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Crisis In Comic Book Land? Comparing new and old 'Justice League' tells the tale

And so, the biggest reboot in comic book history has commenced. Last week, DC Comics released Justice League #1, a new version of its venerable super-hero team, set within a revised version of its creative universe. (You can read Ken Tucker’s review here.) Over the next month, the publisher will roll out 51 new and revamped series as part of the company’s (latest) effort to rejuvenate sales of the industry’s staple, stapled product, the monthly periodical. (At the same time, DC Comics is also making a major investment in digital distribution.) The first Justice League title made its debut in the fall of 1960 following a wildly successful beta test in the pages of Brave & The Bold. Back then, the book (and the team) was called Justice League of America and sported a red, white and blue logo festooned with stars. The new Justice League logo is more humble. Neutral blue and white, nothing fancy and nothing symbolic. That’s just one of several notable differences between then and now that tell the tale of how super-hero comics and its attending subculture have (and haven’t) evolved.


Borders: Goodbye to all that. What are some of your Borders memories?

Today is a big deadline for Borders — bids for its smaller stores are due, and Books-a-Million, of all places, has offered to snatch up a number of locations. Borders is a big corporation that in many ways got itself into its own mess, so it should be hard to muster much sympathy. To use an analogy from You’ve Got Mail, it has way more in common with Tom Hanks’ evil megachain Fox Books than Meg Ryan’s quaint, scrappy Shop around the Corner. Borders matched Starbucks in terms of cool, corporate calculation, with its ubiquitous burgundy signage, arctic indoor temperatures, less than ample (or comfortable) seating, and ambient Norah Jones tunes on endless loop.

So why do I feel like I’m losing a friend? READ FULL STORY

On the Books August 2: Stan Barstow passes away and Half Price Books lends a helping second-hand

++Stan Barstow, the British author known primarily for his tough, realistic portraits of post-war, middle-class life in England, died yesterday at the age of 83. The Guardian‘s obituary takes a look at Barstow’s life and works and his impact on British literature.

++It’s nice to see a little book store camaraderie. According to the L.A. Times blog, a company rep from Half Price Books posted a note on a site for the unfortunate, soon-to-be former Borders employees, welcoming them to work at their stores. “I wanted to let you know that Half Price Books would like to encourage Borders employees to apply at our stores,” the rep wrote. Doesn’t that just make you feel all bubbly inside?

++In other fledgling bookstore news, there is a rumor floating around of a potential Apple takeover of Barnes and Noble. According to an “unproven source,” the tech giant plans to buy the country’s biggest book retailer and incorporate its ebook market into Apple’s already established iBookstore. The purchase would do away with Barnes and Noble’s Nook e-reader and see the addition of Apple stores to the already standing Barnes and Noble locations.

See the trailer for 'The Power of Six,' the sequel to 'I Am Number Four' -- EXCLUSIVE

Last year, everyone was eager, eager, eager for I Am Number Four to become the NBT (short for Next Big Twilight). Not only was the first book in the alien-in-high-school series released with much fanfare, but it was adapted immediately into a film starring Alex Pettyfer and Dianna Agron. There’s no indication whether a Hollywood version is in the works for the sequel, The Power of Six, but the book is definitely set to hit stores on Aug. 23 and, like the first, it is written by Pittacus Lore, the nom d’espace of writer Jobie Hughes and Oprah hatchet-burier James Frey. Here’s the trailer: READ FULL STORY

'Pottermore' interface revealed: Just how much will this site be able to do?


J.K. Rowling announced details about her much buzzed-about website, Pottermore, this morning, and fangirls and fanboys-who-lived are already raving with excitement. Now, thanks to Harry Potter fansites The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet, excitement levels are rising even more.

Those sites have released the first few images of Pottermore’s interface, and they give a good idea of what the interactive user experience might be like. The above picture comes from MuggleNet and is entitled “Christmas at Hogwarts.” Obviously, it’s an illustration of the wizarding school during the holidays, which is fun in its own right, but it’s all the buttons that surround the image which really interest me.

There is a “Read About” tab, which will presumably provide some of Rowling’s unreleased notes about Christmastime at the school, a Hufflepuff badge and “house points” counter, and a “Friends” link, which will allow users to interact with their fellow witches and wizards. Along the top bar, there are buttons for “Diagon Alley,” “Great Hall,” “Gringotts,” “Common Room,” “Spells,” “Potions,” “Trunk,” “Friends” and “Favorites.”

Where will all these buttons lead? No idea. But they do show that Pottermore is seeking to be more than just a simple platform for releasing e-books or hosting an MMORPG. It looks like it is seeking to be a comprehensive web community for Potterheads that will allow users to insert themselves within the Hogwarts experience. Plus, it’s a pretty innovative way of releasing Rowling’s new insights on characters and plot points without publishing a whole new book, which haters would inevitably deem a sellout move.

