MOST INTRIGUING BOOKS READ in 2015!

thetroop

THE TROOP- “The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn’t put it down. This is old school horror at its best. Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies, it’s a perfect gift for a winter.” –Stephen King. Stephen King is asked to give a lot of blurbs, and he gives a lot of cover blurbs, not all of which I agree with. This quote… I agree with. Short, choppy chapters makes the book easy and compulsive reading. Strongly Recommended.The Troop

darkcompanions DARK COMPANIONS- A simply essential 2012 compilation of the best horror stories of one of the best writers of the horrific and strange… Ramsey Campbell. Not all the stories are homeruns, NAPIER COURT in particular is a disappointment, but the successes of this collection outweigh the false notes. Stories such as MACKINTOSH WILLY, DOWN THERE, HEADING HOME,PROXY,OUT OF COPYRIGHT, THE INVOCATION, THE PATTERN, THE COMPANION are well worth the price of admission.

murderatcapethreepointsMURDER AT CAPE THREE POINTS (A DARKO DAWSON Mystery)- Kwi Quartey’s Ghana based mystery is a welcome change from the Swedish and Norwegian Noir that’s arguably over saturated the American market.Murder at Cape Three Points (A Darko Dawson Mystery)

TRASHED – by Derf Backderf is a biting, quirky, slightly deranged and beautifully drawn graphic novel, about a slacker who stumbles into the job of trashman. Trashed

BLACK COOL ONE THOUSAND STREAMS OF BLACKNESS -a collection of disarming essays about the varied experiences and definitions of Blackness. Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness

beatthereaperBEAT THE REAPER – Josh Bazell’s debut novel from 2009 is one of the most brilliant and enjoyable things I read in 2015. Alternatitely funny, and action packed. Beat the Reaper: A Novel

HOW BEST TO AVOID DYING – Owen Egerton’s story collection is an assortment of odd, weird, and deeply strange tales of characters at the far edges of precarious places. Delightly disturbed stories. How Best To Avoid Dying: Stories

watsonandholmesWATSON AND HOLMES A STUDY IN BLACK – A graphic novel riff on Doyle’s Holmes and Watson by Karl Boilers, Brandon Perlow, Paul Mendoza, Rick Leonardi, and Larry Stroman. Very entertaining pastiche to the Holmes mythos. Watson and Holmes – A Study In Black

halfaninchHALF AN INCH OF WATER – 2015 saw the release of this long awaited follow-up short story collection by prolific and superlative writer Percival Everett. Half an Inch of Water: Stories

foreigngods
FOREIGN GODS- Nigerian born writer Okey Ndibe’s FOREIGN GODS, INC quickly found a place among my must owns of 2015. Foreign Gods, Inc.

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FAVORITE TEN ART BOOKS !!! BOOK ONE — BEKSINSKI


In the roughly twenty plus years I have been serious about collecting art books, graduating from early love affairs with Dali and Rubens and Caravaggio, to the most recent SPECTRUM editions, I have been lucky enough to sample and own some of the best art books by the best artists.

I recently started to think in terms of a top ten list.

Not top ten artists, but the art books that if all my others were lost to time, as all things eventually are, the ten that I would put in a safe deposit or a time capsule or bequeath to the National Library of Congress the way Thomas Jefferson did with his book collection.

The ten PHYSICAL, TACTILE books (not digital kindle bits, but physical item that is made art by its form as much as its content) that I believe should endure for generations not yet born.

The first book that came to mind on my very prejudicial list, is one of my older art books, and one of my most loved.

fantasticartbeksinski

THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI – This 1998 book was my, and the world’s, introduction to polish artist, surrealist, fantasist Zdislaw Beksinski. Produced by short lived but stellar publisher MORPHEUS INTERNATIONAL, as a kid who had grown up loving both the surrealism of Dali and the Baroque/heroic realism of Peter Paul Rubens and Caravaggio I saw something brilliant and haunting and both new and old and transcendent in the work of this, at the time, unknown artist.

I became a cheerleader and reseller of that book, I was that enamored of it. Here 17 years later, 15 years into a new century, other and bigger tomes on Beksinski have been produced, but to Morpheus International’s credit, their eye for book design, and use of quality paper and binding, has not only stood the test of time, but remains the finest book on Beksinski ever produced, and currently the only one I recommended. Highest Recommendation!

