READS: The Haunt of Fear Still Packs A Moldy Wallop

The Haunt of Fear DH
 

Sometimes a good old scare is all you need and with Halloween right around the corner (with a baseball bat in claw), you can stay safely indoors and get your fright on thanks to Dark Horse Comics. They’ve been reprinting a bunch of lovely volumes of classic EC Comics and the latest, The EC Archives: The Haunt of Fear Volume 2 comes highly recommended. Coming to a comic shop near you October 28, this 216-page full color hardcover collects The Haunt of Fear #7–#12 and features art from Johnny Craig, Graham Ingels, Jack Davis, Jack Kamen, George Roussos, Ed Smalle, and Joe Orlando. I’ll tease you with a page from the very first tale in the book, a real corker called Room For One More:

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I think that rather unbalanced Rodney needs to reconsider his greed for that last space in the family mausoleum before it’s too late, right? As usual, the book compiles the issues in their entirety including all the original ads, text pieces, and letter columns. Nope, you can’t order anything from those well-aged adverts, but reading the letters should get you smiling at how some took these illustrated tales of terror to heart back in the day. Feel free to also check out previous volumes in Dark Horse’s EC Archives for even more variety in classic horror, sci-fi, crime, humor and more stories from the pre-Comics Code days.

READS: Contemporary Krampus Will Put You In The Proper Holiday Spirit (OR ELSE)…

Contemporary Krampus

Mike Drake (photo: Peter Keehn)

Mike Drake (photo: Peter Keehn)

Just in time for Halloween and definitely an excellent Christmas gift that’s actually a reminder to watch your back and be good (or else!), Contemporary Krampus: A Modern Look At An Ancient Legend ($24.00) offers up a collection of professional and fan art that makes for quite a memorable chunk of nightmare fuel. Curated by Mike Drake (who did that stupendous cover above), you’ll get almost 70 striking images from traditional drawing and painting, to sculpture and even a few takes on the ugly Christmas sweater (but you’ll probably want one of the ones in the book).

Drake also contributes a nifty into to Contemporary Krampus and how this Anti-Claus has slowly but surely seeped into American culture over the years to the point that we’ll be seeing a Krampus horror flick hit theaters in time for Christmas. Nicely naughty AND not a low budget schlocker judging by the cast.

Be Good CK

You should run out and buy this book just because it’ll make you grin and cringe simultaneously. But if you’ve read this far, live in one of the 50 states of the U.S. of A. (Yes, you need to have a US shipping address!) and want to WIN a copy of the book, just respond below with I WANT KRAMPUS! and I’ll pick ONE lucky winner tomorrow from those who’ve entered.

Want more fun? Well, if you’re a card-carrying adult and just so happen to be in the New York City area for Halloween, you should attend the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Times Square Halloween Party.

This adults only event will feature not only Drake signing copies of Contemporary Krampus, but also giving away a life-size Krampus (!) to one lucky attendee. Additionally, over 45 “special” exhibits will be pulled from the Ripley vaults and displayed exclusively to those brave enough to attend. The event will also feature:

A twisted game show
Psychic readings
Hypnotism shows with audience participation
Close-up magic
Day of the Dead candy celebration (at midnight)

To purchase tickets for this exclusive event (and they’re selling out quickly!), fans of the macabre need just click HERE (Boooo!)

“Forbidden” Comics Make This Humble Bundle Worth Breaking Some Rules

HCB_Forbidden 

Because its Banned Books Week (eek!) and you need to expand your horizons a bit more, the folks over at Humble Bundle have put together a nice selection of challenged and banned comics to purchase with the proceeds benefiting The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF). It’s a great selection of digital books more that worth the minimum asking price and your money is going to a great cause.

Humble Forbidden Comics Bundle
 

While I’d prefer a ban on stupid people banning stuff they won’t even read, I guess this is the best revenge you can have on some of those know-little to nothings and their fear of the printed and drawn word. I’d suggest getting your bundle and reading as much as you can in or near a place that’s challenged or outright banned some of the titles just to see if anyone actually notices. I’d bet a dime that no one will care a whit unless they’re curious enough to ask. And even then, they just might find out that there’s nothing to run screaming from the room about at all.

In other words, wouldn’t it be cooler to live in a world where we’re NOT celebrating books being banned and instead celebrate the smartening up of those who ban stuff automatically because they’ve finally gotten those sticks out of their behinds? Yeah, I thought so.

