The German film blog Kinogucker has published a review of Cinemaps! (Note that it is in German.) This comes on the heels of Cinemaps winning “Best Illustrated Book on Film” at the Frankfurter Buchmesse Film Awards.

About Cinemaps:

Acclaimed artist Andrew DeGraff has created beautiful hand-painted maps of all your favorite films, from King Kong and North by Northwest to The Princess Bride, Fargo, Pulp Fiction, even The Breakfast Club—with the routes of major characters charted in meticulous cartographic detail. Follow Marty McFly through the Hill Valley of 1985, 1955, and 1985 once again as he races Back to the Future. Trail Jack Torrance as he navigates the corridors of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. And join Indiana Jones on a globe-spanning journey from Nepal to Cairo to London on his quest for the famed Lost Ark. Each map is presented in an 11-by-14-inch format, with key details enlarged for closer inspection, and is accompanied by illuminating essays by film critic A. D. Jameson, who speaks to the unique geographies of each film. This beautifully designed atlas is an essential reference for anyone who loves great art and great films.



Nearly five years ago, I wrote a series of blog posts on the X-Men for Seqart, entitled “What Should Be Done with the Mutant Menace?” Today I realized that I’ve never linked to those posts from this blog! So in case you haven’t seen those posts, here they are:

If nothing else, check them out for the illustrations, taken from over fifty years of X-Men comics. And if you want more of my writing about the Merry Mutants, and superhero comics in general, be sure to check out my most recent book, I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture.

Or all of the writing that came out—some stuff hasn’t yet seen the light of day. Below is the writing that you can enjoy right now, while huddling under blankets near a fire, sipping cocoa . . . or while taking breaks from grading student papers . . .

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Dear Cedric Phillips and GerryT,

Having listened with great interest to the “Change Worth Fighting For” episode of the Cedric Phillips Podcast, I felt compelled to reply. On that episode, you wondered why professional Magic players have seen their fortunes decline so precipitously over the past ten years, and what they can now do to improve their situation. I believe I can help explain this reversal of fortune, and offer some relevant advice. What follows is a little on the long side, and perhaps a little depressing, but I hope you will nonetheless find it edifying. If you like, it would be my pleasure to discuss these matters further.

About me, briefly: I’ve played Magic on and off since the release of Fallen Empires, and am a regular consumer of Magic content. Among other things, I’ve watched every Pro Tour since PT Los Angeles (October 2005); I’ve watched countless LSV draft videos and Twitch streams; I’ve listened to hundreds of episodes of Limited Resources, Mark Rosewater’s Drive to Work podcast, and various other Magic podcasts; and I’ve read just about every column that Mark Rosewater has ever written. At the same time, I’m also an English Ph.D. and author whose research interests include the economics of fantasy artworks—for instance, my most recent book, I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture, tells the story of how geek culture went from being an underground phenomenon to a mainstream demographic. Given that, I tend to view Magic from a financial perspective—by which I don’t mean living the dream of playing on the Pro Tour, or making a fortune by speculating on Magic cards, but rather trying to understand why Wizards of the Coast makes the economic decisions that it does.

I am hardly a Wizards insider. But I believe that my research into Magic’s financial history, coupled with my broader knowledge of fantasy franchises, enables me to understand why Wizards has chosen over the past decade to disinvest in its Pros, even if that decision appears baffling and counterintuitive to those players. For years now I’ve watched Pros complain about their situation, wondering why, if Magic is doing so great, then why are the Pros suffering? Shouldn’t their fortunes rise and fall with Wizards’? As you yourselves put it on your podcast, “the stars sell the cards,” by which logic if Wizards wants to succeed, then it needs to build stars. Just like how the NBA promotes LeBron James, and not simply “hoops,” Wizards should promote, say, Reid Duke, and not simply “Siege Rhino.” By that same logic, if Wizards doesn’t build stars, then it won’t sell cards, and everyone’s fortune will decline.

I sympathize with your argument. I love watching professional Magic, and once attended a Pro Tour as press just so I could blog about it. But at the same time, I think that your logic is mistaken, and I suspect that your arguments will fail to impress Wizards. Because while it appears to you that Wizards is behaving irrationally, or foolishly, the fact remains that the company long ago settled on a business plan that involves investing less in its Pro players, not more. This is because Wizards has already tried the strategy that you cite—promoting Magic by championing its Pros—only to find that it didn’t work out that all that well. Indeed, it proved nearly catastrophic. And because of that, as well as for other reasons, Wizards has spent the past ten years rebranding Magic as something other than a competitive tournament game.

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Last week, I did an interview with Florida’s Marc Bernier Show in the run-up to the Miami Book Fair, where I did a panel to promote my latest book, I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture. Many thanks to both the Show and the Fair, as well as to my co-panelists, authors Jonathan French (The Grey Bastards) and Mike Witwer (Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual History)—I had a great time!

The interview is online; you can check it out here. I talked about how and why geeks have gone mainstream, and why the geek renaissance won’t be ending anytime soon. I also offered some thoughts on Stan Lee’s passing.


I’m excited to announce that my story “Days of Heaven” will appear in Conjunctions #71, “A Cabinet of Curiosity.” Conjunctions has long been one of my favorite literary journals, and I still find it slightly unreal that they’ve published me.

In addition to being in the print issue, my story is up at the Conjunctions website, alongside a story by the legendary Ann Beattie. I’m honored to have my work featured alongside hers, and to be included in an issue that also features pieces by Diane Ackerman, Matt Bell, Laura van den Berg, Samuel R. Delany, Nathaniel Mackey, Joyce Carol Oates, Bin Ramke, Can Xue, and many others. Thanks as always to editor Bradford Morrow, and to everyone else at Conjunctions!

I also had a story (“You’ll Be Sorry”) in Conjunctions #57, if you feel like checking that out. And see below for more information on “A Cabinet of Curiosity,” including how to order it and other issues of Conjunctions.

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Specifically, it won “Best Illustrated Book on Film” at the Frankfurter Buchmesse Film Awards. Congratulations to Andrew DeGraff, whose art never ceases to amaze me, and to everyone at Quirk who helped make this book happen!

Also, as I noted in the last two posts, Cinemaps is now available in Japanese and Spanish. More information about the book can be found after the jump:

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