Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What a Year its Been

Where to begin?

My daughter Athena was born this last august and she is doing amazing!

I accomplished a lot this year writing wise, I've had a personal goal for some time to have something creative of mine come out every single month in a year and I've finally done it.

Granted six months out of the year it was my ongoing serial, Walking Through Walls in the pages of Utah Geek Magazine but that is still more than 15,000 words in a novella getting in front of thousands of people locally - I'm hoping it pays off in the long run with some local fanbase - between you - my regular blog friends (because you are) I  haven't seen much in the way of that working out yet, but I'll at least finish the novella and self-pub it and I'm pretty damn happy with it.

Those other six months saw several collections of my stories and a new weird anthology project that I never planned on doing until right before I did it - Whispers Out of the Dust. That was the fastest I ever wrote in my life yet. about 56K in four weeks, eventually cut down to 53K but still.
I also released, The Mad Song in January and The Hand of Fate in June. I was a part of an improv  rock/spoken word album with the Freestyle Gargoyles II - my song was 'Read Em and Weep', and I've heard good things by those that heard it. I also contributed a few stories to an anthology put together by some writer friends - 5 Blades. 
And just in time to still meet my goal, I just put up on Kindle and Create Space - Gods in Darkness, a collection of sci-fi horror and prose. It has a 4 previously released stories and a few new ones and some dark poetry with a Lovecraftian flavor. I'll put up another post when I can actually see it on Amazon.

I also attended some great cons and will do so this coming year to an even greater degree - so good things are coming.

All the best to the rest of you and have a great New Year!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Latest Around These Parts...

My latest installment of Walking Through Walls: Chapter 8 Burning Bridges is available online here

I still need to get some print copies, because as I've mentioned before it brings me a great amount of joy to feel I am truly a pulp author with these bi-monthly mags. And it also has a whole lot of Star Wars content for those that are into that.

For myself I am still cautiously optimistic.

And while I have wanted to blog more, life has been busy with the new baby etc.

Funny thing is, quite a while ago, I'm forgetting when exactly I moved my blog comments to accept all as long as it was within say two weeks. After that there was a greater tendency for spam rather than legit comments, still I do get legit ones on old posts every now and again, not that I suspect anyone but me ever see's them.

But I've not been checking the blog for the last few and Lo there was another comment on a post that is almost four years old! It was was my Write What You Don't Know post, wherein I said as a fiction writer how ridiculous it is to think of what our fiction would be without imagination = only writing what we know, and I do absolutely stand by that.

Somebody had to post anonymously and sound all superior about how rich he would be if he had a dollar for all the people out there who don't write well or do good  research and thus respect cross cultural peoples etc.

Whatever dude, there's a lot of bad writers out there and guess what? -they won't get better without working at it. AND lets talk for a moment about what cultural illiterate hole you have been living in. Reading is one of the best ways people can understand and empathize with others. I love to read and want my children to read so they can be better people  - its what books do.

But not everything is "the Best". People read what they like and part of hooking children on reading is letting them read whatever "trash" they like, they will come around and find the good stuff when they are ready. So don't come to my blog disparaging anyone on how they write and on not being culturally sensitive - go take a walk.

Yes, I'm a little inflamed as part of my original response on Write What You Don't know was following that spirit of Robert E. Howard and dreaming great dark dreams and I suspect the person the same tired old arguments against Bob and company. I've seen more of that stuff online lately and I'm dead sick of it and don't need to hear any more on it. Accept great writers for what they are = just people, you take the good with the bad, that's life, get over it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Crypt Opens and Whispers Out Of The Dust is live

My latest is out! Get it here! or Here! Its a weird collection of shorts detailing the supernatural haunting of a forgotten western town by the name of St. Thomas.
Founded in 1865, it had a number of bizarre happenings until it was finally covered over by Lake Mead. It was once a pious Mormon settlement, the a wild west outlaw Mecca, then a sleepy little town that was doomed by the name of progress and need for water for Las Vegas.
That much is all absolutely true.

I have even taken a trip through the ruins of the Moapa valley and seen some the sights...

Perhaps some of the rest gets a little foggy on reality, or does it?

