Articles Published the Week of February 21st

Liew's Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye Tells Singapore's Secret History

Sonny Liew has been writing and drawing some great comics in recent years. His Malinky Robot stories are great, The Shadow Hero, and other work have shown him to be an incredibly talented artist, but his new book The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye is another level. Someone who doesn't know any better might think it's an art book about a artist from Singapore they've never heard of (and actually some advance readers did think that) who has been able to work in a wide range of styles and approaches over the decades. It's also a thoughtful nuanced look at modern Singapore, puncturing many nationalist myths.

MAD Magazine's John Ficarra still running comic's greatest gang of idiots

John Ficarra is in charge of one of the great cultural institutions of the United States of America–MAD Magazine. He's been working there for more than thirty years and we sat down to talk about the magazine's place in contemporary culture, the state of satire today, and more.

Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky

One of my favorite novels so far this year is All the Birds in the Sky. The story of a scientist and a magician - the two meet as middle school outcasts, and then meet again in San Francisco as the world is about to end. A magician and a scientist falling in love seems goofy and nuts and Anders manages to pull it off so incredibly well. Dark and hopeful and romantic and leaves you feeling that the world may be cold and dangerous but it's also so full of wonder and possibility.

NAACP Image Awards

One of my favorite things about the NAACP Image Awards is that they hand out literary awards. Now of course you wouldn't know this reading a lot of websites and news outlets which will list the "complete" list of winners and then leave out an entire section of awards and award winners.

As writers, we are used to this, though...

Anyway I just wanted to post the winners of the literary awards because while I have not read all of them, it's an incredible lineup of people and features a number of immensely talented people.

I mean Ta-Nehisi Coates is, well, my admiration and respect for TNC knows few bounds.

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma was one of the best debut novels of 2015. An incredible book and an amazing story from a writer who is an immense talent. Obioma was up against another incredible talent, Angela Flournoy.

Terrance Hayes is one of the best poets in America today. Also he was up against a number of talented people including Ross Gay and Carl Phillips. How to be Drawn may be my favorite of Hayes' books and he deserves all the praise he can get for it.

I never read the children's book about Gordon Parks, but I have such love for Parks' work that I want to read it. I mean it's Gordon Parks.

Also Soul Food Love is a cookbook I love and have used. And lord knows I can't say that about many cookbooks but Alice Randall (who some might remember as the author sued years back when she wrote a take on Gone with the Wind). She wrote it with her daughter (the talented poet Caroline Randall Williams whose debut collection came out the previous year) and it has some solid recipes.

Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction:
Stand Your Ground, by Victoria Christopher Murrary

Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction:
Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Bengaby Pamela Newkirk

Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author:
The Fishermen, by Chigozie Obioma

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/ Auto-Biography:
Between The World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional:
Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family, by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry:
How to Be Drawn, by Terrance Hayes

Outstanding Literary Work – Children:
Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America, by Carole Boston Weatherford (Author) and Jamey Christoph (Illustrator)

Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens
X: A Novel, by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon

Articles Published the Week of January January 31st

Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen educate DC's young heroes in "Secret Hero Society"

Fridolfs and Nguyen have been working together since they started in comics nearly twenty years ago. They found some success recently with "Li'l Gotham" which was a very fun comic featuring DC's hero and villains in a series of all ages adventures. It especially stands out at a time when there are too few superhero comics you could hand to a kid. Their new project is a book series from Scholastic featuring Bruce, Clark, and Diana as students at Ducard Academy. It's a lot of fun, really imaginative and we had a great conversation talking about the book and their careers.