Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 004 Garbage Pail Kids

BOOK TITLE-Garbage Pail Kids
AUTHOR-Art Spiegelman and John Pound
FORMAT-Hardcover Book
COST-Traded some pre-record VHS for it.

When the Garbage Pail Kids stickers first came out in 1985  I was already a non sports trading cards collector.It was before school started and my friend Casey "Da Beaver" Weaver came over to the table I was sitting at."You have to see this!" and he handed me series 1 card 13a Ashcan Andy. I was already known as the Star Wars nerd at Orange Lake Elementary. So this trading card/sticker that made fun of Star Wars was right up my alley. And from then until sometime in 1988 I was actively searching out the GPK cards. I went to see the film opening night. I would draw my own original GPKs based on my various friends. With Robert Hobert being one I drew the most. I have no idea what Hobert is,but it rhymed with Robert and the other kids thought it was funny.

In the early 2003s when the cards came back I started collecting them. As a kid I just bought them. Never trying to build a complete set. Hell half the time I would peel the stickers off and put them on my notebooks and stuff. But in the fall of 2003 my local Target started getting them in. And each week when I got paid I would stop by the store and buy 20 bucks worth of the packs. Then I moved in fall of 2007 and forgot again about the GPK gang.

It was 2008 I was in Rite Aid killing time before I had to be at work. I asked the clerk if they sold baseball cards. He showed me area they were in. They had a full wax box of one of the comeback series. But there was no price on the box,packs or even on the shelf below where they were racked. I grabbed the box and brought it up to the counter. The clerk had no idea what to charge. He called for the manager. She checked and it wasn't even listed in their inventory anymore. I had about 10 minutes before I had to be at work,so I said "How about I give your 20 for the box with the packs."She said that was fine. And  I paid for them and headed to work. When I got home the following morning I had a blast busting open the packs and looking at the cards.

It wasn't much longer after that ,that through a movie forum I met my buddy Devin. He collects VHS. Mostly focusing on horror,science fiction and cartoons.One of my neighbors had recently been given 5 bins of pre-record VHS. They told me I was welcome to come over and get whatever tapes I wanted for free. I offered to pay them for the tapes but they refused. One afternoon I went over and ended up grabbing every horror,science fiction and animated VHS they had. Typed up a list and sent it to Devin. He was super excited to get all the tapes and we were trying to figure out what I was getting from him. He told me he had a big stack of assorted original run GPK cards. Plus the book pictured above.

The book is a collection of reproductions of the original artwork for the first 5 series of the cards. Pretty famous comic book artist Art Spiegelman does the introduction. Where I learned he helped create the GPKs.He explained how Garbage Pail Kids started off as a parody of Cabbage Patch Kids for the Topps  non sport hit card line Wacky Packs. Someone at Topps saw the prototype card from Wacky Packs and greenlit and entire series based on that premise.And they were a huge hit from the start. I have no hard facts to back my theory up,but from personal experience Garbage Pail Kids were a bigger hit with the kids I knew than Wacky Packs every were.

After the pages showing off the art of the first 206 cards in the long running series,there is an afterword from underground comix artist John Pound. Mr Pound did lots of the artwork on the GPK series. And he explains how lots of indy and underground comix artist did work on the GPK series.

The cover price of the book is right at 20 bucks. Which is a good price for getting to see the artwork of the first 5 series bigger and cleaner looking than they ever were on the cards.But it is the other extras that Abrams Comicarts did
. Like how the dust jacket looks,feels and even smells like the wrappers that were on the original run of the GPK cards.

Or how when you take the dust jacket off,the front cover has what appears to be a piece of that bright pink hard as a rock "gum" that came with every pack in the original run

.Then there is one added extra that I am sure is one of the main selling features of the book. Each copy came packaged with 4 GPK cards that you can only get by buying this book,
Yep in a tiny cellophane envelope at the end of the book is 4 original cards.
This is a very niche book. Outside of the forward and afterword there is no real reading in the book. And $20 is a bit much for a book that would take at the most 15 minutes to read. But if you are a Garbage Pail Kid fan this book is a must buy. I count myself lucky to not only have a good friend like Devin.But also lucking out and getting close to $500 in VHS for free.

