By Bob Raczka
Action Figures author
The top ten things you may not know about Action Figures: Paintings of Fun, Daring and Adventure, straight from the author’s mouth:
10. This is the thirteenth book in my ongoing series, Bob Raczka’s Art Adventures, which is amazing to me. As you might guess, I do not consider the number thirteen to be unlucky.
9. The superhero on the title page with the “B” on his chest is supposed to be me, although I don’t really look that old and shaggy. However, the muscle-bound body is accurate.8. My favorite painting in the book is Watson and the Shark, by John Singleton Copley. It’s based on the true story of a boy who was attacked by a shark and survived. How cool is that?
7. This book was inspired by something Adam Lerner said to me in his office a couple of years ago: “Books for boys seem to be big right now. Could you do an art book that appeals to boys?”
6. My first thought was, “An art book for boys needs to be full of action.” So I started gathering as many action-packed paintings as I could find. Being a boy myself, this was a lot of fun.
5. Once I had a pile of action-packed paintings to work with, the idea for the title just popped into my head—“Action Figures!” What boy wouldn’t be interested in a title like that?
4. Once I had the title, with its comic book and superhero connotations, I knew that Roy Lichtenstein’s painting, Blam, would be perfect for the cover. Luckily, Zach [art director] and Carol [editor] agreed.3. I wanted to keep the text short, so readers would concentrate on the art, but rhythmic, to keep readers moving forward. So I decided to pair up the paintings and write rhyming couplets.
2. Pairing up the paintings in ways that allowed me to write rhymes was a challenge, but also a blast. My favorite rhyming couplet in the book? “High-rise erectors. Jet plane ejectors.”1. While this book does have lots of “boy appeal”, I think girls will enjoy it too. In fact, I just may have to write an Action Figures sequel that features women and girls in action.