Advertisements

Category Archives: Books

Evil Geek Book Report: Special Edition – Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O-Reads : DC House of Horror

When you hear the knell of a requiem bell, weird glows gleam where spirits dwell…

Happy Halloween, my dear Evil Geeks! Here’s one last Hall-O-Reads for you, before we take our pumpkins to the curb and smash ’em. With Justice League coming soon to theaters near us, I’ve been devouring so many DC titles to tide myself over until the big day. After the New 52, I was turned off from current books for a while, but I’m just starting to read some of the Rebirth titles and I’m really enjoying them! Naturally, I’m a fan of all things spooky, so when I saw DC House of Horror hit the shelves of my local comic shop, I knew I needed to read it.

First of all,  the one thing that caught my eye before anything else was Wonder Woman on the cover. She’s right at the top of the art, as you can see here. I was drawn to her because she looks super banshee/Sindel from Mortal Kombat-esque, and she’s playing a violin for some reason.

While Wonder Woman is not a banshee in this comic, nor does she play violin, she and the other prominent Justice League members get featured in this Elseworlds AU, where the writers imagine canon events with a bit of a horror spin. For example, Superman as a creepy alien monster trying to murder the Kents’. Some of the stories I found to be a bit rushed and confusing, but I did have a few favorite stories from this special.

My personal favorite, Stray Arrow, imagines Green Arrow as a mass murderer, who has Black Canary locked in a cage in his basement. Ultimately, she kicks his ass and breaks out of there, but I thought it was not too far off from the way he was portrayed in Arrow a few seasons back. Although many other critics panned this story, I also really enjoyed the “mentally unstable Billy Batson” story, where ‘Shazam’ is the Mr. Hyde to Billy’s Jekyll, so to speak.

There were also some stories that elicited an actual “what the fuck” reaction from me, and the one that left me scratching my head the longest was certainly “Man’s World”, the Wonder Woman short story. In this story, Wonder Woman’s spirit possesses a woman, who is then extremely eager to spill the blood of men who have so wronged women in society. To me, this seemed super contrived and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at it. I would have much preferred a violin playing banshee. A close second for most WTF story is “Crazy For You”, where Harley Quinn’s ghost causes a man to kill his wife, and eventually, he is driven mad by her apparition, and continues to kill people, while not in control of his body.  Spoiler: This is not a feminist Harley Quinn like the one that DC attempted to bring out in Suicide Squad. In the 3 or so pages of this story, she tries to flash her breasts at least twice.

While this comic was good, it certainly isn’t worth the hefty $9.99 price tag. The art was pretty awesome, and I especially liked the style in “Crazy For You” that helped by giving us unsettling and eerie imagery of Harley’s ghost. If you’re a horror fan, and a DC fan excited for Justice League, this may be a nice addition to your collection, but if you’re debating dropping the $9.99 on it, you might want to wait for it to show up in the bargain bin.

Well, Evil Geeks, it’s been a pleasure for me to grace you with these Hall-O-Reads throughout the spooky season. I wish that I had more time to keep pumping these out. I will most definitely continue to bring you some spooky treats throughout the rest of the year, and am definitely still interested in hearing all of your favorite horror reads to keep me going until next Halloween.

Have a happy and safe Halloween, y’all, and happy reading! And remember, David S. Pumpkins is always with us.

 

Advertisements

Evil Geek Book Report: Special Edition – Undiesofwondy’s Hall-O-Reads : My Best Friend’s Exorcism

“Oh, I didn’t mean to frighten you prematurely; the real chills come later. Now, as they say, look alive…”

Greetings, Evil Geeks! As Halloween fast approaches, our last few ‘Hall-O-Reads” are upon us as well. But, not to fret, I have some great reads to get us through until the big day. Although the reviews I’ve done thus far have all been comic books, I decided to include a novel that I think might be one of my favorite horror titles thus far.

Stranger Things has definitely peaked my interest in the simpler time of the 1980’s, and I’ve always been a fan of nostalgia, so when I saw this title in my local book store, I couldn’t resist picking it up. They say not to judge a book by it’s cover — but when the cover has art as cool as this one, I think it’s justified. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix is by far, the best horror title I have read in a while. The premise is essentially teen-angst movie, mixed with pure horror and Exorcist goodness. Think Jennifer’s Body, but well written, and actual quality. Many of the reviews compare it to Heathers as well, and I think it’s definitely an accurate comparison.

The story is about Abby, lonely, homely and awkward, finding a friend in the new girl in town, Gretchen. Gretchen’s parents are strict and, like many other people in the time, live in fear of Satanism. So, imagine their shock and disbelief when their daughter starts acting very unlike herself.  Soon, Gretchen’s little attitude adjustments start causing more problems than just average, run of the mill high school drama, and Abby has to enlist the help of an exorcist to rid the demon from her best friend’s body.

The story is actually surprisingly relatable, and the symbolism of a “friend possessed by a demon” is definitely on par with some of my own high school friends. We’ve all had that one friend who leaves us to “go to the dark side”, so to speak, and might be acting differently now that they’ve entered high school age. I found Hendrix’s writing to be extremely captivating, his sharp wit coupled with the way he conveys the typical 80’s tropes come across on the page like a John Hughes’ film would on the screen. I found myself wondering who they would cast in a film version, and could very easily see this story play out on the screen. (Sean and James Gunn, you should take this one on…I’m begging you!)

This story is equal parts hilarious and dark, giving you just the right amount of scary and silly. It’s also quite a quick read, I literally left a convention after-party to come back to my room and read this one, and that’s saying something! The ending is quite surprising as well, and also kind of emotional. I definitely didn’t expect that from this book, but it really was a wild ride from start to finish. Additionally, the each chapter of the story has an 80’s hit song as the title — which actually makes for an excellent playlist to jam out to while you read the book. I’ve actually created a playlist for it, that you can listen to here!

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/21tjgrvq5yaet4vch6peuqgsy/playlist/2UTPmBnvyXNhlta9ZHUtSp

I definitely think this should be added to everyone’s libraries, but would recommend this one for YA audiences particularly, as there are some scenes that might be too delicate for some little stomachs. This one is a must read for the Halloween season!

 

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…

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.”

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

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.]

Read the rest of this entry

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.

1a1f45825115b0973d0569117a06ee5f

tumblr_lp1yan9lzL1qbyanr

tumblr_m26da2m5VN1qd9a66o1_500

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.

All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners. Please click on the “About” tab for our takedown policy.

%d bloggers like this: