Monday, November 23, 2009

Oatmeal Pie and Sweet Potato Soup

Oatmeal Pie and Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet Potato Soup
Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 tsp. ground cumin
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 qt. chicken broth
1 3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1. In a soup pot heat oil. Add onions and cumin and saute
3-4 minutes. Add potatoes and chicken broth and bring to
a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer soup 20-25 minutes.
2. Puree soup with 1-1/2 cups plain yogurt and parsley or
cilantro. Serve each portion of soup with a dollop of
remaining yogurt and sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Pie Recipe

3 eggs
3/4 cup granulated or Dark Brown sugar
3/4 cup dark or light corn syrup
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup Quaker. Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1/3 cup Angel Flake shredded coconut
2 tablespoons flour
1 Refrigerated Pie Crust, prepared according to directions
Pecan Halves for topping, if desired
Ice cream or whipped cream (optional)


Heat oven to 350 F. In large bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Gradually
add sugar; mix well. Add corn syrup, margarine and vanilla; mix well.
Add combined oats, coconut and flour; mix well. Pour into prepared pie
shell. Top with pecan halves if desired.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until center is set. (Center should be firm
when touched lightly with finger.) Cool completely on wire rack. Serve
with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. Store tightly covered in

Oatmeal Pie

This oatmeal pie is made with oatmeal, brown sugar, butter, and eggs.
Prep Time: :

Cook Time: :45


2 eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup melted butter
2/3 cup white corn syrup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2/3 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, butter, corn syrup, brown sugar,
oatmeal, and vanilla; mix well. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake at
350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until firm. Serve topped with vanilla
ice cream or whipped topping.

Honey Oatmeal Pie

1 unbaked 9" pie crust (half of the recipe for Easy Pie Crust)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup margarine, melted
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup dry oatmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt
Prepare half the recipe for Easy Pie Crust, and fit it into a 9" pie
plate. Flute or crimp the edges, and set it aside.
In a medium sized bowl combine the honey, margarine, sugar, and eggs.
Beat very well. Add the oatmeal and salt. Mix again. Turn the filling
into the prepared pie crust. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. It should be
sort of solid when you give it a good shake on the oven rack. Remove
from the oven and allow it to cool some. Serve warm (or rewarmed in
the microwave) with ice cream or Whipped Topping.
This is an old fashioned southern recipe that resembles pecan pie,
although it is much (MUCH!) cheaper to make. Some cooks add coconut to
the recipe along with the oatmeal. Half a cup is enough for this
recipe. This amount of filling makes a somewhat shallow pie, so there
is plenty of room for the coconut and maybe 1/2 cup of raisins too.

Oatmeal Pie Crust
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, melted
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine oats, powdered sugar, cinnamon and salt in mixing bowl; stir
in butter and shortening.
Grease a 9-inch pie pan; press oatmeal mixture into bottom and up sides.
Bake for 20 minutes; cool at least 10 minutes, then fill with pie filling.
Yield Size: 1 single pie crust.

misc antique cookbook references to 'oatmeal pie'

'Apple and Oatmeal Pie' from 'Home Notes' Vol. IV Oct 20th to Jan 12th 1894-95

'Australian Oatmeal Pie' from 'Home Notes' Vol. VIII, Oct 19th to Jan
11th 1895-96

'Oatmeal Pie' from 'Hall's Journal of Health' Vol. 20 by William
Whitty Hall (1873)

'Oatmeal Pie Crust' from 'Buckmaster's Domestic Economy and Cookery'
by John Charles Buckmaster

Newer Article: Club Forteana, a Review by Alasdair Stuart of Elvis Must Die by Neil R. King


Older Article: Scene of the Crime, a Review by John Fellows

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Scene of the Crime

The NinthArt banner graphic for the article 'The Friday Review: Scene of the Crime' by John Fellows.

Scene of the Crime, a Review
by John Fellows with additional editorial material by Steven Williams

A Little Piece of Goodnight is that rare throwback - a genuine detective comic from Detective Comics. It's also a crime noir with a heart that isn't totally black. John Fellows looks a little closer.

A color photo of the front cover of issue number one of 'Scene of the Crime' written by Ed Brubaker, art by Michael Lark.Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Micheal Lark
Inkers: Sean Phillips, Micheal Lark
Colourist: James Sinclair
Letterer: John Constanza
A Little Piece of Goodnight, Collecting Scene of the Crime #1-4
Price: $12.95
ISBN: 1563896702
Publisher: DC Vertigo

There is a line near the end of Scene of the Crime's first issue that threw me the first time I read it. Jack Herriman, our protagonist and the requisite PI of the piece, has just tracked down his quarry and shares his world-view with her over a coffee; "People's pain is all relative, it's not judged against other people's." It surprised me as much as it surprised the young woman Jack aimed the line at. It was a little too profound for the dowdy hero to be uttering at this point in his life. I filed it away and thought nothing of it until I was nearing the end of this collection. Because, like any good whodunnit, if there's a knife presented in Act One, then you know somebody's going to get stabbed in Act Three.

Working from a small office over his uncle's gallery, Jack Herriman is a classic update of the archetypal private investigator. A recovering drink and drug addict, a man with an uneasy relationship with the police, somebody who cares just a little too much. When he's brought a simple lost person case by an old friend of the family, Jack gets embroiled. As per your expectations, things are far from simple. A labyrinthine plot weaves its way through the cast, leaving none of them unchanged.

Although this is a flimsy collection, the creative team provides more than enough entertainment per square inch of paper. The original four-issue mini is accompanied by another Scene of the Crime story found in the Winter's Edge anthology series. This short piece is just another example of where Ed Brubaker's forte lies: the short form. Whereas the normal division of a story into chapters is implied to be twenty-two page segments, Brubaker has forced the matter with his own chapter divisions. Each scene lasts a few short pages, a decision that drives the book along at a breakneck pace. It divests the monthly comic of its hold over chapter length, a fact that is of more especial import in collected reprints. It's just a shame that there's not more to this book - no introduction, no added material, just the basics.

A monochrome color image of a short quote from the text of this review.Pencils and inks are provided by the inestimable Michael Lark for the first issue, and from then on Lark is inked by Sean Phillips. While Lark's inks are far more organic and heavy, Phillips' more sketchy inks thankfully create as little contrast as possible. In fact, by the end of the series, Phillips seems to have found a happy medium between his style and Lark's own. The pencils are detailed and never confuse narrative issues. My only problem is with the occasionally stilted look of the characters. It's a problem that can often hound the more photo-realistic artists on the market, especially Sean Phillips, but it never interferes with the story.

The colours are muted in tone and suit the other visuals to a tee. James Sinclair's work is far from stunning, but the subtlety evinces the ongoing growth of a great colourist. His work on Brian Azzarello's early Hellblazer material shows a man working at the pinnacle of his art, and it's interesting to note how he has matured. John Constanza's lettering is also a wonderful mesh for the art. Having to deal with chapter headings, a large volume of captions and small panels is no mean feat, but Constanza pulls it off effortlessly.

While reminiscent of the classics in the noir genre, the story is still as vital and as modern as any other in the current crime-comics genre. It is a more grounded, focused piece, which weaves its way through a smaller cast, demonstrating a more humanistic side to the crime genre. Each of the characters has a little piece of wrong in them, a little something they hide from the world. During the course of the story, they all get the chance to shine or gutter out. While at times the lead character often feels the least developed and interesting of the cast, the slow tease of his past adds to him the weight of a great many more years of experience than he physically holds.

