Thursday, November 27, 2014


   Some really nifty acquisitions yesterday. The Simon and Kirby book is a massive collection of comic book pages shot from the original art. Art not only be Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, but by others who worked in the Simon/Kirby studio. I didn't see EXPENDABLES 3 in the theater, but I liked the other two, so hopefully I'll like this one as well. And of course there's a lot of Conan and the second of two issues in the latest BALTIMORE mini series. This has become one of my favorite series from Dark Horse Comics.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Checking In

    Sorry the blog has been a little quiet lately. Between working on the new Griffin and Price novel, A HELL WITHIN, and various other writing projects, reading time has been pretty thin on the ground. Haven't really had time to dig into anything since finishing Stephen King's REVIVAL. Hoping to do a bit more reading over the Thanksgiving holidays.


   And speaking of Thanksgiving, because of some scheduling issues with some members of my extended family, we ended up doing the Family Thanksgiving get together over the weekend, so I've already got that behind me. Not sure what I'll be doing on Thanksgiving Day as of the moment.

   At my job we've got Thursday and Friday off and I've scheduled Wednesday off, so this is an inverted work week. Work two days and then have a five day weekend. I like the sound of it.


   So anyway, that's me. I'll try to get back here with something more entertaining soon.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stephen King's REVIVAL

   Just now finished up Stephen King's new one, REVIVAL. It took a little work because it's a slow starter, well over a hundred pages in before anything supernatural occurs. But when the weird kicks in, it really kicks in. The book has an interesting dedication, mentioning many of the heavyweights of horror, from Mary Shelley to Lovecraft to Arthur Machen. And as I read, I could see what influences each writer had, with the three mentioned above being perhaps the strongest.
   What interested me though, Lovecraft fan that I am, was how King used and adapted HPL's material, twisting to fit his own strange pantheon of supernatural beings. Though much is being made of the 'Lovecraftian' elements in REVIVAL, this is, by no means. a mythos novel. It just dances along the edge. I started the book this morning after breakfast and finished it at dinner time, so that shows you that I enjoyed it.
   Anyway, I don't want to give away any details, so this is a no synopsis review. You should read REVIVAL yourself. Recommended.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Christmas Treasury Editions

For me, 1974 will always be the year of Marvel Comics. I've told the story before of how I received ten Marvel comic books for Christmas of 1973 from a favorite aunt. Up until then I only read DC comics. Somehow I just thought Marvels were inferior. However, since I had the things I decided I might as well read them. And I loved them. So 1974 was the year that I leaped headfirst into Marvel. I quickly made up for lost time and became a huge fan of the Fantastic Four, Captain America, The Avengers and especially Spiderman.
   So when Christmas rolled around again I was thrilled to see the over-sized Tabloid Marvel Christmas Edition on the stands and promptly snatched it up. My grandmother probably paid for it, now that I think of it. Anyway, there was another one the next year and I bought that one too. The third one, I never owned.
   Of the two DC Christmas tabloids, I only had the first and don't recall ever seeing the second. In any case, I lost the three Treasury Editions sometime when I moved, and just recently decided I'd like to have them back. And of course, why not get the two I'd never owned while I was at it. A little careful watching on Ebay and I found all three of the Marvels as a set for a measly $19.99. The two DCs set me back five and ten bucks respectively. The first DC seems to be very hard to come by in decent shape. I didn't care about mint condition, but I did want good copies.
   I won't be reading these until December, but I'm happy to have them.

Monday, November 10, 2014

One Last Adventure with Manly Wade Wellman

  The good news is, while I had thought there were only five Kardios sword & sorcery stories by Manly Wade Wellman, now I know that there are actually six. The final story, THE SLAUGHTER OF THE GODS, appeared in the 1986 collection HEROIC VISIONS II. So yes, one Kardios story left that I haven't read is good news.
   The bad news?
   Once I read it, there won't be ANY left. I'm saving if for a special occasion.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Kharrdiak Arrest

The newest Lord of the Rings Online class, The Beorning. This is Kharrdiak, probably my most Conan-ish avatar yet. And yes, he can shapeshift into a bear.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Cold In July

When people think of Noir films, they tend to imagine high contrast black and white photography and claustrophobic sets, but director Jim Mickle's adaptation of Joe Lansdale's novel COLD IN JULY shows that even out in the bright daylight and blue skies of Texas that things can get as dark as they possibly can be.
   Richard Dane, who runs a frame shop by day is awakened in the night when he and his wife hear an intruder in their house. Dane shoots the man as much by accident as intent and then calls the cops. The local police seem in a hurry to clear the case and get things out of the way, but it turns out that the intruder's father, Ben Russell, was a recently paroled convict and he takes his son's death personally. For a very short time it looks as if Russell is going to play Cape Fear type games with Dane and his wife and young son, but that's not the way it goes. After some suspenseful scenes, Russell is captured and that appears to be that.
   But here's where the Noir kicks in. Things are not at all what they seem and Dane is soon pulled into a web of deceit and death and a world that is Dark, dark, dark, This is where actor Michael C. Hall really shines, playing an everyman who finds himself in way over his head. Hall very believably shows a frightened man whose innate decency is what really gets him into trouble.
   Sam Shepard plays Ben Russell, world weary, beaten down, but with a core of battered iron. A man who does what he thinks he has to, even when it costs him. And Don Johnson brings some serious acting chops to the role of Jim Bob Luke, a private eye who's also a pig farmer. Johnson brings some humor and charm to a very dark film.
   I didn't immediately recognize Vinessa Shaw as Dane's wife Ann, even though, by coincidence, I had just watched her in HOCUS POCUS for Halloween.
   COLD IN JULY was actually the first thing I ever read by Joe Lansdale and that was when it came out in 1989. I remembered some of the plot, but not enough to keep me from enjoying some of the twists and turns the story takes. I really enjoyed the film. It's suspenseful, well written, and well directed and you can't beat the cast. I got my copy from Amazon and I'm sure they have more, so pick it up. Highly recommended.


   Picked up this set of Lovecraft books on Ebay for twenty bucks. I mostly wanted the Ballantine books. two of those are part of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series with notes and introductions by Lin Carter. I used to own the two annotated volumes but I loaned them out and they didn't come back so nice to get replacements. Never had the other two paperbacks, so yay, new editions.