Classic COMIC BOOK Comic & Cover of the Day: BATMAN and TEEN TITANS

Today’s classic comic cover (alliteration is your friend) is a Jim Aparo cover from writer Bob Haney’s crazy 1970s run on BRAVE AND THE BOLD. This is one of the best books DC was putting out back in the 70s, and even back then the stories were outrageous non sequiturs, diverging wildly from established DC tropes of storytelling and often character. I loved Bob Haney’s stories, and being even of their time the stories were out of their time, and therefore remain oddly timeless.

Brave_and_the_Bold_v.1_149lrg

This particular cover and comic of the day is BRAVE AND THE BOLD #149, from 1979, starring BATMAN in conflict with the TEEN TITANS, and titled ‘LOOK HOMEWARD, RUNAWAY’. Both the absurd and highly entertaining writing of Bob Haney and fluid and graceful art of Jim Aparo are at full gallop in this fun story.

If interested grab a copy here!

Enjoy till next time!

WEDNESDAYS WORDS

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.

This is a rare one item WEDNESDAYS WORDS and the latest I’ve ever put one together, but put it together I did. Enjoy!

Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson [Hardcover]


Book Description
Publication Date: September 13, 2011 | Series: Creepy Presents
All of horror legend Bernie Wrightson’s Creepy and Eerie short stories, color illustrations, and frontispieces are finally collected in one deluxe hardcover! These classic tales from the 1970s and early 1980s include collaborations with fellow superstars and Warren Publishing alumni Bruce Jones, Carmine Infantino, Howard Chaykin, and others, as well as several adaptations and original stories written and drawn by Wrightson during one of the most fruitful periods of his career! All stories and images in this collection are restored with care and reprinted in the same oversized format as Dark Horse’s award-winning Creepy Archives and Eerie Archives series.

As far as one book recommendations go, you would be hard pressed to find a better one than CREEPY PRESENTS BERNIE WRIGHTSON! First the hardcover book, which I’m perusing, in between writing this post, smells great.

I know that sounds like an odd statement, especially to all you digital i-something babies, but for those of us raised and reared on paper and ink, there are few things as evocative as the new book smell.:)

Add to that the fact that DARK HORSE who published this book, publishes really high quality books, and you have something special as much for construct as content. Something that can not be effectively… digitized.

So despite being printed in China, DARK HORSE is very quality-conscious and demanding… and it shows in the finished product. It’s a gorgeous art compilation book, containing the best art and stories from Wrightson’s time at Warren Publishing!

And lastly it’s Bernie Wrightson, one of the most celebrated sequential artists of the late 20th century; and here in the 21st, his work still remains… unrivaled.

While this book is no FRANKENSTEIN BY WRIGHTSON (Also Published by DARK HORSE, and copies getting scarcer and more expensive every day), it is vintage WRIGHTSON and as such most definitely should be an essential part of anyone’s desert island survival bag!

And at the current ridiculously low price you would have to be an unhinged art-hater, not to own a copy.

So there! Go here for more and to get your copy if so moved to:

Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson

Bernie Wrightsons Frankenstein


The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!

Sponsored by Ebay Store: Deals of the Day!

BREAKING NEWS! Marc Olden Books back in Print!

Courtesy of Diane C who runs the Marc Olden website comes the pretty great news, for all of us fans of Marc Olden, as well as fans of just great books, that all of Marc Olden’s long out of print Men’s Adventure novels are back in print courtesy of Mysterious Press.

Comprised of his HARKER, NARC, and BLACK SAMURAI series of books, these are in many ways the holy grail of pulp 70s men’s adventure thrillers and paved the way for such writers as James Patterson and Hugh Holton.

Now these long out of print books are finally available in affordable editions. I must admit to largely being a paper guy myself, but for those of you Ebook/Kindle converts than, this is the deal for you!

MARC OLDEN New E-Books!

Here’s the link to Mysterious Press also:

MYSTERIOUS PRESS

I have to say, I think the MYSTERIOUS PRESS E-book covers are a bit artless (particularly when compared to the beautiful paperback originals), but my cover critique aside, having the content available again is what counts.

So go support and tell them HT sent ya! :)

Some memorable, one might even say memorial, movie quotes

Okay this gets a bit weirdy and ranty, so if you don’t want weirdy and ranty, skip this post and come back tomorrow when I’ll be discussing the finer arts of moose calling or some-such nonsense. :)

Okay… you’ve been warned.


The White Cliffs Of Dover DVD


“God will never forgive us, if we break faith with our dead again”

— Irene Dunne in her favorite film role (I concur) 1944′s THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER, set in a world at war, fighting to end future wars. Hoping the sacrifice of young lives would end there.


Short Night of Glass Dolls DVD

“It’s not Mira. Mira was a rebel. She refused sex and gold when everybody else here was lured with them, We use them as bait the whole world over. Sex and Gold. They are important because they suppress the will to resist.”

–In Aldo Lado’s surprisingly haunting and still relevant 1971 film… SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS, written in a world beset with wars civil and colonial.

“The oldest person beats the drum, and the youngest go to battle. We will hold the reigns of power in the world as long as there are people willing to be killed, willing to shed their own blood. And nothing must ever be changed.”

— SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS [for my full review go here]

I like those quotes. Good quotes from good films.

With an election year upon us, I’m always mightily aware of politicians and posturing.

