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.