I had a lot of fun playing around with this one, I really got into ghost stories over the summer and the idea of finding lost terrible documentation fascinates me - so I found some to tell you about. ;)

Couched as if it is non-fiction I even went so far as to have a smattering of footnotes detailing real history along with the fiction. It was great fun and I hope makes for some creepy October readings.

Thank and check it out!

A Haunted Journey Through The Lost American West.

“Some things lost on the borders of dusk were never meant to be found.”

Documents spanning centuries relate the story of a forgotten valley brimming with magic, ghosts and evil. Published here for the first time these newly discovered papers grant a rare glimpse of the awful truth about this very real American Nightmare.

From the era of wayward conquistadors and pioneers of indomitable spirit on to the weird wild west of gunfighters, gamblers, and medicine men these authentic accounts stalk through the forbidden desert leading you to an oasis of eerie horror and occult terror.

Join us on a supernatural treasure hunt—but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Carl Sagan Owes Percival Lowell An Apology

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I saw Carl Sagan's Cosmos in the seventh grade thanks to my science teacher. She had VHS copies (bootlegs) that we watched. I really liked them for the most part. The Mars episode really stuck with me in part because Sagan talked about Edgar Rice Burroughs and Barsoom and it was all backed by Holst's Mars: The Bringer of War.
It moved me.
Then he talked about what Percival Lowell thought he saw, the canals on Mars and such, the receding of seasons and movements of a dying race - and what a load it was and how deluded Lowell had been to think he saw such things.

And then last Thursday NASA up and says looking at these pics it seems that maybe Mars has flowing briny water on the surface. They did also say that the water would have to be briny to be flowing in the Martian cold.

With all of that in mind, I think Sagan gave Lowell a bum rap and he ought to be giving him a posthumous apology, at least now that he can do it in spirit.

Still overall it doesn't really look like they found anything after all, they won't go looking closer for fear of contamination but then isn't the Rover's very presence equal contamination. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against checking things out but lets be realistic, we already have alien robots on the planet go take a closer look!

I read some articles saying how this was all grandstanding in a way to help promote the new The Martian movie and I'm just cynical enough to wonder if that isn't the case. Personally I'd rather they just do another John Carter of Mars.

And while I don't personally put any stock in the Martian face, pyramids etc I do heartily think they should be looking closer at a lot of things!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Salt Lake Comic Con Recap

Posting this now as a recap etc, etc even though another idea I'm excited about is brewing...

I just gotta get this outta the way.

I ended up on more panels that I initially posted about = that's pretty cool. I got to meet a bunch of great people, old friends and new. It was fun to sit down and not have any idea who some people were until they introduced themselves - during one of the writing panels, I was sitting next to a bearded guy I didn't recognize, probably around my height and then he says he is Brian McClellan author of the Powder Mage series and I was like Wow! Awesome! - I have truly been meaning to read those.

I did some other great networking and such with some other pro's and have laid groundwork for bugger better more in the publishing world.

I did not sell as many books as I would have liked but recouped my costs and then some. The real important thing I had to keep reminding myself was the networking.

In some ways I didn't have as much fun at this con as others in the past but in other ways this may have been the most important - business wise. Here I am repeating myself. I did get a number of books and gotta make the time to catch up on my overwhelming TBR pile.

and now a few shots etc...

 Me selling and signing some books.

Me and Rosanna Rocha, she has a great Red Sonja pinup - which is where I first knew her from. (she didn't do it this con though) the morning I found her she was cold and thus wearing these pj's  - I did share some more nubile pics earlier on twitter but I got in trouble - sorry Honey. In any case Rosanna did share a great story on how she started cosplaying as Red Sonja - it was her mom's favorite character from back in the day and she did it as a tribute to her mom and powerful women. Which I thought was cool.

While standing in line to get my special guest pass who ends up a couple people behind me? but Frank Coniff from MST3K, I let him cut in front of me and we chatted for a few minutes. super nice guy. He asked who I was and what I did and we had a nice short chat about these events etc. I've been a big fan of MST3K for about the last 20 years so it was great to meet him.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Three Days of the Con Man

And the big Con for me starts today! I'll be at Salt Lake Comic Con for the next three days, I've got a panel everyday, discussing fantasy fiction and writing and such. I always have a good time in part because I get to hang with so many cool writer friends and its just a fun reckless geek atmosphere.

