¡Rábanos Radiactivos! # 2266

Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2266th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3714, October 16, 2008.
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, California 91606-5098.
Telephone: hospital(818) 763-8247; personal (818) 506-3159 * eMail:fredpatten@earthlink.net

Anticipation in 2009! Aussiecon IV in 2010! Salamander Press #2749


After four months, I got to attend a LASFS meeting again last week. I hope that I will be able to attend regularly again in the near future.

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The long-delayed publication of the final book with one of my essays about anime, "From Cat Girls to Cute Monsters: The Allure of Anthropomorphism in Anime/Manga", written five years ago, has finally been announced by Scarecrow Press:


The Japanification of Children's Popular Culture

From Godzilla to Miyazaki

Mark I. West
List Price: $45.00

ISBN: 0-8108-5121-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-8108-5121-4
Pub Date: Dec 28, 2008
306 pages
Binding: Paper
Availability: Not Yet Published

Godzilla stomped his way into American movie theaters in 1956, and ever since then Japanese trends and cultural products have had a major impact on children's popular culture in America. This can be seen in the Hello Kitty paraphernalia phenomenon, the popularity of anime television programs like Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z, computer games, and Hayao Miyazaki's award-winning films, such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. The Japanification of Children's Popular Culture brings together contributors from different backgrounds, each exploring a particular aspect of this phenomenon from different angles, from scholarly examinations to recounting personal experiences. The book explains the interconnections among the various aspects of Japanese influence and discusses American responses to anime and other forms of Japanese popular culture.

Mark I. West is professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

$45.00 for a paperback? I am glad that I will get a contributor's copy.

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Here is another of my reviews from The Flipbook, dated April 1, 2007.

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination
Author: Neal Gabler
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN; 10: 0-679-43822-X
ISBN; 13: 978-0-679-43822-9

This massive biography - over 600 pages, plus over 200 more of notes, appendices, bibliographies, and index - is advertised as "the definitive portrait of one of the most important in twentieth-century American entertainment and cultural history. [...] meticulously researched - Gabler is the first writer to be given complete access to the Disney archives [...]"

It probably is definitive. It is notable that where virtually every other Disney biography since his death in 1966 has been heavily criticized by animation experts for gross factual errors and deliberate misrepresentation of his attitudes or motives (such as claiming that Disney was a spy for the FBI, encouraged anti-Semitism, or was really an illegitimate son of a Spanish dancer), the worst that Gabler's critics have been able to accuse him of are minor errors on the level of whether serious production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs began in September 1936 or several months earlier. These errors may be significant to cinematic historians, but the average reader will find them trivial. Gabler's book, with more than 65 photographs from throughout Disney's life plus other graphics such as a teenage life sketch and his first business card, ought to replace every popularized Disney biography previously written.

There are no big surprises here, and there is much detailed information about events glossed over in previous biographies. For example, every book has told how Disney created Mickey Mouse to replace his earlier cartoon star Oswald the Lucky Rabbit when the latter was stolen from him, but few have told exactly how this happened. Gabler devotes five pages to the event, giving names and dates. Want to know about the notorious but previously vaguely-described Disney studio strike of 1941? Gabler gives it pages 356 to 371, again going into detail. Any questions that a reader may have about Disney's personal life or his career should be answered in this book.

To a large extent, Disney's story is the story of the whole American animation industry. Many of the men who became famous at other studios in later years, such as Warner Bros.' animation director Friz Freleng and music arranger Carl Stalling, got their start among Disney's first employees. Gabler notes how many other studios hired away some of Disney's best men to create cartoons for them during the 1930s, or during the '40s made parodies of Disney's features such as WB's Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs and A Corny Concerto. It would be an exaggeration to say that Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination can serve as a one-volume history of the animation industry, but it is without doubt an essential read for every animation fan and an essential purchase for every public and academic library.

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