By Jane Mayer
Published by Penguin Random House
Review copy provided by reviewer
Review by KM Warner
By now it’s well known that Charles and David Koch have been very busy in distributing substantial amounts of money in support of right wing causes. What wasn’t well known before the publication of Jane Mayer’s meticulously researched book Dark Money The Hidden Agenda of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right was that they and similarly minded economic libertarians have been embarked on a forty-year effort to remake the American economic, political and cultural system in their own image through the strategic establishment of tax-deductible philanthropic organizations that are little more than fronts for the funders’ business interests.
The focus of Katsucon has it’s share of panels and guests but the highlight has to be the cosplay which takes over the Gaylord National Resort during Valentine’s weekend. Next to the harbor, the Atrium, the gazebo, hallways and lobby, cosplay shoots take place at all hours celebrating the fun, the intricacies of the craft and the artistry of photography. The location and relaxed feel of the convention draws fans from across the nation with special international guests and attendees like our favorites from Canada. Hit the link for photos from the weekend, a few panels, the masquerade and some of the best cosplays of the East coast.
A special video of their online streaming catalogue was shown with a variety of series including fan favorite Dragon Ball. The streaming service plans include a sub-pass which gives subscribers to all subtitled content for $4.99 including simulataneous. The All Access pass gives fans access to everything on the site including special convention-only events and subscriber forums as well as contests. The 14 day trial expanded to 30 days for a limited amount of time. The service is available on many devices and there will be a mobile app for the ios and android. Rojas added that there the service is on the PS3 and PS4 as well as Xbox One and 360. McKinney adds that new apps are on the way.
The hosts were the same as last year, Frank and Sadie Doyle from the graphic novel, ‘Thrilling Adventure Hour’ with a mix of characters to surprise the audience. The ‘ding’ from the clinking glasses was a small brick joke from last year and there were other interesting scenarios to keep us laughing.
You can catch the entire thing on TheFansPOV on youtube.
The panel discussion opened with Ed sharing about the history of the company which began in 2003 in New York. Many of the fans shared their love of Osamu Tezuka which Vertical published quite a few manga from. Ed prompted that many of the titles chosen for Vertical releases are not simply the popular ones from Japan, but those unique even in their respective genres that brings different perspectives to readers. “Shaking the foundations” is a good description for the types of books which Vertical chooses.
by Michael J. Molloy
Published By: Gypsy Shadow Publishing, 2015
ISBN: 13: 978-1619502758
Review copy sent by author
Review by Ida Vega-Landow
It’s been said by the philosopher George Santayana that “those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it”. I think that saying should be amended to “those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”. Such is the case with Professor Roger Lavoie, the central character of this new suspense novel by Michael Malloy, whose previous novel, “The Diamond Man”, gave us a look at love and baseball. Now branching out from romance to suspense, Mr. Malloy has given us a study of one man’s slow descent into madness as events from his past repeat themselves in the present.
The biggest comic industry convention on the East coast, New York Comic Con expanded their 3 day convention to a 4 day, rivaling SDCC in content (though thankfully, not in size.) However, the highlight of the convention is not just the comic and movie guests. Sponsored by Viz, the biggest Japanime guest of the weekend was Naruto creator, Kishimoto, Masashi-sensei along with the voice of the title character, Takeuchi Junko-san. The events of the weekend is with Kishimoto-sensei being part of Super Week, making appearances at the Apple Store, signing at Kinokuniya, Barnes & Noble along with his panels at NYCC. All of this in celebration to the end of the series, the Boruto movie AND Naruto’s birthday! Dattebayo indeed!
The MC noted that the guests will only appear if the audience was hyped up. There was no need to hype up the audience even more when merely saying their names threw the fans into a frenzy. With the announcement of Takeuchi Junko and Kishimoto Masahi-sensei to the stage, everyone stood up and applauded.
Ed noted that since he has a full panel presentation for us, we probably won’t have time for Q&A. Since there was still time before the official starting, he decided to open the floor up for some questions.
Crunchyroll panel was filled with news and membership giveaways. People who asks questions are able to get a 30 day trial Premium membership. Free membership is also given to those who get trivia questions.
Citizen. An American Lyric
By Claudine Rankine
Published by Greywolf Press
Review copy provided by the publisher
Review by Ginger Mayerson
Racism is bad, insidious and ubiquitous, and nothing is ever going to get any better until the singularity when we no longer have bodies or something. Yes, and it makes me feel bad that there isn’t even a glimmer of hope for the situation to ever get microscopically better until the singularity or something. Alas, what else can one do but strike up the band, and pour out the wine, if that’s all, all there is. So I am silenced by Claudine Rakine’s “Citizen” because there is nothing for me to say about it because she says it all: racism is bad, insidious and ubiquitous, and nothing is ever going to get any better.
