The first black superhero in mainstream American comics, the Black Panther, appeared in 1966 in an issue of Marvel comics Fantastic Four. The character was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Jump ahead decades and he is about to debut again, in a story written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, the best-selling author of the National Book Award winner Between the World and Me.
The first issue of the comic, with art by Brian Stelfreeze, will appear on April 6th. It is the first of eleven that will be releases in paperback complications, beginning with #1-4, Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Hachette/Marvel; Sept. 27, 2016; ISBN: 9781302900533; $16.99).
Coates writes about creating a new vision for Black Panther, writing comics, and the role of comics in his life for the newest issue of The Atlantic, where he is a national correspondent, explaining why he found the opportunity irresistible,
“Some of the best days of my life were spent poring over the back issues of The Uncanny X-Men and The Amazing Spider-Man. As a child of the crack-riddled West Baltimore of the 1980s, I found the tales of comic books to be an escape, another reality where, very often, the weak and mocked could transform their fallibility into fantastic power.”
The story is getting coverage elsewhere as well, with a piece on the NYT‘s Web site today, an illustrated story on the pop culture site The Mary Sue earlier the month, and a Speakeasy interview in theWSJ with the Editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics.
All this comes as the Black Panther set to make his big-screen debut on May 5th in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. As we reported earlier, Chadwick Boseman will play the superhero monarch. The most recent movie trailer, below:
For background on the character, SuperHeroHype provides an illustrated look.
J.K. Rowling’s website Pottermore released a set of sample drawings which include the cover image (of Harry and Ron in Mr. Weasley’s flying car), a portrait of Hagrid, an exterior view of Hogwarts, and a “da Vinci-esque study of Mandrakes.” There will be 115 images in all.
Oscar Isaac has joined the cast of the film adaptation of the Nebula Award-winning novel, Annihilation (Macmillan/FSG; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), which already includes Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson.
Alex Garland will direct. This project reunites Garland with Isaac, who starred in the director’s Ex Machina. Vanity Fair enthusiastically endorses the project, saying, it “was already shaping up to be another incredible bit of original, cerebral sci-fi long before Oscar Isaac joined the cast.”
Annihilation tells the story of Area X, an isolated landscape cut off from human occupation which nature has taken back. Previous expeditions to the area have been resulted in tragedy. A new all-female group, each is known not by name, but only by her profession, is set to try again. Natalie Portman plays the biologist, the story’s narrator, and Isaac will play the ghost of her dead husband, who was a member of a previous expedition.
Annihilation is the first book in The Southern Reach trilogy, completed by Authority and Acceptance, The news sent the book rising on Amazon’s sales rankings
Jessica Knoll’s 2015 debut thriller, Luckiest Girl Alive, is soaring up the Amazon charts once again due to a raw, confessional essay the author wrote for Lenny, a newsletter and website founded by Lena Dunham along with Jenni Konner, the showrunner for Girls.
Knoll discloses in the essay that the horrific rape segments of her novel are based on her own life story, events she first said were entirely fictional.
“The first person to tell me I was gang-raped was a therapist, seven years after the fact. The second was my literary agent, five years later, only she wasn’t talking about me. She was talking about Ani, the protagonist of my novel, Luckiest Girl Alive, which is a work of fiction. What I’ve kept to myself, up until today, is that its inspiration is not.”
The New York Times also reports the story, extending on the essay with an interview with Knoll who told the paper of the aftermath of the rape:
“No one was treating me like a victim; they were treating me like I was a perpetrator, like I was getting what I deserved … The message I internalized was that nothing bad happened; you did something wrong.”
Luckiest Girl Aliveremains in high demand in every library we checked with holds queues still present at many. Reese Witherspoon optioned the film rights, and Knoll is hitting the road for a book tour to support the paperback edition of her novel (S&S, April 5).
Jane Austen fans, feast your eyes on the recently released trailer for the movie Love & Friendship.
Although it is based on an untitled novella published after Austen’s death as Lady Susan(available in several editions, including one from Penguin Classics), the movie uses the title of a different work by Austen, an early short story.
As we wrote earlier, the film is directed by Whit Stillman, described in an interview with Vanity Fair as “The cult director of contemporary and contemporary-ish Austen-inflected fare,” such as Metropolitanand The Last Days of Disco. It stars Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, with Xavier Samuel and Stephen Fry and is set for release in theaters on May 13. followed by streaming via Amazon Prime.
Just one week after it was published, Harlan Coben’s novel,Fool Me Once, Harlan Coben (PRH/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample) is on the way to the big screen with Julia Roberts set to produce, according to Deadline, and star as a former Army helicopter pilot who discovers something unsettling on her two-year old daughter’s nanny cam, images of her recently mudered husband.
