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.

Robert S. Duncanson, 19th century Black romantic painter (The Sigma Pi Phi series)
Parks, James Dallas.
ROBERT S. DUNCANSON: 19th Century Black Romantic Painter.
Washington, DC: Associated Publishers, Inc., A Division of the Association For The Study of Afro-American Life and History, Inc., 1980.
x, 60 pp., 25 b&w illus., chronol., catalogue of works. Appendices include letters from Duncanson and note from Mrs. Ruth E. Showes, “A Relative”; letter concerning Duncanson’s illness from his wife Phoebe. 8vo (24 cm.), cloth.

When the Death-Bat Flies: The Detective Stories of Norvell Page

When the Death-Bat Flies: The Detective Stories of Norvell Page- Best known for his Spider pulp stories, scribe Norvell Page was a master mystery writer as well. This 800-page book collects over 30 of Page’s detective stories from the pages of DETECTIVE TALES, THE SPIDER, DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY and STRANGE DETECTIVE MYSTERIES, most of which have never been reprinted before. Includes an all-new introduction by Will Murray.

Dead Dolls Don’t Talk / Hunt the Killer / Too Hold to Hold

Three short thrillers that offer variations on the theme of the innocent person caught up in murderous events. Dead Dolls Don t Talk (1959) allows a juror to find out what it s like to be on the other side of the law. Hunt the Killer (1951) is the story of a man just out from prison who is newly framed for a killing he didn t commit. And Too Hot to Hold (1959) is a case of mistaken identity that escalates when greed takes the place of common sense.


City of Corpses: The Weird Mysteries of Ken Carter

“Reading Page is like grabbing a live electrical wire. . . . Once you take hold, you can’t let go until the story comes to an end. Page paced his stories at one speed only-runaway locomotive.

“When it comes to writing grab-your-throat and hurtle-you-along at a hundred miles an hour fiction, there’s nobody better.”

—Robert Weinberg, from his introduction

From the author of The Spider, here are seven tales of weird mystery and strange crime. Follow Ken Carter as he unravels seven strange cases.

Bonus: Also included is a 1935 article by Norvell Page explaining his approach to writing.

With an introduction by Robert Weinberg.

Cover art by Walter M. Baumhofer.

Stories include:

Hell’s Music
City of Corpses
Statues of Horror
Gallows Ghost
The Devil’s Hoof
The Sinister Embrace
Satan’s Sideshow
“How I Write” by Norvell Page

Hank & Muddy


In steamy Shreveport, Louisiana, two musical legends-in-the-making come together: a whiskey-soaked country singer named Hank Williams and blues artist Muddy Waters. What they’ve got in common over several hectic days of drinking, singing and whoring is an interest in staying alive despite local mobsters, bent cops, and a truckload of Ku Klux Klansmen. Then there’s the bankrobber’s daughter.


The Spider VS. The Empire State: The Complete Black Police Trilogy [Paperback]
Norvell Page – THEY SAID IT COULDN’T HAPPEN HERE. THEN THEY SAID ONE MAN COULDN’T STOP IT! Richard Wentworth spent his vigilante career as The Spider always in the shadows. Now evil acted in broad daylight. The Party of Justice swept into office, rewriting the laws of New York state overnight to benefit their criminal backers and make slaves of its people. This American Reichstag gave itself sweeping powers and raised a private army to exert its malevolent will. How could The Spider hope to stop a criminal conspiracy as big as the state itself? This time The Master of Men would go beyond taking the lives of evildoers… by bringing Hope to the tyrannized citizens of the Empire State! The “Black Police Trilogy” is author Norvell Page’s classic pulp fiction Nazi allegory from 1938. Originally published in three consecutive months of The Spider Magazine, the novels “The City That Paid To Die”, “The Spider at Bay”, and “Scourge of the Black Legions” are collected in book form for the first time! The Spider VS. The Empire State: The Complete Black Police Trilogy


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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TOP 15 Favorite Comic Book / Superhero Movies!! Updated 2012 list!!


