I’ll make this quick, like these books were in a manner of speaking. They are coffee table books in the sense that they do not follow a narrative and intend to engage readers with visual images. I enjoyed both of these books in that sense.
Brandon Stanton, the photographer and mastermind of the project, updates the blog frequently with pictures of the individuals and their stories that make-up New York City. Started in the summer of 2010, Stanton’s project is a stunningly emotionally trip through the five boroughs. With each picture in the book and on the blog, Stanton will typically add an excerpt of the subject’s response to a question he posed. The questions vary, and the responses often add depth to the individual’s image. Sometimes, the images will be accompanied by Stanton’s own commentary or no words at all. Young and old. Wealthy and impoverished. Tan, Caucasian, Blue, and Green; Stanton accomplishes his goal of a “photographic census” vividly. I found this book from my following of the Humans of New York (HONY) blog on Tumblr. I was a little disappointed to not see some of my favorite images and stories included in the bound edition, but either way, the stories and the people still exist.
Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe was lighter than the former text, but not without moments of reality. In the age where infographics are included in news articles and reports, Tim Leong took them to another level by visually depicting the comic book industry literally and metaphorically in infographics. Utilizing the raw data and facts of comic books and their characters and traits across publishers, Leong engages the reader to think and laugh along with him using a new medium that he bends to be relevant to the data. There are bar graphs that look at cosplay participation at comic book conventions and scatter plots that look at industry professionals’ baseball team line-ups. The topics range in seriousness from Stan’s Lee Nicknames for fellow Marvel staff members (a Venn Diagram in the categories that the names fall under) and the Oppression and Rebellion in Persepolis (as it relates to the protagonist’s coming of age.) One of my favorites was the confusing and well-spun web of The Many Affiliations of the Marvel Universe.
Thumbs: 1 out of 2