Thursday, July 30, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 084 HOLY SH*T The World's Weirdest Comic Books

TITLE-Holy Sh*t The World's Weirdest Comic Books
AUTHOR-Paul Gravett and Peter Stanbury

Found this book a few years back on sale. And took a chance on it. It is a collection of what the two authors think are the 61 weirdest comics. It is a nice blend of promotional comics,underground comics,foreign comics and just plain WTF comics.

Each comic gets a one page write up and a reproduction of the cover. Before reading it I had heard of a few of these. I even own two of them. One is a Popeye promotional comic where he talks about personal service careers. The other is the Dark Horse published comic Charles Barkley vs Godzilla.

While it is a pretty fun read. I wouldn't pay cover price for this. But at least now I know about stuff like the Spiderman inspired Italian made softcore porn comics. And great underground titles like Tales from the Leather Nun and Amputee Love.

Holy Sh*t gets a 2.98 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 083 Preacher volume 1 Gone to Texas

TITLE-Preacher volume 1 Gone to Texas
AUTHOR-Garth Ennis
FORMAT-Trade Paperback

Most years I take the time to re-read Preacher. I was gonna save it for the end of the year. But with all the news coming out about the upcoming TV adaptation I grabbed the first trade off my shelf.

Preacher at it's core is a love story. Jesse Custer is a preacher in a small Texas town.One night he gets really drunk and goes to the local bar. Where he reveals most of the residents secrets. He gets the shit beaten out of him. But the next day during the church services he gets the biggest turn out in a long time. Right before he starts his sermon something flies into the church. Goes into Jesse's body. And then the entire church explodes. Which kills everyone but Jesse.

Around the same time Jesse's ex Tulip happens to be heading towards that tiny Texas town. She has hitched a ride with a guy named Cassiedy. They find Jesse and so our journey begins.

Going back and re-reading this trade for what has to be the 20th time I am pleasantly surprised at how good it is. And how many clues Garth Ennis leaves as to what will happen in later volumes.

Now I am assuming some of the people reading this have not read Preacher. So here is a small synopsis. And since I plan on reading the rest of the series as part of my reading challenge I am only gonna cover what happens in this volume.

Jesse finds out the thing that flew into him is the offspring of a demon and an angel. Which at birth was imprisoned in Heaven. He also learns that as soon as this being,known as Genesis,was born God fled Heaven. And no one knows where he is.

The angels have been left in charge of Heaven. So they send the Saint of Killers out to find Jesse and Genesis. Yeah there is a Saint of Killers.

The first 4 or 5 issues in this trade cover all the above. After that we get a short story line. Cassiedy has a friend in NYC who is a reporter. Who deals in stuff like UFOs,Jesus appearing in various objects. So they go to visit him. And just so happens there is a serial killer on  the loose in NYC. And of course our trio run into the killer.

Pretty sure this was one of the first comics written by Mr Ennis that I read. And since then I have given anything he has wrote a try. The great Glen Fabry does all the covers. And his art is perfect for the series. It has this realistic,but ugly,look that fits the tone of the series. And you got Steve Dillon doing the art on the insides.I love Dillon's art. Hell I will buy any comic he draws.

Preacher volume 1 Gone to Texas gets a 4.88 outta 5.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 082 Mirrorshades

PRICE-50 cents

This is a collection of cyberpunk short stories. It came out in 1986,right about the time the cyberpunk genre was starting to take off. Before finding the book I had never heard of this collection. But once I saw it had a story by William Gibson I had to get it.

The Gernsback Continuum by William Gibson
A fairly short story about a photographer that is going around the USA taking pictures of stuff that was designed with a "futuristic" look back in the 30s and 40s. And he starts seeing visions. All full of stuff that was common in the science fiction stories of the 30s and 40s. I really enjoyed this story.

Snake-Eyes by Tom Maddox
A man who underwent having a cybernetic implant is having issue with it. So he is sent to a space station and taught how to live with this implant. This story has that dark grimy feel that all good cyberpunk fiction has.And is the first thing I have read from Tom Maddox.