Get your copy here:

The Fantastic Art of Beksinski (Masters of Fantastic Art) Hardcover

Than come back for my selection of nine other… of the most essential, innovative, and beautiful art books!

DEAL OF THE DAY : Spectrum 21 The Best in Fantastic Art Hardcover

DEAL OF THE DAY : Spectrum 21 The Best in Fantastic Art Hardcover

spectrum21

“The best-selling Spectrum series continues with this twenty-first lavishly produced annual. Challenging, controversial, educational, and irreverent, the award-winning Spectrum series reinforces both the importance and prevalence of fantastic art in today’s culture. With exceptional images by extraordinary creators, this elegant full-color collection showcases an international cadre of creators working in every style and medium, both traditional and digital. The best artists from the United States, Europe, China, Australia, South America and beyond have gathered into the only annual devoted exclusively to works of fantasy, horror, science fiction, and the surreal, making Spectrum one of the year’s highly most anticipated books.

Featured in SPECTRUM 21 are over 300 diverse visionaries, many of them world-renowned, including Paul Bonner, Donato Giancola, James Gurney, Iain McCaig, Shaun Tan, Sam Weber, Allen Williams. With art from books, graphic novels, video games, films, galleries, advertising and the fine arts, Spectrum is both an electrifying art book for fans and an invaluable resource for clients looking for bright new talent. The entire field is discussed in an invaluable, found-nowhere-else Year In Review. Contact information for each artist is included.

Often imitated, never equaled, SPECTRUM 21 continues the freshness and excellence that was established twenty years ago.” —Amazon.com

Spectrum 21: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art

DEAL OF THE DAY : Hall of History Bermuda’s Story in Art! 14″ by 14″ rare Art Book!


“The Hall of History – Bermuda’s own “Sistine Chapel”

‘The Hall of History’ is a larger than life mural by Bermudian artist, Graham Foster, to be found in The Commissioner”s House at the National Museum of Bermuda in Dockyard.

The two story, 1000 square foot interior mural depicts five centuries of Bermudian history, and took approximately 7,000 hours -over three years – to complete.”
—-BSOA.BM

hbermudacvr

 

On my recent trip to Bermuda, as can be imagined I saw many wonderful sights and sounds and toured many impressive places. One of the most striking is the Commissioner’s House, which offered some of the most beautiful views of the Island of Bermuda and the surrounding seas.

And not to be undone the interior of the Commissioner’s house held many Marvels both historic and cultural. Weapons of War and documents of peace, tales of soldiers who gave their last best measure, stories of slavery endured and triumphed over, and rooms lovingly adorned with books and art, going back to the early days of the seafaring age.

hbermudaint

And of the many Marvels to be seen in the Commissioner’s House one of the many impressive ones, is also one of the newest. A relatively recently commissioned mural, only 6 years of age as of this writing, that spans two stories and a thousand square feet, and five hundred years of Bermudian History. By local Artist Graham Foster his BERMUDA’S STORY IN ART is nothing short of a stellar marvel, that is to be ogled and awed at in person.

Walking up and down the two flights I loved it, and also knew I had not the time to truly grasp a fraction of the detail that Foster put into the work. It was too big, too immense, too esoteric in parts, it was the history of a nation distilled in paint and sweat and time.

hbermudaint2

Coming back from Bermuda, one of my great regrets was not picking up the art book, that was produced in 2011 (2 years after the murals opening) by the National Museum of Bermuda to give detail into Foster’s staggering work. Long unavailable, thankfully a few copies have become available on Amazon. I recently got one of them, and my verdict, on the massive 14″ by 14″, 200+ page book, written and annotated by Bermuda scholar Rosemary Jones in collaboration with artist Graham Foster is… it is a masterpiece. A work of art in its own right, to properly convey… the work of art of Foster’s Mural.

A fantastic addition to anyone’s library, whether a traveler, a bibliophile, or an art lover. Highest recommendation. Pick up your copy (if you are lucky) at the link below!

Hall of History Bermuda’s Story in Art

 

hbermudaint3

“Hall of History Mural Bermuda

If you love wall murals, this is the one you mustn’t miss in Bermuda. Hall of History is a 1000 square feet larger than life mural created by the Bermudian artist Graham Foster. You will find it in the Commissioner’s House located at the National Museum of Bermuda in Royal Naval Dockyard.

