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manga art.jpgstrictly hollywood.jpg
Osamu Tezuka and Strictly Hollywood

Up until the early 1960s Hollywood produced ‘feel good’ musicals that reflex the particular decade they were produced in.

Carlton Books has released a varnished and ready-to-frame collection of art prints commemorating the great musical of all times.

‘The Poster Collection’ includes eight stunning black and white images from some of the greatest musicals starring such Hollywood luminaries as Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire and others.

West Side Story, Singin’ In The Rain, High Society, On The Town, The Gay Divorcee, Funny Face, Cabaret and Top Hat are all represented in ‘Strictly Hollywood’ with images from each film.’

‘The Manga Art Of Osamu Tezuka’ showcases the spectacular art of one of Japan’s leading Manga artists.

Each of Tezuka’s famous figures is represented such as Astro Boy, The Three-Eyed One, Jungle Emperor Leo, Metropolis and many more.

Manga/Anime lovers are sure to want this full-color collection of varnished prints to display.

Both print sets come in oversize, heavy paper stock presentation envelopes.

Other themed collections are also available.

The Prisoner, The Avengers and Casino Royale

I love British TV series from the 1960s-especially the Spy series.

My two favorites were ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘The Avengers’ with ‘The Avengers’ taking the number one spot.

The Emma Peel and John Steed period was by far my favorite but I enjoyed the series overall. 

Originally created as revenge series the show evolved into a spy thriller starring John Steed and several sexy leading ladies.

After the original series was cancelled it was resurrected in the 1970s as ‘The New Avengers’ and in the 1990’s it hit the Silver Screen.

I have an extensive collection of books about ‘The Avengers’ but they pale in comparison to author Michael Richardson’s ‘Bowler Hats And Kinky Boots: The Unofficial And Unauthorized Guide To The Avengers’, published by Telos Publishing Ltd.

It is the most exhaustive and thoroughly researched book about ‘The Avengers’ I have ever encountered.

Everything there is to know about the show is included such as episode guides, behind-the-scenes tidbits, production notes, sequence of original broadcasts, cast and crew bios and so much more.

There are even sections on commercial merchandise tie-ins, the legacy of the show and spin-offs.

There are spy shows and then there is ‘The Prisoner’ what I consider to be an ‘anti-spy’ TV show.

The series star, Patrick McGoohan had just come off his immensely popular ‘Secret Agent’ TV series, as it was known in the United States.

In a brilliant move to bring an end to his popular spy series, McGoohan created ‘The Prisoner’ which although it did not name the key player, was known by fans as the spy in Secret Agent.

When a British spy resigned he is kidnapped and taken to a location known only as ‘The Village’.

While there he is subjected to various forms of mental manipulations in an attempt to learn his secrets.

It is never made clear whether his kidnappers were from the British government or enemy agents.

The series only lasted one season and successfully brought to a conclusion to the saga of the main character.

‘Fall Out: The Unofficial And Unauthorized Guide To The Prisoner’ written by Alan Stevens and Fiona Moore, delves into the enigmatic thriller that changed the face of TV forever.

Filled with pop culture references, utilizing unique storytelling techniques and cleverly managing to keep audiences guessing each week, ‘The Prisoner’ is a cult classic.

Learn all about the series from production secrets to cast and crew bios to episode examinations.

Another British creation made a successful transition to movies from popular novels.

James Bond, the suave and deadly British spy premiered on the Silver Screen in the early 1960s.

Due to a copyright snafu the popular series had a lapse where another production company was able to make its own ‘unofficial’ James Bond film based on ‘Casino Royale’.

Made with tongue securely placed its cheek, ‘Casino Royale’ was more farce that a spy-thriller.

Still it is a James Bond film and although lambasted by ‘true’ James Bond fans it does have a place in cinema history.

‘The Making Of Casino Royale (1967)’ by Michael Richardson takes a good hard look at the James Bond spoof.

Cast and crew bios, production notes, missing scenes, production difficulties and how the film was adapted for the screen and other interesting tidbits fill the pages with information about the cult classic.

FSF732.jpgThe Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #732, July/August


The Masochist’s Assistant

The Bride In Sea-Green Velvet

I Am Not I

Afiya’s Song


The Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped A Crooked House

Short Stories

In A Wide Sky, Hidden

A Dog’s Story

An Obstruction To Delivery

An Unearned Death


Northwest Cruise


Books To Look For

Musing On Books

Science With The Best Of Intentions

Films: Ghoulies, Ghosties, Beasties

Coming Attractions


previews-July-2017.jpgPreviews, July 2017




Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS

Bolivar Original HC l BOOM! STUDIOS

Lookers: Ember #2 l BOUNDLESS COMICS



Lighter Than My Shadow Gn l LION FORGE

Oh Joy Sex Toy Volume 4 GN l LIMERENCE PRESS

Devilman Grimoire Volume 1 GN l SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT LLC

Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter #1 l TITAN COMICS

The Evil Within #1 l TITAN COMICS

Wolfenstein #1 l TITAN COMICS

Street Fighter Unlimited Volume 1 TP l UDON ENTERTAINMENT INC

Bloodshot Salvation #1 l VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC

Death Note All-in-One Edition Slipcase GN l VIZ MEDIA LLC



Chip Kidd: Book Two 2007-2017 PREVIEWS Exclusive Bookplate Edition HC l ART BOOKS

Chris Ware: Monograph PREVIEWS Exclusive Bookplate Edition HC l ART BOOKS

Ultimate Marvel: Heroes Villains Locations Technology and Vehicles HC l COMICS

Paperbacks From Hell SC l POP CULTURE & MUSIC

Tarzan and the Cannibal King HC l PULP HEROES


Juxtapoz #201 l ART BOOKS

Frozen Magazine #17 l MOVIE/TV

007 Magazine Presents: Exhibitors Campaign Books Volume 2 l MOVIE/TV

The Walking Dead Magazine #21 l THE WALKING DEAD


Topps 2017 Star Wars Masterwork Trading Cards l NON-SPORTS CARDS


Star Wars: Saber Cutaway Black T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR

Marvel: Black Bolt Overlay Black T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR

Marvel: Team Up Cablepool Black T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR

SHIELD Logo Hexshine 59Fifty Fitted Cap l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR

Wonder Woman: Fade Symbol T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS

Justice League: JL Unite T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS


Batman TAS Premier Collection: Harley’s Holiday Statue l DIAMOND SELECT TOYS & COLLECTIBLES

DC Comics Rebirth: Deathstroke Statue l DC HEROES

Fantasy Figure Gallery: DC Comics: Supergirl 1/6-Scale Resin Statue l DC HEROES

POP! Darkwing Duck: Negaduck Vinyl Figure l FUNKO

Marvel Legends: Deadpool 12-Inch Action Figure l MARVEL HEROES

Star Wars: The Black Series 40th-Anniversary Die-Casts l STAR WARS


Marvel Universe Variant Play Arts Kai: Deadpool X-Force Figure l TREASURES OF AKIHABARA

DC TV: The Flash: Reverse Flash Artfx+ Statue l KOTOBUKIYA

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: EAA-049: Rocket with Kid Groot Figure l GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Star-Lord with Explosion S.H.Figuarts l GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2

Godzilla 12-Inch Series Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla Figure l GODZILLA

Predator: City Hunter 1/18-Scale Figure l PREDATOR

Predator: Guardian Predator 1/18-Scale Figure l PREDATOR

Sailor Moon: Pink Moon Stick Proplica l SAILOR MOON

Okami: Amaterasu Life Size Bust l VIDEO GAMES


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Basilisk Bookend l HARRY POTTER

Alien: Full Overhead Deluxe Latex Mask l HALLOWEEN

Predator: Full Overhead Deluxe Latex Mask l HALLOWEEN

Wonder Woman Movie: Tiara & Bracelet Cosplay Set l WONDER WOMAN

Wonder Woman Movie: Sword & Shield Hair Clip Set l WONDER WOMAN


Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks Board Game l GALE FORCE 9

Pathfinder RPG: Book of the Damned HC l PAIZO INC

Valerian: Alpha Missions Board Game l ULTRA PRO INTERNATIONAL

Rick and Morty Clue: Back In Blackout Board Game l USAOPOLY

Star Trek Heroclix: Away Team: Original Series Booster Brick l WIZKIDS/NECA

Mickey Mouse, Snow White,
Pinocchio and Inventor’s

It all started with a mouse.  In 1928 a small mouse inspired Walt Disney to create what is now considered one of the greatest representations of the American spirit and symbol of perseverance.

When Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse he had no inkling that a small animated rodent would lead to the creation of one of the world’s most influential, prosperous and innovative animation, TV, movie, theme park and entertainment companies in the world.

‘Mickey Mouse Emblem Of The American Spirit’ written and researched by Garry Apgar and published by Weldon Owen/The Walt Disney Family Foundation Press, LLC, is the first book that offers a biography of the famous mouse.

Mickey's and Walt’s lives are so intertwined that to read about one is to read about the other.

Without the success of Mickey, Walt Disney would have probably not have achieved the worldwide recognition both he and his company now garner.

Through a careful examination of the famous mouse through the decades the book painstakingly chronicles the rise to American icon status Mickey Mouse holds.

Sketches, drawings, animation cells, photos and other documents and images complement the intriguing and interesting text about the world’s most famous mouse in this wonderful hardbound book.