The Martian Trailer 2: Get With The Space Program, Already


 

The funny thing is, after I decided to recently zip through the book (it’s a great summer read, by the way) and took the longer range viewpoint I usually do, these trailers really don’t bug me at all. In a way, the filmmakers are a bit pushed and painted into the proverbial corner because being too vague means you get unfairly compared to Chris Nolan’s Interstellar (although that’s what’s been happening online anyway). On the other hand, anyone who didn’t like Prometheus and didn’t know Ridley Scott’s other, better sci-fi films might see either of the two trailers and say to themselves (or online to whomever is reading what they write) “Not THAT guy again!” or words to that effect. Rock, meet hard place. Of course, a film’s performance should be based on how well it does among those who actually see it as opposed to those who don’t and won’t that spend more time griping about it.

The Martian banner 

But so goes the modern world these days, I guess. The Martian is in theaters October 2, 2015. Go read the book at some point beforehand. Or afterwards.

The Martian Trailer: Reading Is Fundamental. The Internet is NOT.

While this gorgeous trailer for Ridley Scott’s upcoming film based Andy Weir’s bestselling novel The Martian looks fantastic, it seems that there’s some internet outrage over the trailer spoiling the entire film by looking as if it plays out the entire plot in three minutes. It doesn’t. I haven’t even read the book yet but have talked to two people who have and as they’re they types who don’t go online and babble about what’s not in that trailer, I’m told that there’s a good deal you don’t see. Which makes perfect sense, mind you. Yes, movie trailers tend to be a bit too dumbed down in many cases and yes, there are films where you see pretty much everything you need to well before it hits theaters.

The “problem” with The Martian trailer is all that pent up anger about other film’s spoiler packed teases seems to have spilled over at just the wrong time. The easy way to avoid ANY spoilers to films you may be interested in is not to watch them, period. Of course, if you want NO spoilers at all, don’t even read the book the film is based on and go in cold as Mars after sunset. I bet you’ll enjoy the hell out of that film and want to go buy the book after you leave the theater. Also, stay OFF message boards and other sites where people waste time opining away based on their lack of information, unwillingness to learn any new information and tendency to argue to the death the most ill-informed and idiotic points easily quashed by actual facts. Your sanity will thank you kindly and you’ll be able to go about your day with less stress.

Case closed and you’re welcome.

READS: VHS Video Cover Art

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If you were around during the 1980’s and owned a VHS player a trip to the video store was probably something done a few times a week in order to check out some good to awful films you hadn’t seen previously or had caught in a theater and wanted to experience all over again. The better video rental shops were part museum, offering up box after box of wildly re-imagined art that didn’t always match what was on those tapes you wanted to rent. From scantily clad ladies beckoning you to pick up that case to painted explosions that guaranteed at least if the film was atrocious stuff would blow up really good, it was a boom time for “B” movie fans. Over in the UK, movie fans got even wilder cover art to ogle from a wide range of artists of assorted talent covering genres from sci-fi and horror to comedy and assorted exploitation flicks.

Whether you’re a fan of the period or just want a great art book to show off to friends, Schiffer Books’ VHS Video Cover Art ($34.99) comes very highly recommended. Compiled by Tom ‘The Dude Designs’ Hodge (a great movie poster artist inspired by this period), the 12″ x 9″ hardcover book is 264 pages of eye-popping artwork. Some of it great, most of it cheesy to an extreme. Here in the US that cheese factor is most likely going to be the appeal to many buyers who may only know some of these films through their western movie posters and/or VHS cover art which was more often than not straightforward studio commissioned art and photos.

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Free Comic Book Day, Short Haul Version

Free Comic Book Day Stuff (1) 

So. How was YOUR Free Comic Book Day? Mine was minimalistic, but that’s a personal choice due to space and reading backlog reasons. Amusingly enough, the local comic shop closest to here was actually open early for a change. Every time I’d gone by The Lair previously, it was closed and I had somewhere to be and couldn’t get back that way until when they were shut for the night. Fortunately, the visit was worth the about 20-minute walk. The staff is a bunch of cool guys from what I saw, the shop is small but definitely had a nice selection of books and there were plenty of people snapping up bargains from the long boxes placed outside.