Graham started the work in 2005 and it took him 7,000 hours of research and painting to complete this mural over more than 3 years time. On November 2009, it was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen. At the time of opening, Graham had presented a painting “The Wreck of the Sea Venture” to the Queen. The mural depicts over 400 years of life in Bermuda and you will be able to see virtually everything that made a mark in the island over the past centuries.

Graham Foster’s Mural “Hall of History” is now captured in a 14″ x 14″ Coffee table book. It depicts the deep history and heritage of his murals with many high quality pictures of the mural. The text of the book has been written by Rosemary Jones. In case you are not able to spend enough time at the Commissioners House to absorb all the details of the mural personally, this hefty book can be a great possession to explore those details. It’s currently retailing for $65 and is available at the bookstores island wide.”
http://www.bermuda-attractions.com/bermuda_0002c4.htm

“Graham Foster is a Bermudian artist best known for his larger-than-life mural, ‘The Hall of History’ at the Bermuda Maritime Museum in Dockyard. The two storey, 1000 square foot interior mural depicts five centuries of Bermudian history, and took approximately 7000 hours [over three years] to complete.

Born in 1970, he is the son of physician Elizabeth Foster and Alec Foster. A professional artist since 1995, Mr. Foster was educated at The Bermuda College and The Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston.

His paintings tend to follow one of two directions – one inspired by Bermuda’s fish,flora,fauna, and people, captured in a characteristically surreal style,the other is looser and more expressionistic,often inspired by dreams and the subconscious.

He is a sculptor [primarily in welded steel] as well as a painter. In 2002, he became the first Bermudian artist to have a work purchased for the permanent collection of The Bermuda National Gallery, a welded steel triptych entitled ’21st Century Fetish Family’. Many of his sculptures are strongly influenced by Tribal Art.”
http://bernews.com/bermuda-profiles/graham-foster/

FAVORITE & THE BEST : Favorite July Podcasts! Part 1 of 2!

July’s FAVORITE podcasts Part 1 of 2!

B MOVIE CAST– A great 2+ hours of B-movie celebration. A long running and well enjoyed favorite, that I have praised for years, that I look forward to every week. Consistently one of the best!

COMIC GEEK SPEAK – One of the earliest podcasts and still one of the most popular and enjoyable, this one is a bunch of friends letting you in on their love of all things comics. With closing in on 1500 episodes, this show has seen many changes and many moments memorable and heartfelt. Dedicated to Jamie D, this show will always be one of the best.

FILM SPOTTING – One of the newer movie podcasts I’m trying, after the hiatus of a couple other movie podcasts.

FILM SPOTTING SUV – For those of us who have cut the cable bill and have embraced all things streaming this is an informative listen, keeping you abreast of the latest movies and shows to watch… courtesy of streaming.

HORROR ETC – Another long running show, this Canadian horror movie podcast is up there with B MOVIE CAST as being one of the best, while still being very unique. Always a highly recommended listen.

SIDEBAR – A trio of impressively versed art lovers, helm this excellent process show, with interviews and commentaries of some of the most acclaimed cartoonists, pencilers, painters, etc. A must have addition to anyone’s podcast rotation!

What’s Hot & What’s Not : What’s Worth Buying in Comics & Slims!

What’s Hot & What’s Not : What’s Worth Buying in Comics & Slims!

 

ACv3n13_cover-665x1024

MARVEL

What is worth buying Monthly: Al Ewing’s MIGHTY AVENGERS

Buy Here: https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=24597149&affid=200301p0

At 3.99 and up, and with stories that don’t lend themselves to satisfying stand-alone monthly reads, Marvel Comics for me have largely priced themselves out of the monthly or periodical business.

The only exception being Al Ewing’s MIGHTY AVENGERS, the only book by Marvel Comics I seek out on a monthly basis. And even then I pre-order that title so I end up not paying the outrageous $3.99 retail price. And once that title is no longer, I will go back to, happily, getting 0 periodicals from Marvel.

Don’t get me wrong, Marvel has some fantastic writers and artists, from Remender’s UNCANNY AVENGERS to Aaron’s THOR, however at nearly $4 a pop for advertising strewn monthlies, from a company that has the margins of scale to hold the line at 2.99 but simply choose not to, I can’t justify paying $4 and up for their monthly comics. Which you invest all that time in, and the story ends up being derailed by editorial or a weak conclusion. Much better way to sample Marvel, I have found, is to wait till the stories are collected, do your homework by checking the reviews, and using resources like Amazon or your local comic store or library to purchase the collected editions at a sizable discount.

