Wednesday, December 26, 2012


My first book, Nightmare Escapade, is free today for the Kindle. If you lack a Kindle, have no fear! Amazon offers free Kindle apps for pretty much any device, possibly even including your old TI-35X calculator from high school. Go and get it, and leave a review!

Okay, can anyone tell me...

... exactly what the frig is wrong with the snowman on my Fun Dip package? Get a load of this weirdo!
Possessed, tripping balls, or imitating Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis from Beetlejuice? This is not an isolated occurrence; pictured in side is a snowman family with the same distended mouths and soulless eyes. Be thankful that I spared you that horror; consider that your Xmas miracle.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The tree is up!

I put my tree up a couple of days ago. I don't have much space, so it got stuck in the area between some shelves against one wall. Here it is, for your viewing pleasure.
Lots of Simpsons ornaments, as usual. A couple of Batman-related ones as well; those Brave and the Bold mini-figures convert to tree ornaments nicely. The bag of ornaments that included my Masters of the Universe ornaments has gone mysteriously missing, so no Skeletor or Mer-Man this year. Some lanterns representing the various factions in the Green Lantern universe were added once I realized their little handles made them perfect for hanging on the tree. Since Macho Man Randy Savage served as the tree topper last year, I gave the Nature Boy himself top billing this time around.
Here's a side shot in which a few more ornaments can be seen, including a Terminator endoskeleton peeking out.
Thanks to Cindy, I also have a nifty extension cord for the lights with a built-in floor switch. Sadly, my blue lights are in the bag with the missing ornaments, so I only have clear ones this year.
As usual, right click on the pics to embiggen them.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rant Reflections: DC Comics February 2013 Solicitations

Like a lot of comic readers, I have the habit of reading through the solicits each month for the material that will be published a few months hence. This is a potentially ongoing feature I'm trying out; basically, it's a stream-of-consciousness commentary on what I see as I scroll down the page. Since it's stream-of-consciousness, any typos you spot are by design. Yeah, that's the ticket.
There's a lot to digest in DC's February 2013 solicitations, so let's dive right in!

Before Watchmen
These controversial series keep chugging along, with four of them-- Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach, Comedian, and Ozymandias-- ending their runs this month. A one-shot starring the ill-fated Dollar bill has been added, and it's illustrated by Steve Rude, to boot! It'll look pretty, if nothing else.

Justice League group
The Throne of Atlantis crossover wraps in Justice League and Aquaman; notably, no mention is made of the Shazam! backup, so Grodd only knows when we'll actually get to see the conclusion of that story. The new Justice League of America series launches with 52 variant covers, one for each state, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Honestly, I rolled my eyes when this was announced; I don't really care about variant covers for the most part, and the number of variants Marvel has had for some of their recent series are, frankly, disgusting. However, DC is making all 52 covers easily ordered in any quantity retailers wish, without having to meet some sales threshold, as is the norm. With that in mind, I think it's a cool and fun idea. I'll probably pick up a copy of the Mississippi variant in spite of my dislike of David Finch's artwork. For the uber-obsessive collector, a pack of all 52 variants plus the standard cover is available for the low, low price of $149.99.
Green Arrow gets its fourth creative team since the relaunch, with Animal Man writer Jeff Lemire and I, Vampire artist Andrea Sorrentino coming aboard. Green Arrow is one of those characters I usually like, but I only follow his series when it's really good, and so far, the current series has not been nearly up to snuff. The DC relaunch last September did a lot of good, but it also did a good bit of damage to certain characters; Green Arrow is one of the characters who has been screwed over the most. He's been almost unrecognizable since the reboot, and the book has been bland at its best(not that it was great before the advent of the New 52!). There will hopefully be some new readers checking the series out because of the Arrow TV show, and if anyone can pull the book out of its nosedive and make it worth reading again, this team can.
The new ongoing series Katana and Vibe(Vibe!!) kick off. It's always nice to see another book with a female lead, and the New 52 version of Katana has been pretty interesting so far. Ann Nocenti has not wowed me with her DC work so far; her stint on Green Arrow did nothing but make me quickly drop the book again, and her Catwoman #0 was a bit of a mess. Still, I've read a few of her Daredevil issues, so I know she is a capable writer, so I'm cautiously optimistic about this. Vibe will likely have a bit of a rough road, as the character has long been the butt of many jokes in the DCU. Vibe is a break-dancing Hispanic character introduced during the Justice League Detroit era, itself a much-derided period in JL history. Still, co-writer Geoff Johns has proven himself very adept at redeeming previously discarded and mocked characters, and with Pete Woods providing the art, it'll at least look good.
The Flash wraps up its Gorilla Warfare storyline, which should be lots of fun, even though I'd be perfectly happy if the Flash fought superpowered gorillas in every issue. It seems that Orion will be part of the regular cast of Wonder Woman for a while, and that's okay with me! This has been one of the best books available since its launch, and it looks like it's only going to get better.
The Savage Hawkman is a book I dropped very quickly, and then stayed far, far away from as Rob Liefeld took over and did what Rob Liefeld does. With a new team installed, I'll check it out, but it'll have to endear itself to me very quickly to avoid getting axed once again. I read the first two Dan Jurgens issues of The Fury of Firestorm, and they were solid, if unremarkable, superhero comics. whether or not I'll still be reading in February, I don't know.
Arsenal gets a spotlight issue in DC Universe Presents. I almost give a fuck.
Earth 2 and Worlds' Finest are a pleasant one-two punch I look forward to the first week of every month, and that's no different here. Dr. Fate debuts? Awesome! Taking up plot threads from Mr. Terrific's disappearance? Fantastic!

