An Artist’s Artist : The 1952 FANTASTIC pulp covers of Barye Philips

There is little written about the pulp cover artist Barye Phillips, no books dedicated to his work or his deft watery and fluid style, which is something of a shame considering he was known as “King of the Paperbacks” by his industry. His work marries a sleek sensuality with elements of the surreal and sinister to make for some of the standout covers of the pulp era.

Here are two of his covers used to launch the long running FANTASTIC pulp title. He only did two issues of this weird fiction pulp, and they stand as not just the best covers done for FANTASTIC but among the best and most striking of the medium and of Phillip’s work. His issue #3 cover art being noteworthy for being one of the earliest examples of a wraparound cover.

Fantastic_1952_3

435px-Fantastic_1952_Summer_front

Sites where you can view additional Barye Phillips work:
http://www.pulpinternational.com/pulp/keyword/Barye+Phillips.html
http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/barye-phillips
http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/triv277.html

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STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS Movie Review 3D

star_trek_into_darkness_ver21

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS – My abiding thought upon watching STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS was… enjoyment. From first frame to last I was just very captivated by the film, and completely along for the ride.

As a reviewer 2nd, but a movie goer 1st, I think it is very important to go into a film with as fresh eyes as reasonable to pique your interest. Beyond the broad stokes of a trailer or two, I avoid leaked plot details or guessing games about the storyline. Beyond broad generalities I think it is important to allow a filmmaker and a cast, to present the movie to you unfettered by too many preconceived notions or expectations.

Otherwise how can you fairly judge a film or a film-maker’s work that you have in essence previewed? It’s hard to get moments of surprise and originality in films, when too many people these days go into the film with all surprises read and all originality already squandered before the film ever opens.

Increasingly it is the impetus of a cynical audience, that is numb to all but the basest pleasures, to take comfort in that self same cynicism.

JJ Abrams, much like the New STAR TREK itself, flies in the face of such cynical times, being a throwback as well as a leap forward to old fashioned film-making. A filmmaker who understands emotional resonance and story and character is every bit as important as blowing things up, but in his affection for the old, never loses the skill and love for crafting the new. JJ Abrams and his writing staff for my money for the 2nd time do the impossible, creating a remake that manages to brilliantly embrace the new, without invalidating the old.

It’s the choices he makes as a director (that others may deride as sentimental or romantic or syrupy) that are the choices that for me make INTO DARKNESS a great film, and Abrams a great filmmaker. Not an opinion I’ve always held on Abrams, but an opinion he has earned since his first Star Trek film.

There’s a scene early in INTO DARKNESS [extremely minor spoiler but feel free to skip till after you’ve seen the film] where someone goes traitor, you’ve seen it in numerous films if you are even a casual moviegoer. The bad guy has an inside man working for him, a traitor. It is a movie cliché and virtually no one ever looks at that character as more than a means to an end, No one ever asks or seemingly cares about the why of such a character’s actions. In this movie in a scant few minutes, in nearly wordless scenes, Abrams takes the time to paint the reason why someone would do it. And it is a reason that if we can not condone, we can understand.

In scant minutes of screen time he takes an actor I generally have not enjoyed on screen, and gives him I think his best role to date. A role that in nearly any other film, by any other filmmaker, would be a meaningless plot device, here resonates and is memorable.
[End of minor spoiler]

With that scene I knew quickly and completely…. that I was in capable hands.

And the film continues with such heartfelt performances, married to beautiful visuals. It is the Star Trek universe re-imagined, and it looks grand and mythic. And any film’s protagonists, must be measured by the quality of that which they struggle against and in that role Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a fantastic performance as a character who must be feared yes, but also respected. Well written is the film where there is no simple villains, or villains at all, but only people in conflict, with agendas neither completely right nor completely wrong.

I could go on, but to say more about the film is to ultimately say little, what is best in the film has to be experienced, not regurgitated.

I will however say about the theatrical experience that I saw this film in a matinée showing in RealD 3D format (only the 3D showing was available), and the 3D, to my surprise, did not annoy.

No doubt the pleasant experience owes some to the theater I saw it in, not your typical multiplex, but seemingly it is just handled well here. It became very immersive, just part of a rich tapestry that pulled me in. I found this viewing while not noticeably 3D, definitely noticeably beautiful to look at, and that is all that visually I ask of any film.

In closing, JJ Abram’s 2nd foray into the STAR TREK universe, INTO DARKNESS was a long time coming, but I think has justified its wait, being as smart, as fun, as energetic, and perhaps more emotional and more grandiose than the admittedly excellent first film. On all fronts, for this reviewer, an unqualified success, and a movie I see myself returning to often. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Grade: A.

