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Category Archives: Books

Evil Geek Book Report : Special Edition – Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O-Reads : R.L. Stine’s ‘Man Thing’

Reader, beware, you’re in for a scare!

Welcome back, guys and ghouls!

Spooky season is in full swing, and now it’s socially acceptable for me to be talking about Halloween. For the record, I celebrate it on a year long cycle, and the Halloween radio station remains in my Pandora permanently, but I digress…

Today’s Hall-O-Reads is inspired by the horror tales of my youth. I honestly don’t think I’d be as into the horror genre as a whole without the existence of the Goosebumps series by R.L Stine. Not only did I devour these books, I tuned in to the T.V. show in all its’ cheesy, 90’s glory as well. (And to be honest, Slappy the dummy really does scare the snot out of me, even to this day.)

First World Problems: when people would touch your Goosebumps books and they would wear down the bumpy parts on the letters.

So when I found out that R.L. Stine wrote a “Man Thing” comic for Marvel, I knew I had to check it out for myself. I’ll start out by saying that I’d never read any Man Thing before, but this title was super accessible to new fans of the character, like myself.  The R.L Stine, reimagined Man Thing, has taken himself to Hollywood, in the attempt to become a star of the silver screen. However, his ghastly appearance does not test well with audiences, so he ultimately returns to his roots at the Florida swamp he came from. Although he appears to be a lumbering creature, Man Thing is actually quite sentient, and has even re-developed his powers of speech.

The story progresses, with Man Thing’s adventures to a Python World (you’re reading that correctly. Python World.) And even includes a surprise, twist ending, reminiscent of the Goosebumps stories I loved so much as a child.

I was super excited to read this book, and while I did like it, I think I had higher hopes for the book as a whole. The art is pretty awesome, and I definitely am glad I have this omnibus in my collection, however, I feel like the story was missing something, an unknown element of sorts, that I can’t quite put my finger on. I think I expected this to be a bit scarier, or to resemble some of the B-movies I love so much.

My hope is that we will see some more comics from R.L Stine in the future, as this trade paperback included some short comic panels of original Stine stories, that were actually a lot more inventive and exciting than Man Thing, in my opinion.

I do recommend this book to any fans of R.L. Stine, and I definitely love the idea and premise of Man Thing. I will definitely be looking for more of his stories to read in the near future. This book is probably even okay for some younger children as well.

Thanks for joining me for this edition of Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O-Reads, stay tuned for some more spooky reading suggestions from your favorite spooky, scary, Evil Geek, coming soon to a blog near you.

Be sure to tweet me @undiesofwondy , or leave a comment here for your Hall-O-Reads suggestions and to let me know what you all think of mine.

Huuuurryyyy baaaaaackkkkk…

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Evil Geek Book Report: Special Edition – Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O-Reads : The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Welcome, foolish mortals…

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

As autumn rolls its way through the Upstate region (even though it’s actually 95 degrees out as I write this — curse you global warming!) and the end of September draws nigh, the spooky season is now upon us! There’s nothing I love more than curling up with some chilling tales and a cup of tea during this time of year, so I decided to write up some of my favorites in what I like to call Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O Reads!   So grab some cider donuts, light a candle, and gather ’round.

The first edition of Hall-O-Reads comes straight to you from the Archie Comics’ universe. Just this week, news broke that there was a new Sabrina the Teenage Witch series in development from the team that is currently bringing us the sexy goodness that is Riverdale. (For my review of Riverdale, click here — I highly suggest catching up on Netflix before the new season airs in early October.)

The series is said to be based on the ongoing comic title, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch , which I’ve heard great things about, and also a great many complaints, due to the fact that the people at Archie Comics have been publishing these books at a near glacial pace. But don’t get too mad at them, folks! They’re busy bringing us more Riverdale, so naturally, all is forgiven there. Well, at least from me.

Naturally, with all this Sabrina news, I decided to give the comic a try. I was a huge fan of the TGIF series growing up, and I’ve always loved the Archie Comics universe. I will, however, state first that this is not your TGIF Sabrina by a long shot. Much darker and with a slightly Satanic edge, this comic really pushes the edge on what you know to be the Archie Comics universe. You see familiar faces, such as Hilda, Zelda and Salem, but they’re definitely not the goofy characters you remember. I won’t spoil anything for you, but let’s just say Salem REALLY liked the ladies and Harvey isn’t the guy you remember.