And I’m always distinctly aware, I’ve heard it before.

Every lie before they say it. A memorial of lies one might say.

How about we try this crazy thing, instead of just remembering the ones who have died, always a worthy goal, let’s do our bit and reduce the number of people we send to join them this year, and next year, and the year after.

How’s that for a worthy memorial to war? An end to all current and future war. An end to young people dying for the posturings of old people.

Be those young people American, or Iranian, or Somalian, or Haitian, or Guatemalan…let’s consecrate ourselves to some new way, some better way, some civilized way… to live, that does not involve pitting our young people against each other in conflicts, real life Hunger Games, that they have not the slightest idea of why they are fighting.

So I’m putting on the ballot a new way to fight wars… the big mouths in this country who have a problem with big mouths in another country, the congressmen, the owners of papers, the columnists, the heads of corporations, the religious zealots, and the talk radio idiots, everyone who is quick to have others kill and torture for them… you go fight the war.

Let’s try that.

All in favor, raise your hand. :) .

Let’s let the 20 and 30 year olds stay home, eff their brains out, get back to some of that age of Aquarius loving (before the 80s came to get them on the ‘me’ kick), and let them run the country.

And all you senators, all you justices, all you presidential candidates… you’ve had your time at bat, and you’ve made a perpetually regenerating and increasing mess of it…. so yeah you old, chairman of the board, want to be in charge f**ks, put on some fatigues, fill up that rucksack and you go fight the wars.

But no remote control drone bombing raids, no satellite directed death from above, no weather modification toys, no dropping mines in playgrounds (what kind of animal signs off on that? You do my friends. With every tax dollar you pay and flag you wave. You do, when you say ‘yes sir’ to terms like war power acts, and patriot acts, and laughable misnomers like homeland security… you do, we do. We did. Not anymore), not even any nuclear subs or good old grunts on the ground. No, we don’t give you any of that to wage war with, none of your cowardly, expedient toys to turn countless people into your faceless collateral damage, instead just a cage match with you old, hateful, fat f**ks in a cage with other old, hateful, fat f**ks.

We’ll give you some boxing gloves, maybe even a club or two, and you guys go at it. Work it out. Get along or kill each other, but either way, the world would be a lot better if you old manifest destiny, new world order, ‘woodrow wilson’ idolizing mfers would just die.

Because honestly, you effers have had your day, and all we have seen since the industrial revolution, is more of the same. The rich few get richer, and the rest of the people and the planet, gets raped and used up until we are clinging to a burnt out dying ball of rock.

What is the good of all your imagined power then you dumb f**ks?!!

The world can’t afford doing the same insanity that got us here, to this point, and expecting a different result. In fact that’s the definition of insanity, trying the same thing, and expecting a different result.

So give it to the young.

The world… give it to the young. They might eff up, they might not. They might find a different way, a better way. They’ll at least fall down going forward, going toward something new, which is more than any of you old ingrained effers have done in the last century and a couple decades, of mounting genocide.

Hell, maybe young people, devoid of you old people riding them to ensure they make your comfortable, beloved mistakes, they’ll even make a REAL democracy out of America, instead of a tyranny dressed as capitalism.

And as far as you old dudes and dudettes, you seekers or power and despoilers of wisdom, when you die, which is sad but more than likely a probability, that whole ‘live by the sword, die by the sword’ thing, we’ll grill a hot-dog or hamburger to you on the next memorial day.

Really we will.

Happy memorial day. :)

Price The White Cliffs Of Dover

Price Short Night of Glass Dolls

Exclusionary TV: Whites Only Television? MADMEN, PAN-AM and REVENGE

Provocative title huh?

Well, it’s not quite as provocative as it seems. The premise of this article isn’t that shows such as MADMEN, PAN-AM, and REVENGE are in and of themselves bad or bigoted shows.

They may in and of themselves be good shows. But shows, dramas or scifi or action, that are predominantly White, when not off-set by any shows that are predominantly Black or colored, true to the definition of predominant… create an environment, a medium, that is about the ascendancy, importance, influence, authority of force of one group.

In such an environment it is impossible for me to buy into, relate, follow, view, or otherwise enjoy such shows. Now in an environment where a show such as PAN-AM is counter-pointed with a show on The forming of AIR JAMAICA or the Black Stuntmen’s Union or the Black Coyboys’ Union or any adventure or thrilling show with a predominant cast of color; then PAN-AM rather than being indicative of a color and ethnic bias in every show in tv, can be seen as one voice in a chorus, rather than the same voice, everywhere.

So that’s the problem I have with shows such as MADMEN and REVENGE they paint everything with the same trite and pale brush (take the series REVENGE, based on a book by the son of one of the most famous Black men, and the cast is all white. Explain that to me? Along with that it always rings false that we have yet to see a THREE MUSKETEERS that represents the ethnicity of the author Alexandre Dumas, or the ethnicity of the inspiration for all Dumas’ heroes, namely his father, France’s most famous and most feared soldier, the elder Alexandre Dumas, (inexplicably called Thomas-Alexandre in recent writings), the Black giant, the warrior Moor, Napolean’s most feared and brilliant General. The COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO is directly inspired by how his father was betrayed by Napolean, imprisoned, and killed. And rather than anyone ever tell that story, it becomes in REVENGE about a blond woman, mad about something. Forgive me if I have no interest in that retelling.)