Despite their cinematic qualities, only one of Coben’s novels has been adapted, the 2006 French film, Ne le dis à person(Tell No One). The rights to several others have been acquired, but are still listed as in development.
Last month the release of the teaser trailer for Me Before You caused the novel it’s based on to rise to number one on Amazon’s sales rankings. The extended trailer has just been released, causing both Me Before Youand its sequel, After You, to rise again.
The new preview gets extended coverage with Entertainment Weekly counting down the 9 moments of the trailer that made them weep and US Magazine offering a lengthy summary of the 2 minute clip.
Due out June 3, the film stars Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones) and Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair from The Hunger Games) transitioning from worlds of dragons and death matches to life-affirming contemporary romance.
The novel’s author, JoJo Moyes, wrote the screenplay and a movie-tie in edition will be released on April 26:Me Before You: A Novel (Movie Tie-In) by Jojo Moyes (PRH/Penguin Books).
In every library we checked circulation remains very strong with most libraries having a long holds queue yet to be satisfied. Both titles are still on The New York Times Best Sellers list as well. Me Before You tops the Paperback Trade Fiction list and After You is no. 13 on the Hardcover Fiction list.
Coming a little late to the party, the daily New York Times reviews the heavily-anticipated debut novel The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney(HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperAudio). In an uncharacteristically non-committal review, Janet Maslin seems to find the book entertaining, while also resenting it for being exactly that.
In his review in the Washington Post,Ron Charles writes what could be a rejoinder, “Sweeney’s debut arrives on a velvet cushion of pre-pub praise (Amy Poehler! Elizabeth Gilbert!) and reports of at least a $1 million advance. But that’s no reason to turn up your nose.”
Published last week, it is rising on Amazon, indicating it is likely to appear on this week’s best seller list. Holds at libraries we checked have doubled in the last week in cautious ordering.
Just last week, the NYT Book Review featured Harrison in one of their “By the Book” profiles and reviewed his most recent book, The Ancient Minstrel, (Grove Press, 2/6/16) saying, “No one writes more persuasively about the natural world, the ways of animals both wild and domestic, rural roughneck mores, hunting and fishing, food, drinking, the writing life and, of course, male lust: reflexive, resistless, defiantly unfashionable.”
In January, he published a book of poetry, Dead Man’s Float(Copper Canyon Press). One of the poems from that collection is now particularly poignant,
My work piles up,
I falter with disease.
Time rushes toward me —it has no brakes. Still,
the radishes are good this year.
Run them through butter,
add a little salt.
Beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary celebrates a milestone on April 12th, her 100th birthday.
Interviewed on the Today Show, Cleary says about that achievement that she “didn’t do it on purpose!” and that she remembers “a very earnest conversation my best friend and I had when we were, I guess, freshmen in high school, about how long we wanted to live … and we decided that 80 was the cut-off date.”
Cleary became a school librarian and found that, as was the case when she herself was a reluctant reader, none of her students enjoyed the current crop of books for kids, finding them too foreign to their own lives. She recalls that “books in those days, back in the 1920s, had been published in England, and the children had nannies and pony carts.”
Her career as an author began when one of her students asked where the books were with “kids like us” and she sat down and started writing them.
Julie Blume and Kate DiCamillo both appear in the Today Show story to praise Cleary, remarking on how important and influential her books have been.
Cleary stopped writing years ago but that has not dented her popularity or diminished interest. Last month librarian Julie Roach wrote an essay for The Horn Book reporting on Cleary’s circulation stats:
“Twenty-first-century characters who are often compared to Ramona — such as Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine, Lenore Look’s Alvin Ho, and Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody and Stink — are in high demand at our library, but over the past year the print versions of Ramona held ten to twenty percent higher circulation figures than those other series.”
Eliciting the most holds of book arriving next week is Karen Robards’ romantic suspense novel, Darkness (S&S/Gallery; Brilliance Audio), its neon-colored jacket belying the title. Library ordering is in line with strong holds.
Kingsbury has gained new readers as a result of the Hallmark series based on her earlier book, The Bridge. More adaptations of her novels are coming. Hallmark is at work on another of her novels, A Time to Dance and Roma Downey recently acquired the rights to produce Kingsbury’s Baxter Family series for TV.
Winspear’s series has been growing in popularity. The last few titles in the have all landed on the NYT best sellers list in the top five
Melancholy Accidents: Three Centuries of Stray Bullets and Bad Luck, Peter Manseau, (Melville House)
Author Manseau has come up with a brilliant and haunting way to examine the history of American gun violence, by reproducing stories from old newspapers, which often used the term a “melancholy accident” for such events.
