ROARING OUT OF THE 1930’S COMES THE GREATEST HEROES TO EVER FLY WWI EUROPE’S UNFRIENDLY SKIES!
Straight from the tattered pages of Popular Publication’s air war pulps, Age of Aces Books is proud to be able to bring you the best of these heroes. Don’t spend all that time and money tracking down dozens of the crumbling original magazines looking for your favorite aviator. Age of Aces has done that for you. Each of our books will contain stories featuring a single exciting character or written by one of your favorite authors. We will also be doing some books that are not air war but still have a connection to that era and those magazines.
Art Director Chris Kalb and Designer David Kalb will bring you back to those wild, dog fighting days. The text is re-set, but Chris and David painstakingly preserve the original illustrations, most of them by master artist Frederick Blakeslee.
All Age of Aces books are 6 X 9 trade paperback editions, and they will be available from Amazon.com TO CHECK OUT THE AGE OF ACES WEBSITE CLICK HERE
Bettie Page, a 1950s pinup known for her raven-haired bangs and saucy come-hither looks, was hospitalized in intensive care after suffering a heart attack, her agent said Friday.
"She's critically ill," Mark Roesler of CMG Worldwide told The Associated Press.
He said the 85-year-old had been hospitalized for the last three weeks with pneumonia and was about to be released when she had the heart attack Tuesday. Page was transferred to another hospital in Los Angeles and remained in intensive care Friday.
A family friend, Todd Mueller, said Page was in a coma. When asked to confirm, Roesler said, "I would not deny that," but he would not comment further on her condition.
Page, a secretary turned model, is credited with helping set the stage for the sexual revolution of the rebellious 1960s. She attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure that were tacked up on walls across the country.
Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine, as well as controversial sadomasochistic poses.
Page later spent decades away from the public eye, and during that time battled mental illness and became a born-again Christian.
After resurfacing in the 1990s, she occasionally granted interviews but refused to allow her picture to be taken.
Mueller credits his business dealings with Page for bringing her out of seclusion. He said he first met her in 1989 when he offered her "a bunch of money" to show up at autograph signings.
"I probably sold 3,000 of her autographs, usually for $200 to $300," he said. "Eleanor Roosevelt, we got $40-$50. ... Bettie Page outsells them all."
I HAVE TO AGREE WITH BLOG BUDDY J. KINGSTON PIERCE OVER AT THE RAP SHEET, I'VE ALWAYS FIGURED CUTTING UP BOOK COVERS (ESPECIALLY PRICE CLIPPING) AS BEING SACRILEGE, BUT SOME OF THE THESE THREE-DIMENSIONAL CREATIONS MADE FROM OLD PAPERBACKS ARE VERY COOL!
NEWS FROM MYSTERY SCENE EDITOR KATE STINE ON THE LATEST ISSUE OF MYSTERY SCENE ~
Once again we’ve searched high and low for items for the annual Mystery Scene Gift Guide. In fact, Kevin Burton Smith found so many great gifts that we couldn’t fit them all in. You’ll see a couple of ideas on this page and there will be even more on our blog in the coming weeks. Feel free to post suggestions! And we’d love to hear your thoughts on the first ever color section in Mystery Scene.
Dust jackets are at the intersection of the literary and visual arts and Diane Plumley’s engaging jewelry proclaims your love of both. Prices range from $10.00-18.00 for pins, necklaces, earrings, and tie tacks. Visit picture-perfect-designs.com to see more offerings.
Reading the financial news these days is more horrifying than anything Stephen King ever dreamed up. Don’t you wish that someone as competent as John Putnam Thatcher of the Sloan Guaranty Trust were in charge? Jim Huang is a long-time fan of Thatcher’s creator, Emma Lathen, and in his timely article, “Right on the Money,” makes a convincing case that you should be, too.
As the hometown of our next president, Chicago is also in the news. Sean Chercover gives a rousing tour of “the ultimate insider town” in his well-reviewed sophomore effort, Trigger City. In this issue, he talks to Oline Cogdill about writing, politics, and his ongoing love affair with the Windy City.
After you read the news, you’ll need some cheering up. May we recommend Donna Andrews? Her funny, sweet-tempered mysteries are just the thing to get you back on the sunny side of the street.
It’s not only criminals who are crafty these days. “The Arts & Crafts of Crime” takes a look at a variety of sleuths who interrupt their knitting, pot-throwing, doll-making, home-canning, and quilting to catch bad guys.