The success of Mickey Mouse and other early Walt Disney animated shorts prompted Walt to take a huge risk and produce and animate the world’s first full-length animated feature: Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.

A new book, by the same name, written by J. B. Kaufman explores the art and creation of Walt Disney’s classic animated film.

Filled with rare and seldom seen production sketches, character designs, set designs, animation cell reproductions and copious notes and text about the production of the film make this book a fascinating journey into the imagination.

Artists and designers of all ages will appreciate the massive amount of work and planning that went into the making of this ground-breaking film.

When you consider that everything in the film was hand drawn or painted and painstakingly assembled in a project the likes that have never been attempted before you can appreciate the sheer genius that went into making the film loved by millions worldwide.

J.B. Kaufman explores and examines what is considered the greatest animated film of all time: Pinocchio.

‘Pinocchio The Making Of the Disney Epic’ examines how Disney artists and designers took a much-loved children’s classic and translated to the big screen.

Filled to the brim with production art, character designs, set concepts, scene sequences and much more the book lovingly pays tribute to the high concept film.

Beautiful art plates, spot illustrations, pencil sketches, color tests, behind-the-scenes photos and even Pinocchio merchandise are all spotlighted, accompanied by informative text, creative staff quotes and memories and so much more.

It’s a beautiful tribute to the animators, artists and creative people behind this legend of a film.

It’s without a doubt that Walt Disney and his staff of creative employees are considered the modern day inventor’s of the animated film.

‘Popular Science The Total Inventor’s Manual’ by Sean Michael Ragan, will inspire would-be inventors to ‘transform your idea into a top-selling product’ from idea to prototyping to funding.

Using profiles of famous creators and clever and fun illustrations and examples, the book is sure to inspire and delight any would-be creator/inventor.

Inventors will learn how to refine their idea, create a prototype, secure funding, copy write their invention and achieve success in this clever and  easy-to-understand softbound book that encourages inventors to pursue their dreams.

H.G. Wells and Peanuts

When I was a young kid I used to make my Mom upset with me because I would spend my lunch money on books from the Scholastic Books Library Kiosk at school.

One of my all-time favorite writers was (and still is) H.G. Wells, known for such works as ‘The Time Machine’, War Of The Worlds and many more which shaped science fiction literature.

In ‘Steampuck H.G. Wells’ illustrated by Zdenko Basic and published by Running Press, Well’s ‘The Time Machine’, The War Of The Worlds and ‘The Country Of The Blind’ are accompanied by Steampunk renderings very much in the vein of the time period they were placed.

Beautifully illustrated in stunning full color the book captures the sheer magnitude of the stories as only Steampunk can portray them.

Imagine the events happening during the dawn of the Industrial Revolution when steam, pistons and massive machinery were the norm.

I can almost picture the Steampunk machinations at work in each story with knobs, buttons, pipes and archaic hinged and geared contrivances populating each tale.

The book is a ‘must have’ for any Wells or Steampunk fan.

It’s hard to imagine that the creator of the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip: Charles M. Schulz, passed away over 17 years ago.

And yet his work and genius are still present and prevalent today.

Two new Peanuts themed books are out.

‘Be Active’ encourages kids and adults to enjoy the great outdoors.

Dare to try something new, get some exercise, get exhausted and feel accomplished.

It’s a great way to ‘Find Energy Through Peanuts’.

The Peanuts comic strip gained much notoriety for its simple but honest approach to life’s ups and downs and challenges.

The Peanuts kids represented a small microcosm of society with all personality types and temperaments present.

In ‘Peanuts Guide To Life’ the wit and wisdom from the world’s best-loved cartoon characters offers quotes and advice from the entire Peanuts gang when dealing with life’s day-to-day activities and challenges.

It’s simple, straight-forward and some of the best advice you can get.

johnny depp.jpgpirates.jpg
Johnny Depp and Pirates

Perhaps no other modern day film actor in the United States (or the world for that matter) has a more varied portfolio of unique characters of which he has created and played.

Actor Johnny Depp has thrilled movie-goers with his on-screen personifications for decades.

Not bad for a guy who gained fame as an undercover cop patrolling the hallways of a high school in the TV series ’21 Jump Street.’

Johnny’s unique ability of portraying the most quirky of characters and making them all memorable is second to none.

Normally a shy and reclusive person, Johnny seldom talks about his work, unless pressed, and very seldom watches himself on screen.

In ‘Johnny Depp A Retrospective’ written by Steven Daly and published by Carlton Books, readers are offered a unique opportunity to get to know the very private actor.

The book, outlines in color and black and white photos and interesting prose, Johnny’s long and impressive career beginning with his early TV days.

Often collaborating with director Tim Burton, the two have produced an impressive roster of films such as Sleepy Hollow, Edward Scissorhands, Charlie And The Chocolate factory, two Alice In Wonderland movies as well as several other memorable films.

