Comic Book Reviews! What’s Hot & What’s Not!

COMIC BOOK REVIEWS

What is worth your money:

VEIL #2
CALIBAN #1
massive22THE MASSIVE #22
MIND MANAGEMENT #21
GOD IS DEAD #10
GOD IS DEAD #11
Simpsons_Comics_211SIMPSONS #211
MIGHTY AVENGERS #9
STRAY BULLETS KILLERS #2
THE WALKING DEAD #125
THE WALKING DEAD #126
starwars16STAR WARS #16 – Book of the Month
ZERO #7

What isn’t worth your time:

THE MOVEMENT #11
GHOSTED #9
UNITY #6
UNDERTOW #3
WESTWARD #7

Star Trek vs. Star Wars?!!

David W of BadAzz Mofo, the publisher of the FANTASTIC BadAzz Mofo Magazine of the same name, also runs a way cool blog, that I need to visit more often.

Why?

Here’s why:

Hilarious! Read his whole blog here!. And while there pick up his books and mags, they come recommended! And tell em HT sent ya!!!!

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)

Cédric 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!

Week 1
Week 2

WEDNESDAY WORDS: TOP 20 BOOKS OF THE WEEK #2!

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.

The Complete Slayers: Fast One and the Complete Short Stories of Paul Cain [Hardcover]- This collection features the novel Fast One and the complete short fiction written by Paul Cain for Black Mask and other pulps. This is the first time that many of them have been collected in book format. Lynn Myers and Max Alan Collins have written an outstanding introduction with new research into Cain’s life. – It hurts me to list this, for the simple fact I haven’t bought my 2nd copy yet, and I know you guys are going to jump on this like rabid dogs, and it will be all sold out. Oh well. ‘I am a river to my people’. 🙂

[the first person who contacts me with what film that quote comes from wins a hardcover copy of Valerie Wilson Wesley’s EASIER TO KILL Mystery novel, use the contact form, put ‘contest’ and it won’t get posted, but will come right to me. :)]

Korean Eye: Contemporary Korean Art[Paperback]- The most influential and significant work on Korean contemporary art and artists to date. Following the huge success of Korean Eye: Moon Generation, the first international exhibition of Korean contemporary art, Skira publishes a book featuring sixty of Korea’s most renowned contemporary artists, selected by a curatorial team which consists of a mix of Korean and international art curators. The book also includes background information on the art scene in Korea and references to the major art fairs, symposia, exhibitions, galleries, museums, and events throughout the year.

ECHO NOUVEAU The Art and Life of a Working Girl: 1995-2010[Hardcover]- This book is much more than a collection of fifteen years of artwork by the renowned and award winning art nouveau advertising illustrator, Echo Chernik. In this book, Echo answers the question “What’s it like to be an advertising illustrator?” She addresses the topics of portfolio creation, contract negotiation, and the process involved in becoming a successful commercial artist. As an instructor of Graphic Design and Illustration at Pratt Institute and Skidmore CCI, and one of the industry’s most in-demand advertising illustrators, Echo has designed this book not only as a collection of previously uncompiled illustrations, but also as a conduit for dispensing years of accumulated knowledge and advice to fledgling and hopeful young illustrators. Through a stunning visual tour of published works, Echo divulges hints and tips on how to navigate the business. She also shares often humourous stories about working on individual projects. The Studio of Echo Chernik is the combined efforts of Echo and Lazarus Chernik, both graduates of Pratt institute in New York. Echo’s clients have included over the years: Trek Bicycles, Miller, Camel, Coors, Nascar, Mattel, The Bellagio Casino, Celestial Seasonings Teas, Sears, K-Mart, Arlo Guthrie, The Dave Matthews Band, and many more. Echo has been the recipient of numerous “Best In…” awards, Gold awards, Silver awards, Cover awards and Fan Favorite awards, including HP’s Best In Show. Echo has also been featured in three publications of Spectrum to date. —It was seeing her lavish and lovely, exquisite even, drawings in the annual SPECTRUM art collection that made me interested in this book. She’s a staggering artist.

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.

Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War[Paperback]- Beginning in prehistoric times and building toward a near and disturbing future, the reader is taken on a journey of innovation and depravity. Award-winning science writer Jeffrey A. Lockwood begins with the development of “bee bombs” in the ancient world and explores the role of insect-borne disease in changing the course of major battles, ranging from Napoleon’s military campaigns to the trenches of World War I. He explores the horrific programs of insect warfare during World War II: airplanes dropping plague-infested fleas, facilities rearing tens of millions of hungry beetles to destroy crops, and prison camps staffed by doctors testing disease-carrying lice on inmates. The Cold War saw secret government operations involving the mass release of specially developed strains of mosquitoes on an unsuspecting American public–along with the alleged use of disease-carrying and crop-eating pests against North Korea and Cuba. Lockwood reveals how easy it would be to use of insects in warfare and terrorism today: In 1989, domestic ecoterrorists extorted government officials and wreaked economic and political havoc by threatening to release the notorious Medfly into California’s crops. A remarkable story of human ingenuity–and brutality–Six-Legged Soldiers is the first comprehensive look at the use of insects as weapons of war, from ancient times to the present day.

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)

Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes– Super Black places the appearance of black superheroes alongside broad and sweeping cultural trends in American politics and pop culture, which reveals how black superheroes are not disposable pop products, but rather a fascinating racial phenomenon through which futuristic expressions and fantastic visions of black racial identity and symbolic political meaning are presented. Adilifu Nama sees the value–and finds new avenues for exploring racial identity–in black superheroes who are often dismissed as sidekicks, imitators of established white heroes, or are accused of having no role outside of blaxploitation film contexts. – I hate the term African American, so not having that in the title predisposes me to like this book. Add discourse on superheroes (how the heck does Marvel and DC trademark that term?) and myth building and I’m there. 🙂

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.

RADIOACTIVE:MARIE & PIERRE CURIE: A TALE OF LOVE AND FALLOUT – In the century since the Curies began their work, we’ve struggled with nuclear weapons proliferation, debated the role of radiation in medical treatment, and pondered nuclear energy as a solution to climate change. In Radioactive, Lauren Redniss links these contentious questions to a love story in 19th Century Paris…Whether young or old, scientific novice or expert, no one will fail to be moved by Lauren Redniss’s eerie and wondrous evocation of one of history’s most intriguing figures.

DREAMSCAPES 2010: CONTEMPORARY IMAGINARY REALISM – Publication Date: April 28, 2011 | ISBN-10: 9490668028 | ISBN-13: 978-9490668020 The greatest practitioners of imaginary realism are presented in this lavish overview of dreamy, surreal and beguiling paintings and sculptures! This large-scale, beautifully produced book features artwork by modern favorites like Michael Parkes, Daniel Merriam, Kinuko Y. Craft and many others. Vibrant paintings feature psychedelic dreamscapes populated by fairies, nymphs, gods and golems. Loaded with symbolism and often jarringly original, this showcases the best fantasy artists working today.Buy Direct from Publisher Here.

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.

FULL DARK, NO STARS by Stephen King – Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form.

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.

SHERLOCK HOLMES CONSULTING DETECTIVE Vol III – The Baker Street Sleuth returns in five new original mysteries told in the classic style of Arthur Conan Doyle. Here are tales by Aaron Smith, Ian Watson, Joshua Reynolds and Andrew Smith guaranteed entertain any mystery fan. Throw on your deerstalker cap and load your pistols, there’s murder and mayhem about and the game is afoot once more.

Cédric 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.

Well gals and guys hope you enjoyed that.

The WEDNESDAY WORDS column is a brand 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!

Week 1

PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID and Walks across Hell

BILLY: You know, I believe ole Pat has lost his sand.

DEPUTY BELL: You ought not to talk about him that way. You and him used to be pretty close.

BILLY: He ain’t the same man… He signed himself over to Chisum and every other goddamned landowner that’s trying to put a fence around this country. Hell that’s what you been doing, ain’t it, Bell? Selling us out and getting fat.

Which version of PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID should you see?

You didn’t know there were multiple versions? Unfortunately there are.

This is why I dislike multiple versions of a film. A film is a touchstone to a culture, it’s one of those key moments where you could say ‘I saw Star Wars’, and all of you can agree what the movie was, and what scenes you loved. You can have a conversation based on a shared cultural memory, a shared moment that in the crosstalk, connects us across time and across class or ethnicity or gender. That’s the very core of culture, these communal touchstones that bind us. That bind us all.

“Billy they don’t like you to be so free.”

And multiple versions of a film take away from us having this easy cultural shorthand with each other. Because the films and the moments that should bind us may not be there, depending on the version of the film we saw.