Brian’s hands-down favorite article this issue is “Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered,” Scott Ratner’s look at puzzle mystery films from the 1930s. Also in this issue, we’ll look at the intriguing Baroness Orczy of Scarlet Pimpernel fame, check in on Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan who is crossing boundaries yet again, and find out what happened to Erle Stanley Gardner’s missing “Fiction Factory.”
This coming March, Brian and I will be travelling to Let Coast Crime, our first ever trip to this conference as well as to Hawaii. (Hmm, coincidence? I think not.) Mystery Scene is sponsoring a “Meet the New Authors” Breakfast and a “History of Mystery” lecture showcasing fantastic art from the Mystery Scene archives. Hope to see some of you there!
Best wishes from all of us for a happy, healthy, and highly entertaining New Year.
Kate Stine Editor-in-chief TO CHECK OUT THE MYSTERY SCENE BLOG CLICK HERE
STANDARDS CROONER MARK COPELAND HAS MADE SONGS FROM FOUR OF HIS CDs (I HAPPEN TO LIKE NEW YORK, ZIKNG!,THE BAKERY SESSIOON, LIVE IN CONCERT) AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD AS MP3s FROM HIS WEBSITE ~
"In a future-oriented culture of ours, one is tempted to wonder where Mark Copeland will go from here. However, that is not necessary. As this CD makes abundantly clear, his latest accomplishment is quite real and large in terms of the present." -Johnny Adams, "And All That Jazz" Radio Host, Carmel, California.
"There are muses at work here. Deities named Porter, Gershwin, and Mercer nod in approval. "I Happen to Like New York" is an exciting new album from Mark Copeland. Listen, savor, and let Mark's performances give voice to your own heart". -Nick Gerard, Music Host, KSRF Radio, Los Angeles and San Diego
NEWS FROM BLOG BUDDY AND COMIC WRITER EXTRODINAIRE CHIS MILLS ~
I'm told that Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries #4 should be on sale in the next few weeks, just in time for the holidays. The issue features the usual dual covers – a lovely, pulp magazine-ish illustration by Joe Staton & Alfredo Lopez and a magnificent alternate cover penciled by the late Mike Wieringo, inked by Joe, and colored by Garry Henderson. There's also a short text feature in this issue by yours truly, revealing a bit of the history of the character and project. I'll let you know when to look for it as soon as I get the shipping info.
This week, I wrote a short – very short – Femme Noir story for 2009's Free Comic Book Day Cartoon-a-palooza special from Ape Entertainment. As usual, Joe Staton is laying down the graphite, and inker Mark Stegbauer will be slapping on the India ink. Michael Watkins – who colored Issue #4 of the miniseries – will be providing the hues. It's called "Demon Bat," and will be the first of several Femme Noir projects planned to appear next year.
I'm currently scripting a 48-page "annual," subtitled "Supernatural Crime," co-starring the skull-visaged vigilante known as Brother Grim (last seen in Issue #1 of the mini) – and featuring an all-new origin story for the character. Why a new origin? Don't ask. It's too sordid a saga, and it just pisses me off. But the plan is to have the one-shot special out in the second half of the year.
We're also planning to release a trade paperback collection of the original Femme Noir webcomics, re-colored and "remastered." I'm hoping Joe will have enough time to draw a fourth story for the collection – the script is pretty much written and it'll round out the volume nicely. In any case, it'll definitely include the three online classics: "Cold, Dead Fingers," "An Eye For A Spy," and "Chambers of Horror." More info on this as it comes together.
And, of course, there will be a trade paperback collection of the Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries miniseries, which will include all four stories from the comic books, as well as the 2008 FCBD Cartoon-a-palooza story, "A Night In The Life," and the 8-page bonus tale, "The Dingus." There will also be character design sketches by Joe, a special foreword and afterword by a couple of renowned crime fiction personalities, and a surprise or two. You'll also get to see all the original cover art, this time unobscured by logos and text.
With #4 still to hit the shelves, I suppose I could play it cagey, and say "oh, there's no plans as yet for a trade, so you better go out and buy the individual issues," but does anyone believe that anymore? Besides, Ape published only enough copies of the miniseries to meet the initial retailer orders – and there will not be any additional printings. I know a lot of people couldn't find copies of the first three issues at their local stores, and #4's orders were – as is typical with a miniseries – lower than the others, so it may be hard to find, too. I also know that in today's market, a lot of readers habitually "wait for the trade." Hell, I'm one of them.
