BOOK OF THE DAY: GRAHAM MASTERTON’s FESTIVAL OF FEAR! Plus Food poisoning and hamburgers!

So I almost returned Graham Masterton’s short story collection FESTIVAL OF FEAR to the library, relatively unread. The reason being the first story, PRESS, was just not grabbing me.

It felt very opaque, I couldn’t get into it. A short story, the first couple pages I just found incredibly un-engaging, and found myself rereading them to try to get into the story.

So I was all set to just call it a day, as I have no shortage of books on my towering ‘to-read’ pile, awaiting my attention; so there’s very little reason to force myself to plow through a book that is not grabbing me. However, for whatever reason when I went to take the book back, it ended up coming back home with me.

I think the Library (greatest human invention) was closed. So getting back home, I finally gave that first story a full reading, managing to finish it this time, and it, PRESS, wasn’t great by any stretch of the imagination, ending with one of those ‘O’Henry’ type puns. However, while not great, it was… good. And I do appreciate a good pun.

The second story, THE BURGERS OF CALAIS, was even better, far more insidious and smart, but likewise ended with an almost groan inducing pun, one so old it should creak. But rather than put me off, the seemingly irreverent, tongue-in-cheek nature of the writing… I felt growing on me. And coming as it did right before my bout with food poisoning, the story now seems particularly apt.

So two stories in, FESTIVAL OF FEAR is today’s book of the day. I’ll keep you gals and gorillas apprised as I work my way through the rest. But for right now it is recommended!

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(The squeamish should avoid the following! You have been warned!)

Regarding the food poisoning, since I said I would mention it, here’s the 2cent version.

To be brief, a hole in the wall pizzeria, 2 slices of cheese pizza, the usual shady/sundry counter types who you are trusting to be clean enough to actually touch/prepare food, and someone who obviously wasn’t clean enough. My body is pretty much well tuned, so to be not too involved, I’m regular and efficient as a swiss clock.

Uhhh, I’ll never look at Swiss clocks the same way again. 🙂

Meaning I’m in and out with precision (how did we get on this subject?). The trains must Roll!!!!

So I don’t get the idea of people who spend enough time in the bathroom that they have time to read.

What the heck is that about?! If you’re on the toilet that long, you need to get yourself checked.

Plus I think any paper in your bathroom should only be for flushing, otherwise it’s nothing but a germ collector going from hand to hand. Could there be anything more disgusting than reading material sitting in a bathroom, use after use, bowel movement after bowel movement, flush after flush?

Answer: No there’s nothing more disgusting. 🙂

You want to read that’s what a bloody library, or your bedroom, or a living room couch is for. Reading material should not be in the bloody bathroom!

SAVAGES!!!!

🙂 (Yes, I am evil)

Anyhow all that to say, when something disagrees with me I notice, and there is no guesswork involved. I think a lot of people don’t listen to their bodies, and they accept as normal, reactions that are screaming to them… huge warnings in large brightly lit neon letters.

So yeah, needless to say that pizzeria joins a list of blacklisted places. a full list of which I’ll be happy to provide. Heh, heh heh!

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‘You’re right, Velma. It’s weird, but it’s not unusual for hamburger meat to be contaminated. In fact it’s more usual than unusual, which is why I never eat hamburgers.

‘I don’t know if I want to hear this, John.’

‘You should Velma. See — they used to have federal inspectors in every slaughterhouse, but the Reagan administration wanted to save money, so they allowed the meat-packing industry to take care of its own hygiene procedures. Streamlined Inspection System for Cattle, that’s what they call it — SIS-C.’

‘I never heard of that, John.’

‘Well, Velma, as an ordinary citizen you probably wouldn’t have. But the upshot was that when they had no USDA inspectors breathing down their necks, most of the slaughterhouses doubled their line speed, and that meant there was much more risk of contamination. I mean you can imagine a dead cow hanging up by its heels and a guy cutting its stomach open, and then heaving out its intestines by hand, which they still do, that’s a very skilled job, and if a gutter makes one mistake — floop! — everything goes everywhere, blood, guts, dirt, manure, and that happens to one in five cattle. Twenty percent.’