So where does Joss Whedon’s AVENGERS rank on the list of best comic-based movies?

Pretty high actually.

Well here’s my biased list of my 15 favorite Comic based movies. The ones I find… re-watchable.(Only caveat being I tried to list only one film per series, the best film of the series, to leave room for others).And it’s pretty much in order of re-watchability. Which film can I view at anytime because it’s that… good and timeless?

Well it starts with SUPERMAN THE MOVIE, still not just one of the best comic book films, but one of the best… films. My top 5 are movies I can leave on repeat in my house and grow not sick of.

SUPERMAN THE MOVIE
AVENGERS
SPIDERMAN II
BLADE II
300

X2
CAPTAIN AMERICA
THOR
IRON MAN II
WATCHMEN

WANTED
CROW
HANCOCK (horrible title, horrible marketing, horrible poster, saved by a fantastic 2nd half)
DOLPH LUNDGREN PUNISHER (The best of the Punisher Films. Fun, ninja-decimating flick. :))
MATRIX (Has not dated well, but still strong enough to make the list)

And a few honorable mentions, BATMAN (1989), DARK KNIGHT, HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, DARK MAN, UNBREAKABLE. Feel free to suggest any you think I may have missed (me? never! I got all the good ones! :)) in the comments section.

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2012 MOVIE Review : THE Verdict is in! AVENGERS… Avenged!!! :)

You are reading this either because you saw the film and want to compare your experience with others, or haven’t seen the film, and want to get a general idea of what people thought of it. I’ll answer both demographics, without going into details about the film.

I think most of you coming to this blog know, my grumpy persona aside I’m not a contrarian. I’m not one of these IMDB idiots who rate all films either 1 or 5 (on a 5 star system, I use a 4 star system), the concept of grading and gradations seemingly lost on them.

That said neither am I a bandwagon jumper who is going to praise a film when it’s trendy to do so, and eviscerate it when it is trendy to do so.(SUPERMAN RETURNS and TITANIC being two movies with more than their share of flip-floppers).

I often listen to pod-casts, and it is amazing how often you can hear one person excited by a film, but then his friends don’t like the film, so you can hear the person backtrack from his/her position, so they can be in line with the likes of their ‘friends’.

An anthropologist might define it as a clannish race survival technique (“Bubba let’s go lynch that thar 12 year old boy, for looking at that thar white woman.” “Why Bubba Senior, that thar’s a fine idea. Hyuck. Hyuck. Hyuck.”), I’ve always just defined it as cowardice.

I’m saying my good opinion or my bad is not formed by the whims of the mob.

Never has been. Never will be.

So if I give you a review you can be sure it is my review, my considered opinion… and I stand behind it.

So my considered opinion on the AVENGERS movie?

Joss Whedon, whose other film this year CABIN IN THE WOODS I wasn’t a fan of (more due to the first time Director on that film, than to Whedon’s script), here in his role as Director and Writer, knocks this film out of the park.

THE AVENGERS is… I’m trying to avoid hyperbole here, leaving that to everyone else, but it has to be said… it is a FANTASTIC film.

It’s as smart as CABIN IN THE WOODS, but with Whedon behind the camera you also get characters and moments you really care about. You get the pathos to go with the pomp and circumstance.

I mean how do you pull this off? The culmination of all these films, all this planning, all these actors, how do you pull it together and make it work and make it live up to expectations? It is really an amazingly ambitious film, a daunting prospect, and Joss Whedon… does it.

It’s really rare for me to laugh out loud in a film, I laughed out loud numerous times in this film, just because it is so knowing, and so sharp, and so biting, and so friggin fun!!!

I’m so glad I went into this film without watching a bunch of trailers or features, or ruining any surprises because I just had a ball. And along with the fun, Whedon gave space and weight to the tragedy, something that is glossed over sometimes in epic films. The weight and cost of this battle. Whedon never loses sight of the street level view, the common men and women caught in the midst of a war of Gods and Monsters.

