Lavayan Satanism was more interesting to me when I was younger. I still appreciate the sentiment of Satan as a symbol of the great adversary and the rLavayan Satanism was more interesting to me when I was younger. I still appreciate the sentiment of Satan as a symbol of the great adversary and the rejection of herd mentality. I still think the imagery is cool. However, Lavay's brand of cynicism and misanthropy wears thin. It reminds me too much of too many whiny complainers with over-developed senses of entitlement. I don't like hearing it at family gatherings and workplace break rooms, it's not so amusing to read any more....more
The only female author of a Hard Case Crime Novel and it kicks ass! The first person perspective writing of an ex-porn star turned adult film agent whThe only female author of a Hard Case Crime Novel and it kicks ass! The first person perspective writing of an ex-porn star turned adult film agent who gets involved in some dirty underworld dealings is amazingly vibrant and every bit as hard edged as Lawrence Block, Max Phillips, or Max Allan Collins. Angel Dare is one of my new favorite characters. If this is an example of Faust's usual writing style, I'll read anything she writes....more
If you're like me and you haven't heard much about the Incredible Hulk since The Green Goliath that Bruce Banner turned into was a muscle bound mentalIf you're like me and you haven't heard much about the Incredible Hulk since The Green Goliath that Bruce Banner turned into was a muscle bound mentally challenged beast with the vocabulary of a three year old child (or worse you think he turns into a growling, wordless Lou Ferrigno), then be prepared to throw away some of those expectations. I heard at some point a few years ago Banner could turn into the Hulk and retain his identity. Well, this is no longer the case either. Hulk is a distinct personality from Bruce Banner despite the fact that they somewhat reside in the same psyche, or something like that. What you do need to know is that the Hulk is very strong, not so stupid anymore, and still really pissed off. Oh yeah, and he still says, "HULK SMASH!"
A cabal of super-heroes calling themselves the Illuminati (Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Mr. Fantastic, and Black Bolt) decide that despite his many heroic acts the Hulk is too dangerous to remain on the planet. So when the Hulk volunteers to go into space on another Earth saving mission, he discovers that upon finishing his task, the ship re-routes automatically and heads toward a different planet. Along with it comes a video of explanation from the Illuminati, the people he once considered his friends. He would have landed on a lush paradise-like planet full of lush vegetation and wild game, but the ship encounters an undetected anomaly called the Great Portal. The Great Portal takes him to planet Sakaar, run by an empire with a megalomaniacal leader. The Hulk is still pretty strong but weakened by his journey through the Great Portal. He ends up a prisoner of the emperor and a gladiator. He fights only to survive. He becomes warbound with group of his fellow fighters. They ae Korg, the rock dude; Miek, the bug dude; Eloe, the cute chick; the unhived nameless brood who is reminiscent of the Alien from RidleyScott; and Hiroim the shamed, some human with gray skin and tattoos, he has a troubled past. So they decide to become friends even though they know the emperor will make them kill each other. It's some real tough guy shit that fourteen year old boys would totally be impressed with.
Despite the fact that this story overflows with all the epic tale bullshit like thinly veiled Jesus analogies in the discussions of the Sakaarson, who will be the "savior" of their planet and other bullshit with prophecies and people trying to interpret them, there is some epic shit in this that makes it worthy of the label "epic tale." Mostly because there due to the lack of fucking around especially on the part of the Hulk. The lack of stand-offs, close calls and other pussyfooting around breathes quite refreshing. The Hulk just does what he needs to do. As a gladiator he tries to resist the emperor but once he finds out he has no choice but to go to battle he fucks shit up hard and actually kills motherfuckers. Later he's freed of his obedience chip and finds a way to free these dudes from their obedience chips but he doesn't cry about killing people prior to that. His attitude is, "If I would've known better I would've done better but that just wasn't the case at the time and what the fuck am I gonna do about it now?"
This doesn't mean there aren't consequences to such actions. Killing isn't rewarded or anything like that but the writer is well aware that the Hulk always was and always will be an anti-hero. He's not bad and he only does good things because he's not bad , but he's not good. Otherwise the Hulk just wants to be left alone and will seriously fuck up anyone that fucks with him. No matter how people try to steer him into being the hero that the planet Sakaar seems to think he's becoming or is he just keeps going and sticks to his agenda although he won't stop theirs as long as they don't get in their way.
Yet this doesn't mean the Hulk doesn't grow in some ways. He learns the value of loyalty with his warbound friends. He learns the value of fair leadership and the need for people of any species to be free. He learns the responsibility of fame. However, he only does it as the Hulk would do it and of course ends up suffering as only the Hulk suffers.
Planet Hulk rampages at the rate of the Hulk and makes for fun reading through its almost 400 pages. The empathic powers of the combined writer/artist team of Greg Pak, Carlo Pagulayan, Aaron Lopresti, Juan Santacruz, Gary Frank,and Takeshi Miyazawa make the reader feel every emotion of this comic. Of course this is beyond the obvious rage of the Hulk but the subtle complexities of each character even those as alien as Miek and the brood. The story is as powerful as the Hulk himself.
