August 1, 2011 • Video Games
Honorary Mention: Hills of Mario by Christopher Holthof
Etsy isn’t just for doilies and throw pillows. It’s got a panoply of nerdery buried in its easy-to-browse interface of homemade craft goods. Just because that person from high school spams you twice a week with her laundry-pin reindeer doesn’t mean that there aren’t 1-ups hidden in the bricks.
I have a book coming out on Super Mario, so I thought I’d see what Esty had to offer regarding my favorite mustached plumber. Turns out there are over four thousand Mario items: yikes!
What I expected going in was pillows, bedspreads, scarves, hats, pins, cookies, cupcakes, etc. Old-school pixel art is really easy to convert into crochet or quilting squares, so it’s much easier to capture Mario then, say, Darth Vader. But there’s a lot more than that: tech gifts, snarky things, hard drives shoved into NES games.
Sure, there are people selling their fan-art Mario watercolors for $500. And there are eight-buck children’s party invitations. But the breadth and clarity of creativity on display is pretty amazing. Take a look.
July 29, 2011 • Comics, Fiction
A long time ago (well, last week) in a galaxy far, far away (um, San Diego) Quirk Books attended and exhibited at Comic-Con 2011.
Preview night kicked-off with a resounding cheer as the fans flowed in from all directions. The costumes were incredible; we were immediately dazzled. But as Quirk Creative Director Jason Rekulak reminded me, "It's not all Storm Troopers and aliens, we've gotta do some work." So we got down to the business of doing business at Comic-Con. We met hundreds of fans, made a bunch of new friends, and sold a ton of books.
We also hosted two signings. On Thursday, Broet Laureate Brian McGackin signed copies of Broetry: Poetry for Dudes. A few savvy fans identified the cover poem as a parody of "This is just to say" by William Carlos Williams. On Friday, a large line formed to meet best selling author Ransom Riggs. He signed copies of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and posed for a photo with our booth babe, Heidi Milano (dressed here as the Miss P cover girl). Afterward we took Ransom out to dinner to celebrate Miss Peregrine’s extraordinary six weeks (and counting!) on The New York Times bestseller list.
July 26, 2011 • Classics
Pride & Prejudice
Sure, you could hang your favorite book up in your living room by nailing it to the wall. But that would be messy, wasteful and your friends would think you're crazy. Instead, scope out Postertext, a Canadian poster company producing elegant works of literary art.
Postertext takes the actual text from a number of classical works and repurposes those words into beautiful posters. There's seriously something for all wakes of classic literature fans; romance (Pride & Prejudice), adventure (Moby Dick), classic science-fiction (the Time Machine, War of the Worlds). There's even a poster for the Metamorphosis, the subject of Quirk's latest mashup, the Meowmorphosis.
The posters range from $23 - $35 (Canadian), and come in varying sizes. Check them out!
July 25, 2011 • Crafting, Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Ah! I am absolutley smitten with these amigurumi custom crochets of Star Trek: The Next Generation's characters by Deviant Art user Smapte! Everyone is rocking a precious smiling face, all except for Worf. Perhaps these dolls are made to mimic Star Trek: Insurrection, and he's currently experiencing jak’tahla.
Thanks for the tip, Mikey!
July 22, 2011 • Cookbook: Baking, Cookbook: Desserts
When someone says barbeque, there’s always a brief moment of panic for me. As the dessert go-to girl, I will be ostracized for not bringing some sweets. But the idea of desserts in the heat just gives me melted nightmares... that is until I discovered upside down cakes.
Most of us are very familiar with the traditional pineapple upside down cake. They’re so popular, I distinctly remember being able to make one in my friend’s toy oven. However, there are many other great kinds of upside down cakes. The final product is a sturdy, beautiful cake with intense flavors that doesn’t dissolve in the sun.
Especially since plums and raspberries are in season, this is my new favorite summer cake. Take the ripest, dark plums and combine with the tartest of raspberries (use golden for a little extra flare) to make the flavors really pop against the cinnamon and nutmeg in the cake.
July 20, 2011 • Cats, Dogs
Did you know that we're in the middle of National Rabbit Week? It's true. And I should know, proud owner of a bun that I am. My darling bun, Rory, is featured in Quirk's upcoming craft book, Microcrafts. That's her tail at the end of the book. Squee!
Ahem, but I digress.
According to Petwork, National Rabbit Week is "dedicated to education and the promotion of responsible ownership, as well as showing people what great pets bunnies can be." So in honor of the week that pays tribute to my favorite cute and fluffy animal, I've pooled together a list of my top 10 literary bunnies. From comic books to classic literature, baby books to newspaper strips, these buns adorably appear in all wakes of print. If I missed a favorite of yours, let me know!
Bunnicula: Attempting a Google image search for an actual illustration of Bunnicula is a study in patience. Rabbit owners all over post photos of their bunnies, red eyes blazing from camera flashes, labeled as Bunnicula. A favorite pick of Quirk's own Doogie Horner (he recommends the Celery Stalks at Midnight and the Howliday Inn), it's hard not to love James Howe's vampiric bunny who sucks juice out of veggies with his tiny fangs. "Today, vegetables. Tomorrow... the world!"
Peter Rabbit: Even though the story is over 100 years old, Beatrix Potter's tale of Peter Rabbit and his sisters Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail continues to sell a fantastic amount of copies. Peter's rebellious nature makes him all the more endearing. Really, who can blame him for going to town in the vegetable garden? As a child, any one of us let loose in a candy store would do the same thing, and maybe that's why we love him so much.