***This article originally appeared in the February ’21 issue of Animation Magazine (No. 307)***
STUFF TO READ
The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian [Abrams, $40] Go behind the scenes of Season One to see how the talented Lucasfilm artists brought Mando and The Child’s first adventures to Disney+ — and created a sci-fi touchstone with a classic Western twist. Over 250 pages pack this hardcover with concept art, story sketches and interviews with cast, crew and creatives, including EP/showrunner Jon Favrea and EP/director Dave Filoni.
Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artist of Comic Books [Yoe Books, $35] Using primary source material from World War II-era Black newspapers and magazines, this compelling book profiles pioneers like E.C. Stoner, Owen Middleton and Matt Baker. Gorgeously illustrated with rare examples of each artist’s work, author Ken Quattro explores the social and cultural environments in which they lived and worked. Plus: full stories from mainstream comic books, rare reprints and unpublished artist’s photos.
The Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921-1968 [Taschen, $25] Cradled in a striking carnelian hardcover, film history author and lecturer Daniel Kothenschulte’s expansively illustrated guide to Walt Disney’s unrivaled imaginative universe traces his creative journey from the Silent Era, through debut feature Snow White and final masterpiece The Jungle Book. The book draws on extensive research conducted in the studio’s archive and private collections, bringing each iconic film to life with concept art, storyboards, cel setups and rare photos.
Wild Minds: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation [Atlantic Monthly Press, $28] “During its first half-century, animation was an important part of the culture wars about free speech, censorship, the appropriate boundaries of humor, and the influence of art and media on society,” author Reid Mitenbuler writes. This absorbing history tracks this 20th century explosion in creativity, from Winsor McCay to Max Fleischer, Walt Disney and Chuck Jones, from Betty Boop’s risqué flapper gags to beloved feature film feats.
STUFF TO WATCH
Akira 4K LE [Funimation, $60] Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 masterpiece was treated to a 4K remaster and audio remix this past year, bringing Kaneda, Tetsuo and the world of Neo Tokyo back to screens in all their big screen glory. Now, the crown jewel of sci-fi anime comes home with new special features on the film’s sound, original ’80s end credits, trailer collection and storyboards, on top of tons of legacy bonus content.
Bartender 15th Anniversary CE [Shout!, $50] Serve yourself a refreshing revisit to Takashiro Mizushima’s novel anthology series with this two-disc Blu-ray set. Legendary bartender Ryu Sasakura presides over a quiet bar tucked away in Tokyo’s Ginza district, where he helps patrons unload their burdens with the perfect cocktail for any occasion. Includes all 11 original episodes, plus nine cocktail recipes, four collectible coasters, clean opening/ending and bumpers. [Jan. 19]
Batman: Soul of the Dragon [Warner, $40 BD/4K] Director Sam Liu and producer Bruce Timm go retro in the latest DC animated adventure, following as Bruce Wayne trains under O-Sensei and unites with fellow pupils Richard Dragon, Ben Turner and Lady Shiva to battle a deadly menace with 1970s martial arts flair. Includes brand-new featurettes Batman – Raw Groove and Producer Jim Krieg’s Far Out Highlights and more bonuses. Opt for the Best Buy gift set and snag an exclusive figure! [Jan. 26]
Lupin III: The First [Shout!, $20 DVD/$27 BD/$33 LE SteelBook] In his first CG-animated feature, the elusive Lupin III sets out to snatch a famous archealogist’s diary, befriending a young woman named Laetitia and outwitting a rival and his shadowy secret society. Bonus features reveal the production process, art, interviews with cast and director Takashi Yamazaki (BD exc.) and “Yellow Carpet” Premiere. Order at ShoutFactory.com and get an exclusive lithograph while supplies last!