Superman group
Grant Morrison's final issue of Action Comics ships this month, and that makes me sad. I'm sure it'll be awesome, but when he was first announced as the writer of this book, I was hoping we'd get a multi-year mega-epic like he gave us with Batman. Alas, it was not to be.
The rest of the books are mired in the H'El on Earth crossover, in which I have approximately zero interest.

Batman group
Speaking of Grant Morrison, his Batman Inc. only a few more issues to go. The cover art teases Batman and Robin against the Heretic, which will no doubt be a blast. We need to put our scientists to work cloning Morrison and Chris Burnham so we can keep getting such a goddamn awesome Batman book forever.
The currently-running and thoroughly awesome epic Death of the Family concludes in Batman. That cover fucking rules your face.
Talon is a pretty interesting book so far. The Gotham Ripper sounds vaguely familiar, so I'm wondering where I read the name before.
The Dark Knight continues its exploration of the Mad Hatter. I've been enjoying this series since Gregg Hurwitz took over as writer, but Ethan Van Sciver taking over the art is only going to improve it. I hope these two stay on the book for a while.
Check out this solicit for Batman and Robin: "Batman and Robin gear up to protect Gotham City in the week leading up to the 300th anniversary of the city’s founding!" Sounds fun to me! This is consistently one of the best superhero books out there, and yet it's the only Batman book I never hear anyone talking about. More people need to be reading it.
Detective Comics has been rockin' ever since John Layman and Jason Fabok took over. Looking forward to this storyline.
The current Batgirl series is a book I want to like more than I do. From the get-go, it's never been good enough that I actually look forward to it each month, but it's not bad or anything. I just never seem to enjoy it as much as I feel I should, and the recent addition of Ed Benes as the artist ain't helping. For all of that, I'm still looking forward to the book's involvement in Death of the Family, and the return of James Gordon Jr.
Batwoman fucking rules. It hit a bit of a rough patch during its second story arc, with the artist turnover and all, but it quickly reasserted itself as a goddamn amazing series. The current arc featuring Wonder Woman has been fantastic so far, and I'm looking forward to this issue's conclusion.
Like I said, the jury is still out on Ann Nocenti's run on Catwoman. We'll see.
Birds of Prey and Batwing are both middle-of-the-pack books that I usually enjoy, but don't love. I am looking forward to seeing what Fabien Nicieza has planned when he takes over Batwing, though.
Nightwing looks interesting this month, as Death of the Family seems as if it's going to be particularly rough on Dick.
Red Hood and the Outlaws has been pretty terrible from day one, but I suspect I'll have to check this issue out, since it promises Bruce confronting Jason in the aftermath of Death of the Family. That's something I wanna see.

The Green Lantern group is launching into another crossover, Wrath of the First Lantern, as soon as the current one ends, giving readers no breathing room whatsoever. Geoff Johns's work hasn't been as strong on GL the last couple of years, but I am still enjoying it; however, the books' near-constant state of MEGA CROSSOVER EVENT can get rather tiring.

The Dark group
Phantom Stranger has been a decent book so far, improving with each issue, so I am looking forward to this issue. Jae Lee's cover is fucking awesome.
Sword of Sorcery hasn't won me over yet, so I may no longer be reading when this issue ships. We'll see.
Rotworld wraps up in Animal Man and Swamp Thing. I really enjoy these two books every month, but the pacing on this storyline seems rather slow so far. Hopefully, business will have picked up considerably by the time these issues ship.
Dial H is another book I like, but don't love. I am looking forward to Alberto Ponticelli taking over the art, but this book needs to start engaging me more. Not sure if I'll still be getting it in February.
I'm still smarting from my beloved Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE getting cancelled, but at least Frank himself wlll be showing up in Justice League Dark. This book is a favorite month in and month out, and I really hope the creative team stays in place for a good long while.
The core concept of I, Vampire has been turned on its head recently, and it's been a lot of fun. Looking forward to seeing that play out.
I've enjoyed Robert Venditti's work on Valiant's X-O Manowar, although I do find it a little too "decompressed." That said, I am optimistic about him taking over Demon Knights, and I'm glad DC didn't cancel it, too.

The Edge group continues apace, with Team 7 writer Justin Jordan taking over Deathstroke as well, which means it's okay for me to give the latter title a try again. The first eight issues of Deathstroke were pretty fun, but it immediately became unreadable when Rob Liefeld (yeah, him again) took over.
Threshold is defnitely interesting, boasting stories featuring fan-favorite Larfleeze and Blue Beetle, as well as such obscure characters as the Space Cabbie! For all I know, the one-off story featuring the Cabbie in Starman over a decade ago is the last time that character was even mentioned in the pages of a comic. I honestly don't expect this title to survive for very long in today's marketplace, but I sure am glad that DC keeps taking chances on books like this.
All-Star Western looks amazing, as always, while Suicide Squad and Stormwatch are always unspectacular, but solid, reads.
With the cancellation of Blue Beetle, I read absolutely nothing from the Young Justice group of books. that entire category seems to be sliding down the tubes; one wonders what DC has planned to rejuvenate it.

