Thursday, March 23, 2017

Book Review: The Rage Of Cthulhu

THE RAGE OF CTHULHU by Gary Fry.  Horrific Tales Publishing, March 23, 2017. Available as an e-book or print hardcover. ISBN # 1910283185.  98 pages.

     

     Readers familiar with H. P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horror stories will be comfortable within the cozy confines of the new Cthulhu novella THE RAGE OF CTHULHU by Gary Fry.  Fry provides a sequel to Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu” (first published in 1928) that also serves as a chilling standalone story. 

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       Fry’s update is told in a narrative style that moves fluidly from chapter to chapter.  It’s an account of individual exploration and discovery leading to a horrific encounter, similar to the style that Lovecraft so often employed, but minus the purple prose of the times. Fry is respectful of the source material, and the spirit and tone of the story mirror Lovecraft’s themes.

 

    In the original story, a Norwegian crew lose their ship while sailing near Australia, and discover the uncharted island of R’lyeh.  An ancient Great Old One sleeps here while awaiting resurrection. The crew accidentally release Cthulhu, a massive god-like being with powerful tentacular features, who is worshipped in secret by several worldwide cults.  Only one crew member, Gustaf Johansen, survives and his manuscript detailing the encounter is later discovered and investigated.

 

     Fry’s protagonist is George Cox, a social psychologist nearly 60 and ill from a brain tumor that will eventually kill him. Along with his wife Christine, he is on a global holiday during his remaining days.  He becomes intrigued by a discovery during the beginning of their world tour, along the north-east coast of England.  Next to a lighthouse, he inspects the damaged wall of an abandoned building that used to house the fog horn machinery. Massive damage has occurred, traced back to a nasty 1975 storm. Cox doubts the official story of land subsidence as the cause, and begins his research into the incident.

 

   Through whispered stories in dim pubs, he hears of a monster attacking the building during the storm. Later, he learns of fog house employee Jens Amundsen, who came upon a copy of the Johansen manuscript and began to trace pentagrams on the floor and use rituals to summon an Old One.

 

     Fry cleverly links events to a 50-year cycle, traced back to the original story.  When the stars are in the proper alignment, and the correct incantations are spoken during the proper rituals, Cthulhu will rise again.  That’s what happened in 1925 in The Call of Cthulhu, in 1975 in The Rage of Cthulhu, and later in 2025 when this story concludes.

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     Cox’s pursuit of the truth continues during his global vacation, and he somehow uncovers evidence everywhere they travel.  He begins to have dreams, unexplained lapses of memory,  and semi-conscious spells. During these spells he begins to speak in the Old language. 

 

     Every clue he uncovers acts as a lure, bringing him closer and closer to an encounter with Cthulhu. His wife thinks his behavior is a condition of his illness, and doesn’t try to interfere. Even though regular readers of Lovecraft can anticipate the ending, it doesn’t alleviate the accelerating tension and suspense of Fry’s tale. 

 

     The Rage of Cthulhu is a worthwhile sequel close enough in style that it will evoke memories of classic Lovecraft tales. I’d love to see Fry write more sequels to these stories in the future. 


THIS IS HORROR Releases 2016 Award Winners

This Is Horror Awards Banner 1


EDITOR’S NOTE: Attention all fans of horror in all its’ configurations!  The This Is Horror website and podcast have been essential resources for my exploration of the horror genre for several years. It’s a must-view and must-hear for horror fans wanting to keep abreast of this ever-growing and ever-evolving genre. Go to http://www.thisishorror.co.uk/about/ to learn more and sign up for their email updates.

We are privileged to share with you this year’s winners of the THIS IS HORROR AWARDS . . . . . . . .