DC

What is worth buying Monthly: ASTRO CITY and GREEN ARROW, and the upcoming GRAYSON has me interested as well! Buy Here:
https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=22331595&affid=200301p0
https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=24307845&affid=200301p0
https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=25854386&affid=200301p0

Everything I said for Marvel goes for DC, with the exception DC has of late had far fewer creators or titles I’m interested in sampling at all. I think they followed up the initial high of the New 52 with largely a lot of uninspired and direction-less characters and books. Their flagship titles such as JLA, Superman, Batman, due to too many cooks (editorial influence) and over-saturation of the characters across multiple titles, are largely unreadable. However in the titles that are one-offs and left alone in the periphery, such as GREEN ARROW and ASTRO CITY that tell self contained stories with characters that are the singular vision of one creative team, if DC can do more of this they can right their flailing ship. Have 1 JLA title, 1 Green Lantern title, and no more than 2 Batman or Superman titles, but staff them with exciting creative teams, and that lack of confusion right there is a start. Add to that if they have more such titles at the $2.99 price-point, they can attract readers rather than alienating them.

DARK HORSE

What is worth buying Monthly: MIND MGMT, THE MASSIVE, GHOST, DARK HORSE PRESENTS, THE GOON OOR, POP, and SUNDOWNERS

Buy your Copy Here: https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=22803281&affid=200301p0

When it comes to the smaller publishers I’m more forgiving in regards to price. They don’t have the scale to set prices as a Marvel and DC do, but still try to provide lower prices, and even when the prices are the same, smaller publishers such as Dark Horse excel in giving you more pages, less ads, extra material, including letters pages, and best of all books that are the unique vision of a distinctive creative team, not typically beholden to company wide editorial events. The books as a whole are more mature, able to offer something more than another reworking of decades old super-hero stories.

Dark Horse makes some of the best hardcovers and collected editions, and recently they have excelled at making some of the best monthly books.

Among them MIND MGMT, THE MASSIVE, GHOST, DARK HORSE PRESENTS, THE GOON OOR, POP, SUNDOWNERS and the recently ended Brian Wood’s STAR WARS. At over half a dozen titles, it for me is clearly a more interesting company with more interesting titles than either Marvel or DC.

IDW

What is worth buying Monthly: WEIRD LOVE
Buy it Here: https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=25619219&affid=200301p0

IDW makes great collected editions and art books. I’m less enamored of their monthly titles. One that does get my vote for solid entertainment month in and month out is WEIRD LOVE.

The last company to mention is IMAGE, and I left them for last because they are the best. I get more books from IMAGE than all the other companies combined. In part 2 of this installment we’ll devote it to covering all the great monthly books available from Image.

— to be continued–

 

 

Slims vs Comic Books! Diamond Preorders for books shipping July 2014!

The internet has made buying anything, a process far easier than I think we truly grasp. The technological leaps ahead that we have done in a few scant decades, taken for granted, underplayed and underacknowledged by a population seeking to numb itself from its horrors, by conversely meeting with jaded cynicism its wonders.

Reading is likewise much changed in the age of the atom.

This post particularly, concerns itself with reading slims (my name for the product hard-headedly referred to as a comic-book. Hardheadedly because it is neither typically humorous or a book).

The term ‘Slim’ poises it correctly as something periodic and sleek and a bit sexy and just as well suited for grownups as Dvds or books or paintings.

Today’s recommended Slims are:

Slims suffer from a bit of a distribution issue. For the most part you are not going to find them in the spinner racks of convenience stores any longer, nor in the big box superstores of say a Target or Walmart. So while Graphic Novels have never been more popular or influential in our society, the serialzed, periodic form of the Graphic Novel, the Slim, suffers from a visibity issue. They are hidden away for the most part in niche stores, called “direct market comic stores” that our misnomers that will not attract anyone but those already in the know, or nostalgia seekers.

It is an insular inbred model that does not shine its light beyond its own living room, and as such is not new reader friendly. Which is a shame, because as someone who has grown up with this oddest of hobbies and artforms, here in 2014 the width and breadth of story and art of the medium has never been better.

From scifi to mystery to historical drama to horror to humor to instructional to spy thriller, you name a genre and there is a writer, artist producing great work in this medium of Slims, of graphic literature.

