THE LAST HURRAH : Ten Greatest Film Noirs of the 20th Century and their best physical releases here in the 21st Century!

I have not put CASABLANCA or THIRD MAN on this list, because although they have noir elements, there is an A picture scope to them in terms of not just budget but aspiration, that transcends the conventions of the noir, they ultimately tell larger tales than the fall or redemption of a single man, which is the heart of the noir aesthetic.

With that caveat aside, onto the list.

  1. MALTESE FALCON (1941)

  2. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944)

I don’t love the cover art for the Eureka release of Billy Wilder’s DOUBLE INDEMNITY (I think they should have gone with the art used for DVD and other releases) , but the film itself is magnificent, one of the greatest film noirs of all time. And a very good Blu-ray release. It is currently the must own version of this film.

3. MURDER MY SWEET (1944)

4. KISS ME DEADLY (1955)

5 DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS (1995)

Walter Mosley’s DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS remains a watershed book, in many ways improving on the pulp noir and film noir roots laid by writers like Hammett And Chandler. As someone who has read the book, listened to the audio book, and seen the film, Director and Screenwriter Carl Franklin’s take on DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS is just as watershed a film. With a stellar cast, the film is Noir distilled, while being one of the most beautiful color films, and is endlessly watchable and compelling. Indicator Films finally releases this film on Blu-ray, with Booklet and one newer special feature… a charming 2018 Interview– Carl Franklin: DANCING WITH THE DEVIL. That said I do wish they had sprung for new interviews and commentaries to go along with the ported features from the original 20 year old DVD; but that aside this is a must own limited-special edition release, that is  25 years in the making.

6. LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1947)

7. THE BIG HEAT (1953)

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8. THE BIG SLEEP (1946)

9. I WAKE UP SCREAMING (1941)

While ostensibly 1941’s MALTESE FALCON is recognized as the first FILM NOIR, this film, I WAKE UP SCREAMING, made at the same time as MALTESE FALCON, actually is the first film to put together all the iconic elements we would later associate with film noir.

In addition to the Femme Fatale, and the morally challenged protagonist, this film adds the heavy use of shadows, the Venetian blinds, the stylish dutch and off-center shooting angles, in essence the visual language of film noir shows up first in this least heralded of films. And with a winding script that keeps you shifting your belief of “who done it” from one character to another, and some strange and compelling performances and laudable direction, you end up with a film that deserves to be better known.

 

10. RAW DEAL (1948)

Being the single best of Anthony Mann’s and John Alton’s magnificent collaborations makes RAW DEAL a must for any top ten list. This special edition, complete with booklet  is a must own release.

Well, that’s it my top 10 list.

2020 saw all ten of these films available on quality, feature rich Blu-Ray releases (eff barebone, questionable quality 4K releases — I despise the “no interior artwork, lacking new artwork” 4k releases. I also blame 4k for the further fragmentation and dwindling of a market, that can not survive anymore fragmentation. If you are going to do UHD releases, release them with the Blu-Ray and/or DVD in multi-packs. You eliminate having to have a DVD market and a Bluray Market and a UHD market, and the associated expenses of trying to package for 3 different formats ) for the first time in the relatively short history of physical media. And arguably by the end of 2021 these ten movies will never again all be available in quality, feature rich, physical media versions.

I hope that will not be the case, but hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

If you want these films in physical media, pick all ten up today, while they are still in stock. Click the images to be taken to the movies in question.

If  you have enjoyed this post, then like, subscribe and come back for more of our coverage of physical media and the… Last Hurrah.

Amazon Deals of the Day : Recommended Complete CRIMINAL Collection Available!

 

I like the dayglo covers of the above reprint editions (the first two are reprint editions, the last two are new printings). However, I like the covers of the original Icon editions  (shown below) a little bit better. The contents and build of both editions are almost identical, I just think the below Icon Editions have covers that are more in keeping with the noirish, slow-burn, content of the interiors. Price being no object I would get the below editions. However the below editions are out of print, and going for multiple times the cost of the new reprints. So unless you get the first editions cheap, or are well off and buy what you want… get the above reprints. Cick the images to view more and/or purchase.