RATING THE DOCTORS: On William Hartnell THE FIRST DOCTOR & the First Season! 1963-1964!

This heat is kicking the proverbial posterior.

But hey I’m not complaining, I’ll take heat over cold, any day.

But you guys didn’t come here to hear weather talk, onto this installment’s insanity.

I’ve seen all 30+ seasons of Doctor Who, including the recreations (largely still shots and the audio recording of the shows) that exists through the hard work of dedicated fans, who preserved these shows for the love, when the suits couldn’t see any monetary value or re-watchability to these shows and could not delete the tapes fast enough.

It’s why I’ll side with the so-called file-sharer or collector or peer to peer proponent who does it for the love, over suits any day. Because I KNOW how much of our history (television shows, radio shows, silent and sound films, books, manuscripts) still exists not because of the money grubbing corporation who would (and have) let everything burn if they couldn’t make a penny off of it; but exists because of the dedicated fan and collector.

I’ve said that before, but it bears, particularly in our current environment, constant repeating. That the people who profit off a thing, are not the people that should be trusted with the preservation of that thing. And history bears out, that it’s necessary to have the dedicated collector out there doing for the love, what corporations will fail to do in the absence of monetary incentive.

Our cultural history owes much to the dedicated collector, that are being criminalized by the ‘Johnny-come-lately’ corporations, who have finally wised up to the fact that… people are interested in this old stuff.

Case in point, I still await official SPENSER FOR HIRE DvDs, or the full seasons of the live-action ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY that have been unavailable for over 20 years, and these things should not be sequestered away until some suit can find a way to profit off of them. In the absence of someone making them available, the collector is there to make them available. So thanks to great collectors… there’s a rumor that I may actually own both series :).

And if that rumor is true, I’ll hold onto those collector DVDs, at least until such time as the studios get off their ass, and release official high quality versions/DVDs, which I will be more than happy to support/purchase. But in the interim… to all the suits/companies out there, support and work with fans/collectors… they are the heart of your business. And more than that, they are the heart of the preservation of culture and art and history… in the absence of business. Give them their due.

Okay, off my soap box.

*****

The reason I got on that soap box is because, I have been rewatching Doctor Who, and much of that series has been lost through corporate stupidity and short-sightedness, but almost all of it has been preserved and recreated, even the pretty much devastated Patrick Troughton years (which I’m currently re-watching), and you can not watch those shows without being extremely mindful and extremely thankful, for the fans and collectors, who preserved those shows to the best of their ability.

I mean, now, today the BBC gives a damn about Doctor Who, because the show is making them a boatload of money, but you have to care about preserving culture and art… even in the absence of money, and that is what collectors do.

So yes, I’m thankful that we have shows such as:

William Hartnell’s four seasons as the doctor.

He’s remembered, unfairly I think, for flubbing his lines. However, what he should be remembered for is being the man who set the template, the tone, and the consummate “play this for real” passion that allowed the show to be a success.

Think about it, if Hartnell or those first companions did not make the premise work, the show would have been canceled in that first season and NO ONE would today be talking about Doctor Who.

Patrick Troughton gets a lot of praise for ‘saving’ Dr. Who, when it became necessary to replace Hartnell due to his deteriorating condition.

For continuing Doctor Who, I would agree, but for saving it? … no. The show would have gone on with or without Troughton. It was that popular. Hartnell had help make it that popular.

Don’t get me wrong, Troughton was a great actor and he made a fantastic 2nd Doctor, and the very, unavoidable medical issues with Hartnell pushed the writers and producers into coming up with one of the most brilliant and iconic ways to keep the series going… ie the idea of ‘Regeneration’.

I mean that idea, that was born under pressure and calamity and potential cancellation, remains one of the greatest ‘hail marys’ of television history, as can be seen by a whole new generation, wowing to the adventures of yet another whole new Doctor.

But had Hartnell and crew, not made DOCTOR WHO a success out the gate, no one would have been pressed to try and keep the show alive. They would have done the normal thing, canceled the show and put something else on, and DOCTOR WHO becomes, like many shows of the time, a forgotten footnote.

But Hartnell was a GREAT Doctor Who, an iconic Doctor Who, who loved and championed the show. And he did four seasons of the series, back when the workload was a YEAR ROUND weekly series, basically performing the shows in a live-run, like a play, performed beginning to end, no time for retakes, you hit the mark at the beginning of two hours, and at the end of two hours, they filmed the entire show… JUST LIKE YOU SEE IT AIRED!

