Friday, February 20, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 038 The Boys Volume 1 The Name of the Game

TITLE-The Boys volume 1 The name of the game
AUTHOR-Garth Ennis
FORMAT-Trade  Paperback

Back around X-mas of 2008 my mother was asking me what I wanted for X-mas. Since I had no local comic shop I was craving comics.So she threw me her credit card and told me to place an order for $60 worth of comics.

I had heard of the Boys before then. And already being a big fan of Garth Ennis I had been wanting to read it. The series started off being published by DC under their Wildstorm imprint. But after the 6th issue DC canceled it. I have never heard why. I doubt it was cause of low sales.Maybe DC thought having a series that takes the piss out of superhero comics isn't a great idea when 80% of your comics are superhero stuff. Not long after being canceled Dynamite Entertainment picked up the series. Now I am glad a company picked it up. But I hate how Dynamite's comics always cost at least a buck more than comics from other companies. This trade reprints the first 6 issues and has a cover price of 17 bucks. Which to me is high for just 6 issues.

The Boys is set in a world where superheroes exist. And in this trade we find out why superheroes exist. A Nazi scientist created a compound that when given to someone causes them to develop superheroes. This compound is highly guarded and for good reasons. We start off over in the UK.Where Hughie is at a carnival with his girlfriend. They are having a great time when out of nowhere a super speed powered hero who is chasing a villain runs over Hughie's girl and kills her. This devastates Hughie. Since this superhero works for the US government Hughie gets offered a payoff. But that isn't what he wants.He wants revenge.

Some time later he meets up Billy Butcher. A former solider who know heads up a black ops superhero team. Who are known as the Boys. They police the superhero community.He offers Hughie a chance to get his revenge on the hero that killed his girl.

These six issues mostly deal with Hughie learning to cope with the death of his girl and,after getting shot up with the super power giving compound,learning how to deal with his new found powers.The issues also cover the first big assignment Hughie gets after joining the boys. Where they are sent out to make a point with this universes version of the New teen titans. Who are all boozing,drug addicted sex maniacs. Hughie accidentally kills one of these teen heroes. And a hamster crawls out of the dead "hero"'s anus. Like with every long running series Ennis has written,lots of minor things in this first collection are the start of major storylines later one. Like how right after moving to NYC Hughie meets a pretty young lady in the park and starts up a relationship with her. She is actually the newest member of this universe's version of the JLA or the Avengers. Or the aforementioned Hamster. Later on the dead hero shows back up looking for his "pet". Which Hughie has adopted.

A word of warning,like most stuff from Garth Ennis this book is packed with lots of foul language.violence and other not kid friendly elements. But if you do not mind that kinds of stuff and want a good and funny read give The Boys a shot.

The Boys Volume 1 The Name of the Game gets a 3.35 outta 5

2015 Reading Challenge Book 037 Ghoul by Brian Keene

AUTHOR-Brian Keene

I discovered Brian Keene back in 2008. While shopping at a used bookstore I was needing 2 more books to get a nice discount. I had heard of Mr Keene before that day. And saw his novels were being published by Leisure Fiction.So I grabbed this book and another one from Mr Keene.

Set back in the early 80s during the summer,Ghoul is about 3 pre-teen boys. All three of them are fans of horror movies and comic books. They have been building an underground clubhouse out near the local graveyard.One of the boy's father is the groundskeeper of the graveyard. He is also a boozing abusive piece of shit. His son always wonder's where his dad keeps getting various pieces of jewelry. And late one night the son finds out where these ill gotten treasures come from.

There is a ghoul who lives under the cemetery. Since the drunken father is helping provide the ghoul with bodies to eat,the ghoul gives the piece of shit father rings,watches,necklaces and earrings he has found in the graves.

After the boys learn of the ghoul they start trying to figure out how to kill it. Of course the boys triumph over the undead beast. After this we fast forward about 15 years. The lead boy is a grown man and he comes back to the town. The groundskeeper's son is now in charge of the graveyard. We get to meet his son. And find out the cycle of abuse is continuing.

Pretty sure this is the first Keene novel I read. While reading it I kept thinking about Stephen King's book It. Now this book isn't as good as It. But it is a decent read. One drawback is it suffers from something that at least half the Keene novels I have read suffer from,in that it has a shitty ending. Keene keeps building to this great final fight between the boys and the Ghoul. When the ghoul is defeated it feels tacked on. Like Keene had no idea how to kill the ghoul. Then the epilogue is so paint by numbers that it hurts a pretty decent book.

Since I read this book the first time a movie came out based on the novel. It premiered on Chiller. And wasn't that bad. It stars the two young male teens from Modern Family. My main complaint was how shitty the Ghoul looked. And a badly tacked on explanation of the creature.

Ghoul by Brian Keene gets a 2.55 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 036 Death of WCW original edition

TITLE-Death of WCW
AUTHOR-R.D. Reynolds & Bryan Alvarez
FORMAT-Over sized trade paperback

I first discovered the Wrestlecrap website about 3 weeks after it started. Yeah I was reading it back when it was R.D. and Merle writing the entries. And for many years every Friday when I got home first thing I would do is go read the new entries. So sometime in 2008 I ordered this book and the Wrestlecrap Book of Lists from Amazon.