The GREATEST multi-part FANTASTIC FOUR comic book stories—- EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

Start with the  FANTASTIC FOUR OMNIBUS 1,2, & 3. A great way to get into the early issues. Click the images to see more on the titles covered.

 

They were visionaries. Explorers. Imaginauts. They were Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. And like the Fantastic Four, they continually strove to overcome the impossible and achieve the extraordinary. Now, the first three years of their landmark run are collected in one oversized volume. This keepsake edition also includes all original letters pages and pinups, critical commentaries, a historical overview, and other DVD-style extras.

COLLECTING: FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #1-30, FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL (1963) #1

 

Collecting the greatest stories from the World’s Greatest Comics Magazine in one, massive collector’s edition that has been painstakingly restored and recolored from the sharpest material in the Marvel Archives.

COLLECTING: FANTASTIC FOUR 31-60, ANNUAL 2-4

These are some of the greatest adventures of all time! Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #61-93 and ANNUAL #5-7, and material from NOT BRAND ECHH #5-7. All Ages

 

Celebrate 60 years of the World’s Greatest Comics Collaboration! Stan Lee and Jack Kirby conclude their record-setting tenures on the FANTASTIC FOUR, the book that birthed the Marvel Universe! In Kirby’s final issues, Doctor Doom lurks in the shadows, the FF save Apollo 11 from an alien threat, and the Sub-Mariner and Magneto team up to attack our heroes! Then, Stan Lee is joined by Marvel art legends John Romita Sr. and John Buscema to forge a new future for Marvel’s first family! Along the way, the Thing battles the Hulk, the Surfer is taken captive by Galactus, and the Overmind menaces Earth — leading to the strangest event in Marvel history: Doctor Doom joins the FF?! Guest-starring Black Panther, the Inhumans and more!

COLLECTING: Fantastic Four (1961) 94-125, Fantastic Four: The Lost Adventure (2008) 1, material from Fantastic Four Annual (1963) 8-9

 

Okay now onto the issues you can afford to pick up in issue form, and the ones i recommend having:

FANTASTIC FOUR 161,162,163,164- These issues completely wowed me as a kid, and continue to entertain me as an adult. Simply great work by the team of thomas, buckler and sinnott.

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FANTASTIC FOUR 164,165– Great covers, Great issues!!!

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FANTASTIC FOUR 168,169,170 More Thomas, Buckler greatness!!

 

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FANTASTIC FOUR 242,243,244 -Comics (and Comic Book Covers and Artwork) do not get any better. Just genius issues!!!!

 

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FANTASTIC FOUR 249,250

https://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/905357.jpghttps://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/794987.jpg For my money John Byrne invented the concept of wide-screen entertainment with his seminal early work on AVENGERS 164 thru 166. This is him a decade later, showing he is still the bar, by which super hero action will always be measured.

 

FANTASTIC FOUR 251-265

 

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Without argument John Bryne was one of the best writers and artists on Fantastic Four (Right up there with Stan the Man Lee, Jack King Kirby, John Buscema and Roy Thomas ), but until you go back and revisit his lengthy run on The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine’you forget exactly how good he was. Issue 251 thru 265 is really one large, fluid story about— families lost and families found.

It was the world’s greatest comic magazine – again! Not since the days of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had a creator so perfectly captured the intense mood, cosmic style and classic sense of adventure of Marvel’s First Family. Fresh off an earth-shattering and reputation-making run as penciler on UNCANNY X-MEN, John Byrne proved his writing talent was every bit the equal of his art as he pulled double-duty on FANTASTIC FOUR, launching Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny into realms of imagination and wonder into which few creators before had dared to travel. From the four corners of the globe to the farthest reaches of space to the deepest depths of the Negative Zone, the FF face off against foes old and new – including the Dr. Doom, Galactus and Annihilus! Plus: The FF aid the Inhumans, bid farewell to the Baxter Building, don new costumes and celebrate their 20th anniversary in style as Byrne reminds us all there’s a family at the heart of this team of adventurers!