So, What’s the solution?

We’ll get to it. First indulge me, with a brief trip to yesteryear.

In the late 50s, into the 60s and 70s television and cinema in the US, and indeed throughout the Western World, made great strides in becoming more representative of the class struggle going on throughout the world.

That’s a fact, it just is. So let’s begin there.

As countries from Congo to Cuba to Korea to the West Indies to Brazil all were dealing, at various stages, with the shattering of traditional Colonial ties. With populations of repressed people, embracing the concept, both with artistry and arms, of “not eating at another man’s table” but creating their own table.

It was a staggering period not just of revolution, but potentially evolution… for the world and the west.

Rather than mass media that explored and showcased only the fantasies and the fears of the white and the male you began getting shows that took place in a world reflective of the movements changing the landscape of our cultures and our time. Civil disobedience, and sit-ins, and Black power, and Native American rights, transcendentalism and free love, sexual and religious experimentation, and of course war and the search for peace and self identification.

And all these growing pains, all of this stew of change, could be seen in the entertainment of the age.

DANGER MAN, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, PROFESSIONALS, GOOD TIMES, SANFORD AND SON, the rise of Soul Cinema, and the rise of Hong Kong Cinema, and Neo-Realism in Italy, and the New Wave in France, and the didactic films out of Russia, and Brazil, and Cuba, and Senegal, all of this making its way to newly born film studies programs in the states that gave birth to a whole generation of entertainment makers excited and influenced and inspired by this time of change and challenge.

So suddenly you had Patrick McGoohan in the DANGER MAN TV show 50 years ago globe-trotting and going to different countries and different people, and exploring issues of colonialism, and civil war, and terrorism, and governmental oppression, and doing this with a changing ethnically diverse cast. Dealing with issues of Middle East tensions and modern slavery. And this kind of informed and humanistic film-making came from the creators down. And all the shows of that period, while not DANGER MAN ground breaking, to greater or lesser degrees were that informed and representative of a culturally diverse and changing world.

Move the clock forward 50 years, and suddenly you have no community owned or locally owned cinema, much less production companies. That’s not an accident, that’s a very pointed, and very considered monopolization and marginalization.

You have the end of virtually any locally or regionally owned newspaper, radio, or television station. So you get the end of people and community created movements, and art and music, and you get instead corporate construction of reality and ‘art’ in things like AMERICAN IDOL and its ilk.

You have cinema and television that is in retreat from ideas… like diversity and the rights of man, and instead seeks a return to the exclusionary, blinders on, cinema of the 50s. Not just in terms of content and cast in front of the camera, but talent and crew behind the camera.

As, in reality, the mad military war machine of billionaires undoes the local determinism of countries like Haiti and Liberia and Libya, so too is our entertainment,no less the tool of billionaires, undoing the strides made toward multiculturalism. A return to “Whites only” television from MADMEN to PAN-AM to REVENGE.

And those shows while they hold no interest for me, would be fine if they were counterpointed by an equal number of US made shows with a majority of Black or Brown or Asian or a combination thereof, of actors in front the camera, and talent behind the camera.

And the talent is there, as screenwriters such as John Ridley discuss in numerous interviews. Even more talent than was available in the 60s and 70s is available now, the difference is, the cinemas are bought up, the advertising is cost prohibitive, and quite frankly the doors are closed.

In the 60s and 70s, Hollywood saw the need for an influx of diversity to save them from the rise of Independent Cinema (an outgrowth of viable and healthy local cinemas, local determinism), and there were a good number of people in the studios who were happy and excited for that diversity. They were part of the changing times, and part of changing it.

Today Independent Cinema has no way into the theaters, because the locally owned theater circuit, and indeed the community controlled mass-media circuit that served America, particularly Black America from the 20s to the 70s, has been bought out, legalized away, and generally dismantled.

For what was gained, more was lost in the compromise of integration.

The problem with the doctrine of separate and equal, was the fact that is was NEVER separate and equal, it was always separate and UNEQUAL. The Black Power movement and Black Panther movement was about making it SEPARATE AND EQUAL. Was to make the lie into the truth. And that is the reason we have integration today. Because the idea of separate and equal, scared the powers to be to their very soul.

They saw in the more moderate integration model of Martin Luther and his ilk, a compromise that could become a massive victory. They retreated from Separate and (Un)equal and embraced Integration of a sort, “you can now use our Bathrooms, you can now to an extent come into our house, but… you have to lose your house. You have to lose your radio stations, your movie theaters, your stores, your farms, your wallstreets, your sports teams, your attempt at self determination”.

Of course it wasn’t presented like that, but a few decades later that’s absolutely what has happened. The thriving economic base of Black America that thrived even under the odiousness of Separate but unequal, wherein they could still provide for themselves and be self sufficient, has been completely gutted under the together but even more UNEQUAL system of integration. And that robbing of local determinism has extended to all America. Has shown itself to be the most significant volley in a class-war that has America trillions of dollars in debt, and slaved, to corporations gross and immoral.

And television and cinema is the clearest example of this wholesale pillaging of a peoples economic potential.

So that’s what I see when I see shows like MADMAN or PANAM or REVENGE or SMALLVILLE (past season 4) I see prejudice and bigotry and class warfare… codified.

So you have a television and a cinema environment that has turned back the clock, and is again solely about showcasing the fantasies and the fears of the white and the rich, to the exclusion of all else.