Support is offered by a whole array of interesting characters. In fact, the point is made that Jack is the least interesting and capable at his job of anybody he knows. His world-renowned uncle is a crime scene photographer held in high regard by his contemporaries. His father was a detective killed in the line of duty. His best friend is a well-paid, archetypal private investigator. But even they all have their flaws, however minor. It's in the sustaining of these relationships that we see how much of a good guy Jack really is. A man is measured by the company he keeps.

A color photo of a sample panel from 'Scene of the Crime' written by Ed Brubaker, art by Michael Lark.Pulling the same dysfunctional family threads that Chinatown worked on so closely, the ending to Scene of the Crime should seem obvious, and it's so easy in a work like this to get caught up in the unravelling of the mystery that the resolution itself is often a letdown. However, Brubaker's slow reveal on all the minor points of the mystery throughout the story all mesh very cohesively towards the end. It's the ties that bind that ultimately undo some and saves others.

Although each of the characters has suffered from similar crimes, it's how they all handled them that marks them, and it's our protagonist's inability to judge the guilty that leads him to confront his own past. In that reveal, we see a man who has learned the hard way that pain is a very personal thing, and that nobody's to judge anyone's but their own. In the end, it's that line dropped into the earlier coffee-shop chat between hero and damsel-in-distress that is revealed as the ultimate "clue" in this whodunit. The overt plot-driven mystery is solved, but it's the very personal journey of our protagonist that will linger in the reader's memory.

It's this use of character development as the ultimate goal of our hero over the more easily defined "solving of a crime" that marks this collection out as something out of the ordinary.

John Fellows is a television and media student at Newcastle College.

Source: Ninth Art article archives at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine

Ninth Art endorses the principle of Ideological Freeware. The author permits distribution of this article by private individuals, on condition that the author and source of the article are clearly shown, no charge is made, and the whole article is reproduced intact, including this notice.

Newer Article: Oatmeal Pie and Sweet Potato Soup


Older Article: Guillermo Arriaga, Noted Mexican Author, Screenwriter, Director and Producer

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Guillermo Arriaga

Guillermo Arriaga, Noted Mexican Author, Screenwriter, Director and Producer

Guillermo Arriaga Jordán (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡiˈʎermo aˈrjaɣa]) (born 13 March 1958) is a Mexican author, screenwriter, director and producer. He received the 2005 Cannes Film Festival Best Screenplay Award for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.


Arriaga was born in Mexico City and spent his childhood in one of the most violent sectors of the metropolis. At the age of 13, he lost the sense of smell after a brutal street fight that would later serve as inspiration for some of his work.
Before engaging in his writing career, Arriaga tried out a variety of jobs and professions, amongst which were that of boxer, basketball player and professional soccer player.

He completed a B.A. in Communications and a M.A. in Psychology at the Ibero-American University, where he taught several courses in media studies before joining the ITESM. Self-defined as “a hunter who works as a writer,” he authored Amores Perros, received a BAFTA Best Screenplay nomination for 21 Grams and received the 2005 Cannes Best Screenplay Award for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Arriaga also had an acting cameo in the latter film as a bear hunter.

While teaching at the Universidad Iberoamericana Guillermo Arriaga met future film director Alejandro González Iñárritu and decided to make a feature length, multiplot film set in Mexico City. The result was Amores Perros (1999), one of the most heavily praised films in the recent history of Mexican cinema. The film, with its gritty look at the underbelly of Mexican life received an Oscar nomination for "Best Foreign Film" as well as a BAFTA Film Award for "Best Film not in the English Language," the "Critics Week Grand Prize" and "Young Critics Award" at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival as well as many other awards from festivals and societies around the world.

The success of Amores Perros earned Arriaga and Iñárritu an invitation to the U.S. to work on the Universal/Focus feature film 21 Grams, starring Benicio del Toro, Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. Watts and del Toro received Academy Award nominations for their performances.

Iñárritu and Arriaga collaborated on a third movie, Babel, to form a trilogy with his first two pictures focusing on the theme of death. However, friction between writer and director led to Iñarritu banning Arriaga from attending the 2006 Cannes screening of Babel. Nevertheless, Inarritu and Arriaga both received Academy Award nominations for their work.

On January 19, 2007 the film adaptation of his book El Búfalo de la Noche directed by Jorge Hernandez Aldana premiered at the Sundance film festival. It features an original score by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta. The main title sequence for this movie was created by Canadian studio Mucho Motion and One Size from the Netherlands.

An award-winning screenwriter, Arriaga has repeatedly stated that he hates being called a "screenwriter" and that he hates screenplays being referred to as such. He claims that he and all other screenwriters are writers, and the title of screenwriter diminishes the work of screenwriters. He now continuously advocates for screenwriters being referred to as "writers" and screenplays being referred to as "Works of Film". However, in a TV interview at KUSI in San Diego on September 10, 2009, he clarified that he did not really mind the English word "screenwriter." It was the word in Spanish which he did not like. The Spanish word most often associated with screenwriters,"guionista", is also used to describe people who write tour guidebooks. He does not think of himself as a guidebook author.

Un Dulce Olor a Muerte (1999)
Amores perros (2000) ISBN 0-571-21415-0
The Hire: Powder Keg (2001)
21 Grams (2004) ISBN 0-571-22266-8
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)
Babel (2006)
El Búfalo de la Noche (2007)
The Burning Plain (2009)

Escuadrón Guillotina (1991)
Un Dulce Olor a Muerte (1994) ISBN 958-04-6169-4
El Búfalo de la Noche (1999) ISBN 0-7432-8666-9
Night Buffalo (2007), translated by Alan Page ISBN 0-7432-8186-1
A Sweet Scent of Death (2007), translated by Alan Page ISBN 0-7432-9679-6
The Guillotine Squad (2007), translated by Alan Page ISBN 0-7432-9681-8

Newer Article: Scene of the Crime, a Review by John Fellows


Older Article: Berlin: City of Stones, a Review by John Fellows

Friday, November 20, 2009

Berlin, City of Stones

The NinthArt banner graphic for the article 'The Friday Review: Berlin, City of Stones' by Jon Fellows.

Berlin: City of Stones, a review by John Fellows
with additional editorial material by Steven Williams

What are comics capable of? In the hands of a creator as accomplished as Jason Lutes, it seems comics can build entire cities, right from the tallest building to the smallest dream. Wilkommen bei Berlin.

Writer/Artist: Jason Lutes
Berlin: City of Stones
Collecting BERLIN issues 1 through 8
Price: $15.95
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly
ISBN: 1-896597-29-7

A color photo of the front cover of 'Berlin: City of Stones' by Jason Lutes.Berlin: City of Stones is both the story of a city - a pile of stones - and a comprehensive biography - an amassing of private moments. The city itself is as much a character as any walking talking individual appearing within the pages of Jason Lutes exhaustive masterpiece.

Leaving the city of Koln by train, Marthe Muller bumps into journalist Kurt Severing. He lightens their dull journey to Berlin. One is returning as to a loving, but often harsh mother, while the other is discarding the parental influence for daunting pastures new. The year is 1928, and the city is facing massive social and political change.

