Virginia Woolf // The Atlantic
My first portrait commission! And who better to illustrate than Virginia Woolf!
I’m totally going with FOREVER.
Nabokov (who wrote the banned book Lolita) once said: “A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader.”
Here at Guernica, celebrating Banned Books Week has meant many nostalgic trips to the book store. (And helped us to finally become, ahem, major readers.) Here’s…
Alice Walker on banned books.
Guernica: What’s most at stake when a book like The Color Purple is banned? What’s at stake for women, and women of color, when a story like this is silenced?
Alice Walker: Great Literature is help for humans. It is medicine of the highest order. In a more aware culture, writers would be considered priests. And, in fact, I have approached writing in a distinctly priestess frame of mind. I know what The Color Purple can mean to people, women and men, who have no voice. Who believe they have few choices in life. It can open to them, to their view, the full abundance of this amazing journey we are all on. It can lift them into a new realization of their own power, beauty, love, courage. It is a book that unites the present with the past, therefore giving people a sense of history and of timelessness they might never achieve otherwise. And even were it not “great” literature, it has the best interests of all of us humans at heart. That we grow, change, challenge, encourage, love fiercely in the awareness that real love can never be incorrect.
“Howe has written a biographical history of modern America’s id.”
Book Release Party in New York:
MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY, is finally hitting shelves on Tuesday, October 9. It’s the result of years of hard work, and I’m proud to say that the early reception has been very encouraging. (See below!)
I’m confident that the behind-the-scenes story of Marvel Comics is one of great relevance to anyone—comics reader or not—who’s interested in the ways that art and commerce interact. To prove it, I’ll be celebrating the book’s release with an onstage conversation with the stubbornly casual comics reader Chuck Klosterman, at the PowerHouse Arena, 37 Main Street, Brooklyn, on Tuesday, October 9, at 7pm. I’d love to see you there. (And please feel free to help me get the word out!)
“Sean Howe’s history of Marvel makes a compulsively readable, riotous and heartbreaking version of my favorite story, that of how a bunch of weirdos changed the world. That it’s all true is just frosting on the cake.”
— Jonathan Lethem
“A warts-and-all, nail-biting mini-epic about the low-paid, unsung ‘funnybook men’ who were unwittingly creating twenty-first century pop culture. If you thought the fisticuffs were bare and bloody on the four-color page, wait ‘til you hear about what went down in the Marvel bullpen.”
— Patton Oswalt
“Exhaustively researched and artfully assembled, Marvel Comicsis a historical exploration, a labor of love, and a living illustration of how the weirdest corners of the counterculture can sometimes become the culture-at-large.”
— Chuck Klosterman“Page after page, Sean Howe’s Marvel Comicsmanages to be enchantingly told, emotionally suspenseful and totally revelatory. If I knew more about superpowers, I’d be able to explain how he did it.”
— Sloane Crosley“Sean Howe is to Marvel Comics what Procopius was to the Byzantine Empire: a court gossip of breathtaking thoroughness and exactitude, and a sly and nuanced writer. It is imperative that this work not fall into the hands of alien species, or we’re done for.”
— Luc Sante
“A jittery, hilarious, anecdotal, and exhaustive history of the company…. If you’re a comics fan, this is essential reading. If you’re not, then it’s merely fascinating. Howe has written a biographical history of modern America’s id.”
— GQ“Scintillating…Howe pens a colorful panorama…an indelible portrait.”
— Publishers Weekly
“An impeccably researched, authoritative history…nuanced and engrossing.”
— Kirkus Reviews
The dominant 1990s narrative of Afro-pessimism—famine! war! strife!—is currently being swapped out for an equally simplistic narrative of Afro-optimism—mobile phones! emerging markets! Chinese investment! Ultimately, Afro-pessimism and Afro-optimism are both predetermined narratives with pat conclusions. Some critics of the old pessimism now claim that media coverage of Africa is getting better. But what does better media coverage of Africa mean? With a proliferation of different types of images, perhaps we can look past simple conclusions and find a more complicated narrative that leaves space for simple moments, like a woman doing laundry.
(Fantastic Four #98, May 1970. Art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott. Words by Neil Armstrong and Stan Lee. Lettering by Artie Simek.)
“Here men from the planet earth first set foot upon the moon, July, 1969, A.D. We came in peace far all mankind.”
RIP Neil Armstrong.