Johnny has made several dozen other films with equally impressive directors-some successful-some not so much.

Regardless of the film, Johnny always gives each film his all and his own particular twist to any character.

Fans are sure to love this book as it delves into the persona and life of one of the most revered and respected actors in the business.

Of course no book about Johnny Depp would be complete without paying homage to perhaps Johnny’s greatest film creation: Captain Jack Sparrow, the infamous pirate captain of the Pirates Of The Caribbean film series.

Speaking of pirates. ‘Pirates Dead Men’s Tales’ written by Anne Rooney and illustrated by Joe Wilson, is wonderful book for kids all about pirates.

Famous swashbucklers, treasures, maps, ships, weapons, legends, strange lands and adventures are all chronicled in this lushly illustrated book about the scourge of the Seven Seas.

“Arrgh mateys!  It’s a treasure to be sure!”

Wonder Woman.jpg.size-230.jpg  alien_covenant_pp5.jpg
Wonder Woman and Alien Covenant

Two late Spring early Summer movie releases have hit the movie theater circuits.

One highly successful and the other disappointing at the box office.

Titan Books presents two oversize hardbound books dedicated to each.

‘Wonder Woman The Art And Making Of the Film’ by Sharon Gosling and featuring a foreword by Patty Jenkins (the director of the film), takes an up-close and personal look at the production of DC Comics movie that promises to rejuvenate the DC Comics movie franchise.

Featuring a slip cover with spot varnish photos and a gorgeous reproduction of the Wonder Woman movie poster on its cover, the book is a real feast for the eyes.

Readers are given a brief visual and text introduction to Wonder Woman’s comic book history and then are immediately swept into the spectacular cinema world of the warrior Amazon.

Pre and post production behind the scenes photos and information, as well as production cameo shots and visuals immerse readers into the amazing world of the premiere super heroine’s world.

Stunning pro and post production art and photos of set pieces, costumes, character designs, weapons, period pieces and more fill page after page with luscious full-color art and photos.

No detail is left out: from costume fittings to weapon and fight training to the amazing computer visual effects.

Just as impressive is ‘The Art And Making Of Alien Covenant’ by Simon Ward.

The book examines the latest chapter in the Aliens movie franchise with candid behind-the-scenes shots, creature, set and costume designs, character bios and a plethora of movie magic.

It’s a remarkable book that examines every nook and cranny of the making of the film showcasing full page color photos, cast and crew comments, exterior shots, computer and practical visual and stunt effects and an unsettling look at the carnage caused by the Alien creatures.

If you love the Alien movie franchise you’re sure to want this book.

television westerns by alvin marill.jpgTelevision Westerns

For six decades Television Westerns have been broadcast over the airwaves.

Network TV or Cable TV, it makes little difference-Western fans can’t seem to get enough.

Since they were first introduced on TV Westerns have drawn in audiences-albeit Westerns viewership has dwindled over the decades.

Still, they are still produced and there is an audience or they would have simply disappeared.

When they first aired they were little more than kid fare with simple plots, wooden acting and historically inaccurate costumes and settings.

As they grew in popularity, authenticity and more mature storylines began to manifest and before long the ‘entire’ family could watch them.

In ‘Television Westerns’ written by Alvin H. Merrill and published by Rowman & Littlefield, readers are provided a thoroughly researched and comprehensive analysis and historical accurate account of the TV Western.

Experience six decades of sagebrush, sheriffs, scalawags and sidewinders that recalls not only Western TV series but specials, documentaries and much more.

If it has anything to do with TV Westerns you’re sure to find it in ‘Television Westerns’.

america's longest small town by jim hinckley.jpgRoute US 66 America’s Longest Small Town 2,451 mi.

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing.  It allows you to view the past through rose-colored glasses and reminisce about the old times filtering out the bad times and focusing on the good times.

Looking at old things or locations via photographs more often than not reminds you of simpler and easier times.

Nowhere is that more so than America’s (and the worlds') fascination with the ‘Mother Road’ of America: Route 66.

Visions of Route 66 bring up images of side show attractions, gas stations and rest stops and theme motels and business establishment.

Route 66 fandom continues to grow as more and more people traverse its long and historic trail sprinkled with buildings and attractions from the past (some that still survive and some falling into decay).

In Jim Hinckley’s ‘Route US 66 America’s Longest Small Town 2,451 mi.’ published by Voyageur Press/Quarto Publishing Group, relive the past via beautiful color photos, fact-filled text, personal recollections and much more.

It’s a visual stroll through yesteryear that is fun, fascinating and a wonderful journey down Memory Lane.

television western players 1960-1975 by everett aaker.jpgTelevision Western Players, 1960-1975

TV Westerns were in their heyday during the 1950s in the U.S.A.

