September, 2011: Ten years ago this month, fans of Lewis Barnavelt were introduced to Ishmael Izard and S.D. Schindler.
Izard, as the surname suggests, was the one-and-only son of former Barnavelt foes, Isaac and Selenna Izard. One might say he feels it’s about time to avenge his parents and finally set the Doomsday Clock in motion once and for all. There are some sinister scraps of paper floating about and a mysterious island that has a dozen or so piles of junk scattered around its shores. It’s another exciting adventure from our friends from Michigan – though we hope Ishmael doesn’t have any lingering siblings waiting in the wings (or step-siblings, as odd as though seems).
Schindler was the cover artist of The Tower at the End of the World, Brad Strickland’s sixth solo book and the ninth book overall in the Lewis Barnavelt series. It was the first book published after the death of long-time illustrator Edward Gorey, who had died the year before, and therefore may have been met with a more critical eye. Fans seemed to enjoy the artwork though some were put off by it being regulated to only the front of the book (the rear cover was given over to book reviews) and the usage of a typographic font instead of Gorey’s hand-lettered title. Schindler, who has illustrated books by noted children's authors Erica Silverman,Kenneth Davis, and Stephen Krensky, among others, also created cover art for one more Bellairs-related title, 2003’s The Whistle, the Grave, and the Ghost.
Tower was released September 1, though there would be two other towers on everyone’s mind a mere ten days later. Jonathan Abucejo noted the events of Tuesday, September 11, 2011 on the Compleat Bellairs:
Our thoughts and prayers go out anyone who might have lost friends and family members in the terrible events that have happened today.Brad Strickland shared his thoughts on September 12:
Checking in to say that the Dial folks – who work not too far north of the World Trade Center site – all seem to be safe and accounted for. [...] My heart goes out to those who lost friends and loved ones in the terrible tragedy. And while I understand and even feel the emotions of fury and the desire for revenge, those are destructive emotions. Let's concentrate instead on pulling together as a people, on standing tall, and on proving that this senseless action will only make us stronger. May God bless you all.