This is a promotional banner my brother in law made for me. And as it says I'll be at table BLACK 15 which from what I've heard is a great spot in a heavy traffic area of the con floor. Kind of in the neck of the big L which the conference floor looks like.

In addition I'll be speaking on panels at
Thursday 2:00 pm in room 151A: Its The Good, Bad and Very Ugly of Writing.
Friday at Noon in room 150 G: It the Forgotten Gems of Fantasy and Sci-Fi (You regular readers have a good idea on the things I'll want to talk about to the hipster crowd.)
Saturday at 8:00pm in room 255F: Its Writing the Sins - This is one of the panels I volunteered for and it sounds like we'll be working a little blue - perhaps more so than I ever actually write. But who knows that will be the last panel of the whole con.

I'll post updates here in a few days, and I'm sure I'll have plenty of pics and stories,.

Also in my writing news, the latest issue of UGEEK Magazine #7 is up with the seventh chapter of my Walking Through Walls novella :Tentacles and Pentacles.

The tale took an unexpected twist because I made sure to throw my protagonist Kenaz and his accomplice Lysandra into a world of trouble that I wasn't sure how they would extricate themselves from, the muse gave me something I think quite unique and it was exciting for me to discover where it was taking me along the way.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Big Things in Life

I've neglected my posting for a bit now, but you know I have some good excuses.

My newest daughter (she's my fourth!)was born just three weeks ago. Her name is Athena Eve West, I wanted
something feminine and powerful and unique in that when she is in school there won't be a passel of others kids with the same name, That's my own hell with a good  but incredibly common name -I can't tell you other writers out there how many times I  pondered using a pen name for that very reason but at the same time I want everyone to know that I am me = ego wins.

That all said, despite the many sleepless nights (giving my wife all the breaks possible) this has been my most productive writing summer I have ever had. I don't have an exact count but I have probably nailed down about 70K words just this summer. And that is my personal all time best I believe. So progress has been good and I am working at keeping that drive and progress up and running.

Coming up very soon is Salt Lake Comic Con and I so hoped to have my latest quick project out but it won't quite make it - instead it will be available in time for October, which is fitting considering its ghost stories. Largely inspired by the weird tales I love by Robert E. Howard etc but also by a new favorite ghost story writer M.R.James, I'mm nearly thru all of his tales and think they are magnificent. His are all very English but I am borrowing a lot of his framing devices though set in the American West rather than the English countryside, a whole lot of found letters and the like  and a lot of this is really true, type verbiage. I'll have Whispers Out of the Dust available shortly.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

5 BLADES is out and FREE

 5 Blades an anthology I contributed four! previously released tales is out and for free for the next couple days.

My tales may be familiar to my regular blog followers, -

Fangs of the Dragon: Blessed by a holy man, Porter Rockwell was promised that if he never cut his hair he would not be harmed by bullet nor blade . . .
But what if monsters strike with tooth and claw? This might be Port's last ride . . .
Or will he send them crawling back to the abyss? Either way it's gonna be a helluva fight!

The Serpents Root: A quest for a dangerous item to cure the sick may not be as simple a delivery as a thief expects. Love can be a killer.

The Dig: An archaeologist struggles with the semantics of who is the real grave robber with a rogue Italian captain in WW2 when they find something buried that should not be.

The King in the Wood: Music and mythology merge as a young woman buys a strange instrument in a curiosity shop and things will never be the same.

The other four blades are 

Jason King - fantasy author extraordinaire who recently released book 2 in his Age of the Infinite series.

Drew Briney - lawyer and all around nice guy, with a some great fantasy tales.

Jaime Buckley, acclaimed comic artist with some of his tale spinning.

and newcomer Lewis Strassburg with a great fantasy tale of revenge and giant worms.

Catch it while its hot and free here

P.S. should have had you wait a day Paul! I owe you!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

City of Stairs

City of Stairs, by Robert Jackson Bennett

This was brilliant. A great mashup of epic fantasy, mystery and espionage like thrillers. I was captured by the thought of a once great empire, blessed by a cabal of divine Gods who bestowed strange miracles and blessing upon their chosen people until a put upon satellite people using mysterious means had their revenge and slew the gods.

