Monthly Archives: February 2014

Look What’s in the Warner Library!

Warner Library serves Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. Visit your public library soon and see what they have of interest.

(2014-01-26 005)Title: The Law of Superheroes

Authors: James E. Daily and Ryan M. Davidson

Publication Information: New York, N.Y.: Gotham Books, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59240-726-2

Library of Congress Classification: PN6790.U5

Dewey Decimal Classification: 741.5

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Superheroes in literature
Law and literature—United States
Law—United States—Popular works

Actually, this book is not in the Warner Library but is from the Larchmont Public Library. I got this book through the Warner Library. The Warner Library, like most public libraries in Westchester County, is part of the Westchester Library System (WLS), an organization that links all the libraries together with one online catalog. This catalog allows the borrowing of materials across libraries. In this case, Larchmont was the only WLS member that had this book.

This book comes from a blog, Law and the Multiverse. I’ve never heard of the blog before this, and I learned about the book from Hamilton Book, an online bookstore that sells remainders of titles. I was intrigued and decided to see what the book was like before I bought it. I was pleasantly surprised.

Generally, law can be very dull, especially case law–at least to me. I’ve never had any interest in being a lawyer, and I’ve only really encountered court cases and legal decisions during research into different topics. Some of my research into court cases are in ancient Athens or Rome. What Daily and Davidson do is take stories out of the comic books and discuss, from a legal perspective, if what is portrayed in the story follows the law. The chapters cover: constitutional law; criminal law, evidence; criminal procedure; tort law and insurance; contracts; business law; administrative law; intellectual property; travel and immigration; international law; immortality, alter egos, and resurrection; and non-human intelligences. They draw on both Marvel and DC superheroes.

They discuss quite a few characters and stories. Is the Joker insane or not? (Conclusion: he isn’t.) The use Marvel’s Civil War event to discuss international law is interesting. With Wakanda’s king, T’Challa/Black Panther marrying Ororo Munroe/Storm and by his taking the side of anti-Registration of mutants forces in the United States would be the same as if Great Britain had taken the side of the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War. (It would be an act of war against the sovereignty of the U.S.) Ben Grimm registers then moves to France so that he can not be used by the U.S. government; would this be possible? (Yes, and because he registered before he moved to France, Grimm did not break the law.)

Would gene patents affect Spider-Man? Superman’s talk about renouncing U.S. citizenship in Action Comics  #900 is also an interesting high point. Would the law protect Wayne Enterprises from liability after Batman sets up franchises? Answer: no, but Iron Man’s franchises and funding through the Maria Stark Foundation would protect Stark Industries from liability.

If you like comic books and like to think about the plot lines and whether or not they make sense, this book is for you. It’s just a fun–and interesting–book.

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Stephen D. Rogers, A Dictionary of Made-Up Languages

Rogers-Dictionary of Made Up Languages  (2013-09-01 021)Title: A Dictionary of Made-Up Languages: from Adunaic to Elvish, Zaum to Klingon: the Anwa (Real) Origins of Invented Lexicons

Author: Stephen D. Rogers

Publication Information: Avon, Mass.: Adams Media, c2011

ISBN: 1-4405-2817-9 (978-4405-2817-0)

Library of Congress Classification: P120.I53

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Imaginary languages—Dictionaries
Artificial languages—Dictionaries

This book is just what it says it is: a dictionary of made-up languages. What this means is that there are dictionary entries in alphabetical order (usually a page, sometimes more) of made-up and artificial languages. Each entry has some or all of the following information: spoken by; documented by; behind the words (the background culture of the people/place the language is used); characteristics of the language; a taste of the language; numbering system; philological facts; if you’re interested in learning the language; for more information (usually a reference to the books mentioned in behind the words, web pages or to look at the general bibliography in the back of the book). There are two additional sections at the end called “Construct Your Own Language” and “Language Games.” The book has a one-page bibliography, an appendix of “Works, Languages Creators, and the Languages Associated with Them,” a glossary and an index.