Arriving in Berlin, the duo part company for their respective lives; Marthe has come to study as an artist and Kurt is there to complete his report on Germany's secretive attempts to reinstate its air-force. As they become just another part of a larger story, their burgeoning romance develops slowly over the course of the next 209 pages.

From here, the strata of German society spread out in front of them, from the Houdini-loving son of the German Jewish family to the foppish upper-class artists so caught up in the rules that they are unable to see the art. In this book collecting the first eight issues of Berlin: City of Stones, the intertwining narratives come fully to the fore. The only thing that binds these disparate threads together is the city itself.

A photo of a sample panel from the black and white graphic novel 'Berlin: City of Stones' by Jason Lutes.Shifting from the close encounters of political discussions, artistic ideologies and confused passion to dispassionate bird's-eye views gives the impression that it's the city that is telling this story. It almost seems as though the only individual that could possibly understand how these incongruent lives could so effortlessly slot together is the city of Berlin itself.

While Lutes displays his effortless structural draftsmanship with these sweeping vistas of Germany's capital, he is equally skilled at the subtext-heavy close-ups. Eschewing the backgrounds for the talking heads segments focuses the eye on Lutes' strict lines and almost iconic displays of hidden meaning.

It is only during the first passionate grasp between Marthe and Kurt that the artwork loses it's trademark integrity and becomes pure iconography. This doesn't mean that Lutes was otherwise comfortable to sit back and let others innovate; the entire collection is filled with fascinating uses of panel structure. The most obvious is his integration of sound effects into the images as if they were part of the landscape itself.

A work such as this could easily have digressed into a political diatribe on what went wrong with Berlin and Germany prior to the Second World War, which would make it very dry and propaganda-driven, but Lutes dodges this potential problem effortlessly. While each of the characters has some loose connection to the political movements building in the city, none of them are given the opportunity to get on their soapbox, and thus they avoid being reduced to mouthpieces or ciphers.

Indeed, most of the characters find the entire situation rather distracting. Kurt becomes increasingly disenfranchised with politics as a whole, even as he watches his old friend Immenthaler become more focused on his political goals. Marthe is portrayed as a woman who knows little and cares less about the events unfolding around her.

It's the character of Gudrun that most cleverly delivers the political message. Hers is the tale of a single mother who falls into Communism not because of her political views, but because the Communists are the only people willing to help her out during a bad phase of her life.

A photo of a sample panel from the black and white graphic novel 'Berlin: City of Stones' by Jason Lutes.The flashback to the end of World War One demonstrates Lutes' disdain for war and his general incomprehension of its absurdity. That civilians under fire would rather risk being shot than walk across palace lawns is endemic of upper-class short-sightedness. Both the Communists and the burgeoning Nazi front are portrayed as groups composed solely of the working class, with the upper class remaining aloof or uncaring.

While Berlin: City of Stones sets out to cover a broad cross-section of Berlin society, it never feels as though its characters are getting short shrift. A lot of the changes in their lives occur off-panel - for example, Gudrun leaves her husband, moves out, and finds a job, and we only ever see her after these events occur - yet the collection always has time to stop for quiet character moments. In one particularly poignant scene, a young Jewish boy exchanges a story of Houdini for a poster of the same from a travelling salesman.

As Lutes will readily admit, Berlin: City of Stones is an epic undertaking. Planned as twenty-five issues, to be collected in three two-hundred page collections, his work will attempt to document a city under immense stress. He didn't visit the city until he was close to completing the issues collected in this first collection, but his depiction of the city is so convincing that this fact serves only as a testament to his depth of research and the genius of his architectural imagination.

Acclaimed by Time Magazine as one of the top five comic books published in 2000, Berlin: City of Stones is already making great waves, even though it is only one-third complete. (This first volume can be enjoyed on its own, however, and issue nine will be reaching comic stores soon.) While Berlin: City of Stones bears all the hallmarks of Lutes' previous work in Jar of Fools, the scope of this undertaking will only grow with time. Berlin: City of Stones is a work that should not be missed by anyone who appreciates what comics are truly capable of.

John Fellows is a television and media student at Newcastle College.

Source: Ninth Art article archives at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine

Ninth Art endorses the principle of Ideological Freeware. The author permits distribution of this article by private individuals, on condition that the author and source of the article are clearly shown, no charge is made, and the whole article is reproduced intact, including this notice.

Editor's note
Book two,
Berlin: City of Smoke was released in August, 20008.
Writer/Artist: Jason Lutes
200 pages
Price: $19.95
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly
ISBN: 1897299532

On The Precipice: Berlin, City of Smoke
A Review by Rob Clough

Source: High-Low, the Home of the Comics Column of Rob Clough

A color photo of the front cover of 'Berlin: City of Smoke' by Jason Lutes.

Jason Lutes' series Berlin is one of the last holdouts in the world of alt-comics in terms of its serialization. The first issue of the series debuted in 1996 with a different publisher (Black Eye Press) and he's released a new issue every fifteen months or so ever since. The painstaking nature of both the research involved in thinking about Berlin between the world wars along with Lutes' exacting clear-line style have made it a slow grind in terms of its production, though Lutes did step up the frequency of each issue as he neared the end of volume 2. In terms of style, it's one of the most easily approachable of all alt-comics, recognizable as a Robert Altman-esque blend of different characters' stories and the ways in which they intersect. Lutes' dedication to clarity on the page means that one can either linger on individual images or zip down a page and still take in the information needed to understand the story. Of course, the subject matter in some ways is a bit obscure, at least at first, until one sees that Berlin's decay and eventual embrace of fascism is a story that's been repeated any number of times, in any number of places.

A sample page from the black and white graphic novel 'Berlin: City of Smoke' by Jason Lutes.

Lutes aims at telling the larger story of the tremendous upheaval in Berlin through a number of characters from all walks of life. There's the pacifist journalist Kurt Severing, who can see what's coming from the fascists but feels helpless to stop it. There's Horst, whose wife Gudrun was drawn to communism and killed by police in the May Day riot that ended the first volume. There's Marthe, the naive art student drawn into a relationship with Kurt and later finding herself exploring other aspects of identity and sexuality. There's Silvia, Gudrun's daughter who became a runaway after the riot and who falls in with a scavenger. This volume introduces an American jazz band ("the Cocoa Kids") on the road in Berlin, eventually connecting them with a minor character from the first volume and some unexpected plot twists. We see Berlin through the eyes of rich and poor, communist and Nazi, educated and street-smart, cynical and romantic, idealistic and world-weary. Lutes weaves the events of history and lets it flow and wash around his characters, some of whom are directly involved with the events and others who prefer to ignore it altogether.

The title could refer to any number of possibilities, but my take relates to how one can't grab on or hold on to smoke. It appears, it may linger, but it eventually dissipates. One simply has to wait for the smoke to clear, as it were, revealing harsh truths. This book ends with the National Socialist party having gained a majority in the German parliament, a harsh truth that was about to have grave effects. In the meantime, this book deals with that lingering smoke: nights spent in jazz clubs, days spent with fellow pacifists or communists or artists in cafes and parlors--all of whom spoke passionately but to no end; days spent not having to worry about how the world was going to immediately affect you. As in smoke and mirrors, it's all an illusion. And it perhaps alludes to the Reichstag going up in smoke a couple of years later, allowing Hitler to seize total control.

