Friday, January 30, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 024 The Bachman Books by Stephen King

BOOK TITLE-The Bachman Books
AUTHOR-RIchard Bachman AKA Stephen King

This was one of the first 5 Stephen King books I read.What drew me to it at first was not only did it contain 4 complete novels,it also had The Running Man. I had recently seen the movie. So wanted to read the novel.

I am sure people reading this know why King wrote books under the Bachman pen name. And why he revealed this secret.The four novels this collection reprints were pretty hard to find before it was known King was Bachman. Once that piece of knowledge got out they became super hard to find. So this collection was published to not only give the fans a way to read these stories. But there was so much demand the publishing company knew they would make a nice profit.

Well onto the stories in the collection. Gonna do them from worst to best.

Roadwork-A already slightly deranged man finds out his house is being demolished to make way for a road. And we get to see his mental state goto shit. As he plans out a way to prevent this road. What makes this the worst novel in the collection to me is that it is way to long. The idea is decent. But it would work much better as a short story.

The Running Man-Set in a dsytopic future. We get the story of a man who is trying to keep his family living. His son is deathly ill.Mostly because of all the pollution in the air. He ends up on The Running Man gameshow. Where he hopes to make enough money to provide for his family's well being. As you can see already the story is very different from the film. The film just takes a few ideas from this story and changes so much. There is no arena in the book. Instead our hero is hiding in the cities and countryside. I enjoy the film. With it being one of the few Arnold action films I can still watch and enjoy. The book though is so much better. I would love to see a proper adaptation of the book. But I doubt that will happen.

Rage-This story is the reason why this collection is now out of print. And according to Mr King this story will never be reprinted. Thankfully it is really easy to find this collection in used bookstores for cheap. The store I got it from usually has at least 5 copies on the shelf. This is a tale of a high school student. He has some emotional issues. And is about to be kicked out of school. So he shows up to school with a pistol. And takes his morning class hostage. I know of at least two incidents where someone who had read this story tried to take a high school class hostage. Because of that and various school shootings Mr King asked that this collection be taken out of print. I understand why he felt he should do this.

The Long Walk-It is somewhat uncommon for King to write science fiction. This story set in the near future is one of my favorite non-Dark Tower books from King. Every year 100 young men start on the long walk. You have to walk a non-stop. And keep up at least a minimum speed. If you break any of the rules you get a warning. Three warnings and you are killed. The walk keeps going until there is only one person left.I am really surprised that so far this hasn't been adapted into a film or an episode of a TV show.

Even the worst novel in this collection is worth and read. With the best two being 2 of my favorite Stephen King books.

The Bachman Books gets a 4.15 outta 5.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 023 Castaways by Brian Keene

BOOK TITLE-Castaways
AUTHOR-Brian Keene
COST-75 cents

This was the third novel from Brian Keene I read. Having read Ghoul and Ghost Walk previously. Liked both of those but found that both had kind of crappy endings. So I was wondering if Keene suffered from the same affliction that Stephen King has since 1995ish. You know how the book will be good then in the last 10 pages either goes total shit or the ending is just BLAH.Thankfully this novel had a great ending.

What made me choose this out of the 10 or so Brian Keene novels I own is that he mentioned in an interview this was his tribute to Richard Laymon. Having already read and loved a stack of Laymon novels I was interested in seeing Keene's version of Laymon's sleazy 80s B Horror vibe.

We got a group of contestants on a Survivor like reality show. A nasty storm is headed for the island. There is no time to get the cast and crew out. They all bunker down in the crappy huts that the contestants built. But there is something deadlier than the storm. This island is home to a family of mutant genetic throwbacks. Supposedly the original draft of this story explained how these monsters are where the Beasts of Laymon's Beast series of novels come from.

Keene does a good job of capturing the feel of the Laymon novels I have read. Castaways is much sleazier than any other Keene novel. The gore factor is upped. And the novel has a much faster pace than most Keene novels.

If you enjoy either Keene or Laymon this is worth reading. Might just be my area but I see copies in used bookstores and Dollar Generals/Family Dollars all the time. I got the Leisure Fiction printing. Which like most other books from Leisure is out of print. Good thing Leisure overprinted most of their books.

Castaways gets a 3.95 outta 5.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 022 Whacked! Skewed Views of Horror Movies that simply refuse to die

BOOK TITLE-Whacked! Skewed Views of Horror Movies that simply refuse to die
AUTHOR-Glen Coburn
COST-No clue

I have no idea where I got this ebook. As I have stated before I love books of movie reviews. So that is more than likely why I got this book.

While the book does have reviews of a handful of films I never see reviewed in other books,the style of the reviews made it an almost painful reading experience.

The author writes each review like a 5th rate rip off of Joe Bob Briggs. Constant mentions of his dumb drug addicted son. Overly cute and innocent daughter,and finally his long suffering wife. It isn't hard to copy Briggs style. What is hard is copying it and making it funny. The author fell way short of making these reviews funny.

Once I finish typing up this review I am gonna delete the file. I know I will never read this again. And whatever I paid for it,if I paid anything,is way too much. Avoid this book like a $3 NOLA hooker.

Whacked!Skewed views of horror films gets a 0.25 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 021 The Walking Dead:The Fall of the Governor part one

BOOK TITLE-The Walking Dead:The Fall of the Governor Part 1
AUTHOR-Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga

Took a few days off from reading books to blow through a stack of comics. When I was ready to dive into another novel I saw this book in my stack. I bought it sometime last year IIRC.Had sat it on my read next pile. Then let it be buried under other books.

Starting up not that long after the Road to Woodbury book ended. Our female lead Lilly is living on Woodbury and seems to feel somewhat safe.We get to see how the Governor is slowly losing his mind. With him keeping his daughter ,who is a zombie,chained up in his apartment. But it is his collection of zombie heads in fish tanks that was the creepiest.

More of the residents of Woodbury are introduced. Which is nice for people who have just seen the tv show. In the comic we got to see a bit more of life in Woodbury. Lilly ends up falling for a guy and starts believing that they will be safe.

Then Rick,Glen and Michonne show up in Woodbury and everything goes to hell. Rick gets one of his hands chopped off. Michonne is chained up in a room and assaulted daily by the Governor.With most of what happens to Glen never being told.If you have read the comic,this is basically the Governor's view on what happened when Rick and the two others go off to look for the crashed chopper.

The last 4 or so chapters as really fast paced. Rick and the two other members of the prison group start to escape. Helped out my Martinez and the Doctor and nurse of Woodbury. Of course Rick has no idea Martinez was told to do this by the Governor. After they all  get over the wall surrounding Woodbury,Michonne heads back to get her revenge on the Governor.And we get a way more graphic version of this encounter than what we saw in the comic.

After the lackluster and kind of dull second book,this third of so far 4 Walking Dead novels was pretty good. I didn't expect to get as much detail on the Governor and Michonne stuff as I got. It felt like for a few pages Edward Lee or Richard Laymon took over the writing job.

The Walking Dead:The Fall of the Governor part 1 gets a 3.85 outta 5.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 020 Bat Boy the complete Peter Bagge collection

BOOK TITLE-Bat Boy The Complete Weekly World News Comic Strips
AUTHOR-Peter Bagge
FORMAT-Strip style Hardcover

I first found out about the Batboy comic strip when Danielle Corsetto mentioned on a forum she was taking it over. Looked around and saw that Peter Bagge had been doing it for over a year. Having had become a fan of Weekly World News back in the mid 80s. I had a Great Aunt that bought WWN and pretty much ever other tabloid you could find on the US newstands. So  I remember all the various Batboy stories.

Sometime a year or so ago I found out that IDW had published a hardcover of all the Bagge written and drawn strips. I wanted it,but the price was a bit too high. I have found that with IDW the cost of their trades and hardcovers is a bit higher than most other indy companies. Which is why I have learned to wait and try to grab their stuff on sale at cons.

Skip ahead to December of 2013,got send a Amazon giftcard from a friend. I took a glance at my "shit  I want but don't want to spend money on"wishlist. Kick ass there are used copies of BatBoy for $3.25 plus 2 bucks shipping. I order it. And get it in right after X-mas Day. Opened the package,got a huge smile on my face. Grabbed a cold gatorade out of the fridge. A bag of sea salt and cracked pepper chips. And kicked back in my chair to read this collection.