I bought this book at the same time I bought Mark Rosenfeld’s The Planet Construction Kit and The Language Construction Kit. For someone who had NO idea any of these languages existed (more than in just a passing reference), this was an eye-opening book. I only knew Klingon as an artificially-created language since I’ve always been a Star Trek fan. Of course I knew of the languages created by J.R.R. Tolkien for his Lord of the Rings trilogy, having read all the books years ago. There’s entries for: Newspeak from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four; Land of the Lost, the 1970s television series that I loved, has an entry for Pakuni, which was created by linguist Victoria Fromkin for the Pa’ku, the primitive humanoids that inhabited the land, Ch’ka being the most prominent member; Harry Potter‘s Parseltongue and Gobbledegook; Earth: Final Conflict‘s Eunoia, spoken by the Taelons; besides Klingon, Star Trek‘s Vulcan and Rihannsu, the language of the Romulans (based on Old Vulcan); Gulliver’s Travels‘ Houyhnhnm (the civilized horses); Stargate‘s Goa’uld; Ursula K. LeGuin’s Kesh, and so many more.

There’s also artificial languages created like Esperanto, which was created to be an international language. One critic on Amazon.com wondered why Tsolyani, created by Professor M.A.R. Barker for the role-playing game Empire of the Petal Throne and Novial, an artificial language created by linguist Otto Jespersen, weren’t included. Frankly, I think this is a great beginning in trying to document as many imaginary and artificial languages that exist. Second (and future) editions could only add these and other languages to the dictionary.

This is an excellent reference. I hope to see it updated in the future.

Look What’s in the Warner Library!

Warner Library serves Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. Visit your public library soon and see what they have of interest.

Title: Moon Crest 24: New Friends [volume 1]; Old Friends [volume 2]

Author: Story and art by Derek Calixto

Publication Information: Self-published by Derek Calixto, 2008-2010

ISBN: 978-0-9832000-0-0 (volume 1); 978-0-9832000-1-7 (volume 2)

Library of Congress Classification: PN6790.U5

Dewey Decimal Classification: 741

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Vampires—Comic books, strips, etc.
College students—Comic books, strips, etc.
Demonology—Comic books, strips, etc.

This is definitely manga.

The art is definitely Japanese-style. The first exposure to manga I had was with Star Blazers, the 1970s television series about the Battleship Yamato being resurrected and sent into space to “save the human race.” I suppose it is more accurate to call Star Blazers anime rather than manga, but the style of art is the same.

In these manga books, Derek Calixto has created an Earth where thousands of years ago demons lived and roamed. They were defeated and driven into the netherworld. Now they want Earth back, and the only ones who oppose them are the vampires, specifically Drake von Greyssen and Daniel. These vampires were killed fighting the demon Zander 2000 lunar cycles ago. They aren’t exactly dead but they aren’t alive, either. The “spirits” of the vampires are attached to two humans, Dwayne and Derek. Whereas Dwayne can communicate with Daniel, Drake has no idea that he is now part of Derek, and vice-versa. Drake simply emerges, and then Derek regains consciousness and Drake disappears. It’s not until volume 2 that the two vampires meet up again and Daniel discovers that Drake is attached to Derek. Daniel then has Dwayne keep an eye on him.

Derek is living with three college women in their apartment. Lucy, Raquel and Dory, who spend their free time hanging out Friday nights in the cemetery, eating pizza and trying to communicate with spirits. This is how they meet Derek, who ends up being taken in by them. Though Lucy already has a boyfriend (a complex relationship), she is nonetheless attracted to Derek. Dwayne attempts to infiltrate the women’s apartment (he wants to live there) when Derek suddenly runs off. The demons, in the meantime, are continuing to cross over to Earth to destroy humanity and take over the planet again. Calixto hasn’t followed the cliff hanger in volume 2 with a third volume as yet.

If you like manga, take a look at these two volumes.