Aha, ok, finally, fresh material. The books have finally gone past whatever the movies covered and this is all new to me. Yes. Actually Mike Mignola mixes things up with this third volume in the series. This one comprises a number of short stories, featuring some famous past cases of the great red one. A lot of these were inspired by traditional mythology and folk tales and you get a nice range of traditional horrific concepts like weres and changelings and ghosts, but all done with Mignola’s inimitable skill and talent. Plus you get a terrific origin story. And even a Christmas story. A year round fun for everyone.
Three for three so far, I’m loving every one of these books, although all three might have been too much for one day. And to think there are so many left to go. Woohoo. Recommended.
Charming slice of macabre done in stark black and white drawings with a splash of magenta just for fun. No words necessary in this tale of the Grim Reaper who consults a sad shrink about his kid. The proverbial apple seems to have rolled far, far from its deadly papa tree and papa tree needs a friendly ear to discuss this.
The entire story takes literally five minutes to get through, though having finished I immediately reread it for a more profound understanding of it, because there was no text and I was sleepy. And yeah, the reread definitely helped. Cute book for your inner goth. Lovely art. Recommended.
Evil Nazis were only the beginning. Now there are also vampires to contend with. The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense certainly makes sure their best investigators are busy at all times. And then you throw in some old country figures, mythological and historical, and it’s just an irresistibly awesome adventure. Dangerous, of course, but nothing a guy with a giant mallet for a fist can’t handle. And really if this guy and his team can’t save the world and prevent an apocalypse, who can…
Another great story. Another one remembered from a movie. Why were there never more movies? They did well, didn’t they? Strange to abandon such a promising franchise Then again it never had a chance to go to sh*t and that’s pretty awesome.
I’m new to Mignola’s comic book world and I’m loving it The art alone...the way the man uses the color black and the myriad of shadows, it’s sheer perfection. And of course, perfectly suited to the general tone and mood of the books, which is indeed very shadowy.
Good, great, awesome, love it. Onto the next one. Recommended.
Why have I never read these books until now? I love this character, I loved the movies (the original ones, not the crappy recent reboot). So today was the day to finally meet the greatest shirtless paranormal investigator on page, the way he was originally meant to be experienced. And what a meeting, Actually it turned into a binge with three books in a row.
Because Mike Mignola is some kind of a comic book wizard. I mean, he must be. Stories this good and art this awesome, double duty done to perfection.
I mean, to be fair, the stories were familiar, because of the movies (so good, so memorable), but still what a ride. And even if you know the story word for word, there’s still that extraordinary art. There’s just something about it…Traditionally, I seem to prefer a more conventional art themes when it comes to comic books, I like color, I like people drawn to look like people, etc. Mignola delivers all that and then takes it to an entirely new level, because, of course, his stories and his characters are very much out of this world. Who knows how he comes up with them…who knows from which abyss of his imagination the eponymous character sprung or how is he that awesome despite having a very questionable samurai ‘do and sporting short shorts and trench alone. Just imagine the kind of confidence one would need to make that look their own.
It’s weird to think how old these books are now, because they have such a perfectly timeless appeal. A perfect blend of macabre and historical facts stretched to fit the narrative and fantasy, this is really paranormal fiction at its finest. And by far the best looking. Great book, this one needs nothing but readers. Recommended.
You can’t hear once and future and not think of King Arthur. But you probably haven’t heard a version of his story quite like this one. Or maybe you have, I don’t know, the man is a semifictional creation, so there are plenty of stories about him out there. But in this comic book reimagining he is brought back to life in a way that he is…well, very menacing, let’s say that.
So there you go, right away you have an excellent historical semifiction/fantasy blend, mythical objects uncovered, danger reawakened, etc. What stands between the danger and the world is an intrepid team of young clueless young man and his awesome grandma.
After all the years spent together, Duncan McGuire has to learn on the quick that his granny is a retired monster slayer and get clued into the family business. It’s a fun story well told and I really enjoyed Dan Mora’s art, because it seems I really, really enjoy classic (traiditonal?conventional?) comic book art, not very original, sure, but it just has such a great look to it, all slick and high gloss with people who look like people, albeit obscenely attractive, and places that look like real places, albeit, again, obscenely attractive.
I didn’t love it through and had to ponder why. Especially since it had all the right elements to win me over. And I’ve decided that it’s because in the end it was just another monster hunting story and those tend to get old, much like Grimm, the show I watched to the end, but with increasing disinterest and reluctance. So for all its high gloss slickness, it is an all too familiar thing. But then again it’s fun, having not yet had the time to outstay its welcome, so I enjoyed it enough and wouldn’t be opposed to maybe someday checking out more of the series, if only for the Granny McGuire, by far the best thing about this production.
She Kills Me by Jennifer Wright
The various shedevils of this book kill, slay, poison and get up to all sorts of mischief. It’s entirely too entertaining, albeit obviously in a macabre sort of way, to not make me rethink my position on true crime genre.
But no, I stand resolute in my avoidance of it, no matter its popularity, the modern interest/obsession with it just seems too prurient and salacious somehow. Unless, of course, the true crimes are told in brief cheeky entries with a black and white artwork presenting each murderous affair.