Bagge used the Batboy strip to satirized whatever was going on in the political or pop culture world. The pacing and just generally stream of conscious feel of the strip reminds me of what little I have read of Thimble Theater with Popeye. Bagge's art is it's normal great frenetic and energetic stuff. And I really enjoyed the Batboy as President chooses his first lady storyline.

It seems like this must of bombed cause I keep seeing obvious bookstore closeout copies of this going for really cheap prices. The copy I own had 3 or 4 clearance stickers from Barnes and Noble on its cover.Took me some time but managed to get them all off without damaging the cover.

If you like BatBoy and/or Peter Bagge and can find this for $5 or less grab it. It is not worth the cover price.But Amazon is flooded with cheap copies most of the time.

Bat Boy The Complete Weekly World News Comic Strips By Peter Bagge gets a 3.65 outta 5.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 019 Ring of Hell

BOOK TITLE-Ring of Hell:The Story of Chris Benoit&The Fall of the Pro Wrestling Industry
AUTHOR-Matthew Randazzo V aka Polish Bob Stupak

I first heard about this book when someone mentioned it at DeathvalleyDriver Video Review. One of the former posters was the author. I figured I would get it through inter library Loan one day. Mostly because I don't have that much room for hardcover books.

Had drove down to the next town to the south. Was in the tiny mall.Mostly to hit the going out of business Sam Goody,Dollar Tree and the usually super shitty bookstore. Got some good deals on stuff at Sam Goody. Headed to the back of the bookstore to check out the tiny comic book section. The non fiction sports books section was right behind me. I turned around and saw a copy of Ring of Hell. I grabbed it and flipped through it. Looked decent,but this store always has new books at cover price.Not wanting to pay that much for it. I look at the back cover and it is marked down to $13. Hell yeah.

Randazzo presents his researched story of Chris Benoit's life. His info comes from so many sources. From interviews he did with people that knew Benoit,various shoot interviews and even interviews Chris had given before his death.

Through out the book Matthew points out how Benoit has a history of acting strange and sometimes being very sadistic. He was known for his very sick sense of humor. And joined in on many beatdowns/tortures/earning your place situations in some dojos in Japan.

As for one major complaint I have heard about this book,yeah lots of the info in it is from shoot interviews. And wrestlers have been known to exaggerate or out right lie about stuff in these interviews. So we won't know what stories actually happened. And if they did how much of what we are told is the truth.

Even with this caveat,this is a good read. No idea if it ever got a paperback release. And I have no clue what a used copy would cost you. I would say if you want to read this see if your library can get a copy. If not don't pay more than say 10 bucks for the hardcover.

Ring of Hell gets a 3.35 outta 5.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dusty old long box Wednesday 01/21/2015

One thing that lets me know fairly quick if I am gonna like a comic shop is if they got a good back issue selection. Want to make me love the store then have lots of boxes of comics for a buck or less. I will comb through those types of boxes for hours. Grabbing all kinds of weird and/or forgotten series. One of which I felt needs more attention.

Back in 1991 Harvey comics was in the middle of a comeback.They were trying to take a share of the then fairly big kids market of comics. So they not only had their normal Harvey properties,like Richie Rich,Casper and Hot Stuff the lil Devil. But they also got classic and modern cartoons licenses. Stuff like Tom and Jerry,Woody Woodpecker,the Hanna Barbara characters and the one I am gonna talk about here the short lived Back to the Future cartoon.

There was that I know of 2 Back to the Future series. One that lasted 4 issues and was bimonthly. Then a 3 issue mini series in 92,that was also bi monthly.

Back to the future comic issue 01

Writer Dwayne McDuffire
Cover by GIl Kane
Pencils and inks by Nelson Dewey

Marty and the doc travel back to Prohibition times to get a specially brewed medicine to correct Einstein the dog's eyesight. He has CAT a racts,which causes everything to look like cats.

Of course they run into an ancestor of Biff. Who is a gangster. Turns out Marty's ancestor is that gangs brew master. So they plot to free him and get him to brew up the medicine to fix the dog's eyes.

Now I might have seen 2 episodes tops of the cartoon. But the comic captures the feel of the three films. I also liked how the story was wrapped up in one issue.

Back to the Future comic Issue 02

Writer Dwayne McDuffie,seems to be adapted from an episode of the TV show.
Cover by Gil Kane
Art by Nelson Dewey

I don't like how the cover is kind of a lie. Marty doesn't go back to prehistoric time in this issue. Hell he is barely in it.

Doc Brown and his sons,Jules and Verne,travel to the prehistoric era to test out a new invention of his. Of course they end up changing the future and have to correct this.

They see a  meteor about to strike. So they use Doc's anti matter gun thingy to destroy it. Guess what this is the meteor that killed off the dinosaurs. So when they get back to the present dinosaurs are the dominant species.

The real stand out is early on a pterodon the boys name Donny saves the family. When they return to the past to prevent the meteor from being destroyed they mention how every dinosaur will die. They even see Donny. But don't seem that sad that their friend is seconds away from death. Kind of strange for a comic aimed at kids. But who knows.

Back to the Future Issue 03

Writer Dwayne McDuffire,again adapted from an episode of the cartoon
Cover by Gil kane
Art by Nelson Dewey

Doc and Marty go back to Roman times. For Doc to return some scrolls he had been studying. The two boys of course stow away. Like Chim Chim and Spraddle on Speed Racer.But they stow away because they hear their father mention Roman Arcades. They think it is video arcades and want to go. Damn I miss real video arcades,not those Dave and Buster style bar-cades.

The boys get in trouble and Doc has to go save them.As per normal in this series,Marty runs into one of Biff's ancestors. And gets challenged to a chariot race.

Doc lets Marty know that he has to lose the race. If he doesn't lose to Biff ,then Caligula won't become Emperor. So Doc outfits Marty's chariot with all kinds of gadgets. Kind of strange for the writer to pick Caligula out of all the Roman leaders.

Back to the Future issue 04

Writer Dwayne McDuffire,and again adapted from an episode of the cartoon.
Cover by Gil Kane
Art by Nelson Dewey

It is April Fools Day and the boys are prepping lots of pranks for their father.Whatever they did to Doc Brown's brain wave analyzer causes it to think he has used up most of his brain.

So Doc leaves the home and tries to find something that doesn't require him to think. After a few misadventures he gets a job at a pizza place. Which should be perfect. Doesn't take that much heavy thinking to make pizza. Or so I am told.

Since that doesn't work Doc goes back to live with cavemen. And Marty gets ready for his band's concert. He had borrowed Doc's weather machine to use for special FX during the concert.Doc quickly realizes that living in the Stone actually causes him to think more often. So he returns to the present.

The boys explain to their Dad how they messed with his brain wave machine. He doesn't believe them. But we see that they also pranked Doc's weather machine. So when Marty turns it on a super storm hits the concert. Doc quickly comes up with a solution. Thus seeing that he hasn't used up most of his brain.

 There is a variant edition of the first issue. Seems it was a giveaway comic. I got a foggy memory of getting a free Back to the Future comic from Kaybee Toys in the early 90s. But I might be remembering it wrong.Besides it is missing most of the ads,the only real difference between the two versions is the cover.
For what it is Back to the Future is a decent comic. It is better written than most kids comics of that era. The covers by Gil Kane are a nice touch. No clue how hard these are to find I checked the online comic shop I sometimes use and they had no copies. If you find these for 2 bucks or less an issue they are worth grabbing for a Back to the Future fan. Now I am wishing the cartoon was out on DVD.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 018 The Tick The Complete Edlund

BOOK TITLE-The Tick The Complete Edlund
AUTHOR-Ben Edlund
FORMAT-Trade paperback

I have been a customer of since they opened. So once they added a wishlist feature I created one.For my birthday a few years back I got this along with about 5 other trades.

The book reprints all the Edlund written and drawn Tick stuff. So the appearances in the NEC newsletter,issues 1-12 of the original series and some sketches. That right there makes this trade a must own. But they added something extra. Sometime after I had quit reading the Tick,so after both The Tick&Arthur and The Tick Heroes of the City got cancelled,NEC published issue 13 of the original Tick run.

