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Local Book Notes: Chicago's Original Master Of Comic Art

"You can make the argument that the comic strip started with Winsor McCay," Teddy Jamieson writes for the Scotland Herald.

"Chronologically, it's not quite true but, more than most, the American cartoonist who created Little Sammy Sneeze, Dream of the Rarebit Fiend and, in 1905, Little Nemo in Slumberland sketched out what was possible in the form. He is the comic strip's Cecil B DeMille and George Melies combined - a glorious fantasist and technical innovator, a synthesizer of possibilities in an almost new art form and now, more than 100 years later, still one of the most accomplished and capable artists who have ever graced the form.

"He was also a man of his time guilty of his time's prejudices, but let's park that for a moment and recognize his importance. As Tom De Haven argues in the book Masters of Comic Art, it was McCay who effectively devised and developed the grammar and language of comics.

"'Since McCay the basic unit has been the page,' De Haven claims and there are few more beautiful pages than the strips McCay devised for Little Nemo - glorious Art Nouveau-influenced color art replete with a startling eye for pattern and readability and an offhand surrealism that owed something, you feel, to his time spent working in a dime museum in Chicago drawing posters and banners to advertise its latest freak show attractions."

Should Jennifer Do Theodore Dreiser?
"Dreiser's novel [Sister Carrie], which has become a modern classic, would be a perfect fit for cinema," Prajay Ghaghda writes for The Upcoming.

"It's the story of a young woman who leaves her small town in search of a better life in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. Carrie Meeber was a unique heroine for the time as she frequently violated the contemporary moral code.

"Beyond this, Sister Carrie is the thoughtful story of a young woman trying to thrive in a new world. It's fascinating to watch her grow from timid young woman to someone quite willing and able to manipulate others for her own personal gain.

"Jennifer Lawrence would make an excellent casting decision, the mix of innocence in the first Hunger Games film with the confidence and bravado of her American Hustle role would suit this just fine."

Triangulating Israel
Phil Jackson's Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, now translated into Hebrew.

Another Christmas Miracle
"On the cover of [Kane County] author William Hazelgrove's latest novel, Real Santa, a starred review by Booklist states, 'If somebody doesn't make a movie out of this book, there's something wrong with the world.' Well, someone has decided to do just that," Kara Silva writes for the Kane County Chronicle.

"Modern Family producer Vicki Rocco recently bought the film rights to Real Santa for her production company - Small But Mighty Productions - with an eye for a feature or made-for-television movie.

"This news comes on the back of Hazelgrove's summer announcement that he sold the rights to his fifth book, The Pitcher, to producer Ed Bates, who currently is adapting the screenplay."

You can find that Booklist review here.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on December 29, 2014


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