If Lutes has remarkable control over the flow of each character's story and how he drifts from one narrative to the next, he's a bit more clunky when introducing new characters. That was certainly true in the first few issues of the series as well as when the jazz musicians were introduced; as a reader, I felt the author's narrative hand nudging me and telling me "Look! New characters! They're introducing themselves to you!" It stands out because Lutes otherwise is a paragon of restraint in his storytelling, making acts of violence all the more visceral when they do occur.

The slow pace of the story allows Lutes to delve deeply into each character's inner life. Even the most brutish of characters have moments of tenderness, like a scene where Horst is bathing his on and daughter. Severing seems to be the closest thing Lutes has a mouthpiece in this story, but he's also portrayed as increasingly weak and ineffectual--both as a viable lover and as a difference-maker in his world. One interesting formal trick Lutes employs on occasion is showing the reader a crowd scene, revealing the thoughts that grip each character at that one moment in time, and then follow one character from that group and their thoughts into the next scene. Those thoughts range from thinking about food, sex, going to the bathroom to quite deeper thoughts. It reinforces Lutes' sense of trying to capture a series of moments in a specific time and place, that this could be anyone's story in the city.

Berlin: City of Smoke features an interesting premise and setting, a rich array of characters, and a complex storyline rife with room for discussion of all sorts of ideas. None of this would be effective without Lutes' amazing line. He manages to pull off the rare trick of using a line that is distinctive and clear without being overly slick. It's naturalistic but with a slightly rubbery quality that makes each page and each character feel like an organic entity. The city of Berlin itself is most decidedly its own character, from the crowded intersections to run-down buildings to blood-soaked stones. Lutes' line makes the reader feel the life in the city. No degree of "realism" in an art style can bring the past to life (something he jabs it in his depiction of the artists obsessed with Objectivism), but Lutes' organic style evokes a feeling of what it might have been like.
A sample page from from the black and white graphic novel 'Berlin: City of Smoke' by Jason Lutes. This takes you to check Bookmarc's BookmarcsOnline stock of books by Jason Lutes.
The central theme to the book is how each individual tries to make sense of chaos. A number of characters, both educated and ignorant, are sick of the corruption and chaos of Weimar Republic Germany and so latch on to the tenets of National Socialism because it promises order. A number of Germans, resentful of the way the Treaty of Versailles defanged the nation after World War I, clung deeply to the notion of "Germany for Germans" and targeted immigrants and Jews in particular as their scapegoats. Marthe embraces the chaos, letting it sweep her along without questioning. Kurt clings to his ideals but despairs of his tools, eventually burning all of his work in progress because he came to realize that his words were futile in stopping the fascists. The Jewish characters close ranks around each other and their faith, while the idealogues (Communists and Fascists alike) employ the same sort of emotive, rabble-rousing speeches to draw support--both of which appeal to a central authority even as each preaches its own brand of brotherhood. At its heart, Berlin: City of Smoke speaks to the meeting-point of dogma and desperation and how the former appeals to those afflicted by the latter.

Rob Clough is a data manager and writes about Mini-Comics at The Comics Journal and comics in general at the Poopsheet Foundation.

Source: High-Low, the Home of the Comics Column of Rob Clough

Newer Article: Guillermo Arriaga, Notable Mexican Author, Screenwriter, Director and Producer


Older Article: Sara Paretsky and the Transformation of Female Crime Fiction Detectives

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sara Paretsky

Sara Paretsky and the Transformation of Crime Fiction Women

Sara Paretsky (born June 8, 1947) is a modern American author of detective fiction.

Life and career

Paretsky was born in Ames, Iowa and raised in Kansas, graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in political science. She did community service work on the south side of Chicago in 1966 and returned in 1968 to work there. She ultimately completed a Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago; her dissertation was entitled "The Breakdown of Moral Philosophy in New England Before the Civil War." She also earned an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Married to a professor of physics at the University of Chicago, she has lived in Chicago since 1968.

The protagonist of all but two of Paretsky's novels is V.I. Warshawski, a female private investigator. Warshawski's eclectic personality defies easy categorization. She drinks Johnnie Walker Black Label, breaks into houses looking for clues, and can hold her own in a street fight, but also she pays attention to her clothes, sings opera along with the radio, and enjoys her sex life.

Paretsky is credited with transforming the role and image of women in the crime novel. The Winter 2007 issue of Clues: A Journal of Detection[1] is devoted to her work.

Like the plots of other mystery writers including Dick Francis and Robert B. Parker, Paretsky's plots are based on the traditional formula: someone is murdered in the early pages to conceal a crime (which often involve important corporations and their business in Paretsky's novels), and more killings follow, culminating with Warshawski herself narrowly escaping being killed in a climactic confrontation with the murderer. As with Francis, the lack of variety in Paretsky's storylines is compensated for by rich details about the lives and businesses of Paretsky's characters. And, as in Parker's novels, local color abounds, in Paretsky's case including traffic on the Stevenson Expressway and the perennial travails of the Chicago Cubs.

Sara is an alum of the Ragdale Foundation.

V. I. Warshawski

Victoria Iphigenia “Vic” Warshawski is a fictional character in a series of detective novels and short stories by Sara Paretsky. She is a gritty, independent private investigator from Chicago. Aside from one short story, The Pietro Andromache, all of Warshawski's adventures are written in the first person.


Victoria Iphigenia Warshawski, called 'Vic' by her friends is the daughter of the Italian-born Gabriella Sestrieri and Polish police officer Tony Warshawski, a member of the Chicago Police Department. Both her parents are deceased; Gabriella died of cancer, two years before Vic went to college, and ten years before the death of her father in 1976[1]. This implies that Vic was born in about 1950. We also learn from Toxic Shock that Vic was last at her high school some 20 years previously; therefore this story was set in 1988, the year of the book’s publication. Sara Paretsky, in an interview, tells us that Vic ages in real time.

Vic grew up on the Southeast Side of Chicago, in the shadow of shuttered steel mills and factories.

After earning a law degree at the University of Chicago, Vic had a short stint as a public defender before becoming a private detective specializing in commercial cases and company finances—white-collar crime. Vic has been divorced once, from corporate lawyer Dick Yarborough. She has no children.

In most novels, she is drawn into murder cases that have a connection to white-collar crime. Vic regularly ends up pursuing cases that affect her friends and estranged family, or those she feels are being bullied by the upper crust of Chicago.

A lean, athletic brunette who runs to keep in shape, Vic is not afraid of physical confrontations with would-be attackers, relying on either her karate skills, or her Smith & Wesson automatic pistol with nine-shot clip.

Hot-tempered, sarcastic and fiercely self-reliant, Vic tends to be a slob. She prefers T-shirts, sweatshirts, jeans and running shoes; can dress stylishly if necessary and sleeps nude. She hates to admit being scared or vulnerable. She loves opera and classical music; she often sings arias and plays her piano in times of stress. She stays trim despite ravenous appetite and favors multi-course ethnic meals with good wine. She often indulges in big, greasy breakfasts and Polish sausage sandwiches.

She shares two dogs, Peppy and Mitch, with her neighbor.

In addition to one failed marriage, Vic has had a few lovers over the years. Some of them appear in more than one book, and some even after the relationship has ended.

Recurring characters
(Note: Because the novels and short stories span a large number of years and there are changes at the end of each one, some characters do not appear as the novels progress, or do not appear until later novels. Characters listed here appear in at least two novels.)