What makes that so special is the last full issue of the Tick Edlund wrote ends on a cliffhanger. That had never been resolved. All Tick stories published after issue 12 take place after it. And there has been tiny hints of what happened. NEC got a writer to use these hints and what Edlund done previous to create this kind of lost piece of the Tick mythos.

If you loved the Tick cartoon or live action series and have never read the comic this is the place to start.Some of the stories in this thick trade,as it says on the cover 400 PAGES!,got adapted for either series. Plus you got great storylines like Tick's arrival in the city and skirmish with Clark Oppenheimer. The Million Billion Ninjas storyline that introduces Oedipus and Paul the Samurai.Then my favorite,Tick and Arthur's cross country trip. So much great stuff in just 12 issues. Makes me wish that Edlund would return and do more Tick stuff.

The Tick The Complete Edlund gets a 4.80 outta 5.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 017 Succulent Prey

2015 Reading Challenge 017 Succulent Prey by Wrath James White
BOOK TITLE-Succulent Prey
AUTHOR-Wrath James White
FORMAT-paperback book
COST-75 cents

Before buying this novel I had heard of Mr White but had never read any of his fiction. I was down in Diberville Mississippi. Where there is this great antique mall. Which has in the back corner of the building  a great used bookstore. Where most paperbacks are $1.50 each or even cheaper the more you buy.The guy who owns that store happened to be there that day. And he noticed I already had my arms full of books and still had at least 5 more shelves to look at. "Hey sir,when ever you are ready to check out come find me. If you buy all those books you got in your arms I will cut you a deal." I asked what the deal was,and it boiled down to I would get the normal sized paperbacks for 75 cents,oversized paperbacks for a buck and any hardcovers I wanted for $1.50. Armed with the knowledge of cheap books I spent over an hour looking at the shelves I hadn't checked out yet.This was happening around the time Leisure fiction was declaring bankruptcy and rumors I kept hearing was lots of my favorite horror authors,who worked for Leisure,were gonna have huge chunks of their books going out of print. And they had no idea when they would get the rights back so they could put them back into print. So I was grabbing any horror fiction from Leisure that either I liked the author but didn't own the book. Or if it was an author I had heard lots of good about.

I had heard so  much about Wrath James White. All about how his books captured the feel of the late 80's/early 90s splatterpunk movement in horror fiction. And how he refused to censor himself. Which might be the reason why most of his books are published by tiny publishers. Who want to charge 15 bucks for a 200 page paperback. Then the book quickly goes out of print and now it is $40 or more for that thin ass book.

I saw the familiar Leisure horror logo on the spine of the book. Looked closer and saw the author was Mr White and I knew I had to have it.

Succulent Prey is about a college student. All seems normal with him. He is popular and handsome.Makes good grades and has his choice of most of the females on the college campus. He though has a darkside that he keeps hidden. He has since he was very young had an urge to eat human flesh. So far he has kept this urge under control. Then he finds an online message board all about cannibalism. After this he starts having erection issues. In that he can't keep his penis hard unless he is fantasizing about eatting which ever woman he has in his bed room.

He finds a local sex club and for a short while engaging in the various BDSM activities helps keep his taste for "long pig" at bay. Then he meets the woman of his dreams. She is very smart and pretty. Plus has a thick body. With lots of meat in all the right places. The first time they have sex he ends up biting her fairly hard on her breast,which causes him to instantly have an intense orgasm. But it also triggers a memory of his father and something that was kept hidden in the family basement.

So our protagenist along with his woman head out to track down his father. But our leads taste for human flesh keeps getting stronger. And Wrath James White goes into great detail about what all our lead wants to do to his woman and most other people he encounters on his journey to find his father.

Now I have a strong stomach. It is really rare that a piece of fiction upsets my stomach. This novel almost made me throw up 3 different times. Even after that I have now read the book 3 times. And plan on getting ahold of some more books from Mr White
Succulent Prey gets a 4 outta 5.

Friday, January 16, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 016 Danse Macabre

2015 Reading Challenge Book 000 Danse Macabre written by Stephen King

BOOK TITLE-Danse Macabre
AUTHOR-Stephen King

Danse Macabre is King's early 80s thesis,for lack of a better word,on the history and future of the horror genre. He spends chapters talking about horror in fiction,movies,tv shows and even radio.

This is more than likely the 4th copy of this novel I have owned. I always end up losing them or loaning them out and never getting them back. One good thing is every used bookstore is loaded with King's books. And this one is easy as hell to find. I got my current copy for $1.50. And the owner,who I have known since I was 4,told me she had had this copy for years. "People just don't seem to buy his non-fiction." 

After reading this book for the who knows how many times,I now have a long list of films,books,tv shows and old time radio shows  I want to read,see or hear. After reading his critique of the original Amityville Horror film I now see it in a totally different light. King calls this film "the ultimate Yuppie horror film." And I can see why. 

If you have any interest in the history of the horror genre grab a copy of this novel and check it out.
Danse Macabre gets a 4.15 outta 5.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 015 The Dark Tower:The Gunslinger Born

2015 Reading Challenge Book 015 The Dark Tower:The Gunslinger Born written by Peter David and Robin Furth art by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove
 BOOK TITLE-The Dark Tower:The Gunslinger Born
AUTHOR-Peter David,Robin Furth and Stephen King

I love Stephen King. It was through him that I got into horror fiction. Out of all his books I love his Dark Tower series the most. Having now read the 9 books in the proper series at least 3 times each. So I heard King was letting Peter David,who I have never cared for much,and Robin Furth to write comic books that will fill in some of the gaps in the story of Roland I was really excited. Knowing that these mini series would get put out in hardcovers and trades I skipped buying the single issues. Got this beautiful hardcover in a Sci Fi Book Club sale. And since then have read the second collection. I plan on getting them all one day. But have been wanting to get them all in hardcover and all fairly cheap.

The Gunslinger Born is made up of stuff from Books 1 and 4 of the Dark Tower series. With some new stuff added in. We start off with pre-teen Roland being set up by a magician who has been sleeping with Roland's mother while his father is away. Roland finds out about his mother's affair,and this prompts him to go and take his test of manhood way ahead of time. In Roland's world the gunslingers are the closest thing they have to the knights of ancient times. And if you fail the test of manhood you are banished and leave the civilized part of the world in shame. But thanks to some quick thinking and an unusual choice of weapon Roland passes the test. And becomes the youngest gunslinger ever.

Before Roland has a chance to exact his vengeance on the man his mother has been cheating on his father with,he gets assigned a mission. Roland and 2 friends go out to Hambry. They are there to do a census on the various goods Hambry has that will help out the fight against an evil man who is trying to take over what is left of the world. They get there and find out the leader and law enforcement of Hambry are working for this evil man.Also Roland meets the love of his life.

With the Dark Tower novels my least favorite is book 4.  When it came out I had waited 5 years for the next volume of the Dark Tower series to come out. And instead of getting more adventures of Roland and his band of gunslingers in training,I get a bit of that story then the rest of the novel is a flashback of Roland's trip to Hambry. Now that the entire series is over I see why King felt the need to tell this story of Roland's past. I prefer the comic version of book 4. Cause it cuts out some of the "fat" from the novel.And you get some amazing Jae Lee artwork. I have been a fan of Mr Lee for a long ass time now. And his artwork on this series is the best stuff I have seen from him since Hellshock.

I do wonder how accessible this hardcover would be to someone that hasn't read any of the Dark Tower novels.So if anyone reading this post has read the hardcover and not the actual novels let me know what you thought.

The Dark Tower:The Gunslinger Reborn gets a 4.60 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 014 Eno and Plum by Terry LaBan

2015 Reading Challenge Book 014 A Cud Comics Collection Eno and Plum written and drawn by Terry LaBan
BOOK TITLE-A Cud Comics Collection Eno and Plum
AUTHOR-Terry LaBan
FORMAT-Trade Paperback

One thing I have recently come to love about Amazon is how many extremely cheap used trade paperback and hardcover comic book collections I can get. Recently I got a bunch of Amazon gift cards. So was looking for a bunch of cheap comics. Having read a 3 or 4 page story about Eno and Plum years ago,I think it was in an issue of Dark Horse Presents or Instant Piano,I enjoyed this very early 90s comic.