‘Oh, my God.’

‘Oh, it’s worse than that, Velma. These days, with SIS-C, meat-packers can get away with processing far more diseased cattle. I’ve seen cows coming into the slaughterhouse with abscesses and tapeworms and measles. The beef scraps they ship out for hamburgers are all mixed up with manure, hair, insects, metal filings, urine and vomit.’

‘You’re making me feel nauseous, John. I had a hamburger for supper last night.’

‘Make it your last, Velma. It’s not just the contamination, it’s the quality of the beef they use. Most of the cattle they slaughter for hamburgers are old dairy cattle, because they’re cheap and their meat isn’t too fatty. But they’re full of antibiotics and they’re often infected with E.coli and salmonella. You take just one hamburger, that’s not the meat from a single animal, that’s mixed up meet from dozens or even hundreds of different cows, and it only takes one diseased cow to contaminate thirty-two thousand pounds of ground beef.’

‘That’s like a horror story, John.’

‘You’re too right, Velma.’
—-THE BURGERS OF CALAIS by Graham Masterton

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Recommended Short Story of the Day: THE RED HOUSE by Robert McCammon!

“I tell you, that was a crazy week. Like I say, I don’t know why the color red bothered my dad so much;
maybe there’s a story in that too, but all I know is that my dad started climbing the walls.

It took everything he had to open the front door in the morning and go to work, because the morning sunlight would lie on the walls of that red house and make it look like a four-alarm fire. And in the evening, the setting sunset lit it aflame from another direction. People started driving along Accardo Street–tourists, yet!–just to take a look at the gaudy thing!

Dad double-locked the doors and pulled the shades as if he thought the red house might rip itself off its foundations at night and come rattling across the street after him. Dad said he couldn’t breathe when he looked at that house, the awful red color stole the breath right out of his lungs, and he started going to bed early at night with the radio tuned to a baseball game and blaring right beside his head.

But in the dark, when there was no more noise from the room where my mom and dad slept in their separate beds, I sometimes unlocked the front door and went out on the porch to stand in the steamy night. I wouldn’t dare tell my mom or dad, but… I liked the red house. I mean, it looked like an island of life in a gray sea.

For a hundred years there had been only gray houses on Accardo Street, all of them exactly the same, not a nail or a joint different. And now this.

I didn’t know why, but I was about to find out in a big way.

… I heard my mom and dad talking out there. His voice was loud, but I couldn’t make out what he was
saying; then, gradually, his voice settled down. I lay on my bed and stared at a crack in the ceiling that I’d
seen a million times. And I wondered why I’d never tried to patch it up in all those years. I wasn’t a kid
anymore; I was right on the edge of being a man. No, I hadn’t patched that crack because I was waiting for
somebody else to do it, and it was never going to get done that way.”

—The Red House by Robert McCammon-from his excellent collection BLUE WORLD. I highly recommend the audio book:Something Passed by: Stories from Blue World

What I am Reading: Saturday Selections

Well I got up with the sun still low in the horizon, I could see it from my window, and I grabbed a passel of books and my laptop, parked my chair where the sun would hit it, and set out to combine reading with updating this blog.

So what was on my read list?

Imaro
I’m rereading Charles Saunder’s IMARO VOL I. I’m on chapter one, great read.

The Spider Chronicles SC (New Printing)
I’m reading for the first time the 2007 Moonstone Anthology THE SPIDER CHRONICLES edited by Joe Gentile.  It consists of 19 short stories by some great writers. Among them Steve Englehart, Chuck Dixon, Martin Powell, Ron Fortier and others.

Reading the fun introduction by Comic Book legend Denny O’Neil.  And the first story, Martin Powell’s CITY OF THE MELTING DEAD, takes you right into the action, with a very cinematic tale of the Master of Men.

