If movie awards season has your attention, grab some popcorn and one of these new additions to the DePaul University Library collection. You don’t even have to dress up.
In Movie Comics: Page to Screen/Screen to Page, DePaul faculty author Blair Davis (Assistant Professor of Media and Cinema Studies) examines Americans’ enthusiasm for comic book characters appearing in film, and film characters appearing in the pages of comics. He points out that twenty-first century adaptations such as Deadpool are nothing new; comic book characters have been showing up in movies since before sound showed up in movies. Davis gives special focus to the Classical Hollywood era (1917-1960), taking the reader through comic-based films and film-based comics decade by decade. From Little Orphan Annie and Popeye in the 1930’s to the Marvel universe in the 1950’s and beyond, Davis explores the relationships between comics, films, creators, and audience. Why do we yearn for something familiar yet new? How have comics and films influenced each other over the years in form and style? How have different media companies effectively joined together in brand marketing? Publishers Weekly called Davis’ latest work “an enlightening, scholarly history” that “[celebrates] the pleasures of these two lively arts.” Available in the Loop Campus Library at call number 791.43657 D2613m2017.
Hollywood isn’t all glitz and glamour. Author Kevin Brianton shines a spotlight into one of the darker moments of Hollywood history in his book Hollywood Divided: The 1950 Screen Directors Guild Meeting and the Impact of the Blacklist. Brianton takes another look at the now infamous investigations of the House Un-American Activities Committee and its efforts to root out the threat of Communist sympathies in Hollywood. Political tensions following the Second World War, coupled with the growth of film industry unions seeking to define their own sets of rules, made for an atmosphere of what we might now call “extreme vetting” in Hollywood. Producers, directors, actors, and screenwriters who were suspected of having Communist leanings— or being supportive of others who did— were called to testify in front of studio executives and politicians. A blacklist was forming in Hollywood as early as 1947, so by the 1950 meeting in Brianton’s title, artists and politicos were already in the midst of navigating an increasingly complicated climate of who said what and whether it was true. Brianton asks how people separated myth from fact throughout the proceedings, and how key figures (such as Guild president Joseph L. Mankiewicz and filmmaker Cecile B. DeMille, pictured on the cover) affected the blacklist. Available in the Loop Campus Library at call number 791.43023309 B8493H2016.
Perhaps you’re keeping an eye on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s chase for the EGOT with his Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song, “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana. (In Miranda’s case, it would actually be a PEGOT, as he’s already won the Pulitzer Prize for Hamilton.) Or maybe, as much as you enjoy film, live performance is your real passion. In either case, check out Writing Music for the Stage: A Practical Guide for Theatremakers by Michael Bruce. Bruce is the Composer in Residence at the Donmar Warehouse, a theatre company in London’s West End that’s been delighting audiences for a quarter of a century. Bruce will take you through the practical steps, from initial concept to musical style to how to hire a flautist, so you can get your masterpiece onto the stage and then into the recording studio for that original cast album. Donmar Warehouse, according to their mission statement, “always [prizes] diversity, discovery and freedom of expression,” so get expressive with the help of Bruce’s insights on how to work with the best tools possible, from good people to updated technology. Available in the John T. Richardson Library at call number 781.552 B8874W.
Even if one of these books doesn’t turn out to be your new favorite, it is an honor, as they say, just to be nominated.