Discworld Graphic Novels

Thirty-six volumes strong, Terry Pratchett?s bestselling Discworld novels of humorous fantasy have, like stealthy fire ants, migrated into every entertainment niche imaginable, from television to stage to radio to video games. Deploying lighthearted prose full of exotic visual bits -- the very setting of the book is a world carried through space atop a 10,000-mile-long turtle supporting four elephants and a platter-like inhabited zone -- they would naturally seem to lend themselves to instantiation as graphic novels. But this evolution was delayed nearly a decade. In 1991, the first book in the series, The Colour of Magic (1983), made the transition, followed the next year by the closely linked sequel, The Light Fantastic (1986). Now, essentially forming one long tale, the two graphic novels come combined in a single volume. Scripter Scott Rockwell sensitively trims the original material a bit but retains the goofy parody, awful puns, slapstick, and clever descriptive phrasing of Pratchett's originals. His knack for staging scenes and allotting panels efficiently keeps the action flowing at a nice clip. Full-page spreads are doled out sparingly but effectively, as when wizardly antihero Rincewind and his compatriots materialize in a cluttered magical shop. Steven Ross's subtle paint work display his fondness for the French genius Moebius. If fans can get past their affection for the Josh Kirby cover art traditionally associated with Pratchett?s novels, they?ll find here an faithful and charming visual translation of these much-loved fantasies.

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."