It bores me to go backwards. To learn from the past is a great thing, to repeat the past is not. And we have a whole generation of studio execs and heads, who think they are doing something new by embracing the old, and all they are doing… is wasting time.

In a multi-cultural society, an increasingly multi-cultural society, these dreams of exclusion cannot stand, they will become unsatisfying, they always do. And in the end we will have to waste years just getting back to the same point of diversity as the 1970s. Getting back to the starting point from which we should be… evolving.

So let’s cut out some of the time wasting. Contact these studios signing off on this exclusionary television, the creators and producers, twitter them, facebook em, call’em, even write em, let them know the show doesn’t represent you, and to create a show that does. And let the advertisers know, say “this show boycotts me and mine. Since you are asking me to support your product, I want you to produce a show that supports me.”

It’s economics people. For all their crushing of competition, ultimately the decision makers and gate-keepers still need to create a product you want to buy. Let them know they are failing at that mandate.

Let them know you want to see more shows, that are both smart and diverse.

Day Break – The Complete Series- Do not buy the 2disk version, get the 4 disk version

55 Degrees North – Series One & Two – 5-DVD Box Set ( Fifty Five Degrees North ) ( 55 Degrees North – Entire Series 1 & 2 ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2.4 Import - United Kingdom ]

Kidnapped – The Complete Series

Secret Agent AKA Danger Man: The Complete Collection (Slimline Packaging)

The Philanthropist: The Complete Series

Kings – The Complete Series

Blood & Bone

I Am Cuba: The Ultimate Edition

Let them know you want to see more DAY BREAK with Taye Diggs and Moon Bloodgood, more 55 DEGREES NORTH with Don Gilet, more KINGS with Eamonn Walker more BLOOD AND BONE with Michael Jai White, more James Purefoy and Jesse L. Martin in THE PHILANTHROPIST (the spiritual descendant of McGoohan’s DANGER MAN); more shows that look forward to solutions, rather than backward to evasions.

Challenge the creators, challenge the studios, challenge the advertisers, challenge the performers, and challenge yourself to go not marching backward, but to go forward… into the mystery. And ultimately we will as cities and a nation, have to eschew outside control, and embrace again local production of items and local determinism.

And it starts as simply as recognizing and calling out the prejudiced the exclusionary and the destructive when we see it.

Here endeth the lesson.

The Last Black Samurai: Remembering Marc Olden; an interview with Diane Crafford

22 Feb 2012 Wednesday

There’s some news on the horizon regarding Mark Olden’s seminal series BLACK SAMURAI, as well as other work. I don’t have the thumbs up yet… to break the news, but in the interim I thought it was a great time to re-present this fun and informative interview, to tide you over.

Plus it has been updated with new pics, courtesy of Ms. Crafford. Please Enjoy!

And is it me, or does the new film THE RAVEN bear more than a passing resemblance to Marc Olden’s POE MUST DIE? hmmmm. :) .

**************************

The fact that what you are about to read and hear is a YEAR in the preparation, goes to the absurd vagaries of mi vida loca, my crazy life.

But here finally, before the clock turns over on yet another year is my interview with Diane Crafford, on one of my favorite writers, the late, great and incomparable Marc Olden.

We’ll start with the text portion of the interview, and following that the pretty free flowing audio interview. HUGE, HUGE thanks to Diane for her time, her good humor, her anecdotes, and her extreme patience.

Now without further delay….

1st to set the stage.

Who is Marc Olden?

Marc Olden is a writer I became aware of, oddly enough on an auction site. Being something of a bibliophile I’m always looking to pick up books, and no doubt I was looking for either Warren Murphy’s DESTROYER books, or books by the late great Donald Goines.

And instead I came across this auction of a near complete series of BLACK SAMURAI books by Marc Olden. Being a Blackophile as well as a Bibliophile :) , the title alone, as well as the very impressive 70s art on the paperbacks were enough for me to decide to purchase the books.

So I won the auction got the books, and was… from book one, blown away. This was not the hokey Jim Kelly movie, this was the undiluted source material, and it was pure and gritty, and brilliantly written. I’ve a huge fan of the Warren Murphy DESTROYER books, as well as the James Bonds and the MacK Bolans, but BLACK SAMURAI takes it to another level. BLACK SAMURAI is the BEST of that flooded market that was Men’s Action Adventure Books of the 70s. And the fact that it was so relatively short lived, also makes it a far more accessible body of work, and to my mind, far more prized.

And passion leading to passion, I just became obsessed with collecting all the work, primarily the 70s work, of this somehow inexplicably under the radar writer. Two of the holy grails being the Edgar Nominated POE MUST DIE, and the even more obscure BOOK OF SHADOWS (which I have to thank Diane for really making me aware of).

And reading his books led me to wanting to share with the world more of this, I felt and feel, brilliant, important, and overlooked writer.

So I reached out to the person who was keeping the late Mr. Olden’s web presence alive, the gracious Diane Crafford, and she was both kind and crazy enough to consent to the following free flowing and I believe informative and engaging interview/conversation.

The early part of our interview… the audio does not capture Diane’s, bubbly, fun, immersive personality, so I’m going to transcribe that from notes, and memory as best I can (I have a tendency toward the romantic, so anything that sounds like bs I take the blame for) bullet points mainly, and then we’ll kick into the audio.

