READS: Cult Cinema: An Arrow Video Companion

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Yeah, you know you want it NOW. But you’ll need to wait until February 24 to get your sweaty little palms on it. Cult Cinema: An Arrow Video Companion (MSRP $69.99) is a gorgeous limited edition hardcover tome that’s 246 pages thick and chock full of big and little words about cult film, its history, stars, and why the sub-genre is so beloved and necessary. You could probably beat someone who disagrees with your entertainment choices quite senseless with this book (which measures about 8.5 x 11 inches). But that’s really not a good idea as you probably also can’t take it to jail with you to catch up on your required reading. That and if you watch enough cult films you KNOW the warden’s going to be a real jerk and a half (plus tax).

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Featuring the writing of: Robin Bougie, Michael Brooke, Paul Corupe, David Del Valle, David Flint, Cullen Gallagher, Kevin Gilvear, Joel Harley, David Hayles, Pasquale Iannone, Alan Jones, Tim Lucas, Michael Mackenzie, Maitland McDonagh, Tom Mes, John Kenneth Muir, Kim Newman, James Oliver, Vic Pratt, Jasper Sharp, Kenneth J. Souza, Mike Sutton, Stephen Thrower, Caelum Vatnsdal, and Doug Weir, there’s enough here to start (or close) several cinematic conversations. I’m still poring through a PDF review copy, but so far I’m significantly entertained enough to say it’s a must-buy, especially if you’ve been building up your collection of Arrow Video Blu-Ray/DVD sets since the North American kickoff through MVD Entertainment Group.

READS: Bombshell: The Pin-Up Art of John Gladman

Bombshell_coverThank goodness the art of the glamour pin-up book isn’t lost forever, particularly given today’s endless supply of overly raunchy and more easily accessible content the internet has to offer. The fine folks over at Schiffer Books have been putting out a nice selection of pin-up titles for some time, but this is one of the best they’ve published to date.

Award-winning photographer/artist John Gladman is one of those thankfully still carrying the artfully positioned cutie torch and in Bombshell: The Pin-Up Art of John Gladman (Schiffer Books, $34.99 – BUY IT!), there’s a whole lot to appreciate. Continue reading

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…

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.

“Book ’em, Danno!”: Wednesday’s Read’s A Memory Maker

BookCulture AWHey, if you invite me to an event and I just so happen to like what you do, I tend to show up.  Which was a good thing for me as I found a nice new book shop to poke my head and feet into and got to meet the world famous maybe should be in some sorta documentary about her long walk author Andra Watkins who talked about her new book Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, which you should go out and buy and READ. Well, after you read her other novel, To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis.

That first book was inspired by this one, which I haven’t yet read, but realized I’d heard of and know someone who has a copy and has yet to read it. A borrower I shall be, it would seem. Anyway, the main purpose of her book tour is to get readers to make a memory with someone they know and soon. We all tend to get busy-busy and otherwise occupied with life and too often, overlook making real connections with those we know (or should know better). For all the “social” aspects of modern internet use, you really aren’t making a human connection if you live out your entire existence online. Continue reading

Astro Boy Omnibus 1: Manga Classics 101 At An Everyman Price Point

Astro Boy Omnibus
 

If you already own the complete 23-volume set (which I believe is out of print), you probably don’t need Astro Boy Omnibus 1 at all. If on the other hand you’re new to the manga scene or have never read the late, great Osamu Tezuka’s seminal work, Dark Horse Comics is making sure to get your full attention with this 700-page volume. For $19.99, you’re getting quite a deal that won’t take up a lot of physical space. Yeah, some of us still read and buy real books, folks.

Anyway, September isn’t all that far away when you think about it (yeah, time flies, doesn’t it?), so make sure to keep an eye peeled for this one.

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Some Illustrated Reads For Almost All Your Needs!

IDW Mad Artist's Edition Variant Cover 

gift_guide_2014I should have done this post sooner, but I was busy catching up on a lot of reading. Ha and ha. Anyway, books galore came this way (most of them digital) and I still have a huge backlog of stuff to read into 2015 thanks to the crunch of reads of too many types. In case you’re stumped for a last minute gift idea or just want to know what I read when I’m not writing or reading about stuff to write about (it’s a damn vicious cycle, friends), here are a few titles you might want to sample in this somewhat hastily prepared guide… Continue reading

IDW’s Marvel Covers Artist’s Edition: The Next (& Least Expensive) Best Thing To Owning The Originals

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If you owned just one of the pieces of cover art found in this latest must-buy Artist’s Edition, you’d probably be able to buy up every copy of the book directly from IDW and hand them out as really awesome holiday or other surprise gifts. Thankfully, you don’t own any of this artwork or it wouldn’t have made it into the book at all, right? Anyway, this excellent 144-page tome of Marvel Comics history (scanned and printed full size) will only set you back $100, which is a STEAL if you love comic art and want to see plenty of key covers from the 60’s onward. If you happen to want to buy me a copy of this tome o’ joy, I wouldn’t stop you at all either, you know. Just don’t tell me you’re doing that, though – I like surprises on occasion…