PAT GARRET AND BILLY THE KID unfortunately is like that. Depending on which version you see will determine if you walk away thinking it’s a masterpiece or overrated, bordering on inane.

There’s the TURNER MOVIES 1988 cut that finally restored the movie to its full length, and then there is the inexplicable 2005 version.

Avoid watching the 2005 version first, as your introduction to the movie, as it is… in ways deep and decisive, a betrayal of what the film is (If you listen to the commentary on the 1998 version, by ‘experts’ on Peckinpah that I typically find interesting, you hear the art by committee, art by consensus, ‘back seat’ driving and editing that leads to the butchered 2005 version. People who confuse being fans of a creative person, with being able to create in that person’s name. And as the 2005 version shows, that’s just not the case). Let’s just take the opening scene as an example, where, if you lose the power of that… you might as well just turn the movie off.


Jailer: Repent you son of a bitch.

Billy: Sweet Jesus I repent.

Jailer: Not till you taste the fear of the lord! I’ll show you! I’ll take you for a walk across hell on a spider web.

—(This is one of the great iconic lines of the film, of any film, and the actor (not the writer) came up with it, similar to how Rutger Hauer added the best line in BLADE RUNNER, the monologue about ‘tears in rain’. And the above line, “A walk across hell on a spider web” is completely cut out of the 2005 edit. Whoever the moron or morons are who are responsible for the 2005 version they should never work in film… ever. In fact I would sign off on a good stoning! 🙂 It’s one of multiple lines they either change, or yank out of the film. Unbelievable that someone could think they were doing anything but butchering the film by making these changes. Amazing.)

The 2005 version cuts the heart out of that first scene. The risqué joke that Billy and Pat share, removing some of the pauses and freeze frames, and shortening the conversation, and cutting out the pivotal final exchange of:

“he’s my friend”
“he aint no more”
“I reckon”

That exchange, the moments between those lines, and Billy’s quiet acknowledgment that times may indeed… have changed, is essential to the next scene and the rest of the movie.

It’s like they want to rush the movie, and that flies against the very heart of the film. Allegories and myths should not be rushed.

It’s a film about the pauses, what is not said between characters, it’s about a jail-break staged unlike any jail-break in any film, ever. Where it’s not about the jail break, it’s about a town, and a time, and a song, and a held moment of myth. It’s about the history that these two… once friends, share. That story is told in much that the 2005 version cuts out.

It’s a film that lives in the pauses.

“She was laughing like the devil when I caught her, but she was smiling when I left her.”

PAT GARRET AND BILLY THE KID is, in the purest sense of the word an existential movie, a movie (not a biography, Peckinpah is not interested, and neither are we, in the reality of these men, but in the mythology, in the romance) that is not about rushing to the next scene, but a movie that in the pauses and in the held shots says something about existence; and the 2005 edit of the film, doesn’t want to give it the time… to exist.

I’m saying avoid the 2005 edit, and stick to the 1988 Turner version with all those scenes still there (Both versions are available in the same box set available here, just make sure to watch the 1988 version).

To see any other version of PAT GARRET AND BILLY THE KID is not to see it at all.


BILLY: To ole Pat. Sherrif Pat Garrett, sold out to the Santa Fe Ring. How does it feel?

PAT: It feels like… times have changed.

BILLY: Times maybe, not me.

DVD Review: SPACE 1999 BLU-RAY Episode#1 BREAKAWAY! Plus Viewing Order List!!

So I just received today the SPACE 1999 Blu-Ray Season One Set!

Does it live up to expectations? Few episodes in and I have to say… HOLY HECK does it ever! I’m older than most of you reading this, having been frozen in a block of ice during World War II (Okay , okay I’m joking! It was actually World War I) 🙂 , so it tends to give me a different perspective on culture and entertainment.

And I guess a different appreciation for the wonders of yesteryear.

Whereas kids raised today on the latest Battlestar Galactica or Big Screen Blockbuster, may see in this outdated show just groan inducing cheese, I see something that does not dim or fade… I see quality. And it is not for nostalgic reasons that I praise some old shows; old shows can be awful just like new shows. I’m always distrusting of people who put things on a pedestal for nostalgia’s sake, just because they grew up with something. Seems like a lazy person’s way of rating things.