Every kid wanted to be a cowboy and explore the Ol’ West, fight Indians and bad guys and clean up small towns for decent folk.

Most 1950s Westerns were pretty cut and dry; good guys versus bad guys and the good guys always won.

Things began to change in the 1960s. ‘Adult’ Westerns became increasingly popular and would remain so through the mid-1970s.

Ironically as audience sophistication grew the number of TV Westerns dwindled.

In ‘Television Western Players, 1960-1975 A Biographical Dictionary’ writer Everett Aaker and McFarland& Company, Inc., Publishers, spotlight the actresses and actors who populated the TV Westerns during that 15 years.

Key players in each series are chronicled including their personal and professional information, family and other information.

Listed in alphabetical order each individual is given their just due and credit.

It is fully indexed and gives complete filmography of each individual.


Comedy, Shop and Shocked

Admit it.  Sometimes day-to-day life can be a drag.  Work, coming home, doing chores, watching the kids, too short weekends and then back to the same, old boring routine.

Surely life is more than work, work, and work!  There has to be a way to break up your day and bring a little fun and variety to your day.

Cheer up! There is!

Nothing earth-shaking or life-changing, but something that brings a little sunshine in your life and a spring to your step.

I’m talking about Offshoot Book’s cornucopia of fun books that include puzzles, memo pages, cutouts, coloring pages and bunches of other offbeat and fun-filled activities.

Think of the books a recess for adults.  They are a great way to break up the day and recapture a little of your childhood.

After all, grown-ups are just big kids in older bodies.  Take the challenge and release your inner-child.  You won’t regret it.

Check in and check out with Offshoot’s ‘Shocked!: When The Office Doesn’t Rock!”

Be warned! Don’t let your boss see you looking at this book with all of its fun activities.  He might want to join in.  Maybe that’s a good thing.

It’s fun, colorful, challenging and a little silly fun for the kid in all of us.

On a more serious note—no not really!

Challenge your knowledge of William Shakespeare’s literary works with ‘Comedy In Tragedy’.

The old Bard would get a real kick out of this clever compilation of puzzles, Q & A activities that will challenge any would-be thespian.

‘To be, or not to be!”-having fun with this book.

Who doesn’t like to shop?

In Shop-o-holic: I Would Rather Shop Than Color!’ readers get the chance get to mix up merchandise and fun activities all in one book.

How’s your shopping knowledge? Can you figure out a budget, pick out the best deal or resist the urge to splurge?

Let’s go shopping!  It’s ‘time well ‘spent’.

previews617.jpg Preview, June


Equilibrium: Deconstruction #1 l AMERICAN MYTHOLOGY PRODUCTIONS

Providence Act 3 HC l AVATAR PRESS INC

Mech Cadet Yu #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS

Adventure Time/Regular Show #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS



Lark’s Killer #1 l DEVILS DUE /1FIRST COMICS

Ghost In Shell Readme 1995-2017 HC l KODANSHA COMICS


Dead of Winter #1 l ONI PRESS INC.

Captain Harlock Dimensional Voyage Volume 1 GN l SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT LLC


Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension Alpha #1 l TITAN COMICS

Quake Champions #1 l TITAN COMICS


Robotech Visual Archive Macross Saga HC l UDON ENTERTAINMENT INC


The Art of My Little Pony: The Movie l VIZ MEDIA LLC



Cannabis Works 2 HC l ART BOOKS

Wonder Woman: Warbringer HC l COMICS

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons l DISNEY/ PIXAR


Cartoons Magazine #10 l CARTOONS

Comics Revue Presents August 2017 l COMICS

007 Magazine #40 l MOVIE/TV

40 Years of Star Wars Magazine l STAR WARS


Topps 2017 The Walking Dead Season 7 Trading Cards l NON-SPORTS CARDS


Marvel: “Captain Hydra” Black T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR

Marvel: “Gems Info” Black T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR

Marvel: “Gwen Hood” Pink Foil Turquoise T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR

Justice League Movie Logo T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS

Wonder Woman Movie Logo T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS


The Dark Tower Select Action Figures l DIAMOND SELECT TOYS & COLLECTIBLES

Mr Potato Head: Alien Xenomorph l ALIEN

Rick & Morty Action Figures l FUNKO

Wonder Woman Movie: Wonder Woman Statue l ICON HEROES

Wonder Woman Movie: Wonder Woman Bust l ICON HEROES

Wonder Woman Movie: Sword Letter Opener l ICON HEROES

X-Men Legends 6-Inch Action Figures l MARVEL HEROES

Playmobil Ghostbusters: Ecto-1 Play-Set l PLAYMOBIL

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Legacy: Titanus Black Edition Figure l POWER RANGERS

Star Wars: The Black Series 40th-Anniversary Legacy Action Figure Set l STAR WARS


