The second of our special, slightly expanded gift-giving editions of Culture Jamming. This week: books
The Bionic Book Reconstructed
Everything you ever wanted to know about The Six Million Dollar Man and its distaff spinoff The Bionic Woman is in this fact- and trivia-stuffed book by super-fan Herbie J. Pilato. There’s a detailed episode guide, interviews with stars Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner, and a critical assessment of the 1970s shows’ cultural, historical, and scientific significance. Plus, Bigfoot!
Government Issue: Comics for the People, 1940s-2000s
This terrific book takes a look at many of the public-service comic books the government published over 60-plus years. Captain America, the Teen Titans, and Smokey the Bear all show up to talk about sex, the environment, and drugs. Many of these old, forgotten comics come off as campy period pieces, but writer Richard L. Graham puts it all in perspective — even the nuke-fearing turtle.
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution
Like many music fans of their generation, Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum remember when MTV not only played videos but shaped how people listened to, and watched, music. This captivating oral history of the network’s first decade or so rounds up all the pivotal players from back in the day, including the original VJs and artists who owe their entire careers to MTV.
Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny
(Spiegel & Grau)
Nile Rodgers – the brains behind disco hitmakers Chic, the man who produced David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, and one of the funkiest guys alive – chronicles his asthmatic childhood to partying at Studio 54 to sobering up after decades of abuse. It’s a funny and fascinating story, including cameos by everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Michael Jackson to Keith Richards.
Rock and Roll Always Forgets: A Quarter Century of Music Criticism
Unlike so many other rock critics, Chuck Eddy never followed the usual music-snob route. He gave Debbie Gibson and Poison their only positive reviews back when even casual music fans hated them. This career-spanning retrospective gathers reviews, profiles, and interviews that span genres – from AC/DC to Beastie Boys to the Flaming Lips to Eminem.
Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic Legacy Series Book 1
The video-game favorite has had a pretty eventful second life as the star of his own comic books since the early ’90s. This hefty volume gathers the first 20 issues of the original comics series. Lots of familiar faces from the games show up to mess with Sega’s longtime mascot. And the stories are way better than you’d think for a character who spends most of his time outrunning enemies.
Triumph of the Walking Dead
We are so sick of zombies right about now … except for the ones on The Walking Dead. It’s a great comic series, it’s a great TV show, and, according to this book of essays, it’s a way of life. More than a dozen writers chime in on the series’ influence on pop culture over the past couple of years, exploring everything from heroic characters to post-apocalyptic storytelling.