Collecting: MARVEL TEAMUP (1972) #61-62; MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #50; FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #215-218, #220-221, #232-262 and ANNUAL #17; PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #42; AVENGERS (1963) #233; THING (1983) #2; and ALPHA FLIGHT (1983) #4.

Superstar John Byrne’s legendary run concludes with one of the most innovative periods in Fantastic Four history! The sensational She-Hulk replaces the Thing, Sue Richards becomes the Invisible Woman, and Mr. Fantastic is tried for crimes against the universe! Also featuring the return of Dr. Doom, the fate of Reed and Sue’s unborn child, the resurrection of Jean Grey, and more — as the FF confront deadly foes including the Mole Man, Dr. Octopus, Terminus, the Beyonder, Mephisto, Psycho-Man and Annihilus! Plus: the unfinished “Last Galactus Story,” reprinted for the first time!

COLLECTING: Fantastic Four (1961) #261-295, Fantastic Four Annual #18-19, Alpha Flight (1983) #4, Thing (1983) #10 and #19, Avengers Annual #14, and material from Secret Wars II #2, Epic Illustrated #26-34, What If? (1977) #36, What The -?! #2 and #10, Thing (1983) #7, Fantastic Four Roast and Fantastic Four Special Edition — written by John Byrne, Mark Gruenwald, and Roger Stern; and illustrated by John Byrne, Mark Bright, Ron Wilson, and Jerry Ordway.

The original first run of the FANTASTIC FOUR ran 416 issues. For my money you can stop reading with the recommendations in this post. The series never gets better or as good as the issues listed above.

 

Well this post was a good amount of work. If you enjoyed, then please like, subscribe, comment, email, and use the links. It is all apprecaired! Hope all you gals and guys are doing great!!!

Amazon Prime DEAL of the Day! SOLAR POWER GENERATOR

After hundreds of hours of research here is my recommendation for a sub $400 Solar Accepting Generator to purchase. I should not have to sell you on the need for having a generator or multiple generators.

 

LOOKING AT THE WORLD OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR  SHOULD DRIVE HOME THE NEED TO BE … PREPARED.

Our DEAL OF THE DAY is:

Now Ideally if money is no object you want something that will support as many watts as possible, at least a 1000 watts. However most of us, can not “fly into flying”, to take a line from COMING TO AMERICA; Meaning most of us have to start smaller and more affordably.

In that case the BEAUDENS is a nice starter system for a few reasons. Most notably is the type of battery it uses, LiFePO4 will last for more charges than conventional lithium-ion batteries. You arguably will get a third more life out of this unit than comparable units using the more conventional Lithium-ion batteries found in other generators.

The other thing is it uses pure sine wave circuitry, meaning sensitive DC equipment running off the beaudens’ DC circuitry is not in danger of being under-powered.

AND CHARGING WISE, YOU CAN CHARGE IT FROM THE INCLUDED POWER ADAPTER OR A SOLAR PANEL (NOT INCLUDED) OR IN A PINCH FROM YOUR CAR’S CIGARETTE LIGHTER. SPEAKING OF THE SOLAR PANEL IT HAS A BUILT IN MPPT CONTROLLER MEANING IT IS MORE EFFICIENT AT CONVERTING AND USING THE ENERGY IT GETS FROM YOUR SOLAR PANEL, COMPARED TO A SYSTEM THAT DOES NOT HAVE A BUILT IN MPPT CONTROLLER.

AND LASTLY I DID MY HOMEWORK AND RESEARCHED THE FEEDBACK ON PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY PUT THIS GENERATOR THROUGH ITS PACES.

