Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Andrew J. Offutt R.I.P.

   Just learned that writer Andrew Offut has passed away at age 78. Like Lin Carter, Offutt wrote a lot of pastiches of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard. He wrote a lot of other stuff too, but those are the ones I read an remember. And also like Carter, Offutt perhaps did his best work as an editor. The five volumes of Swords Against Darkness that he edited had a lot of terrific sword and sorcery stories by folks like Ramsey Campbell, David Drake, Richard L. Tierney, and Manly Wade Wellman. I never considered Offutt a major talent, but I did enjoy some of his S&S books, particularly the Cormac Mac Art pastiches. Not much like REH, but action filled adventure tales. Anyway, another of the dwindling group of old guard sword and sorcery guys has passed. See his obituary here at Locus:

http://www.locusmag.com/News/2013/04/andrew-offutt-1934-2013/

Monday, April 29, 2013

And One to Go

Almost there to get all the issues of Marvel's Conan the Barbarian written by Roy Thomas on his second run on the title. I was missing issues #267 and #273. Found a copy of #273 within my self imposed budget for this quest, and it's on the way as we speak. That leaves one issue to go.
   On a somewhat interesting note, though issue #275 was the last issue of the color Conan comic book, its black & white brother, Savage Sword of Conan, continued to be published for a while after Conan the Barbarian was cancelled. And Roy continued the continuity from the color comic as a backup feature in Savage Sword, so the comic ends but the story goes on. Fortunately, I already own a full set of Savage Sword of Conan, so I can read the continuity through to the bitter end.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sword and Sandal Theater: Goliath and the Vampires

  1961's Goliath and the Vampires is one of those sword and sandal movies that also qualifies as sword & sorcery. In fact the villain, a blood drinking, deformed practitioner of the dark arts named Kobrak, reminds me a lot of Thugra Khotan (aka Natohk), the evil sorcerer from Robert E. Howard's Conan story, Black Colossus. Like Khotan, Kobrak can project images of himself across great distances to terrify people. And his face, like Khotan's is a horrible ruin, once revealed. I doubt the Italian writer of the film had ever read REH, but you never know.
   Anyway, this one stars former Tarzan actor Gordon Scott as Goliath (originally this was a Maciste movie) who does all the usual muscle-man stunts, pulling down ceiling supports, uprooting trees, bending cell bars, etc. Scott was tailor made for these roles as he really looked like he could pull your arms out of socket if you messed with him. He was known for doing most of his own stunts, though I did notice several times when a not terribly convincing stunt man was used. Scott's build, with his enormous shoulders and tiny waist, was hard to double.
   As I mentioned earlier, Goliath and the Vampires has a lot of sorcery. It also has monsters, zombies, giant insects, a race of blue skinned men, and the requisite blonde good babe and evil brunette babe. As far as sword and sandal epics go, this is one of my favorites so far, earning four out of five sandals.

Run

   In the past I've talked about my mother's reading of Gothic Romance novels when I was a small child and how I always think of them as "Girl running from house" books because all of the covers seem to be variations on that same theme. Those covers fascinated me, and in fact they still do. Over the years I've tried to read some of the books and usually found them not to my tastes. but hey, the covers are fantastic. Through the magic of the internet I've managed to accumulate quite a few of these images. The amazing thing is, I actually remember some of these covers from when I was five or six years old. Anyway, here's some I found on EBay the other day. Click on the pic and look at the variety of ways artists illustrated what was basically the same scene over and over. The only artist I can identify is Lou Marchetti. He did the covers for Memory of Evil and Fog Island. Marchetti had a varied career as an artist and a lot of his work and information on the man can be found here:

http://loumarchetti.com/

Friday, April 26, 2013

Please Don't Shoot Gandalf

No, I'm not kidding you. There's a custom made level of the first person shooter Left 4 Dead where you can fight the battle of Helm's Deep...with guns.