The barebones plot of the comics is that Sabrina tries to navigate being a powerful half witch with her teenage lifestyle. On her sixteenth birthday, she must either accept her responsibility to become a witch, or be a mortal forever. Her father, Edward’s ex flame — aka Madam Satan, returns and is determined to wreak havoc and chaos on the Spellman family, by targeting the object of Sabrina’s affections — her beloved Harvey.

I’ve yet to read Afterlife with Archie, but I noticed that it definitely ties into that story as well, so I may give that a chance too, but I will say that the Riverdale gang plays a significant role in Sabrina’s story as well. Basically, if you ever wanted to see Betty and Veronica summon a demon, this is definitely the comic for you!

Additionally, the art is absolutely gorgeous, and some of the variant covers are super cool. My personal favorite cover is one that mirrors the movie poster for Carrie. I love the classic look of the characters and the simplistic style used throughout the comics, that pays homage to the 1950’s-1960’s era that the comic takes place in.

                  Courtesy of Archie Comics

Issues 1-8 are currently available, with the series itself beginning in 2014. I was able to pick up all of the issues at once (shout out to the amazing crew at Earthworld Comics in Albany — who I swore by even before they decided to pay me regularly, for the record…) and will anxiously be waiting for the next installment, which is set to hit comic shops in December of this year!

I will say that this story is super accessible to someone who hasn’t read Archie in a number of years, aside from the Riverdale tie in comics — and is a great spooky read to get you in the mood for this season.

That’s all for this edition of Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O-Reads, stay tuned for some more spooky reading suggestions from your favorite spooky, scary, Evil Geek!

Be sure to tweet me @undiesofwondy , or leave a comment here for your Hall-O-Reads suggestions and to let me know what you all think of mine.

Huuuurryyyy baaaaaackkkkk…

Evil Geek Book Report : The Magic of Harry Potter & The Cursed Child

“The scar had not pained Harry for 19 years. All was well.”

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The last sentence of the final Harry Potter installment, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, has been such a source of confusion for many of us in the fandom for so long. Would Queen Joanne Rowling bestow us with some more wizard goodness? Or was she just J.K? (I’ve been working on that for weeks, don’t hate.) With the recent release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a theatrical production in London’s West End, came answers to so many of our burning Harry Potter questions, and allowed us to travel back to Hogwarts once more. Except, oh wait, I don’t have unlimited funds to fly to London, so the release of the script will have to do!

Although I didn’t do the midnight release, I did read ‘Cursed Child’ within a matter of hours, staying up all night to finish it. The fandom is almost divided on their opinions of the continuation of our beloved Harry Potter series. I don’t see many in between responses: many people loved it or hated it. I mean, like, REALLY hated it. I saw a gif on Tumblr of someone burning their copy. It’s insane. But, if you wanted my opinion on this, look no further! [Warning: I’m going to have a ton of spoilers. So if you haven’t read the book and are planning to do so, spoiler free, you should probably save this article for later.]

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Pulp Corner – The Art Of Vintage Crime/Black Lizard’s Dashiell Hammett Books

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for visual uniformity in a series. On my shelf if the books have matching spines it makes me a very happy man. The covers though are just as important. In the early 1990’s the company publishing company Vintage Crime/Black Lizard rereleased three classic Dashiell Hammett novels, The Thin Man, The Maltese Falcon and Red Harvest with simplistically pulpy and elegant covers.

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Debbie Glasserman is credited with the book design in these editions, but she’s not responsible for the actual art as much as she is the design aesthetic. The top portion of the Thin Man cover can be credited to early 1900’s artist  J.C. Leyendecker for a Fatima cigarette campaign. Which might be the single classiest cigarette ad that I’ve ever seen.

If you have any information on the the rest of these covers drop me a line and let me know.

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Evil Geek Book Report – “The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy”

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Hello out there in Internet land! I finally had the immense pleasure of being able to pick up a copy of Sam Maggs’ definitive guide to being a geek girl, ‘The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy”, and I’ll just say that it may as well be called “A Guide on Undiesofwondy” because this book was SO PERFECT. All kidding aside, one of the things I most enjoyed about this book, and a reason why I’d recommend this to other fangirls is because there’s something all geeks can relate to inside. Maggs’ even includes a little disclaimer right at the beginning of the book; “…you don’t have to be someone who identifies as female to enjoy it. If you’re someone who identifies as a fan [girl], then this book is for you.”

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Evil Geek Book Report – Dark Force Rising

Hello again all you rebel scum out there. I have made it through the second installment of the Thrawn Trilogy and I am super eager to give you all my take on it. After all, I was a little underwhelmed by Heir to the Empire, but I was pleasantly surprised with how great Dark Force Rising was. So continue on for my spoiler-filled review of the novel.

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