So, a trade paperback collection was/is inevitable. Aside from making the material available in a more durable format, it can also (hopefully) get into regular bookstores and maybe reach a wider audience. I don't want anyone to feel cheated or that they now "have" to buy the material twice, but the graphic novel/trade paperback format is becoming the format of choice among consumers, and we have to play along. Now, I wanted the stories to come out as "floppies" (I detest that term, but it's slightly better than "pamphlets") first because, dammit, after all that work, I wanted a Femme Noir comic book to hold in my hands and see displayed on the comic shop shelves! But I also want the property to have a life beyond those 4 issues, and having a trade paperback available and in print is a necessity.
Beyond those projects, I have tentative plans for a second miniseries, probably for the Summer of 2010 – if I can keep all the balls in the air – and make it worthwhile for my valued collaborators, Joe foremost among them. A lot will depend on how well-received the projects mentioned above are. I hope things work out, because I still have a lot of Femme Noir tales to tell...
NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS AS THIS BAD NIGHT COMES TO ITS THUNDERING END!
The conclusion of "Bad Night" spins a deadly web of lies and murder, as CRIMINAL's new expanded format keeps the hits coming!
What's left of Jacob K.'s life has been ripped apart by a chance meeting on one bad night. But when all the things he's been running from come to the surface, we may just learn the Jacob himself is much more than what he seems.
And on top of this longer-than-usual length main story, CRIMINAL now features an expanded back-pages section, as well " with articles by Brubaker and other top crime writers, from novelists to screenwriters to comic writers. These noir articles can only be found in the CRIMINAL comics, not in any collections.
FORGOTTEN BOOKS: SKYLARK MISSION BY IAN MACALISTER!
Back in the day, before bloated thrillers dominated the bookstore shelves, there was a genre that was truly thrilling – high adventure. Practiced by the likes of Desmond Bagley, Alistair MacLean, Hammond Innes, and others, the high adventure genre was the pulp adventure story on steroids. These tales featured exotic locations, staunch heroes, and complicated their main plot lines with the threats provided by Mother Nature – mountains, deserts, jungles, icebergs, oceans, hurricanes, blizzards, storms, earthquakes, and anything else the weather or ecology could produce.
In the late ‘70s, four books in this genre were written by Ian MacAlister – all of which I enjoyed, especially Skylark Mission featuring the very tough Sam Flood.
I long suspected Ian MacAlister – an apparent blending of Ian Fleming and Alistair MacLean – was a pen name. Just recently I found out by reading a post from blog buddy Bill Crider that Ian MacAlister was in reality Marvin Albert, a journeyman writer whose other work (especially his Stone Angel P.I. novels set in Paris) I have long enjoyed.
Albert was clearly able to turn his talents to any genre and produce a readable story. But in the four high adventure books he wrote as Ian MacAlister (Skylark Mission, Driscoll’s Diamonds, Strike Force 7, and Valley of the Assassins), he produced some of his best work.
Some said Sam Flood wasn’t his real name; that his papers bearing that name were either forged or stolen. According to stories, he was wanted by the law under his real name. The stories varied, but it all remained conjecture. No one really knew.
All they ever knew about Sam Flood was he’d been sailing merchant ships on Pacific runs for the past five years. That he was a good man to have with you on a job, and a bad man to have against you in a fight. And that he was the second mate on the Fleming on the night the torpedo sank it.
Sam Flood was a survivor. Which was why he managed to stay alive after the ship sank. There were others on his raft, but Flood took charge. He was that kind of man. And he led them straight into a trap – A Japanese torpedo-boat base on the Island of New Britain.
The Japanese turned their base into a prison camp. But Flood was determined to escape. Determined to return with help, free the prisoners, and blow up the base.
From the moment Flood did escape, the whole island was caught up in the aftermath.
Now with only a handful of men, a battered old plane, and a few grenades, Flood made his desperate move. To the others it was a suicide mission. Only Sam Flood had faith. But he needed a lot more than faith.
Skylark Mission is a fine example of the high adventure genre, and displays all of Albert//Macalister’s writing chops. Published under the venable Gold Medal imprint, the four MacAlister titles hold up well in the modern era, can still be found through used book services, and should be read with high anticipation.