 

The Fisherman John Langan

Novel of the Year

 

Winner: The Fisherman by John Langan
Runner-up: Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

 

The Ballad of Black Tom Victor LaValle

Novella of the Year

 

Winner: The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
Runner-up: X’s For Eyes by Laird Barron

 

Furnace Livia Llewellyn


Short Story Collection of the Year

 

Winner: Furnace by Livia Llewellyn
Runner-up: Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt

 

Autumn Cthulhu Edited by Mike Davis

Anthology of the Year

 

Winner: Autumn Cthulhu, edited by Mike Davis
Runner-up: Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward

 

The Lovecraft eZine

Fiction Magazine of the Year

 

Winner: The Lovecraft eZine

https://lovecraftzine.com/magazine/
Runner-up: Nightmare Magazine

http://www.nightmare-magazine.com

 

Word Horde 1

Publisher of the Year

 

Winner: Word Horde

http://wordhorde.com
Runner-up: Crystal Lake Publishing 

http://www.crystallakepub.com

 

PseudoPod Podcast

Fiction Podcast of the Year

 

Winner: Pseudopod

http://pseudopod.org
Runner-up: The Other Stories by Hawk & Cleaver

http://www.hawkandcleaver.com/podcasts/

 

The Lovecraft eZine Podcast

Nonfiction Podcast of the Year

 

Winner: The Lovecraft eZine Podcast

https://lovecraftzine.com/live-web-series/
Runner-up: The Know Fear Podcast 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Shannon Wheeler tackles the Presidential Tweets in new book

San Diego, CA (March 21, 2017) – IDW's imprint Top Shelf Productions is pleased — big league — to announce Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump, in which Eisner Award-winning cartoonist Shannon Wheeler tackles the 140-character president. For the first time, these revealing snapshots of the world’s most powerful man will be collected, curated, and brought to memorable new life as cartoons. This compulsively readable hardcover will reach stores in August.

 

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Some people are saying, I don’t know, you tell me, but a lot of people are saying this is the greatest book of the year. This guy, Shannon Wheeler, he draws these cartoons for the New Yorker, MAD, the Onion — he’s very, very, good, okay? Now he’s illustrated the most incredible tweets. Wow! You won’t believe what he does with these tweets. I mean, these tweets changed the world, folks. It’s true! It’s very true. EVERYONE is going to want this book — even the haters and losers (Sad!).

 

In Sh*t My President Says, Donald Trump's most revealing tweets are transformed into razor-sharp cartoons, offering a subversive and illuminating insight into the mind of the most divisive political figure of our time. Whether you love him or hate him, this take on Trump will help you come to grips with the man and his ideas thanks to Wheeler's signature mix of slapstick and sophistication.

 

"Shannon Wheeler drew a book I wish I had thought of; that's the ultimate compliment I can offer in 140 characters! #buyit #wheelerisagenius"

—Jack Ohman, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning

 

Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump by Shannon Wheeler

A 120-page hardcover, 5" x 6.5"

ISBN 978-1-60309-410-8

For mature readers (16+)

Available August 2017

 

SHANNON WHEELER is an award-winning cartoonist best known as the creator of the satirical superhero Too Much Coffee Man, who has appeared around the world in comic books, newspapers, magazines, books, and even his very own opera. He has also created the strip Postage Stamp Funnies for the Onion, illustrated several books including I Thought You Would Be Funnier, Grandpa Won’t Wake Up, and Oil & Water, and frequently contributes cartoons to the New Yorker. With writer Mark Russell, he co-created the acclaimed book God Is Disappointed in You (a tongue-in-cheek retelling of the Bible) and its sequel Apocrypha Now.


MONSTERELLA: new horror anthology through Kickstarter

EDITORS NOTE: Cool Kickstarter campaigns are popping up every other day.  This one looks interesting, and has a modest fund-raising goal which makes me believe it will come to fruition.  Check it out here . . . 


March 20th, 2017. Vancouver Island, Canada.


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Monsterella revolves around the continuing adventures of Montrossa Rella, AKA “Monsterella”, the warden of an intergalactic prison planet, where the galaxy’s worst of the worst monsters are imprisoned and isolated from the rest of the universe. All hell breaks loose when an unexpected revolt overthrows her, and threatens the safety of the entire galaxy! 

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But her adventures are just one chapter of the book. In the style of the classic Vampirella magazines, Monsterella goes on to introduce other astonishing tales told and illustrated by a creepy collection of Canadian talents that will be sure to chill and thrill you cover to cover! Featuring Andrew Fryer, A. Shay Hahn (“The Homeless G-Men”), Dan MacKinnon (“From The Ashes”), Gareth Gaudin (“Enid Jupiter and Lyra Gotham”), Josh Kully, John Rathiganthan (“From The Ashes”), Nevin Arnold (“Calavera The Undead”) and sizzling cover artist Sun Khamunaki (“Lady Death”)!