With filmed segments cut in on queue, and effects and sound done live in camera….the amount of pressure and work, is beyond ANYTHING that television actors, or indeed directors, editors, crew are doing today. It was the work of master actors and crew, to basically have to learn and crank out a play a week, under budget restrictions and time restrictions that can only be called… crushing.

And William Hartnell did this. For going on four Years, largely without vacation, with seasons FAR LONGER than the laughably short seasons the BBC has today… William Hartnell did this. While suffering with what today we would call early signs of Dementia or Alzheimers.

*****

For nearly four years he bled and sweated and carried Doctor Who, when his younger companions were folding left and right under the pressures and issues of a financially challenged, somewhat ghettoized show. Hartnell’s tenure as the Doctor saw him with the most companions (A whopping TEN companions. And every departure cut Hartnell like a knife, who saw the show as a familial thing), and having to ride the most tumultuous time in the history of the show, when it was figuring out, on a weekly basis, what it was, and who the characters were.

That he was able to play the series as long as he did, when suffering from a condition known to cripple, says everything about the nature of Hartnell’s professionalism, his “the show must go on” ethic. I just think a lot of people focus on the occasional flubs, when he was given tons of gobblydeggok to say, and he made it work. I don’t know of any actors today, in their full health and prime, who could have done week in and week out what Hartnell did, producing basically live televison in a fantastic setting.

Which is far more difficult than just soaps, because you have the additional hassle of effects and costumes and elaborate monsters and cut in scenes, and hitting marks, it’s really a big budget type cinematic production, done on a shoe-string budget and with no retakes and no time, and everything music, etc… done in camera.

Actors today would piss themselves.

I just have a tremendous amount of respect for Hartnell as a performer, and he could really perform and act and emote, and bring it when he needed to… which more often than not… was always. Add to all of that he also had some of the best episodes under his tenure, namely:

SEASON I 1963-1964

AN UNEARTHLY CHILD- PILOT- It does everything a first episode needs to do. Incredibly ambitious, for the time. A time ship, bigger on the inside than the outside, and looks like a simple police phonebox. It is just a genius conceit, even 50 years later. GRADE: B+.

100,000 BC- 3 episodes- It’s not a great episode by today’s standards but it is a necessary one, as they are still defining the Doctor, and his crew of travelers. And it is pretty brutal for a kid’s program. GRADE: B-/C+.

THE DALEKS by Terry Nation, directed by Christopher Barry and Richard Martin- 7 episodes- Terry Nation’s script and idea, fleshed out and realized, made concrete by the producers, and designers and voice actors, resulted in an immediate worldwide sensation… The Daleks. And the story, is quite good, quite ambitious, though of course hampered by the budgets and limitations of the time.

It is a great intro to one of the great iconic creations of television history. The serial falls apart in the last episode, the whole “live” thing, the director just couldn’t pull it all together, so it’s a bit of a mess. But the serial is strongly recommended in-spite of that; and it highlights, the rare times when it goes wrong, just how masterful the cast and crew was, to enable it to go right… most of the time. GRADE: B.

INSIDE THE SPACESHIP aka The Edge of Destruction- 2 episodes- This is another example of them not really having the time to make the story come across, it’s a bit of a confused mess. But it’s an intriguing watch, and is available with a nice commentary with the actors. The commentary worth the price of admission.

Marco Polo- seven episodes- A recreated episode, stills and audio, watched this recently it’s quite good. From the few shots of sets in color, it was quite an elaborate period piece.

The Keys of Marinus- 6 Episodes- Terry Nation returns, this is a great, exciting serial. Even with a bit of implied rape. Terry Nation always wrote excellent scripts that explored not only man against the alien, and man against nature, but far more interestingly man against man. His scripts and the crews performance transcends dodgy sets and questionable effects. GRADE: B+.

The Aztecs- 4 episodes – One of the best Doctor Who stories! This historical episode, sports great acting, great sets, and a great story. And wonderful direction. This is available with commentary, and I highly recommend it. One of my favorites. GRADE: A+.

THE SENSORITES- 6 episodes- This is one of the most successful of the scifi themed serials (the first season nearly equally divided between the historical episodes and the scifi/fantasy episodes) for season I. As it allowed some growth for the character of Susan, and real thrills for the rest of the characters. Lots of fun. Grade: B/B+.

THE REIGN OF TERROR- 5 episodes- This Dennis Spooner penned tale is quite enjoyable. The last two episodes are recreations (stills, audio) but is perfectly understandable and builds to a fun end. GRADE: B.