Check it out here:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=121068229


On to Helm's Deep

   I've mentioned before that Lord of the Rings Online, the MMORPG that I've been playing for the last few years parallels the events from J.R.R. Tolkien's three tier novel, The Lord of the Rings. Your adventures take place during the war of the ring, and while for the most part, you aren't involved in the central storyline, you do occasionally run into the main characters. My avatar, Kharrn the Barbarian, has fought side by side with Gimli and Legolas. He has met Bilbo Baggins and counseled Frodo  Baggins in Rivendell. He has been taken  prisoner by Saruman and ridden with the Riders of Rohan. For me, those are some of the highlights of the game, and I suspect that without the LotR lore I wouldn't still be playing. As a fan of the books I'm having fun visiting all the locations from The Hobbit and LotR.
   This morning I received notice from Turbine (the creators of the game) that the fall expansion will take players to Helm's Deep, the great fortress of the Rohirrim. According to the press release players will "Encounter beloved characters such as Aragorn, Éowyn, and Éomer. Restore King Théoden to his rightful lordship and defend the peoples of Rohan at Helm’s Deep."
   We'll get to visit Edoras and Dunharrow and level up to level 95. (I'm capped at 85 now) So anyway, another chunk of the book comes to the game. I've been pretty impressed with Rohan so far, so I'll be interested in seeing how things look at Helm's Deep.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How These Things Get Started II


So you might figure, being such a huge fan of Conan and Conan comic books, that I would have a complete set of the Marvel Comics Conan the Barbarian comic book. Far from it. I have about 50 issues, the ones I bought as a kid, and a few I've added over the years. But I don't have the early issues or any of the later ones. That's about to change though. See, I knew that Roy Thomas, my favorite Conan Comics writer, came back to write Conan toward the end of the Marvel run, around issue 240, and stayed until the last issue, #275. I've never read any of those. I'd actually planned on waiting until Dark Horse got around to reprinting them in their Chronicles of Conan trade paperbacks. However when I got the latest volume, #23, which reprinted Conan issues 174-181, I realized that since they reprint about 10 issues per volume I was a good five to six volumes from reaching the Thomas issues. And they only publish a couple a year now, so it was going to be a while. Still, I probably would have waited, but I was bumping around EBay and somebody had a set of the first fifteen or so of the new Thomas issues really cheap, so I bought them.
   You can guess the rest. I'm a collector, so of course I wanted to get the rest of the run.
   But, I'm also not willing to pay too much for old comics these days because I'm just as happy with the reprints, so the only way I'd get the rest of them would be if I could get them fairly cheap. I've spent the last few weeks haunting EBay, checking prices and looking for bargains. As it stands now, I have all but three issues of Thomas's run on the way and it's cost me less than 50 bucks including postage. Comes to about $1.50 an issue, which is much less than a new comic today, and not much more than cover price was at the time. Now I gotta go find those last three issues...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Guess WHO's Back...

 Well this pretty much made my morning. My buddy Jim sent me a link to an article containing pictures of David Tennant and Matt Smith filming on the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, which will air in November. Really great to see Tennant back in costume and even cooler to see the two actors together.
   In other Doctor Who news, I am really enjoying the second half of the new series. Basically once Amy and Rory were gone the show turned fun again. That's unfortunate because originally I really liked both characters, but by the time we got to the end of the first half of this season I was glad to see them depart.
   I like the new companion quite a bit, and I've been impressed with how the writers have made her more of a human being than super woman Amy. Clara has shown a vulnerability that Amy never had. Plus, I just prefer the slightly romantic dynamic between Doctor and Companion. The married couple on the Tardis bit threw that off.
   The last two episodes, Cold War and Hide were a lot of fun. I suspect that when I buy this season on DVD, I won't spend much time rewatching the first half dozen episodes, but will happily return to the second half of the season for repeated viewings. For the rest of the pics, go here:

http://www.sfx.co.uk/2013/04/18/doctor-who-50th-anniversary-tennant-smith-and-john-hurt-filming-a/




Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Woman in Black: The Book is Better

   A while back I reviewed the film adaptation of Susan Hill's Gothic ghost story, The Woman in Black. I liked the movie quite a bit and had been meaning to get around to reading the novel. It was Gothic author Barrymore Tebbs' blog, The Midnight Room, which finally made me get to the book. Backtracking through Tebbs' blog, I read his reviews of book and movie and he pretty firmly stated that the book was better. Having just finished the novel, I wholeheartedly agree.
   Hill's novel is a straightforward ghost story, with echoes of The Turn of the Screw and the work of M.R. James. It is creepy and it is that best of all things a ghost story can be, disturbing. It lingers in your mind long after you've put the book down.
   The story follows young solicitor Arthur Kipps, who is dispatched by the firm he works for to the small coastal town of Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow, and to see to her papers. Kipps must travel to the old woman's home, a Gothic pile named Eel Marsh House, to sort through all her documents. The house sits on an island and is only accessible at low tide by a narrow causeway. At the funeral Kipps catches a glimpse of a pale woman, dressed all in black, who seems to be the victim of some wasting disease. That is the beginning of Kipps' encounter with the supernatural.
   I called the story straightforward and it is that, slowly building tension and layering on the atmosphere until it becomes almost unbearable. And when the ghostly goings on finally are revealed for what they are, the reader feels like he's right there with the unfortunate Mr. Kipps. This is a scary little book.
   Now having seen the film and the read the book, I can see why the filmmakers made some of the changes they did. A couple I don't agree with, especially the ending, but I still like the movie. The book, however, is better. This book would probably best be read on a winter's evening with the wind whistling around the eaves, but I read it on a sunny Spring day and it still had considerable power to chill. Highly recommended.

