The CBR News Summer Reading List, Day 2

Tue, July 31st, 2001 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

Well, you've had a whole day to read yesterday's CBR News Summer Reading List homework, as given by Larry Young, Jamal Igle, Beau Smith, Mike Deodato and Jeff Mariotte. So without further ado, here's more reading recommendations by comic industry pros. (And, again, there's only one rule: They can't recommend anything they worked on.)

"One book?" Robert Weinberg -- writer of Marvel Comics' "Nightside" -- told CBR News on Sunday. "That's impossible. I narrowed it down to two, one fiction and one non-fiction.

"Fiction:

"'Watchers' by Dean Koontz -- reading this book is like studying a textbook on how to construct a great novel. It is unbelievably well written, pushes all the right buttons, and creates interesting, believable characters. When I taught 'Writing Thriller Fiction' in college, this was required reading for the course. Anyone who wants to be a writer can learn more from reading this novel than from any writer's manual. Ignore the dreadful movies with the same name as this book. An absolutely great read.

"Non-fiction:

"'The Prince' by Niccolo Machiavelli. How the world really works. Never out of date. There have been plenty of imitations but this book remains the unmatched for anyone who wants to succeed in the real world. The best advice you never got taught by your parents or your teachers."

(Hey, no one said these were all going to be comic books!)

"Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco," Steve Lieber -- artist of "Whiteout" -- told CBR News on Sunday.

"I've heard it said that creating compelling comics is all about immersion. Few comics are truly effective at picking a reader up and dropping him in another world. It's hard enough to do when the cartoonist is making things up, but when it's a real place and real people he's describing the challenge is far greater. Sacco does this from the first page of 'Safe Area Gorazde.' The town and people of Gorazde are instantly, unforgettably believable. It's not just informative -- it's a great read. Sacco never forgets that he's a storyteller as well as a journalist."

"I'm assuming you mean a recommendation for comic book style material," Legendary artist Bill Sienkiewicz told CBR News on Sunday, "As opposed to, let's say, a book minus 'pitchers' (will refrain then, from recommending George Sullivan's and John Powers' book 'The Yankees: An Illustrated History,' [I know, I know. No excuse.] or Neil Gaiman's American Gods' -- though I suppose I just did).

"But here are two others: Peter Kuper's 'Speechless' -- smart and visually stunning. Kyle Baker's 'Cowboy Wally' -- perennially flat-out funny."

"'Arsenic Lullaby' - funny book," Shannon Wheeler -- creator of "Too Much Coffee Man" -- told CBR News on Sunday. "Totally underrated."

"I think everyone should read 'Planetary,'" Dan Jolley -- writer of "Obergeist" -- told CBR News on Monday. "It's low in calories, and it'll make you a better person. Amen."

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