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The Open Page: Book & Print News – 11/29/07


1) With the success of the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 comics series, creator and writer Joss Whedon has authorized and will executive edit a new Angel comics series, also meant to continue the storylines of the television spin-off. Angel: Season 6: After the Fall has now launched with Issue #1 from IDW Publishing. The series is run by Brian Lynch and Franco Urru, who previously produced the Buffy comic Spike: Shadow Puppets, with assistance from acclaimed comics artist Tony Harris. Issue #1 begins where the television series left off in its fifth season finale, with cursed vampire Angel and the remains of his heroic team in a dark alley, facing their end from an on-coming onslaught of demons and magical creatures after they have assassinated the evil law firm Wolfram & Hart’s Senior Partners. The issue looks at what happened in this climatic battle, who survived and what happened to Los Angeles in the aftermath.

2) Amazon.com has gone full out in the launching of its new electronic reader, Kindle, a $400 US package using anti-glare e-ink that allows purchasers to download, in an I-Tunes-like manner, books, magazines and newspapers. Books for the Kindle are priced by Amazon at $9.99 apiece, a savings over standard prices for hardcover print editions. But the e-reader is effecting Amazon customers in another way – since the release of the Kindle, Amazon has been charging full retail price for print mass market paperbacks, presumably to make the Kindle editions appear more attractive. The pricing change, just before the Christmas season, has gotten many customers irked, however, and may lose Amazon some business to other on-line stores and bookstores willing to offer holiday discounts.

3) Debuting comic fantasy author Marie Phillips has hit the jackpot. Her first novel, Gods Behaving Badly, recently released in the U.K. and due out in the U.S. in December, has been optioned by Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films for development into a television series. The novel is set in contemporary London, where the ancient Greek gods have been sharing a house since the late 1600’s and are finding ruling the world not as interesting any more as their circumstances become more impoverished. 

4) The U.K. will play host to the first ever ZombieCon, to be held Sept. 5-7th, 2008, at the Quality Hotel in Bentley, near Walsall. The organizers promise that the con will be two and a half days and two long nights of pure fun concerning all things zombie, including demonstrations, workshops, talks, games, a masquerade and two discos. Membership rates are forty pounds until March 2008. Teens under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent to attend. For more information, visit the official website: zombiecon.co.uk.

5) Shooting War drew a lot of attention when it debuted as a webcomic on www.smithmag.net back in May 2006. After about a dozen episodes online, with support from Boing Boing and Joe Gordon at FPI Blog Log, the story has been moved to print form. The graphic novel edition, created by Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman, has just been released by Weidenfeld & Nicholson. It contains all the original webcomics, plus the continuation of the story about media sensation and alienated video blogger Jimmy Burns, who agrees to go to Iraq as an electronic journalist for a multi-media network after his New York apartment block is blown up by terrorists. Set in 2011, with the Iraq war still on-going and growing increasingly nightmarish, Shooting War is a satiric, biting glimpse at the near future we might still have, as Burns is cast into chaos and conspiracy in a devolving war zone.

6) In addition to having his 1993 novel Jumper and its sequel Reflux, about a young man genetically able to teleport, be made into a movie for early 2008, SF author Steven Gould will get to see his YA series turned into a video game from Brash Entertainment. Collision Studios is developing versions of the game for PlayStation 2 and Wii, and RedTribe is doing the same for the Xbox 360. The game will be released on February 14, 2008, the same release date for the movie, which stars Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson. Gould also recently published a third book in the series, Jumper: Griffin’s Story, which features a minor character from the movie.

7) Simon & Schuster’s long-running Tom Swift book series has been optioned by Worldwide Biggies, a new digital studio, with plans for a feature film and video game, followed by episodes for television and the Web. The series was started by Edward Stratemeyer and then carried on by other writers for over 100 installments. Tom Swift is a teenage genius born into a family of inventors, who comes up with fantastic devices to solve the problems he encounters. The movie version will emphasize an environmental theme.

8) Jeanne DuPrau’s fantasy novel City of Ember is in development for a movie adaptation, scheduled for release in the fall of 2008. The environmentalist story concerns two youngsters who are the only people in Ember who notice a growing lack of food and frequent blackouts. The movie is directed by Gil Keenan, and stars Bill Murray, Toby Jones, Tim Robbins, Saorise Ronan, and Martin Landau.

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