MFA Visual Narrative Department Chair Nathan Fox shares his diverse and wide-ranging summer reading list, from books on the art of visual storytelling to ultra-violent manga and beyond.
The Art of Immersion by Frank Rose (W. W. Norton & Company): The cover alone pulled me into this book. I’ve been a fan of video games, advertising, films and commercials from the time I was a little kid to the present, and this book dives into the evolution of storytelling from Hollywood to Advertising, how the digital generation and new technology is redefining the way in which we experience narratives, and inevitably how we as a culture are redefining how we tell our own stories through rich and immersive media.
On Directing Film by David Mamet (Penguin Books): A great companion for any visual storyteller—editing, pace, beat and boiling it all down to the core of a story. Mamet’s reflections on film and the process of constructing a solid narrative from the ground up is a must have.
Damned (Vintage) and Fight Club (W. W. Norton) by Chuck Palahniuk: A fan of Palahniuk’s twisted and subversive works of humanity and folly since I first came across Survivor and Choke, I am finally getting caught up on Damned and looking forward to finally sitting down with Fight Club. Even though I enjoyed the film, I hear, like most great works of fiction, the book is still better than the movie ever could be. (Please don’t think less of me Mr. Fincher…)
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (Spectra): I have few words to describe this book other than an AMAZING and kinetic read. I have never been a true sci-fi fiction fan, but this book may very well change all of that.
Creepy Presents: Richard Corben by various authors (Dark Horse): Corben is arguably one of the most influential and legendary horror comic book artists in the US. The volume is a collection of his Creepy and Eerie shorts as well as covers and illustrations—the master storyteller at his best and scariest!
(Anxiously awaiting) Blade of the Immortal #26 by Hiroaki Samura (Kodansha: Afternoon KC): Samurai, blood worms, an immortal killer of a thousand, a young girl’s search for revenge, crazy-ass weapons, human immortality test subjects, sex and violence. Aside from the guilty pleasure as an adventure book, this series contains some of the most innovative world building, storytelling and sequential narrative work in manga today—Mr. Samura continues to capture the beauty in violence. If you are looking for an immersive and epic read you have just found it. Twenty six volumes and counting.