This collection collects the Eno and Plum stories from 3 issues of Dark Horse Presents and the following 4 issue Cud Comics series.Mr LaBan explains in the foreword how thanks to a barber shop he got majorly inspired by various Gold Key,Harvey and Archie titles. So when he started making his own comics he did stuff like those titles he read as a kid. But with a adult spin on them.

Eno is your fairly normal early 90s era mid 20s slacker. All he really wants to do is watch TV,listen to music,smoke pot and have sex with his girlfriend. Plum ,who to me looks like a grown up Betty Cooper of Archie fame,has a bit more drive  than Eno. Like lots of women of her age in the early 90s she is in love with the fashion and pop culture of the 70s. And while our two leads are really entertaining. I found I liked 3 of the side cast a bit more. First off their is Plum's ultra rich father. He is an ex-hippie that started a business selling candles in the Haight. Which has grown into a multi million dollar company. Any time Eno and Plum need money,which is all the time,they turn to him for a loan. Seeing him being conflicted with running this huge business and the ideologies of his old hippie ways is pretty funny. Then there is Edgar Reamington. He is a Yuppie straight out of the 80s. Edgar also has a massive crush on Plum. And will do whatever it takes to get her.One of the ongoing story lines in this trade has Edgar thinking that Plum hates any man that has a job and makes decent money. So to get her to break up with Eno,he gets Eno a job with Plum's father making a candle that will appeal to Generation X.Which backfires in a great way. Then there is the final side character. Catherine,who is Plum's best friend. And is a thinly veiled version of Cathy of comic strip fame.

The first few stories in the collection are stand alone. But once we get into the Cud Comics reprints we get an ongoing storyline. I need to find out if Terry LaBan has done more Eno and Plum comics.

Now this trade is very much of it's time. It is very very early 90s.With lots of jokes that are dated now. Like how every time Eno and Plum have sex,they are so worried about getting pregnant or catching something they wear full body hazmat suits.Plus Eno dresses just like I did during that time. You know,the typical jeans,t-shirt,flannel shirt and backwards baseball cap. Turn the baseball cap forwards and that is how I dressed for a long time. And still do sometimes now. The storyline about Eno creating a candle to appeal to the Gen X demographic is the best part of the comic. But also the most dated. I am wondering if it is a parody of the OK Soda campaign of that era.Wait does anyone reading this remember OK Cola?

Anyways this is an about 200 page trade. Printed on paper that is a step above newsprint,but isn't that shiny paper most trades currently use.And it is black and white. I have stated my preference for b/w artwork a bunch of times.What surprised me is when I ordered this,knowing it was used,I expected it to be in fairly racked up shape. The trade to my old eyes looks like it was never read. There is no cracks on the spine,which are hard to avoid in thin trades. And the only wear is on the upper corners. But that looks more like damage from being on a shelf for a long time.

Eno and Plum gets a 2.95 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 013 Dark Mountain

2015 Reading Challenge Book 013 Dark Mountain written by Richard Laymon
 BOOK TITLE-Dark Mountain
AUTHOR-Richard Laymon

I discovered Richard Laymon back in 2008. After finding out about Jack Ketchum,I was buying any Ketchum book I found. While in the the closest thing we have to a local bookstore,which is a Books a Million store that is 60% Hallmark cards,20% dvds and the rest is books,I found the novella collection Triage. This collection had a theme. Each of the three authors was given this idea. A man enters a place of business with a gun and starts shooting. The three authors involved are Ketchum,Edward Lee and the late Richard Laymon. The collection was Laymon's idea. I read his novella and really liked it.

So my next trip to the used bookstore in town I looked hoping they might have some Laymon books. They had almost 12 and I bought the all. After reading 2 of them I realized I enjoy Laymon's style of horror and since that time if I find one of his books I will buy it.To me Laymon's style reads like a good 80s era B-horror film. Stuff that you would rent from the local video store when every copy of the Jason,Freddy,Michael or Leatherface films were rented out.But unlike those 80s B-horrors,Laymon has a much better batting average. I have read close to 20 of his novels. And only 2 of them I didn' t like.

Not sure what year it was,but I was in Dollar Tree. Looking for Pez,Garbage Pail Kids stickers,bubble wrap and seeing whatever books they had. I saw the familiar Leisure Fiction logo on the spine. Grabbed it and read the blurb on the back.The blurb sounded pretty good. An group of friends go camping. Run into a witch,accidentally kill her son.So she puts a curse on them.

Sounds like the plot of a good 80s B-horror film.Well this is the worst fully finished Richard Laymon book I have ever read. It takes almost 200 pages for anything to happen. Then right after that the lead female makes a down right stupid decision. From there until the end it feels like Laymon was trying his best to shock people. And it really doesn't work. After finishing the book for the first time I felt majorly ripped off. And this is after having only paid a buck for it.

 But I have a rule with books. I give each book 2 chances. If after a second chance I still dislike it I get rid of it. A few days ago I was wanting a horror book to read.Something that would be a light read. I gave Dark Mountain a second chance. It didn't get better. It didn't get worse. It just bored the fuck out of me. Which is something no other Laymon novel has done to me.

Dark Mountain by Richard Laymon gets a 1 outta 5.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 012 Blade Runner aka Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

2015 Reading Challenge Book 012 Blade Runner AKA Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick

BOOK TITLE-Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep)
AUTHOR-Philip K Dick
COST-10 cents

Yeah first off I know the book's title is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. And I own at least 2 copies with that title on the cover instead of Blade Runner in a huge font with the real title in a much smaller font below it. Factor in that this is the 5th copy of this book that I own,you would assume that either I am crazy or that I really really love this novel.Both options are right.

Why own 5 copies of a book? When none of them are worth more than cover price. Simple,but it will take a bit to explain. So if you want my long ass back story on Blade Runner and DADoEC read ahead. If you just want to hear my thoughts on the novel skip to the next paragraph. OK settle down this will take a bit. Around my birthday in 1982 my favorite uncle took me to see a film I had been begging to see. I had seen ads for it on TV and in the newspaper. It seemed to be some kind of science fiction movie.Plus it had Harrison Ford as the lead. Thanks to Star Wars,Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark I was a huge Ford fan. I saw Ford as the lead and that the film was science fiction and went in expecting something like Star Wars. I left the theater almost 2 hours later majorly disappointed.The movie was nothing like Star Wars. Ford was a mopey guy who talked too much. 3 or 4 years later I saw Blade Runner was going to be the WLOX Saturday Late Night movie. There was nothing else airing that I wanted to see so I gave the movie a second chance. And my opinion totally changed on the film. I went from hating it to loving it. From then,which was 86 or so until 97 I slowly collected every version of the film I could get. Cause for various reasons there is currently 5 officially released versions of the film. Blade Runner is one of the major reasons I spent way too much on a laserdisc player. But oddly even though I was a major fanatic of the film,I didn't read the novel it is somewhat based on for a long ass time.Fall of 98 I had went on a week long vacation with my family to a rural area of MS,which almost 20 years later is fairly close to where I live now. There was never much to for me to do when I came up to this area to visit friends of the family. The two highlights was the friends we stayed with had Dish Network with one of those cards where you got everything for free. And 2 towns over was this great used bookstore.I had thought ahead and brought a stack of blank vhs tapes with me to record movies off the dish. Late late one night I recorded Blade Runner off what I think was IFC. While watching it for what had to be the 30th time,during the credits I noticed the title of the novel it was based on. The next day we went to the used bookstore and I found on the shelves a copy of the novel. It looks almost exactly like the one pictured above. Except for it doesn't have the 25th Anniversary Edition text above the Blade Runner title.Got this paperback for free. My mother had traded in two huge bags of books. Got close to 200 bucks in store credit and told me to grab some books. Once I got home and was back at work I threw the paperback into my bookbag I carried to work. One day I had nothing to do so I pulled it out and started reading it. A bit over 3 hours later and I had finished it. For those that have just seen the movie,the novel is very very different. I will go into more details later on. For years that paperback was my only copy. I read it once a year and it was getting pretty beat up. So it is winter of 2008,I had moved the previous fall. Found out that to goto a bookstore I would have to goto Jackson. Was up there with family when I spotted a B.Daltons. I got dropped off there while the rest of the family went to shop at Hobby Lobby or some similar type store. I walk in and find out they are closing in 2 weeks. Everything is marked down. I only had 50 bucks on me. But knew once my family was back I could borrow more if it was needed.I had already did a blitzkrieg style attack on the comic book,movie reference and horror sections. When I made it to the science fiction section. On the end cap was a sign saying "Employee's faves" I look and see a nice hardcover book titled "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep." I grab it and flip it over to see the price. It was 12 bucks and was marked at 90% off. I couldn't pass it up.Not only was it a hardcover,and I prefer to have my favorite books in hardcover format if at all possible. But it also had the original and right title on the cover. So now I had 2 copies.
Gotta love that cover. Looks like something I would have seen in an issue of Heavy Metal in the late 70s.

