Books

Books

Tue
17
Feb

Batman: Blink a Pulp Noir Excursion

Batman Blink Dwayne McDuffie DC Comics Critical Blast

BATMAN: BLINK collects two stories from the inventive concept that was LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT, a series where Batman stories could be told without regard to where in the current continuity any of the other Bat-books might be.

In this volume, written by the late, great Dwayne McDuffie, readers are introduced to a blind man who has the ability to see through the eyes of others if he touches them. To date, he's been using this ability to live the good life -- just wait until the last 'touch' pays their bills, then use the information about their checking account to funnel money to another account. It was a pretty sweet con... until his last 'touch' puts him behind the eyes of a wanted serial killer, and he witnesses the next victim's capture. He stops this from happening, but in doing so makes himself a suspect.

Mon
16
Feb

Lenore's Origins Disinterred in Roman Dirge's Pink Bellies

Lenore Pink Bellies Roman Dirge Titan Comics Critical Blast

It's a big chapter in the (after) life of Lenore, the cute little dead girl, as creator Roman Dirge delves into the Secret Origin of Taxidermy. No, not the art of mounting dead animals (and I don't mean... oh, just for get it!), but Lenore's chilling and sinister friend with antlers, who has a penchant for killing.

Mon
16
Feb

Across the Beatles Universe: Here, There and Everywhere, The Beatles

Beatles Lennon McCartney Harrison Ringo Music Book

I'm lucky to have experienced Beatlemania. Unfortunately, it was thirty years after all the other wild teenage girls. I grew up listening to the music my parent's enjoyed like most children. But I didn't just tolerate it, I loved it...with a passion! Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen played on my tape deck non-stop and my radio was always set to the New York area oldies station, CBS-FM. And then, I can't remember what started it, but I discovered the Beatles. When I did, it exploded. I listened to my parents' vinyls, they bought me the CD's as they were released, I watched the Beatles movies on repeat and tried to get my hands on any form of them performing. Remember, this was well before YouTube. I couldn't just type in “Beatles” into a search box and click through all of the results. I had to seek as much as I could and, trust me, I did. I had been infected with Beatlemania and completely understood the allure. And for me, I never lost that adoration.

Sat
14
Feb

Old Stories Still Carry Mystique in DC's Secret Origins

DC Comics Secret Origins Critical Blast

If the first volume of SECRET ORIGINS makes anything else clearer about the continuity of the New 52, it is this: It's a Batman world, and we're all just living in it.

This set kicks off just the way it should for a new series of origins of DC characters -- with Superman, whose origin comes courtesy of Greg Paks and Lee Weeks. It's a unique way to tell the age-old story, as Paks chooses to come at it from the point of two mothers, each carrying the same message despite being galaxies apart. Tony Bedard and Paulo Siqueira deliver the origin of the other Kryptonian sporting the crest of the House of El, Supergirl. This provides a detailed look into her family history, including the military and scientific roles played by her parents, and how those roles conflicted.

Wed
11
Feb

Girl Power Focus of Ame-Comi Girls: Earth in Crisis

DC Comics Ame-Comi Girls Earth in Crisis Volume 3

The Ame-Comi vision of DC's super heroines in statue form was so popular that DC brought the characters to the comics. Whether the Ami-Comi girls exist on one of the reserved 52 worlds of the DC multiverse isn't made clear, but the changes are more than simply aesthetic. Almost all of the male characters have been represented as females, including Darkseid. It's similar to the conceit of the gender-swapped reality of Earth 11, but also radically different in regards to the relationships of the characters to each other and their world.

Fri
06
Feb

Superman: Earth One Focused on Action and Interaction

Superman Earth One Volume 3 Critical Blast

The third volume in the worlds most expensive series with the greatest publishing interval is finally here -- and it's worth it on both counts.

SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE's third volume picks up right where the second volume left off -- with the world leaders aghast at this new Superman's brashness at deposing a despotic leader, and the United States military complex hiring the two most brilliant minds on Earth to devise a way to stop him: Lex and Alexandra Luthor.

Oh, and it introduces us to: The Superman Signal! But more about that later.

Fri
06
Feb

Mom's Big Catch, Sadie's Big Steal a Winning Double-Play

Mom's Big Catch and Sadie's Big Steal

Whenever I'm offered an opportunity to review children's material, I jump. To be honest, I'm basically a little kid at heart, but that's not the real reason. My 22-month old son, Nate, is the driving force behind reviews like this. I'm so excited to share with him all the things I grew up loving.