The humanity he imbues the attack scene with is reminiscent of Mimi Leder’s phenomenal direction in the criminally underrated Clooney action film PEACEMAKER. Where every loss and every life… was felt.


The Peacemaker (Widescreen Edition)

And going along with that, for a big, loud, blow stuff up action flick on par with Bay’s TRANSFORMERS:DARK OF THE MOON (which the battle scenes bear a resemblance to) everyone gets a chance to actually act and emote in this film. Whedon’s TV/Buffy dialog/experience serving the film well.

Every principal actor really gets a chance to shine, Scarlett Johanson, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo (Who I didn’t think could fill Ed Norton’s shoes, is phenomenal. Both as Banner and the Jade Giant he has some of the great scenes/lines in the film), Downey, they all bring it. And big kudos to Tom Hiddleston who plays Loki as more than one dimensional, but with charm and depth to match his machinations.

Anything more would be me… gushing. Suffice to say, if my math is correct this is the 6th Marvel Studios film, the culmination of half a dozen years, and their shared Universe experiment, and they pull it off. Creating a cinematic climax to this multi-year and multi-film storyline that is actually bigger and better than the films leading up to it.

I’m seldom the guy to tip my hat to MARVEL, but you have to give them their due. STAR WARS couldn’t do it (RETURN not quite living up to the greatness of EMPIRE), STAR TREK every other film is bad and they are all one off stories, BOND also is one off stories, INDIANA JONES no, MATRIX… no, LORD OF THE RINGS … no, but Marvel Studios managed to end their ambitious story… even stronger than they began it (Though it is worth noting that the heart of this whole AVENGERS cinematic concept, starts with one writer, Mark Millar of WANTED and KICK-ASS fame. His vision is what Marvel Studios followed from page to screen. And in the dozen years since his ULTIMATES comics, his involvement is perhaps not credited as much as it should be).

The AVENGERS storyline that began with the first IRON MAN, went out on a high-note with this film. Arguably only Harry Potter could claim to have as effectively told a story over multiple films. Plus they give us a great teaser at the end, can you say…. awww but that would be telling! 🙂

Go see the film. It’s earned its praise. Highest Recommendation A+.

And read more about the Avengers, here [Definite spoilers :)]:

The Ultimates: Ultimate Collection

The Ultimates 2: Ultimate Collection

Ultimate Comics Avengers by Mark Millar Omnibus

Avengers: Kree/Skrull War

And these books will get you up to speed with the teaser at the end of the film:

Essential Warlock – Volume 1

Essential Captain Marvel, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1)

Essential Captain Marvel, Vol. 2 (Marvel Essentials)

Infinity Gauntlet

The BEST Green Lantern Covers of the past 50+ years!

Well with the GREEN LANTERN movie on the horizon (which I really have no interest in seeing, I’ll try it when it comes on DVD) I thought a nifty post would be covering some of the character’s most iconic covers, from his almost six decades of publication history.

Particularly since I find the cover artwork more interesting than the stories. The Green Lantern character I find relatively uninteresting, exceptions being the later Wein/Englehart/Staton issues with John Stewart as Green Lantern and of course the O’Neil/Adams “Search for America” storyline. You can decide for yourself as I offer a link at the bottom of this article to compilations of the stories.

The stories aside, mostly one artist dominates the best Green Lantern covers, and that is the book’s definitive artist and co-creator, Gil Kane.

So without further ado the Best Green Lantern Covers:

Well there you go. The best Green Lantern covers!! Enjoy! And feel free to mention any you think I may have missed!

Oh, and here’s links to economical ways for you to read many of the stories to the covers shown (without mortgaging your house 🙂 ). Good Reading!

