Saturday, December 3, 2016

This Week in Reading

BOOKS:
Gutenberg’s Apprentice, by Alix Christie, pages 1 – 165
Scandalous Behavior, by Stuart Woods, COMPLETED.  
Project Management for Dummies, by Stanley E. Portny, pages 82– 114.  

COMICS:
Amalgam books: Generation Hex, Legends of the Dark Claw, Lobo the Duck
Doctor Fate (1987) 1 & 2                                              
Nowhere Man 2 – 4
Power of the Atom 2 & 6
Purgatory 1 & 2
TMNT Presents Mighty Mutanimals: Invasion from Space 
Wonder Woman 11
Wonder Woman: A Celebration of 75 years, pages 1 – 119

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Podcast Guest Appearances

Over the last month or so, I've been privileged to appear as a guest on a number of my friends terrific podcasts. There are a few more to be recorded and released in the near future, but here are two that have been recently released.

Any time my buddy The Irredeemable Shagg comes through town, a few of us geeks get together for dinner and comic-book shopping. And this time, Shagg recorded our conversation and released it as part of episode 180 of the Fire & Water Podcast. Russell Burbage and Aaron Bias joined us to talk about our favorite "loser" comic book characters, or Morts.

Nathaniel Wayne invited me on to his excellent 90s Comics Retrial podcast. On episode 32, we discussed Alan Moore's story in Spawn #8. It was a great conversation that touched on Todd McFarlane's business acumen, Alan Moore's vision of Hell, and how Spawn has survived to this day.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

This Week in Reading

BOOKS:
Scandalous Behavior, by Stuart Woods, pages 1 – 94
Kingdom Come, by Elliot S! Maggin, COMPLETED. Review here.
Project Management for Dummies, by Stanley E. Portny, pages 49 – 82.  
Shadow Account, by Stephen Frey, COMPLETED. Review here.

COMICS:
B&V Friends Double Digest 246
Catalyst: Agents of Change 5
Green Arrow 11
Necromancer 4 & 6
Richie Rich Cash 24
Richie Rich Jackpots 24
Richie Rich Money World 31
The Walking Dead 139 – 150
Xenozoic!, pages 154 –  175 (*)

(*) covering the stories that were discussed by Ruth & Darrin Sutherland episode 6 of their excellent Xenozoic Xenophiles podcast.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Book Review of Kingdom Come

Book 42. Kingdom Come, by Elliot S Maggin. Paperback. Based on the story by Alex Ross & Mark Waid.
When it comes to reading novelizations, the choice one has to make is the right order in which to consume the various versions of the story. In the case of Kingdom Come, I think I made the right choice, by starting with the original comic books, before moving on to the audio drama, and then finally this novelization. Each successive version that I experienced added more depth and more details.
 The second and third generations of superheroes fail to abide by the guidance offered by Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. After a self-imposed exile, Superman returns to active duty, in an attempt to rally the superhero community to stop an oncoming apocalypse. An apocalypse of their own making.
The story is told through the viewpoint of Pastor Norman McKay, and his spiritual guide, The Spectre. Pastor McKay has seen terrible visions of the coming war, fearing that prophecies from the book of Revelation are coming to pass. He has been tasked by the Spectre with the unenviable job of judging the world for its sins.
In this novelization, Maggin digs into the main characters, giving us insights into the psyches of many. The relationship between Wonder Woman and Superman is one of the strengths of the book, as Maggin explores how their different worldviews lead them to draw conclusions about the best course of action to follow. The fleshing-out of Pastor McKay’s biography and the working out of his theology is extremely well-done. Batman, Lex Luthor, and Green Arrow are also among the characters we get an insight into.
The comic book version of this story is rightly considered an all-time classic. I recommend this novelization (and the audio production) to anyone who appreciates the original, but wants to spend more time with this story. Maggin's novel adds more details about the characters, more details about the backstory, and more details about the action.
To hear a more detailed discussions of the plot and characters of the story, listen to this episode of Views from the Longbox, in which Emily & I joined host Michael Bailey. For a more detailed discussion of the religious imagery and content, the three of us discussed that on this episode of Dorkness to Light.

Source: My friend Michael Bailey sent it to us, in preparation for the above-referenced podcasts.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review of Shadow Account

Book 41. Shadow Account, by Stephen Frey. Unabridged audio.
Lots of thriller writers include occasional financial subplots or aspects in their novels. John Grisham, David Baldacci, and Robert Ludlum all write novels that fit into this subgenre. But Stephen Frey specializes in novels that take place in the worlds of high finance and investment banking. My favorites of his prior novels include “The Vulture Fund,” “The Day Trader,” and “Silent Partner.” Some of his novels feature recurring characters, but this one is a stand-alone.
Conner Ashby is an investment banker on the way up in his career. But when he receives an email meant for someone else, detailing corporate fraud on a massive scale at a huge public company, he finds himself in the middle of a plot that may cost investors billions of dollars.
The plot eventually includes powerful political figures. Between the high-rollers of finance and political power, Ashby finds himself in danger, and on his own. There are betrayals, surprises, twists, turns, and shootouts. It is a solid high-stakes thriller.
Frey does a nice job dealing with the financial aspects of the novel with accuracy, while not turning those sections into lectures. The novel touches on accounting fraud, the role of external auditors, and how little frauds can quickly turn into large frauds. There are some shortcuts taken in this aspect of the storytelling, but the basic facts are correct, and Frey manages to deliver them nicely within the context of an adventurous fictional story.

Source: Hoopla

Saturday, November 19, 2016

This Week in Reading

BOOKS:
Kingdom Come, by Elliot S! Maggin, pages 260 – 322.
Project Management for Dummies, by Stanley E. Portny, pages 1 - 49
Shadow Account, by Stephen Frey, pages 137 – 281

COMICS:
Binky 81
Captain America 306
Empire of the Wolf 1 – 4
Future Quest 3
Jonny Quest 4, 8, 14, 17, 19, 20, 21 & 28
Steel 5
Wonder Woman 10

Saturday, November 12, 2016

This Week in Reading

BOOKS:
Kingdom Come, by Elliot S! Maggin, pages 201 – 260.
Wounds That Heal, by Stephen Seamands, COMPLETED. Review here.
The Last Quarry, by Max Allan Collins, COMPLETED. Review here.
Shadow Account, by Stephen Frey, pages 1 – 137.


COMICS:
DC Bombshells 19
Echoes 1 –  5
Eclipso 18
Ka-Zar the Savage 5
Mother Russia 1 – 3
New Mutants 58
Sad Sack & the Sarge 119, 127
Scamp 18
Superman/Gen 13 #3