The non-New 52 books have plenty to offer as well. I've enjoyed Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti's gradual Freedom Fighters revival in the form of miniseries tackling each character, so I'll be checking out Human Bomb. JSA Liberty Files: The Whistling Skull just looks cool as hell, and since I love the first two of those series so much, this on is a no-brainer. Joe Kubert Presents is a series I've looked forward to since it was announced earlier this year, but now the series also serves as a tribute/memorial for Kubert himself. I can think of no better tribute to the man than having some great comics published with his name on the cover.
The print collections of DC's digital first series are pretty nice packages too, offering a lot of bang for the buck. I get the ones I like digitally as they're released; I wonder exactly how it breaks down regarding the sales of the digital versions versus the later print compilations.

There are a slew of New 52 collections solicited; the one of most interest to me is All-Star Western Volume 2, and here I have to remind myself that i am still lacking volume 1. Beyond the New 52 stuff, there are some great collections coming, and I can only hope finances allow for me to get the ones I want. The must-haves are The Starman Omnibus Volume 3 in paperback format and Crisis On Multiple Earths Volume 6. Starman is probably my favorite superhero series of all time, and even though I have the complete run in single issues, I really want some nice collections I can easily pull off the shelf when I feel like re-reading some or all of it. I only managed to get the first two hardcover volumes, and a couple of those volumes are now out of print, so I'm left waiting for the paperback editions for the remaining four volumes. As for Crisis, the old Earth 1/Earth 2 JLA/JSA teamups are always fun to read, and unless I've figured it wrong, I think this volume will contain the last of them. Again, this also reminds me that I still don't have the previous volume. Money is just too damn tight for all the books I wanna buy.
The Jack Kirby Omnibus Volume 2 looks pretty awesome, as it reprints a good bit of Kirby Klassics that don't get a lot of love. It's the classic works that slip through the cracks that often really appeal to me, so I really wanna get my hands on this one, too.
Other notable collections: A new edition of Batman: Gotham By Gaslight which contains the titular Elseworlds story and its sequel, Master of the Future. These are both great fun, and this collection is about the same price as they cost originally, so it's a great deal, to boot. The victorian-era Batman featured in these stories has long been a favorite of mine, so it's nice to see them kept in print.
There's a new edition of DC Universe by Alan Moore, which now throws some of his work for the now-defunct Wildstorm imprint into the mix. Not a bad deal at $24.99.
We also have a collection of Day of Judgment, one of DC's events from the late '90s. It was pretty decent, but not great, although it did have the twist of making former Green Lantern Hal Jordan the Spectre for a few years. (That last until the powers-that-be at DC decided they wanted their Silver Age back.) The only reason I can think of for this being reprinted is that it was an early work by Geoff Johns. It's not a bad read; you could do worse for $15.
There are several Superman collections coming, some of them no doubt tie-ins to the upcoming Man of Steel movie. The Superman vs. Zod trade looks pretty cool, and I might check it out myself, but I urge you to avoid the execrable Reign of Doomsday at all costs. I love the Showcase Presents books, and the Superman Family volumes contain some great examples of true Silver Age comic insanity. Volume 4 is sure to continue in that tradition.
There's also the final trade of the Batman: Brave and the Bold comic, which was always great fun.
The Young Justice tie-in comic is cancelled, so that makes me wonder about the animated show's future, with it still on hiatus and all...
Of course, the biggest news with the Vertigo books is that Hellblazer is cancelled with its 300th issue so that DC can replace it with a Constantine book set in the DCU. It's a smart move from a purely business perspective, anhd Hellblazer has had a great run, so I can really begrudge them that. I will miss it, though. No matter how good the DCU Constantine book is, it just won't be the same. With American Vampire on hiatus, this leaves Vertigo with only a few ongoing series, so you really have to wonder what's going to happen here. The imprint really seems to be dwindling, and it's almost painful to see. This is the publishing imprint that brought us all-time classic such as Sandman, Morrison's Doom Patrol, WE3, Animal Man, Seaguy, and The Invisibles, Preacher, Transmetropolitan(yeah, it started out as part of another imprint, but the bulk of it was published as a Vertigo book), and many others. It's just sad to see it slowly withering like this.

Anyway, this has gotten much longer than I intended. If anyone has managed to hang on to the end, congratulations! You win juicy, gold-plated bragging rights.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I hope you all have great big steaming piles of fun celebrating the best holiday of the year! Whether you have a party to attend, or you're taking some kids trick-or-treating, or just staying home and enjoying some classic horror movies or some spooky books(I humbly suggest my own book if you're stuck for something to read in that category), I hope you all stay safe and have a good time. As far as local events, Hattiesburg's first-ever Halloween parade was yesterday, so I hope you went if you were interested! Today, there is a Halloween-themed Free Comic Book Day event in which both local comic book stores are participating, and we'll be participating in that.
I've got one more thing to share with you that I came across this morning. This is a badass Joker-lantern carved by Andy Bergholtz, commissioned by DC Comics as part of their October spotlight on their supervillains.
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Trash Rant: The Penetrator #28- The Skyhigh Betrayers

This volume of the Penetrator series is written by Chet Cunningham, who handled the even-numbered volumes in the series. Dr. Brunt Maxwell is some type of scientist working on atomic shielding or something-- look, it doesn't matter, okay? Point is, this dude is missing, and everyone wants to find him, including Mark Hardin, the Penetrator. Most of the book consists of Mark bumbling around, asking everyone in sight if they've seen the guy, and constantly getting into fights. He blows up a carload of thugs with a frag grenade, breaks into a Hispanic woman's house after she's tried to kill him, just taunts her and then inexplicably leaves her alone so she can try to kill him a few more times, burns a guy's house down with a white phosphorous grenade, goes hang-gliding, goes through three or four cars... that still doesn't cover everything. This is certainly a busy book, as Mark never seems to sit still for more than a few seconds; it's ADD writing at its best. If you find yourself bored with whatever penetrating Mark is up to, just turn the page, and he's bound to be waist-deep in something else.