That is all in the not-to-distant past of the novel and we are now dealing with a reconstruction and digging through the scraps of information left in the wake of such deicide. This is also all set in a fantasy world with technology similar to about the turn of the century and all that goes with it - bureaucracy. A murder sets the stage and into this steps Shara, an official from one of the ruling families of the victors and Sigrud her muscle - essentially a massive Viking. They are trying to piece together why a historian  was killed, it is also matters that he was once important to Shara and they each had a fascination with the mysterious past of this once blessed land.
Bennett evokes great charm and wit with these characters and once the action gets going Sigrud reminds me of everything I love about Brock Sampson from Venture Bros! This is a very good thing!
The twists and surprises keep coming and I highly recommend this!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dark Tale of a Dark Man (and Woman)

Blue Eyes at Night, by J.P. Wilder

This is book two of the Crusader series which I reviewed some time ago here, apologies to J.P. I mentioned this was coming and I did buy it the day of release but my reviews have fallen sharply behind, something I will work at remedying from here on out.

Blue Eyes at Night is the second book following the adventures and redemption of minor lord and experienced Crusader Aaron. He is wracked with guilt at what he had to do and succeed in the previous chapter book that made him a hero presently. Without any recourse on moving forward with his life he heads back into the fray.

I see J.P.'s life experience here to a degree - I am only guessing, but I can see shades of veterans here whether it be modern or ancient. Granted this is fantasy but J.P. has a dark mood giving us insight into that terrible survivors guilt and washes it down with some fantastic action. I enjoy the mixing of almost history with a grimdark fantasy.

On his journey Aaron encounters ghosts from the past specifically Lady Edweene who he thought was dead - or is it her twin sister Lady Elayne? He also has to face the living demons before him. Recommended for everyone that likes gritty fantasy with a little something extra.

I'm also in the midst of J.P.'s next paranormal thriller Schade of Night and wow does he kick things up a notch when he goes from chapter books to novels!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Into the Belly of Kathulos: UGEEK #6

Chapter 6 of Walking Through Walls: Into the Belly of Kathulos in issue #6 of UGEEK Magazine came out over the Fourth of July weekend, and I wasn't home to get a copy or really post about it until now.

It's got a great steampunk cover (and article inside) and a great cosplay centerfold of a steampunk Snow White by Mala Foxx.

I also noticed a author spotlight on my good friend Jason King, whose latest fantasy novel The Soulless Grave was just released today and an interview with a new facebook friend actress Wren Barnes.

This S&S fantasy noir is going places I didn't expect and I'm quite happy with it.

Thanks to my editors James Wymore, Holli Anderson and Bruce Durham for helping polish it up and I am looking forward to the next chapter that will be out in time for Salt Lake ComicCon. I am hoping that this mag helps spread my gospel and people start buying my other books. I expect that this particular tale will take at least another 6-7 chapters to wrap up and when its done I expect to release it myself for fun.
Mala's pic by the great Vladmir Chopine, who I hope to have do a portrait of me sometime - he has done magnificent work on at least half of my best local writer friends.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Hand of Fate

I decided I would release another of my novelettes as its own kindle, The Hand of Fate its one of my oldest stories and it is included in the earlier collection The Mad Song but I just felt like putting it out there on its own anyhow.

It is a tale I've always really loved, blending sword and sorcery elements with Mongolian death worms and Tuareg lore, oh, and Humphrey Bogart's SAHARA was an influence too.

The cover is a modified pic I recently took of another trip to the four corners area, I liked the big raven sitting on the ruined tower, I adjusted the color some and I did add the arrows.

Here is my brutally simple description:


When desert nomad Ahimoth, takes in defeated conqueror Seantum, extending him the hospitality of his people, he is obligated to defend his guest against all foes whether they be forces of nature, man or worse. 

But when the victorious enemy insults Ahimoth and takes Seantum prisoner, the nomad's honor cannot rest until he sets things right and the Hand of Fate will not allow him to turn the other cheek.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Reading My Friends

I'm way behind on reviews etc, so I thought I'd get a few of these together, especially since I know all these people and consider them friends.