Which is to say this book struck just the right tone for me. The author did a great job with it, finding just the right balance of facts and opinions. It was practically funny at times, darkly humorous, because, you know, murder…hilarious business. And it covered such a span of time, historically, from the early days of warrior princesses and lady pirates to the more recent and admittedly more subdued but no less disturbing deadly ladies.
The idea behind it, timely as ever, is about equality. For so long women were denied basic rights, regardless as lesser people, etc. Much in the same way that Queen Victoria dismissed the sheer notion of women loving women to the extent of not even considering that enough of a possibility to outlaw it, for the longest time people (read men) dismissed the very idea of women murderers. Because what sort of a dainty delicate lady creature would ever do such a thing? Well, as it turns out plenty ladies, of all different sorts, walks of life, social strata, etc.
And for a variety of reasons, not just from having been scorned by a man. Sometimes for the sheer pleasure of it. So yeah, killer lady deniers…they exist, behold the evidence. Equality, baby, all the way.
What a fun book this was, just a quick, entertaining, informative read. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells
Dear Murderbot, this is your Dear John letter. You saw this coming, right? You must have. Six books and not one ringing success. It’s that unnecessarily oversized book five that really delivered the final blow, though out of basic decency and a need to meet obligations, I read book six as it was provided for review purposes. And while I appreciated you returning to a much more suitable (and a personal favorite) novella format, the brevity alone no longer does the trick.
It won’t matter to you, will it? You’re so inexplicably popular and beloved by so many. What’s one dissenting opinion, one disappointed reader? You won’t even sulk probably or I’d like to think maybe you might, just for a short while, and then just dissolve your sadness in a streaming show like you do and go on with your life.
In fact, why did you ever think that passion for space soap operas and snark were enough of a personality to attract and maintain one’s attention and affection? It wasn’t, it isn’t, not when all that leaves in a bunch of interchangeable uninteresting side characters and muddled contrived convoluted plots.
I know, it isn’t your fault, you were written that way (and none of your books were ever as much fun as their descriptions made them out to b)e and then praised and awarded so repeatedly, there was never any reason to improve. And it’s sad in a way and it’s certainly a commentary on popular tastes, but most importantly, Murderbot, it’s the end of us. I can no longer in good conscience rationalize spending time with you, hoping against all reason that you’ll turn your act around and wow me. In fact, sorry to say, I regret the time we did spend together. I don’t think it was worth it. And I kind of can’t believe I stuck around for this long. What can I say…I’m a completist. A book loving romantic. And you…I’m not even sure what you are, you’re not really a pandering sellout, you’re more on an inexplicable weird trend. A gimmicky creation stretched out seemingly indefinitely over a series by an underwhelming talent to an inexplicable acclaim. I wanted you to be more. Maybe it isn’t fair. So you just go do you. We tried. It was real, Murberbot, but it’s already fading from memory, much like every single plot of your books immediately after completion. Goodbye, Murderbot. Thanks Netgalley
Ok then, Book two finished, All in all this has been the weekend of overlong superhero adventures, between the obscenely long director’s cut of Justice League and both volumes of the not quite obscenely long but read that way volumes of The Eternals.
There isn’t much to say about book two I didn’t say in my review of book one. So having read both of them the main thought is wow…so 70s. All the things traditionally associated with a decades of notoriously terrible tastes and ideas…from hilariously terrible fashions and styles, the wild ‘dos and oh so many don’ts to the wild far out ideas…trippy, man.
And yes, once the kitsch factor gets old, the stories do get somewhat tiresome, but the most exhausting thing about them is the writing and having never read Kirby before I don’t have a base of comparison, so this isn’t a general observation about his style, it’s specific to this book, but boy, did he overwrite. It’s peculiar because he was doing both story and art, so you’d think he’d strike a finer balance between words and images, but no…he’d draw something and then tell you all about it. And the dialogue is just as hyperverbal and ponderous.
But that’s really the main criticism. Because the overall production is still pretty fun.
It’s interesting that despite the fact that the series only went on for two years and wasn’t especially well received (though obviously Kirby tried with this second volume, he even threw in some huge name guest stars, albeit his version of them), it still gained a significant place in the Marvel Universe, reused, revisited and referenced in many comics since. Guess that’s Marvel for you, waste not, want not. If they were a carnivore, they’d be the ones who eat every single ounce of the animal.
So it isn’t necessary reading per se, but if you’re into the 70s zeitgeist (casual sexism and all), kitsch, ancient aliens, mythology ripoffs/pastiches inspired superpowered adventures, you’ll probably enjoy The Eternals. It’s just such a fun, cheesy, brightly technicolored extravaganza.
Like most fans of comic books, I am familiar with the name Jack Kirby. Though until now I’m not sure I’ve actually read any of his work, so my main experience with him must have been cinematic. The man’s importance in the genre can’t be underestimated and yet this seems to be the note his has gone out on, the spectacular and spectacularly jumbled mess of The Eternals.