The attempts at reaching the page count are more obvious than in Mardi Gras Massacre; for instance, Mark visits two porno theaters/brothels, and has basically the exact same conversation in both places. Oddly, one of them masquerades as a model-photographing place, where you rent a camera and photograph the model/stripper for money, which serves as a cover for whatever else you negotiate with the ladies to pay for. Did any strip joint/brothel actually use this gimmick? I've never heard of it before, and the absurdity of it had me laughing my ass off.

In one of the brothels, Mark encounters the "manager," who happens to be a homosexual man. Most of the guys who wrote novels in this genre were basically Archie Bunker with a typewriter, so of course the only homosexual men in these novels are of the ridiculously flamboyant variety. This guy immediately comes on to Mark, then calls him a bitch when he is rebuffed. I was sincerely surprised that he didn't try to scratch his eyes out. Mark leaves the porno district soon afterward, surprisingly without any actual penetrating done.

The main villain, who is so inconsequential that I've already forgotten his name, kidnaps Dr. whatsit's wife, and then hilariously announces over the damn radio that she will be gang-raped by five men like clockwork every six hours until the doc turns over his plans for the macguffin. This leads to a genuinely interesting finale in an abandoned funhouse where Mark penetrates the fuck out of a bunch of guys with his bullets. He gets shot in the leg, but it's cool, because he uses some ultra-convenient Indian mental discipline to isolate the pain until he can deal with it at a more convenient time.

I didn't enjoy The Skyhigh Betrayers as much as Mardi Gras Massacre, largely because of the problems with obvious padding mentioned above. Another reason may be the misleading cover art, as we never get to see Mark penetrate the ocean and fight a killer whale, or have an axe fight with an Asian dude, or watch a black guy kick back and smoke a pipe. George Wilson's cover art is honestly cooler than the actual book, unfortunately. Pornstache represent!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Read my new book NIGHTMARE ESCAPADE for free this weekend!

It's not just a clever title! My new book, Nightmare Escapade: A Horror Anthology, is free for the Amazon Kindle this weekend. Don't have a Kindle? No worries, download a Kindle app, available for pretty much any device: cell phone, tablet, PC, toilet paper holder, you name it. After you've read (and hopefully enjoyed) the book, I would greatly appreciate you taking a few minutes and writing a review on its Amazon page. Also, clicking the "like" button on the page and tagging it will make it easier for people to find.
You can get the book (and leave a review!) here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Trash Rant: The Penetrator #5- Mardi Gras Massacre

Despite my partaking of trashy men's adventure novels here and there from my pre-teen years to the present day, I had never heard of the Penetrator series. This grievous oversight was rectified when I came across a few of the novels in a thrift store a little over a week ago, scoring them for one thin dime each! Once I saw them, there was no way I was leaving without them, and now my interest in the genre has been reawakened. A few minutes of research revealed that the Penetrator series was written by two authors, both of whom used the "Lionel Derrick" pseudonym: Mark K. Roberts, who penned the odd-numbered volumes, and Chet Cunningham, who wrote the even-numbered volumes. It seems that the series was quite popular, running for 53 volumes, and selling millions of copies. It's always interesting to me how something so popular can be so utterly forgotten just a couple of decades later. Thankfully, the series' large print run and its lack of popularity mean that I shouldn't have too much trouble getting my hands on the rest of the series.

As an odd-numbered installment, Mardi Gras Massacre is the work of Mark K. Roberts. Mark Hardin (no, I did not type an "i" instead of an "o" by mistake, that's really his name) is the Penetrator, a Vietnam veteran (virtually a requirement for protagonists in the men's adventure genre) who resolved to wage war on the criminal element after his fiancee was killed. For new readers, the basic concept and the Penetrator's previous adventures are helpfully summarized at the beginning of the book.

This volume sees Mark travel to New Orleans after a fisherman sends him a letter asserting that he is being paid with counterfeit bills. The money's phony nature  is virtually impossible to detect, and the culprits are distributing it in cahoots with Cuba to destroy the US economy. The man is dead when Mark arrives, but he meets his daughter, a lovely young lady who has an uncanny resemblance to Mark's dead fiancee. She leads him to a family who is sympathetic to their plight, leading to many, many action scenes and whole hell of a lot of murder and mayhem. As with most novels in this genre, the plot is entirely incidental, and exists only to provide plenty of opportunity for bloodshed.

