Monday, January 25, 2010

Recently published on..., which features my article on Dodge 'Em.

You can read it here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Recently published in...

Comics Buyer's Guide #1663, which includes my review of:

I Sell the Dead
Image Comics
$4.99, color, 44 pgs.
Writer: Glenn McQuaid
Artist: Brahm Revel
Grade: 3 Stars (out of 4)

I Sell the Dead tells the tale of two grave robbers, one of whom begins as an apprentice and learns to accept and even enjoy his unseemly profession. As with most grave robbers in any number of horror movies, the duo begins by digging up graves and then, losing their inhibitions over such grizzly goings on, starts finding other ways to obtain fresher, more readily accessible corpses.

For a story of its type, I Sell the Dead is fairly elaborate, incorporating a ruthless gang of rivals, a hard-as-nails hooker, and a priest eager to hear the confession of a condemned man. More importantly, it puts a fun, yet dramatic spin on the well-trod ground by having the grave robbers unearth the unexpected. Visually, the issue is sketchy, but expressive and atmospheric.

This is the graphic-novel form of the 2008 film (starring Dominic Monaghan and Ron Perlman), written and directed by Glenn McQuaid. With its British speech patterns, cleavage-enhanced femme fatale, and ample dialogue, this comic-book format for I Sell the Dead also successfully evokes a 1960s Hammer or Amicus horror picture.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Recently published in...

AntiqueWeek #2113. My 1600-word article on DC action figures is the cover feature. (Click on the image for a closer look).

You can read part of the article on their website: AntiqueWeek.

Thanks to my lovely wife, Charis, for taking these photos, some of which accompany the article:

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Greatness of George Orwell

For decades I've been obsessed with reference books (such much so that I've written a couple myself). It started when I was a little kid and would pore over the Guiness Book of World Records. I would sit with that book for hours, utterly transfixed by such phenomena as the world's tallest man, the world's longest fingernails, the world's heaviest twins, and the woman with the world's thinnest waist. In the years since, I've read a variety of reference books to tatters, including The Book of Lists (all three volumes), the Big Secrets series by William Poundstone, the Imponderables books by David Feldman, the Why Things Are books by Joel Achenbach, Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts, The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (a British publication with thousands of comic book series reviews), The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History by Michael Hart, and countless others.

Today I was reading David Pringle's Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels, and there on the first page of the first entry, I read what is now my favorite quote. In the piece on George Orwell's 1984 (one of my favorite all-time books), Pringle quotes a line from an Orwell essay called "Wells, Hitler, and the World State." In writing about H.G. Wells (one of my favorite authors), Orwell (also one of my favorite authors) wrote: "It was a wonderful thing to discover H.G. Wells. There you were, in a world of pedants, clergymen and golfers...and here was this wonderful man who could tell you about the inhabitants of the planets and the bottom of the sea, and who knew that the future was not going to be what respectable people imagined."

Now, I've got nothing against clergymen or golfers (or pedants for that matter), but I love that quote. Not only is it cool to contemplate Orwell discovering Wells, it artfully, cogently, and concisely illustrates Orwell's preference for the outré (or at least the fantastic) over the mundane (or at least the commonplace), and that there are others out there of like mind.