Books (#SFWApro)

Oops, forgot this for the weekend!

THE ANIMATED MOVIE GUIDE by Jerry Beck references all theatrical features released in the US up through the early 2000s, from the Disney classics through Russian imports, Ralph Bakshi, Miyazaki, DC animated universe and Pixar. As such it makes an excellent reference guide, or a good place to get recommendations on movies to watch (admittedly I have no shortage of those on my list already …) Whether you need or like books of that sort will largely determine whether you like this one. I got some added interest from reading Beck’s discussion of genre boundaries—which movies mixing animation and live-action qualify (Howard the Duck, no, Song of the South yes, for instance.

I’m familiar with the idea that debates over slavery were a big influence on the Constitution (the 3/5th clause, for instance)—Gary Wills’ The Negro President deals with that—but I still learned a lot from DARK BARGAIN: Slavery, Profits, and the Struggle for the Constitution by Lawrence Goldstone. This shows how the need to keep the slave states happy (not that they were all on the same page—Virginia and the Carolinas had differing agendas, for instance) we got the Electoral College (unlike a direct vote, this system factored in three-fifths of the slave population, giving the South a killer advantage) as one example, and a guarantee the slave trade couldn’t be restricted for 20 years. A good job.

23379808FRANKENSTEIN UNDERGROUND by Mike Mignola and artist Ben Stenbeck (cover by Mignola, rights with current holder) follows up on Hellboy: House of the Living Dead by having the Frankenstein monster from that story wander into an underground Hyperborean city where there are, as usual, monsters to slay. There’s really nothing fresh in this (though the ending is surprisingly upbeat for this mythos) but making the Creature the protagonist elevated it some.

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