There are some great moments in this book, from a kid who imitates Grady from "Sanford and Son," which is made even funnier since the combat-obsessed Penetrator has NO IDEA what the kid is referring to, to some truly great (bad) dialogue that flows steadily from the first few pages to the end. My favorite, delivered by a thug who follows Mark into a dark alley: "Darker'n the inside of a turd in here." You won't find lines like that in a Jane Austen book! There's also a scene in which Mark, delirious from a penicillin overdose, has sex with his new female pal, convinced that she is his dead fiancee. Happily, the woman doesn't mind, so thrilled is she to be with Mark! I can only conclude from this that Roberts never spoke to a woman his entire life, since I cannot conceive of any circumstances in which a woman would behave that way!

I must mention the great cover art; the artist is uncredited, but it may be the work of George Wilson, a prolific illustrator who seems to have handled at least the bulk of the covers in this series. Dig the pornstache.

This book was a lot of fun, and you can count on seeing more of this series featured here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October Bookstravaganza!

The past few days have been very good to me when it comes to scoring interesting books. Between our two local used bookstores and a few thrift stores, I've snagged 42 books for $9! A few of them were for other people, but that's a hell of a deal any way you look at it.

First up is this nice hardcover copy of the Carl Sagan classic Contact, which I picked up at Goodwill for $1.50. The book section there is normally pretty pitiful, so this is the first time I've actually found a book I wanted there. It's even a first edition!
(I also found a stack of records for Cindy, but that's a whole other topic.)

A trip to the Book Rack (the one off of Highway 98) introduced me to these three gems. I've had an old mass-market paperback copy of The Phantom of the Opera for years, so this 75th anniversary hardcover edition seemed like a wise trade-up. Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu series is one of the great old pulp lines i always enjoy; and President Fu Manchu was a total no-brainer for a dime. As for the King Kong book, I've always had a fascination with short-lived oddball series and genre projects that failed, and the 1976 DeLaurentiss version of King Kong most certainly fits into the latter category. I've flipped through the book, and it looks like a pretty comprehensive chronicle of the making of that train-wreck of a movie.

A newly-opened thrift store yielded this new edition of Octopussy, part of the Penguin line that has those great pulp-ish covers. I've admired these editions for a long time, but I can't justify the price since I already have multiple editions of all of the Fleming Bonds. I wasn't about to pass one up for fifty cents, though. The Frank Yerby book, A Woman Called Fancy, came home with me because I've been interested in his work since I first found out about him some time ago. Yerby was one of the first successful black authors in America, the first to have a million-selling novel, and the first to have his work adapted as a movie. I always pick up his books when I run across them, finances allowing.

A dollar and change got me these three trashy adventure novels at the other Book Rack(the one on 13th Avenue). I haven't actually read any of these series, but I figured they were worth a shot at their dirt-cheap prices. Anyway, just look at that Enforcer book! Calling Doctor KILL!!!! How in the hell could I have walked out of there without that?!?!!

Now, here comes the motherload! One of the local thrift stores, Bargains and Blessings, looks like  a garage sale vomited inside the building. Piles of stuff everywhere, with minimal organization, but most of it is dirt cheap. I walked in there literally for the first time in years, and walked out with an armload of books, all for a dime each. It was glorious. This is the kind of score that keeps me looking as regularly as i can manage at various thrift stores, through all the dry spells when I come across nothing but diet books and "Left Behind" garbage. Eventually, I know my vigilance will pay off. A couple of these books are for Braxton, my nephew, including the Bradbury classic Fahrenheit 451, which anyone who is literate should read at least once. Several of the books were things I knew Cindy would like, and she's already taken them home, so no photos of them.

As with Octopussy, I already had these Fleming Bond books in other editions, but I can't resist buying them when I come across some with cover art I don't already have, as long as they're cheap.

Damn near everything else falls firmly into the trashy adventure novel genre. Some of these series are new to me; my instant favorite is The Penetrator. I've already read one of them, and trust me, you will be seeing more about this series. There are a couple of Mack Bolan books in the mix; honestly, I tried reading a couple of these when I was a teenager, and the series focus on gun porn just didn't do anything for me. For a dime, though, I figured I'd give 'em another shot. The old science-related books are just cool, and they were both in really good shape too, especially considering their age. I got the Empire Strikes Back adaptation because I remember having it when I was little, and this one was in fantastic condition.

So, I'm swamped in books, many of them thoroughly trashy, and loving it. If only I'd run across a copy of the Overload series, which features a pair of ex-commando truckers who roam the country, doling out righteous ass-beatings to any random asswipe who deserves it, or Body Smasher, the wrestling adventure series that features Captain Lou Albano, this would've been a haul to tell the grandkids about someday!

Friday, October 5, 2012

My art: Gill Man... and Friend

Jill Thompson is having a little contest on Twitter today. The challenge is simple: draw the Creature from the Black Lagoon! I drew from memory, preferring to let my imagination fill in any gaps. I embellished a few areas where it felt right; for instance, the "spines" branching off from his brow. I couldn't for the life of me remember what the hell the palms of his hands looked like, but it made sense that he might have suckers there. Once he grabs his prey, it ain't gettin' away!

Mad Monster Party, baby!

We watched Mad Monster Party last night, a kid-friendly monster movie from the '60s that tends to be overlooked most of the time. Cindy had somehow managed to know me for five years without seeing it. It's a stop-motion animated movie starring Boris Karloff himself, and it's great fun. I featured it here a couple of years ago. It's available on DVD, and it's cheap, so check it out!