The Lure of Fools, by Jason King
"Adventure is the lure of fools, and excitement glamour to the gullible. The siren song of the world is as music to the wanderer's feet, but that dance leads only to the soul-less grave." So Jekaran's uncle has warned him. 
The Lure of Fools is awesome epic fantasy with a good dose of the gritty action and humor that I love about sword and sorcery as well. While I thought it started just a little slow, once things got going this was a rip roaring book, with witty dialogue and clever action.
It reminded me in places of some other fantasy tales I greatly enjoy = Elric and Hellboy and the Golden Army but also with its complete own legend. (by no means am I saying this is a pastiche of the other two-merely that some things reminded me, the reader, of same and again I am a big fan of those other works so its a compliment)
Jekeran, the main character finds himself tied up with some interesting twists of fate involving a sentient powerful sword, and that's always trouble. I also liked the magic system involved in the world and the backstory as its revealed. I heartily look forward to the next installment - The Souless Grave that is getting released in just a couple weeks!

Blood Oath, by Sarah E. Seeley

Blood Oath is an Orc love story. Didn't see that one coming did you. And I gotta tell you , you didn't see the twists coming in this one either! Our tale begins with Riplanicum a young Orc with a mission from his mentor to hide a sacred and powerful stone. He comes across his beloved dying on a battlefield, but she is also from an opposing clan and from there the reveals just keep coming.
I did feel that some of the ending was just a wee bit duex ex machina but at the same time I have to say that I was floored by some of the back stabbing twists on the way there! Well done Sarah!

Beibers Finger, by Craig Nybo

Beibers Finger is one of the most off-the-wall surprising pulp sci-fi gonzo books I have ever had the pleasure of reading/listening too.
Taking place in a world(s) that is like our own but not our own, it blends two stories 1. is the bizarre aftermath of a teen idols brutal murder - a piece of him is left and retrieved by a super fan who gets him cloned. She then has plans for him to do a big comeback at the Pan-Galactic Prom Show = his is all perfectly reasonable right? 2. A dying race of Ice Beetles need help before they are exterminated and we follow their brave rescue crew on a mission that is half  Seven Samurai half Hard Days Night - are you with me? We are in a heap of trouble by books end and it all has to wrap up in book two The Pan-Galactic Prom Show which I will be getting to post haste!

I have several other friends who have read this and I've heard it said this could not have gotten published except through the self-publishing market - I beg to differ, it is amazing but it does require special taste. The author Craig Nybo is truly a tour-de force and I look forward to working with him again - he was the bass player on that spoken word improv album I did a month ago.

Incorrect Astronomy, by Steven Peck

A collection of poetry by an evolutionary biologist and I was very pleased with his turns of phrase and insights. Whether the first that caught my eye The Slaying of the Trickster Gods or Waist Deep in the Abyss - Peck has quite a way with words that I truly appreciate. The moods cascade all over the place and some of these struck home deeply because poetry is someone saying how you feel, and you know the truth of it. Decisions Among the Red Rocks is another favorite. It is a short collection but if you feel for poetry like I do give Incorrect Astronomy a chance.

Crow Jane: Rock Band Fights Evil Volume 3, by D.J. Butler

Crow Jane rocks us into Qayna's point of view - a new character in the RBFE universe but an integral important one, she has after all been around since the beginning! And this is what I love about Butler's writing, an eclectic blend of what you know or think you know, arcane references and a buckshot load of smart action fantasy!
So, Qayna/Jane/Cain - that's right Jane is Cain, cursed to be unable to die no matter what she does, and of course she gets wrapped up in others agenda's and double crosses including the coming war between Heaven and Hell. The story interplays between the present and the past and this is a great way to find out more about our favorite band of damned men. Get on the playbill with this one!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Book Review: Poets in Hell

I'm damnably late on this, especially when I am seeing a legion of press pushing the next Janet Morris edited production Heroika.

Poets in Hell continues the tradition of famous and infamous persons alike in Hell having their dramatic turn on all the monstrous possibilities for conflict.

