the category of "Pop Culture"
Tomorrow, October 6, is the first-ever Star Wars Reads Day! In honor of this—a day for fans, both new and old, to come together to celebrate reading and Star Wars—a few of my ABRAMS colleagues and authors wanted to share their Star Wars memories and pictures. Please excuse us while our true, nerdy colors are showing . . .
Assistant editor Wesley Royce recalls the love she poured into the making of our new book The World of the Smurfs–and tells us what it’s like to see the little blue guys in CGI on the big screen.
When the proposal for The World of Smurfs first crossed my desk last September, I immediately leapt at the opportunity to publish the book. I was a huge fan of the cartoon series as a young kid, and even counted myself as a Smurf figurine collector. A year later, I am so pleased with the final product and must say this has been one of my favorite projects to have worked on. It was a mighty joint effort to say the least but between Lafig, the Belgian company who owned the rights. Smurfs creator Peyo’s family, Sony and Columbia Pictures, and of course Abrams, the whole project came together flawlessly. I’d like to think we published a book that everyone was proud of and any Smurf fan would be happy to have…
As we near the pinnacle (nay, end) of NYC’s Smurfweek festivities (which celebrate tomorrow’s opening of The Smurfs), I turned to our resident Smurfologist Matt Murray, the author of the just-released The World of Smurfs. The World of Smurfs is an exhaustive compendium of all things smurfy. Much of the content has never before been published in English. There are fascinating sidebars on the Nazi occupation of Belgium, the origin of the word “schtroumpf”/smurf, and the voice behind Jokey, to name a few. Murray takes fans through the creation of the Smurfs, from the early days of their creator, Peyo, as a struggling cartoon artist, to the global phenomenon they became, and finally to the recent Smurf resurgence. For this piece, I polled my Abrams colleagues to find out what they’d always wondered about the Smurfs. Below are Murray’s answers; memorize these and you might be able to pass yourself off as a Smurfologist!
Our Transformers Vault book has shot out of the gate with fantastic reviews and great sales. It’s one of my favorite Abrams books this season, so of course I had to run right out and see the film as soon as it opened. I decided to check it out at the AMC “Fork n Film” movie theater in West Orange, NJ, close to where I live. Aside from the fact that I couldn’t see the chicken fingers that were right in front of me (it was so dark, my three dipping sauces needed to be sent to the lab before I could start eating), I loved being able to eat dinner and drink wine while watching Shia LaBeouf court his sassy new British girlfriend and fight the Decepticons. While I was not a fan of the running time (note: two glasses of wine at the beginning of a 2 hour and 37 minute movie is NOT a good idea), the kids sitting around me had the time of their lives, and they were excitedly recapping the film the entire way out the door.
Even though I’ve covered American Idol since season 1 – for no less than seven different entertainment news outlets including Us Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly and now The Hollywood Reporter – I’ve never actually done the math and figured out how much time I’ve spent watching, thinking, writing, analyzing or criticizing the show. But I’d venture to guess that I long ago reached Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers benchmark of 10,000 hours. That’s the amount of time you need to devote to a subject or craft in order to be a true expert in that field. It’s the number of hours the Beatles put in while playing multiple sets daily in Hamburg during their formative early years and it no doubt covers the nine years I’ve spent pondering the likes of Simon, Paula, Randy, Ryan and the 100-plus contestants to take a stab at the Idol crown.
It’s not routine for me to commission custom photography for the books I design, but it’s not unheard of. I love to work with a photographer when I can, as it always enriches the project, and adds something very noticeable, and often essential to the finished product. And when I do work with a photographer on a book project, the first person I think of is Geoff Spear. He’s done amazing work for many other books I’ve done, such as Dread and Superficiality, Wacky Packages, and was the co-author and photographer on our book on Captain Marvel Shazam! Geoff co-authored that book with designer Chip Kidd, who he has collaborated on many many projects with, and their long history of working together is how I came to know him and work with him myself, since Abrams has published several books that the two of them created.