Monday, October 1, 2012

31 Days of Halloween?

Longtime TMR readers are familiar with my annual practice of posting about something Halloween or horror-related at least once every day in October. Unfortunately, I just don't have the time this year. That doesn't mean you won't see me posting anything at all regarding this Halloween season; it just won't be a daily thing this year. I always needed a bit of lead time to ensure I didn't miss a day, and I was denied that due to working on Nightmare Escapade, which just happens to be on sale now! ;) I'm already hard at work on my next book, which is going to be a novel featuring one of the characters who appears in Nightmare Escapade! I won't say who it is just yet, since many of you still haven't finished reading it, so finish up and make your guesses! And if you don't have the book at all, what the hell are you waiting for? Go buy it!

In the meantime, you can always review the plentiful Halloween entries from years past by clicking the "31 Days of Halloween" tag at the bottom of this post. Enjoy the buildup to the greatest holiday of the year, and vaya con monstros!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

NIGHTMARE ESCAPADE is available now!

My first book, Nightmare Escapade, is on sale right here! Go get it, and enjoy!

At some point, we have all had a fear of the dark… and the things that lurk within it! In these eight stories, people are forced to confront their personal horrors, and no one emerges unscathed. The little boy who is convinced that something sinister stalks him; the weary soldier who runs afoul of a terrifying stranger; the man whose vacation is disturbed in a most unwelcome fashion; the former cop who finds himself searching for a missing child despite his status as a civilian; the young woman who finds herself trapped in a dark cellar following a tornado; these people, and others, each embark on their own dark journeys within these pages. Join them, won’t you? There is always room for one more on the Nightmare Escapade!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Video trailer for NIGHTMARE ESCAPADE

I spent some time last night figuring out how to use Windows Movie Maker so that I could make this. Some of the images are my art, and the rest are public doman images. All of them underwent some alterations before I used them in this video. The music is from I decided on an October 2 launch date because I am hell-bent on waiting until October to put it on sale, even though it's finished. I'm still very impatient about it, though, so I'll be uploading it to the Kindle store after midnight this coming Sunday night/Monday morning. Books can take up to 24 hours to appear in the store, so while it may be on sale later in the afternoon or evening on Monday, who knows when, exactly? By Tuesday, it should definitely be in there.
Anyway, I'm really excited about it, in case you can't tell. This video won't be winning any awards, but I think it turned out okay considering that this is the first time I've ever messed with any kind of video program. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Yep, my first book, NIGHTMARE ESCAPADE, is finished! I completed proofreading early this morning, then collapsed into a sleep that seemed hell-bent on separating itself from me. To say I'm excited would be a tremendous understatement! As for what comes next, I have to use the Kindle direct publishing guide and open the manuscript in Word 2010, then go through and make sure that all the formatting is correct. Once that's done, all I have to do is upload it! At that point, it should show up in the Amazon Kindle store within 24 hours. I will be waiting about a week before I upload it, however; I want my book of horror stories to come out in October!
Thanks again to everyone who has supported me even a tiny bit1 I can't wait to start hearing what people think of it!

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Here it is! This is the completed cover for my first book, Nightmare Escapade, which will be available on Amazon next month.
The art is mine, and the logo is hand-drawn. I'm pretty pleased with how it came out, aside from the rather large space between the E and the S; it's not a huge deal, but it annoys the hell out of me every time I look at it. I don't know how I didn't notice it until after I had inked the logo in full. I always enjoy drawing jagged, drippy horror-style letters, and I like how the skull that dots the I serves as an inverse version of the skull in the woman's eye. The white letters were added after I scanned the art; the font is AR Julian, which is in the public domain.

Anyway, I hope you all like it, and I hope you like the contents of the book even more!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rant Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Many of you have surely noticed that I've been curiously quiet (on the blog, definitely not in real life) about the finale to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. I just felt that, with so many blogs and websites already covering every detail that was released, bit by bit, in the months leading up to its release, that job was more than adequately covered. So, I decided to withhold all comments until I had actually seen the movie. Make no mistake, this movie has always been a big deal to me. Batman has been pretty much my favorite thing ever since I was a little kid, and having such a staggeringly good series of films set in his world was about as much as I could have realistically hoped for. After Batman Begins and The Dark Knight somehow surpassed all my expectations, the anticipation for the third film(despite all the hem-hawing around about whether or not Nolan would do a third film, I was always 100% certain that he would) was ridiculously high. Since the moment I staggered out of the theater after watching The Dark Knight for the first time, not a day has gone by that I have not spent at least a few minutes wondering what the third installment would bring to the table. The final week leading up to its release was nearly unbearable. The horrific shooting that occurred during one of the midnight showings cast a weird and tragic pall over the entire affair.

Then, at long last, we were sitting in the theater. As the film began, I had to fight the urge to elbow Cindy and tell her "Hey! We're actually watching it! It's playing right now and we're getting to see it!" This was more than a movie; it was a cultural event.

All that means that The Dark Knight Rises had a whole hell of a lot to live up to. The movie is not perfect, it has a few more flaws than its predecessors, and it's not quite as good as the maniacally awesome The Dark Knight, but it is a wholly satisfying conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy. I'm not about to summarize the plot here, because that's what pretty much everyone who has reviewed this movie has done, a plot synopsis is pretty damn easy to find. I also don't wanna spoil even the most trivial things for people who haven't seen it yet, and are trying to avoid any and all spoilers. There are a lot of thematic parallels with Batman Begins, so it might be a good idea to re-watch at least that movie before you see TDKR. All you need to understand the film is presented to you, but you'll get more of the subtext by re-watching BB first.