That said there is, as in any medium, a lot of garbage out there, particularly in the most visible genre of Slims… the Superhero comic. A genre hampered by monopolistic collusion to the point the very term Super-hero has been jointly trademarked by the colluding companies of Marvel and DC. An idiotic trademark, attempting to own a term as much a part of the cultural venacular as God or myth or justice. But it is the choices of fawning to uncreative monopolistic interests that results in flooding the medium with a lot of noise, a lot of bad books.

The rising popularity of digital gives new options to find books, which is a great thing, however it also increases the odds that the books you come across will be bad, will be the noise rather than the signal.

And with Slims being $2.99 at best and $3.99 on the worse end, you can’t afford to experiment at this price point. This is no longer the day of 25cent comics, so each purchase of $2.99 or $3.99 has to justify itself. The $2.99 or $3.99 has to earn its value against a world rife with options from gaming to streaming to dvds to itunes to traditional books.

Which is why preordering is a pretty fantastic idea. Diamond is the monopoly that distributes Slims. Retailers order from them two months in advance. Customers like you and I preorder from Retailers. The benefit of preordering from your retailer… discounts of typically 35% to 40% off!!! WooHoo! Sign me up! :).

Now that said, that discount only means something if you’re ordering a great book. For a crappy book even getting 99% off is not reason enough to get the book.

So the following are books you can order by the end of May, at a discount, for July shipping. I’ve done the homework for you! 🙂

MAY140044
*
1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*1 FOR $1 MIND MGMT #1 (O/A)*
MAY140047
*
1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*1 FOR $1 STAR WARS (O/A) (C: 1-0-0)*
MAY140048
*
1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*1 FOR $1 THE MASSIVE #1 (O/A)*
MAY140050
*
1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*GOON OCCASION OF REVENGE #1 (OF 8) *Special Discount*
MAY140010
*
1 @ $1.75 = $1.75*GHOST #6*
MAY140062
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*GREAT PACIFIC #18 (MR)*
MAY140707
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*MANIFEST DESTINY #8*
MAY140712
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*MERCENARY SEA #6*
MAY140713
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #2 (MR)*
MAY140719
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*REVIVAL #22 (MR)*
MAY140723
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*SAGA #21 (MR)*
MAY140726
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*STAR WARS #19 2013 ONGOING (C: 1-0-0)*
MAY140085
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*WALKING DEAD #129 (MR)*
MAY140744
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*SIMPSONS COMICS #213*
MAY141127
*
1 @ $1.94 = $1.94*LOW #1 (MR) *Special Discount*
MAY140566
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1 @ $1.99 = $1.99*RAGNAROK #1 *Special Discount*
MAY140444
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1 @ $1.99 = $1.99*USAGI YOJIMBO COLOR SPECIAL ARTIST ONE-SHOT *Special
Discount*
MAY140055
*
1 @ $1.99 = $1.99*TAROT WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #87 (MR)*
MAY141233
*
1 @ $2.07 = $2.07*BLACK SCIENCE #7 (MR)*
MAY140696
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*LAZARUS #10 (MR)*
MAY140709
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*MANHATTAN PROJECTS #22*
MAY140711
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*MASSIVE #25*
MAY140071
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*SKULLKICKERS #29*
MAY140730
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*SOUTHERN BASTARDS #4 (MR)*
MAY140731
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*STRAY BULLETS THE KILLERS #5 (MR)*
MAY140734
*
1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*HALLOWEEN EVE ONE SHOT CVR A (O/A)*
MAY140640
*
1 @ $2.39 = $2.39*MIGHTY AVENGERS #12*
MAY140795
*
1 @ $2.39 = $2.39*MIND MGMT #24*
MAY140070
*
1 @ $2.39 = $2.39*BEAUTIFUL WAR #2*
MAY140447
*
1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*CALIBAN #4 WRAP CVR (MR)*
MAY141073
*
1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*SIMPSONS ILLUSTRATED #12*
MAY141129
*
1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*WEIRD LOVE #2*
MAY140541
*
1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*ENORMOUS #2 CVR A CHEGGOUR*
MAY141626
*
1 @ $2.79 = $2.79*TUKI SAVE THE HUMANS #1*
MAY141240
*
1 @ $2.79 = $2.79*BLACK KISS 2 XXXMAS IN JULY SPECIAL ONE SHOT (MR) (C:
1-0-0)*
MAY140601
*
Go here to order : http://www.dcbservice.com/
Tell em HT sent ya!