 

A Monsterellla kickstarter will launch March 29th, 2017 to raise the funds necessary to get the book into print. Many amazing rewards will be available, including digital and print copies, deluxe versions of the book, signed and numbered screen printed art prints, original art, t-shirts, art commision offers and more! 

 

Starting March 29th, you can do a kickstarter search for “Monsterella #1 Anthology Comic Book”, or follow this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1549968416/863162692?token=a2fcefc6

 

Pending the success of the kickstarter, the book is set for a May 2017 release.

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Preview Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCkzVZRDn_Y&feature=youtu.be


In stores tomorrow: Last WRIGHTSON, sadly

                       

TALES FROM THE CRYPT #2 FEATURES TWO STORIES FROM LEGENDARY COMICS ARTIST BERNIE WRIGHTSON 

“LOST CLASSICS” FROM LATE CREATOR APPEAR IN COLOR FOR THE FIRST TIME

 

from the official press release . . . . . . .

NEW YORK - (March 21, 2017) - The entire comics industry was saddened to learn of the passing of legendary comics artist Bernie Wrightson this past weekend. Wrightson’s name was synonymous with the best the horror comics genre had to offer and he often spoke of the lasting influence EC comics titles such as the original TALES FROM THE CRYPT and VAULT OF HORROR had on his work.

So, it seems only appropriate that two of Wrightson’s stories are included in Super Genius’ new revival of the TALES FROM THE CRYPT series.

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Issue #2 (in comic shops this Wednesday) features two “lost classics” from Wrightson, “Stake Out” and “Feed It!”, both appearing in color for the first time. The two stories had originally appeared in black and white in other publications but when CRYPT editor Jim Salicrup remembered the twist ending of “Stake Out” he knew he had to have the story for this new series. “Feed It!” followed naturally.

As Salicrup explains, “Bernie has always set the bar for horror in comics and since he was a lifelong fan of EC Comics, I wanted to find a way for him to be part of this new incarnation of TALES FROM THE CRYPT. I knew Bernie had retired from drawing but when I remembered these stories, it seemed like the perfect way to have Bernie be a part of the comic. Luckily, he and his wife Liz agreed and as a result, we all got to see these stories from one of the finest horror artists who ever lived appear under the EC banner.”

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In addition to Wrightson’s contributions, the second issue of the Super Genius series also features stories from Danica Davidson & Jolyon Yates and Christina Blanch & Miran Kim.

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“We’ve been delighted by the response to the first issue of TALES FROM CRYPT (which sold out),” noted Super Genius publisher Terry Nantier. “I’m happy to say that orders for issue #2 have been even higher. And #3 looks like it's continuing that trend. There’s obviously an enduring passion and enthusiasm for all things EC and we’re happy to be carrying on that legacy. I think fans who haven’t had a chance to give the new series a try yet will be happy to discover that we’re maintaining the spirit of the original series. I’m very sorry Bernie wasn’t able to see these final stories actually appear in print but I hope that they’ll be another way fans can appreciate the legacy of this uniquely talented artist.”

TALES FROM THE CRYPT #2 will be available in comic book stores across the United States and Canada on March 22nd, 2017. To find a comic shop near you go to http://www.comicshoplocator.com/Home/1/1/57/575 or dial 1-888-COMIC BOOK. 

ABOUT PAPERCUTZ & SUPER GENIUS: Papercutz ‘Super Genius’ imprint is dedicated to creating quality comics for older readers. In addition to the bi-monthly TALES FROM THE CRYPT comic, Super Genius publishes a range of graphic novels including NEIL GAIMAN’S TEKNOPHAGE, Jessica Abel’s TRISH TRASH and Melissa Jane Osborne & Veronica Fish’s THE WENDY PROJECT. 

To find out more visit http://supergeniuscomics.com

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE library edition coming

IDW Publishing to release Lynn Johnston’s ‘For Better or For Worse’ in Complete Library Editions this October
 

San Diego, CA (March 20, 2017) – Welcome back, Elly, John, and the entire Patterson family as IDW Publishing and the Library of American Comics proudly announce For Better or For Worse: The Complete Library by Lynn Johnston. These definitive hardcover editions will collect the entire series in nine volumes, three books per decade of the strip.
 