The performances are exceptionally strong across the board. That's no surprise at this point, but it still is worth noting. As the central villain, tom Hardy's Bane is drawing many comparisons to Heath Ledger's Joker. Bane doesn't have the dark charisma that sucks you right into the movie that Ledger's Joker possesses, but Hardy gives a magnetic performance that is just as award-worthy. Watch Hardy's eyes; I made a point of watching them whenever possible, and the way he emotes and conveys so much through his eyes is staggering. combined with the unique, oddly enthralling voice he gives the character, Bane is a villain for the ages, entirely worthy of inclusion in this remarkable film trilogy.

Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle has been a hotly debated character, but rest assured, she is every bit a fully-realized character worthy to stand alongside her co-stars. The cinematic crimes committed against the character in previous movies have been rectified by Nolan and Hathaway.

As for the returning cast, Christian Bale gets much more development for his character than in TDK, and as always, he makes the most of it. As the film ends, you truly feel that Bruce Wayne's character arc is complete. Michael Caine's Alfred gets some great emotional moments, and may well give you the sensation that dust is suddenly flying around  the room and getting in your eyes in several scenes. Morgan Freeman's Lucius Fox is delightful, as usual, and Gary Oldman's James Gordon remains the staunch ally of the Batman you expect him to be. As the police commissioner, Gordon is burdened by the great lie which has seemingly saved Gotham, at the price of sullying the Batman for all time, as seen at the conclusion of TDK. His conscience wrestles with his knowledge that the lie has been good for Gotham, and Oldman gets some nice moments out of the conflict.

Hans Zimmer's score is phenomenal, as always. the integration of the chanting with the music in key scenes helps to raise the tension in much the same way as the ever-escalating "theme" used for the Joker did in TDK. Along with another longtime Nolan collaborator, cinematographer Wally Pfister, the technical aspects of the film are in excellent hands.

And honestly, that's about all I can say without venturing into spoiler territory. There's a lot to discuss there, so I may well do a spoiler-ific supplement to this before long. To sum up for now, The Dark Knight Rises is the greatest third act any film series has ever gotten, with the possible exception of 1964's Goldfinger. As with all of Nolan's films, it rewards "active" viewing; if you actually use your brain as you watch, you will get so much more out of it. TDKR is a multi-layered feast that I'm already looking forward to seeing again very soon. There has long been a supposed "rule" regarding film adaptations of comic books characters: the third film in the series always sucks. It's been borne out again and again, with film series starring everyone from Superman to Spider-Man. That trend is officially over. The Dark Knight Rises is easily the best movie I've seen this year, and does what many deemed impossible in ending the wildly popular series in a wholly satisfying manner. Go and see it. Then go see it again.
My score:

Friday, June 22, 2012

My art: Valkara the Reaver

This is my character Valkara the Reaver as she appears in Skyrim. Valkara has been with me in this basic form for nearly two decades, and she frequently becomes my character of choice in such games. I've taken some liberties in the depiction of the armor and weapons she is using. The game does not include the proper hairstyle, nor does it let me get her physique to the level it is supposed to be, but I've depicted her as she should appear here. Click here to embiggen.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tribute to Ray Bradbury

It's exceedingly rare for the death of someone I've never even met affects me more than just token sympathy for the loved ones they've left behind, but the death of Ray Bradbury is different. I feel like I've lost a member of the family. I grew up reading his work, and he has always been a towering inspiration to me. (Yeah, I know, me and about 50 million other daydreamers...)

Obviously, I had to do SOMETHING in tribute to this man whose wonderful imagination gave me so much. So much has already been written by people far more eloquent than I, however, so I decided to draw something inspired by his work. It surely won't be the best piece of art you'll see this week, but it is uniquely mine, and that will have to be enough. No one else would have done it in quite the same way. It's the best way I can think of to honor his memory in my own small way.

Family Reunion is inspired by one of my favorite stories, Homecoming, which can be found in the wonderful October Country collection. Obviously, I highly recommend it. Click here if you wish to see an embiggened version.
Rest well, Mr. Bradbury.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight digital comic series kicks off today

DC's new Batman series Legends of the Dark Knight begins today.
It's available here, and it's just 99 cents per issue. This digital-first comic series tells Batman stories by various high-profile creators who are unburdened by current continuity. This means that literally anyone can purchase and read a random issue of this series and have no trouble diving right in. Yesterday, DC announced the creative team lineups for the first six weeks of the series:

June 7 – “The Butler Did It” written by Damon Lindelof with artwork by Jeff Lemire

June 14 – “All of the Above” written by Jonathan Larsen with artwork by JG Jones

June 21– “The Crime Never Committed” written by Tom Taylor with artwork by Nicola Scott and Wayne Faucher

June 28 – “Crisis of Identity” Part 1 written by B. Clay Moore with artwork by Ben Templesmith

July 5 – “Crisis of Identity” Part 2 written by B. Clay Moore with artwork by Ben Templesmith

July 12 – “Crisis of Identity” Part 3 written by B. Clay Moore with artwork by Ben Templesmith

Longtime Batman comic readers will recall the original Legends of the Dark Knight series that launched to coincide with the release of the first Burton Batman film in 1989. It focused on telling stories set in the Year One era, and eventually evolved to the point that it would sometimes feature stories that took place completely outside of continuity. The beloved series came to an end in 2007, and DC soon launched a similar series, Batman Confidential. For whatever reason, this new series never seemed to have the fire of its predecessor, and it too was cancelled in early 2011. Luckily, this new digital Legends of the Dark Knight series looks poised to follow in the spirit of the first comic series to bear that title.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Before Watchmen begins tomorrow!