ADD ALL THAT UP, ALONG WITH THE COMPETITIVE PRICE THIS IS SELLING FOR,  AND IN MY OPINION THIS IS A MUST BUY.  THIS IS NOT WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND FOR YOUR REFRIGERATOR OR INDUCTOR BASED KITCHEN EQUIPMENT (I WILL CREATE A SEPARATE POST FOR A GENERATOR TO SUPPORT YOUR KITCHEN EQUIPMENT), HOWEVER TO KEEP IN YOUR LIVING ROOM OR BEDROOM IN ORDER TO POWER YOUR LAMPS, OR PHONES, OR RADIOS, OR  TV OR ROUTER OR LAPTOP IN THE EVENT OF A POWER OUTAGE; WELL THIS BEAUDENS IS GREAT TO OWN AND KEEP CHARGED UP FOR JUST SUCH AN EMERGENCY.

IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, KEEP ONE CHARGED UP IN EACH MAIN ROOM OF YOUR HOUSE, AND ONE IN YOUR CAR. BUT I WOULD RECOMMEND AT LEAST OWNING ONE.

IF YOU FOUND THIS POST USEFUL PLEASE LIKE, SUBSCRIBE, AND IF MOVED TO, USE THE LINKS BELOW. YOU GET A GREAT ITEM, AND THIS BLOG EARNS A FEW WELCOME PENNIES TO KEEP THE PROVERBIAL LIGHTS ON. 🙂 .

 

 

 

 

CLICK ON THE IMAGES FOR MORE DETAILS OR TO ORDER.

Amazon Prime DEAL of the Day!

Alberto Breccia is recognized as one of the greatest international cartoonists in the history of comics and Mort Cinder is considered one of his finest achievements. Created in collaboration with the Argentine writer Héctor Germán Oesterheld, best known in the U.S. for his politically incendiary sci-fi masterpiece, the Eisner Award-winning The Eternaut, Mort Cinder is a horror story with political overtones. This episodic serial, written and drawn between 1962–1964, is drawn by Breccia in moody chiaroscuro. The artist’s rubbery, expressionistic faces capture every glint in the eyes of the grave robbers, sailors, and slaves that populate these stories; while the slash of stripes of prisoners’ uniforms, the trapeziums of Babylon, and more create distinct and evocative milieus.—Amazon

 

One thing that does not come across when reading about this book, or even seeing pictures of it, is the actual build of this book. I absolutely love the build and feel of this book. It is a cushiony hardcover quite unlike any other hardcover I have come across.

Being a Bibliophile, a lover of books, when I come across a uniquely designed book, whether it is James Jeans REBUS, or the ABSOLUTE ALAN MOORE SWAMP THING, or Boom Studios THE SIGNATURE ART OF BRIAN STELFREZE or Morpheus International’s THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI or Dark Horse’s FRANKENSTEIN by Bernie Wrightson, said book is something that gives me great enrichment to peruse, to view, to read, to flip through, to own and have on my shelf; not just as a container for something that can be recreated digitally, but as an art object, in and of itself, that cannot be recreated digitally.

Fantagraphics books’ MORT CINDER brilliantly designed by Jacob Covey, is one of those must own books. And it can currently be purchased at a, quite frankly, deal of a price, for under $30. Try picking up some of the books I list above for $30 now, and you will understand the value of picking up MORT CINDER sooner rather than later.

Click on the image above to get your copy today!

Streaming Movies of the Day : Amazon Prime Hits and Misses!

NOT WORTH FINISHING:

Mark Heap, Sean Verey, Danny Kirrane, David Mumeni, and Timothy Renouf in Fubar (2018)

GOOD:

It stumbles in the 3rd act, but most of it keeps your attention, and plays initially like a smarter and less gory SAW.

GREAT:

Riveting and dangerous and endlessly surprising viewing experience. A great debut feature film by writer, director Marvin Choi, and marvelously performed by Darnel Powell and Joseph Price. All of these men, are talents to watch. Grade: B+. Highly Recommended.

Streaming Channel of the Day : KANOPY and 3 Movies to Try!

 

So I have been a Kanopy viewer for a few months now, and I really like the service. It is free as long as you have a participating Library, and you get a huge range of films to choose from. Tons of stuff that you will not find on Netflix or Disney or Hulu.