Those are my grades for season #1. Counting the pilot, Thirty eight weekly episodes!!! Wow! Episodes I didn’t grade are worth a look, for historical reasons, but may not be the show at its best.

Stay tuned for upcoming season reviews!

Doctor Who: The Beginning (An Unearthy Child / The Daleks / The Edge of Destruction)

Doctor Who – The Aztecs (Story 6)

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.

Star Trek USS Enterprise Original Series Crew James T Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura & Chekov T-Shirt

Yes, I’m kicking this off with one non-book item just cause I thought it was pretty awesome looking. :). Okay, now onto the books!


Night Watch
Publication Date: July 26, 2006
The Night Watch series has caused a sensation never before seen in Russia — its popularity is frenzied and unprecedented, and driven by a truly great, epic story. In 2005 Fox Searchlight announced it had acquired the Russian film adaptation for an American release. Interest in the books here is now set to reach a fever pitch.

Set in modern day Moscow, Night Watch is a world as elaborate and imaginative as Tolkien or the best Asimov. Living among us are the “Others,” an ancient race of humans with supernatural powers who swear allegiance to either the Dark or the Light. A thousand-year treaty has maintained the balance of power, and the two sides coexist in an uneasy truce. But an ancient prophecy decrees that one supreme “Other” will rise up and tip the balance, plunging the world into a catastrophic war between the Dark and the Light. When a young boy with extraordinary powers emerges, fulfilling the first half of the prophecy, will the forces of the Light be able to keep the Dark from corrupting the boy and destroying the world?

An extraordinary translation from the Russian by noted translator Andrew Bromfield, this first English language edition of Night Watch is a chilling, engrossing read certain to reward those waiting in anticipation of its arrival.

I caught a bit of the DVD, but not enough to really get a grasp of this 4 book Russian series. So interested enough to pick up the first book and give it a read.


Voyage: A Novel of 1896

Editorial Reviews
From Library Journal
Hayden’s wonderful 1976 novel is a historical page-turner with a social conscience. The book compares the treatment of the rich and poor as it juxtaposes the journeys of the pampered daughter of a shipping titan and the crew aboard one of her father’s hellish barks. (Classic Returns, LJ 11/15/99)
Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover
“Violent, colorful… you keep turning the pages to find out just what in the name of God is going to happen next.” –Boston Globe

“A book of savage beauty.” –Boston Herald American

“A rousing epic… Big, muscular, profane, cynical, romantic.” –Chicago Daily News

“A rare sort of sheer drive and vitality carries this novel… a raw fury about class distinctions and privileges… strangely refreshing in our blase age.” –New York Times Book Review

“A story of extraordinary richness and power… Sterling Hayden here proves himself a master novelist. His prose is vivid and brawny, his characters come to individual life… At once a magnificent epic of the sea and a dynamic portrait of turn-of-the-century America.” –Publishers Weekly

Painting With Light
Book Description
Publication Date: May 18, 1995
Few cinematographers have had as decisive an impact on the cinematic medium as John Alton. Best known for his highly stylized film noir classics T-Men, He Walked by Night, and The Big Combo, Alton earned a reputation during the 1940s and 1950s as one of Hollywood’s consummate craftsmen through his visual signature of crisp shadows and sculpted beams of light. No less renowned for his virtuoso color cinematography and deft appropriation of widescreen and Technicolor, he earned an Academy Award in 1951 for his work on the musical An American in Paris. First published in 1949, and long out of print since then, Painting With Light remains one of the few truly canonical statements on the art of motion picture photography, an unrivaled historical document on the workings of the postwar, American cinema. In simple, non-technical language, Alton explains the job of the cinematographer and explores how lighting, camera techniques, and choice of locations determine the visual mood of film. Todd McCarthy’s introduction, written especially for this edition, provides an overview of Alton’s biography and career and explores the influence of his work on contemporary cinematography.


Denim: From Cowboys to Catwalks: A Visual History of the World’s Most Legendary Fabric
Book Description
Publication Date: September 1, 2005
The story of denim is a tale rich in paradox. Cherished alike by cowboys and models, the fabric is at once a symbol of the counterculture and the raw material of a major industry. A simple fabric, dating back to 17th-century France, denim today is ubiquitous: Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood have pushed it into the forefront of high fashion; and Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani have made it the basis for billion-dollar brands. This homage to the much-loved fabric delves deep into the archives to trace the origins and development of denim. It features rare pictures of icons wearing denim, like Marilyn Monroe and Steve McQueen, plus specially commissioned photos of rare and classic garments from the 1880s to the present day. It is complete with a glossary and a guide to valuable vintage items.