I recall I read Rogues in Hell a few years ago and quite a few of the same authors are back. My first thought years back was why did so many of these mazing people end up in hell? They don't deserve it, until Janet herself commented that there are 613 commandments that nearly everyone of note in life has broken and thusly we end up with Heroes in Hell...

I'll mention my favorite tales:

Seven Against Hell, by Janet and Chris Morris
I love this opening, we get the magnificent point of view of vaunted Diomedes (one of my favorites from The Iliad) he along with Odysseus, Homer and Sappho. Gotta love anything with Sappho! Greatpoetry and imagery for anyone who loves The Iliad and Odyssey.

The opening line of Nancy Asire's Reunion got me - If hell had a GDP ("Gross Demonis Product"), that product would be rumors.
Great line and a great tale.

My friend Bruce Durham's Hell-Hounds is fantastic combining Alexander Graham Bell, Marconi and a run in with the aforementioned Hell hounds and of course the great Snorri Sturluson and Robert E. Howard - my only beef Bruce is that your tale is far too short!

My favorite this time around is likely Larry Atchley Jr's Poetic Injustice probably because I like Samuel Coleridge and always loved his Kubla Khan and this tale is about Coleridge being vexed that he never truly finished that poem to epic length and he needs to - couple that with a nefarious plot by Guy Fawkes and Anton La Vey again as a tailor and we have devilish conspiracies.

And one of the things I really enjoy about this series is the wide variety of people in hell, like Beowulf and Boudica in Tom Barczak's Pride and Penance - and the Jabberwocky!

All in all a great collection of twisted historical personages in the worst place in the universe.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Flexing Those Writing Muscles

I have got to say I love the cover for Issue #5 of UGEEK magazine  which contains the fifth chapter of my ongoing noir-fantasy serial Walking Through Walls. 

While the cover itself is the poster for Filmquest, a local fantasy related film festival, I find it serendipitous in regards to what's happening in my tale - specific to this installment Silence Falls on Tolburn's Walls (the title of which is a nod to Robert E. Howard's - Silence Falls on Mecca's Walls)

So, just saying for the sake of my friends here who are avid pulp fans - you of course recognize that elder being who dreams...

I am so pleased with where its going - oft times I don't even know where its taking me until I write it.

Keeping the readers attention with a serial is equivalent to a hardcore workout and I'm feeling it - but I'm also feeling those writing muscles growing too.

Overall this is one of those lessons where you have to push yourself to grow and improve and I am a firm believer in eternal progression.

From the intro:

The story so far:
Kenaz, an information broker, can step outside his own body to gather secrets. He has been blackmailed by multiple sinister parties. If he doesn’t give them what they want—a powerful artifact known as The Reliliqy—many lives besides his own will pay the price. He has less than a day to get it all together… He has overcome being poisoned and the demonic worm of Vavath, now he just needs to steal The Reliliqy from the city’s most powerful Sorcerer…

Chapter 5. Silence Falls on Tolburn’s Walls


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

LIVE with the Freestyle Gargoyles

The video is live and remastered and here I am performing "Read Em' and Weep" my improv spoken word contribution to the Freestyle Gargoyles/ Space Balrog album.

I have to say I think my fellow Balrogs that did perform (4 out of 6 of us- Craig was playing bass, saw etc  and Dave Butler was unavailable) did a great job with their short story's - I was a bit off the cuff and therefore wasn't as cool, but tried to make up for it rocking.

I did give a shoutout to my friends books and realized after the fact I neglected to mention any of my own in my own crazed ramblings about books. Just goes to show what happens when you wing it - I have to think if we really worked hard at a studio album it would be amazing and I think I will talk to Craig about that someday - I have a multiple tapes from my garage band days that I would love to have good recordings of someday.

And you only see snatches of it here, but Craig's Media Rif studio is amazing.
Thanks again to everyone involved - these guys were fantastic and we all had a great time.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Freestyle Gargoyles 2

I recently did an improv spoken word album with friends from the Space Balrogs and fellow member Craig Nybo's band the Freestyle Gargoyles.

This was Craig's idea and we all appreciate his drive to make it happen, I know we all enjoyed performing etc.