For Better or For Worse is one of the most beloved comic strips of all time, with a devoted audience of more than 220 million. These new collections are being produced with Lynn Johnston’s cooperation and are being edited by Dean MullaneyKurtis Findlay, and Lorraine Turner.

Since For Better or For Worsedebuted in 1979, the world was able to watch the Patterson family grow up in real time—and to many readers, they feel like family!

“The strip reflects the experience that we readers shared,” says co-editor Lorraine Turner. “Life is like a tide that ebbs and flows—raising children, caring for aging parents, and accepting the aches and pains of getting older. Lynn Johnston allowed us to witness—and sometimes laugh at—a part of ourselves through the eyes of her characters.”
 
Book One, coming October 2017, collects all the daily and color Sunday strips from the strip’s debut in September 1979 through the end of 1982. The book will feature a new cover panel by Lynn Johnston, and occasional context notes and comments. For Better or For Worse: The Complete Library reprints the strips in chronological order, allowing us to enjoy it as it originally unfolded!
 
Lynn Johnston was born in Ontario, Canada. She is the first woman to receive the Reuben Award for Cartoonist of the Year from the National Cartoonists Society. She has also received the Order of Canada. Lynn began For Better or For Worse in 1979. She told the saga of the Pattersons for 29 years, until August of 2008, when she retired from the daily production of new strips and storylines.
 
For Better or For Worse: The Complete Library, Volume 1: 1979-1982
11” x 8.5” landscape hardcover, 544 pp., $39.99
October 2017

Valiant rolls out two more bundled offers

Valiant Announces New PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLES for SECRET WEAPONS #1-4 and X-O MANOWAR (2017) #4-9 – Beginning in June! 
Reserve Your Copies by April 27th and Receive Exclusive, 40-Page Expanded Editions of the Summer’s Biggest Series
 

 

 
Valiant is proud to announce that the publisher’s best-selling pre-order edition bundles will return this June with two new offerings: the SECRET WEAPONS #1-4 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE and the X-O MANOWAR (2017) #4-9 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE! Expanding each of Valiant’s seismic releases to a colossal 40 pages packed with exclusive material for the standard $3.99 cover price, orders for each upcoming PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE must be placed with your local comics retailer by the June 2017 initial order date of April 27th, 2017 before they’re gone forever!

“The success of Valiant’s first pre-order bundle for the launch of X-O Manowar in March took everyone by surprise. On every level, from longtime fans to new readers to retailers, it exceeded our internal expectations by several multiples,” said Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. “Based on that reaction, we’re upping the ante and expanding the program to include two of our biggest series of the summer and creating special features, including a ‘deleted scene’ that otherwise would have never been made available to the general public. This really is a special format and, as a show of thanks to those readers who get their pre-orders in early with their local comic shops, we’re redoubling our efforts to pack each and every Valiant pre-order edition to the gills with exclusive content too expansive for a standard comic.”

First: Reserve each issue of Livewire’s stunning, much-anticipated solo debut with the SECRET WEAPONS #1–4 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE – spanning the complete, VALIANT PRESTIGE-format limited series from Academy Award-nominated writer Eric Heisserer (screenwriter of the international hit motion picture ARRIVAL, as well as the upcoming BLOODSHOT and HARBINGERfeature films from Sony Pictures) and Harvey Award-nominated artist Raul Allen (Wrath of the Eternal Warrior)! Released monthly from June through September, each PRE-ORDER EDITION comes packed with trade paperback-style extras and bonus content, including creator commentary, behind-the-scenes looks at the creation of the comics, process character designs and artwork, and first looks at upcoming issues! Available only as a pre-order set, the SECRET WEAPONS #1-4 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE can only be ordered as a set and must be ordered with your local comic shop by the initial order date of April 27th, 2017

The government has dispatched Amanda McKee – the technopath codenamed Livewire – to investigate the ruins of a secret facility formerly run by Toyo Harada, the most powerful telepath on Earth and her former mentor. In his quest for world betterment at any cost, Harada sought out and activated many potential psiots like himself. Those who survived, but whose powers he deemed to have no value to his cause, were hidden away at this installation. But Livewire, having studied Harada’s greatest strengths and learned his deepest weaknesses, senses opportunity where he once saw failure. A young girl who can talk to birds… A boy who can make inanimate objects gently glow… To others, these are expensive disappointments. But, to Livewire, they are secret weapons…in need of a leader. Now, as a mechanized killer called Rexo seeks to draw them out, Livewire and her new team of cadets will be forced to put their powers into action…in ways they never could have imagined…