HT: Hi Diane, thanks in advance for your time. We’re here to discuss Marc Olden one of my, and I assume your, favorite writers. Now most of this I got from your site as well as my research: He’s done over 40 books. His first work of fiction NARC a series of nine novels. He also produced the eight book BLACK SAMURAI series, made into a bad movie with Jim Kelly. And POE MUST DIE a stunning immersive novel drenched in period detail.

DC: You do your homework.

HT: I try. Now I’m detecting a bit of an accent, and your name Crafford, Londoner?

DC: Welsh, actually.

HT: Ahh, missed it by that much. Now tell me a little about Marc Olden behind the books

DC: Well he was born in Baltimore and was a press agent before he gave it up to become a writer. And once he chose that road, he embraced it completely. He had a strong work ethic, he wrote every day. His Black Samurai series was written at the same time he wrote the Narc series. It was while writing Narc he got to know guys in Law Enforcement. With advanced degree black belts in Japanese Karate and Aikido, he coached and mentored many members of the NYPD in Aikido.

HT: So his writing was an extension of the man.

DC: Yes. Like every good writer he wrote what he knew, of his passions. And after the NARC, BLACK SAMURAI books, he went into stand-alone novels such as INFORMANT. It did well but was not a best seller.

HT: Going back to BLACK SAMURAI series for a second, what did he think of the film?

DC: He had no input into the film. And resigned himself to it being something distinct from his work.

HT: Well let’s backup a bit, and tell us bit about you and how you met Marc.

DC: -I met him here at New York. He was a press agent for a restaurant, and I was working in film. We hit it off immediately. He had a way of carrying himself. –Later I was in London working for a film Producer, Sidney Dujer. The film was THE TWELVE CHAIRS starring Frank Lagella.

It’s amazing the little decisions that make all the difference. Marc went from Press Agent to writer, writing magazine articles. And then was approached to write a book on Angela Davis. And at that time I was looking for work, and became his transcriptionist. He had a head full of stories, he loved to tell them. And at the center of them was his belief in Justice.

HT: Now how did one of his earliest books, and what I consider not just one of his best books, but one of THE best books, POE MUST DIE come about? It seems a very ecletic work and ahead of its time work, mixing historical fiction and figures, mystery, horror, action, and adventure.

DC: He loved Edgar Allen Poe and he loved Charles Dickens. And POE MUST DIE at its heart is his love letter to those influences, but done as only he could do it. Dicken’s Christmas Carol, all about redemption, at the heart of this elaborately researched and gothic murder mystery,

HT: I can definitely see that. The book is so full of period detail, and authenticity, it puts you there in that place and in that time, of a wilder and younger England and America. What were some of his other inspirations?

DC: He thought Raymond Chandler was the best American writer. He was inspired by Eastern Philosophy through his mother and father (his father was George Olden, an art director). This filtered down to the type of man he was. Very calm, very contained, very brave and strong. I once asked him, “What is it that makes you so together?” and he said, “Good looks and the power of prayer.”And while he said it with a smile, that was sincere, it was how he lived his life. In balance.

“It was a different breed of man who sat in the cherrywood chair, his legs crossed under a cashmere robe, a thin volume on his lap. His graying hair, immaculately groomed, seemed to highlight a strong-lined, somber face… An aura of greatness and elegance seemed to permeate his being, as if his presence lent dignity to the book-lined walls. He seemed like what men should be, but never were.“
….THE DESTROYER: CREATED, THE DESTROYER by Warren Murphy.

HT: You can see that balance in his work. It’s very measured and… sincere. Which is an odd thing to say about fiction, but he wrote fiction with Authenticity.

DC: Yes. All his work was an extension of his interests. Take BOOK OF SHADOWS, he got the idea for that on one of our annual trips to England. He loved history and was a real Anglophile. He became intrigued by the canals that snaked through England, and that was the impetus for BOOK OF SHADOWS about vacationing American’s who stumble across things best left undisturbed.

***********************************

Okay that brings our text portion to an end. Onto the audio. You’re going to hear a lot of paper shuffling, that’s me jotting down notes, and flipping back and forth in my book, to consult my notes. I don’t think it distracts too much, Diane does a great job. So please enjoy! And bottom line, if you haven’t read anything by Marc Olden, go to Diane’s site and get acquainted. I would also suggest purchasing through her site.

Diane’s great site on Marc Olden

For more on Marc Olden, and particularly BLACK SAMURAI also see the following sites:

Great overview of the 8 Book BLACK SAMURAI series
More great Marc Olden/Black Samurai coverage

The below audio is a little over 33 minutes,, and the audio has been noise reduced to minimize the sound (my frantic note taking) as much as possible. Not great audio, but definitely listenable, and DEFINITELY informative.

Okay! You can listen to it HERE!

Copyright 2000-2012 Masai Inc and other specified writers. Images copyright their respective owners.

Today’s Recommended Music: Quincy Jones THE SOUNDTRACK YEARS! 60s & 70s

When not… raging against the dying of the light, I enjoy the simple pleasures… like any other son of Africa.

One of those pleasures of late… is music, specifically instrumental soundtracks with a heavy funk/jazz vibe… and even more specifically, the early soundtracks of Quincy Jones.

