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A tale of swordplay, magic, and treachery, Norgal the Head Lopper travels the countryside with the severed head of Agatha the Blue Witch to vanquish the Sorcerer of the Black Bog and rid the land of the Plague of Beasts.
Head Lopper is an action-packed, dynamic, and bloody adventure story of a mighty serpent-slaying swordsman who lugs around the head of a wise-cracking witch, leaving a trail of dead behind him. He battles bat creatures, mega-arachnids, the ghosts of warriors, and the undead giants that devour the ghosts of warriors. Many heads are lopped.
A handy sketchbook details the concepts behind the characters, and a pinup gallery at the back of the novel highlight some covers drawn by noted artists Mike Mignola, Dave Stewart, and Mike and Laura Allred.
Featuring muted colors befitting a dark, cursed land of monsters spread over lively, energetic panels, poetic, Tolkein-esque dialogue, and an epic, Homeric plot, Head Lopper is a funny, exciting read. Hardly a page goes by without swordplay, spellcast, or intrigue. Heroes, villains, and royalty are all run-through with various weaponry, limbs of humans and beasts are amputated, and heads of all styles are decapitated, so those looking for subtlety should probably look elsewhere. Those looking for a ripping adventure are in the right locale.
THE DISNEY BOOK IS A BEAUTIFUL, VISUAL EXPLORATION OF ALL THINGS DISNEY
The Disney Book by Jim Fanning DK 2015, 200 pages, 9.2 x 0.9 x 11.1 inches, Hardcover
The Disney Book bills itself as “A Celebration of the World of Disney,” and boy oh boy is there a lot to celebrate. Essentially an all things Disney history book, in here you can find a complete timeline of Disney’s creations, starting from Walt’s first work at a newspaper all the way up to now. The book has three major sections: “Drawn Disney,” including information and images about the animated classics; “Disney in Action,” a history of live action movies; and “Experience Disney,” concerning the theme parks and Disney’s appeal around the globe. If Disney made it, it’s in this book.
Content within these sections is broken up into smaller topics that cover a specific film or time period each. It follows a chronological order, so over time you can see how the Disney brand shaped itself into what it is today. Every page has multiple images of some kind to decorate or add additional information. Pictures are a mix of movie stills, behind the scenes photos, and pre-production artwork. This third category is the most fascinating for me, giving the opportunity to see what an early version of Snow White looked like, or Tinker Bell, or even classic Pixar characters like Buzz Lightyear and Woody. A Finding Nemo storyboard is a particular standout, showing how detailed they can be, even in the early stages of production.
While there are some great factoids that are sure to surprise even the most diehard Disney fans (for example, did you know there was a Stitch anime in Japan? Because I didn’t!) if you’re getting this book for information I would mainly use as a springboard towards other research. It’s a delightful book to explore a bit of Disney history, but it’s encyclopedic in its approach to information, in that it has so much to cover that you aren’t going to get the full story with every topic. The trade off is that the content here is varied enough to please fans of all ages and obsession levels. The production art and behind the scenes photos from so many films, across such a large period of time, is enough to warrant a purchase on its own. If you love Disney, you will love this book.