Godzilla 12-Inch Series: Tokyo S.O.S. Mechagodzilla Figure l GODZILLA

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 EAA-050: Star-Lord Action Figure l GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Link RAH Figure l LEGEND OF ZELDA

Marvel Universe Variant Play Arts Kai: Doctor Strange Figure l MARVEL HEROES

Spider-Man Homecoming: Spider-Man S.H.Figuarts Wall Set l MARVEL HEROES

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rocksteady PVC Figure l TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES


Grand Heritage: The Punisher Vest Replica l MARVEL HEROES

Star Wars Episode 4 40th-Anniversary Opening Crawl Glow-in-the-Dark Scarf l STAR WARS


Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis: Animation Annihilation l CRYPTOZOIC ENTERTAINMENT

Rick and Morty: Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind l CRYPTOZOIC ENTERTAINMENT

Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting HC l GREEN RONIN PUBLISHING

Star Wars 40th-Anniversary Monopoly l HASBRO TOY GROUP

Starfinder RPG: Core Rulebook HC l PAIZO

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Card Game l RENEGADE GAME STUDIO

DC HeroClix: Harley Quinn and the Gotham Girls Booster Brick l WIZKIDS/NECA

Bible, Steampunk, Robots and Fantasy

I love reading my Bible. 

As a Christian it is important to me to read and study my Bible everyday.

Like most other Christians I’ve done my share of highlighting scripture, making border notes and writing sermon notes on notebook paper.

But, what if I could share with you an exciting new way to accent your Bible study and bring out your creative talent?

Authors Joanne Fink and Regina Yoder and publisher Fox Chapel Publishing/Design Originals are proud to introduce to readers of the scripture brand new ways to bring the holy scriptures alive.

The ‘Complete Guide To Bible Journaling Creative Ways To Express Your Faith’ is a colorful and astonishing new book that presents the latest craze in Bible study.

Learn how to highlight your Bible, or journal pages, with colorful illustrations, lettering, images and more using all types of media including color pencils, acrylic paint, and markers along with stickers, tabs and so much more.

Page after page of examples are provided along with stickers, velum images for tracing, lettering and a gallery of images.

Reading the Bible will never be the same again.

A few years back when I was teaching high school drawing classes I discovered Steampunk. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Steampunk it is a truly unique culture of art, attire and much more.

Steampunk artists base their art on combining steam era technology with new or existing technology, cloths, art and other media.

In ‘The Art Of Steampunk’ ‘Revised Second Edition’ from Art Donovan you’ll learn and see all the extraordinary devices and ingenious contraptions from the leading artists of the Steampunk Movement.

It’s truly remarkable to see everyday objects like cameras, motorcycles, rifles and computers all transformed into Steampunk creations.

There're even a few examples of totally original Steampunk creations.

Top Steampunk artists are spotlighted along with their colorful creations.  It’s a jam-packed cornucopia of crazy contraptions that dazzle the eyes and spark the imagination.

’Manga To the Max Drawing and Coloring Book Robots’ from Erik DePrince contains every conceivable type of Manga Robot design along with step-by step instructions on how to draw and color them.

It’s Manga Madness with Robots, their weapons and their mechanisms all wrapped up in clever coloring page designs.

Eric Messinger’s ‘Fantasy Adventure Dragons, Dwarves, Elves And Other Extraordinary Creatures Coloring Book’ brings out the fantasy artist in anyone.

Highly detailed illustrations complemented by color guide instructions and tips make this a fantasy fulfilled for any wannabe fantasy artist.

hearts and minds.jpgHearts And Minds

In the original Star Trek TV series Captain Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise are assigned to travel back to Earth to 1968 in order to observe history in the making.

When a mysterious transporter beam coming from deep space intercepts the Enterprise a human: Gary Seven, and his cat Isis are beamed aboard.

Gary demands to be beamed to Earth in order to avert a nuclear holocaust.

Seven manages to escape with Spock and Kirk in hot pursuit.  Is he there to help mankind or destroy it? 

Fortunately he averts a near disaster and remains on Earth to monitor events.

Who is/was Gary Seven?  Where did he come from and who are the aliens who sent him?

How long have they interfered with mankind’s progress and are there others like Gary?

Sometime later it is discovered that mankind has indeed been ‘babysat’ by the aliens, but no one knows for how long.

In ‘Star Trek The Next Generation: Hearts and Minds’ written by Dayton Ward and published by Pocket Books, the mysterious race of alien benefactors once again come into play.

Assigned to explore the Odyssean Pass, the Enterprise discovers what is believed to be an uncharted world.

But when Captain Picard addresses the planet’s representative and mentions Earth the alien knows of Picard’s home planet.

How does the mysterious planet link to Earth’s past?

 When secret communications from Starfleet about the mysterious planet arrive Picard decides to investigate.