QJ-MellowMadness
I mentioned the IN COLD BLOOD album a few posts back. Well since then I have managed to get my hands on that 1967 record (My criticisms of Ebay aside, it can at times come in handy for buyers. Particularly for items like IN COLD BLOOD which are not available on CD) and the kindest and most succinct way to summarize my reaction to that 40 year old album is… it blew my mind.

I mean the sample of the IN COLD BLOOD title track, that I had heard on a music podcast (that started this whole soundtrack obsession. Thank you Ratso for making me broke! Proof positive that letting people share music actually HELPS sales!) had prepped me for the album to be good, but I didn’t dare to hope the whole thing would be great.

And it is. The IN COLD BLOOD soundtrack is a remarkable achievement that sounds devastating, inventive, original and ahead of its time today, so I can’t quite put in perspective what it must have been like hearing this score for the first time in 1967.

I can’t imagine it, back then, not winning Quincy Jones a nomination (which it did), and more deservedly the Academy award.

It is a brief album, I forgot the tight and effective pacing of LPs in the days before CDs. The score comes in at well under 36 minutes total.

But what a half hour.

All I can say is… once the album was done, I immediately had to listen to it again, and again. That is the sign of a masterfully constructed album.

Now those praises heaped on this album, there are some downsides. While I have a very pristine album copy and the sound is great, this soundtrack is too important and too good not to get remastered and made available on CD; because while I respect and admire Mr. Jones’ staggering accomplishments and body of work to date, for me… these early instrumental soundtracks are (excuse my slide into 70s speak) where it’s at. :)

I mean I will not be surprised if my greatest audio discovery of 2009 turns out to be a 40+ year old record called IN COLD BLOOD. It is that brilliant.

However that raises other problems. Jazzed by the BLOOD score, I went looking for other early Quincy Jones scores. Let me tell you right now… a cheap past-time that is not.

QJ-HeatNight
And so far what I’m finding is the other scores while good, and in places brilliant can not hold a candle to IN COLD BLOOD. Now I say that having only tried DOLLARS and THE LOST MAN. A lot of people praise those two scores, but I was underwhelmed, particularly by DOLLARS. Your mileage may vary.

But as I said, I’m still waiting to receive THE PAWNBROKER, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, THE SPLIT, and THEY CALL ME MR. TIBBS soundtracks (CD when available, LP when not).

I’ve sampled online some of his THE SPLIT soundtrack and that one I think may be up there with IN COLD BLOOD, also i’m hearing good things about the THEY CALL ME MR. TIBBS score. So I’ll offer my take on those scores when they come in.

In addition researching Quincy Jones’ early soundtrack work has also put on my radar some of his early jazz albums as well as soundtrack albums by other composers. What can I say… I’m a compulsive dude, I can latch onto a few passions to the exclusion of pretty much all else. I can go years without watching tv or reading comics, and then something will launch itself on my radar and suddenly I’m consuming years worth of DVDs and Comics in weeks.

Currently I’m in my music phase, with a side compulsion in books. And boy is my wallet not happy with me. :)

Anyhow to help you also get in on this soundtrack kick (hey why should I be the only one going broke) I’m going to direct you to a few nifty links:

So who is this Quincy Jones cat?

Well for those of you asking that question, or for those just seeking more info, SOUL WALKING has put together a pretty darn comprehensive page, on the living legend that is Quincy Jones. Check it out here!

Now that you know who the man is, I guess you want to hear a little bit of what he brings to the table.

Well it just so happens that DJ Spinnas has put together a pretty awesome tribute/mashup to the work of Quincy Jones. You can check it out here!

It’s exceptionally well put together, though if I had to fault it for anything it is a little too heavy into Quincy’s later vocal collaborations, which is really not my cup of tea. Just stick to the crazy instrumentals and I’m there. But my personal bias aside, it is brilliantly done… and definitely recommended!

Moving on, here are two places that review soundtracks and records, I generally think their reviews are whacked :) (I’m joking– not!), but both are expansive sites and quite informative, so check it out for yourself:

BLAXPLOITATION

WARR

If you can’t find the CD/record you are looking for through the usual suspects, you may want to give the following sites a look. I have not done business with them yet, so can’t speak on that, but what I can say is the below sites are a joy to browse though and offer detailed info on the products, and include sound clips. They had me at hello. :)

The sites are:

MOVIE GROOVES

and

BUY SOUNDTRAX

and

DUSTY GROOVE (doesn’t offer sound-clips unfortunately, but their excellent reviews help make up for it)

Well that’s it folks, you’ve been turned onto IN COLD BLOOD and been given places to learn, hear, and ultimately purchase more. So without further ado kiddies go out there and… listen.

Till next time… be safe, be free. And if you can’t be both, choose the latter. :) .


LAST MINUTE EDIT: Wanted to give some love to another Soundtrack Review site, perhaps “THE” Soundtrack Review Site, SCORE BABY! Just a stellar site from bottom to top, and if it doesn’t spur you to purchase copious amounts of soundtracks, than you have more willpower than I do. :) Swing by here to take a look!.

And tell them HT sent you!

THE BEST OF THE FORGOTTEN! Favorite Movies, Books, and Music by David W of BADAZZ MOFO!

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I’ve actually got a nice little backlog of articles, but as way of excuse, a couple of the articles I’m hawking to paying outlets. One is in the can. Three more are toying on the lip.