Even though like all of you I own denim clothes, I admit to until prepping for this post, being relatively ignorant of exactly what Denim was. I mean fabric content, is typically not on the foremost of my mind. I’m sure I picked up it was cotton in the many years of buying jeans, but if so only as background noise. With prepping for this post, it became actual consumed and recognized knowledge. So what is Denim? For those of you like me, ignorant of fabric content… Well, it’s a uniquely American popularized byproduct of the slave-trade it’s nothing more than an incredibly tough form of cotton weave. I admit to being intrigued enough, to want to learn more.


Eyes with Winged Thoughts: Poems and Photographs
From Booklist
Gordon Parks is remarkable: a Renaissance man who has mastered photography, filmmaking, and writing. The story of his life is certainly an incredible one, which explains why Parks has written a new memoir titled A Hungry Heart (2005). This collection of poems and photographs, however, will add yet another dimension to Parks’ life story. From the resonant words and lessons of his parents to meditations on current events–terrorism, the tsunami, the war in Iraq–the poems are candid snapshots of Parks’ emotional life. Words harmonize with landscape photographs and images of strangers walking through their lives without a sense of being observed. Transcending voyeurism, Parks’ photographs reveal vulnerabilities of the human experience with grace and compassion. After all, Parks understands vulnerability and willingly displays it in his writing. In his 90s and still driven to experience what the world has to offer, and to express his response to it, Gordon Parks is an inspiration to us all.– Janet St. John

Gordon Park’s was a renaissance man, in the highest definition of that word. Photographer, writer, musician, cowboy, director. And with his passing, the world lost one of the last adventurers, one of the last of a dying breed… called men. All his books, are highly recommended.


Face Forward
Amazon.com Review
“Makeup should be fun, not fascist,” celebrity makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin avers in Face Forward, his third book. One of the most adored stylists among fashionistas, entertainment divas, and high-society jet setters, Southern-born Aucoin arrived on the New York fashion scene in the early ’80s, a period he ridicules for its ’50s-era conservatism and McCarthyist us-against-them values. His career since has been motivated by the feel-good ideals of acceptance, diversity, and self-love, and the vain world of beauty has eagerly participated in his vision. While one may puzzle on how it is he finds fulfillment in an industry known for its superficiality and elitism, Aucoin’s words are nonetheless infectious and the touches of his brushes inspired.

Conceived as an exploration of the past, present, and future of beauty, Face Forward is an ingenious showcase of the transformative, creative possibilities of makeup, with portraits of everyone from Julia Roberts to Sharon Stone, Martha Stewart to his mother, Thelma. His crafted visages range from minimal-application makeovers of friends to elaborate re-creations of such Hollywood icons as Audrey Hepburn (Calista Flockhart), James Dean (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Veronica Lake (shockingly, Martha Stewart) and such pop-culture personalities as Cher (socialite Alexandra von Furstenberg) and Siouxsie Sioux (Winona Ryder). The final pages present his ideas for looks to come, such as “Explorer,” Mary J. Blige covered in eggplant body makeup with a rainbow of metallic eye shadows over her eyes and thickly glossed red lips; “Floralia,” a freckled Lucy Liu resembling a sprite from A Midsummer’s Night Dream; and “Venusian de Milo,” Sharon Stone as an orange-haired, one-breast-baring sci-fi femme fatale. Throughout, Aucoin augments an already colorful book with step-by-step instruction, chatty commentary on each look and model, and riffs on such topics as friendship, politics (he repeatedly applauds the Clinton Administration for embracing diversity in the ’90s), and the environment.

“Appreciating (even highlighting) individuality is one of the great things about makeup,” asserts Aucoin, and Face Forward is a dazzling testament to that belief. For those who see the fun of makeup and are eager to experiment with the virtually unlimited possibilities of it, this book is a boon. –Rebecca Wright –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Okay I admit this last one is an odd choice. But I love that cover, plus we all have women in our lives that we can give this book to as a present. 🙂


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.

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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!

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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.

Dreams and Wonders: Stories from the Dawn of Modern Fantasy
by Mike Ashley (Paperback)
Dreams and Wonders: Stories from the Dawn of Modern Fantasy
Book Description
Publication Date: August 19, 2010
Original anthology of 23 tales samples some of the best modern fantasy literature from the 19th and early 20th centuries. It features writers who influenced J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and other master fantasists, including Andrew Lang, Kenneth Grahame, George MacDonald, Edith Nesbit, William Morris, and E. T. A. Hoffmann.


