Land of the Dead: Lessons from the Underworld on Storytelling and Living (Hardcover)

Land of the Dead: Lessons from the Underworld on Storytelling and Living By Brian McDonald, Toby Cypress (Illustrator) Cover Image

Land of the Dead: Lessons from the Underworld on Storytelling and Living (Hardcover)

By Brian McDonald, Toby Cypress (Illustrator)


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From Brian McDonald, an expert on the narrative arts, comes a remarkable non-fiction graphic novel about the art of storytelling.

There is wisdom in the land of the dead, for it is the place that all stories lay to rest. And what is a story, if not a simulation of survival?
Wielding his massive experience from film, tv, comics, and more, Brian McDonald lays out a history of storytelling and shows the reader how the best tales tug at our truest biological instinct: the need to survive. Readers will see how different forms of survival—physical, emotional, spiritual—inform the arc of character development in a way that makes them more complex and compelling. And how plot and circumstance must then force your protagonist to meet their worst nightmare. Toby Cypress’s electric art guides the reader through the underworld, visualizing each narrative masterpiece, and bringing the ideas to life.

Whether you’re in film, books, comics, or simply a story enthusiast, this book offers a way to see character development and the crafting of plot through the lens of human questions of morality and mortality.

Brian McDonald has worked in film, television, and comic books for more than thirty years. He is the writer and director of the award-winning short film White Face, which aired on HBO. A sought-after lecturer and teacher, McDonald has worked as a speaker and story consultant for clients such as Disney Feature Animation and Cirque du Soleil. His book Invisible Ink: A Practical Guide to Building Stories that Resonate is a required reading at Pixar Animation Studio, as well as several film studies programs. McDonald teaches for The Film School Seattle and the Red Badge Project, which teaches veterans suffering from PTSD on how to tell their stories.

Toby Cypress grew up in New Jersey spending most of his time skateboarding the boardwalks, exploring arcades, and reading comic books. In 1997 He graduated from the Joe Kubert School of Cartooning and Animation when he began a career in freelance illustration. His work includes Wes Craig's The Gravediggers Union and Brian McDonald's Land of the Dead. He lives with his family Gretchen, Jack, and Isabella in Glen Gardner NJ.
Product Details ISBN: 9781626727311
ISBN-10: 1626727317
Publisher: First Second
Publication Date: January 24th, 2023
Pages: 224
Language: English

"...those who appreciate and take inspiration from musings on mythology and the underlying soul of great literature will be rewarded." —Publisher's Weekly

“Brilliant. Indispensable advice for writers in particular and humans in general.” — Gene Luen Yang, New York Times–bestselling author of American Born Chinese

“This delightful graphic novel is in fact a master course in storytelling.” —Danny Rubin, screenwriter of Groundhog Day

“Absolutely epic.” —Jim Uhls, screenwriter of Fight Club

“Brian McDonald is a master storyteller.” —Charles Melcher

“Brian and Toby take us on a journey of discovery designed to equip us, not only to live a life of wisdom, but to weave these truths into the stories, scripts, and movies we create.” —Glen Keane

“Can’t wait to read it again.” —Frank Oz

“Erudite, with gorgeous art that never falters. A treasure.” —Paul Chadwick

“Magnificent. A pleasure to read. I would love to see this book used as a text in every MFA program in America.” —Charles Johnson

“Spectacular. Life-affirming. Otherworldly. This is a work of art that deserves to be in everyone’s bookshelf, on everyone’s coffee tables, and in everyone’s hands.” —Bill Sienkiewicz