You can check out more images from MuggleNet HERE or at The Leaky Cauldron HERE.

Chris Colfer of 'Glee' gets a book deal. Fans get your jazz hands ready.

Gleeks, rejoice! Glee star Chris Colfer has just signed a two-book deal with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. The first will be an adventure novel that draws elements from the very, very in-vogue world of classic fairy tales. The Land of Stories is set to hit stores in summer 2012, with the second as-of-yet untitled novel coming later. While these will be Colfer’s first foray as a novelist, he does have some experience as a writer, having recently penned the scripts for a Disney Channel pilot and the movie Struck by Lightning. According to Colfer, The Land of Stories has been percolating in his brain for quite a while. “When I was ten years old, I promised myself that if I ever had the opportunity to write this book, I would jump at the chance,” he says in the press release. “This book has been at the core of my imagination for a long time and I’m excited and nervous to share it.”

Exclusive: Hilary Duff novel 'Devoted' cover reveal


Hilary Duff is becoming quite the author. Joining the literary ranks of novelists like Lauren Conrad and Snooki, the former Disney Channel star, who already wrote last year’s bestselling YA novel Elixir, has penned a follow-up set to come out October 11. Titled Devoted, it continues the story of rich, famous, jet-setting Duff surrogate Clea Raymond as she uncovers mysterious, supernatural goings-on.

Check out the cover for Devoted to the left, which is about as blue as Elixir‘s was purple. What do you guys think? Any fans of Duff’s first book?

Exclusive: 'Thirteen Reasons Why' author to co-write a new YA novel


Jay Asher, who wrote the bestselling 2007 anti-bullying book Thirteen Reasons Why, is teaming up with author Carolyn Mackler to pen a new young adult novel titled The Future of Us, Penguin announced today. The book, about Josh and Emma, two close friends in 1996 who use AOL—such period accuracy!—and discover the Facebook pages of their future selves, is set to hit stores in November. From the plot description, it appears it will be lighter in tone than Asher’s suicide-themed Thirteen Reasons Why, which is currently being developed by Universal Studios as a film to star Selena Gomez.

Readers will be able get an early taste of The Future of Us this summer. An excerpt will be included in the paperback edition of Thirteen Reasons Why, which goes on sale June 14.

Cary Grant's daughter addresses rumors about her father's sexuality in memoir

Cary Grant earned the title of film icon through a legacy of classic movies, his imitable but not duplicable mid-Atlantic accent, pratfalls honed from years in vaudeville, and the best comedic double take in the business. And like most film icons, he’s been the focus of a variety of posthumous rumors, the most persistent being that the five-time husband was gay. Other Hollywood stars like Montgomery Clift and Rock Hudson hid their sexuality from the movie-going public, so the idea that Grant too had a secret life isn’t without precedent. READ FULL STORY

Steven Tyler's 'Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?': EW Review


It is a tad ironic that while CBS chased Charlie Sheen out of network town for his extracurricular shenanigans, Fox hired Steven Tyler as an American Idol judge in large part because of his bad-boy rep. Moreover, as this anecdote-packed memoir from the Aerosmith frontman reveals, not all of Tyler’s debaucherous days are distant memories.

Aerosmith’s 1997 autobiography Walk This Way ends with the once notoriously party-happy band transformed into poster boys for sobriety. This book concludes with Tyler securing the Idol gig last year, but the singer recalls how, less than 12 months before, he accidentally ruptured a package of his cocaine in the New York apartment of his (absent) daughter Liv. Drug addicts of a waste-not-want-not disposition — which is to say, all drug addicts — will be glad to know that Tyler “snorted it all up, off the counters and everywhere, and got a nice f—ing rail out of it.”

No, this book is most definitely not for young American Idol fans, and we haven’t even detailed Tyler’s many explicit ruminations on the subject of sex. Nor shall we. Suffice it to say, if young Idol fans did get hold of a copy, they might well deduce that the singer is a huge lover of cats, preferably shaved ones.

Even older readers may be left occasionally confused by Tyler’s shaky grasp of his own history. The singer says he snorted acid at Woodstock, and then wonders in the next sentence, “Can you snort acid?” He also opens the book with the claim that he was raised by foxes (and not of the metaphorical variety). Indeed, Tyler really does seem to have succeeded in mainlining the noisome contents of his noggin directly onto the page (with assistance from co-writer David Dalton). At one point the singer expresses his preference for a “f—ed–up” voice with a “ton of character.” While that may or may not prove useful to American Idol contestants, it is certainly a fair description of the authorial tone to be found here. B+

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Steven Tyler talks drug use with Matt Lauer: ‘I needed that cocaine’

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