Body Painting: Masterpieces by Joanne Gair
by Joanne Gair (Hardcover)
Body Painting: Masterpieces by Joanne Gair
Book Description
Publication Date: January 12, 2010
Stunning works of art using the human body as the canvas. If ever there was a defining moment in a career, for renowned body-painting artist Joanne Gair it was painting “that suit” on Demi Moore for the cover of Vanity Fair. From swimsuits for Sports Illustrated or music videos with Madonna, Gair’s career allows us to see the human body transformed, creating unforgettable images. During a career spanning over 20 years, she has worked with Elle McPherson, Heidi Klum, Pamela Anderson, Rachel Hunter, and Molly Sims to name a few. Among the star photographers also included are Michel Comte, David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, Howard Schatz, and Mark Seliger. Gair’s collaborations have resulted in thousands of extraordinary photographs which have made an impact on pop culture.

Braziliangels
by Joaquim Nabuco (Hardcover)
Braziliangels
Book Description
Publication Date: October 28, 2010
A rare opportunity to appreciate the incomparable beauty of BrazilÆs women in the equally striking environs of this tropical paradise. Photographer Joaquim NabucoÆs collection of nude art photos creates a lush, whimsical, and sensual landscape that revolves around the feminine, exotic, and vibrant character of these women. From beaches, forests, mountains, and rivers to BrazilÆs big cities and historical sites, Nabuco masterfully frames his subjects, while eliciting a rich and radiant response from them before capturing his images. The themes revealed by these art nudes tells a story of BrazilÆs culture and the angels who grace its natural beauty.

Drawn to Sin by Daniel Kiessler
by Daniel Kiessler (Paperback)
Drawn to Sin by Daniel Kiessler


Dark Tower Omnibus
by Stephen King (Hardcover)
Dark Tower Omnibus
Book Description
Publication Date: September 21, 2011
The ultimate Dark Tower collection! An oversized hardcover collecting the first five volumes of Marvel’s Dark Tower series plus Dark Tower Companion, a separate volume of bonus material, both packaged in a deluxe slipcase!

DARK TOWER OMNIBUS

“The Man in Black fled across the desert…and the gunslinger followed.” With those words from a short story published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Stephen King launched one of the most seminal characters in his lifetime of writing into a destiny fraught with danger, death, triumph and loss. In the almost thirty years since that momentous occasion, King introduced millions of readers to the densely textured realm of Mid-World through his magnum opus, the Dark Tower series of novels. King joined with Marvel in 2007 to bring his masterwork of fantasy to a new generation of readers. Adding stunning new textures to the mythos of Roland and Mid-World for four years, the initial arc of King and Marvel’s union is now complete, and the entire run is collected here. Collecting DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN #1-7, THE LONG ROAD HOME #1-5, TREACHERY #1-6, SORCERER #1, THE FALL OF GILEAD #1-6 and THE BATTLE OF JERICHO HILL #1-5. 296 PGS

Dark Tower Omnibus Companion

Chock full of essential short stories, bonus material and apocrypha, this volume is a must-read for Stephen King enthusiasts. Three guidebooks overseen by Dark Tower: A Concordance author Robin Furth unlock the many secrets of Roland Deschain, the Gunslingers, Gilead and the dark forces of Farson – bringing readers greater insight into the people, places and things of Mid-World. And supplemental material from the first thirty issues of Marvel’s Dark Tower series shed even more light on King’s epic – with short stories by Furth, and a tour through artists Jae Lee and Richard Isanove’s sketchbooks, and more! Collecting DARK TOWER: GUNSLINGER’S GUIDEBOOK, END-WORLD ALMANAC and GUIDE TO GILEAD; MARVEL SPOTLIGHT: DARK TOWER; and material from DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN #1-7, THE LONG ROAD HOME #1-5, TREACHERY #1-6, SORCERER #1, THE FALL OF GILEAD #1-6 and THE BATTLE OF JERICHO HILL #1-5. 600 PGS.

FANTASTIC ART OF ARTHUR SUYDAM HC
by T.W. French (Hardcover)
FANTASTIC ART OF ARTHUR SUYDAM HC

Transient Man
by Justin Coro Kaufman (Hardcover)
Transient Man


The Sixth Gun, Vol. 1
by Cullen Bunn (Paperback)
Book Description
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
During the darkest days of the Civil War, wicked cutthroats came into possession of six pistols of otherworldly power. In time the Sixth Gun, the most dangerous of the weapons, vanished. When the gun surfaces in the hands of an innocent girl, dark forces reawaken. Vile men thought long dead set their sights on retrieving the gun and killing the girl. Only Drake Sinclair, a gunfighter with a shadowy past, stands in their way.