AUGUST WEST HAS A COOL FORGOTTEN BOOKS POST OVER AT VINTAGE HARDBOILED READS FEATURING ONE OF MY FAVORITE PULP SERIES ~
“G-8 and His Battle Aces” was an aviation pulp hero and from 1933 to 1944, he was featured in his own magazine. There were over 100 adventures that the WWI ace carried out, and his German enemies threw everything at him, in the air and on land. To keep his identity a secret, America’s flying spy was given the code name G-8. Along with his two wingmen, Nippy Weston and Bull Martin, many of the stories dove into the realm of science fiction, with evil German scientists working on the Kaiser’s orders to develop wicked ways to gain an edge during the Great War. In 1970, Berkley started reprinting these pulp adventures in paperback and I remember grabbing them off the drugstore rack.
In “Purple Aces,” captured American pilots are being converted into zombie-like flying warriors for the enemy. Induced by a chemical, it starts with them receiving a purple “ace of spades” birthmark on their forehead and quickly spreads the hideous color over the entire face. In turn, a demonic force controls the minds of the “reborn” pilots and they are programmed to execute suicide missions against American fliers. G-8 and his men are sent to uncover the source of this menace. Being an all-American hero, G-8 wastes no time engaging in dogfights and slipping behind enemy lines to get answers. Solving the mystery, which takes him through the halls of an ancient castle, G-8 meets again the mad Herr Doktor Krueger (a frequent enemy in many G-8 adventures) and a mind controlling genius scientist called Zwantag. Their final diabolical plan is in motion, time is running out, and both evil men must be stopped.
The real sign that a rock-and-roll movie works is simple; how badly does it make you want to go to the record store when it's done? Cadillac Records, a big-screen version of the Chess Records story, works on that level -- but even beyond its hit list of great tunes from the days when the blues became rock and roll, it's anchored by strong performances, an unflinching honesty and a real sense of time and place, as Chicago's Chess Records turns its artists into stars with a mix of smart promotion, unethical behavior and killer instincts. Adrian Brody is Leonard Chess, a Chicago bar owner who turns a part interest in a record label into an empire; Jeffery Wright plays bluesman Muddy Waters, one of the first artists to benefit from Chess' smarts -- and one of the first artists to suffer from them, too.
Written and directed by Darnell Martin, Cadillac Records has all the earmarks of the musical history film -- the early years of struggle and poverty, the sudden rush of success as the teen hunger for a new sound explodes, the backbiting and finger-pointing as artists wonder where the money went; it even has narration, courtesy of bluesman Willie Dixon (Cedric the Entertainer), looking back at how things began and how they went. But just because a movie follows a familiar framework doesn't mean it can't be well-made, or surprise us within that framework, and Cadillac Records succeeds in that regard, as Chess discovers, signs and breaks acts like label stalwarts Muddy Waters and Little Walter (Columbus Short), and then discovers Howlin' Wolf (Eamonn Walker), Chuck Berry (Mos Def) and Etta James (Beyonce Knowles), offering inspiration to fledgling garage bands like a young combo from England who've named themselves after one of Muddy's songs, The Rolling Stones. ...
The cast is terrific; Brody's always had a vaguely hangdog look to him that works here. Brody's characters are always going to let you down, Leonard Chess included, and the curse is that Leonard knows it. Wright is great as Waters, with some suggesting that the veteran actor (Casino Royale, W., and more) might finally earn an Oscar nomination; it's not a far-fetched idea, especially when you realize how well Wright conveys the loud, public side of Waters' life and the quieter private moments as stardom comes overnight and then slowly slinks away. Mos Def makes being Chuck Berry look like a lot of fun -- indeed, so much fun that it turns into trouble very, very quickly. Knowles doesn't quite look like Etta James, but as James sings in the studio -- with Leonard forcing her to tap into old memories to make a sad song sadder -- her big, brassy voice fits perfectly.
The Chess artists made history in the recording studio, and they also made plenty of mistakes outside of it. Martin strikes the right chord in these scenes, as the Chess artists screw up, screw around, and deal with the bizarre reality that Black music was becoming more and more popular in a racist society. A moment where, at a Chuck Berry concert, the dancing kids literally tear down the barriers dividing a segregated crowd is electric. Meanwhile, Leonard's doing what he can to keep his artists happy, even as that makes them unhappy; "take ten percent of Chuck's royalties and shift them over to Muddy," Leonard commands at one point. "Chuck won't notice." And he may not, at least for a while, but that doesn't make it right. (Walker's Howlin' Wolf is seen shunning all advances and demanding strict accounting -- a punk rocker decades before his time -- and Walker's performance manages to make moral principle cool, sexy and threatening.)