I’m a huge fan of classic and silent films, and this channel is a home run, if you are such a fan. Now if you do not like classic films, or black and white films, or foreign films, this channel may not be for you. While it does offer some recent films, such as the recent Dafoe/Pattinson LIGHTHOUSE, the strength of this channel is its huge catalog of classic and world cinema films, that you otherwise would have to pay for to view.

Great classic films from FLICKER ALLEY to KINO to CRITERION to the BFI, is the draw of the KANOPY channel.

Now there are some drawbacks to the service. You get to watch 15 items per month – yay! But you only get to watch 15 items per month – Boo!

But generally I have other demands on my time in a month so while I think offering 20 or 25 titles a month is more reasonable,  15 titles viewed, I can generally stretch it out and make it work.

However, what really  bugs me with KANOPY is, if you start a film but do not finish it, and come back later in the month to view it, that finishing the same film—gets counted again, as a new viewing. IT IS INFURIATING!!

It is not always consistent with this double dipping, but it does it enough to be annoying. I do not think I have had a single month of KANOPY usage that I actually got to watch 15 distinct films. The most I think I have managed is 12 or 13 films, before they cut you off telling you you have reached your 15 viewing limit. GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

So while I like the service, there are definite bugs in it that make it infuriating.

That said, even when you get cut off after ‘reaching’ the 15 title limit, you are however able to watch a small library of their credit free films, all documentaries as far as I’ve seen.

Okay so July has just started, here are the titles I  have so far tried this month:

Archangel (1990)Guy Maddin’s 1990 film ARCHANGEL. I wanted to start with his first feature TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL, which was on KANOPY’s service last month, however it is no longer on KANOPY this month. So another note regarding KANOPY, movies can disappear anytime, so watch the ones you are most excited for first. As far as ARCHANGEL, I have tried a previous Maddin film, so I was aware he would be an acquired taste. 15 minutes into this film, and it is clear, it is not going to happen with this film. I understand being strange for strange sake, I’ve watched TETSUO and the works of Lynch, but I think above all you have to be interesting and good. And the first 15 minutes of this film do not strike me as either. I may try and finish this film later, but it won’t be this month. Don’t want to risk losing another KANOPY viewing on this film. I’m thinking I am going to give his 1992 film, CAREFUL, a try, and hopefully that works better for me than his films to-date.

L’INHUMAINE- this silent film is living up to its description. The score is fantastic, and story-line pretty riveting. With the slight exception, the titular star hardly seems the great beauty that giants of industry and kings, would be moved to throw themselves at. But that casting curiosity aside, a very good film. Wonderful set design and visuals. At its making it was a monumental undertaking and it shows. It is an art deco masterpiece in more ways than one. This one I’m going to pick up the Blu-ray for. I am that impressed by it.

 

Confusion Na Wa (2013)CONFUSION NA WA(2013)- I just discovered this film and it is my movie of the day. See my separate review on it. It is that good!

 

p.s. And if you like this blog, support this blog, by  supporting and patronizing the sponsor link below. There is a great sale on posters going on. Thanks!

 

GREAT DEALS OF THE DAY!

 

The Return of WEDNESDAY’S WORDS: Must own books for week ending 31 May 2020

First, yes Wednesday’s Words is back— and I’m writing this on a Monday.

Get over it. 🙂

For those of you who don’t know what Wednesday’s Words was/is— do a search on this blog, and you’ll pull up the old editions. In a nutshell WEDNESDAY’S WORDS is where I tell you about writers and books I love. See — it is that simple.

Now into the mix!!!

Guys I told you like a year ago to pick up the Wolverston Bible, back then you could have bought it for like $40. Those of you who listened to me are quite happy, as to pick that book up now is $100 to $200.

The below books are others, that are either going to sell out, have a high chance of leaving amazon except for the digital version, or generally when they are gone, it will be a long stretch between reissues — if ever. And more than anything, all these books just deserve to be on your bookshelf. You are supporting great books, by great writers.