What will he find and how does Earth, the newly discovered planet and Gary Seven’s alien connection all tie in together?

Those are just a few of the questions you’ll be asking yourself as you read ‘Hearts and Minds.’

Mysteries unfold and more questions arise as the book reveals hither unknown secrets of Earth’s past and its ties to other alien civilizations.

British History, Warfare and Spock’s Logic

Britain and The United States have a long, and sometime turbulent, history.

While it is true that in the past as nations we’ve had our squabbles, the important thing is that we are staunch allies now.

As allies it behooves us to know about each other histories in order to better understand each other and cement our long-standing relationship of friendship and cooperation.

That’s why I recommend authors Peter and Dan Snow’s new book from Carlton Books/ Andre Deutsch: Treasures Of British History.

In this stunning hardbound, slipcase book readers are privy to some of the greatest events; inventions and innovations from British history, starting with the Roman Era and up until the present.

Important documents, memorabilia and other reproduced artifacts are inserted in special envelopes along with maps, charts and documents.

It’s exciting to read and study the illustrious and fascinating history of Britain with all of its ups and downs, victories and failures and the undying and strong will of its people.

Beginning with World War 1 publisher Andre Deutsch and author Paul Brewer offer a authoritative record of war as experienced all over the world in ‘100 Years Of Warfare’..

From small ‘skirmishes’ to world-shaking conflicts the book successfully chronicles the horrors of war.

Using art, charts, maps, archival photos and concise, no frills text the book also spotlights key battles, military personnel, campaigns, key personalities and much more that changed the face of the world for the better or worse.

As a non-historian I appreciate the simple-to-understand and comprehend text, poignant art and photos and the chronological way the book is arranged by years.

War is chaos and illogical.  For a taste of the purely logical pick up a copy of ‘Spock’s Logic Puzzles’ containing more than 100 riddles, conundrums, and observations…from across the galaxy.

Test you logic and intuitive skills using the Star Trek scenarios laid out that offer challenges in order to come to a logical conclusions.

Filled with classic Star Trek images the book is more than a puzzle book, it represents logic as presented by Spock in the Star Trek Universe.

Television Series Nostalgia

I’d like to meet author Vincent Terrace.  We have a lot in common.

It’s evident from the three books he’s written about TV series from the past that he loves old, nostalgic TV shows, just like I do.

Mr. Terrace has written and compiled three, fascinating hardbound books about past TV series that list shows from the 1950s to the 1970s in alphabetical order.

The ‘Television Series Of the 1950s (and 1960s and 1970s)’ books are filled with essential facts and quirky details about TV series spanning three decades.

Learn all about the actresses and actors; behind the scenes tidbits and supporting casts of TV fan favorites.

Precise and concise descriptions of each show are included along with character bios, seldom-mentioned facts and production secrets and so much more.

Sprinkled throughout each book are archival photos, airdates and so much nostalgic goodies that even the most diehard of TV fans will be thrilled and excited turning each and every page.

I love many of the TV series from the 1950s to the 1970s and I am excited to get the opportunity to look over all three of these wonderful books. 

If you’re like me you’re going to enjoy walking down TV Memory Lane with all three books published by Rowman & Littlefield.

It’s the perfect way to test your TV knowledge.

Regrettable and Spectacular

You know them by name: Batman, The Joker, Superman, Lex Luthor, Spider-Man, The Green Goblin, Captain America, The Red Skull, Wonder Woman, The Cheetah and dozens of other recognizable superheroes and super villains of comic book fame.

They are the cream of the crop, top of the heap, kings of the mountain and then there are the second, third, fourth and fifth string band of bad guys and good guys.

They are the super villains and superheroes that fill in the lower echelon of the comic book world.

Stuck with lame names and powers characters such as Mr. Hydro, Amazing Man, Dr. Voodoo, Bee-Man and other ludicrous tags with equally lame super powers.

Author Jon Morris and Quirk Books present a duo of books that explore the second tier worlds of super bad guys and good guys.

The ‘League Of Regrettable Superheroes’ and ‘The Legion Of Regrettable Super Villains’ provide in-depth information (with art) of those second string super-powered individuals that crop up in stories on all too-frequent basis.

Comic book collectors and historians are sure to want to get their hands on these two fascinating books that cover the heroes and villains that populate the lower levels of crime and justice.

From the Golden Age to the Modern Age of comic books they are all present and are given their just due.  Plus, the books are a lot of fun to look through!

Today’s TV and movie viewers are used to a plethora of super powered female characters.

Strong female superwomen are everywhere and are proving to be incredible popular with fans.

Just a few of the TV and film heroines that captivate audiences are The Black Widow, The Phoenix, The White Canary and dozens more.

But, there was a time when women in comic books were little more than window dressing and damsels in distress.