Cadillac Records works because it speaks to the essential contradictions of early pop music -- how fortunes were made but the people behind the music were often left behind; how artists who changed so many lives where challenged in changing their own; how there was joy and excitement behind sad songs of heartbreak and sadness and loss behind joyous, exuberant pieces of music. With great performances, a grown-up script and amazing music, Cadillac Records may not change your life, but there's an excellent chance it'll change your record collection, and for the better.
Spy drama Spooks will return for an eighth series, the BBC has today confirmed.
The show, which will wrap up its current run next Monday, has regularly secured ratings of over 5.7 million for the broadcaster.
Executive producer Simon Crawford Collins said: "Spooks is currently enjoying an exceptional run on BBC One and BBC Three and viewers will be shocked when this series ends with a sting in its tale.
"As for next year... we're currently working with our fantastic team of writers to predict the big stories for 2009 to keep Spooks' prescience in these dramatically changing times.
"Richard Armitage, who stars as Lucas North in the espionage show, added: "I'm thrilled with the response we've had to this series and I can't wait to find out what the next series has in store."
If the climatic episodes at the end of series seven are anything to go by, I think series eight will be spectacular. I am excited about taking Lucas into deeper and more dangerous territory, and seeing if he can survive!"
Series eight of Spooks will begin production next March and debut on BBC One later in 2009.
THE RAP SHEETPOSTED A GOOD REMEMBERANCE ON THE RECENTLY PAST GEORGE CHESBRO ~
(Editor’s note: Shortly after George C. Chesbro died last month at age 68, I asked Hunter Goatley, who maintained his official Web site, Dangerous Dwarf, to tell Rap Sheet readers about his relationship with that fine and often, unjustly neglected author. I am pleased to feature Goatley’s recollections below.)
Rap Sheet editor J. Kingston Pierce suggested that I write a piece about George Chesbro, a mystery writer and my friend, who died on November 18. I’ve spent a lot more time than it should have taken to write this, as I’ve found it difficult to put into words what George and his work have meant to me. I don’t know how much sense what follows will make, but hopefully it’ll provide some insight into the man and his work.
George C. Chesbro had a unique voice among the mystery/private-eye fiction writers of the 1970s and ’80s. He was able to blend mystery with suspense, fantasy, science fiction, and even a touch of the supernatural in a way that I’ve never seen anyone else do. His most famous creation, Dr. Robert Frederickson, is a private investigator, but one not like any other. Also known as “Mongo the Magnificent,” Dr. Frederickson is a criminologist, ex-circus headliner, and martial-arts expert in addition to being a P.I.--and a dwarf, to boot.
Here at Memories we were looking for a way to give to the community where we are located. A couple of glasses of sparkling cider and a few emails later we had come up with Swing Your Can.
Swing Your Can is a can food drive. We are trying to get as many cans of food and non perishable items to give to Neighbors Helping Neighbors,a food bank here in Whittier. On December 15th you get in for free when you bring two nonperishable items, but you don't need to stop there. If you have the means to bring more please bring it. We all find ourselves in economically trying times but this is your opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people here in Whittier.
Merry Christmas and thank you for your time and support.
Paul Almazan and Jose Amaral
For more info on how to make a difference:Neighbors Helping Neighbors(562) 777-2475 13513 Telegraph Rd, Whittier, CA 90605
JUST SPOTTED THIS COLLECTION IN THE LOCAL COSTCO (DISCOUNT WAREHOUSE STORE) FOR $75.00 ~ $25.00 CHEAPER THAN ORDERING IT FROM A&E DIRECT! THIS ONE IS OF PARTICULAR NOTE FOR ITS INCLUSION OF BOTH THE CHAMPIONS AND THE PROTECTORS ~ GREAT EURO-SPY STUFF.
Get ready for international intrigue, secret agents, amazing gadgets, superhuman powers, evil villains, and thrilling face-offs as the heroes of this four-series collection travel the world to battle for justice and avert disaster. The collection of debut episodes includes Roger Moore and Tony Curtis as wealthy playboys who unravel criminal cases in THE PERSUADERS; Patrick McGoohan’s classic and mysterious British series THE PRISONER; THE CHAMPIONS, a trio of crime fighters with special powers bestowed by a lost Tibetan civilization; and Robert Vaughan as a London private eye in the stylish series THE PROTECTORS.
Intelligent, intriguing characters, exotic settings, and fabulous cars – this is some of the most inventive and best-loved television ever produced. If you appreciate a good spy story, this 14-disc set of four fan-favorite spy series will keep you at the edge of your seat.
