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Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Deluxe Edition Comics And Art Books

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If you’re like some of the ComicsAlliance staff, you have a great affection for deluxe edition books that offer historical overviews of various pop culture topics, reprint the great works of the comics medium, and/or collect classic storylines (and supplement them with all kinds of bonus material)… And with the gift-giving season now in full swing, you're likely looking for the perfect gifts for your follow geeks (or possibly, wanting to give your relations some suggestions for things you'd like this year, in lieu of another ill-fitting sweater). So as a public service, we've compiled this list of some of the best expensive, large, and mind-blowingly ornate titles that you can find at your local comic shop or from online booksellers.

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Illinois School Board Sensibly Votes Not To Remove Acclaimed, Award-Winning Memoir ‘Persepolis’ From Reading List

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Just as this year's comics-centric Banned Books Week was coming to a close, an Illinois school board has unanimously voted to keep Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel Persepolis on the reading list of a local high school.

According to the State Journal-Register, a Glenwood High School parent complained to Principal Jim Lee (yes, that's his name) about the book, questioning why a teacher would ask students to read a book about Muslims on September 11. The parent also complained about a scene that shows a dismembered body and a man being tortured. Thankfully Lee just plain wasn't having it.

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‘Hip Hop Family Tree’ Cartoonist Ed Piskor Revisits Childhood Home, Early Work In New Mini-Documentary [Video]

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Graphic novelist Ed Piskor grew up in Pittsburgh at the intersection of hip-hop and comics.

That's one of the takeaways from the mini-documentary that accompanied a recent profile of the Hip-Hop Family Tree creator in Pittsburgh Magazine. In it, Piskor visits his childhood home -- now totally dilapidated and overgrown -- and finds his old sketches on the walls. He talks about the playgrounds nearby where hip-hop found a footing in Pittsburgh, and visits the comic shop that helped launch his career.

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Deconstructing The Horrific And The Humane In Kerascoet & Fabien Vehlmann’s ‘Beautiful Darkness’

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It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët's Beautiful Darkness has been one of the undisputed standouts in the not unglorious year of comics 2014. Originating from the mind and sketch/notebooks of Marie Pommepuy (she, and partner Sébastien Cosset collaborate under the pen-name Kerascoët), the story of a group of tiny people springing from the body of a dead girl in the woods and the vicious lengths and efforts they go to to survive is appreciable on several, complex levels. One of the facets of great art is that it lingers in the mind, burrows and shifts, dredging up thought and questions, analyses, re-evaluation, and Beautiful Darkness is no different. And so, to accompany my original review, I've compiled a deconstruction of sorts presented here as various questions (answered and unanswered) and theories that dig further into the text and its potential readings.

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Koyama Press Spring Lineup Includes Books From Harbin, Lapalme, Schubert And Degen

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Koyama Press announced its spring 2015 lineup of graphic novels this week, and the books coming down the pipeline range from personal, diary-format comics to a weird, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pastiche. There's also a surreal deconstruction of superheroes and an effusive celebration of color. Creators include Dustin Harbin, A. Degen, Alex Schubert and Ginette Lapalme.

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Humanoids To Release New Edition Of ‘Barbarella’ Adapted By Kelly Sue DeConnick

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Though hugely influential on characters including Vampirella, Jean-Claude Forest's Barbarella graphic novels haven't really made a huge dent in American comics culture. Many fans are likely familiar with the 1968 movie starring Jane Fonda, but Forest's French comics haven't been printed in English since appearing in Heavy Metal back in 1978.

That's about to change thanks to Humanoids Publishing and writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. A new translation of Forest's Barbarella, scripted by DeConnick, is set for release September 24, with the first-ever English reprint of the second book, The Wrath of the Minute-Eater, coming in January.

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Magic Omnibus: Embracing The Radical Weird In Grant Morrison’s ‘Doom Patrol’

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While at Comic Con, Grant Morrison dropped several enigmatic hints and subliminal messages to ComicsAlliance about his next mega-event, Multiversity, broke down the divisions between fictional universes, and even proclaimed that he thinks that he's made the world's first real superhero. He says things like that. Some people like him, many love him, and some people straight up hate him. With Multiversity starting up in August, you can be sure that there will soon be legions of detractors proclaiming that Morrison is the most overrated writer in comics, and nothing he's ever done has ever made any sense.

The release of DC's Doom Patrol Omnibus finally equips us to give these people the bludgeoning they deserve. (Metaphorical bludgeoning. ComicsAlliance does not condone actual bludgeoning.)

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Despair At Its Finest: David Lapham’s ‘Murder Me Dead’ [Review]

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When discussing the oeuvre of David Lapham, the comic that comes up again and again is obviously Stray Bullets. As great as Stray Bullets is, though, it tends to overshadow the rest of Lapham's body of work rather unfairly in some cases. Despite the several very good comics that Lapham has produced besides his most famous title – including the incomplete Young Liars, the raucous Juice Squeezers, and of course WWF Battlemania – none can match the near-mythic level of quality and reputation of Stray Bullets, and tend to just get left out of the conversation.

The new trade paperback collection of Murder Me Dead, available July 23 from Image Comics, could help change that trend. A dark, stirring, and emotionally manipulative noir about self-destruction, lies, and guilt, it may be the best “other” Lapham comic in his catalog.

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Roger Langridge To Adapt Unproduced Jim Henson Script, ‘The Magical Monsters Of Turkey Hollow’

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A 1968 script by Jim Henson and longtime collaborator Jerry Juhl is finally being produced, as a TV special and as a brand new graphic novel by Snarked, Popeye and The Muppets cartoonist Roger Langridge.

Archaia will publish the Thanksgiving themed graphic novel The Magical Monsters of Turkey Hollow in October, which means the project has a real Henson pedigree. Not only has Langridge produced acclaimed Muppets comics for Archaia parent Boom! Studios, but the graphic novel that really put Archaia on the map in 2011 was Tale of Sand, an adaptation of another unproduced Henson/Juhl script.

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7x6x2: Paul Pope’s New Live-Action, Space-Western Short Film [Video]

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Graphic novelist Paul Pope has been busy of late. He released two graphic novels in 2013: Battling Boy and The Death of Haggard West, and another, The Rise of Aurora West, is on the way in September.

And yet the prolific artist found the time to work with film director and writer Sridhar Reddy on a brand new short film, 7x6x2, based on one of Pope's graphic novellas. The story is sort of a sci-fi Western, a bit of a take on the effects of war, and absolutely full of nefarious, ape-like creatures.

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