Congregations of the Dead: Cover Reveal

Artist Alex McVey really out did himself on this one. The creepiness factor is way off the scale. This is a scary scary book if I do say so myself and the cover captures the feel of the story very well.

http://www.miskatonicbooks.com/CONGREGATIONS-OF-THE-DEAD-by-James-A.-Moore-and-Charles-R.-Rutledge-Signed-Limited-Edition-Hardcover-Advance-Order.html

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Congregations of the Dead Available for Pre-Order

   The cover art isn't quite ready, but Arcane Wisdom has announced that Congregations of the Dead, my second novel written with James A. Moore, is available for pre-order. Just like Blind Shadows, this one will be a limited edition hardback first, then a trade paperback and E-book. From the back cover:



It’s one of the hottest summers on record and a storm is brewing over the small town of Wellman, Georgia.

Still reeling from the horrific events of the previous October, all Sheriff Carl Price wants is to get back to a normal life. Unfortunately things aren’t working out. He’s got the Brennert County’s DA breathing down his neck for answers about what happened in Crawford’s Hollow. He’s been served with a lawsuit by the Blackbourne family. And just after he witnesses a child abduction, the one person who always puts his life into a tailspin shows up to add to the pressure.

Meanwhile, against his better judgment, Wade Griffin agrees to look for a teenage girl who’s gone missing. It’s not his kind of case, but he’s trying to establish his private investigations business and perhaps abandon his past as a mercenary. But Griffin’s luck isn’t any better than Price’s and he ends up crossing paths with the man behind most of the organized crime north of Atlanta.

Both lawmen have their plates full, but then they learn that there is something abroad in the night. Not the supernatural menace they dealt with before, but something even darker. Just what is the secret of the charismatic Reverend Lazarus Cotton and what is he hiding in his small mountain church?

Once again, Griffin and Price must call upon all their deadly skills just to stay alive and even in the middle of a pitched battle against things that shouldn’t exist they are reminded that sometimes the darkest evils reside within the human heart.

Congregations of the Dead is the hard hitting follow up to Blind Shadows, again mixing hard-boiled crime fiction with blood chilling horror.




Here's the link. Look, mom, I'm a novelist again.

http://www.miskatonicbooks.com/CONGREGATIONS-OF-THE-DEAD-by-James-A.-Moore-and-Charles-R.-Rutledge-Signed-Limited-Edition-Hardcover-Advance-Order.html

Monday, April 15, 2013

Seven Forges Cover Reveal

Here's the cover art for James A Moore's new fantasy novel. Pretty Darn cool. eh? For more info go here:


http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/04/cover-art-seven-forges

James A. Moore says:

Well, thank you kindly for Sharing!

Just for that, here's the back cover text (yes, I AM an opportunist!):

The people of Fellein have lived with legends for many centuries. To their far north, the Blasted Lands, a legacy of an ancient time of cataclysm, are vast, desolate and impassable, but that doesn’t stop the occasional expedition into their fringes in search of any trace of the ancients who had once lived there... and oft-rumored riches.

Captain Merros Dulver is the first in many lifetimes to find a path beyond the great mountains known as the Seven Forges and encounter, at last, the half-forgotten race who live there. And it would appear that they were expecting him. As he returns home, bringing an entourage of strangers with him, he starts to wonder whether his discovery has been such a good thing. For the gods of this lost race are the gods of war, and their memories of that far-off cataclysm have not faded.

Abandoned Blogs

You ever click on the "next blog" button at the top of blogger blogs? I do sometimes just to see where it will take me. Several times I've found blogs that I keep returning to, often ones that aren't related to any of my own interests but that are just cool.
   Then there are the abandoned Blogs. Ones that haven't had a post in two or three years. Sometimes I'm amazed at the amount of time and energy that went into these blogs, but then the blogger just wandered off. And I wonder what happened to them. Of course several times I've almost given up blogging, so I can see how it happens, but it's still odd to come across these blogs that ran for several years and just stopped. Sometimes there's a final explanatory post, but most of them seem as if the blogger just left one day and didn't' return. And who knows? Maybe they will come back at some point.
   The ones that seem the saddest to me are the ones that have only one post, usually something along the lines of "This is my blog! Here I'll be keeping people posted with the events of my life and things that interest me. Welcome"
   And that's it. Three years later and they never posted again. Hopefully these folks weren't hit by a bus or something.
   Anyway, if I ever give up Singular Points, I'll probably make a final post and leave it up for a couple of months and then delete the blog. My brother and I often kid about how when we closed our Karate Dojo after 21 years, not only did we gut the building and take down the road sign, but we also salted the ground so nothing would ever grow there again. When I'm done, I'm done.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Look You on Beauty and Death

   When I saw that two of my favorite Western writers, James Reasoner and Livia J. Washburn had a sword & sorcery short story available as a Kindle ebook I ordered it immediately. Really glad I did. This is a very tightly written little adventure with plenty of sword swinging action, and it really is an old fashioned sword versus sorcery tale where a warrior matches steel and wit against a wizard armed with supernatural powers.
   The protagonist, Ralna, is a bodyguard for her Empress, but she was born in a small hill village. A member of her tribe finds her in the city and tells her she must return for her sister's wedding. Ralna is suspicious but when the old friend is killed she returns home to find out just what's going on. Seems that her sister is being forced to marry a repulsive old sorcerer. Ralna isn't going to stand still for that.
   Reasoner and Washburn are both Texans and in some ways Ralna reminds me of Dark Agnes, the creation of another famous Texas writer, our own Robert E. Howard. I would certainly like to see more adventures of Ralna in the future. So if you're up for some old school sword & sorcery, written with style and a sense of adventure, give this one a shot. Recommended.

The Real Ghostbusters: The Collect Call of Cathulhu

 Way back in 1987 one of the more fun Cthulhu Mythos pastiches turned up, in of all places, on a Saturday morning cartoon show. The Real Ghostbusters was an animated series based on the hit movie, Ghostbusters. The animation was done mostly in Japan and the show had a very Anime look to it as a result. It was fairly well written for a 'kids' show and I thought it managed to catch some of the oddball feel of the original movie.
   Season two brought the surprisingly well researched episode, The Collect Call of Cathulhu. (Not sure why the slight change in spelling.)
   The Episode begins with New York City Library director Clark Ashton convincing one of his colleagues, Ted Klein, to display the Library's copy of the Necronomicon. The loathsome book is stolen that very night. The Ghostbusters are called in and soon are fighting tentacled horrors in the New York City sewers.
   They consult an expert from Miskatonic University named Alice Derleth, who helps them find a cult who are attempting to use the Necronomicon to raise Great Cathulhu from his eons long sleep. Alice even quotes the line about "That which is not dead can eternal lie..." from The Call of Cthulhu. Unfortunately when various spawn of Cathulhu show up, the boys find that their proton packs won't kill the creatures. They end up seeking a way to stop Cathulhu and his minions by reading through back issues of Weird Tales. H.P. Lovecraft is mentioned by name and there are more Mythos references than you can throw a Shoggoth at, including a Shoggoth! I'll leave the rest for you to discover yourself. The episode is available for your viewing pleasure on youtube and because I am your pal and enjoy sharing nifty stuff with you, the link is right here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvnJWYaSuDs

Friday, April 12, 2013

Writing Report Mach II

   Just sent a chapter of our latest book to James A. Moore. Now he'll write one and send it back. This approach amazes a lot of folks, but we've written two novels this way and it seems to work for us. Coming up on twenty thousand words on this one and having fun.
   After that I did a few edits on what I have of The Full Lovecraft. As I mentioned in my other post I'm slowing down as I have to start bringing some plot threads together.
   Reportedly, artist Alex Mcvey is almost done with the cover painting for Congregations of the Dead, so I hope to see that soon. I hope to get a good bit of writing done this weekend. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Black Feathers Book Trailer

As a member of the Robot Army, I often get nifty emails from Angry Robot. The other day they sent me a link to a cool Book Trailer for Joseph D'Lacey's new novel Black Feathers: The Black Dawn. Haven't read the book but I have to say this is one of the cooler trailers I've seen. So many of them are just images of the book cover with some music added. Someone went to some effort for this one. I've also included a link to the info page for the book. I'll be giving this one a read.