Baseball has been one of those passions my entire life, so I'm thrilled to review Marla McKenna's nifty double play of titles. Let me start with Mom's Big Catch from Tate Publishing. It's obvious McKenna understands the game of baseball and the passion we fans feel for our team. Even more, she has chosen to enter the story on an ambition of many denizens of the ballpark--catching a ball!

Thu
29
Jan

SCHOLASTIC CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF GRAPHIX IMPRINT

Scholastic Graphix 10 Years Critical Blast

Celebrations to include collectible giveaways, events, and new publishing

NEW YORK, NY—January 29, 2015—Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its groundbreaking Graphix imprint in 2015, with a yearlong celebration to include collectible giveaways, special events, and new publishing. Graphix is dedicated to publishing engaging, age-appropriate graphic novels for children and teens. Supported by librarians, teachers, and most important, kids, Graphix titles have become bestsellers around the globe and continue to receive awards and critical acclaim including multiple Eisner Award wins and nominations, a Stonewall Book Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor, an Edgar Allan Poe nomination, and 14 New York Times bestsellers to date.

Wed
28
Jan

The Beauty That Lies Within These Pages Is More Than Skin Deep

Revelations: The Art of Justice Howard

“Revelations: The Photographs of Justice Howard” by Schiffer Publishing is more than just a book of photos by an artist. It’s a multidimensional look at the art of photography and tattooing, and how, in the right hands, the two can come together in a beautiful union.

It’s instantly apparent by just looking at the cover of this volume that this is a quality piece of workmanship. The heavy cover stock is beautifully rendered with a tattooed model on the front, laced with vibrant colors, giving us a glimpse of what’s to come.

There are three forwards written in this book, one by an artist and two by “celebrities” featured in this book’s pictures, all paying homage to the photographer, Justice, who also provides a written introduction.

Sun
04
Jan

Plexico's Distant Star Puts Fledgling Superheroes on Cosmic Stage

Van Allen Plexico's Sentinels: A Distant Star

Despite how it may often appear, I don't just read superhero comics. Sometimes I read superhero novels. And over the last few years, I've discovered something -- you can actually find superhero novels whose characters have not appeared in comic books!

Tue
30
Dec

TenNapel's Nnewts Epic Fantasy of Amphibious Proportions

Nnewts - Escape from the Lizzarks by Doug TenNapel

Doug TenNapel introduces a new world to his fans with the first book of the NNEWTS series, ESCAPE FROM THE LIZZARKS. At its most basic level, NNEWTS pits peaceful amphibians against aggressive reptiles. Both sides employ different magics, with the Nnewts relying on their magician and the Lizzarks relying on their Wizzark (and yes, TenNapel knows how that sounds, and even pokes fun at the idea himself within the story).

When the Lizzarks invade Nnewtown, they kill ruthlessly. The only apparent escapee is young Herk, who has been cursed with tiny back legs which prevent him from walking out of the water. His flight leads him to a lost kingdom, a confrontation with an evil deity, and a lost colony of Nnewts, with hints of mystical connections Herk never knew he had.

Tue
02
Dec

DK's LEGO Architecture Visual Guide Could Inspire More Master Builders

LEGO Architecture: The Visual Guide

If I ran an architectural firm, I'd make it a point that my conference room and break room would both have a healthy supply of LEGO brick. And maybe many of them do. I know that the most basic of the blocks fuel creativity, and frequently come home amazed at the complexity (and height) of some of my son's creations using just the Duplo brick that he prefers.

Tue
11
Nov

Crag Banyon Saddled with Superhero Woes in Flying Blind

Flying Blind by James Mullaney, a Crag Banyon Mystery

Crag Banyon is a private investigator cut from the same cloth as Sam Spade and Mickey Spillane. Unfortunately, his world is a Terry Pratchett-like mishmash of Christmas elves, underworld demons, anthropomorphic personifications of ideals -- and superheroes. If it's a science fiction trope, it's just another client to Banyon.

In FLYING BLIND, the latest installment of the Crag Banyon Mystery series from James Mullaney, Banyon has to put aside his hobby -- drinking -- to take on two cases: tailing a husband whose rich, smoldering wife suspects of cheating, and sleuthing out the identity of a super-villain who has taken it into his head to be the arch-enemy of the latest cape-and-tights wearing flying super do-gooder, Minus. (Actually, the identity isn't the issue -- it's Doctor Cohen -- but do you know how many Doctor Cohen's there are in the city? And that's just assuming all the MDs!)