The Spider: City of Doom (Spider (Baen Books))
Continuing the Spider love, a pulp character I was not familiar with (beyond reference to him as a poor man’s Shadow) I also picked up the 2009 Baen publishing paperback THE SPIDER: CITY OF DOOM.  It’s actually a 600 page paperback omnibus, that is comprised of three Spider novels, namely: THE CITY DESTROYER, THE COUNCIL OF EVIL and THE FACELESS ONE, written by Norvell Page. I had some trepidation going into these novels based on some reviews on Norvell Page’s writing, but I’ve decided to see for myself. So wish me luck. 🙂

“If you’ve read any of Norvell Page’s Spider series, you recall he took what was meant to be a simple imitation of the Shadow and immediately swerved left to careen through Crazy Town with it. Those stories are so over the top that I used to put them down sometimes for a “What the hell” moment…. it’s difficult to overstate how whacky and exciting they are. On the other hand, don’t expect a neat tidy resolution at the end. This isn’t Ellery Queen, where every detail fits together perfectly. Page apparently made it up as he went, starting plot threads he completely forgot and taking off in different directions halfway through. You’d have to read the stories to fully understand what I mean, but reading a Norvell Page Spider story is like being in a car hurtling down a mountainside in the wintertime, the brakes out and the driver unconscious and some sort of large animal growling in the seat behind you. That’s THE SPIDER.”— Dr. Hermes Live Journal

Alan Moore’s Neonomicon
I also picked up the graphic novel NEONOMICON by Alan Moore, Jacen Burrows, and Antony Johnston (yet once again, I’ve been hoodwinked by ‘positive’ Amazon reviews, by reviewers with no taste or sense). 

It’s something I’m immediately sorry I bought. Mainly because it starts off with the exceedingly unpleasant, needlessly slur and epitaph laden, and pretty poorly written THE COURTYARD by Antony Johnston off of a Moore story/script. I’m not really interested in listening to a bigoted sob go on endlessly (the protagonist of the book), if that’s my thing I’d just listen to Fox news all the time. :). Also while I appreciate publisher Avatar bringing us esoteric and adult books, their art leaves a bit to be desired. I’m not a fan of their artists, in this case that would be Jacen Burrows.

So yeah, add a story I don’t like with art I don’t like, and this equals me not being a fan of THE COURTYARD at all. The fact that THE COURTYARD takes up half the book, means by the time I get to the NEONOMICON story, I’m so soured on the book I just don’t care. But I drag myself through it and you know what, I’m sorry I wasted the effort. A lot has been made of the sex, and violence and racism, yada yada yada. But really the book is defined by two words I had hoped not to associate with Alan Moore… boring and stupid.

Being a fan of much of Moore’s 80s and 90s work (even into the 2000s, I think his FROM HELL is one of his best works, right up there with WATCHMEN), it gives me no pleasure to say the following. Moore’s NEONOMICON, his love letter to HP Love craft, is just inane, pathetic writing from a writer who had been one of the best. And I’ve lost all respect for The Bram Stoker committee for giving an award to this title. Best Graphic Novel of the year?!! Did they just see the names Moore and Lovecraft, and decide this must be literary? Are you on Crack?! What a load of crap! NEONOMICON comes across as the bland, pedestrian work of a hack. And that’s a shame to have to say. But it’s the gospel. It’s not worth buying people, it is not even worth renting. This book is getting returned.

Silent Hill: Past Life
Now a graphic novel I’m reading that I do like quite a bit is SILENT HILL PAST LIFE from a company called IDW that is just exploding onto the comics/graphic novel scene. Written by Tom Waltz the story is capable but the selling point is the sublime art by Menton 3. It’s very reminiscent of the multi-media effects that David Mack is known for. Few pages in and very happy with the book so far.

Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes
And finally one I’m several chapters into is Andrew E.C. Gaska’s CONSPIRACY OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Initially when I ordered this book I thought I was getting a graphic novel, and was a bit put off to discover this was a prose novel, with spot and occasional full page illustrations.