It seems Dr. Strange, Black Bolt, Iron Man, and Mr. Fantastic decided to shoot their good buddy Hulk into space onto a planet called Sakaar for his, aIt seems Dr. Strange, Black Bolt, Iron Man, and Mr. Fantastic decided to shoot their good buddy Hulk into space onto a planet called Sakaar for his, and the planet Earth's, own good. Monsters just about as bad as the Hulk inhabit Sakaar. While there, they force the Hulk into slavery and make him a gladiator. However, one thing leads to another and he becomes the leader of the planet. But, some kind of explosion that kills millions of people on Sakaar including the Hulk's new wife and their unborn child which the Hulk blames the aforementioned foursome. As a result, the Hulk heads for Earth more pissed off than ever.
World War Hulk starts when the Hulk shows up on the moon and kicks Black Bolt's ass. He even survives one of Black Bolt's sound waves, which he shouldn't have but as it gets pointed out repeatedly the Hulk is more pissed than ever. The more pissed the Hulk, the stronger. After this battle, he goes to Manhattan and demands an evacuation in order to make it a battlefield so he can kick Dr. Strange's, Iron Man's, and Mr. Fantastic's asses, of course a bunch of other superheroes come to back them up. However, the Hulk brought his own posse called the Warbound. These guys kick serious ass so the battle gets really rough.
I really don't read superhero comics as much as I used to and the problem I have with this is that you pretty much have to be a twelve year old to really appreciate it. What I mean is that the whole book plays up like some kind of epic end-all-be-all battle where the Hulk is pissed off beyond any time before this. However, he still holds back and pulls punches. Yeah, I understand he's supposed to be a hero and heroes don't kill but don't try to sell me the other way if you can't follow through on your shots.
Some of the Hulk's greatest friends thought he was so dangerous that they shot him into space to a planet where he became enslaved. That's really fucking harsh. On top of that he thinks they killed his wife and unborn child, which seems like a pretty goddamn good reason for being uber pissed. The Hulk should have come back with every reason to just shred those guys to molecules, but no! He dicks around and is torn about shit and contemplates his decisions except when they want to explain how they didn't kill Hulk's wife.
Now I understand that Marvel doesn't want to kill off it's key characters, even at the hands of the Hulk, but that doesn't mean it couldn't have been a threat. The writer would have just had to work a little harder at getting around killing them. It was played up as so epic it wouldn't have been too out of place to actually bump one of the characters off. I think Black Bolt wouldn't be too missed his power is pretty fucking dumb like the rest of the Inhumans.
Actually, my favorite part of the book is when General Ross takes on the Hulk. He's truly pissed like the Hulk should have been. His daughter is dead as the result of the Hulk. He's sick of the yo-yo game of good Hulk/bad Hulk. He points out that for every time Hulk does something heroic, he turns around and fucks up even worse than the last time. Now here's a dude who's not only a regular-ass human, but is an old-ass man but is so sick of decades of the green bastard that he jumps on the Hulk from an aloft helicopter and on the way down to for all he knows is his certain death and shoots the Hulk in the eye. Now that is one badass mofo. I must be getting old because I used to thing General Ross was a dick but now he makes more sense than anyone else in the Marvel Universe. ...more
The Sweeter Side of R. Crumb is really as sketchbook and provides little in the way of comics, for which Crumb is mostly known, and more one page illuThe Sweeter Side of R. Crumb is really as sketchbook and provides little in the way of comics, for which Crumb is mostly known, and more one page illustrations. In case you didn't know, R. Crumb is the leading underground cartoonist from the first wave of underground cartoons back in the late 60s/early 70s. The best way to learn about Crumb is to check out the documentary film Crumb directed by Terry Zwigoff. It's easily available at most video stores and libraries usually carry it.
The best thing about this book is that it features a lot of drawings done since the turn of the millennium and shows a tidbit of how Crumb's life is in the South of France. Many of the illustrations are very tight and appear to be drawn when Crumb was relaxed and not pressed for time. I say this because a few comics he published around the time this book came out were loose and rushed and I thought the man was losing his touch. However, this book tells me otherwise. He must've made said comics in haste. Otherwise, in this book, the man is drawing better than ever.
Although the title of the book is clearly tongue in cheek and the liner notes are laden with sarcasm, I do think in some ways this really is Crumb's attempt to reconcile with women, who generally look to his work with much derision. The ironic thing about Crumb is that he truly is a misogynist but he is very attracted to strong, leftist, feminist type women. I don't think there's a really mean-spirited drawing in the book but it doesn't apologize or play down Crumb's fetishes and fixations. His intended targets tend not to be humorless and not very forgiving of anything less than perfect. So I imagine this book will be mostly read by dorky fans like me than any thick-legged, shelf-bootied feminist. ...more
Manhattan, the summer of 1948, and Donny Harrison, the boss at Americana Comics celebrates his fiftieth birthday in the suite at the Waldorf he rentsManhattan, the summer of 1948, and Donny Harrison, the boss at Americana Comics celebrates his fiftieth birthday in the suite at the Waldorf he rents for his mistress Miss Harriet "Honey" Daily. However, he kindly invited his wife. For the party he dressed as Wonder Guy, the comic book super hero whose popularity made Donny Harrison rich and Americana a prominent publishing company. Among the party guests are Harry Spiegel and Moe Shulman, the creators of Wonder Guy who are well paid, but not rich. They do not own any rights to their creation. Jack Starr also attends. Starr works for his stepmother who runs the Starr Syndicate, a company that syndicates comic strips to newspapers that she started when Her first chosen profession, burlesque stripping, became illegal in New York. Starr Syndicate exclusively publishes the Wonder Guy daily comic strips.