The Sixth Gun, Vol. 1


The Century’s Best Horror Fiction Volume 1
by John Pelan (Hardcover)
The Century’s Best Horror Fiction Volume 1
Book Description
Publication Date: December 30, 2010
In celebration of the new millennium, Cemetery Dance Publications has commissioned a spectacular two-volume anthology project under the editorship of noted author and historian of the horror genre, John Pelan.

John will be selecting one story published during each year of the 20th Century (1901-2000) as the most notable story of that year — all 100 stories will then be collected in The Century’s Best Horror Fiction.

The ground rules are simple: Only one selection per author. Only one selection per year.

Two huge volumes, one hundred authors, one hundred classic stories, over 700,000 words of fiction — history in the making!


The Best of Kage Baker
by Kage Baker (Hardcover)
The Best of Kage Baker
Book Description
Publication Date: April 30, 2012
Kage Baker’s death in 2010 silenced one of the most distinctive, consistently engaging voices in contemporary fiction. A late starter, Baker published her first short stories in 1997, at the age of forty-five. From then until the end of her life, she wrote prolifically and well, leaving an astonishing body of work behind.

The Best of Kage Baker is a treasure trove that gathers together twenty stories and novellas, eleven of which have never been collected anywhere. The volume is bookended by a pair of tales from her best known and best loved creation: The Company, with its vivid cast of time traveling immortals. In ‘Noble Mold,’ Mendoza the botanist and Joseph, the ancient ‘facilitator,’ find themselves in 19th century California, where a straightforward acquisition grows unexpectedly complex, requiring, in the end, a carefully engineered ‘miracle.’ In ‘The Carpet Beds of Sutro Park,’ an autistic Company operative named Ezra encounters a lost soul named Kristy Ann, and finds a way to give her back the world that she has lost.


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!

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.

I’m doing something a bit different for this WEDNESDAYS WORDS, selecting an image or a text that moves me, and then pointing you to where you can get the book for your own enjoyment.

We begin with an image.

Painted in 1907 by Carlos Schwabe, one of the pioneers of what today we describe as fantastic fiction, this image is entitled SPLEEN AND IDEAL. He actually painted/etched this image twice, the one you see here, and one that is subtly different, with the nudity obscured a bit, the angel’s loins, are covered, and the siren/succubus’ face is hidden, but oddly still very disturbing.

But the one shown here is the more disturbing of the two. The look in the siren’s eyes, the look of the angels face, caught trying to break away; caught quite literally, between the devil and the deep blue sea.

There is a story frozen here, questions and answers frozen, somewhere between the thrashing of wings, and the beating of tail. A she-god of the sea, and a she-god of the air. An attack? A ravishing? Something between the two?

It is a provocative and sensual pic for 2012, I can only imagine how much more disturbing and shocking it must have seemed in 1907.

There is no English language book on this inexplicably overlooked pioneer of the weird and the wondrous, but there is a large, and lushly illustrated French art-book called CARLOS SCHWABE: SYMBOLISTE ET VISIONNAIRE. While the text is in French, the numerous lushly reproduced drawings and paintings… require no translation. The book is quite large, at 12.2″ by 10.3″, and surprisingly heavy, 260 pages on an extremely thick paper stock. and printed in Paris in 1994.

And lest you think Carlos Schwabe could only illustrate the macabre, some of his most striking images in the book are subtle, nuanced, even lovely and loving portraits. Such as this beautiful portrait he did in 1908 (with crayons if my French is any good. Wow! That is amazing! Look at the level of gradations and detail!) of his daughter, and named after her… it is titled, LOTTE:

So for a chance to see this image and many more reproduced in detail in a huge, lavish tome… get your copy here:

Carlos Schwabe, Symboliste et Visionnaire (French Edition)

Another image. This one does not do justice to the actual printed image, but it’s the best picture of it I could find. It’s wonderfully Gothic, and sensual, and horrific all at the same time. In other words… vintage Wrightson.


Bernie Wrightson is one of the true artistic greats of the modern era. The meticulous detail and line work of his output, specifically of the 70s and 80s, is just awe-inspiring. One of the best showcases of his work is his illustrated FRANKENSTEIN published through Dark Horse.

Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein:Get your copy while you can afford it 🙂

I’ve praised that book repeatedly, if you don’t own a copy by now there is just no hope for you. But for those of you who there is hope for, in addition to FRANKENSTEIN you can see some additional stellar work by Wrighton in KNOWING DARKNESS. A retrospective of all the work done for Stephen King’s Books and Portfolios.

