To Pixar and Beyond Review

The fiscal side of the rise of Pixar. Review copy provided by publisher.

To Pixar and Beyond, written by former Pixar CFO Lawrence Levy, is an essential look into the business of Pixar. However, the world of IPOs & finance provides a drier reading experience as learning the craft of artistry as more animation-centric Pixar history books are.

Levy details his tenure at Pixar when it went from a quaint animation company with an uncertain future to a pop culture powerhouse that became an official part of the Disney empire. While financial jargon isn’t exciting, Levy explains and relates terms well as he understands his story will reach non-CPAs, too.

Levy, who was such a friend to Pixar owner Steve Jobs that he could enter the Apple co-founder’s home through the back door, paints a pleasant picture of the man. Jobs is firm, but accepting of input. The climactic moment of Pixar’s initial public offering, where Steve Jobs moves from the 2-3% to the 1% in the wake of Toy Story’s massive success, feels vaguely hollow. The Pixar IPO is a notable success story for “comeback kid” Steve Jobs, but the feeling of jubilation seems like it’s for a wealthy man who sought Silicon Valley cred. To be fair, Levy gives props due to the many creative talents.

I like To Pixar and Beyond for its accessibility, but its receptive audience is limited.

**** out of *****

Read an excerpt of To Pixar and Beyond by Lawrence Levy.

Mickey's Inferno Review

Papercutz’s latest Disney Great Parody isn’t worth a roasting. Review copy provided by Papercutz.

“Mickey Mouse goes to hell” seems like the premise of an underground cartoon, but it’s the basis of a genuine Disney product. Mickey’s Inferno, part of Papercutz-published Disney Great Parodies series, was originally made by Italians Guido Martina (original writer) and Angelo Bioletti (artist). Inferno’s first appearance in the U.S. was in abridged form in Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories #666 (heh, heh), but this Papercutz version is the complete comic with a newly adapted script by Stefan Petrucha.

Mickey, having finished performing as Dante with Goofy as Dante’s guide, Virgil, is hypnotized to believe he’s really Dante by Morty the Mesmerist with instigation from Peg Leg Pete. While Mickey and Goofy are studying Inferno at the library, Mickey is transported into the book and gets to reenact the cantos of Inferno “for real.” It’s up to Mickey-as-Dante and Goofy-as-Virgil to use their wits (Virgil is supposed to have wits…) to survive and escape.

The results of the creators’ efforts making Mickey’s Inferno is… cute. Not literally cute as Disneyfied Hell is recognizably a realm of eternal torment. The terza rima rhyming narration is faithful to Dante, but I didn’t really get into it. I also had a hard time telling who’s doing the narrating at times. That said, I enjoyed Donald Duck’s role in Mickey’s journey. Bioletti’s artwork is fine allowing just enough visual whimsy to not make the story too grim. Mickey’s Inferno is an amusing curiosity, but understanding Dante’s Divine Comedy is needed.

*** out of *****