The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Midweek Miscellany, August 26th, 2009

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Black Jackets — The mighty Peter Mendelsund is giving away all of Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack manga series in return for some assistance designing the next cover.

Take That! And That! And That! — Sony, having recently announced a pocket-sized reader and their switch to the ePub format, have now unveiled a new wireless electronic book reader with a 7-inch touch screen.

And on a related note, E-Reads tries to unpack some of the complex issues around Sony, ePub, and DRM.

Typedia — much linked to elsewhere (causing a severe strain on their servers earlier this week), Typedia is “a community website to classify typefaces and educate people about them.” I have no idea what I might use it for, but it looks pretty neat. You can also follow them on Twitter.

On the subject of typography, check out The Alphabetography Project, a photography blog cataloging found letters of the alphabet.

And hell, why not take a look June Corley’s charming typographic sculptures while you’re at it (via The Daily Heller and pictured below)…

Board — Also much linked to elsewhere, the New York Observer‘s Leon Neyfakh looks at three new hardcover books designed without dust jackets. It’s not exactly “the new thing” — more a case of the mainstream catching up with indies perhaps (and a light news day) — but there are still some interesting comments about book design:

Most of the publishers experimenting with jacketless hardcovers, including Viking, FSG, and Graywolf, are consciously taking their cues from the folks at McSweeney’s, who have been putting out beautiful books designed in this style for years. For Eli Horowitz, the managing editor at McSweeney’s, the method is a means of restoring some of the permanence and singularity to the book as object.

From the Design Desk — Designer Suzanne LaGasa talks about the cover design process at Chronicle Books.  (Full disclosure: Chronicle are distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books, my employer).

Big Comics — reviewsnthings asks notable comic artists, writers, publishers, editors and the like “what’s your opinion of the term ‘Graphic Novel’?” stirring up some interesting reactions. Here’s Leigh Walton, comics editor, and Top Shelf’s marketing coordinator, for example:

I find it intensely frustrating, in the sense that I can’t fully support it and I can’t fully dismiss it. Great minds have worked for ages to invent a better term, and they’ve failed. Its shortcomings are obvious — it’s based on a term, ‘novel,’ which has specific requirements of length and content, and it can never replace ‘comics’ as a general term for the medium… Yet ‘comic book’ was reserved ages ago for a format that isn’t really very booklike at all.

Mixtape — Robin McConnell is compiling cartoonists’ playlists for Inkstuds (the radio show about comic books), including Love and Rockets legend Jaime Hernandez.

And lastly, something for the fanboys to argue over: The Top 70 Most Iconic Marvel Comic Panels. (via LinkMachineGo)

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for featuring the Alphabetography project!

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