Showcase Presents: Green Lantern, Vol. 3 (See all Superheroes Graphic Novels)
Written by John Broome and Gardner Fox; Art by Gil Kane, Sid Greene, Carmine Infantino and others; Cover by Kane and Murphy Anderson
Over 500 pages of classic Green Lantern adventures, from the pages of GREEN LANTERN #39-#59 (1965-1968)!

* DC Universe
* 528pg.
* B & W
* Softcover

Showcase Presents: Green Lantern, Vol. 4 (See all Superheroes Graphic Novels)
Written by Dennis O’Neil, John Broome and others; Art by Gil Kane, Mike Fekowsky and others; Cover by Neal Adams
The late ’60s/early ’70s adventures of Green Lantern continue! Collects GREEN LANTERN #60-75

* DC Universe
* 392pg.
* B&W
* Softcover

Humanity is a goal: On Science fiction, so-called Zombies, the Space Race and dreaming futures to make them

I don’t think Humanity is a birthright, I think it is a goal. And I think most people in this world, most Americans especially, fall short of that goal.

We have this ludicrous idea, particularly in this country which produces only one thing in quantity, mass murderers and television, that adult hood is something we reach in years. That we hit 18 or 21 and suddenly we are adults.

No. To repeat a trite phrase, but hopefully not tritely used here, ‘age is just a number’. Maturity is something else. And I think with just a quick scan of what passes for dialog in this connected age, what passes for conversation, you can see very few people… grow. While they may grow physically, mentally they stop maturing, in ways deep and dangerous they are immature children, with adult responsibilities.

Mayors, Governors, Police Chiefs, Generals, a whole world full of children in the roles of men, but lacking the conscience of men, the humanity of men.

I don’t think Humanity is a birthright, I think it is a goal. And I think most people in this world, most Americans especially, fall short of that goal.

There was a time when people went to the movies to cheer for the hero, to be inspired by heroism. Today people watch movies, or tv, or play video games to watch the other suffer. To play out vicarious games of aggression and an end to responsibility. It’s part of the reason so-called zombie movies are so popular, because subconsciously you have empty, aimless, driftless, purposeless population, that wants and needs and is angry, but is unsure of what they want, and what they need, and what they are angry about.

It’s just an irrational need, irrational hunger you may say, byproduct of an irrational leadership, an irrational age. Caused by at every path, the higher callings of their nature being sabotaged, by a leadership that relies on ruling ignorant, stupid, misinformed, desperate people.

So a rudderless people see in the myth of the ghoul (the proper name for what western cinema incorrectly misnames zombie), this engine of only hunger and no responsibility, something to identify with. To lose the burden and responsibility of higher humanity, of callings of honor and friend and family and duty, and sublimate it all to the joys of abandon and bestiality.

A consumer nation, a capitalist/tyrannical world, taken to its rudderless extreme.

It’s the reason I have no use for Ghoul ‘Zombie’ films, or torture porn flicks, or slasher flicks. Everything in moderation, but I see in this deluge of barbarity, that in our fictions, do we shape our facts.

The 50s and 60s, decades of science fiction fanaticsm, of the dreaming of stars, this obsession passed like cholera to every man, woman, and child of the age, and the dreaming culminating in man walking on the moon.

Shared idea space, as progenitor to our physical space. Our facts but late fortifications of our fictions. Heady concepts, but well trod ones.

So what becomes of a culture whose obsessions are death, war, serial killers, cannibalism and the crazed dead? God, whatever God you believe in, being always kind, he gives you what you dream of.

He gives you horror, if that is what you are intent on having.

So many have died aspiring to nobler ends for those who follow them, do not sacrifice all the virtues and the hopes they have bequeathed to you… in pursuit of petty dreams of barbarism. Dream larger. Save yourself, and save us all and… dream Nobler.

Dream of a world where wars may be ended, governments held accountable, forests replenished, aboriginal people saved, and lives bettered. Dream of a better world, and who knows, you may become a better man (or woman)… to build it.