have to give her credit for taking on what could be seen as two losing battles, filling the time between movies and determining what was next in Star Wars before there was an Expanded Universe.  We really should hear more about this important writer, a women who was writing a male centric comic book in the 1980s!  And while her work is not canon any longer, it is fun and does truly deserve the heading of "Legends".  It is a title I think we should give her also. 

I love the out of print, but still available digitally, Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago...Volume 4.  The stories and art are a piece of my childhood which I love revisiting now as I share new Star Wars with the Between Kids.  I can truly say I enjoyed reading every page of the volume!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Between Books - Disneyland Secrets

My first Between Book was a parks fact book. And I wonder sometimes if this type of book is exhausted within the book market since I have read many of them. Would I be able to find room for another fun fact parks book on my shelf?

Disneyland Secrets by Gavin Doyle is a land by land reading tour than Disneyland.  Doyle takes his readers through each land giving us fun and interesting facts about Disneyland Park.  Each page is basically one themed fact with varying detail that all fits on one page.  The font is big and easy to read which makes it an easy book to read and honestly easy to give to an upper elementary reader.

Honestly, I was taken off guard.  There were several new to me facts that I found on these pages.  These ranged from cash values for paper tickets, the C-3PO at Star Tours - The Adventure Continues, half painted lights, the Kimball family still working the Disneyland Railroad and several more.  These type of facts are the ones that catch my attention.  I find them both interesting because they are in my favorite areas of Disneyland.  And I find them instructive because despite the amount I read on the park I still had not stumbled on yet.

Disneyland Secrets is an easy to read fact book.  Honestly, I can see dropping it into a backpack to help entertain a kid while waiting in lines.  Another easy use in the park would be to get a Kindle version and read from a phone while waiting in lines.  For the new to Disneyland guest there will be plenty to talk about and learn about the park.  For the experience veteran they will be pleased to find new fact nuggets.  In the end, both types of guests should have a good time. 

Review Copy Provided by Theme Park Press


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Between Books - Everything I Know I Learned from Disney Animated Features

Jim Korkis gives his spin to Disney animation history in Everything I Know I Learned from Disney Animated Feature Films: Advice for Living Happily Every After.  Korkis provides readers with a chapter for all 54 current Disney animated films from Snow White to Big Hero 6.  Every chapter provides the reader with a summary of the movie, five facts and four quotes.  The facts include a number of new to me facts and the quotes tend to be ones that challenge readers in contemplation not just the popular most known lines.  

I am honestly a little disappointed with this offering.  When I saw the title, I thought the book would be an animation companion to Korkis' Who's the Leader of the Club, where life lessons would be strongly connected to each film.  But really the text is closer to a statement on the cover "A Disney Historian FUN FACT Book" as the quotes and facts really are not accompanied by much commentary.  A slight re-titling of the book could help readers to understand the book's contents and value.  The book offers the sort of facts that one has come to expect from Korkis in interviews and articles.  And therefore, the facts are at times truly fun and often engaging.  

Korkis fans will definitely want to pick up a copy of Everything I Know I Learned from Disney Animated Feature Films.  But for most Disney fans or those interested casually in animation history I would recommend a Kindle edition.  The chapters are short, and easy to jump in and out of.  So it can be a filler time read.  But for those wishing to improve or grow by being directly lead through the material, perhaps another book will come in the future from Korkis.

Review Copy Provided by Theme Park Press