AUTHOR JASON STARR (WHOSE NOVEL THE FOLLOWER HIT THE SHELVES TODAY AS A MASS MARKET PAPERBACK) WAS THE GUEST BLOGGER OVER AT THE RAP SHEET. HE FINISHED OFF HIS DAY WITH A POSTING ABOUT DC’S GRAPHIC CRIME NOVELS . . .
During the Bouchercon mystery conference, held in Baltimore earlier this year, DC Comics announced its new Vertigo Crime graphic novel imprint. The list will include graphic novels by Ian Rankin (his first foray into comics), Gary Phillips, Brian Azzarello, and [Jason’s own] first graphic novel, The Chill.
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. ~ THE 15 YEARS LATER AFFAIR!
PARAMOUNT ANNOUNCES THE RETURN OF THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. ~ THE CODE NAME FOR THE FIFTEEN YEARS AFTER AFFAIR. THE CBS REUNION TELEFILM FROM 1983, THE RETURN OF THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., IS COMING TO DVD EARLY NEXT YEAR. TVSHOWSONDVD HAS THE INFO.
NEWS FROM WRITING/BLOG BUDDY LEE GOLDBERG ON HIS LATEST MONK NOVEL . . .
The latest Monk novel, MR. MONK IS MISERABLE is out today and picks up right where MR. MONK GOES TO GERMANY left off. It's set in Paris, which makes it a very personal book for me. My wife Valerie is French, born and raised in Paris, and we go there each year to visit my inlaws. On our last visit, I took our 13-year-old daughter Maddie to The Catacombs. She took one look at the millions of bones stacked underground and said "Can you imagine Monk here?" Yes, I could. We both could. And from that moment on, I couldn't stop seeing Paris through Adrian Monk's eyes. And neither could she, which turned this book into sort of a family affair.
As familiar as I am with Paris, I still had to do a lot of research into the sewer system and, on a subsequent trip, scout locations for the book. The hotel, the restaurants, and just about every other setting in the book actually exists. I also named many of the characters after my French family and friends.
My next Monk book, MR. MONK AND THE DIRTY COP, comes out in July 2009 and takes place back in San Francisco, where I also feel a special connection. I was born and raised in the Bay Area. After two books "on the road," it was nice to be home again. The book I am working on now, MR. MONK IN TROUBLE, will be out in December 2009 and is set in San Francisco and California's gold country.
I haven't decided yet what comes after that—all I know is that, whatever those next two books are, they will be published after the TV series ends.
How will Monk change after the finale of the TV show? I have no idea yet...or how those changes will impact future books. I look forward to finding out!
HERE’S THE LOW-DOWN ON SOME VERY COOL ORIGINAL PULP COLLECTIONS . . .
EPISODES FROM THE ZERO HOUR! PRESENTS VOLUME ONE!
New Pulp Publisher Debuts with Original Creation: Knuckles, Tough Guy for Hire
With a punch to the gut and a sock to the jaw, EPISODES FROM THE ZERO HOUR! is proud to announce the publication of its first volume, featuring Knuckles, Tough Guy for Hire, which is available now on their electronic print storefront, http://www.lulu.com/zerohour The print debut marks a milestone for collaborators Anthony Schiavino and Jason Butkowski, who began Episodes from the Zero Hour! as a Web-based forum for serialized fiction. VOLUME ONE contains five short stories, penned by Butkowski, featuring the film-noir world of Federal City, and its most colorful resident, former boxer turned hired muscle, Tommy “Knuckles” McNichols.
From the book jacket: Tommy “Knuckles” McNichols is a man who's lost it all — a once-promising prizefighter turned to a life of desperation, working as a TOUGH GUY FOR HIRE to make ends meet on the gritty streets of FEDERAL CITY. He lives on the edge of darkness, going by his own modified code of ethics in a town where reality is a punch to the gut, a bullet in the chamber of a .38, or a fifth of Jack. In a city of smoke and fog, where moral ambiguity is the norm and danger lurks around every corner, will this worn-out former boxer be able to sleep at night, knowing what he's become? And more importantly, will he be able to make the rent payment by the end of the month?
The volume showcases Schiavino's book design and production, a beautiful cover by award-winning pulp illustrator Douglas Klauba, and fantastic interior illustrations from veteran comic artist Rob Davis and newcomer Jared Araujo. The Zero Hour! crew's freshman efforts are already garnering them praise from some of the established professionals in the pulp revival and comic book industries:
“Man, I love these ‘KNUCKLES’ McNichols stories!” said Ron Fortier, author of Captain Hazzard and the Python Men of the Lost City and founder of Airship 27 Productions. “Jason Butkowski has created a true down and out original pulp character that is easy to cotton to. The stories bounce between down and out dirty street life, ala classic Noir, to humorous anecdotes that resonate with true street savvy. This is an amazing collection and if you really like pulp, you are going to love ‘KNUCKLES’. All I can say, Butkowski, is more, please. Lots more!”
