The Battles of Tolkien - David Day

The Battles Of Tolkien By David Day

The Battles of Tolkien was sent to me a couple of weeks back by Thunder Bay Press. I will say right up front that reviewing David Day’s book on The Battles of Tolkien has been a joy. Day is well known for his previous books on the literary works of J. R. R. Tolkien. Including Tolkien: the Illustrated Encyclopedia, Tolkien’s Ring, as well as The Hobbit Companion.

The subject of that last books is exactly how I was introduced to the works of Tolkien. All thanks to the 1977 Rankin and Bass animated adaptation in fact. The Hobbit was the perfect television special, it certainly helped to fuel my interest in fantasy. To say nothing of ingraining a love in me of all thing regarding Dwarves!

[Via] kierst love

Of course I would have to wait a couple of more years before I actually dived into the books of Tolkien. However thanks yet again to adaptations such as 1978’s The Lord of the Ring and 1980’s Return of the King. I at the very least had a basic understanding of the highlights of the books themselves.
The Battles of Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings Poster

Naturally my love for the tales of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings grew after I had the chance to read the actual books. I dived into them headfirst and spent a month of my youth reading them cover to cover. Although I would certainly have to wait quite a bit longer before tackling The Silmarillion.
The Battles of Tolkien

What author David Day has done with The Battles of Tolkien is create a companion book. A 256 page guide to the battles between the forces of light and darkness in the Middle-Earth. Exploring the real world history as well as other mythology that influenced his writing. Through the 37,000 years of Arda, the name the author chose to represent Earth in his works. You will learn of that tactics of the armies of Middle-Earth and of course the outcomes of those famous battles.
The Battles of Tolkien - The Battle of the Five Armies

I will add these are of course divided up into their proper ages. Beginning with the Valarian Age and through the First, Second, and Third Ages. In Day’s The Battle of Tolkien you will learn of The First War, The Battle of Unnumbered Tears, The War of Sauron and the Elves, and the Disaster at Gladden Fields. To name a few. In addition to the history that Day has included are an artist’s rendition of the maps to these epic battles.

The Battles of Tolkien - Comics Grinder

Image courtesy of Comics Grinder

Furthermore throughout the book are some incredible pieces of artwork from the most memorable moments in the Tolkien books. I realize it is rather odd to point out the beauty of the book itself. But in this case I must. The Battles of Tolkien is beautifully binded in a faux-leather cover. It is much a joy to hold as it was to read.

The Battles of Tolkien is the perfect gift for any fan of the author’s work. David Day presents the useful information plainly and clearly. I would add you don’t have to worry about it being stuffy or the like. It is available for purchase right this second by following the link to Thunder Bay Press or you can as well just head over to Amazon. It would certainly make a great Father’s Day gift!

In closing I should add that in it’s favor. The Battles of Tolkien doesn’t skimp on the battles of the majestic Dwarves!

For a little more fun with Tolkien’s The Hobbit you might want to check out This 1966 animated version by Gene Deitch!

What If Pixar Decided To Do Pulp Characters?

When it comes to Pixar there really isn’t much they touch that doesn’t turn to gold. Having said that however there are genres they’ve yet to tackle. Sure, they have given friendly monsters a go as well as a sentient vehicle universe. Not to mention moving films dealing with growing old in addition to the greatest Fantastic Four movie made. That was of course not an official film of Marvel’s First Family – but it was…INCREDIBLE…nonetheless.

See what I did there?

Ahem. While 2004’s The Incredibles marked Pixar’s first foray into superheroes. The talented Phil Postma is always eager to present different genres that Pixar has yet to approach. You might recall some of the other artwork of Postma’s that we’ve shared on The Retroist before. Like what if Rankin and Bass had produce a 1977 stop motion version of The Hobbit. Or perhaps Fisher-Price had produced Adventure People Killers to their toy line?

Back in 2013, it turns out that Phil presented Pixar versions of some legendary pulp characters. Such as Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and Ming the Merciless of course.

Images courtesy of Phil Postma.

He also shared a look at what Pixar could deliver with Lee Falk’s The Phantom.
Pixar - The Phantom - Phil Postma

Last but certainly not least and the film I wish Pixar would truly deliver is The Shadow!

Make sure to hop on over to Phil’s official blog – The Minion Factory. You can check out even more of his fantastic artwork and even purchase merchandise.

Now that we’ve seen what some pulp characters would look like if Pixar was in charge of character design. How about re-watching what an animated series for The Rocketeer might look like?

[Via] Amazing Cartoons

Toon In: Self Defense…For Cowards (1962)

Welcome back friends to another installment of Toon In, this week we have an offering from Gene Deitch entitled Self Defense…for Cowards that was originally released back in 1962. This short is actually an adaptation of Alice McGrath’s 1961 book with the full title Self-Defense For Cowards: A Guide To Non-Combative Action For The Rational, Resourceful Man.
Toon In - Self Defense for Cowards
Why You Should Know Gene Deitch
I would hazard a guess that Gene Deitch is certainly not a household name for fans of classic animation. Not as recognizable as the likes of Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, or Ub Iwerks to name a few but I feel you will know of a few classic animated short series that he had a hand in. Like the UPA Popeye television series or Krazy Kat and about a dozen of the Tom and Jerry theatrical shorts.
Self Defense for Cowards - Gene Deitch
Gene Deitch also was responsible for directing a previous Toon In entry that I shared back in April, the Oscar nominated anti-war short Munro – as well as the interesting adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
Gene Deitch - The Hobbit

So Why Is Self Defense…for Cowards Important?
I am very glad you asked that question. For one thing Self Defense…for Cowards was nominated for the 1962 Oscar for Best Short Subject, Cartoons. More importantly though is the fact that the short is incredibly funny. While I thankfully have only found myself in some of the same situations as the protagonist – I feel we can all relate to these situations in way or another.

Micah Hambrick
The short was produced by Rembrandt Films which was originally founded in 1949 by William L. Snyder. Gene Deitch actually left America to move to Prague in Czechoslovakia to join Snyder’s animation studio. Deitch had been let go from his position at Terry Toons in 1958 and this was after he had helped deliver the Academy Award nominated short Sidney’s Family Tree.

So perhaps Gene Deitch knew a thing or two about bullies himself?

Gene Deitch’s The Hobbit (1966)

Hey there my creeps! As you plunked yer lil’ retro rears down in front of the last flick in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy I just know you thought to yerself “I wonder what would happen if that crazy cat Gene Deitch turned his talents upon The Hobbit instead of deliverin’ the most surreal Tom and Jerry cartoons possibly imagined in order to retain the rights to a feature length animated version of the story in 1966, but he only had one month and twelve minutes to tell a basic, albeit drastically altered, version of the book?” Hmm, on second thought you probably were thinking “Do I really need a refill on this large corn tub and why can I no longer feel my butt?”

Anyway, whether you thought it or not, he made it; and here it is:

And the comments section fills up with absurdity in 5…4…3…2…

Kieran Duncan’s “Papercraft” Hobbit Short Is Quite Beautiful.

Image courtesy of Kieran Duncan.

Image courtesy of Kieran Duncan.

Kieran Duncan’s animated short “Concerning Dragons” is not only beautiful but the papercraft style used in it leaves the viewer desperately wanting to see further Tolkien history (though the Dragons coming from eagles is solely an idea from the film makers) presented in such a fashion.

Kieran directed this for an animation class project which is why it is merely 30 seconds long but looking at the comments on the Vimeo page it seems that there are more than a few people that would like to also see another short in the future. Maybe Peter Jackson can have a hand in that?

A big thanks to Lauren Davis from io9 for the heads up on the short!