But that reluctance was short lived once I started reading it. Gaska’s CONSPIRACY OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is GREAT!! I’m not even a Planet of the Apes fan, but was just enthralled by Gaska’s engrossing re-imagining of this well known story. I should finish it today, as it will probably take precedence over everything else.

One more thing on this book from publisher Archaia Press, it comes with a beautiful slipcover by living legend Jim Steranko, but once you take off that slipcover, underneath is this sumptuous faux leather book, with gorgeous patining and typography. Call me a twisted bibliophile but the feel of this book is grand. It feels like… luxury. Try and get that aesthetic from your digital book. :). This is definitely a writer to watch.

So that’s what I’ve been reading this bright Saturday. What about you gals and guys? Feel free to leave comments about your recommended reads today. Thanks!!

p.s. If you like the books I mention and are interested in purchasing, definitely use the handy-dandy links provided. Come’on guys I know how many of you view these posts, and it’s a good number, however people clicking on the links has dropped a bit, even as the number of viewers has increased. So gals and guys support the blog, by buying stuff you were intending to buy anyhow. Using the links makes a huge difference, and is a win-win situation for everyone. So Thanks in advance! 🙂

BOOKS ON THE HOT SEAT: Dave Mckean’s PICTURES THAT TICK vs Stephen King’s NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES

As always I’m reading several books at the same time. Things will slow down when I’m dead. :). In the meantime…

So here’s a bit of feedback on a couple I’ve been reading:

Dave Mckean’s PICTURES THAT TICK- Dave Mckean is a great artist, and quite a good writer in his own right as anyone who owns his magnum opus CAGES will attest. I’ll know I’ve found the love of my life when I find a girl who wants to stay up all night, sipping cocoa, listening to Sonny Rollins, kissing softly and taking turns reading CAGES. Awwwwwww…

Yeah… isn’t that sweet. I want to throw up too. 🙂

But yeah, suffice to say, PICTURES THAT TICK is no CAGES. It’s a book you really have to be in the mood for to get anything out of. I find, having lived with it for a couple weeks, I just don’t find myself interested in it.

Your mileage may vary.

I’m hard pressed to find one story in the whole book i even like.

Next up….

I jumped all over Stephen King for his short story collection JUST AFTER SUNSET, well I have to report that several stories in, I’m far happier with his earlier collection NIGHTMARES AND DREAMSCAPES.

I have the audio book and it is read by a bevy of personalities from Whoopi Goldberg to Tim Curry to Rob Lowe, etc. One of the highlights so far being his creeping evil story CROUCH END, just brilliantly read by Tim Curry (who will always be the best Sheriff of Nottingham in my favorite version of ROBIN HOOD, as well as PennyWorth the Clown in King’s IT mini-series). It’s one of those examples of a great reading helping to elevate something that may or may not sing quite as well on the page.

I’d recommend picking the audio book up, a huge monstrous thing, for that story alone.

Now get to reading or audio book listening. 🙂

MONARCHS OF MAYHEM April LineUp!!

I’m really happy to bring you guys over the next week and weeks… incredible insights into some of the industries premier talents and creators.

I provided a questionnaire, that was suitably HEROIC TIMES insane and some amazing writers and artists picked up the gauntlet and made time in their VERY busy schedules to provide you, lucky reader, with must-read responses!

I’ve read some of the responses. WoW. They are pretty darn great! As well as being intriguing looks at each creator, they also introduce you to their loves and influences and recommendations. It’s just fantastic stuff from some of the most exciting creators of pulp and weird fiction.

So far we’ve done MONARCHS OF MAYHEM interviews with LR Giles, Derrick Ferguson, and Maurice Broaddus. Applause to all of the writers for their time and their wit,

Here’s the schedule for the writers coming up in the next couple weeks:

RICHARD GAVIN 3 April 2012

DAVID ANTHONY DURHAM 10 April 2012

RON FORTIER 17 April 2012

WRATH JAMES WHITE 24 April 2012

Additional writers and interview dates will be posted as they are ready.

Also the nest WEDNESDAY WORDS is 4 April 2012. Yep that does not leave me a lot of time.