“‘KNUCKLES’ will dazzle you with some humorous fancy footwork; put you on the canvas with a one-two combo of characters that are tough as nails but as human as you or me; and just when you think you've got it all figured out, deliver a couple delicious sucker punches,” said Sean Ellis, author of Magic Mirror. “‘KNUCKLES’ is a knockout!”
“In a town where life slips you a mickey and opportunity is best found at the end of a gun, Tommy ‘KNUCKLES’ McNichols delivers a sense of gritty, two-fisted common sense to the mean streets of Federal City. This is PULP NOIR at its BEST!” said Wayne Skiver, author of The Prof. Stone Adventures. “Butkowski has created a world to rival Miller's Sin City and a character that would be right at home downing a fifth of Jack with Spillane.”
“Finally! Pulp the way Pulp is supposed to be!” said comic writer Steve Niles, writer and creator of 30 Days of Night.
A Blinding Force Productions Serialized Feature
EPISODES FROM THE ZERO HOUR! VOLUME ONE
Written by Jason Butkowski Cover by Douglas C. Klauba Illustration by Jared Araujo and Rob Davis Production and design by Anthony Schiavino
New Pulp Publisher Back with Original Creation: A Father Michael Ryan Story
With a fist in one hand and a rosary in the other, EPISODES FROM THE ZERO HOUR! is proud to announce the publication of its second volume, featuring the classic first episode, WARRIOR'S HEART, of Federal City’s own battling priest, Father Michael Ryan, available now on their electronic print storefront, http://www.lulu.com/zerohour From the book jacket: Father Michael Ryan grew up on the mean streets of Federal City. He was a tough kid until the angels recruited him for the church. Then the war came and Mike Ryan found himself in the South Pacific, putting his courage and moral strength to the test as a Marine Chaplain. Now he ’s home, tired, weary and ready to pick up the pieces of his life. But can he ever leave the past truly behind as he meets the challenges of a new kind of ministry? Soon enough the neighborhoods of Federal City are about to get a wake up call from God’s Ex-Marine. You can bet there’ll be a rosary in one hand and a fist in the other. This volume also includes a special guest appearance by TOUGH GUY FOR HIRE, Tommy “KNUCKLES” McNichols!
Written by renowned pulp writer Ron Fortier, this volume showcases an astounding cover and interior illustration by illustrator Dave Flora (Tales of the Revenant), along with design by Anthony Schiavino. Volume Two has received praise from established professionals in the pulp publishing world:
“Fortier brings the post-war era back to life with exuberance and two-fisted pulp style,” said Charles Ardai, founder of HARD CASE CRIME.
“‘A man of peace with a warrior’s heart. I knew he was going to give me grief when he got out of the Marines. Looks like I was right.’ This line, taken from Ron Fortier’s A FATHER MICHAEL RYAN STORY sums up the character far better than any one blurb could,” said Bobby Nash, author of Evil Ways, Lance Star, and Domino Lady. “Father Michael Ryan walks a fine line. He is a contradiction, a man of God and a skilled warrior all rolled into one. The right nudge could easily force Father Michael on one side of that fine line or the other; man of peace or man of war. And in Federal City there is always someone willing to give a little nudge.”
“Once again, Ron Fortier has constructed a rich and compelling world, and he’s done it with such ease that he drives all of us other writers to jealously!” said Brian Meredith, creator of Modern Pulp and Steve Lawlis. “With A FATHER MICHAEL RYAN STORY, he has created a lead character that borders on the truly heroic, yet is down-to-earth and conflicted, by putting a man of the cloth onto the path of the warrior. I anxiously await the next thrilling chapter!”