Crap is crap. I grew up with ‘Different Strokes’ and ‘Dukes of Hazard’ for heaven’s sake, and you would have to pay me (quite a lot) to sit through those shows again.

So yeah anyone who hypes a show based on no more than nostalgia, is suspect at best, and moronic at worst.

Either a show is good or it isn’t.

No, if I gravitate to something from yesteryear or from today I do so because there’s evident in it a craft, a passion, that transcends the budgetary or technological constraints of the time.

I once watched a ragtag theater group on the edge of the world put on a production of MAN OF LA MANCHA, that lacking even the most modest sets, was performed with such verve, and passion that decades later… it rallies me still.

And watching SPACE 1999, a show that even its title proclaims as a short-sighted anachronism, I’m drawn in and impressed by it for similar reasons as that play of long ago. Not judging it because of what I remember of it as a kid (I hated it as a kid) but judging it based on my appreciation of it today.

Here is this multi-national cast and crew, and this British studio, developing in that shadow land between the demise of the Star Trek television series and the rise of the Star Wars film, this very odd space show.

As a kid I wasn’t a fan of the show. I caught it sporadically, and I found it (though it’s not a word I would have used then) plodding. It was stilted, overly stoic, and filled with not particularly happy or young people… endlessly scowling at the camera and talking, talking talking.

As a kid I would watch maybe ten, fifteen minutes, then start looking through the five (and on a good day six) channels we had back then for a good show. Maybe a rerun of Star Trek. Now that was a show to capture a kid’s imagination! It was colorful, action-packed, filled with attractive people (did I mention the mini-skirts) who seemed to be having fun in between saving worlds, By comparison SPACE 1999, was a drab, monochromatic environment, filled with endlessly scowling old people. I could get that from my teachers, so I didn’t need that in my tv show.

So as a kid I might have seen 3 or 4 episodes in bits and pieces, none of them leaving a positive impression on me. But as an adult the price was right, and my curiosity was piqued so I now have the Blu-ray in my SEIKI Multi-region player, and as stated… it looks better than it ever did when watching it as a kid. The Blue-ray remastering is fantastic, imbuing color everywhere in a show that I recall being almost achingly drab and gray and lifeless.

Putting in the first disk, and watching the first episode, BREAKAWAY and I’m stunned… it’s gorgeous, simply sumptuous. It’s visually very reminiscent of Kubrick’s 2001. The masterful use of models, the 1960s used to imagine and dress the coming millennium. Even though this is a show that ran from 1975 to 1977, it’s the suave, controlled ‘James Bond’ 60s, rather than the psychedelic 70s that influence the films costumes and sets.

There’s a sleek open modernity and aesthetic that is style rather than fad, and this extends particularly to the sets and ships with this wonderful analog, tactile sense to the walls and architecture and buttons and displays. And boy, I love seeing those oscilloscopes/frequency generators. As a guy who has had to use more than a few of those, now rarely seen, tech tools… it’s both charming and effective.

It’s a wonderful clash of concepts, a 1999 wherein analog did not lose the war to digital, and Pan-Am never went out of business, and JFK’s head never went back and to the left.

And the story… I had never seen the first episode, the story (which I’ll leave you to discover) is some crazy audacious manna! In short, I found it a lot of fun. Though it plays, fast and loose with physics, I have no prob with that. I go into my sci-fi not expecting it to be sci-fact.

And the stilted, stoic, even dire performances that bored me to tears as a kid, here in this episode work brilliantly. It’s so stylized, their acting, ranging from subtle to understated to unnatural(Barbara Bain offers an unblinking, very controlled, almost mechanized delivery, yet is still very feminine. It’s very unusual what she does, but unusual in this case works). An addictive episode.

If you’re a fan of films such as Kubrick’s 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY or Mario Bava’s DIABOLIQUE, those primary color drenched odes to style, then you’ll love this first episode of SPACE 1999. I was there in 1999, and this is the future we didn’t get, but should have.

Perhaps it’s not too late! Someone go blow-up the moon!!!

🙂

Oh and one more thing. The order these episodes are on the Blu-ray set (and DVD) is production order, which is completely how they came out. However, it doesn’t work.

I’ll say again… it doesn’t work.

I hit episode two, and I was like…. “what the eff, did I miss something?!”. Because even though these shows are supposed to be more or less standalone, some scripts/stories juxtapose badly with other episodes, in the order they are on the disk.