So lots of great content coming up.

Mark the dates down, and come back and have some fun! And if you can, please utilize the links in previous WEDNESDAY WORDS segments to a/get great stuff and b/help support this blog. Every referral penny keeps the doors of Casa Heroic Times open. Thanks!

Book Face Off: Massey’s DARK DREAMS vs King’s JUST AFTER SUNSET

This week’s Book Face Off is Stephen King’s JUST AFTER SUNSET vs Brandon Massey’s DARK DREAMS.

There really is no competition here between the two collections of short stories. Stephen King when on, can write like a force of nature.

But in JUST AFTER SUNSET, Stephen King is not on.

Story after story fizzles against each other to create a collection that underwhelms. There’s a sense in these King stories, as in some of King’s novels, the sense of padding. Of words poured on just to have words, and the gist of the story stalled, till the mandatory word count is reached.

It makes for something of a chore to get through. The best way to describe the effect of JUST AFTER SUNSET is tedium. It’s a tedious, tedious read. One belabored story followed by another.

Thankfully Brandon Massey’s DARK DREAMS Anthology, while having its shares of misses (Kalamu ya Salaam’s story being one of the most egregious), on the whole is as fresh as JUST AFTER SUNSET is routine. DARK DREAMS’ pages are filled with enough strange, evocative and varied stories of the sinister and the savage; to make it a far more satisfying read throughout.

And I strongly recommend the almost sold out DARK DREAMS unabridged audio book read by a variety of great performers. A nice compliment to the paperback. Check it out here: Dark Dreams : A Collection of Horror and Suspense Unabridged Audio Book CD

WEDNESDAY WORDS! TOP 20 BOOKS OF THE WEEK!

HEROIC TIMES Top 20 Books list is a new weekly installment that ranks the 20 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.

Feel free to leave feedback comments below, or suggest additions or subtractions. And if interested in purchasing please use the attached links. Every purchase through those links, is you helping to support this blog. Now without further ado:

Emperor Mollusk versus the Sinister Brain [Hardcover] by A. Lee Martinez- Emperor Mollusk- Intergalactic Menace. Destroyer of Worlds. Conqueror of Other Worlds. Mad Genius. Ex-Warlord of Earth.Not bad for a guy without a spine.But what’s a villain to do after he’s done . . . everything. With no new ambitions, he’s happy to pitch in and solve the energy crisis or repel alien invaders should the need arise, but if he had his way, he’d prefer to be left alone to explore the boundaries of dangerous science. Just as a hobby, of course.

Retirement isn’t easy though. If the boredom doesn’t get him, there’s always the Venusians. Or the Saturnites. Or the Mercurials. Or . . . well, you get the idea. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s also the assassins of a legendary death cult and an up-and-coming megalomaniac (as brilliant as he is bodiless) who have marked Emperor for their own nefarious purposes. But Mollusk isn’t about to let the Earth slip out of his own tentacles and into the less capable clutches of another. So it’s time to dust off the old death ray and come out of retirement. Except this time, he’s not out to rule the world. He’s out to save it from the peril of THE SINISTER BRAIN!

And Their Memory Was a Bitter Tree – As one of the three most important American pulp fantasy authors of the 1930s (with Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith), Robert E. Howard captivated readers with his indomitable, battle-scarred barbarian hero Conan. Though Howard’s life ended prematurely in 1936 at the age of 30, Conan lives on as one of the genre’s most enduring icons. This beautifully designed collection contains nine essential Conan stories along with a full-length Conan novel. Also included is The Hyborean Age, Howard’s fascinating history of the raw, blood-drenched world Conan inhabited, an alternative Earth that preceded Tolkien’s Middle Earth. And Their Memory Was a Bitter Tree features a color map of this realm and an interior painting by cult artist Brom, along with a series of Frank Frazetta’s seminal Conan paintings, appearing for the first time with the stories for which they were created.