I grabbed the two trades shown for a buck each and the free book I picked just so happened to coincide with the PDF of the first issue of Fight Club I got from Dark Horse Comics the day before (thanks, Aub!). I was a bit weary on Saturday thanks to not sleeping much, but the walk and buy trip to The Lair energized me for the rest of the day. Next year, I’ll bring the camera along and bug the guys at the shop for a Half of Twenty Questions session. Or I may do that first as an email interview (and sooner just to have another contact added to my long list). I don’t collect anywhere as many comics as I used to these days. But I do appreciate a good illustrated read every now and then. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some light eyeball, brain and finger exercising to catch up on…

“What Do People Do All Day?” DAF Edition!

What Do People Do All DayAh, memories. Anyway, it’s been an intense and stupid week for me, but at least I got other stuff done besides grow a few new gray hairs from all that annoying tech nonsense.

In honor of one of my favorite books from my childhood (that you should buy whether or not you have kids of your own), here’s what I did of note on a few days this week:

A Pizza I made a nice pizza on Monday. I also got a nicer new phone, but that’s an ongoing post in the making as far as getting some stuff sorted out before I can activate the damn thing.

stuff to review  I got some stuff to review including three more excellent Blu-Rays from Arrow Video (thanks, Clint!) and a nifty tablet stand that’s actually pretty cool.

VHS Cover Art Speaking of movies, the greatest book I’ve read (this month) also arrived for me to review. You should buy a copy just for the cover alone. Okay, the insides are great as well.

old star wars stuff I found some cool original Kenner Star Wars stuff when I was looking for something else in a bin of lots of something else. Yeah, I’ve kept a few of the things I’ve bought from when I was younger. Not enough of them, sadly.

Elminage I played a bunch of new and old games I’d been needing to get to. That’s Elminage Original, a PSP and Vita RPG very much in the Wizardry vein that initially had a lousy English localization until a patch over half the size of the full game cleaned things up considerably.

Some other stuff is on the way or has arrived, but you don’t need to know about a box of packing tape, some razors and a few other mundane items. Okay, back to poring over my email and figuring out what sort of time machine I need to build in order to catch up to the workload backlog. Or I can avoid that rabbit hole fantasizing and just get back to the grind. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Off to get some sleep now. I’ll be back in a few hours after waking up and soaking my eyeballs in a cup of coffee. Or trying out the Uptime energy drinks I got in the post last week to write about. Hmmm… there’s an angle right there to work, right?

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Get the Coffee Table Book Treatment

The Art of He-ManOkay, I’ll admit to not being much into He-Man and the Masters of the Universe way back when it was on TV and those beefy action figures and massive playsets were selling like hotcakes in stores. However, I was a big fan of Earl Norem‘s fantasy artwork as well as some of the cool animation Funimation had been doing since the late 60’s. As soon as I heard Dark Horse Comics was putting out a massive 300+ page regular and limited edition hardcover called The Art of He-Man And The Masters of the Universe, it went on my long list of books I needed to check out.

After getting a digital copy to peruse last week, color me impressed and a *kiiiind of* new convert to the old kid’s show. Granted, I’m not about to run out and buy up a box set and binge watch myself into a coma anytime soon. But thanks to the wonderful art and well-done interviews with many involved with the show, toys, comics and even that weird live action film, I respect the show a lot more on the art side of things. It’s still a big toy-selling chunk of nostalgia, but that sort of thing is why many now adults loved the show back in the day. I’m sure some of their parents had an eyebrow raised every time a new figure was requested and I don’t even want to think about holiday shopping for a hot new playset with a bunch of other parents eyeballing the same big box. Anyway, if one or more of those links floats your boat, go make a purchase. The regular edition is in stores on April 15 and the LE hits retail in May.

Me-Man Norem Art 

Oh, and someone needs to track down Earl Norem and send him a nice letter of thanks for all his gorgeous artwork, as his Wikipedia page is kind of depressing near the end. Personally, I think more people including younger illustration fans WOULD indeed be interested about the career of an 81-year-old artist. Hell, they’d better be, as his work was always consistently grand in just about anything he did.

READS: When A Closed Book Is The Best Thing In The World

huntington 001 (Custom) 

I’d been meaning to visit the sometimes appointment-only Huntington Free Library and Reading Room about a half-hour walk my place for some time, but I’d always found myself a bit too busy to get over that way. That is, until I found out there was a new library that was going to replace the older building next door that was formerly home to a rather large Native American artifact collection. That new building won’t be built for a while, but getting the chance to see and pore over a bit of area history was something I’ve been wanting to do for quite a while. Thanks to TLH setting up an appointment on Monday via email, we popped in today at 10 sharp and stayed about two hours chatting with caretaker/tour guide/author Tom Casey, a man with a encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the area and a ton of other things.

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