As I said in the last paragraph R.D. is the owner of the Wrestlecrap website.And the other author is the lead writer of the Figure Four Weekly newsletter. Bryan Alvarez is a retired pro wrestler. Who  now works with the infamous Dave Meltzer on the Wrestling Observer newsletter,radio show and website.So this book has a nice mixture of wrestling insider knowledge combined with a fan's perspective.

The book covers the entire length of the existence of World Championship Wrestling.WCW started when Ted Turner bought up the old Jim Crockett Promotions. And ended in 2001 when Time Warner got tired of WCW losing piles of money. They cancelled the two WCW TV shows and a piece of wrestling history ended.

The book details all the stupid decisions the various people in charge of WCW made. Like how they paid the wrestler formerly known as Nails for over 3 years,when he only ever had one match in WCW. Or how WCW paid the band Kiss a huge amount of money to get them to perform at an episode of WCW Nitro. As part of this contract with Kiss,WCW created a wrestler based around the Kiss Demon. But in the late 90s WCW had a habit of paying various celebrities way too much money to wrestle. Like Dennis Rodman,who on one PPV showed up so messed up it looked like he passed out while waiting to be tagged into the match. Or the time WCW paid Jay Leno a huge amount of money. For him to do a tag team match at the annual Hog Wild/Road Wild PPV. A PPV that is held at the annual Black Hills Biker rally. A show that was free to see live. So not only did WCW drop huge money on Jay Leno,but it was also at a show where they made no money off the gate.

Now I have heard lots of criticism about this book. With one wrestling forum seeming to have an abnormal amount of hate for this book. Sure there are parts of the book where R.D. and Bryan make mistakes. But from reading posts about the book,you would think 90% of the book is wrong.

I do enjoy this book. Having had read this book at least 5 times. Just recently a 10th anniversary edition was released. I got a copy and read it. Nothing of importance was added to it. And to me it feels like a cash grab by R.D. & Bryan. The one thing that they added that stood out was an epilogue about TNA wrestling. And really this wasn't needed. No matter what lots of fans seem to think TNA has nothing to do with WCW. And really neither fed have much in common. Just because both are/were badly run doesn't mean they are the same.

Death of WCW gets a 3.15 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 035 Horror Films

TITLE-Horror Films
AUTHOR-Rhoda Nottridge
COST-10 cents

Back when I started school at Orange Lake Elementary,RIP,my second day there I finished my school work really fast. So my teacher gave me a pass to goto the library and get some books.I found 5 books about horror movies. They had orange covers and were published by Crestwood House. During my 6 years at the school I must have checked out each of these books 10 times. I had forgotten about this great series of non-fiction horror books for kids. Then at a horror movie forum someone mentioned them. So since then anytime I am book hunting I look for copies. And until earlier in February this year I had never found one. I had thought the series ended in the 80s. But the copyright date on the one I found was 92.

It was the cover that caught my attention. I like how Freddy looks a bit sad on it. When I picked it up and saw it was from Crestwood House I knew I had to own it. This book is only 32 pages. Which isn't a big deal. Each chapter is 2 or 3 pages long. And each one sticks to a genre of horror. Like say Vampires,Werewolves,Frankenstein's Monster or zombies.Each chapter also has lots of great full color pictures.

What did surprise me is on the second page of the book they have a very gory picture from the original Hellraiser. With Kirsty facing off against her uncle. Who has no skin on his body. Kind of a bit graphic for a kids book. The Crestwood House books I read in school only covered up to the early 70s. Which is before the trend towards more explicit gore started. Of all the 80s films the Nightmare on Elm Street series is the only one to get an entire chapter about it. This might be why Freddy is on the cover.

After the final chapter,which is titled Is horror dead?,proving to me that horror fans have been saying the genre is dead since before I was born.We get a glossary.Then a list of books that have a similar theme.Then a short 2 page index.

I understand I am not the target audience for this book. And I did enjoy reading it. The main reasons I bought the book and have kept it are.

1.The cover,I love the color tone of the cover. And as I mentioned how Freddy looks a bit sad.
2.Since I was 6 I have wanted to own one of the Crestwood House horror books.
3.Seeing a kid's book full of pretty gory pictures is something you don't see often. And a fairly well respected company putting out a book like this marketed to kids appeals to me.

Horror Films by Rhoda Nottridge gets a 2.50 outta 5.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 034 Obsessed with Marvel

TITLE-Obessessed with Marvel

When I was a kid one of my favorite toys was Quiz Whizz.It looked like an oversized checkbook. You plugged carts into it. And answered multiple choice trivia questions. With the Quiz Whiz keeping track of your score.

Back last winter I was in my local Dollar Tree. And found this book in there. As you can see in the picture the bottom right hand corner has buttons and a LCD screen.

 I sat down about 5 weeks ago,planning on answering every question in the book. The questions cover the Marvel comics,cartoons and movies. It took me a bit over a month but I managed to answer every question. With me getting close to 80% of them right.

Not long after I got the book I was taking a short vacation to Biloxi MS. I brought the book with me. When I goto Biloxi I stay with my cousin and her family.Both her boys are huge into the various superhero movies. And the oldest one is getting into comics. So we played this book. With my cousin teaming up with both her boys and her husband. Even though it was 4 against 1 I still tripled their score. What can  I say my head is full of semi-worthless comic book trivia.

I have no idea what this book's normal price is. But if you find it for 10 bucks or under it is worth picking up.

Obessessed with Marvel gets a 4.05  outta 5.