Creepy Presents Richard Corben [Hardcover]- Over 300-pages of timeless terror from a master storyteller! Horror comics visionary and coloring pioneer Richard Corben has been a voice of creativity and change for over four decades. For the first time ever, Corben’s legendary Creepy and Eerie short stories and cover illustrations are being collected into one deluxe hardcover! With an informative foreword by artist and comic-book colorist Jose Villarrubia – who also provides color restoration – this volume features Richard Corben’s original stories, Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, and collaborations with comic-book writers Bruce Jones, Bill DuBay, Doug Moench, Gerald Conway, and others! – I love the art and stories of Richard Corben, particularly from this period. And to have 300 pages of it collected in one place in Hardcover format? Sign me up. The output of Dark Horse Publishing continues to be top notch and abundant. And this is another winner from them..

Caravaggio: The Complete Works – Hardcover: 306 pages. Publisher: TASCHEN America Llc (December 1, 2009)Language: English, ISBN-10: 383650183X, ISBN-13: 978-3836501835, Product Dimensions: 19 x 13 x 2.2 inches

Negative Space– As an artistic device, ?negative space? refers to an artist?s rendering of a subject by relying on the space that surrounds the subject to provide shape and meaning. Of course, the term also refers to any topic that conjures feelings of unease and discomfort. Furthering the partnership begun with the publication of Guess Who? internationally acclaimed illustrator Noma Bar has compiled his newest collection of work, Negative Space.

Art of the Modern Movie Poster: International Postwar Style and Design [Hardcover]- Critically authoritative, visually stunning, and physically massive, Art of the Modern Movie Poster is the first and last word on post-WWII film poster design. Showcasing fascinating examples from 15 nations, this collection of more than 1,500 exemplary designs is a must-have for film buffs, design and poster aficionados alike. The posters are organized by country of origin, offering an intriguing glimpse into each region’s unique visual sensibility and sometimes unexpected takes on familiar films. Gathered from the renowned collection of the Posteritati Gallery in New Yorkone of the largest holdings of international film posters in the worldthis volume is the definitive survey of both film and popular graphic art in the modern era.

Black Seas of Infinity: The Best of H.P. Lovecraft [Hardcover]- The book is 536 pgs and contains 19 stories. Also includes the following: Introduction by editor Andrew Wheeler by Lovecraft. Appendix A-History of the Necronomicon by Lovecraft. Appendix B-Notes on Writing Weird Fiction by Lovecraft. Appendix C-Some Notes on Nonentity. Appendix D: Chronology of the Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft

Parallel Tracks: The Railroad and Silent Cinema – In wide-ranging and provocative analyses of dozens of silent films—icons of film history like The General and The Great Train Robbery as well as many that are rarely discussed—Kirby examines how trains and rail travel embodied concepts of spectatorship and mobility grounded in imperialism and the social, sexual, and racial divisions of modern Western culture. This analysis at the same time provides a detailed and largely unexamined history of the railroad in silent filmmaking. Kirby also devotes special attention to the similar ways in which the railroad and cinema structured the roles of men and women. As she demonstrates, these representations have had profound implications for the articulation of gender in our culture, a culture in some sense based on the machine as embodied by the train and the camera/projector. Ultimately, this book reveals the profound and parallel impact that the railroad and the cinema have had on Western society and modern urban industrial culture. Parallel Tracks will be eagerly awaited by those involved in cinema studies, American studies, feminist theory, and the cultural study of modernity.

Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology [Paperback] by Milton J. Davis (Editor), Charles R. Saunders (Editor)- Publication Date: August 7, 2011- Magic. Myth. Warfare. Wonder. Beauty. Bravery. Glamour. Gore. Sorcery. Sensuality. These and many more elements of fantasy await you in the pages of Griots, which brings you the latest stories of the new genre called Sword and Soul. The tales told in Griots are the annals of the Africa that was, as well as Africas that never were, may have been, or should have been. They are the legends of a continent and people emerging from shadows thrust upon them in the past. They are the sagas sung by the modern heirs of the African story-tellers known by many names – including griots. Here, you will meet mighty warriors, seductive sorceresses, ambitious monarchs, and cunning courtesans. Here, you will journey through the vast variety of settings Africa offers, and inspires. Here, you will savor what the writings of the modern-day griots have to offer: journeys through limitless vistas of the imagination, with a touch of color and a taste of soul.

