I was going to write a whole long post about how terrible Rolling Stone is, but about 2,000 words in I started wondering who actually reads the magazine besides bored people in doctor’s offices. Not being able to come up with a decent reader demographic aside from those waiting for their name to be called (except for maybe tragically clueless 16-year olds), the value of my undoubtedly brilliant and scathing blog post quickly transformed into one of the more pointless things I could create, and I’ve been known to create some pretty frivolous things for fun.

Instead I thought I would point you towards a couple cool things.  The first is Penny-Arcade’s 11 1/2 year anniversary book.  If you’re a fan of PA, as I imagine some percentage of our readers are, I recommend picking up the book if you’re looking for a solid behind-the-scenes look. There are histories on how the comic, PAX and Child’s Play all got started, plus some other cool things like collections of fan art they’ve received and an exhaustive, 16-page Q&A with Mike and Jerry.

Told from mostly first-hand accounts, the book shows a lot of the struggles, pain and anxiety that went into creating Penny-Arcade. Very humanizing and very cool. Plus it’s only 16 bucks or so on Amazon right now, which is pretty cheap I think.

The other book I wanted to mention was “The Stuff of Legend.” It’s a Black-and-White graphic novel about a boy in 1940′s America that gets kidnapped by the Boogey Man and sucked into a dimension called “the dark.” His new puppy and a handful of his favorite toys set off into the dark to rescue him.

Once the toys enter the dark, they all morph into new forms. The Teddy bear becomes a giant grizzly, the toy solider can use his weapons and finally open his backpack, the toy duck becomes a real bird and can actually fly.

 The story is great. It’s full of well-rounded and fascinating characters who interact in interesting ways (example: the toys hate the puppy because they believe he’s the boy’s new favorite). The villain is scary and powerful, the the risk and stakes of the plot are very tangible, and the “dark,” which ends up being a world populated by lost toys, is a great setting. The juxtaposition of all these iconic childhood toys into such a dark, adult place is something that I find endlessly interesting.

I don’t think I’m doing the book justice, so here is a link to the books Flickr account, where you can flip through some pages and concept art and see how great it is on your own.

<3 Mike