Catching Up: Omnivoracious Features Kage Baker, Archaia

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks, but just to catch up with some recent features I did for Amazon…

Kage Baker is one of my favorite writers, and she’s got a new kid’s book out from Tachyon, The Hotel Under the Sand. I did an interview with Baker for Amazon, about the book. Don’t miss this one. What sparked The Hotel Under the Sand? Had you wanted to write a book for kids for awhile?
Baker: No…What happened was that we had a really bad year in my family and my eight-year-old niece had to endure some personal tragedies. I wrote her the story in chapters, mailed out weekly, in fancy fonts and with stickers and all… just hoping to help her through that time, because she was being so brave. God knows it helped me. She had more or less lived with us from the time she was born until she was four, and used to play on the beach and in the Dunes, which are quite real. So it was set in the Dunes. And she liked pirates, so there had to be a pirate in the story, and she used to have a little dog, which also went in the story. And once on the beach all these little cobalt blue jellyfish washed up inexplicably, and we found out they were called By-The-Wind-Sailors, which she thought was funny, so that became the name of the pirate ship.

Archaia publishes some wonderful comics and graphic novels. I’ve done mini-reviews of three of them for Graphic Novel Friday. I have to say that the second volume of Mouse Guard took me by surprise. I liked the first one, but the art in this second volume seems even better. It’s amazing stuff.

Some detractors say the Mouse Guard series is just standard medieval adventure with talking mice. I’m not sure I agree with them after experiencing this second volume. First of all, Petersen’s artwork is just stunning. I really didn’t much care about the words, although they were pretty good, too. The visual of a mouse in a cape sleeping atop a field of bones that prefaces chapter four is one of the most incredible full-page bleeds I’ve seen all year. The subsequent renderings of mice with icicles forming on their fur is palpably tactile and leaves a lasting impression.