Book Expo America: Obama Goes Manga, Darwyn Cooke Tackles ‘Parker’ & Dash Shaw Gets Animated

BookExpo America, the largest convention in North America for publishers of printed media, arrived in town this weekend — along with a ridiculous amount of books to show off to retailers, press and anyone else who happened to be wandering the floors.

While the sheer number of projects on display during the show was no surprise, there were a few items with ties to the comics and movie/television worlds around the convention floor that did stand out for one reason or another. When I finally managed to haul them back to Splash Page HQ, I spread a few of them out for a photo — which I’ve posted here along with a few thoughts about each project and why I picked it up.

First, here’s the pic:

And clockwise, starting from the top-left book, are the following:

1. I happened upon the booth for Joyful Stories Press during my wandering, and had to ask about the manga-style art of “The Obama Story” that I saw on display. We’ve seen bunches of Barack Obama cameos in comics lately, but this is possibly the cutest representation of the Commander-in-Chief to grace a comic thus far. The book is out now, and according to the publisher, they have similar books on the way in their “Great Hero Series” featuring Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and… wait for it… Bill Gates. Brilliant.

2. IDW’s upcoming graphic novel “The Hunter” is adapted and illustrated by award-winning “New Frontier” creator Darwyn Cooke, but that’s not the only thing that had me excited about this book. The project is based on the series of “Parker” novels by Richard Stark (the pen name of author Donald Westlake), which were previously adapted into the 1967 Lee Marvin film “Point Blank” and Mel Gibson’s 1999 film titled “Payback” (two of my favorite films ever made, as it happens). The IDW book looks amazing, and is out in July.

3. After I mentioned to the Oni Press crew that I had lent someone my copy of Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber’s “Whiteout” (soon to be released as a movie starring Kate Beckinsale) they were kind enough to give me this fancy new edition of the book. Thanks, Oni!

4. The second issue of Dabel Bros.’ adaptation of “The Warriors” hit shelves back in March, but I wasn’t able to pick up a copy at the time. We brought you the first look at this project back in January, as well as “The Warriors: Jailbreak,” their series that picks up where the film left off — but you should keep it locked here for a few more “Warriors”-related tidbits in the near future. Trust me on that one. *wink*

5. I remembering doing the ol’ double-take when Marvel announced they were doing a book based on Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” — especially when I learned that it didn’t involve zombies. With so many movies made from the classic already, I guess it was only a matter of time before a non-“Classics Illustrated” comic hit shelves. But no zombies? Seriously? This was not the book I expected it to be when I picked it up, I’ll tell you that.

6. Along with “The Warriors,” Dabel is also publishing a series based on Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” fantasy novels. This doesn’t have any connection to the movie world whatsoever, but I just happen to be reading the novels right now. Good stuff.

7. Finally, I snagged Volume 11 of Fantagraphics great “MOME” anthology, featuring the work of (among others) writer/artist Dash Shaw — who was also on hand to give me a nice little sketch inside the book. Shaw was there to promote his new book and animated web series on IFC.com, both titled “The Unclothed Man In The 35th Century A.D.” Shaw gave me a peek at the series on his iPod, and it was a wonderful blend of constantly morphing, surreal art that flowed around and through the science-fiction narrative. Both projects are scheduled for release in November.

Keep an eye on Splash Page for more from BEA as I work through all of the news, tips and teases I gathered over the course of the weekend.