I did a bit of searching, and thankfully found someone who noticed the same type of inconsistency in the production order of the shows. Namely Andrew Kearley who has created a great web site devoted to SPACE 1999.

One of the best things on the site is that he has created a viewing order for the SPACE 1999 shows.

His website gives a breakdown of why he places the shows where he does, and you can read it here. After viewing the entire season one, I see both the strengths and weaknesses of his list. In my opinion, after watching the whole season, it’s best to stick to production viewing order except where necessary. In a lot of cases Kearley’s list moves episodes out of production order, when in my opinion it doesn’t improve or substantially affect the viewing experience.

So I’ve created a list that looks to stay true to the production order of the series (the order it was shot in and how it is laid out in DVD), except where such alterations in my opinion substantially strengthen the viewing experience.

So here is Production order of the episodes and how you will find them laid out on the DVD or Blu-ray:

Breakaway

Matter Of Life And Death

Black Sun

Ring Around The Moon

Earthbound

Another Time, Another Place

Missing Link

Guardian Of Piri

Force Of Life

Alpha Child

The Last Sunset

Voyager’s Return

Collision Course

Death’s Other Dominion

The Full Circle

End Of Eternity

War Games

The Last Enemy

The Troubled Spirit

Space Brain

The Infernal Machine

Mission Of The Darians

Dragon’s Domain

The Testament Of Arkadia

Utilizing Kearley’s and then my own viewing experience, I’m come up with what I believe is the optimum viewing order for this series. Maintaining Production Order whenever feasible. So without further ado, here is the final set in concrete order, that I recommend the shows should be watched in. I call this the HT Space 1999 recommended Episode Viewing Order List (or HT Space 1999 REVOL for short :)):

1. Breakaway
2. Earthbound
3. Black Sun
4. Missing Link
5. Voyager’s Return
The first five follow the Kearley list. Without doubt that gives a great opening to the series.
6. Ring around the Moon
7. Matter of Life and Death
Six and Seven is where I break with the Kearley List. This forms a loose 2 parter. With the possession of the Doctor in RING perhaps following her subconsciously into MATTER and perhaps helps address some of the inexplicable events that happen there.

8. Guardian of Piri
9. Force of Life
10. Alpha Child
11. The Last Sunset
12. Collision Course
13. Death’s other Dominion
14. The Full Circle
15. End of Eternity

These eight episodes GUARDIAN to THE END OF ETERNITY (with the exception of moving one episode earlier in the season for story development reasons) follow production order, as I saw no substantial reason to move them around. And having watched them both ways they work best this way, adhering closer to production order.

16. The Last Enemy
17. War Games

I swap the order of THE LAST ENEMY and WAR GAMES, because in WAR GAMES it kinda heals the damage done to them in THE LAST ENEMY, and helps them get out of the habit of… preemptive strike and finding enemies wherever they look.

18. Another Time, Another Place- Agreeing with Kearley’s desire to have this closer to the end of the first season, I thought this was the ideal place for this episode. The largely space based and battle heavy WAR GAMES being a nice lead in for the far more metaphysical ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE. And I think after the loss in ANOTHER TIME, the opening of TROUBLED SPIRIT is a great way to cleanse the palette and show a healing moment for the crew of Alpha after several shattering episodes.

19. The Troubled Spirit
20. Space Brain
21. The Infernal Machine
22. Mission of the Darians
23. Dragon’s Domain
24. The Testament of Arkadia

And the final six episodes follow production order exactly and are a strong powerful wrap up for the first, best, and some would say ONLY true season of SPACE 1999.

Well this has been a lot of fun, a little work, putting this HT Space 1999 Recommended Episode Order Viewing List (REVOL) together. Hope it will be of help and use to some of you. Thanks!

Anyhow, Go enjoy this BLU-RAY edition of a show about a space-faring multi-cultural unified 1999, that somehow here in 2012 we managed to miss. We took the wrong road, somewhere in our not too distant past, and found ourselves stuck for decades in Orwell’s 1984, rather than in Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s 1999.

Space: 1999: The Complete Season One [Blu-ray] – Buy it here!

Perhaps it’s not too late to turnaround, as a culture, as a nation, as a world, and find that future that we missed… those days of futures past.

Till later in the words of the late Don Cornelius… Peace, Love, and Soul!!!

Movie Trailer Reviews: RED TAILS and TOWER HEIST

Movie Trailer Reviews: RED TAILS and TOWER HEIST

Just saw two trailers.