Granted I think my song "Read Em and Weep" is the least worthy spoken word portion (though the most rocking). The album itself will be dropping soon - Craig is putting the finishing touches on it. Sorry if this post is a little bit of a tease... it will be here soon and until then here is a behind the scenes video that Crowd Surfing did of us as we prepped.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

So Graphic!!!

I'm catching up on reviewing here and how about those graphic novels!

The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath, by H.P. Lovecraft and I.N.J. Culbard

This was the last big Lovecraft story I had to read. I've had a tattered copy zebra copy somewhere and I had read sections of it before (I was cheating to get more on Nyarlathotep) and I am pleasantly
surprised at how much I truly enjoyed it - I gotta admit the cover for the Zebra edition I had was off putting and I wasn't sure how much I would like the long form of Lovecraft's work in regards to dreams rather than say The Dunwich Horror which is a favorite of mine. I would say Culbard's art is not the best but it does have a minimalist power to it that I do enjoy. He conveys a lot with dark and light that like Mignola is powerful. On the story side of things, I found that there was an upbeat positivity to it that I did not expect especially compared to other Lovecraft tales. This was a great book all the way around, I shall have to read the novel and I look forward to another adaption by Culbard The King in Yellow coming out next month.

Red Sonja: The Black Tower, by Frank Tieri and Cezar Razek

Right off the bat I gotta say Razek's art is great, he has that savage fluid motion and great character representation, he really brings the action to life. Tieri's writing which I have been a fan of for years is tight here - maybe too tight for a four issue limited series but with each closing issue I am glued and Need to know what happens next. Its all unexpected from the Sonja stories I've read before and I gotta see where this goes...
and when it does get to the finale, I am...disappointed.
It seemed a little too convenient and unexplained, perhaps I missed something but if I did it sure wasn't an easy miss. Still I haven't lost any faith in Tieri's writing because everything else has been so good.

Conan: The Phantoms of the Black Coast, by Victor Gischler and Attila Futaki

I read this quick, it has a fast pace and good action. I would not say its a great REH tale - Conan is not quite the Conan we know but he is close as pastiches go.
Conan is king of Aquilonia now and though it has been more than a decade he suddenly needs to be sure that he can put Belit's spirit to rest. OK, sure why not?
We have a mysterious sorceress and two acolytes that for the most part I thought were shoe horned in as I couldn't see what difference they truly made to the story - everything would have been just the same with or without them.
In a lot of ways it reminded me of your basic Savage Sword of Conan tale - that's not good or bad, but you know its just not great. The art is good and I liked the design work but this wasn't anything to call Crom about.

Hellboy: The Midnight Circus, by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo and Dave Stewart

I am so far behind in my Hellboy reading - I still need to review/reread Hellboy in Hell - just not here right now. I wasn't expecting great things here with Midnight Circus in part because the young little Hellboy stuff is good but has never been my favorite by comparison, I've never been as interested in the little guy getting into mischief compared with other world shattering events, so my expectations were low.
Maybe that was a good thing, because this pleasantly surprised me. The art is fantastic ( a good second for Hellboy is it can't always be Mignola himself, and the mystery of the circus captivated me, Mignola keeps that esoteric charm alive, he has demons reciting Lord Byron at one point! I love the references in the Hellboy universe that give it that expansive charm, we are talking everything from Ray Bradbury, Pinocchio to Lobster Johnson and all those dark things keeping tabs on Red himself. Great book for Hellboy fans!

The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie and Chuck Dixon and Andie Tong

I already love the original book and Chuck Dixon has been a favorite comic writer of mine for some time, Andie Tong is new to me but his art is good stuff. I've been wanting to get my hands on this collection for some time and I think it only became available domestically a little while ago, I've heard nothing about the series continuing but I sure hope it does.
We begin with basic introductions of our three main characters and like all of Abercrombies work - it ain't boring. We like people we shouldn't like and are excited to go on the journey with them. If anything I was truly disappointed that it ended so soon as I wanted to see more - I was waiting for Jezal's fight with Bremer Dan Gorst and I was hoping to see a little more of Fenris the Feared - not to mention everything with Logen Ninefingers that could fit into the book. Good stuff! Just too short!