Carol Alvarado, a nurse at Dr. Herschel’s clinic

Sal Barthele, statuesque owner of the Golden Glow bar

Freeman Carter, V.I.’s legal counsel on retainer

Salvatore Contreras, downstairs widower neighbor and slightly overbearing friend

Terry Finchley, a police detective whom V.I. interacts with regularly

Darraugh Graham, an extremely important and long-standing client

Dr. Charlotte “Lotty” Herschel, close friend and perinatologist at Beth Israel Hospital; formerly had her own clinic as a general practitioner

Max Loewenthal, Lotty’s significant other; executive director of Beth Israel Hospital and an art and music aficionado

Bobby Mallory, police officer and friend of V.I.’s father Tony

John McGonnigal, police officer who regularly interacts with V.I.

Mary Louise Neely, an officer in the Chicago P.D. who provides a significant amount of assistance to V.I. over time

Conrad Rawlings, a detective in the Chicago P.D.

Murray Ryerson, reporter at the Herald-Star newspaper; V.I.’s longtime friend and sometime rival


With year of first publication:
Indemnity Only (1982)
Deadlock (1984)
Killing Orders (1985)
Bitter Medicine (1987)
Blood Shot (1988) Published as Toxic Shock in the UK.
Burn Marks (1990)
Guardian Angel (1992)
Tunnel Vision (1994)
Hard Time (1999)
Total Recall (2001)
Blacklist (2003)
Fire Sale (2005)
Hardball (2009)

Short Stories
Windy City Blues (1995) Published as V.I. For Short in the UK.
V.I. × 2 (2002)

Only Deadlock has been turned into a movie, V.I. Warshawski, with Kathleen Turner in the title role. The film, which took many creative liberties with Paretsky's character, was meant as a franchise for Turner, but those plans were scrapped when it was not a commercial success, grossing only $11.1 million domestically.

Radio Adaptations
BBC Radio 4 has produced three radio dramas based on the series. The first two, Deadlock and Killing Orders, feature Kathleen Turner reprising her movie role, with Eleanor Bron as "Lotty". The third, Bitter Medicine, stars Sharon Gless as Warshawski.

Indemnity Only (1982)
Deadlock (1984)
Killing Orders (1985)
Bitter Medicine (1987)
Blood Shot (1988)
Burn Marks (1990)
Guardian Angel (1992)
Tunnel Vision (1994)
Ghost Country (1998) - non-Warshawski novel; ISBN 978-0385333368
Hard Time (1999) ISBN 0-385-31363-2
Total Recall (2001) ISBN 0-385-31366-7
Blacklist (2003) ISBN 0-399-15085-4
Fire Sale (2005) ISBN 978-0739455944
Bleeding Kansas (2008) - non-Warshawski novel; ISBN 978-0399154058
Hardball (2009)

Short story collections
Windy City Blues (1995)
V.I. x2 (2002)

Writing in an Age of Silence (2007) ISBN 978-1844671229

As editor
Women on the Case (1997) ISBN 978-0440223252
Sisters On the Case (2007) ISBN 978-0451222398

Newer Article: Berlin: City of Stones, A Review by John Fellows


Older Article: The Fall by Brubaker and Lutes, A Review by Nick Brownlow

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Fall by Brubaker and Lutes

The NinthArt banner graphic for the editorial 'Camera Obscura' by Alasdair Watson.

The Fall by Brubaker and Lutes
A Review by Nick Brownlow

Can comics do short fiction? Are anthologies worth your time? The answer lies in the pages of The Fall, an essential crime noir from the people who brought you Scene of the Crime and Berlin.

A color photo of the front cover of 'The Fall' by Ed Brubaker, art by Jason Lutes.Title: The Fall
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Jason Lutes
Collecting work originally published in Dark Horse Presents
Price: $3.95
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly

If there's one genre that doesn't seem to do too badly in comic books outside of superheroes, then it's crime fiction. Ever since Frank Miller's Sin City appeared in Dark Horse Presents in the early nineties, the market for this type of story has seen a steady rise.

Today, a large number of the high-profile mature readers titles from mainstream companies are crime-oriented, and many of the fresh young crop of US creators working in the mainstream made their mark writing crime books. It's not entirely surprising, as the visual and often action-oriented bent of the genre lends itself well to comics. And of course many superhero stories are really just thinly veiled crime stories as well; fans of one aren't going to have too much trouble getting into the other.

While the industry is hardly facing a glut of crime fiction titles, however, I often get the feeling that many of these books - even the really good ones - are all just a bit 'samey'.

And then along comes something like The Fall.

The Fall is a collaboration from several years back between the then well regarded but not particularly well known indie creators Ed Brubaker and Jason Lutes. Brubaker, of course, has gone on to write the likes of Batman and Catwoman for DC after several critical rather than commercial successes at Vertigo - notably Deadenders and Scene of the Crime. Lutes, meanwhile, has been busy with his epic Berlin - an ambitious, elegant work that often gets mentioned whenever enlightened people come together to talk about whether or not comics count as literature.

A sample panel from the black and white graphic novel 'The Fall' by Ed Brubaker, art by Jason Lutes.Another crime story originally serialised in Dark Horse Presents, The Fall was brought out in collected form last year by those good people at Drawn and Quarterly, along with five extra pages of material and a new ending.

The Fall is lo-fi suburban noir in the same vein as the novels of Jim Thompson and James Cain. It's also a mystery thriller, and while Brubaker gives a nod to the classics, there's also a very seventies deconstructionist feel to it as well.

The story begins when naive young gas station attendant Kirk decides to supplement his meagre income by committing fraud using a lost credit card found out on the forecourt one night. Unfortunately, his first act of petty theft is not a successful one, as he discovers that the woman who handed the card in is his boss's wife, June.

Realising what Kirk's done with his find, June subsequently blackmails him into performing various menial tasks about her house for free. One day, a despondent Kirk is pottering around in her garden raking leaves when he discovers a woman's handbag buried beneath one of the flowerbeds. Deciding to investigate the contents, Kirk soon finds himself embroiled in a ten year old unsolved murder case; one that someone clearly wants to remain unsolved...

Like many noir tales, The Fall is extremely moralistic in spite of the largely amoral and flawed cast of characters. The title superficially refers to the story's being set during autumn, but it also evokes a sense of Biblical justice that's particularly appropriate. The story begins with Kirk committing a relatively minor misdemeanour, followed by his gradual descent into a dark and dangerous world in which he must either redeem himself at great cost or damn himself further. The whole plot is driven by long buried crimes finally being brought to light and accounted for; it's not any kind of human law that's at work here, but rather an inevitable, cosmic justice that operates through chance and coincidence. This is a convention that's as old as the genre, but Brubaker and Lutes handle it well and aren't so stuck in it that they can't make it work for a modern audience.

A sample panel from the black and white graphic novel 'The Fall' by Ed Brubaker, art by Jason Lutes.In many ways The Fall is the stylistic link between Brubaker's early, autobiographical indie work and his current output at DC, combining both the former's quiet, down-to-earth storytelling with its everyday characters and settings, and the latter's more commercial subject matter. His writing here is typically lean and precise, and his preference for short, snappy scenes keeps things moving at a tense, clipped pace, with no room for self-indulgence.