Never buy a book for appreciation value, buy a book because you want it for your bookshelf. However it does not hurt to also choose books that tend to, at the very least, over the long haul, hold their value. I’m talking about books like THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI that went from a $20 book when new– to now ,years later, being sold out and commanding $100 to $200… the same with the WRIGHTSON’S FRANKENSTEIN HC. So if you do, down the road decide you no longer want the book, you are going to at least get your $20 out of it.

Now nothing is guaranteed, as the stock market clearly shows us, but buying for enjoyment, and also being able to, when you choose, liquidate that item— that is a win-win. And the fact that you did get to enjoy the book, means you have got your purchase price out of it; even if you only sell it for a $1 down the road, you have done great. A great book, gives you your Money’s worth and then some. :).

And if you do use the below links to purchase, I would be appreciative; as the links generate very appreciated pennies for this site.

Okay onto this installment’s selections:

 

The Goon Vol. 1: Bunch of Old Crap, an Omnibus (The Goon (2019-)) by [Eric Powell] https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61F1yjYVDNL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgEric Powell is one of my favorite comic book creators, and i think his THE GOON series is genius, if you can afford to get the out of print Dark Horse editions go for it. But I think just insuring you pick up his affordable softcover reprint editions is a great idea. But his hardcover artbook is absolutely essential. A must own to be placed beside the stunning THE ART OF BRIAN STELFREEZE.

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Full disclosure I am a huge fan of Derrick Ferguson, and I know him, so I’m completely biassed here, but I love his work. And thing is, i am biassed on all the things I recommend. I love these books, and movies, and cds and objects that cry out to be added to my bookshelf, and I have no problem telling you that. :). This particular title, Amazon is starting to do that frightening thing — where it seems inventory is taking longer and longer to get out to people, so grab this one while still in stock.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/618qwUx17YL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgWhen you look at the racist caricatures people were doing in strips and comics for the first 3rd of the 20th century, by creators like Eisner and Windsor McKay, it is a tendency for people today to try and excuse it by saying “oh it was the times’ –no, it was a choice. Mac Raboy, golden age artist extraordinaire, lived in those self same times, yet his depictions of people of color were not those stereotypes.

Then as now, it is not the times that define our choices, it is our choices that define our times. I have been waiting years, for a great hardcover on this under-known golden age great. And though what I really want to see is an oversized collection of all his comic book stories, this artist overview is also welcome, and will go beside my Matt Baker book. As of this writing book is down to 17 copies on Amazon, this is one I’m going to pick up two copies of. One for me and one as a gift.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51vALLVZz8L._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgGuys this is not a cheap book. Selling on Amazon for about $90 currently, which is still less than cover price. If you have not picked this up, pick it up. Because when this item sells out (and it will, this is the 2nd printing) it is going to do exactly the same thing as the first printing. It’s going to become very hard to afford on the secondary market. For a long time before this latest printing this was a $200 book. So if you have an interest in this, get it while still in-stock.

 

That is it. I didn’t know i was bringing back Wednesday’s Words until the end of this installment. The post started as something else, but by the end of it I realized, like John Wick— “Yeah, I guess i’m back.” 🙂

If you enjoy this post you know what to do, like, subscribe and support by using the links. Thanks, and till next time— be well!!!

Blu-Rays to own in the Age of STREAMING : Alex Ross’ UNIVERSAL MONSTERS Steelbooks!

Here are all the Universal Steel-book Blu-rays done with Alex Ross art, all listed in chronological order. Starting from 1931’s DRACULA to 1954’s CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON!!! Look at that art!!!

 

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I have loved the Universal Monster movies since i was a kid, watching the films on tv. Have owned them in various formats, HOWEVER These Alex Ross Blu-Ray Steel-book Versions are the ultimate way to own these essential titles.

I AM HOPING THEY COME OUT WITH A VOLUME TWO, THAT INCLUDES TITLES LIKE ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, THE BLACK CAT, MURDERS IN THE ZOO, ETC.

BUT AS FAR AS THESE EXISTING ONES, THEY ARE beginning to sell out. A month ago you could have picked them all up.  now? well i would say if you are interested pick them up today while they are still all in stock. get them here!