But here is one entry, that I actually conceived of a while back for a New Years resolution style presentation, but it was a delay getting the feedback from one of the presenters… He knows who he is! But, I’m being facetious, ultimately other things just kept bumping it, but now some of the Web’s coolest personalities consent to answer my questions and present you a pretty damn amazing selection of their favorites.

Without further ado, read and be awed!!!

Modest aren’t I?

In this posting David W of the magazine and blog BADAZZ MOFO, and filmmaker of the extremely well received short BLACK SANTA’S REVENGE is at bat.

HT: what are your 5 favorite movies that most people haven’t seen?


David W of BADAZZ MOFO
: In terms of blaxploitation, my five favorite films that haven’t really been seen, or at least haven’t been seen as much as they deserve to be seen, the top one would be Melinda. This is hands down one of the best films of both the genre and the era, but it’s never even had a release on home video.

(This is me, HT, interrupting. David and I have pretty different tastes in movies [How do you not love the Poitier/Cosby Trilogy?!] , but I picked up Melinda on his recommendation. The first few minutes, I have to tell you… wasn’t impressed. But I stuck with it and it just kept getting better, and better, and better… it’s absolutely fantastic! WoW! The flick has everything, and at its heart is about a self-centered man, who learns to care deeply for something other than himself, and what happens when that is taken away. I don’t subscribe to the term blaxploitation, think it is a dismissive term for what was an empowering time/movement, but however you want to label MELINDA… it’s great! Okay, back to David’s list:)

David W of BADAZZ MOFO:My list of favorite “seldom seen” classics of the blaxploitation era looks something like this (in no particular order).

1. Melinda – Calvin Lockhart and Rosalind Cash, both at their finest.
2. Together Brothers – Barry White’s score is enough to make this movie a classic, but it also happens to be a very well put together thriller that holds up to repeated viewings. It has yet to get a legitimate release on home video, but it’s turned up on cable recently.
3. The Spook Who Sat By the Door – This is not only my favorite blaxploitation film, but one of my favorite movies, period. It finally got a release on DVD, but most people have never even heard of it.
4. The Landlord – The directorial debut of Hal Ashby isn’t quite blaxploitation, but it comes close, and it is one of the greatest movies of the 1970s. People know Ashby mostly for films like Harold & Maude or Shampoo, but this is really his best, most provocative film.
5. Gordon’s War – This is just balls-out great blaxploitation, with Paul Winfield leading an ensemble cast of ex-Green Berets who decide to clean up the streets. I can’t help but think if this starred Charles Bronson, it would be modern classic.

HT: Good list there David. I’ve seen 3 of the 5 you list, and plan on seeing THE LANDLORD and TOGETHER BROTHERS in the next couple weeks. But yeah the 3 I’ve seen are definitely great films. Okay onto the next question, what are five great books that most people haven’t read?

David W of BADAZZ MOFO: I feel like I’m something of a populist reader. I’m trying to think of books I’ve read that no one else has read that were great, but that combination is difficult to come up with. I have a ton of pulp novels from the blaxploitation era, but most of them aren’t that good, or that memorable. The one exception is Roland Jefferson’s The School on 103rd Street , which I think is an incredible political thriller with a great blaxploitation vibe. Jefferson ’s book reminds me of the novel The Spook Who Sat By the Door, also an all-time favorite, which I guess deserves a place on this list.

1. The School on 103rd Street – Roland Jefferson’s paranoid thriller involves the discovery of underground concentration camps in black communities throughout the United States .
2. The Spook Who Sat By the Door – Great movie, even better book. The first black agent in the CIA leaves the agency to start a guerilla war against the United States .
3. Donald Goines’ Kenyatta series – I’m sure plenty of people have read master crime novelist Goines series Crime Partners, Death List, Kenyatta’s Escape and Kenyatta’s Last Stand, but all four are required reading for fans of urban action thrillers.
Honestly, I’m not sure if Goines wrote the last book in the series, which came out shortly after he was murdered. The writing style is a bit different, but it, just like the other three, is a gritty, action-packed bit of pulp fiction.
4. Joseph Nazel’s Iceman series – Nazel cranked out seven Iceman books, chronicling the adventures of a badass killer. Honestly, I can’t remember anything about any of the books, other than the fact that they were better than other series from that era, with the exception of maybe Marc Olden’s Black Samurai series.
5. If I’m So Famous, How Come Nobody’s Ever Heard of Me? – This has no place on this list, as it’s the autobiography of B-movie actress Jewel Shepard, but I love this book. Shepard is brutally honest about her life and her career, and this book has stuck with me over the years.

HT: Wow, he schooled me! As I like to think I’m on the cutting edge of the best books and films out there, but some of this list has flown under my Nubian Noir detector. Only ones on this list I’ve read are Goines KENYATTA’S LAST HIT, and also the phenomenal Marc Olden BLACK SAMURAI series (took me forever to collect, but well worth it!). Speaking of Marc Olden I also highly recommend his absolutely brilliant and ahead of its time (in its construction) POE MUST DIE (I have a review in the works). But yeah, definitely intend to get all these books. This is real literature, not the poorly packaged hood stereotypes that passes for Black literature today. And moving onto # 5 definitely interested, David did a great interview with Jewel Shepard in his essential, if short lived magazine, BADAZZ MOFO! I highly recommend pestering David for issues while supplies last! Tell him HT sent ya!