That clever idea gets equally clever marketing by the book’s indie publisher, Melville House, which has bombarded the NRA and pro-gun politicians like Ted Cruz with images from the book:
All the macabre history of gun accidents that’s fit to print, every day until we publish this tiny beauty. pic.twitter.com/UXvxg27TYJ
“While acknowledging that his compendium of mayhem may read like a political argument against guns, that wasn’t his intention. The people he’d really like to reach are gun owners. Their adaptation of smart guns, which electronically limit who can fire them, is our best chance for progress, he says.”
The author writes in an opinion piece in the New York Times, Trigger Warnings, “Though often seen as an embodiment of the nation’s freedom-loving swagger, every gun comes loaded with an alternate history: not heroic self-reliance but hapless tragedy.”
Consumer Media Picks
People magazine’s “Book of the Week” is Lee Smith’s memoir Dimestore: A Writer’s Life, Lee Smith (Workman/Algonquin; OverDrive Sample), which came out last week; “With restrained prose and charming humor, she illuminates a way of life that has all but disappeared and explores the impulse to bear witness that underpins the storyteller in all of us.”
One LibraryReads title hits the shelves this week, the highly anticipated return of the Romance series known as the Bridgertons.
Mary Aileen Buss, of Long Beach Public Library, NY, offers this annotation of Because of Miss Bridgerton, Julia Quinn (HC/Avon; HarperAudio):
“This is the first in a prequel series to Quinn’s popular Bridgerton series, set a generation earlier. Billie Bridgerton spent her childhood running wild with the neighboring Rokesbys, Andrew, Edward, and Mary. Now she runs the family estate for her father and still runs as wild as she can. The eldest Rokesby, George, never really approved of Billie, but when he rescues her from a roof they begin to come to a new understanding.”
“We have read about his crazy childhood, his struggles with alcohol, and his troubled relationships with his father and Christmas. Now, we have Burroughs’ take on love and romance, and what a tale it is! This is a love story as only Burroughs can tell it — the wrong lovers, the long-term relationship that turned out to be toxic, and the love that was staring him in the face all along. Roses and moonlight it is not, but the course of true love never does run smooth. I laughed, I cried — just read it!” —Susan Taylor, Market Block Books, Troy, NY.
It will be issued as a one-day laydown on March 29.
It hits shelves in advance of the AMC limited series (by way of BBC One) that begins airing April 20 and stars Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers) and Hugh Laurie (House). It is directed by Academy Award winner Susanne Bier (In a Better World).
As we reported earlier, the tie-in is particularly notable as the 1993 best seller is no longer in print.
It is not a happy week for directors, critics, or, it seems, viewers.
The hoped for blockbuster of the week, Batman v Superman, is not faring well. Variety reports that it is “facing a rocky start … with lukewarm reviews and … a bleak Rotten Tomatoes percentage.” Vox simply says it is “a crime against comic book fans.” UPDATE; Hang on! It seems the box office is improving. with Deadline reporting that the movie is “poised to be Warner Bros. best opening of all-time,” causing industry watchers to scratch their heads because,”rarely do we see a panned movie with OK audience reaction open to $100M-plus.”
The biopic about Hank Williams, I Saw the Light, similarly failed to win over critics, with Indiewire calling it “woefully shallow.”
NBC’s new show Heartbeat also had tough time with USA Today slamming it as a “terrible” and a “weak medical soap.”
With that as background the news does not look that good for next week either.
There is only one book adaptation hitting the screens and based on advanced reviews from its debut during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, it does not seem to be a breakout.
Kill Your Friends opens on April 1 in limited release. It is based on the 2008 debut novel by John Niven, also titled Kill Your Friends (HC/Harper Perennial) and follows the life of a music insider as he does anything to further his bottom line during the heyday of the late 1990s.
It stars Ed Skrein, Nicholas Hoult, Rosanna Arquette and is directed by Owen Harris (The Gamechangers). According to The Hollywood Reporter, Niven wrote the screenplay himself.
It got panned last year upon its initial airing with The Guardian commenting, “TV director Owen Harris has stuffed his maniacally energetic film with so many attempts to shock that it ultimately grows dull and tiresome” Variety chimed in with the same general take, calling it an “initially sharp, increasingly tiresome and violent satire.”
Meanwhile, some other Gaiman adaptations are in limbo. A film version of the Sandman graphic novel series (Vertigo) was set to be directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who would also star, but he recently left the project, over “creative differences.”
Gaiman is publishing a collection of nonfiction in May, The View from the Cheap Seats (HarperCollins/Morrow). According to the publisher, “the title piece, at turns touching and self-deprecating … recounts the author’s experiences at the 2010 Academy Awards in Hollywood,” when the adaptation of his childrens novel Coraline was nominated for Best Animated Feature.