Skip ahead a year or two,I am in the bookstore in the antique mall in Diberville I know I mention all the time. Doing the usually 7 books for $5 deal. Pickings were slim this time.I had 5 books I wanted. Turned a corner and found a trade paperback sized version of DADoES. And right next to it a horror movie reference book. YAY  I got 7 books to make the deal.
While not as eye catching as the hardcover,this trade paperback cover is still a nice piece of art.

Then sometime in 2013 or 2014 I was at my local library perusing the media they had for sale. When I found the paperback I put the picture of at the top of this long ass rambling diarrhea of the mouth review. I grabbed it because it was cheap,and the money helps out the library. Plus the slight difference on the cover I have already mentioned.So that is how and why I own 4 copies of the same novel.

On with the review of the book. Set in 2021,Deckard is a miserable married man.He works as a blade runner. A for hire killer  of a type of android that looks human. Acts human most of the time. But is built with a short life span. They are made to be servants and for hard labor jobs on Mars and other off world colonies. The Earth is a polluted mess. The people that can leave have. But thanks to pollution and lingering radiation a big amount of the population is sick and not allowed to leave Earth. This pollution and other nastiness has almost wiped out all the animals on the Earth. So much so that owning any kind of animal is a sign of wealth and privilege. Deckard owns a fake sheep. That is so well made people think it is real. He worries all the time that his neighbors will learn his sheep is fake.

Deckard is about to retire when a group of replicants,the name given to the almost human androids,escape from Mars and land on Earth. Another blade runner at first takes the job. The only way to tell a replicant from a human is how they react emphatically to what is called the Voight-kamp test. A series of questions that show how the test taker would reaction in situations that to us would be common place but in this far future dystopian  world are considered horrific.If someone fails this test they are a replicant and "retired" by the blade runner. "Retired" is the word they use because to the blade runners and other humans the replicants aren't really alive. So you can't really kill something that was never alive. During the test one of the escaped replicants attacks and takes out this other blade runner. So the head of the police station Deckard works out of calls in Deckard. And offers him a deal.If he can get retire all the escaped replicants in an certain amount of time he will get a huge bonus. Deckard figures out if he can manage this not only can he finally retire but he could afford to own a real animal.

Over the course of tracking down and killing the group of replicants Deckard has a few things happen that cause him to question if he isn't a replicant and just doesn't know it. This first starts when he finds what seems to be a hidden police station. Where everyone is a replicant. At one point he even ask himself the titular question. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? As the book progresses,I at least,come to see that the replicants,who are supposedly machines not capable of empathy and real emotions.Not only show more emotions for each other ,but actually show some empathy for a mentall challenge human who has helped them hide. Were as with Deckard he starts showing less emotion and before he retires the final replicant of the group he has a moment of clarity.

I have had to write this entry 4 times now. I love this book so  much I was writing paragraph after paragraph about it. I believe that if you are a fan of science fiction this book is a must read. If you like the movie this book is a must read.If you are even just a fan of books that cause you to think once you finish reading them this book is a must read. Since the first time I read this novel I have considered it one of my favorite books and one of the best novels I have ever read.Which is why I try to read it once a year. The paperback pictured at the top is 242 pages and this time I read it over the course of 5 nights. Usually taking my sleep meds,grabbing it and reading for the 20 to 30 minutes it takes my sleep meds to take effect.But there has been times I have sat down and read the entire book in one sitting. This is the novel that anytime I meet someone that tells me they are a fan of science fiction literature I ask if they have read it. If not I end up loaning them one of my copies. And usually bugging the hell out of them until they read it. So far this technique has a decent batting average. Over the past 20 years I have gotten 8 people to read DADoEC. Out of those 8 five loved it. 1 really liked it .And the other 2 hated it. One of them isn't a person that liked reading between the lines or books that ask you to think hard about something. The other person,hell I have no idea why they hated it. When asked all they said was "It was so bad I barely managed to finish it."Strangely this same person loves the film. Oh well,6 people enjoyed it.

Blade Runner AKA Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep gets a perfect 5 outta 5.

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 011 The 50 Funniest Movies of All Time A Critic's Ranking

2015 Reading Challenge Book 011 The 50 Funniest Movies of All Time A Critic's Ranking by Kathryn Bernheimer
BOOK TITLE-The 50 Funniest Movies of All Time A Critic's Ranking
AUTHOR-Kathryn Bernheimer
FORMAT-Trade Paperback

I have enjoyed movie reference books and books of best of lists from as far back as my memory goes. And over the decades of my life have built up a decent collection of both types of books. I own who knows how many books that are collections of reviews of horror films. Because the horror genre is my favorite film genre. After getting to know me most people just assume that the science fiction genre is my second favorite genre of film. But it isn't.My second favorite genre is comedy. As I mentioned a few posts back I was in Dirt Cheap looking at the various things for sale. Found this book that ended up being 90% off cover.

These movie review books are hard for me to review. I prefer the ones written by one author. So that way over the course of reading the various reviews you get a nice idea of what parts of the genre the author likes,loves and hates.So when I saw this book had one author I was happy. I actually finished reading this book 4 days ago.But have been trying to figure out how to review it here at my humble blog. Finally deciding on listing the 50 films mentioned in the book. On the ones I have never seen I will say nothing since I haven't seen the movie. If it is a film I have seen I will say if I agree on the film being one of the 50 funniest movies of all time.

The films seem to be listed in the book in no kind of order. So I will go with the order the films are listed in the book.