Then: In the wake of X-O Manowar’s epic debut, don’t miss the next staggering act of the year’s most-talked about new series with the X-O MANOWAR (2017) #4-9 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE! Available only as a pre-order set, the X-O MANOWAR (2017) #4-9 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE – including six, massively expanded editions of X-O MANOWAR’s “GENERAL” and “EMPEROR” story arcs by New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (Divinity, Dept. H) and superstar artists Doug Braithwaite (Bloodshot U.S.A., Justice) and Clayton Crain (Rai, X-Force) – can only be ordered as a set and must be ordered with your local comic shop by the initial order date of April 27th, 2017! Released monthly from June through November, each installment of this six-issue pre-order bundle comes packed with all-new extras and bonus content, including creator commentary and behind-the-scenes process materials…including AN UNFINISHED DELETED SCENE that won’t be found anywhere else!

In the fires of victory, a soldier becomes…a general. With the hostile Cadmium army crushed beneath his force’s boots, Aric of Dacia now commands an entire fleet into the final battle for the soul of an empire. But as a new dawn rises across this unrelenting alien world, what vicious new menace will come forth to greet it?

The only way to obtain each of these Valiant PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLES is to pre-order both sets  with your local comic shop by the June initial order date of April 27th, 2017! No more copies will be made available beyond that date and subsequent issues will not be offered in later solicitations!

Head to your local comic shop and place your orders early to get an exclusive and expanded reading experience like no other! Loaded with new content that fans won’t find anywhere else, now is the time to jump onboard the most talked-about series of the summer, only in the SECRET WEAPONS #1-4 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE and the X-O MANOWAR (2017) #4-9 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE – only available until April 27th, 2017!

 

SECRET WEAPONS #1-4 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE – Coupon


SECRET WEAPONS #1 – Cover A by Raul Allen


SECRET WEAPONS #1 – Cover B by Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic


SECRET WEAPONS #1 – Pre-Order Edition Cover by Clayton Henry

SECRET WEAPONS #1 – Interior Artwork by Raul Allen with Patricia Martin

SECRET WEAPONS #1 – Interior Artwork by Raul Allen with Patricia Martin

SECRET WEAPONS #1 – Interior Artwork by Raul Allen with Patricia Martin

SECRET WEAPONS #1 – Interior Artwork by Raul Allen with Patricia Martin


X-O MANOWAR (2017) #4-9 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE – Coupon


X-O MANOWAR (2017) #4 – Cover A by Lewis LaRosa


X-O MANOWAR (2017) #4 – Cover B by Dave Johnson


X-O MANOWAR (2017) #4 – Pre-Order Edition Cover by Doug Braithwaite

X-O MANOWAR (2017) #4 – Interior Artwork by Doug Braithwaite

X-O MANOWAR (2017) #4 – Interior Artwork by Doug Braithwaite


X-O MANOWAR (2017) #4 – Interior Artwork by Doug Braithwaite

 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Photo Essay: GALACTIC CON, Part Two

What would a comics convention be without cosplayers?  Less visually exciting, that’s for sure!

The 501st Legion were on hand to represent Star Wars enthusiasts . . . . . . . ..

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Don’t mess with this hero.  But he does have a nice smile . . . . . ..

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The Norse Gods were well-represented . . . . . . . . ...

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Artists on hand included cartoonists, painters, jewelry crafts, pin makers, and a cool sculptor . . . . . .

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The activity even spilled out onto the parking lot . . . . . .

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Photo Essay: GALACTIC CON, Part One

Our first trip to a GALACTIC CON, the mini-comic convention that travels to various sites in Delaware and Maryland, was a pleasant surprise.  

The most recent con occurred this past Saturday, March 18 at Appoquinimink High School in Middletown, Delaware.

I didn’t anticipate the size of the crowd or the number of vendors and artists participating.  The turnout was impressive and a good time was had by all.  Don’t miss the next one. 

A view of the convention hall floor space . . . . . . . 

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Spidey looks lonely . . . . . . . . 

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Some familiar faces were there, including the dedicated and knowledgable staff at Captain Blue Hen . . . . . and the hard-working folks from PLB Comics .  . . . . . . .

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