Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Alex Schomburg and the fire it lit in Roy Thomas






The world went to war in the late 1930s, and early to mid 1940s.  The comic book world reflected that.  Artist Alex Schomburg was a comic book artist utilized on comic covers for his ability to use the assembled featured characters in a scene on the cover, regardless of whether they'd be together inside the pages.  All Winners comics provided the prototype eventually for the comic book team of the Invaders, in issue 19 and 21.  However, Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema, and later Frank Robbins created a team composed of the characters featured, usually, by Alex Schomburg.


The Invaders fought in WW II in Roy Thomas's Marvel Universe, and later, he committed the same love and attention in the DC Comics universe.  The Justice Society and All Star Squadron played a similar role as the Invaders.  Without the covers stirring the imagination of Roy Thomas, who knows how vital a role the Invaders would play in the eventual Marvel Universe?




Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Renaissance Man Clark Ashton Smith, Poet, Artist, Writer, Cthulhuist


It may never occur to you to read anyone other than HP Lovecraft when reading Cthulhu tales.  And it might never occur to you to read Cthulhu at all.  But if you do read Cthulhu Clark Ashton Smith is a writer who you will want to add to your list.  He was skilled more as a poet and some say as a sculptor than as a long form prose writer, but this is not to say he was at all anything but great as a prose writer.  His work was creepy, dark, evocative of horror, and made other writers of Cthulhu tales pale in comparison.


Smith's work was considered by his peers to be superlative.  His critics, however, were often unrelenting in their criticism with issues of taste and issues of what should and should not be in a horror tale.  Despite the fact that his work was not prurient or lurid, the language use was so vivid and powerful, people suggested that Smith was in love with rotting flesh, and the corrupted corpse.  His work was more popular during his lifetime, and pursuing it now is expensive.  But the pursuit of it is well worth the cost.



His poetry, for me, is even more worthy, and has power to evoke in ways no one presently can imagine.  So be open minded, expand your search, and inhale Clark Ashton Smith's work.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Buying REHoward books


If you collect Robert E. Howard there are numerous levels at which to collect.  You can pursue reader copies, and find it rather easy to complete the reading library for under 100 dollars, and you might supplement that with Project Gutenberg.

If you like good quality but avoid the signed and numbered books, avoid the expensive rare books, expect to spend 300 dollars or so.  The recent fall into public domain of much of RE Howard work has seen a proliferation of oodles of books, some beautiful, some ugly, some edited and well considered, others not worth reading.  So, buying new, and picking your particular preference, you can find a beautiful collection, without breaking a bank.

Buying everything, in rare, or perfect condition, as well as new and signed and numbered, you will spend thousands.  And with every new collection you will be forced to unload more money. Good luck.



BUY FROM WILDSIDE PRESS




Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sad news.


I was blessed to work with Ed.  He inspired me, and made me work harder and reach farther than I ever would have.  He was also loyal, and after I had cancer, he made sure to work with me to get me back into the writing groove.  I am forever grateful, and will miss him, forever.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Natural born Enemies

In history, in politics, in fiction, in every epic tale, there are born enemies, two people meant to go to war against the other.  In November 2016 America will see the result of Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton.







IN CONSUMER AND POPULAR CULTURE

IN FICTION





Friday, June 10, 2016

The new humans coming forth as a result of the Nuclear age


The world became a more dangerous world when scientists learned how to weaponize atomic energy.  Most of the great powers in the world had interest in such, but it was the US that achieved it first.   The story of the development of nuclear weapons was one that came from the perceived weapons race that came about due to the Second World War.  Had the Axis powers acquired the nuclear bombs first the resultant catastrophe perceived would have perhaps allowed them to win the war.  Knowing now the results of the Holocaust, the war crimes of Unit 731 of Japan, the world then feared the worst if the Axis were to have such a powerful weapon.  Fortunately for humanity there was some (a subjective term, yes) restraint in use of the atomic weaponry, beginning with a one city by one city toll, waiting for the Japanese response to each bomb.   
 

Nuclear power changed how people perceived the future.  Some assumed the future would be progressive, star reaching, futuristic, magnificent and positive.  Others assumed that once the rest of the world achieved nuclear weapon development, the world would become a stateless anarchic world, filled with warlords, and power hungry evil leaders.  The same kind of dualistic views filled the minds, of fears and hopes, of fiction writers and artists.


Heroes of an icon nature, from companies like DC comics, the hero might gain powers from an event, and thereafter be changed and able to wield the atomic powered power.   The change was often seen as, the character being a living nuclear bomb.  Each had God-like powers, and the use of power was then both a question of heroics, and ethics.



Characters from Marvel, on the other hand were changed, given powers, but the radiation mutated the persons and they became changed and evolved, or so, as a result.  Marvel had other heroes who were born different, called Mutants.  They were seen as being a new species of human.

The INCREDIBLE HULK


The FANTASTIC FOUR


DAREDEVIL


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN



THE X-MEN, born different, gathered to fight evil MUTANTS



WORLD WITHOUT END


If you bought this comic book series when it was new, you likely thought, it was an impressive work, lovely to look at, evocative, provocative and rather smart.  You might have thought it difficult to read and keep track in once a month readings, but in one sitting you could absorb it, and truly be moved.




COMING SOON IN HARDCOVER  ORDER NOW




Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A visual tour of the work of Frank Frazetta


FRANK
FRAZETTA

Website

Frank Frazetta ISFDB

 JVJ Artist site

Frank Frazetta was a great painter and artist.
His work was found across science fiction and fantasy, comic books and book covers, record albums and CD covers.


His work inspired other artists, and the works found today at comic and sci fi conventions can be directly traced to his influence.  Although his nude women and violent men would challenge the prudish standards of his day, by the current standards, they do not seem out of place.


His helmeted character Death Dealer is perceived by many as evil, and while he is clearly violent, the stories told of the character make him to be a force of nature, a guardian of sorts, and one who responds to violence with violence, not as an originator, but a response to it.  Death Dealer is likely Frazetta's most popular creation, but his work on Conan and other characters of pulp and fantasy are recognizable for his mark upon them.