I’m pretty darn good at being able to call a film’s quality, just based on the trailer. There are exceptions but more often than not, I’m pretty dead on.

So onto the trailer reviews…

TOWER HEIST… the idea initially sounded okay, Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller in a crime/comedy film directed by Brett Ratner. The trailer is awful. I mean… awful. It is a very bad sign when you can’t even make a 2 minute trailer funny or interesting.

Brett Ratner hasn’t directed a feature film since 2006’s X-MEN:LAST STAND, which unlike some, I liked. However, I didn’t like his previous stabs at funny… such as RUSH HOUR, and TOWER HEIST looks to follow in the same plodding, unfunny footsteps.

Ben Stiller’s last film was the absolutely atrocious LITTLE FOCKERS. A film that was so bad it was painful to watch. As funny as an abortion, and TOWER HEIST seems to be in that mold.

And last but not least, Eddie Murphy. I’m a huge Eddie Murphy fan, but seeing him trying to do the same routine he was doing 30 years ago, is just pathetically sad. And the fault, with a cursory listen, has to fall on the 4 ‘writers’ that put their name to this mess.

All in all, TOWER HEIST is the worst trailer I’ve seen in a long, long time.

2nd trailer is for RED TAILS. Going into it I have a few problems:

1- I’m not a fan of Terrance Howard or Cuba Gooding Jr

2- I think the title (which I understand is a nickname for the flyers) does not work as a film title, and is boring and unimaginative and a detriment to the film at best, much better would be a title like BY THE DAWN’S EARLY NIGHT (heh, heh, just thought that up, I quite like it). It’s just another example of marketing sabotaging films that deal with heroic characters of color. Ala the title of HANCOCK.

Those negatives noted, it has some strong positives.

Most notably that it is written by John Ridley, who is one of the most talented pulp writers since Chester Himes and Jim Thompson. I’m not always crazy about his politics, but he’s a fantastic writer, and every film that he has been the screen writer for (UTURN [based on his fantastic novel], THREE KINGS, and COLD AROUND THE HEART) I consider absolutely brilliant. This will be his first screenplay in almost a decade.

Also, It’s directed by first time feature-film director Anthony Hemingway. This is potentially a negative, but he has some solid TV directing experience, and the trailer looks good. Exciting really.

I’m not really sold on any of the casting, and as stated I think Terrance Howard and Cuba Gooding as the ‘stars’ are going to be the main hurdles for me, I would much rather see actors such as Idris Elba (LUTHER, ULTRAVIOLET, THE WIRE, TAKERS, OBSESSED, THOR)or Michael Jai White (of BLOOD AND BONE and BLACK DYNAMITE) or Eamonn Walker (of KINGS, BLOOD AND BONE) or Taye Diggs (DAY BREAK) helming this film. But it does have a couple interesting actors, namely Andre Royo as well as Bryan Cranston and Lee Tergesen.

So I’d like a name change on this film before its January 2012 release, but that (and my misgivings) aside, I’ll give it my support when it hits theaters.

So a thumbs down for TOWER HEIST and tentative thumbs up for RED TAILS.

Purchase any of the following recommended items using the links below and help support this blog. Thanks:

U Turn

Three Kings [Blu-ray]

Cold Around the Heart

Blood & Bone

Luther

Day Break – The Complete Series (See all Mystery & Suspense Thrillers)

Black Dynamite (See all Crime Movies & TV)

THE DIRECTORS SERIES: RICHARD MARQUAND

Richard Marquand (1938–1987)

Was a director who helmed only 10 features in his career, not enough to forge any real stylistic identity in the minds of filmgoers. However some notable films in his filmography were EDWARD THE II and THE SEARCH FOR THE NILE (both tv productions done 1970, and 1971 respectively, seemingly very well received, but he would not work again as a director for 6 years, and both films are not available on DVD), he would follow those up with intriguing films such as LEGACY, EYE OF THE NEEDLE, RETURN OF THE JEDI, JAGGED EDGE. The latter three I’ve seen, EYE OF THE NEEDLE a war/espionage thriller with a standout performance by Donald Sutherland being a personal favorite, and comes higly recommended. But both RETURN OF THE JEDI and JAGGED EDGE are very accomplished films, and LEGACY has a good reputation as a thriller/horror film. So all in all, the filmography of a talented director who left us too soon.