Thursday News: best books list, adult sticker books, cospaint, and Miss America Chavez
Best books of 2016: Our staff picks – Notable because it contains actual Romance recommendations. They wouldn’t necessarily be my Romance recommendations for best of the year, but I’m just happy to see that they’re recognizing the genre seriously in their comprehensive end of the year list.
Copy editor Lidija Dorkjhand, an expert on romances, tabs The Beast (NAL, $28) by J.R. Ward – whose books are “perennial favorites of mine” — as one of the best this year. “And since I love a humorous, witty romance,” she writes, “standouts this year were Tailored for Trouble by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff (Ballantine, $16) and Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (Avon, $25.99).” – philly.com (The Inquirer)
Sticker Books for Grown-Ups: Inside a Publishing Incubator – Now here’s something I can get behind – activity books for adults. Workman Publishing’s Daniel Nayeri is credited with co-creating the idea of books “inspired partly by polygonal videogame art and mosaics,” that are focused on highly detailed images fleshed out via sticker application. Nayeri’s ambition is to make Workman the “Pixar of publishing,” and the company already has a reputation for creating unusual children’s books (e.g. a book on archery that can also be used as a bow).
“Paint by Sticker” began as an idea for children but quickly morphed into something more, fueled by the boom in adult coloring books. To appeal to grownups, the publisher designed complex images with as many as 450 stickers per picture. The adult editions, which Workman calls “a magical new art form,” are positioned as meditative exercises that encourage creative flow. Designers try to keep the sticking process relatively simple. For instance, they shifted the vantage point on that Madonna picture to allow for a larger mole that would be easier to handle. Four sticker books came out this year, including two children’s versions, with another four to follow in 2017. Workman has printed more than 690,000 copies of seven of its eight “Paint by Sticker” books, a run it calls “extraordinary” for a new concept without an established author. A music icons sticker book due next year isn’t yet printed. – Wall Street Journal
She Brings Comic Book Characters to Life – A feature on Kay Pike, who creates characters through “cospaint,” which she applies to herself in luminous detail. Arthritis prevented her from spending the time at a sewing machine that fabric costumes require, but she is able to paint herself despite her chronic pain and continue to participate in cosplay. Her pictures are ah-may-zing.
Her new passion started in earnest last December, when she transformed herself into a character from Attack on Titan, a manga series about fearsome giants that prey on humans. Ms. Pike became Colossus Titan (picture a body without skin, something a medical student might use for anatomy lessons). The character’s face and shoulders required about four hours of painting.
Since then, the majority of her depictions, which average 10 to 14 hours of brushwork, have been names recognizable to even the nongeeks: Spider-Man, Catwoman, Captain Planet, Invisible Woman, the Flash and others. They all share similar traits, with the stills resembling comic book art and the videos capturing the champions coming to life. (Removing the FAB paint takes about an hour, and includes soaking in coconut oil, scrubbing, lathering and rinsing.) – New York Times
Why America Chavez’s Solo Comic Is A Victory For Queer Nerds Of Color – Speaking of women and comics, this is a nice piece on Marvel’s hiring of Gabby Rivera to write Miss American Chavez. As the post asserts, Rivera’s success with her YA novel Juliet Takes A Breath certainly raised her profile, but with her hire, and with the solo treatment of Chavez, hopefully Marvel is signaling a more meaningful commitment to diversity.
For those who aren’t familiar with Miss America Chavez, she is a brown-skinned lesbian Latina who has the power to literally kick open doors between dimensions and also super strength, flight, and speed. If you want a good sense of her character, then read all of Kieron Gillen and Jamie Mckelvie’s Young Avengers books. These books show America Chavez as an actual character who kicks butt by punching people (& Kid Loki), flirts with Kate “Hawkeye” Bishop, and strives to be a hero by doing the right thing. Not to mention, she has a great backstory that appears near the end of the final Young Avengers book.Having a queer superhero of color get a solo comic is a major deal, because queer superheroes of color rarely get the attention they deserve. Other than World of Wakanda, there aren’t any mainstream comic books that focus solely on queer people of color. As Cameron Glover wrote for The Mary Sue, America Chavez’s solo comic is the result of the power of her fans. If comic companies like Marvel and DC are truly committed to being inclusive, they should keep listening to queer nerds of color and promote queer superheroes of color better. – Black Girl Nerds