1.Some Like it Hot-Seen this two times. And it is one of the only films I liked Marilyn Monroe in. I can see why people would consider it a comedy classic.But I don't.
2.City Lights
3.Duck Soup
4.Dr Strangelove-I am a huge Kubrick fan. So of course I have seen this dark dark comedy from Mr Kubrick. And it would find a slot on my top 50 comedies.
5.Bringing Up Baby
6.M*A*S*H*-Being a huge fan of the TV show based on this mid 1970 classic I begged and begged my parents to let me rent it. It being R rated they rented it and watched it first.After seeing that there wasn't anything in it they objected to me seeing I got to watch it. As a kid I just got MASH on the comedy level. After serving in the Army and becoming an adult I see the many many levels the film and show have. And this is another that would make my top 50 list.
7.Annie Hall
8.Tootsie-Saw this in a theater back in 82. Remember it being funny. Haven't seen it since then.Once I read the review I went and put the dvd near the top of my netflix list.
9.The Ladykillers
10.The Lady Eve
11.A Fish Called Wanda-I prefer Fierce Creatures,which has pretty much the same cast as this film. But Fish Called Wanda is a damn funny film.
12.The General
13.Born Yesterday
14.The Producers-Once again this is the original. I enjoy the film,but think Mel Brooks has other films that are much funnier.
15.All of Me-I can remember renting this mid 80s comedy with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin. But I don't think I have seen it since then. I am interested in watching it again soon.
16.After Hours
17.It Happened one Night
18.To Be or Not to be-This is the original. I have only seen the Mel Brooks remake.Which was funny.I plan on giving the original a try one day.
19.This is Spinal Tap-It might be that before I saw this movie I had already had all the funniest moments quoted to me numerous times. But I don't get why so many people call this a comedy classic. I laughed maybe 3 times when I saw it.
20.The Pink Panther Strikes Back-The only one of the classic Pink Panther films I haven't seen.
21.The Sunshine Boys
22.Tom Jones
24.Safety Last
26.Raising Arizona-First saw this when it hit VHS and I didn't care for it. Was forced to rewatch it years later and found it to be a great comedy.And it is one of the few films with Nic Cage as the lead that I enjoy.
27.My Little Chickadee
28.The Full Monty-One of the funniest movies of the 90s. When this came out I was gonna take my paternal grandmother out to see a movie then grab us a pizza as her birthday present. I told her to look in the paper and choose any film. She chose this one. I knew going in what it was about. I thought my elderly grandmother was gonna have a stroke or something from laughing so much.I laughed a bunch but I never heard her laugh as much as she did while watching this film.
29.National Lampoon's Animal House-Credited with starting the 80s trend for raunchy comedies,I have always enjoyed this film. Too bad that the National Lampoon name before a movie titled doesn't mean shit nowadays.
30.The Court Jester
31.King of Hearts
32.Prizzi's Honor
33.The Gods Must be Crazy-My older cousin Charles was always recording movies off HBO for me. We went to visit one weekend and he kept talking about how funny The Gods Must be Crazy was. So I begged him to record it for me. I held onto that tape until it finally got lost in one of my moves in the 2000s. This story about a small African tribe that discovers a glass Coca-Cola bottle and the strife it causes is one of the best physical comedy films I have ever seen.
34.Monty Python and the Holy Grail-Like with Spinal Tap I had had most of this film quoted to me many many years before seeing it. I do enjoy the Monty Python tv show.But have never been much of a fan of this film. I can see why people would place it on a top comedy list.But it would never be on mine.
35.The In-Laws-I didn't get to see this late 70s comedy classic with Peter Falk until the early 2000s.And it would easily get a spot on my top 50 comedies.
36.When Harry met Sally-I have never been big into romantic comedies. So I skipped watching this film when it was the talk of the late 80s/early 90s. Finally watching it in the late 90s I did find it funny. But I doubt it would make my top 50 list.
38.Sons of the Desert
39.What's up,Doc?
40.It's a mad mad mad mad world-I can't think of another film as top heavy with comedians.While it does run a bit long,it is still a great and very funny film.It has a slot in my top 50.
41.Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein-The first of the Abbott and Costello films I saw. And a very funny film. But not what I think is the funniest Abbot and Costello films. I prefer the one with Jekyl and Hyde.
42.Cat Ballou
44.The Bellboy-I do like physically based humor.Unless it is Jerry Lewis doing it.
45.Harold and Maude-One of my favorite dark comedies. About how no matter what there is someone other there for everyone.Thinking about it after reading the well written review this film would make my top 50.
46.Local Hero
47.Airplane-My second favorite of the parody films.I have seen it dozens of times and each viewing I catch something I never noticed before.
48.Beverly Hill Cop-Remember when Eddie Murphy was funny?While not his funniest film,it is one of the best comedies of the 80s.
49.Bull Durham-One of the few sports I have any interest in is baseball. And Bull Durham is the funniest baseball movie I have seen. Normally I don't care for films with Kevin Costner. This is the exception.
50.Smiles of a Summer Night

So lets add it up.Out of the 50 films I have seen 22. Out of those 22,twelve would make my top 50 comedies list. Out of the 28 I haven't seen there is 5 I want to see. With most of those being silent films. Silent era films are one of the huge blindspots in my film viewing experience.

The lady that wrote the book did a good job on the reviews and picking out pictures to go with them. I doubt I would have paid the cover price for this book. But getting it 90% off it was worth it.

The 50 Funniest Movies of All Time A Critics Ranking gets a 2.25 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 010 Abadazad The Road to Inconceivable

2015 Reading Challenge Book 010 Abadazad The Road to Inconceivable written by J.M. DeMatteis artwork by Mike Ploog

BOOK TITLE-Abadazad The Road to Inconceivable
AUTHOR-J.M. DeMatteis
COST-25 cents

Well the insomnia is still preventing me from sleeping. So I finished up another book. Been reading this one a few pages at a time for over a week now.

Another find at Dirt Cheap.I might on my next trip there see if they are willing to sponsor my blog. I give them plenty of free advertising.When I found this novel they had a huge stack. Close to 100 copies. I knew Abadazad started off as a comic published by Crossgen. I had heard rumors that the main reason Disney bought up the Crossgen properties was just to get the rights to Abadazad. They thought it would be the next big thing in kids fantasy. Abadazad started off as a series of stories Mr DeMatteis would tell his daughter Kate before bedtime. After many years of this he wanted to turn these stories into a comic book. Teaming up with Mike Ploog,who's artwork I loved on various horror themed comics from Marvel in the 70s.They had 3 issues published,to great acclaim,before Crossgen went bankrupt.I haven't read any of those comics.But if they are even close to how good this novel was I really want to read them.

Now this book is unlike most books. It uses many storytelling tropes.Part of the book is entries in the main females journal. With some of them having nice artwork from Mr Ploog. Then we get sections that are done in traditional comic book style.I would estimate the book is 60% journal entries and 40% comic book style stuff. I did some research after finishing the book. First off I wanted to know how many issues of the comic there was. And if there was any more books. Turns out there is 3 books. Back when I first saw the stack of at least 100 at Dirt Cheap I thought about maybe buying them all and reselling them. I below to a comic book forum that is about comic companies that are out of business. And I remembered there was lots of Crossgen fans there.I went and saw that on the forum this book was selling for between 1 and 2 bucks. So not worth my time and effort to buy a bunch and sell them. Sure even if I just got a buck each I would be making a profit. Well either someone had a similar plan to me or had some need for 100 books for kids. Because I was back in Dirt Cheap 3 days after buying this and they had no copies left.Well since I have some Amazon credit left from gift cards I got for X-mas I went to see how much copies of the other 2 books,of a planned 8 total volumes,would set me back. Book 2 I could get for a penny plus shipping. But the cheapest copies I could find of the third novel were 34 dollars. It seems that volume 3 was only released in the UK and Europe. So getting copies over here in the States isn't easy. I did order the second book. And might one day bite the bullet and get volume 3.

Abadazad is a fantasy world. Which reminds me a whole lot of Frank Braum's OZ.Our narrator is a 14 year old  girl.She lives with her mother and brother. The brother is a huge fan of the Abadazad series of novels. And it is one of the few things the two siblings bond over.Then her brother disappears while they are at a carnival. And isn't found. We skip ahead a few years. The relationship between the mother and our narrator,Kate,is very strained. Then one day Kate has a chance meeting with an older lady who lives in the same apartment building as her. Martha,the old lady,shows Kate her collection of Abadazad stuff. Then tells Kate it is all from the land of Abadazad. Then informs Kate that Martha is really Little Martha who was the lead in the Abadazad novels.Kate believes this older lady is mental and leaves in a huff. The next day she finds out the old lady has died. And fairly soon a package is left for Kate. It contains an orb Martha had shown Kate. And orb that if you believe enough will transport you to the land of Abadazad. After a bad fight with her mother Kate takes the orb and is whisked away to Abadazad. Where she meets up with Martha,who is now a young child again. And Martha tells Kate that her brother is being held prisoner somewhere in Abadazad.

Before reading this novel I was already a fan of Mr DeMatteis,mostly from his work on the Defenders comic. And a huge fan of Mike Ploog's work on Man-thing and the sadly short lived Frankenstein's Monster comic Marvel published. While I have always loved Mr Ploog's artwork I have never seen it look as stunning as it does in this novel.I don't know if he is doing anything different. If maybe it is cause of the type of paper the book is printed on. Or maybe it is because Mr Ploog had longer to work on the art. Having just ordered book 2 about an hour ago,I am gonna be eagerly awaiting it's arrival in my mailbox.

I do wonder why Abadazad seems to have failed. The comic was getting lots of great reviews and supposedly sold very well. But Crossgen was having major money issues at the time. The books seems to have been a minor hit in the UK and Europe. But even then not selling well enough to get all 8 planned volumes published. I think one of the reasons is the price. The book is around 120 pages. I am just guessing cause the pages are not numbered. I hate it when a book doesn't have it pages numbered.And sure the book is a hardcover. Which is full of gorgeous full color artwork. But the cover price is $9.99. I doubt many parents would have paid that much for a book for their child. When this was coming out the Harry Potter books were huge. And the paperbacks of them were about 10 bucks for 400 or more pages.I can see a parent thinking that 10 bucks for such a short book wasn't worth their money. I am hoping that now that Disney owns not only the Crossgen stuff but also Marvel comics,and adding in that a few years back Marvel brought back 2 or three of the old Crossgen properties back for limited series,that Disney might try again to publish Abadazad. So if you have a child that loves the fantasy genre.Or you are an adult that enjoyed the Oz movies or books,go to Amazon and grab a copy of this book. I multiple copies of it selling for a penny plus 3 bucks shipping. Abadazad  The Road to Inconceivable is worth  checking out at those cheap prices.