Omens[Hardcover]Richard Gavin- Omens is a collection of twelve haunting tales by Richard Gavin, whose work is reminiscent of the subtle supernatural tales of Robert Aickman, and also of the eerie and unsettling tales of Thomas Ligotti. — I like collections. I think the short story format can, when done well, offer variety and freshness, that can sometimes be hard to sustain over the course of a novel. Some of our most acclaimed writers, those who remain relevant generations on, Poe, Lovecrat, Howard, etc., do so because of their short stories. Because of their ability to in scant words get to the heart of a story and of ourselves. Richard Gavin does that in these stories, that while it has beeen alluded to Aickman or Ligotti, the stories are more visceral than Aickman and more satisfying than Ligotti, are uniquely Richard Gavin.

An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers[Paperback]- This book offers a sneak peak into the wildly creative imaginations of 50 top illustrators, designers and artists. Included are sketchbook pages from R. Crumb, Chris Ware, James Jean, James Kochalka, and many others. In addition, author Danny Gregory has interviewed each artist and shares their thoughts on living the artistic life through journaling. Watch artists – through words and images – record the world they see and craft the world as they want it to be. The pages of An Illustrated Life are sometimes startling, sometimes endearing, but always inspiring. Whether you’re an illustrator, designer, or simply someone searching for inspiration, these pages will open a whole new world to you.

The Green Hornet Chronicles[Paperback]- Introducing the long-awaited return of the Green Hornet and Kato, and their rolling arsenal, the Black Beauty! With his faithful valet Kato, Britt Reid, daring young publisher, matches wits with the Underworld, risking his life so that criminal and racketeers within the law may feel its weight by the sting of the Green Hornet. Featuring stories by the likes of Harlan Ellison, Greg Cox, and Robert Greenberger, The Green Hornet Chronicles is the first anthology featuring all-new, original crime fiction tales of the man who hunts the biggest of all game – public enemies that even the FBI can’t reach! — Harlan Ellison writing a Green Hornet story? Wrap it up, I’ll take it! 🙂

Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes[Hardcover]- Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes is the first-ever original novel set in the continuity of the classic 1968 movie. Conspiracy tells the story of what happened between the scenes of the first film, exploring the adventures of the Astronaut John Landon, Chimpanzee scientists Dr. Milo and Dr. Galen, and Gorilla Security Chief Marcus. Written by Andrew E.C. Gaska, and adapted from a story by Gaska, Rich Handley, Christian Berntsen and Erik Matthews, the book contains illustrations from the top talents in the industry, including: Jim Steranko, Andrew Probert, Timothy Lantz, Joe Jusko, Mark Texeira, Dave Dorman, Chris Scalf, Brian Rood, Chandra Free, Dan Dussault, Ken W. Kelly, Colo, David Hueso, Miki, Matt Busch, Dirk Shearer, Barron Storey, David Seidman, Sanjulian, Chris Moeller, Thomas Scioli, Scott Hampton, Leo Liebleman, Lucas Graciano, Erik Gist, and Patricio Carbajal.– Again not a PLANET OF THE APES devotee, but I’ve heard great things about this series, and the list of artists alone makes it worth a buy.

Wally Wood’s EC Stories Hardcover (Artist Edition, Volume 1) – IDW proudly presents WALLY WOOD’S EC STORIES: ARTIST’S EDITION, collecting more than a dozen complete stories by the great Wally Wood, plus an exceptional cover gallery. Each page is scanned from the original art, same size as drawn, and in full color (in insure the best possible reproduction). Since Wood’s originals were larger than modern size comic art, measuring 12 x 18 inches, plus the paper, this Artist’s Edition will be a GIGANTIC 15 x 22 inches! –