The well-crafted plot serves to keep the reader guessing, and for the most part refuses to pander to expectations. Some of the twists are a little conventional, but in the main Brubaker keeps his audience on its toes, and the story manages to stay above the level of simple genre pastiche. The work is very neatly structured, and while the ending isn't entirely unexpected, it does avoid taking the obvious way out, and works well because of that.

Brubaker has also clearly written a script that works to Lutes' strengths, and the artist has run with that beautifully. Despite his hailing from New Jersey, there's a very European feel to Lutes' artwork; simple, black and white art with bold, clean linework and no shading. He also has a typically European preference for elaborately detailed, realistic backgrounds; his take on the seedy, small town California setting is every bit as evocative as his portrayal of Weimar Germany in Berlin. The panelling follows a rigidly defined, linear format, and there's a definite art deco influence that serves to somewhat wistfully recall an earlier time. At forty-eight pages, it's even the traditional length for a work from the Franco-Belgian school.

Related reviews:
Berlin: City of Stones
Scene of the Crime

However, Lutes is evidently also influenced by the cream of the American alternative scene. He has a classic cartoonist's eye for mannerisms and body language, his 'headshots' being particularly expressive. Also interesting is his use of different perspectives and angles; it's a very cinematic approach (I have to fight the temptation to refer to his 'camera-work'), and it's particularly appropriate here, echoing the on-screen traditions of the genre.

Overall, The Fall is an excellent and very assured piece of early work by two now high-profile creators very much on top of their game. Brubaker and Lutes' tale of suburban hypocrisy and desperation is exactly the sort of accessible yet polished work that could easily appeal to a wider audience, but unfortunately the book's slim size means it probably won't make much of an impact outside of your local comic store. For those looking for something a little different from the average crime comic, however, it's definitely worth a look.

Nick Brownlow is an IT professional and writer.

Source: Ninth Art article archives at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine

Ninth Art endorses the principle of Ideological Freeware. The author permits distribution of this article by private individuals, on condition that the author and source of the article are clearly shown, no charge is made, and the whole article is reproduced intact, including this notice.

Newer Article: Sara Paretsky and the Transformation of Female Crime Fiction Detectives


Older Article: Jon Scieszka's Time Warp Trio Series, Learning History and Culture can be Fun

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jon Scieszka part 2

Jon Scieszka's Time Warp Trio Series, Learning History and Culture can be Fun
by Steven Williams

The Time Warp Trio is a series of stories written by Jon Scieszka, originally illustrated by Lane Smith and later illustrated by Adam McCauley, which chronicles the adventures of three boys - Joe, Sam, and Fred - who travel through time and space. Scieszka is notable for his ability to attract reluctant readers and this series is a successful effort in this direction.

The boys' traveling of time is accomplished with the help of a strange blue book simply referred to as The Book, which was given to Joe as a birthday present from his uncle Joe the Magnificent, an amateur magician. After accidentally activating The Book, the boys are transported to medieval times and must help fight towering beasts such as a giant and dragon. From then on they continue to be transported from one time period to the next. In one adventure they travel to year 2095 and meet their own great-granddaughters who have The Book in their time along with the knowledge to control it. The boys present time home is in Brooklyn, New York.

The books have been adapted into an animated television series.


Joseph "Joe" Arthur - A 10-year old who wants to be a magician, but can only perform the simplest tricks in the book. He got The Book for his birthday from his uncle and namesake, "Joe the Magnificent". As a bad habit, he takes The Book everywhere with him, causing even the slightest wrong action or phrase to activate it. He lives with his father, an archaeologist, his mother, and his little sister, Anna.

Sam - Joe's 10-year old friend who is wary of time traveling. He wants to become a great inventor, but has great difficulty. Sam is lactose intolerant.
Fred - Joe's other 10-year old friend. He has a big brother who beats him and destroys his video games. His ignorance often causes he and his friends to get into trouble.

Joe the Magnificent - Joe's uncle who tries to be a magician, but fails at live performances. He believes in the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny, said in book 7. He sent his nephew The Book (which he couldn't use either). He travels with an enchanted pocket watch.

Mrs. Arthur - Joe's mother who is short-tempered and is prone to shouting out Joe's full name in frustration. She knows of The Book and was the one who showed Joe the page that would allow the boys to choose the specific time they visit. She was also the one who showed her brother Joe the Magnificent how to use The Book.
Anna Arthur - Joe's younger sister, a very annoying girl in Joe's opinion. She has more knowledge concerning The Book than her brother.

Jodie Arthur, Samantha (sometimes called Samza), and Freddie (Frieda is her full name) - Joe, Sam, and Fred's great-granddaughters, respectively. Originally from the year 2095, they occasionally are in the same time and place as their great-grandfathers. They seem to be able to control The Book at will.


Knights of the Kitchen Table
The Not-So-Jolly Roger
The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy
Your Mother Was a Neanderthal
Tut Tut
Summer Reading Is Killing Me
It's All Greek to Me
See You Later Gladiator
Sam Samurai
Hey Kid, Want to Buy a Bridge?
Viking It and Liking It
Me Oh Maya
Da Wild, Da Crazy, Da Vinci
Oh Say, I Can't See
Marco? Polo!

The Knights of the Kitchen Table (May, 1991)
This first of Scieszka's Time Warp Trio series. The premis for this series is that three gradeschool age best friends, Joe, Fred, and Sam, have time travel adventures brought on by their encounters with The Book. Joe receives a book as a gift from his magician uncle. It turns out to be no ordinary book though. They discover by chance that The Book has the power to send them back in time. In this first adventure, The Book sends them back to the time of King Arthur's Britain. The first person they encounter is the dreaded Black Knight. They are able to dodge his charges and quickly earn a reputation as heroes. They add to their reputations by tricking a giant into taking on a terrible dragon that has turned up. They manage to outwit the villains and, despite the mixups created by the differences of language and dress, use their daring and quick thinking and to get back home.

The Not-So-Jolly Roger (May, 1991)
Joe, Fred, and Sam are back in the second Time Warp Trio adventure. Almost immediately The Book sets them down in a coconut tree surrounded by pirates. They are Blackbeard's crew and they are given the choice to either join the crew, walk the plank, or become the primary ingrediant in a coconut stew. Blackbeard had come her to bury some treasure and the bodies of the two crew members he brought with him to do the work. The three boys finally figure out how to get The Book to take them back home.

The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy (May, 1992)
In their third adventure, the Time Warp Trio end up in the Old West on the Chisholm Trail in 1868 where they are soon soon range ridin' and cow punchin'. The quickly discover that between the work and the food, the life of a cowboy is not so great life after all. Then to top it off, Indians show up. All in all, their adventures include escaping two stampedes, a flash flood, being scalped by Cheyenne Indians, and a charge of the Seventh Cavalry lead by Custer. In the end, Sam's knowledge of history along with some magic spells finally get the three boys back home.

Your Mother Was a Neanderthal (May, 1993)
The fourth Time Warp Trio adventure is set in prehistoric times. There are the usual assortment of Stone Age inhabitants and artifacts including a saber-toothed cat, a woolly mammoth, cave paintings, and a collection of cavemen, women, and girls. Besides the reality of their predicament, this time they do not have The Book with them. In previous adventures it has held the key, in some way, to help get them back home. To top this off, they start out their adventure naked. With quick thinking the boys 'invent' clothing and, with the help of some simple physics involving a fulcrim and a lever, save the day.