In addition to work by Wrightson it includes work by over two dozen other artists. Much of it rare and unavailable, and commanding high prices on the secondary market. This book allows you to have ALL of the sought after artwork created for Stephen King’s lauded body of work, in one huge, heavy, takes two people to lift it book! 🙂 Okay that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. At 15.6 x 11.6 x 2.4 inches and weighing 13 pounds, it’s one of the biggest and heaviest books I own.

“we are treated to some sumptuous art. Knowing Darkness is worth its price and weight alone for the illustrations which originally accompanied the limited edition of Christine (breathtaking work by Stephen Gervais). The oversized reproductions of Bob Giusti’s It and Misery covers and Rob Wood’s Dolores Claiborne and Four Past Midnight covers get a whole new life when viewed out of the context of book covers. And that is to say nothing of the art original to this volume, the best of which is a brand-new Don Maitz interpretation of Duma Key, which features a ghost ship on an easel overlooking an Atlantic sunset. You don’t notice at first – your eye is so drawn to the ship in the foreground – that the gulls in the distance are flying upside-down.

Of course, this would all amount to little more than a collection of pretty pictures without the binding strength of George Beahm’s essays. Beahm, a Stephen King expert who perfected the companion-book genre with The Stephen King companion before going on to write The Stephen King Story and many other must-haves – is at his most compelling here. He manages to convey his fascination and excitement for the subject in every essay, and pass that onto the reader. The exclusive interviews, especially the one with Bernie Wrightson, are illuminating.

Books about King are legion, and there are many terrific volumes out there which rise above the chaff. There are only a handful, though, that are absolute musts for King fans. Knowing Darkness is beyond a doubt one of the absolute musts, not just for King fans, but for anyone interested in art and illustration. With such a wealth of material to cover – from mass-produced cover art, to limited-edition illustration, to interpretive pieces – it’s an achievement that a project like Knowing Darkness was even attempted. That it is executed so beautifully, then, is phenomenal.”– Charnel House

Get your copy while you can still pick it up for under retail (these were going for $300).
Knowing Darkness: Artists Inspired by Stephen King

And one last image closes out a nice compact, 3 book WEDNESDAY WORDS.

Now a word to the wise… the following image has nipples. Shock! Aghast!! Horror!!

If nipples offend you… then go away.

But the thought of crossing out the nipples just seemed completely idiotic, and like defacing art. Every baby knows what a nipple is. Everybody has nipples, even I have nipples. 🙂 (And they’re real and they’re fabulous :). Sorry have to sneak that Seinfeld quote in, every once in a while).

So yeah, I’m showing the cover sans any moronic editing. I don’t think the world will end.

This is a slight soft-cover art-book. In no way is it the hernia inducing behemoth of my other two recommended books.

But it doesn’t have to be, all it has to be is… great art. And it is that. Pencils and some inks, it’s incredibly impressive work by artist Erik Drudwyn.

Get your copy here:

Art Of Erik Drudwyn (Art Fantastix)


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!

DEAL OF THE DAY: DOCTOR WHO style SOLAR POWERED Pocket Watch- Retracted

UPDATE: Having received this one I have to update this post. It does not live up to expectations. First the pics are quite a bit larger than the actual item that feels tiny and insubstantial. And possibly I got a used, defective one but I didn’t see the solar part at all.

I figured you’d open it up and light would hit it and the hands would start rotating, and there would be a cool way to set it. Right?! I mean proper Steam Punk! Nope.

It’s just a dinky watch, with a normal battery that supposedly gets solar charged, and has a frustrating method for setting the time, and is even more frustrating trying to read the time.

A curio for its looks, but functionally it’s… hmm how do I say this nicely… not worth the money. At $10 or under it might be a cute thing to display, but as a functional watch it’s a bust.

Now possibly I got a bad one, as it has some decent reviews at the link below. But I can only go by my experience. And my experience… not good. I’m sending mine back for a refund. So DEAL OF THE DAY… retracted. 🙂

I don’t wear wrist watches. I never picked up the habit, and working with electricity it’s just one less thing I had to remove, so I got used to not wearing a wrist watch.

However pocket watches, or what the British call fob watches (fob, because that’s the name of the small pocket on vests, where the watch was meant to go) I simply cannot get enough of.

A great pocket watch is just a strong buy for me, and an especially unusual and finely crafted one… just a must have.

Enter today’s DEAL OF THE DAY:

Solar Powered Turbine Fob Watch

You can view the item here:

EER Patent Solar Powered Turbine Fob Watch by Alchemy Gothic