Okay David, I see you’re getting sleepy so let’s wrap up this BEST OF LIST by providing your five favorite songs or albums that most people haven’t heard.

David W of BADAZZ MOFO: They are…

1. Street Justice by The Rake – An epic, ten-minute rap song about a guy who’s family is attacked by thugs. When the punks go free, he tracks them down and kills them. Fucking brilliant. “You gotta meet the punks on the battle front/You gotta beat the punks/Street Justice!”
2. Spider-Man – From the bizarre, mid-1970s Album Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero. Both the song and the album are incredibly cheesy, but I still listen to it like I was eight years-old.
3. Thunder and Lightening by Thin Lizzy – Makes me want to go out and kick someone’s ass.
4. Daddy’s Little Girl by Khaleel – The most depressing song after Cat’s in the Cradle.
5. Big Dumb Sex by Soundgarden – From the Louder Than Love album, which came out before anyone knew who the were.

HT: Wow. From Spider-man to SoundGarden, talk about eclectic. :) . Great lists David, I intend to pick up all the above. Thanks for taking the time to put up with my nagging and provide these. And we’ll have to do this again.

And in closing readers, you can find more from David W at his site WWW.BADAZZMOFO.COM. And he also has a BADAZZ MOFO book on the horizon, so that’s one you should keep an eye out for.

Okay we have a few more of these lists, as soon as I hunt them up. So keep an eye on this site for move. And if you dug this, drop an email or leave a comment.

That’s all folks!

Things lost, yet found

You can tell a lot about people by the things they love.

People who waste a lot of time telling you what they hate, have nothing in their lives they love. And in the fullness of time they and their works will fall away. Which is why I don’t give a rats ass about neo-cons, or racists, or all the machinations of suspect men.

Because they carry in their empty, torture prone souls, their empty, torture prone ends.

But the things you love, define you.

Me, I’m a child of the 70s. a child of Fred Sanford, Fat Albert, John Wayne reruns, real Saturday morning cartoons, and a pre-FOX-TV and pre-media consolidation world. I’m a child of parents who played honest to goodness records for us. I’m a child of Motown, and Calypso, and Johnny Cash, and Harlem Globetrotters, and Nat King Cole Christmases, and Oj Simpson commercials and movies, and pre-crack inner cities.

I’m a child of comic books on the newstands, and Ali, and Foreman, and Frazier, and Hagler, Hernes, Sugar Ray. I’m a child of Saturday Night classic Universal Creature Feature movies, and tv without adult ads, or adult diaper ads, or diarrhea ads, or erection medicine ads.

I’m a child not too far removed from the age of free love, and civil disobedience.

I’m a child of Shakespeare, and Poe, and Baldwin, and Leroi Jones, and Nat Turner, and Frederick Douglass and Stan Lee and Steve Englehart and the team of David Kraft and Keith Giffen on the DEFENDERS. I’m a child of Conner and McEnroe, Arthur Ashe and Billy Jean King.

A child of Cosby, and Poitier and Belafonte and Prior and Roundtree and Jim Brown. I’m a child of Black not African American, of freedom not fascism.

We live in an age that has turned its back on everything that has brought us here. An age of media over morality, destruction over decency. But that’s all right.

The closer we get to the flames, the more we’re going to have choose. The more we get impelled… to act.

The more lost our age becomes, the more that age will turn to the places where it was once found.

And there’s hope in that certainty. And love.

On Aldo Lado’s debut film SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS


There is a lot not to like about Aldo Lado’s debut film, SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS.

Price Short Night of Glass Dolls

It’s a very rambling, chaotic, drawn out… and yes… boring viewing experience. It’s a very unsatisfying viewing experience. It’s marketed as a Giallo, but I think that description sets up expectations this film can not meet. What it is is a very subtle drama/mystery with only the merest trappings of the Giallo genre.

That said there is something there.

Something… more… to the film.


It’s first of all beautifully filmed, with a haunting Morricone score. And writer and director Aldo Lado, has something to say… something profound, that stays with you long after the understated mystery is over.

There’s a conversation about youth and old age, and the price of power, and how it is maintained, how empires are maintained that the movie engages in. A conversation that while 35+ years old, told in the age of Aquarius and dressed with theatrics, yet manages to remain timeless… and I feel… far too valid.

And it’s a film filled with allusions, and allegories, tales of beautiful things that were born to fly… but do not.

I was going to purge this film from my collection. Sell it. And I cannot… to anyone else recommend the movie, as anything more than an oddity. But after rewatching it, I think I want to keep it.

For myself, I think it has, however oddly, much to say. And an oddly, addictive way… of saying it. It is the rare film, that… grows on you.

And on top of that I just (as in the middle of this review) watched the Blue Underground/Anchor Bay interview with Aldo Ray that comes with this flick. Great stuff!!

The interview is alternately laugh out loud funny and chill inducing. I have to change my vote and recommend this DVD.

It will not appeal to everybody, especially the first time around, but live with it for a while, and if you’re a little like me, and perhaps a little like the mad director/writer Aldo Lado… it may end up appealing to you. Recommended.

Short Night of Glass Dolls

“Certain economic powers, men, make war. And who is sent to war? Not old people like me. They send young men in their twenties to die and give their blood. Power, whether it is economic or political, maintains itself with the blood of the young.”
…Aldo Lado from the DVD Interview

F’ing line, gave me chills.

Hearing people speak truth to power, always does.