As a certain TV ad may have reminded you, DC's epic Before Watchmen project kicks off tomorrow, with the debut issue of Darwyn Cooke's Minutemen. Personally, I can hardly wait. The level talent involved is staggering. Despite Alan Moore's ravings-- I've made my feelings clear as far as his stance is concerned-- the project is sure to be a massive hit. I still see a lot of people around the internet claiming that we're basically supporting every corporate entity who has ever screwed over an artist by supporting this project, but that is ridiculous hyperbole. Honestly, I get as indignant as anyone about the shabby state of affairs in the comics industry when it comes to how the creators of decades-old beloved characters have been compensated-- r not-- for their creations. Frankly, however, I do not feel that the Watchmen issue falls into that wide-ranging category. Moore was given every opportunity to be involved with this in some way-- seriously, the powers that be at DC have gone to monumental lengths over the years to try to appease him-- but he would have none of it.  He holds his Watchmen characters, who he co-created with artist Dave Gibbons using the Charlton stable of characters as a springboard, sacrosanct and inviolable. Meanwhile, he has become a purveyor of what amounts to pornographic fan-fiction featuring the beloved characters of other creators, and fails to see the irony in it all.

Some of you may avoid the Before Watchmen project like that plague, citing creator's rights, or whatever.
While I am very sympathetic to creators who have been mercilessly put to the screws, I just don't feel this is one of those cases. Ultimately, as with religious discussions, this is just one of those topics where none of us are at all likely to convince anyone with an opposing viewpoint that their way is the right way. We must each decide for ourselves what our attitude will be toward this project. Personally, I'll be reading them all without an ounce of guilt, and either enjoying them or not based on their own merits, free from any influence by the controversy surrounding the very existence of these comics.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Art: Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror

The art is a bit too large for the scanner, so a tiny bit of the bottom and the "r" all the way on the right got cut off. For the embiggened version, click here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Eerie Beauty of Blackreach

Blackreach is a vast underground area in Skyrim, riddled with caves and ancient ruins. Populated by various creatures, home to bioluminescent plantlife, and host to much loot, the area is far larger than even the biggest city in the game. The main story in Skyrim takes you there briefly, but I always intended to set aside a few hours and explore it more fully when I had the chance.

To keep my exploration from being 100% random, I decided to collect as many examples of crimson nirnroot as I could, therefore unlocking the "return to your roots" quest. The quest requires you to have 30; I got a few extras in my time in Blackreach.

I was surprised to find a fucking giant strolling aimlessly down here. As usual, he turned hostile once I got somewhat close to him, and I had to put him down.

Here is a Dwemer Centurion Master who had the misfortune of being spotted by me; I killed it before it could even rise from its metal rack container-thingy.

After dispatching a few Falmer near this orb...

A goddamn dragon appeared!

I have no idea how a dragon came to be trapped down here, as dragons are not normally found in caves in Skyrim.

Fortunately, he was no tougher to kill than any other dragon, and he was soon munching dirt.

I spent about three hours altogether in Blackreach this time, and I still haven't been everywhere. The place is vast. I'll have to make a return trip when time allows.
For larger versions of any of these photos, you can view the album here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

My art: DC Dead- Superman vs. Wonder Woman

All of you who kept bugging the hell outta me asking "How can Superman be a zombie?" Here's how. Click here for an embiggened version.

My art: Orlok on the Prowl!

This is my first painting. Couldn't exactly scan it, so Cindy was kind enough to photograph it for me. For an embiggened version, click here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rant Review: Batman Inc. #1

It's been a few months since I did a comic review, but I just couldn't resist this one. One of my all-time favorite series returns, and it's every bit as amazing as expected. Writer Grant Morrison and artist Chris Burnham deliver a riveting issue, working in all the necessary backstory to accommodate new readers. Burnham's art has improved since his last stint on the previous volume of this series, and it was quite good even then. His creative layouts are a visual feast, and he nails the appropriate facial expression for each character 100% of the time. As always Morrison delivers a story that rewards those who pay close attention, and includes some references to stories past-- including his own JLA #1 from fifteen years ago-- but he forgoes some of the more experimental storytelling techniques that sometimes leave some readers' heads spinning. It's one of the most straightforward issues Morrison has written in recent years, which makes it all the easier for a new reader to dive in. The final page makes for a loooooooong wait for next month's issue. Batman fans are likely already getting this issue, but I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys action stories and/or superheroes in general.
My score:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

So, I started a Tumblr...

Since I've been making an effort to return to drawing often, as i used to, I decided a Tumblr would be a good idea, so I can have all my art easily accessible in one place, rather than having to search here on the blog. The Art of Waylon Piercy Tumblr will be the place to go if you want to view my recent art, although I'll still post it here, as well.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My art: The Scarecrow

Here's a piece I whipped up last night, featuring none other than one of my favorite Batman villains: the sinister Scarecrow! For a larger version, click here.