2095 (April, 1995)
The fifth Time Warp Trio is a sort of change from the others in that instead of sending the three into the past, The Book transports them one hundred years into the future. Once there there are the usual mis of threats and adventures, this time including hostile robots, incredibly inflated prices, levitating footwear, and not too distant relatives. They are launched into the future while they are visiting the Natural History Museum and in the future version of museum they almost immediately find themselves in front of the 1990s exhibit. They also encounter their great-grandchildren, who quickly are enlisted in trying to return the three boys to the past.

Tut, Tut (August, 1996)
In the sixth Time Warp Trio adventure the three heroes find themselves back in ancient Egypt. While there, they encounter mummies, crocodiles, tomb robbers, the Sphinx, and other oddities. The villain this time is the pharaoh's evil priest who they have to avoid while at the same time looking for The Book so that they can get back home. There are additional complications for the three this time in that they are also looking for Joe's little sister and her cat who somehow ended up being transported back in time by The Book also.

Summer Reading Is Killing Me (July, 1998)
The seventh of the time travel adventures begins with Joe, Fred, and Sam being transported to a playground. Joe recognizes a 250-pound chicken, the Hoboken Chicken, headed for them from a book he had just read. It turns out that since Fred put their summer reading list inside The Book and they are caught spending their summer living out a bizarre mix of all the stories they are supposed to be reading. A maniacal Teddy Bear becomes the leader of the bad characters from the reading list books. Soon, the bad characters are trying to knock off all othe good characters: Homer Price is being carried away by the Headless Horseman, Dracula is dragging off Winnie the Pooh, and Mr. Twit is breaking Harold's Purple Crayon. The three heroes set off to find The Book both to get back home and to save children's literature from being destroyed. Our three heroes at first are able to infiltrate the band of book villains by masquerading as villains from an action-adventure series. They are soon found out though but at the same time, with a little help, are able to find The Book and set things right.

It's All Greek to Me (October, 1999)
This is the eighth title Jon Scieszka's Time Warp Trio series. This time the three friends Fred, Sam, and Joe, the narrator, are taking part in a school play they co-wrote about the ancient Greek gods and Mount Olympus. Suddenly, 'The Book', the magic book given to Joe by his magician uncle transports the three boys into Hades, the ancient Greek underworld. The only resources they have are props from the play: a fake thunderbolt and a spray-painted golden apple. The first thing that happens is they must confront Cerberus, the slavering, three-headed dog guarding the gates. Using their wits and a Ding dong, they escape from Hades, and go on to Mount Olympus hoping to find 'The Book' there so that they can get back home. Instead of finding the magic book though, they become involved in an increasingly dangerous series of disagreements with the wise-cracking, bickering Greek gods.
Children who know Nike is the Greek goddess of victory will double over with laughter when Sam Orpheus, friend of Nike, introduces his chums as Fred Cyclops, follower of Reebok, and Joe Paris, cohort of Fila. Humor continues as the friends help hide a nervous Zeus, who is worried that his wife, Hera, will blab to the other gods if she finds out he lost his thunderbolts. Dionysus wants to party and Ares wants to fight, but the real trouble starts when Zeus challenges Joe to give his golden apple to the fairest of all goddesses.
oe, Fred, and Sam are horsing around during their school playwhich they wrote themselvesabout the ancient deities of Greece. When a cardboard thunderbolt accidently hits the magic blue book stashed in Joe's backpack, the three boys are transported back to ancient Greeceor so they think. When they meet some of the wisecracking gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus, they realize they've been transported to the fictionalized Greece of their play, complete with dialogue they wrote using ``The Book of Snappy Insults.'' While flinging around backhanded compliments with Hera (who's not bad on the uptake), the three time travelers try to locate their blue book of magic so they can return home. Instead, they end up as that night's entertainment for the gods. The opening jokes fall flat, but then Joe comes up with some last-minute parlor tricks. Just when everything's going well, a pack of Greek monsters arrives, and the mountain top threatens to become a battlefield.

Adam McCauley artist website
Jon Scieszka website
Lane Smith artist website
Time Warp Trio website
Time Warp Trio at Wikipedia
Time Warp Trio page at Discovery Kids

The Time Warp Trio animated series

Time Warp Trio is an animated television series, based on a series of children's books written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith. Produced by Soup 2 Nuts in association with WGBH Boston, the show airs on Discovery Kids but also aired in a two-hour Discovery Kids block on NBC until September 2, 2006. The show still airs daily on the Discovery Kids Channel in the USA, and on CBBC in the United Kingdom.


When Joe receives a mysterious book from his uncle on his 10th birthday, he has no idea what is in store for him and his two best friends Sam and Fred. Every time they open this book - known as The Book - it transports them through time into different time periods, causing them to get into dangerous situations. Whether they like it or not, they have to find the book in the time period they're in while trying to stay alive.

The boys learn how to use The Book throughout the series, but end up warping by triggering the book accidentally. Their great-granddaughters from the 22nd century know how to use The Book at will, although they sometimes trigger it accidentally as well. Samantha has a pocket-watch that belonged to Sam that can go back in time and to the future, although it has been known to break a couple of times and not go into the future even if stuck in the past.

Later in the series, Joe's evil uncle, Mad Jack, tries several attempts to capture the children with his crafty tricks. Whether it's stranding the boys in Antarctica, or trying to make their new home China, Mad Jack can be ruthless when it comes to The Book.


Joe is an up-and-coming Indian American magician and the owner of The Book in 2005. His talent for magic helps the trio in tough situations, but his tricks can also lead to some hilarious mishaps. As the unofficial leader of the group, Joe often has to settle disputes between Fred and Sam. He also has an amazing ability to talk his way out of trouble, which is why he hates to be outsmarted! However, many times he'll try to get out of a tight spot with his magic tricks, which are currently poor. One day, however, Joe is said to become a warp wizard. Eventually, he is awarded the title of Time Page, a title that Jodie mistakenly says she hadn't been since she was five, though this is not true as she said in the episode 2105 she got the book from her uncle on her 10th birthday, making it impossible to have had it when she was only five. According to Freddi and Jodie, Joe will fight his uncle, Mad Jack, in a great battle that will determine the fate of time itself.

Sam is a Russian American coward. Sam uses book smarts, calculations and research to get himself, along with Fred and Joe, out of harm's way. Even though his ideas and expansive knowledge of history help the group escape several scary situations, he still worries that the gift of knowledge makes him a bit of a nerd. Sam is also very wary of time travel, and he's convinced their doom is imminent every time they open The Book. According to Freddi, Sam will invent something important in the future, but she won't tell him what (she almost does, but The Book takes her back to her own time before she does; she said to Sam "You're going to figure out a way to..."). Sam is lactose intolerant.

Fred is a 10-year old American sports fan who isn't the brightest bulb on the chandelier. He has a big brother who bullies him. Although he does deserve it some times by messing with Mike's video games and other things. His stupidity often ends up getting the gang in trouble, and always wants to persuade his two other friends, Joe and Sam, to travel somewhere via The Book where they can gain riches, glory or credit for something in a time period they didn't do. Even though he leaps before he looks, Fred uses it as an advantage to fight enemies and save the trio from trouble or death. At the beginning of an episode when Joe or Jodie are talking about how they got where they are, they mostly blame it on Fred.

Mike - Fred's mean brother. Is always horrid to Fred, but Fred does stand up to him after 'See You Later, Gladiator.' Mike has a farting problem.