A Blinding Force Productions Serialized Feature
EPISODES FROM THE ZERO HOUR! VOLUME TWO
Written by Ron Fortier Cover and illustration by Dave Flora Production and design by Anthony Schiavino
42 Pages with Ads Perfect Bound
PRICE: $8.00 tradepaper
A Blinding Force Productions Serialized Feature
EPISODES FROM THE ZERO HOUR! VOLUME THREE
Written by Jason Butkowski and S.E. Dogaru Cover by Rich Woodall Illustration by Rich Woodall and Duane Spurlock Production and design by Anthony Schiavino
OKAY, SO IT’S MY GUILTY LITTLE SECRET. I REALLY ENJOY ‘THE CONTENDER’ DESPITE IT BEING MARK BURNETT’S LEAST SUCCESSFUL REALITY SHOW – I NEVER DID GO WITH THE FLOW. HERE’S THE WEIGH-IN ON SEASON FOUR FROM REALITY TV WORLD’S JOHN BRACCHITTA . . .
The Contender has revealed its fourth-season cast and announced Tony Danza will replace boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard as the host of the show's Versus edition, which will premiere on the network in December.
The 11-episode reality boxing competition series -- which aired its first season on NBC and its next two on ESPN before Versus picked it up after SPN canceled it in July -- is currently filming in Singapore, ESPN.com reported Monday.
Similar to the show's earlier editions, The Contender's fourth season will follow sixteen boxers as they live and train together and compete in a single-elimination five-round fight tournament. This year's tournament will feature 200-pound cruiserweight fighters (Season 3 featured 168-pound super middleweights, while Season 2 featured 147-pound welterweights and Season 1 featured 160-weight middlewights).
"We've just finished taping the fifth fight and the reports I have been getting back from Singapore are that these are the best fights we've had," The Contender co-executive producer and promoter Jeff Wald told ESPN.com. "With five-round fights in a 17-foot ring, these guys don't dance and hold. Mainly, they are toe-to-toe with nowhere to run."
The Contender's fourth season will culminate with a live two-hour finale that will feature the tournament's final two boxers fighting for the season's championship title on February 19. Both the fight's location and the grand prize the boxers will be fighting for have yet to be determined, according to ESPN.com.
"I was in the interviews with all 16 of the guys and I think this is our best season yet personality-wise," Wald told ESPN.com. "I think the viewers are really going to be taken with these guys."
Danza compiled a record of 9-3 with 3 knockouts during a brief 1976-1979 pro career before he began pursuing acting.
TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE AND SEE THE FIGHTING LINE-UP CLICK HERE
THIS IS A MAJOR COOL COMIC TITLE FROM GARY SCOTT BEATTY, WHICH ABSOLUTELY CAPTURES THE FLAVOR OF JAZZ CLUBS IN THE LATE ‘50s. IT’S UNLIKE ANY OTHER COMIC OUT THERE. A FANTASTIC BLEND OF ART AND TEXT . . .
It's a jazz club murder mystery, with art based on 1950s album cover design! From the martini crowd at the uptown piano bars to the whiskey cats at downtown's Skylarks, piano man Dean Fontessa had thought he'd seen it all. But when he agrees to beat chops with the local pounders about a nixed out gabriel, he finds the jazz crowd takes care of its own, dig? A Xeric Foundation grant winner, now in full-color!
CHECK OUT THE PREVIEW PAGE AT BEATTY’S AAZURN PUBLISHING SITE. IT REALLY PUTS THE GRAPHIC IN GRAPHIC NOVEL. THE MOST DIFFERENT COMIC TWIST I'VE READ THIS YEAR.
BLOG BUDDY JAMES REASONER HAS A NICE REVIEW OF THE NEW BAT LASH TRADE PAPERBACK . . .
Back in the Seventies, Bat Lash was one of the regular features in the comic WEIRD WESTERN TALES, along with Jonah Hex and El Diablo. The stories featuring him were probably the most traditional in that group, but they still managed to be off-beat in a MAVERICK sort of way. Bartholomew “Bat” Lash was a drifting gambler who read poetry, wore a flower in his hat, romanced every good-looking woman he encountered, and tried to avoid violence. Of course, he was never very successful at that, so it was lucky he was fast on the draw and good with his fists.
OVER AT BOOKGASM, ROB LOTT HAS A NICE REVIEW OF THE LATEST HARD CASE CRIME ENTRY. . .
For those who devour pulp paperbacks old and new, odds are even you’ll enjoy FIFTY-TO-ONE, the 50th novel from Hard Case Crime which also doubles as author Charles Ardai’s tribute to the 49 books before it, if not the entire genre.
Trixie is a new arrival to New York City who’s barely set foot inside Grand Central Station when she’s cheated out of her money by a wiry little guy who claims he can get her a room to rent for just $36. Defeated, she seeks work at a “talent agency” which promptly bleaches her hair and gets her a gig working as a dancer at a mob-run club.