This was not a revered or even especially well received entry into a superhero realm. And yet it has received plenty of attention, revisits, etc. possibly owning in no small way to the power of the Kirby’s name.
I didn’t know any of that going in. I just wanted to read something fun and boombastic and this totally fit the bill. Mind you, some of the enjoyment was probably ironic (or who the f knows, I blame Alanis Morrisette for completely messing up the mental definition of irony for generations to come, thanks Alanis), because The Eternals is so very 70s and so very corny in so many ways, but it is undeniably fun.
It’s essentially a bastard spawn of Ancient Aliens theories and Greek mythology with a lot of traditional superhero superheroics thrown in. That and some terrible/hilarious coiffure. Kirby would have loved the modern day Ancient Aliens show, which has somehow gone on for I don’t even know how many seasons now, all beating the same drum and using some really wild/crazy/cooky looking drummers to do it. In the 70s the craze was in its infancy, though, with Von Daniken just getting started. Did he even know he midwifed The Eternals in? And whatever they subsequently gave rise to. For one thing try looking at those giant robots from an ancient civilization standing sentient in judgement and tell me it doesn’t scream Themis trilogy.
Then again, superheroes and aliens have always had that magic connection, the greatest one of them all, the most super one, is, after all, an alien. In Kirby’s creation, there are essentially three races of beings on earth and they must unite against the race that created them all. They do, more or less. There’s a lot of fighting and some of which is infighting. There are some really classical (silly) looking superheroes and some really awesome looking deviants. The focus shifts from story to story, which can be disorienting, but also fun, variety being the spice of life and all that. It’s a large book, over 200 pages, and surprisingly text heavy, Kirby, it seems, loved to overdescribe, often where mere art would have been enough, so it reads very slowly. But it does entertain in its sheer technicolor exuberance and treasure trove of ideas, original and pillaged/appropriated. Is it for everyone? Probably not, but then again what is. But this reader is on to book two.
Is there a handy moniker for a third in a series that doesn’t wow? What comes after a sophomore slump? Junior jitters? Third time tumble? Frankly, I’ve no idea. I was trying to come up with something, but it seems there isn’t a word for it. And yet this nonexisting word was never far from my mind while reading this book, a third in the adventures of the surprisingly formidable Icelandic lawyer Thora Gudmunsdottir.
Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with the book per se, but when you compare it to the previous two (and how can you not) it leaves a lot to be desired. It’s still a compelling mystery with an interesting and unpredictable twist, the author does those very well, but the overall narrative seems different. There’s less of Thora’s personal life in it since her foreign boyfriend (and usually a reliable sidekick) is away (though contemplating a relocation to Iceland) and her family situation is mostly a walking talking cautionary tale about babies having babies and the greatness of contraception. And because Thora’s man in away on the continent, it has turned her into a bizarrely horny grandma who describes all the man she encounters from a desirability/attractiveness perspective and also mentally competes for attention with her overweight chainsmoking secretary.
The latter is actually the only one who makes out well in the third entry in the series, since she finally gets some time in the sun and a chance to prove her worth outside of being a well justified cause of Thora’s frustration, since she really is just about the world’s worst secretary, albeit a surprisingly punctual one.
But the meat here is, of course, the mystery, since Thora just can’t seem to get a normal legal case. This time she gets stuck representing a man accused of murder/murders after the bodies are discovered in the basement of his Pompeiied over old family place. And yes, that is volcanic ash and dust the title refers too. Because I love reading thematically and Iceland has just had some unusual volcanic activity. In the book, it occurred decades ago on a small island community and now with archeologists doing some work there, the secrets so thoroughly buried in the past are threatening to come out.
To author’s credit, she always finds a new and exciting locale within a relatively small geographic territory to delight her readers with and this book is no exception. But no matter how much you might appreciate the scenery, the narrative does leave you wanting, not dramatically but noticeably. Because for some (plot undeserving) reason this book is also the longest of its predecessors. So it offers less and drags on for longer. Although it stands to mention it’s also (quite surprisingly) funnier too, maybe there’s a different translator, but it even had a couple of laugh out loud moments. Go figure. Thora as a character isn’t exactly a barrel of laughs and multiple murders, especially the way they are done in these books, aren’t exactly hilarious either. But there it is, kind of a nice change too. Not enough to offset the plodding pace of the book though or the sheer horrific quality of the crimes within it. There was also neither a tinge nor a twinge of the supernatural the way it was in the first two books.
So overall, it’s still a good read and fans of dark psychological crime fiction, especially with a Scandinavian flavor, should enjoy it. But it is definitely the lesser of the three in the series so far, the slowest and the longest, so reader beware.
I don’t normally enjoy serials. I much, much prefer standalones. The fondness doesn’t increase with familiarity, in fact it may breed animosity for me. A series has to be pretty exceptional for me to follow it. This entry wasn’t. But it wasn’t a total write off either, not by any means, its mostly that the author has set such a high standard with her previous works and this one didn’t quite live up to that standard. I’ll most likely continue with the series, but maybe not right away. The location alone…plus any genre writer who can surprise me time and time again is worth the time.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.