Upon cutting the cake, Donny abruptly falls to the floor and lands on the cake knife. He dies instantly. It is assumed that he had a heart attack and unfortunately stabbed himself as he collapsed. Further in investigation reveals poison in Donny's system that caused his collapse. Investigators believe someone tampered with Donny's diabetes medication. As it happens, Spiegelman and Shulman were in negotiations with Maggie Starr at Starr Syndicate for a big deal on a new creation. Now they're the top suspects in a murder case. Maggie needs her poetential clients either cleared or convicted soon in order to properly conduct business at her company. She puts Jack on the job whose one of many hats at the syndicate is their own private investigator. He's a licensed private investigator and uses it exclusively for the company. Now that Jack's on the case he hopes his familiarity and his father's good name among the suspects and witness can get him on the inside track the police can't access.
Max Allan Collins masterfully uses the trappings of a classic 1940s hard-boiled mystery in a narrative style comparable to masters Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane and makes it all his own with a twist of 21st Century iron and nostalgia. As if Collin's writing didn't provide enough to lend to the authentic feel of A Killing in Comics but the rich Eisner-esque black and white illustrations of Terry Beatty, with their square-jawed heroes and bee-stung lipped ladies bring much more to the feel of the book which is fun from the first letter to the last. Collins certainly butters his bread by writing nostalgically for his period mysteries like this one but he brings with him a wit and demeanor that slightly rings of someone who knows where history goes after this period. Its amazing how he does it with enough subtlety that could almost be missed.
A Killing in Comics provides addictive and fun reading for almost anyone but especially for Max Allan Collins fans who must not skip this one. ...more
Nolan, a professional thief who worked for the mafia, runs afoul of mob boss, Charlie, when he kills his brother. Nolan is in deeper shit when he learNolan, a professional thief who worked for the mafia, runs afoul of mob boss, Charlie, when he kills his brother. Nolan is in deeper shit when he learns that Charlie exposed Nolan's cover name and now a great deal of scratch he had packed away for his retirement became untouchable. After many years go by Charlie puts out the word that he wants a meeting with Nolan. He can't resist and goes to Charlie doing his best to keep things to his advantage to survive the encounter.
As it turns out Charlie extends the olive branch and wants to bury the hatchet with Nolan so they can get on with the rest of their lives, both men push 60. Charlie wants Nolan to pull one last job. Nolan agrees and goes on his way waiting to hear about the job. The info will come when it comes. Nolan is sent to meet Planner, an antiques dealer in Iowa City whose shop is really a front for his fencing business. He also assigns jobs to professional thieves. Planner assigns Nolan a bank job, but to Nolan's dismay, with three twenty somethings including Planner's nephew Jon. Planner tells Nolan it's the best he can do because no one in the mob wants to work with him.
They manage to pull in over 800Gs on the bank job. Nolan learns to get along with planner's nephew Jon, but things don't work out so well for the other two kids. Unfortunately, the whole thing turns out to be a double cross. However, Nolan can have the last laugh because the money he handed over to Charlie was what the bank tellers call "bait money" which is marked bills for given to petty stick up men. Later Charlie finds himself in good with "The Family" and works out a deal where they get a significant cut of the money and in return Charlie gets to run a night club/motel. In the mean time Charlie hides the money and sits on it a while until it cools. However, before the money cools it's stolen and Nolan's good friend Planner is killded. Reluctantlhy Nolan goes back into action.
Originally, Two for the Money was published as two separate novels back in 1970. When Hard Case Crime wanted to reprint these books Collins requested they combing the two into one back and Hard Case Crime complied. The novels Bait Money and Blood Money go very well together and the biggest perk is getting two Max Allan Collins novels at a low price. This book only strengthens my view as a fan of Max Allan Collins.
Collins knows how to write great novels from both the cop or detective's point of view and the criminal's point of view. Even more than Quarry, an assassin from another series by Collins) we see how Nolan has to live with his own code and adhere to it to be a successful professional criminal because there is just far less of a margin for error. Nolan is the classic tough guy which plays well in contrast to the very green Jon. They are each of a different era but they learn to respect each other. I think it's brilliant in how these unlikely two become friends and yet do not compromise their characters at all to do so.
Oddly the book doesn't explode with action from page to page but when the action comes it sure feels like it. Of course the action is more like perks in the flow of the novel where the strong characterization made me hang onto the book, each character made sense and made me only want to read more when I was done and fortunately there are more Nolan novels I got to track down. ...more