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Beanworld Book 1: Wahoolazuma! (Larry Marder's Beanworld) Hardcover – February 24, 2009

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  • Beanworld Book 1: Wahoolazuma! (Larry Marder's Beanworld)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wahoolazuma! gathers the first nine issues of Larry Marder's Beanworld comic, first published in the 1980s. Scanned from the original artwork, the engaging, clear black and white illustrations bring to life a universe populated by beanlike characters, their adversaries the Hoi-Polloi Ring Herd and a variety of other creatures. The society evolves over the course the book, with the beans learning about art, creating new music and inventing useful tools. Their world starts out in perfect balance, with everyone performing their assigned role and depending on others to do the same, but a variety of developments creates crises from which the inhabitants must struggle to recover. The text is at times repetitive and didactic; the first chapter, in which readers need to learn the rules and characters of Beanworld can be tough going. Those who press on and immerse themselves in Marder's creation will be rewarded with a charming tale. Its themes of environmental conservation, mutual dependency, faith and sacrifice will resonate with readers of all ages facing the challenges of the 21st century, despite being written over two decades ago. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

An early offering of the burgeoning indie-comics market of the ’80s, the fun and bizarre Beanworld returns after 20 years. A clear spiritual, visual, and linguistic descendant of the classic comic Krazy Kat, Beanworld is also an unlikely ancestor of Jeff Smith’s perennial favorite, Bone, with a similarly expansive world, eclectic range of fantasy races, and charming protagonist. The tales collected here follow Mr. Spook and a cast of peculiar characters on adventures through their surreal “four layers of reality” as they hunt for chow and come up against the machinations of the Mossy Mammoth (a thinly veiled jab at the Jolly Green Giant, whose corporate lawyers must have been dozing through the ’80s). Far ahead of the curve back in the day, the theme of symbiotic ecology has even more relevance to current environmentalism and politics now than it did then. Though the simple black-and-white art remains surprisingly fresh, the panel and word density makes for a somewhat slow and involved read, which will likely lead to a smaller but very committed audience. Grades 8-12. --Jesse Karp

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Product Details

  • Series: Larry Marder's Beanworld
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books; 1 edition (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595822402
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595822406
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,173,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Larry Marder is a firm believer in Marcel Duchamp's observation that it is the viewer that makes the picture. Shortly after his difficult birth, his mother took one look at his lopsided head and exclaimed, "Why does he look like a bean!" So is it any wonder he's devoted his creative life to exploring the relationships and adventures that make up Larry Marder's Beanworld?

Marder was born in Chicago in 1951 and grew up in Highland Park, Illinois. He spent the first third of his life pursuing art. His interests in comic books and Native American mythology started at an early age. He was educated at Hartford Art School where he became engrossed in conceptual art and underground comix. It was in this period that his iconic Bean shaped characters were first developed. Marder earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1973.

After college, Marder went to work as an advertising executive in Chicago by day, and by night created the most peculiar comic book experience Tales of the Beanworld, first released in 1985 by Eclipse Comics. 21 issues were published until 1993. It was in that year that Marder went off to "join the comic book circus" full time, as the Executive Director of Image Comics and later President of McFarlane Toys. What he intended as a short sabbatical from Beanworld, ended up stretching into fifteen years.

To the delight of his fans all over the world, Marder left the business world and returned to making Beanworld full time in 2007.

Marder lives in Orange County, California, with his wife, Cory, and their two cats, Olive and Chipper

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stefan Jones on May 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
Way odd . . . a comic book (this is acutally the first of several collections of the Beanworld comic) about a very peculiar imaginary universe populated by an assortment of odd creatures (including the Beans -- our protagonists -- and the Hoi-Polloi). They're all tied together in an initially baffling spiritual (for lack of a better word) and biological ecosystem.
I am NOT a comic book fan in the traditional sense. Don't care for superheroes, don't think most graphic novels (especially those based on prose books) are worth a damn. But oddities like Beanworld give me a lot of pleasure.
Minor nit: These are pricy collections. Not a lot of pages for the buck. Read them a bit at a time to stretch out the enjoyment.
Stefan Jones
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tom on May 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Beanworld is strange and different and odd and exceptional. It encompasses mythology, ecology, psychology, and social commentary, all in a cute cartoon format. It is entirely its own in a way that can never be duplicated. It is deep in ways that cannot be guessed from the simple art.