Abadazad The Road to Inconceivable gets a 4.85 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 009 Arkham Woods

2015 Reading Challenge Book 009 Arkham Woods written by Christopher Rowley and art by Jhomar Soriano

BOOK TITLE-Arkham Woods
AUTHOR-Christopher Rowley
FORMAT-Trade paperback

Well folks insomnia has flared up again. So in less than 24 hours I have finished 3 books. This one being the only one I started and finished in those 24 hours.

Back in the mid 80s until around the late 90s I was somewhat into manga. Reading stuff like Mai the Psychic girl,Ranma 1/2,Lone Wolf and Cub and my favorite Battle Angel Alita. This was back when most manga was printed in the American standard of 32 pages published once a month in what is now commonly known as the floppie format. Sometime after I quit reading manga and most comics the companies that published translated manga in the states switched over to the trade paperback format. These trades are slightly taller and wider than a normal paperback novel you grab at the grocery store or whatever. And they don't come out monthly. Since this switch over happened it seems to me like the popularity of manga in the States has sky rocketed.

I was in my local Dollar Tree. Grabbing batteries,Garbage Pail Kids trading cards and as always looking through their selection of books. I saw the cover of this manga and thought "What the hell it is a buck. Seems to be at least partially inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. I read the plot blurb on the back cover and noticed it was rated for older teens.  "Cool if I don't like it I can always give it to my younger cousin." Who at the time was huge into manga. After reading the book I realized that it wasn't apropriate for a kid of the age of 11. Because even though it had a rating for older teens,there is lots of implied tenticle rape. And the book has an overall sleazy feel.

The story is about a teenage girl that moves into an older house her mother owns. The mother has some kind of condition that is causing her to lose her eyesight. And with her being a slowly rising artist this means her career might be over before it really got started properly. The daughter has some friends over and in the basement they found out the house has   a deep dark tenticle rapey secret.

After finishing the book,I looked it up to see if there was a second volume. There doesn't seem to be one,even though the first volume ends in a way that they could easily make a sequel. Also found out that this is what is sometimes referred to as "American Manga". Neither the writer or artist are Asian. And it is pretty much a normal horror comic story,but the artist draws it using all the stylistic touches of manga.

Arkham Woods gets a 1.5 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 008 The Story of the Development of NWATNA: A New Concept in Pay-Per-View Programming

2015 Reading Challenge Book 008 The Story of the Development of NWATNA: A New Concept in Pay-Per-View Programming

BOOK TITLE-The Story of the Development of the NWATNA 
AUTHOR-Jerry W. Jarrett

Yep finished up two books in one day. But then as I have mentioned I am usually reading 4 or 5 books at once.

Got this ebook as a gift for X-mas. Had heard good and bad about it. But never was interested enough to bother seeing if the library could get it for me.

But recently with TNA going through all kinds of changes I was a bit more interested in the history of the company. And that is what this book is. Jerry Jarrett kept a diary that starts not that long before him and his son Jeff decide to start up NWATNA. And it goes through the first year or so of the existence of NWATNA.

I had heard various newz items on how Dixie Carter and Panda Energy got involved with TNA.For the first time I got to find out what happened from one of the main people there. And from Jarrett
s side of the story,Panda had them in a situation where Jerry and Jeff had to agree to anything Panda asked for. Mostly because of some shady dealings the first major financier of TNA pulled.

This wouldn't be a good read for someone that isn't into wrestling and even with lots of wrestling fans,I can see them quickly getting bored with this book. I might have gotten bored. But I was reading it a few page at a time over the course of 3 weeks.

The Story of the Development of NWATNA get a 2.75 outta 5

2015 Reading Challenge Book 007 Wizards,Warriors and you volume 7 Challenge of the Wolf Knight

2015 Reading Challenge Book 007 Wizards,Warriors and You volume 7 Challenge of the Wolf Knight
BOOK TITLE-Wizards Warriors and You Book 7 Challenge of the Wolf Knight
FORMAT-Paperback book
COST-1 penny

Once the Choose your own Adventure novels became popular back in the early 80s,I got into the gamebook genre. Starting off reading the CYOA books and then branching off into all the other gamebook series.

It was at one of the Scholastic Book Fairs while I was attending Orange Lake Elementary that I discovered what became my favorite series of gamebooks. That series is Wizard Warriors and You. And the first I read from the series was book 3 Who Kidnapped Princess Saralinda.

What attracted me to this pretty popular series of gamebooks was all the little differences from the Choose your own adventure books I was use to. First off in the WW&Y series you got to choose if you would play the novel as the Wizard or the Warrior.If you chose the Warrior you were instructed to go to the back of the book and pick out 2 or 3 weapons that you carried with you on your adventure. If you picked the Wizard you were told to goto the back of the book and read up on all the spells you has access to. Another thing that made this series stand out was each book was connected to the previous one. With the CYOA novels most of the time you were a completely different person in each book. But you knew when you grabbed a WW&Y novel you were gonna be either the Wizard or the Warrior. The other two things that made this series stand out for me were,first off there was normally just one good ending for each of the heroes. Unlike the CYOA books where you could have many good endings. The other major difference was how the WW&Y added small things to randomize stuff. Like I can remember in one of the novels the success of a spell depended on what day of the week you happened to be reading the novel. I remember in another one of the books where you were chained up in a dungeon. And had to start a fire by throwing at match onto a pile of hay that was in the room with you. So the simulate this the book instructed you to get 2 nickels. You took one and threw it across the room. That nickel was suppose to be the hay. Then you had to take the other nickel ,throw it and manage to hit the nickel that was already on the floor. All these little touches made the WW&Y series really stand out from CYOA and all the subpar clones of that series. And these small things are one of the reasons why I consider WW&Y to be my favorite of the 80s era gamebooks.

This entry in the series is about a werewolf knight that is terrorizing the kingdom that the Wizard and Warrior work for.From my somewhat crappy memory I seem to remember that while the WW&Y series was firmly set in the fantasy genre,out side of the Wizard's Spells there wasn't much else supernatural elements in most of the novels. Well book 7 more than makes up for the lack of spooky stuff. Usually with this series I prefer playing as the Wizard. Because you aren't limited to your sword and 2 or 3 other weapons. The Wizard has access to many spells. Sure some of them are pretty much worthless,but the variety of spells makes up for having a few duds.

Looking a the list of the first 8 novels in the series I think I owned 3 of them before getting book 7.Like I mentioned earlier the only place I ever saw these was at the 2 times a year school book fair. The local Walden's book had a section in the kids books just for all the various gamebook series. But they either never ordered any WW&Y books. Or they sold out before I could get there.

Another reason I loved this series as a child  was because of the mild horror elements in some of the novels and the slightly graphic artwork it felt to me like I was reading something meant for people much older than I was at the time. I never got that feeling from Choose your own Adventure,The Time Machine series,Which Way Books or even the Super Choose your own Adventure books. With the latter being advertised as being written for an older reader. Honestly the only 2 series of gamebooks that had that mature feel to them like WW&Y was the various Marvel superhero gamebooks TSR published and the Lone Wolf series of books. I owned most of the Marvel books. But never saw or even heard of the Lone Wolf series until the mid 2000s when I discovered a great online resource for info on gamebooks.

One neat thing about this novel is it is written by famous children's literature author R. L.Stine. I had just assumed that he started his career when he was writing the Goosebump series. And beside that series the only other series I knew that he had written was the Fear Street books. I am now wondering if maybe the novels in the WW&Y series that have supernatural elements are one written by Mr Stine.