Garbage Pail Kids gets a 4.95 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 003 David Letterman's New Book of Top Ten Lists and Wedding Dress Patterns for the Husky Bride by David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman Writers

BOOK TITLE-David Letterman's New Book of Top Ten Lists and Wedding Dress Patterns for the Husky Bride
AUTHOR-David Letterman and the Late Show with David Letterman Writers
FORMAT-Hardcover book
COST-25 cents

Grabbed this in 2013 at a library booksale. I love those sales. I never know what I am going to find.It will be cheap. And the money goes back into getting more stuff for the library. How can I hate that.Books like this are what I call Toilet reading. In that they can be read in short burst while you are otherwise busy in the bathroom. So the first time I read this book it was over the course of many months.

Earlier tonight I was wanting to distract my brain from various things. Saw this book sitting in a stack of books that I was getting ready to pack up and put in boxes under my bed. "Hey this book should be an easy funny read." Less than 2 hours later I finished it.

I discovered Letterman when I was pretty young. My parents had went out to the annual Chevron X-mas dance. Mom's best friend's daughter,who I had a massive crush on from when I was 3 until I was 10,was babysitting me. Mom had said since it was the holidays and I didn't have school I could stay up as late as I wanted. Tonya told me I could watch whatever I wanted until The Late Show came on. I watched it with her and loved Dave throwing pencils through the window panes behind him. And all the other wacky stuff he did. By the following summer I was doing all I could each night to stay awake long enough to watch Letterman. With his Top Ten lists being the highlight of most episodes.

Published in 1996 this book I must assume is a collection of Top 10 Lists that appeared on the show. But who knows they might have been created for the book. There are 160 Top Ten Lists,plus 4 pages of wedding dress patterns for the Husky bride as mentioned in the title.

With a book like this if you enjoy Letterman's style of humor you will enjoy the book. If you don't I doubt the book will change your opinion.My only complaint about the book is it is a bit over 160 pages and the cover price is $16 bucks. They could have made it a trade paperback and lowered the price some.But my point is really moot since I got this for 25 cents at a library booksale.

 David Letterman's New Book of Top Ten Lists and Wedding Dress Patterns for the Husky Bride gets a 4.75 outta 5

2015 Reading Challenge Book 002 Pin Me Pay Me by Bobby Blaze

BOOK TITLE-Pin Me Pay me Have Boots will travel a memoir
AUTHOR-Bobby Blaze
FORMAT-Ebook file

A friend bought this book recently and got a free ebook copy. So since he refuses to read ebooks he gave it to me. I just recently got to where I can enjoy ebooks. Normally I want to feel the book in my hands,

Before I read this book all I really knew about Blaze was he beat Jerry Lawler for the SMW title in a major upset. I never got to see much SMW as it was happening so depended on the coverage of it the Apter mags published.Since I had also never seen a shoot interview with Bobby Blaze and knew he had worked for lots of southern territories and indies I picked this out of my stack of unread books. 

There is no co author listed,and the book reads well. No major grammar errors or sentences that flow badly. Blaze goes into lots of details of his career. With the stories of his time in Memphis,Smokey Mountain and WCW being especially entertaining. I never knew he worked a decent amount in Japan. Or that he faced Terry Gordy. After finishing the book,which is pretty short and I read over the course of one evening while bored what with was on tv,I wanted to go straight to Youtube and watch a bunch of Bobby Blaze matches. 