Rock On by Pat Cadigan

This really short story is a dark look at how music has evolved in the near future. Really dark and kind of disturbing.

Tales of Houdini  by Rudy Rucker

Not good. Not good at all. What I got from this is in the future someone has brought Houdini and his mother into the future. And they keep setting up more and more elaborate deathtraps. Each of which Houdini manages to escape from.

400 Boys by Marc Laidlaw

This makes up for how bad the last story was. It is a futurist version of West Side Story or the Warriors. Trapped in a bubble that surrounds part of the city a gang of male youths tries to survive. Once they discover a new threat they end up teaming up with a few other youth gangs to combat this new enemy.

Solstice by James Patrick Kelly

Set in the near future,where designer drugs have taken over. This is a tale of a man that has created a bunch of the now legal designer drugs. And how he just wants what is best for his clone/daughter. She is dating someone he doesn't like. So he plans on making sure this relationship doesn't last.

Petra by Greg Bear

Wow this was boring and made no sense. Besides being set in the future I see no cyberpunk stuff at all in this story. Took me 4 nights to finish reading it.

Till Human Voices Wake Us by Lewis Shiner

Sent on a vacation by his work,a man discovers what secret stuff his company has been up too.

Freezone by John Shirley

An aging rock star loses is band. Then joins up with a gang of criminals. All while stuck in on the floating city of Freezone.

Stone Lives by Paul Di Filippo

A man from the slums of NYC gets hired on to spy on a big corporation. And is shocked when he finds out why.

Red Star,Winter Orbit by Bruce Sterling & William Gibson

Set on a space station orbiting the Earth. A Russian ends up being the savior of a bunch of humans.

Mozart in Mirrorshades by Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner

A group of people from the future travel back to the past to steal artwork and treasures. When it all goes to hell an Army of Mongolians on motorcycles comes to save them.

So 2 horrible stories and the rest are at least decent.

Mirrorshades gets a 3.98 outta 5.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 081 Avengers West Coast Darker than Scarlet...

TITLE-Avengers West Coast Darker than Scarlet...
AUTHOR-John Byrne,Roy and Dann Thomas
FORMAT-Trade Paperback

This is a trade collecting the abrupt end of Byrne's run on the title. And then Roy&Dann Thomas wrap up the plot threads Byrne had started. Of course with Byrne writing the title he also does the pencils. Once he leaves Paul Ryan takes over.

So what and how is the story. Scarlet Witch does her first that I know of heel turn in this run. After having ,in the previous storyline before the trade,the Vision's brain wiped clean which stripped him of all his emotions Wanda is slowly losing her mind. Then the secret behind her twins is revealed and she teams up with her father Magneto.

While all this is going on we have a side story of the golden age Human Torch trying to adjust to the modern world. Plus there are hints that Hank Pym and the Wasp might be getting back together.

I loved West Coast Avengers/Avengers West Coast since the 4 issue mini series. But about a year before John Byrne took over I had stopped reading it. And came back right around the time Byrne brought the golden age Human Torch back. And somehow never read the end of his run.

Avengers West Coast Darker than Scarlet gets a 3.11 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 080 Human Target Volume 1 Strike Zones

TITLE-Human Target Volume 1 Strike Zones
AUTHOR-Peter Milligan
FORMAT-Trade Paperback

A few years back I had got all the other trades collecting 75 percent of the various Vertigo Human Target minis,one shots and ongoing series. And as a birthday gift I got this trade.

It collects issues 1 through 5 of the ongoing series.Our title hero is discovered in his new identity and after some tense moments leaves and heads off to NYC.And we get two full adventures sent in NYC before the trade ends. The first we have an accountant who faked his death in 9/11. And now needs the Human Target's help. Then Christopher Chance ,the titular Human Target,is hired on the be a NYC baseball player. This time he has to find out why the star player has just jumped out his penthouse window.

I love how Peter Milligan took a fairly one note spy character into a really fleshed out person.Javier Pulido does the pencils. Also the interiors are on a nice grade of newsprint.

Human Target Volume 1 Strike Zones gets a 4.15 outta 5