http://vimeo.com/63401644


http://angryrobotbooks.com/books/black-feathers-by-joseph-dlacey

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Writing Report

   Rolling up on 10 thousand words on a short novel I'm working on. This one is a full out Cthulhu mythos tale, inspired by all the reading of and about H.P. Lovecraft I've been doing lately. I'm working on this in between chapters of the latest novel I'm writing with James A. Moore. The working title is "The Full Lovecraft" because of a joke I made once, "You never go full Lovecraft", with apologies to Tropic Thunder fans. Don't know what the finished title will be. A couple of characters from Blind Shadows and Congregations of the Dead show up in this one, though not Wade Griffin or Carl Price. I've been throwing in a lot of stuff and I'm coming up on the point where I'll have to figure out where this is going. I don't plot far ahead or I get bored, though I have a rough idea of where things will end up.
   I have ideas for two other stories that will link to this one, though all three would be stand alone tales. Might never write the other two. Time will tell.
   Anyway, more about the actual plot once I get things lined up.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

A Lovecraftian Treasury

   I bought issue #267 of Famous Monsters of Filmland, because frankly, how could I not? Just look at that lineup. Gerry Anderson, H.P. Lovecraft, and King Kong! What I wasn't expecting though was that this issue of the venerable magazine would contain three of the more interesting and informative articles on Lovecraft and his mythos that I have read in some time. Seriously, this is good stuff.
   First is The Creation of Cthulhu by S.T. Joshi, which is a great article about the probable influences of Lovecraft's creation of his most famous creature. Plus you get a crash course in the correct pronunciation of Cthulhu, which is much closer to Cloo-Loo than Ka-thu-loo as most folks, including myself pronounce it.
   Then we have Lovecraft's Acolytes by Robert M. Price, which is a detailed explanation of how writers like Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, August Derleth, and Frank Belknap Long came to write in Lovecraft's world. Price then goes on to talk about the next waves in Lovecraftian pastiches by Henry Kuttner, Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley, and Lin Carter. I even learned of a few short stories and novels that I need to track down and read.
   Finally we have Joshi's The New Mythos Writers, which brings us up to date on the current writers of Lovecraftian fiction, which includes several folks published by my own publisher, Arcane Wisdom, which means I'm sort of connected, if only tenuously.
  There are several more excellent articles about Lovecraft in the magazine but these are the standout three. If you're a Lovecraft fan you really want this issue. I see this as a descendant of the near legendary HPL fanzine from days of yore, and something that Lovecraft fans and collectors will be seeking in the future. Don't miss out.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Infantino Conan

   As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, Carmine Infantino passed away this week. I thought I would put up a couple of random pages from his only Conan story, an adaptation of the Lin Carter/L. Sprague de Camp pastiche "Lair of the Ice Worm" from the pages of Savage Sword of Conan issue #34. Though the lovely inking of Alfredo Alcala somewhat hides Infantino's drawing style, the layout is unmistakably Infantino. The story itself is pretty lackluster, even by de Camp/Carter standards, but the art is great.

Conan the Readable

 With Volume #13 of their Savage Sword of Conan reprints, Dark Horse comics finally get to the Chuck Dixon period of Conan writing. As I've mentioned in previous posts, after Roy Thomas I thought Dixon the best writer to work on Marvel's Conan series. Dixon wrote the majority of issues between SSoC #136 and #180, so since most of the these volumes reprint 10 issues, there's a nice run of good Conan comics for new readers to enjoy and old fans to collect. Dixon made no real attempt to mimic Robert E. Howard in his writing, but he did use REH's basic approach, which was pseudo-historical adventure with some sorcery tossed in. Dixon's Conan has a nice, gritty feel to it and plenty of action.
   The art tends to be good throughout Dixon's tenure too, with a lot of Gary Kwapisz and Ernie Chan. An interesting bit of art in Volume #13 is an early job by Andy Kubert, who at that time was drawing as much like his father, Joe Kubert, as humanly possible.
   Anyway, the SSoC reprints have become readable again, after a long period of murky writing, in my opinion anyway, so if you've wandered away, this is a good time to come back. For a more detailed look at Dixon's time on Savage Sword, see my earlier post here:

http://singular--points.blogspot.com/2012/01/savage-sword-dixon-years.html

Thursday, April 04, 2013

R.I.P. Carmine Infantino

   I just learned that comic book artist Carmine Infantino passed away today at age 87. When I started reading DC comics in the early 1970s, Infantino was actually running the company. My earliest exposure to his art was probably in reprints of Flash stories he had drawn. I was immediately taken with Infantino's design oriented, stylized art and began finding it in other reprints featuring characters like Batman, The Elongated Man, and perhaps my favorite Infantino illustrated series, Adam Strange.
   By the 1980s, Infantino was working at Marvel Comics where he drew some of my favorite issues of Nova. He had a long run on Marvel's Star Wars comic and did fill ins for The Avengers, Howard the Duck, The Hulk, and Daredevil. Whatever series he worked on, he brought his own unique look to it.
   Infantino will probably always be best remembered as the co-creator and long time artist on the Silver Age version of the Flash. In some ways he was perhaps the perfect artist for the series because he seemed to understand something that many, maybe even most, later Flash artists didn't get, and that was that the Flash needed to be drawn as a lean, lithe figure, not a bulked up muscle man. Flash's power was speed and nobody drew it better than Infantino. His layouts on the book tended to emphasize rectangular panels over square so that Flash could zoom across the pages against those unmistakeable Infantino cityscapes.
   Infantino was one of those guys like Joe Kubert and Gil Kane who started drawing comics as a teenager in the Golden Age of the 1930s-1940s and was still turning out terrific art into the 1990s. Infantino definitely has a spot on my top ten list of all time greatest comic book artists. Another legend gone, but thanks to DC Archives and Showcase volumes, it isn't hard to sit down and enjoy the furious speed of the Flash illustrated by the artist who made him a star. Do yourself a favor and track down the work of Carmine Infantino. Me, I'm going to go read a few Silver Age Flash stories.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Angry Robot Announces Seven Forges


   I'm very pleased to report that publisher Angry Robot has announced the signing of my friend and frequent collaborator James A. Moore for two books in an epic fantasy series. The first volume, Seven Forges will be out in October of this year. I was first reader on this series so I can tell you that Jim's longtime emersion in horror and dark fantasy makes this fantasy series like nothing you've read before. That's all I'll say for now, but head over to the Angry Robot site and check out the press release. Congratulations, Jim. I'm darned happy to see this officially announced.

http://angryrobotbooks.com/2013/04/announcing-angry-robots-latest-signing-james-a-moore/


Hawthorne: Bad Sanctuary


   I think I downloaded this E-book within fifteen minutes of the announcement that it had been uploaded. That's how anxious I was to get a new Hawthorne tale from author Heath Lowrance. I enjoyed the three previous Hawthorne Weird Westerns and this new one doesn't disappoint.
   In Bad Sanctuary the mysterious gunman Hawthorne trails a murderer to an abandoned army fort where various outlaws, drifters, and other neer do wells have taken up residence. When he arrives he finds himself dealing not only with gun toting owlhoots, but also with a supernatural menace that has links to his past. We get a few glimpses of Hawthorne's history in this story and Lowrance has promised an actual origin story soon.
   One of the things that has really impressed me about all the Hawthorne stories is Lowrance's ability to come up with original supernatural creatures. The Spider Tribe were a particularly creepy creation and the weirdies (as jack Kirby would call them) for the new story, a pair called The Sisters, are nightmare inducing and not quite like anything you've seen before. As a fan of both the Western and horror genres, I really enjoy seeing how Lowrance melds the two. You get gunplay and action and some fine, scary, scenes.
   Plus, I just like the way the guy writes. Tight and hardboiled. Vivid, but with no wasted words. I'm looking forward to the next installment in the series and hoping for a full out Hawthorne novel at some point. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Because of Karl Edward Wagner's story 'At First Just Ghostly' I always associate the Procol Harum song A Whiter Shade of Pale with Wagner. Often, when I sit down to write, I will listen to this version of the song. Performed with the Danish National Concert Orchestra and Choir in 2006, this just gives me chills. Give it a listen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St6jyEFe5WM

Monday, April 01, 2013

Obligatory Conan Post

  That's four Doctor Who related posts in a row. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Conan. Man I miss John Buscema.

Fanboy Moment


Now we're talking.

April Fools Missed Opportunity


   It occurred to me this morning that I missed a chance at a good April Fool's prank. If I'd thought of it, I'd have held back the Conan/Doctor Who drawing until today and then posted it with an announcement of a Dark Horse/IDW crossover series teaming the two characters. I'd have given creator info and a storyline in a fake quote from a press release. I bet some folks would have bought it. Heck, several people have already asked me if the drawing was a cover. Oh well, guess I'm just not devious enough.