Pin Me Pay Me gets a 3 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 001 The Kryptonite Kid by Joseph Torchia

BOOK TITLE-The Kryptonite Kid a novel
AUTHOR-Joseph Torchia
FORMAT-Over-sized paperback
COST-Free,X-mas Gift

Back sometime in the mid 80s one of my Aunts got me this novel as a birthday gift. She knew I loved to read and loved comic books,so thought this would be a great gift for me.I read that copy many times. But it was lost in the mid 90s when a now ex took lots of my comics and books and made a bonfire using them in my front yard. Back last year in August one of my Aunts asked me to make an Amazon wishlist with stuff I wanted for X-mas.One of the items I was looking at had a link to this book below it. I clicked the link and saw that a used copy was a bit over $2 with shipping. My original copy was a hardcover and had a white dustjacket.A weird thing about that copy. After having owned it for 2 years I took the dustjacket off. And inside it I found a letter some girl named Alisha wrote to a boy she was breaking up with.

The book is a series of letters that two young boys in what I think is the early 60s write to Superman. They both goto the local Catholic School,love all the various Superman comics and of course the Superman tv show. Jerry,the lead,has a not so great homelife. His father can be abusive. His mother barely pays him any attention. And his older brother is a clone of Wayne from Wonder Years.

Jerry and his best friend Robert believe Superman is a real person. That adds what starts off as an interesting touch to the letters that morphs into a very sad element. At first the letters are nice and happy. With the two boys doing reviews of stories from the comics they read. But as things get worse at home for Jerry,and after being caught reading a copy of Superman's Best Friend Jimmy Olsen when he was suppose to be praying at school,the letters become what feels like Jerry's cry out for help.

Since Jerry believes Superman is real,he also believes he could maybe develop super powers. This starts off fairly innocently. With Jerry trying an old towel around his neck and jumping out of the local cranky old lady on the block's tree. He believes that by doing this he will be able to fly. Another time Jerry and Robert are off walking to their clubhouse. Jerry sees a rock on the ground and tells Robert he is sure it has Kryptonite in it. They break the rock open and something green oozes out. This causes Jerry to believe he has the super power to find Kryptonite and he dubs himself the Kryptonite Kid. 

It is also around this time that Jerry starts to notice that Superman and God seem to have alot in common. Which causes Jerry to believe that Superman might be God. He asks a series of questions about this to his teacher. Who with the school being a Catholic causes the nun who teaches him to freak out. Then Jerry writes a poem about how he loves Superman more than anyone,including Jesus. His teacher of course freaks out again and uses this to deny Jerry the chance to make his first Communion. Which sets off a chain reaction. Jerry's father starts to drink more often and beat Jerry and his 5 month old pregnant mother. The owner of the newstand Jerry buys his comics at,who is also the only adult that treats Jerry with respect,is caught having an affair with a married man.So Jerry is forbidden to buy comics anymore. 

Jerry gets fed up,and comes up with a plan. Since he already has the super power of being able to find Kryptonite hidden in rocks,he figures he should be able to fly any day now. The evening all his other classmates are going to make their first Communion,which Jerry's parents are forcing him to attend,right before the family loads up into the car Jerry says he has to pee. He runs into the apartment building,grabs his towel,which he has written KK on the back of. Gets on the roof of the building. Then jumps off.

The last chapter is all about the aftermath of Jerry's attempt to fly. 

For a book that I assume is written for pre-teens,The Kryptonite kid deals with some heavy issues. From physical and mental child and spouse abuse. To the way Jerry's teacher,who is a very old school nun,instead of trying to answer Jerry's various questions about God,Jesus and Superman decides to berate him in front of the class.And also physically abuses him.

The Kryptonite Kid gets a 3.5 outta 5.

Challenged issued and accepted

Had someone recently point out that this past year I read fewer books and way more comics. So my backlog of books has gotten way out of control. They bet me they could read 100 books in 2015. I said I could do over 100 books in 2015. Was just gonna post a quick review of each to Facebook. But feel like adding a bit more to each.

The first two books will be posted in a few minutes and I am gonna try to average 3 books a week. With most of them coming from my own collection. I am starting to get use to ebooks. So  few of those will be scattered in here.