Anytime I am at a place that deals in used books I always go through the kid's section and buy any gamebooks they have that I don't already own.In the over 15 years I have been collecting gamebooks I have never seen any of the Wizard Warriors and You series in a store. Back in August my mother's side of the family asked me to make an Amazon wishlist loaded with items I would like for X-mas. Something made me remember Wizards Warriors and You. Since I never saw them in used bookstores I was expecting copies to be pretty pricey. But the ones I found went from as cheap as 1 penny plus shipping up to $8 a book. Which isn't a bad price range. In the fall of 2014 I had twelve bucks in Amazon gift cards. I was wanting some new stuff to read. Plus wanted to get as much as I could for the 12 bucks. I grabbed this novel for a penny plus $3.99 shipping. It was listed as used but in good shape. For the cheap price I expected the book to be in well read shape. When I got it in it looked to my eyes to be in really good shape. No tears on the cover. Very little stress damage on the spine. And even the corners were still fairly sharp.

I started reading the book on the 2nd of January. With most nights after taking my sleep meds I would lay down and read this book until I hit one of the endings. A few nights I found myself falling asleep but forcing myself to stay awake so I could read one more ending and just maybe get the good ending for whatever character I had chosen. Once I got the good endings for both heroes I was very happy. The endings were satisfying and didn't feel tacked on like some of the endings in CYOA books do.

Wizards Warriors and You Book 7 Challenge of the Wolf Knight gets a 3.75 outta 5.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 006 Ramones an American Band by Jim Bessman

BOOK TITLE-Ramones An American Band
AUTHOR Jim Bessman
FORMAT-Over sized paperback
COST-I really have no idea.There is no price on the book anywhere.

Ever since I was 4 the Ramones have either been my favorite band or in my top 5.It was sometime in fall of 1997 and I was killing time in Walden's Books waiting on my girlfriend to show up so we could grab a bite to eat then go see a film.

This Walden's had some great staff.One of them,who was named Tex,is a fellow comic fan. Who know I loved the Ramones and had put the one copy they got of the above pictured book to the side for me. I of course bought it. And all through dinner and the film all I could think about was the book. My girl invited me over to her place for ,well I am sure the people reading this can figure out why. But I turned that down cause I had a book about the best band to ever exist.

Published by St Martin Press Ramones an American Band is the history of the band that most people believe help create the punk rock genre of music. Full of pictures,history of the band and the various members and even a complete listing of every show they had played as of January 19th 1993.And even a listing of every record,single and even the imports.

Sure the books doesn't go into the dirt like Mickey Leigh's book. But even as diehard of a Ramones fan as I was in 93 there was plenty in the book I didn't know.Besides the glossing over of a few things,like the origins of their concert favorite song 53rd and 3rd,my only real complaint is I wish the pictures were in color.

Ramones an Amercian Band gets a 4.80 outta 5

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 005 How Many Chances by Creighton Hobbs

BOOK TITLE-How Many Chances
AUTHOR-Creighton Hobbs
FORMAT-Over sized paperback

A quick note,I have known the author of this book since I was 12 years old. From 7th grade until our Senior year of high school we were pretty close friends. Then his life took a downturn and we drifted apart. Since then we have seen each other maybe 3 times. And exchanged emails. So Creighton if you are reading this review,I am just being honest and telling things the way I remember them happening.

Creighton was born as the youngest of 3 boys. He was a so called miracle baby.The doctors had told his mother that the chances of her carrying Creighton to full term were fairly low.I understand authors sometimes bending the truth some in their biographies to make the story more interesting. But here in what is the first or second chapter Creighton breaks the truth and it doesn't make the story more interesting. He talks about the day he was born. And how his father had to speed to get his mother to Mobile since that was the closest hospital to Escatawpa Mississippi.Creighton was born in the mid 70s and by then Pascagoula MS,which is less than 5 minutes from Escatawpa,had had a great hospital for almost 20 years.

At an early age Creighton found out he had diabetes.Which caused him many health issues. One thing was it stunted his growth. When I met him,he was almost 13 and just barely 5 foot tall. And now that we are both around 4 decades old he is still 5 foot tall.

The first 4 or so chapters deal with Creighton growing up. And they are fairly boring.The most interesting story is when he gets his first car. His grandmother gave it to him. And in two parts of the book Creighton tells the story of driving his first car to high school the first day he had it. But each time the story is different. Like in one he had went and picked up some friends and they had planned on driving to Moss Point High School.Picking up another friend,who was me,then skipping school that day. Creighton had found the key to his parents liquor cabinet and we planned on getting drunk. Well on the drive to the school he lost control of his car and crashed into a tree in someone's front yard about a block from the school. First time he tells this story it is him and a few other people in the car. And they are coming to school to get me. Later on he tells the story. In this version he drives to school. And someone he only ever calls "The blonde head kid" talks him into skipping school. And while leaving the school this is when he hits the tree. I must assume that either he didn't proof read his book. And the publisher didn't proof read it.

Like I stated earlier we kind of drifted apart our Senior year of high school. I had stopped most of my partying and was getting ready to shipout after graduation to goto Army BCT. One day I got to school and one of Creighton and I's mutual friends,who Creighton dedicates a chapter too even though he never mentions this friend by name,comes to find me. "Hey Newt you ain't gonna believe what has happened to Creighton." First he had moved out of his parents place. And ended up renting a bedroom from someone.Our Senior year we had to write an at least 20 page research paper. Well after putting it off for 4 months Creighton said fuck this and quit school instead of having to do the paper. At the time he was working at a local grocery store. He got caught trying to steal beer and got fired. Well without a job he couldn't pay his rent. And he knew if he moved back into his parent's place he would have to go back to school and stop partying every night. It was at this time the "blonde hair kid" came back into Creighton's life. He lived at the same house. And him and 2 others planned on robbing a local burger joint. They talked Creighton into driving the getaway car. People who lived with them heard them planning this for months. But figured they would never do it. Well they did. And got caught. Creighton got a good lawyer,his parents are LOADED. And got probation and the judge suggested it might be a good idea for Creighton to leave the state. He did and last I heard he was running a junk/collectible store.

Now in his book he says he had no idea that "the blonde hair kid" and the others were going to rob the burger joint. And that after they robbed it and jumped back into his car,they held a gun to his head and forced him to drive them away. I wondered why Creighton called the one guy "the blonde hair kid". When it was someone him and I had known since we were young. Turns out from what I hear one of the main reasons Creighton got off so easy was not only did he tell the cops everything he knew about the robbery. But he knew the blonde hair kid had robbed a bunch of homes and he told about this. Supposedly Blonde Hair kid Aka Sammy is out of jail and let word get back to Creighton that if mentioned his name in the book he would track Creighton down and kill him. No idea if that is true. But Sammy is the one person in the book Creighton doesn't name.

Removing all the stuff I know is total lies,this book still isn't a good read. It reads like a rich kid that has never full grown up and nothing is ever his fault. This was published by a vanity press. And while I have heard good about vanity presses I have heard bad also. And this books shows the bad. A real publisher would have had an editor read it. And corrected the many spelling and grammar errors. Plus there is no way they would have let him tell the same story two times.

As for how I got this for free. When it was coming out Creighton found me on Myspace. I have no idea how much he normally sold copies for,but he offered to mail me one that would be autographed for $15. At the time I didn't have the cash so I turned it down letting him know I would get a copy later. That year around X-mas I was on the coast visiting family. And ran into one of our mutual friends. We went back to his home so I could meet his wife. I saw this book on his shelf. And knowing that my buddy hated to read I asked why he had a copy."Shit Newt,Creighton came into my work one day saying he had something amazing for me. He hands me the book tells me chapter 5 was dedicated to me. I assumed that meant I got a free copy. Nope that short fucker charged me 20 bucks." I asked to borrow the book. "Once I finish it I will just mail it back to you" I told him. "Don't worry about it. I read it once and it is full of more shit that a Johnny on the spot at CPRFest.Keep it." I asked again if he was sure he wanted me to keep it,since it is autographed. But he said to keep it. So I still own it. One funny thing is the summer after I got my copy,the person who Creighton was living with when the robbery happened was having surgery. I flew back to keep an eye on him while his wife worked during the day. I brought the book with me. It also happened to be around this friend's birthday. We had a big party. With at least 75% of the people there knowing Creighton. So my friend's wife read the three chapters about the robbery,while the rest of us sat around drinking and making fun of it.

How Many Chances gets a 1.5 outta 5.