However, I’m happy for all the success Greywolf Press is having with this book. They are nice people who publish what they believe in and deserve all the success in the world.
I’m also happy for the Fountain Theater in Los Angeles for having their very successful readers theater interpretation of “Citizen” extended into October. I saw it tonight, and the acting, the staging, and use of the text is superb. Try to see it if you can.
The World Beyond Your Head
By Michael B. Crawford
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review copy provided by the publisher
Review by Ginger Mayerson
I mostly liked and agreed with about the first half of Matthew B. Crawford’s The World Beyond Your Head (WBYH). We do live distracted lives in a distracting commerce driven world. I like part about jigs: how master craftpeople have optimal jigs for what they’re creating. But in this messed up world we live in, most people are not master craftpeople and the jig is something we work in. He quotes an old saying about assembly lines on page 34: “Cheap men need expensive jigs; expensive men only need to tools in their toolbox.” I suppose that applies to office workers, too, and there wasn’t much positive or constructive in this book for anyone but skilled craftspeople who never have to leave their workshops.
WakuWaku graces Brooklyn Convention Center and the Wythe Hotel for the first time on August 29 and 30. For its inaugural event, dozens of sponsors and guests convened including Dragon Ball Z ad Dragon Ball Super screenwriters Koyama Takao and Koyama Makoto, producer Inafune Keiji, Baby the Stars Shine Bright designer Kano Masumi, PUTUMAYO designer Hasegawa Shunsuke with model, Kurebayashi Haruka along with culture guests, fashion director Misha Janette, Shihan Kimono teacher Emi Kikuchi and Chef Saito Tatsuo teaching us proper bento assembling. Music guests include singer Hayami Yu, DJ Nakajima Keiichiro and even artist Masuda Sebastian DJ-ing on saturday night. American guests include VA Max Mittelman, Justin Cook as well as guest speakers, Kathryn Hemmann, Mike Toole, the always loved Roland Kelts and many many more. Unfortunately, with time being so limited, I couldn’t see any guests this time but stuck with the events at the Convention Center. There were enough surprises to keep many busy. Time to check out the latest from Japan!
Otakon returns for the 17th year to the Baltimore Convention Center. From July 24-26, attendees descend upon the Inner Harbor enmassed to check out the latest in Japanime releases, get a behind the scenes look with creators and voice actors and simply create memories with friends. The highlighted guests of the weekend include Mappa CEO Iwase Yasuaki, CEO and President (and Otakon’s own) Maruyama Masao, Troyca studios’ Producer Nagano Toshiyuki, Producer Kurosaki Shizuka and Director Aoki Ei for the English dub premiere of Aldnoah.Zero. Sponsered by Aniplex to promote the second season release of Durarara!! is seiyuu Toyonaga Toshiyuki and Producer Yokoyama Shuko. Of Fullmetal Alchemist fame is the seiyuu Romi Paku and for the Gintama fans we have Director Takamatsu Shinji amongst many more. Stateside guests are not to be outdone with legendary voice actress Sandy Fox, Laura Bailey, Bryce Papenbrook, J. Michael Tatum, Travis Willingham and many others. To kick off the awesome weekend is Otakon Matsuri guest, Back-On with two strong female bands for friday’s concert, Draft King and Sunday’s Oreskaband. This doesn’t encompass the weekend! The question is, what shall we do first?
As usual, they opened with the walk-ons which has a few surprises. The cosplay level at Otakon is definitely nothing to sneeze yet. Though Katsucon and other smaller conventions have boasted high levels of cosplay, being the largest convention on the East coast allows cosplayers to showcase their best even in the heat of August.
The panel opened with the interpreter announcing some of her highlighted characters with Romi-san giving a line from each starting with Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist,) Nana (Nana,) Temari (Naruto,) Teresa (Claymore,)Loran (Turn A Gundam,) Hanji (Shingeki no Titan,) and Finn from Adventure Time.) “I love Adventure Time.”
The host of the panel was the Marketing Specialist of Aniplex, Joanna Metoki. Joanna called the staff of Aldnoah.Zero one by one, escorted by ACP cosplayers. What a royal welcome! The director, Aoki Ei was brought onto the stage by the Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia and Eddelrittuo. He was followed by animation producer, Nagano Toshiyuki escorted by two Inaho Kaidukas. Finally, the producer, Kurosaki Shizuka stepped onstage escorted by two Slaine Troyard cosplayers. The panel started with greetings from the creating team.