Joe the Magnificent - A.K.A. - Uncle Joe. Joe's maternal uncle who is a magician, but not so great. He gave his nephew The Book (which he couldn't use that well either). Seconds after Joe received The Book, his uncle vanished. He has other means of travelling through time, though seems to suffer from the same lack of control over these methods as he did over The Book.

Mad Jack - Joe the Magnificent's evil brother who is intent on getting his hands on The Book so that he can rule all of Time and Space. He recently faced a showdown with his nephew Joe and tried to get The Book in which he never succeeds. Mad Jack does not appear in the book series. In every episode, even before Mad Jack is known to the boys, the evil man is somewhere watching the kids, usually in a crowd. He is often hard to find.

Joe's Mom - Joe and Anna's mom; Joe the Magnificent and Mad Jack's sister.
Anna - Joe's younger sister, a very annoying girl in Joe's opinion. She often travels with the boys or uses The Book without permission, to Joe's anger. However, Anna is a very skilled warper herself and can handle The Book a little better than her brother. She is an owner of a zebra named Stuffie.

Jodie - Joe's great-granddaughter from 100 years in the future. Jodie is a third level warper and doesn't like being taken out of her comfort zone. She is sometimes selfish and even a little mean, but can also be kind. She is bossy and loves fashion, and can be lazy at times. She looks a lot like Joe's sister, Anna. She lives in the year 2105 along with her friends Freddi and Samantha. Jodie is also prone to complaining and allergic to cats.

Samantha - Sam's great-granddaughter from the year 2105, 100 years in the future from 2005, the year the boys live in. She can be a bit clumsy and loves her robot cat, Rivites. She sometimes teases jokingly and is shown to be daring and almost the opposite of her friend Jodie, and even her great-grandfather Sam. She owns a pocket watch that once belonged to Sam, though in the series he does not have a pocket watch yet. He could have invented it himself, but this is not sure and is just a guess.

Freddi - Fred's great-granddaughter from the year 2105. She is very kind to all, and can sometimes be quite nervous and hesitant. She has a fear of heights, and in the books she is shown to love baseball, even wearing a futuristic baseball cap, though in the TV show it is unknown if she does. Freddi from the books is a lot different from Freddi from the show, a girl version of Fred, the biggest difference about the kids from the books and the kids from the TV shows. Also in the books, Freddi and Samantha were very similar, so the change for the TV shows was probably because of that.

The boys first met the girls in the episode 2105, the girls having found a note that the boys will write for them at the end of the episode. They become friends, and afterward the girls are in many shows.


The Not-So-Jolly Roger - The boys' first adventure with the book where they accidentally join the crew of the pirate, Blackbeard.

2105 - The boys warp 100 years into the future and meet... their great-granddaughters. (First appearances of Jodie, Samantha and Freddi.)

You Can't, But Genghis Khan - When Sam throws a Mongolian menu into The Book, the boys almost get turned into roadkill and meet the boy who will grow up to become Genghis Khan (Temüjin).

Tut, Tut - Anna warps the boys back to Ancient Egypt, where they meet a Pharaoh and find themselves almost being mummified.

Sam Samurai - The boys warp back to Japan and get involved in a battle. The girls turn up just in time to save their lives, but then Sam and Samantha get separated from the others when The Book warps them away.

See You Later, Gladiator - The boys warp to ancient Rome and are almost forced to fight a gladiator.

Lewis and Clark... and Jodie, Freddi and Samantha The girls accidentally warp into 1800 wilderness.

Viking it and Liking it - The boys help Leif Eriksson discover America.

Hey Kid, Want to Buy a Bridge? - The boys warp back in time to when the Brooklyn Bridge gets built to help Sam make an invention.

Me Oh Maya - The boys warp back to an ancient Mayan civilization and interrupt a sacred game.

The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy - The trio is warped back to the time of the Indians and the "cowboys". Although Joe and Fred are disappointed when they find out that cowboys aren't exactly who they think they are. After a frantic bull charge the boys get stuck an Indian camp. Their fate must be decided, whether they live or die.

Able Was I Ere I Saw Elba - When Joe accidentally says a palindrome, he and Fred, along with Samantha, accidentally change history by having Napoleon win the Battle of Waterloo, as they discover on returning to the present which is radically different from how they left it; America is now called New France and everyone speaks French. The boys must return to the past to ensure that history takes its proper course.

The Seven Blunders of the World - A weird man steals The Book and plots to rule the world with it. However, someone else also has the same plans...

Jinga All the Way - When Fred stabs The Book, he, Sam and Jodie warp to Africa.

Birdman or Birdbrain? - Samantha, Fred and Freddi warp to Easter Island when the contents of The Book become a strange language.

Dude, Where's My Karma? - Fred and Sam intervene when Mad Jack tries to kill Joe's ancestor so he will never be born. (First Appearance of Mad Jack)

My Big Fat Greek Olympics - Fred accidentally warps himself and Samantha to the Greek Olympics.

Wushu Were Here - Fred, Joe and Anna warp to China to find a way to free Sam, who has become trapped inside The Book.

What's So Great About Peter? - Fred convinces Sam and Samantha to go back in time to Russia to look for a family fortune.

The Caveman Catastrophe - On a visit to the Stone Age, Sam, Fred, and Jodie get turned into Neanderthals after accidentally changing events there. The only way for them to return to normal is to discover the reason behind the change and ensure that history is set straight.

Nightmare on Joe's Street - Frankenstein's Monster gets unleashed in Joe's kitchen after the creature mysteriously turns up in the hall closet, while a quest to the past by Joe, Sam and Jodie to find Mary Shelley results in Count Dracula turning up as well!

Breaking the Codex - The kids have to save Leonardo Da Vinci from Mad Jack.

Break an Egg - Mad Jack attempts to trap the boys in Antarctica during Robert F. Scott's 1911 expedition.

The High and the Flighty - Jodie, Samantha and Freddi warp back in time to try to find out what happened to Amelia Earhart, and try to prevent her disappearance.

Harem Scare'em - The kids warp to the Ottoman Empire to find the Time Map.

Plaid to the Bone - Joe, Jodie and Anna are forced to help a castle from an invasion.


On July 15, 2006, Time Warp Trio aired the last first-run episode of the season on the Discovery Kids Channel. A marathon was held on this day, which was also made up of six other first-run episodes. On September 2, 2006, Time Warp Trio aired its last first-run episode of the season on NBC, which was also the ending of the "Discovery Kids on NBC" block. No new episodes of Time Warp Trio have been aired since then, and the official website hasn't reported if any new episodes will be airing at all. Despite this, blogs state that a movie and new season is expected, it appears that the show is on hiatus. Members of the Time Warp Trio at forums have been asking people in WGBH, Soup2Nuts and PBS about if and when a second season would be produced and aired, but only got a non-committed response. As of 2009 it is unknown if the show is still in production.

Graphic Novels based on the animated series
Nightmare on Joe's Street
The Seven Blunders of the World
Plaid to the Bone
Meet you at Waterloo (Able was I, ere I saw Elba)

Chapter Books based on the animated series
You can't, But Genghis Khan
Lewis and Clark...and Jodie, Freddi, and Samantha
Wushu Were Here

Newer Article: The Fall by Brubaker and Lutes, A Review by Nick Brownlow


Newer Article: Camera Obscura, Writing and Reading with a Pulp Sensibility

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