Okay I admit this installment is a bit artbook heavy, but these are what are galvanizing my attention this week. And the funny thing about artbooks is they have the annoying habit of selling out. IDW has released other books in their ‘Artist’s Edition’ series, I have no interest in them. But this… It’s over a 100 pages of Wally Wood’s scifi horror artwork of the 1950s.. at full size. Duh! Can you say no brainer? Outside of buying the original artwork for thousands per page, you’re not likely to see this. It’s an easy contender for art-book or art collectible of the year. The first printing is sold out, but IDW is releasing a new printing this June. At $125 it’s not cheap, but considering the first printing sold out in a matter of weeks and was commanding nearly $300, $125 isn’t looking that expensive. :). You can pre-order here or if you can’t wait till June get a first printing here: Wally Wood’s EC Stories Hardcover (Artist Edition, Volume 1)

CĂ©dric Delsaux: Dark Lens[Hardcover]- In Dark Lens, Delsaux transports Darth Vader and the whole gamut of Star Wars iconography to a post-apocalyptic, urban-suburban landscape of endless parking lots, highrises and wasteland interzones, vacant of ordinary human life. Delsaux’s “mythology of banality” (as he describes it) produces images that are not just funny or preposterous, but also weirdly compelling; in their photographic plausibility they successfully incorporate Star Wars into an everyday reality that we can all recognize, but in ways that make both worlds seem strangely real and absurdly false. Delsaux’s Dark Lens will captivate both film and photobook fans alike with its fantastically bizarre recasting of Star Wars on planet Earth after the apocalypse.–I don’t own a single Star Wars book. I’m not really a Star Wars guy. I like the movies well enough, but that’s as far as it goes. I’m not interested in making a mythology of them. So typically, most merchandising or books etc, I could care less. But this book works as an art book first, which is why I like it.

THE JAMES BOND OMNIBUS by Ian Fleming – James Bond, the world’s most famous secret agent, has thrilled audiences for over fifty years with his globe-trotting adventures. THE JAMES BOND OMNIBUS collects eleven of Ian Fleming’s original daily comic strips for the very first time in a mammoth omnibus edition.

DILLON AND THE LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN BELL by Derrick Ferguson – The author of The Nuclear Suitcase, Joel Jenkins, describes Dillon and the Legend of the Golden Bell as “James Bond meets Cthulhu” and you’ll want to check out this heady mixture of the spy thriller and horror genres.

THE ARTIST WITHIN by Greg Preston – The culmination of more than fifteen years of photography by renowned photographer Greg Preston, this book is a living history of the men and women who have shaped the imaginations of countless millions of people around the world through their work in the fields of animated cartoons, comic books, comic strips and editorial cartooning. The list of more than two hundred artists includes such luminaries as Frank Miller, Al Hirschfeld, Joe Barbera, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Moebius, Walter and Louise Simonson and many more, all in photographs exclusive and shot expressly for this book.

ATLAS OF HUMAN ANATOMY AND SURGERY by Jean-Marie Le Minor – Anatomically correct We owe a great debt to Jean Baptiste Marc Bourgery (1797?1849) for his Atlas of Anatomy, which was not only a massive event in medical history, but also remains one of the most comprehensive and beautifully illustrated anatomical treatises ever published in any language. In 1830, having received his doctorate in medicine three years prior, Bourgery began work on his magnificent atlas in cooperation with illustrator Nicolas Henri Jacob (1782?1871), a student of the French painter Jacques Louis David. The first volumes were published the following year, but completion of the treatise required nearly two decades of dedication. 15.5 lbs and 19.2″ x 12.6″ x 3.5″.714pgs.

THE SHADOWS GALLERY by L.R. Giles – You’ve been invited to the opening of a grand exhibition, a show unlike any you’ve ever seen. Inside you might find your greatest joy or your worst fear on display. But be warned, it can be difficult to tell which is which when you’re looking through the shadows… Award-winning author L.R. Giles brings forth a collection of tales that take you to the limits of imagination and beyond.

Well gals and guys hope you enjoyed that.

The WEDNESDAY WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list! And if you see items 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 the links generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!

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