Beanworld means a lot to me. We did a reading from the book at my wedding. I've started reading them to my son, now seven. He loves them. He even saw Mr. Marder at Comicon and drew a Bean invention for him, which was great fun for them both. Give it a try - it's worth it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert D. Kidd, Jr. on August 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Beanworld" is a wonderful example of how a graphic novel can express so many different levels and themes through a unique medium. At first glance this might just seem to be a little funny book about beans but Larry Marder has created a world that tells a story that touches on many universal themes. The art is very basic but compelling nonetheless. The characters have a tremendous depth that is slowly revealed as the stories unfold and the themes are just as relevant today as when Marder first produced this work. This is an all ages book that can speak to children as well as adults and should even appeal to those who would never even read a comic book. Compared favorably to "The Watchmen" and "The Dark Knight" returns it is a graphic novel that stretches the boundaries of traditional sensibilities about comics and sequential art. No superheroes (kinda) in costumes but a very valuable work. Once you read the first volume, you will want all the rest.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By GMZoe on March 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Beanworld is unique, and as such is hard to properly describe. It is a world with a balanced cycle of life. A tree provides raw food which a tribe of beans take to a race of gamblers who possess 'chow'. The beans need chow for nutrients but the gamblers use it as money. The beans steal chow from the gamblers, but leave the raw food in exchange - which the gamblers than process into chow. Things happen that affect this cycle and the world reacts. That's the dry description. What Beanworld actually is is the only comic that is guaranteed to leave me happy and joyous after reading it no matter how many times I've read it before.

I tried writing an explanation of the cycle, but it's complex enough in its simplicity and has enough unique jargon to make a second-hand telling of it burdensome. If I had said that the Hoi Polloi ring the talking sprout-butt and woo it until it explodes while at the same time healing their fork and spear wounds from the chow sol'jer army, not only would it seem impossible to understand to someone who hadn't read it, it would suggest an impenetrability of a subject full of strange terms and situations. However, on the page, the art makes everything perfectly clear with a minimum of words or explanation. The first few pages move you through the daily cycle succinctly and clearly.

The art in the book is just like the art on the cover: A two-dimensionally drawn world bursting with joy. Larry Marder has managed to create such a welcoming world that a story about cleaning goo off of the bottom of the pool makes me happy. That is where the title of the book comes from: Wahoolazuma! What an expression for joy!

For those familiar with Beanworld already, this volume collects the first nine issues of the series, including the two-part Proffy back-up story. A second volume will finish collecting the original tales and shortly thereafter, new stories will be printed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carmody on December 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was one of my books, and my then-four-now-five year old got her hands on it and asked me to read it to her. I said, "no" because the first chapter (and ONLY the first chapter) has a kind of dark and scary part. But she was enchanted by the pictures, and I really did want to share it with her. So I warned her that the first chapter is a little scary, and we read the whole thing. Then the second book. When the third came out, we were both very excited. (I skipped one part of the second book that was tangential to the main story, and a little scary)

Since then, she does things like point out swirls in her cinnamon toast that look like the Hoi-Polloi, and she likes to play Heyoka with me. (Heyoka is not in the first book) The thing is, the book captured my imagination, too. And now that we've gone through it several times, I'm picking up little things I missed before. I lent it to a friend, and it did not grab him, but his tres-cool son asked me through him if I had the second book, and then the third.

Like all things of quality, it does get a bit over-hyped, and I don't want you to be disappointed. This book is not the Second Coming. But it is a very good story, where words and pictures dance beautifully together, and it is different than any other book I've read.
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