The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

November 8, 2017
by Dan
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Memoir, Chapter 1

Oh, Batman. (Zachary Kanin for The New Yorker). 

April 14, 2014
by Dan
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Batman: Strange Days

For me, and I suspect plenty of other people of a certain age, the noir-inspired Batman: The Animated Series, is still the most satisfying version of the character to come to screen. The series has long since ended but happily, … Continue reading

October 18, 2013
by Dan
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Chip Kidd: Obsessed with Batman

In this interview from the AGI Open in London earlier this year, Chip Kidd talks about his work designing books covers, his involvement with comics and, of course, his obsession with Batman: You can read recent interviews with Chip discussing his … Continue reading

September 18, 2013
by Dan
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Holy Sh*t, Batman

Colin Burrows reviews Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr for the London Review of Books: Really good swearing relies on formulaic elements, but needs to be precisely adapted to the moment. In this respect dear old Robin … Continue reading

March 11, 2013
by Dan
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Monday Miscellany

“The Bat-Man” by Chip Kidd and Tony Millionaire from Bizarro Comics #1. I can’t quite believe I haven’t seen this before… (via Martin Klasch) Could Have Been Something — José da Silva interviews Billy Childish for The White Review: Critics want you … Continue reading

August 3, 2012
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Somehow I missed that the second volume of Baltimore came out in June. It will soon be on the ‘to read’ pile along with the new Darwyn Cooke ‘Parker’ book The Score. And just so you have ample advance warning: The … Continue reading

July 25, 2012
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

A long interview with Darwyn Cooke about his latest Donald Westlake/Richard Stark adaptation, The Score (out this week if you’re interested). Shadows and Fog — Jimmy Stamp on Batman and architecture, for ArchDaily: Since its inception, Gotham City has been presented as the embodiment … Continue reading

July 11, 2012
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Literary prints by Evan Robertson, AKA Obvious State. Chairman of the Bored — Bruce Handy on collecting boring books: My hobby has two rules: I buy books only on the street. (Uniquely boring books must present themselves willingly; you can’t … Continue reading

December 9, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

An interview with designer Suzanne Dean, creative director at Random House UK,  in The Daily Telegraph: For this year’s Man Booker winner, Dean tried out, in her own estimation, about 20 different jackets. Working with the book’s themes of time and … Continue reading

December 5, 2011
by Dan
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Raincoast Spring Books

I was out west for the Raincoast Books spring 2012 sales conference last week. Sadly I didn’t get to see much of Vancouver or catch up with half the people I meant to, but I did get to hear about a … Continue reading

November 23, 2011
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Design Auteur — Steven Heller on Erik Nitsche for Print Magazine: For some, book publishing was akin to the Internet of the sixties and seventies, a means of communicating information to large numbers in large volumes. In this milieu Nitsche … Continue reading

September 23, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Peirene Press is small independent publisher in the UK specializing in previously untranslated contemporary European novellas. Their most recent series of books, designed by Sacha Davison Lunt, has been short-listed for the 2011 British Book Design and Production Awards in … Continue reading

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