Mon
10
Nov

Zimmerman and Scott Unveil Area 51 History in Graphic Novel

Area 51

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. And sometimes, fiction is a lot more fun.

For much of my life, I've heard the strange tales about Area 51, Groom Lake, Nevada and the Roswell, New Mexico UFO story -- always connected, even though the two sites are a 14 hour drive apart. Oh, the theories that were generated about the strange lights in the sky, the rousting of trespassers, the autopsies of aliens and all advanced technology that we simply couldn't have come up with on our own. It was the seed from which the best science fiction stories blossomed.

Wed
29
Oct

Elephantastic! Emotionally Evocative Children's Work

Elephantastic!

When Timbo, a stuffed elephant, arrived at Andrew's apartment, he was thrilled -- especially when Timbo starts talking to him! Together, this pair of new friends set off on adventures of imagination... which all too soon come to an end when Andrew learns the package that brought Timbo to him was meant for his neighbor, Louise.

ELEPHANTASTIC! is a gorgeously told and illustrated story from Michael Engler and Joelle Tourlonias. It is emotionally evocative of both Milne and Watterson, and expertly communicates through the artwork the overlay of the imaginary over the reality. When Andrew learns the truth, the reader is just as crestfallen as the child -- and they simultaneously share in his elation when the story reaches its heartwarming conclusion.

Tue
21
Oct

Second Rudderhaven Anthology Offers SF/F Epiphanies and Revelations

Rudderhaven Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthology II

I love anthologies. The stories are short, there's enough of them that you're likely to find a handful that you really enjoy, and they're ultimately re-readable, and on second and third passes, you may find the stories you skipped the first go-round end up surprising you later when your mood shifts.

Fri
17
Oct

IDW Does America a Favor with Puck Collection

Puck from IDW

A picture, so the expression goes, is worth a thousand words. That being the case, the political cartoon is worth a thousand words and change, the art form being one that conjoins the satirical image with paucity of pithy text. Which brings us to one of the pioneers of the form: the magazine called Puck, the subject of this lavish (and heavy!) compendium from IDW and The Library of American Comics.

Wed
15
Oct

IDW Publishes Complete Wonder Woman Newspaper Strips

Wonder Woman The Complete Newspaper Strip 1944 1945

When you have someone list three superheroes off the top of their heads, without thinking, they usually recite the holy trinity of heroes by rote: Superman, Batman...and Wonder Woman. They've been on top of the media since they began, not just in comic books, but also in newspaper strips and (later) animated cartoons.

Wonder Woman's newspaper strip didn't have what one could call a lengthy run, but it certainly was an interesting one. William Moulton Marston, inventor of the polygraph and dabbler in polyamory and bondage play, introduced the need for a feminine hero while he sat on the editorial board for DC Comics. Tasked with creating the character, Marston gave the world Wonder Woman -- an Amazon princess with powers from the Greek gods.

Tue
14
Oct

Rudders Chart Course to Science Fiction and Fantasy Haven

Rudderhaven Publications

Some people attend science fiction conventions to meet their favorite authors. Some go to see friends they haven't seen since the last convention. Some go to take in the sights and sounds, and some go to buy goodies not on display in regular stores.

And some people go to meet publishers, to network, to find a home for their next story. And if the wayward author is fortunate, he crosses paths with someone like Douglas Rudder, of RudderHaven Publications. That's what this author did, when attending this year's Archon 38. Here is Douglas and his family, discussing the goals of Rudderhaven Publications, and the anthology books they had currently with them -- as well as the anthologies planned for the future.

Fri
10
Oct

From Superheroes to Space Opera with Van Allen Plexico

Van Allen Plexico at Archon 38

I've bumped into author Van Allen Plexico at a couple of different venues we've shared, from past Archon conventions to Free Comic Book Day appearances. I even had the opportunity to co-host a panel with him at this year's Archon 38.

So it was an inevitable opportunity as well as an estimed privilege to corner him at his dealer's table this year to talk about just a few of the many books he's written, from superhero sagas like his Sentinels series to space opera and his latest science fiction venture, THE SHATTERING.

I'm still waiting for the day when Plexico collides all his worlds into one -- and issues a story about a superhero's journey through perilous outer space aliens in a quest to obtain prime tailgate space at an Auburn bowl game.

 

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