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The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade: The 11 1/2 Anniversary Edition Hardcover – February 23, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

JERRY HOLKINS is the writer of the webcomic Penny Arcade. Holkins also writes the majority of the news posts or rants that accompany each comic. His other exploits include being a lead singer/guitarist in a band called The Fine Print, whose works are freely available over the internet. In the webcomic, his alter ego is known as Tycho Brahe. Holkins lives in the Seattle, Washington area.

 

MIKE KRAHULIK is the artist for the webcomic Penny Arcade. Krahulik credits cartoonist Stephen Silver as a major influence on his drawing style, which has continued to evolve since he began drawing Penny Arcade in 1998. He also provided the illustrations for the cover of the book Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi, and artwork for the Daily Victim, a regular feature that used to run on GameSpy.com. In the webcomic, his alter ego is Jonathan Gabriel, or simply Gabe. Krahulik lives in the Seattle, Washington area.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (February 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034551226X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345512260
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.7 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,450,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Benjamin E. Burnes on February 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'll admit right now that I'm a huge fan of Penny Arcade and pretty much all of their endeavors.

At first, I thought this book was a collection of Mike and Jerry's favorite strips, which disappointed me a little since they are continuing to release their yearly volumes. However, upon reading most of it, I was pleasantly surprised to find it is more a chronicling of how Penny Arcade came to be the monolith it is now, which I find far more fascinating. The writing can be a little self-congratulatory at times, but they also point out on many occasions that simple dumb luck played a huge part of their success. I feel that they are just as bewildered as to how they got where they are as everyone else.

If you enjoy Penny Arcade and are wondering the struggles their entire crew has endured getting where they are, I highly recommend this book. If you're just looking for laughs, you'll find quite a few here, but probably not as many as you'd expect, but that shouldn't be a reason to deter you from making the purchase.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm probably one of the rare few geeks on the internet that doesn't regularly follow Penny Arcade. I tried, briefly, in college (didn't we all?), but, even then, I was already behind on my video game references.

Still, regular reader or not, it is impossible to avoid the influence of Jerry and Mike (or Tycho and Gabe).

Over and above a website read by 3.5 million people a day, they've created one of the premiere gaming conventions (PAX) and even inspired a video game. They're always at the front line of geeky causes - from founding a charity (Child's Play) to battling Crazy Jack Thompson. Read 'em or not, the pair are unavoidable.

The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade recounts their 11.5 year journey from launch to now.

The content is scattershot: amusing anecdotes of legal battles and behind-the-scenes looks at PAX are combined with photos of the office and interminable Q&A's. The highlight is a thirty-page collection of vintage strips, each paired with quick insights from the creative team. Especially as an unfamiliar reader, that's where the book came to life. I suspect that devoted fanatics would happily spend $24 RRP for a hardcover collection of photographs of fan-donated plush toys, but I wanted a bit more meat.

The real splendid magic of Penny Arcade was in the tone of voice. It is impossible to do a retrospective like this without sinking into self-praising prose and back-patting, but Mike and Jerry were as open with their mistakes as they were their successes. And, more charmingly, they largely credit their mistakes to ignorance and their successes to luck. The pair come across as really good guys - enjoying the good fortune of their miraculous livelihoods and trying their best to spread the fun when and where they can.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been reading the Penny Arcade comic for about 7 years now. It was very exciting when I first heard that they were going to be offering a publication of their series. I have purchased every book since then, and will buy every book in the future as well.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading the stories and the insights of what these guys have gone through, and to even understand what they were thinking coming up with these things is remarkable. Big words and simple pictures make their worlds go round.
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Format: Hardcover
Are you a big fan of Penny Arcade? Do you want to know how they got to where they are now (well really its now a few years outdated but you get the point), but don't feel like delving into every single post or Q&A session they have ever done? Then this is the book for you.

It is incredibly interesting to read their origin story and see how one of the largest voices in video gaming came to be. They mention some of their more obscure failures. They mention what they liked and didn't like. They even mention some of their blind luck. While it may not go into as much detail as what is out there on the internet (I mean come on, its now been almost 20 years. There's a lot out there), I found it to be a very succinct narrative of their salad days.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great book for everyone who loves Penny Aracade, not just for the great comic but for everything that Penny Arcade stands for. Contains several of the authors favourite comic strips as well as the story behind the comic, PAX, Childs Play and more. A must have for any serious fan!
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Format: Hardcover
Approximately 11 ½ years ago, two four-eyed nerds decided to start a web-comic about video games. They met in high school, in journalism class: Jerry Holkins had a penchant for putting words together, while Mike Krahulik liked to doodle. They found common ground in their nerdage and enjoyment of video games. After a couple of comic book attempts, they settled on a web-comic involving two guys talking, bitching, ridiculing, and loving video games, video game systems, and the whole world of video gaming. What began as something fun eventually turned into a voice for the fan to fight back again a terrible game or badly created system. Over a decade later, Penny Arcade is now one of the most popular and longest running comics on the Internet.

When asked why they didn't do a 10th anniversary book like everyone else, their excuse was they simply didn't have time, because Jerry and Mike are very busy guys. In addition to churning out a webcomic three times a week - as well as copious blog entries - there is Child's Play: a children's charity that donates video games, video game systems, and toys to hospitals; started in 2003, it has gone on to generate millions of dollars in toy donations for hospitals worldwide. Then there's PAX, the Penny Arcade Expo, which began as an intended small gaming convention in Seattle, and brought in over three thousand people the first year. It has since gone on to become one of the largest conventions in the county, and in 2010 for the first time there will be a PAX East taking place in Boston. And then there is the Penny Arcade podcast, as well as PAX TV, showing you behind the scenes of Penny Arcade.
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