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Book Expo America and BookCon 2015

Notes from Book Expo America and BookCon

by Francis Rizzo III

Book Expo America and BookCon were held from May 27-31 at the Javits Center in New York, featuring a variety of book publishers showing off their upcoming wares, while some movie adaptations, including films of John (The Fault in Our Stars) Green’s Paper Towns and Emma Donoghue’s Room, grabbed the bulk of the attention left behind by a wave of YouTube book stars, including Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart and Connor Franta. However, back in the world of printed entertainment, there was plenty for fans of movies and TV to check out.


One of the exhibitors that really impressed with their upcoming offerings (and recent for that matter) was Insight Editions. Besides drool-worth illustrated encyclopedias for classic ‘80s movies franchises Ghostbusters and Back to the Future coming in September and October respectively, there’s also art books for the upcoming Pan (June), Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak (October) and Michael (Trick ‘r Treat) Dougherty’s Krampus (November). However their April release, Figure Fantasy, which has a foreword from Simon Pegg and an afterword by Kevin Smith, truly deserves far more recognition than it's received to date. Photographer Daniel Picard posed action figures in real-life settings, resulting in some truly memorable imagery. June sees the release of a new $125 limited-edition version of the book with additional art, three prints and a card autographed by Picard.

9781770412361.jpg Our neighbors to the north, ECW Press out of Toronto, are doing their part for the Queen with books on Sherlock and Doctor Who coming in September, but the thing that should excite film and TV fans the most is their Pop Classics line, which sees entry number five in October: National Treasure. Nicolas Cage ($12.95). Making the argument that Cage is a “classic”, the book lays out the case for and against him, much as it did with previous editions focusing on Elvis, Twin Peaks, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Showgirls. It will be a must for fans of How Did This Get Made.

Art-book publisher Rizzoli is putting out a few interesting titles for film and TV fans this fall, starting with what looks like a must-have for world cinema fans, WKW: The Cinema of Wong Kar Wai (September). Through six interviews with the director, illustrated with photos and stills, his 11 films are explored in detail. Another director, Richard Lester, offers an introduction to a book of Emilio Lari’s on-set photography, most of which hasn’t previously been published, in The Beatles: Help! (September). Though a bit early for Halloween, September also sees the release of Essential Horror Movies by Michael Mallory, while October brings the absolutely massive (960 pages) 1001 TV Shows You Must Watch Before You Die, with a preface from Sherlock producer Steven Moffat.

Quirk Books, always a source for unusual and interesting books, delivers the latest in their William Shakespeare/Star Wars mash-up series in September, with William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge. But the one likely to excite readers is that month’s The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray, which covers the bon vivant from all angles, looking at all of his performances, with the inclusion of what’s described as “extraordinary fan art” being the most intriguing elements.

Workman Publishing has reached back a bit, offering a few eBook collections of cult-movie expert Danny Peary’s work, with Cult Crime Movies, Cult Horror Movies, Cult Midnight Movies, each of which cover over 30 certified classic from the fringes of filmdom in detail. At under four dollar a pop, available now, these are well worth picking up.

Lion Forge Comics is a relative newcomer on the scene, but they’ve found a way to make an impact by calling upon ‘80s nostalgia with a series of titles based on popular TV series like Miami Vice, Punky Brewster, Saved by the Bell, Knight Rider and Airwolf, with Care Bears and Madballs comics on the way. Of the titles available, Miami Vice looks the most interesting, with writing by Joe Casey (X-Men) and highly-stylized art by Jim Mahfood (Clerks).

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