Ironically if it were not for those early female characters many of comic books’ biggest superheroes would have little reason to exist.  Take Lois Lane for example.  Where would Superman have been if he didn’t have Lois to rescue?

In ‘The Spectacular Sisterhood Of Superwomen’ by Hope Nicholson, female comic book characters are given due credit for their contribution to the art form.

Join the author as she takes you through a whirlwind tour through the past decades as she spotlights (with the aid of full color art) the illustrious careers of the greatest female characters ever to grace the pages of comic books.

Learn about the creation of each character, who their creators were and how they shaped the comic book industry.

It’s about time women are given their fair share of the credit for the part they played in comic books and popular culture.


filmfatalesFilm Fatales

You’ve seen them or heard of them.

Those deceitful, lying, manipulating and always-sultry bad girls of movies and TV series and their goody two-shoes counterparts of the 1060s and 1970s finally get their stories told.

The sexy, alluring and oh so ‘innocent’ female spies of TV and film that always managed to seduce the good guy or one of his associates, divulge secrets and relay them back to their world-conquering bosses or save the day.

Just as there are ‘bad girls’ in spy movies or TV series there are innocent ‘good girls’ who get the good guy in the end.

In ‘Film Fatales’ the ‘Women in Espionage Films and Television 1962-1973’ as compiled and written by Tom Lasanti and Louis Paul and published by McFarland & Company, Inc., with a foreword by Eillen O’Neill, is chock full of female fatales who put the sex appeal in spying.

All of the women (good or bad) that starred or appeared as characters in James Bond films, spy films and TV espionage series are given their just due.

Photos and text examine each and every lovely lady and their film and/or TV careers and discover what they are up today.

If you love the 1960’s and 1970’s spy films and TV series then this is the book for you.


Sherlock Holmes, Pocket Bike Maintenance and The Rolling Stones

So you think you are a detective?  You consider yourself a sleuth of sorts and are real good at piecing clues together to solve crimes.

You notice small details and are adept at solving the most complicated of problems.

But, are you on the same level of crime solving as the legendary Sherlock Holmes?

Here’s your chance to prove yourself.

Carlton Books and Dr. John Watson challenge you to solves 140 cerebral challenges in ‘The Sherlock Holmes Puzzle Collection The Lost Cases.’

Use your powers of deduction to solve puzzles, memory problems and all types of brainteasers that will challenge your brain and prove that you can solve puzzles inspired by Sherlock Holmes’ legendary detective skills.

If you love riding a bicycle like I do then you know that the upkeep and repair skills to maintain your bike can be daunting-especially any mechanical issues.

The ‘Pocket Bike Maintenance’ book compiled by Mel Allwood is a handy and portable guide that delves into each and every aspect of owning and maintaining a bike.

Whether it is a simple thing like changing a flat tire to where to store and repair you two-wheel transport, this book covers it all.

Full color photos and informative text lead you step-by step on how to keep your bicycle in tiptop condition.

They are known as the ‘Bad boys of Rock and Roll.’

The Rolling Stones have been around since the early 1960s and show no signs of slowing down.

In Steve Appleford’s new book: ‘The Rolling Stones The Stories Behind The Biggest Songs’ readers get a first-hand look at the group itself over the decades and how they went about creating their biggest hits.

The book delves into the inspiration for each song and includes seldom mentioned or unknown fact tidbits that give life to both the group and their music.

After all ‘It’s Only Rock And Roll!’

FSF731The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #731, May/June


Witch's Hour– Shannon Connor Winward

Dirty Old Town– Richard Bowes

The Prognosticant– Matthew Hughes

My English Name– R.S. Benedict


A Thousand Deaths Throught Flesh and Stone– Brian Trent

The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs– Kelly Jennings

What the Hands Know– Gregor Hartmann

The Woman with the Long Black Hair– Zach Shepard

The First Day of Someone Else's Life– John Schoffstall

Neko Brushes – Leah Cypess

Rings– Nina Kiriki Hoffman


The Path to Peace – Mary Soon Lee


Books to Look For– Charles de Lint

Books– Elizabeth Hand

Plumage from Pegasus: Happiness Is a Worn Gunn – Paul Di Filippo

Science: Robots on the Road– Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty

Television: Western Histories– David J. Skal

Competition #93                       

Coming Attractions                   

Curiosities – Mark Esping


Bill Long, Arthur Masear, Nick Downes


Maurizio Manzieri for "The Prognosticant"


route 66 adventure handbookRoute 66 Adventure Handbook High-Octane Fifth Edition

Well if you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, take the highway that's the best
Get your kicks on Route 66

Well it winds from Chicago to LA
More than two thousands miles all the way
Get your kicks on Route 66

Of all the highways and byways that run through the Continental United States Route 66, that traverses from the East Coast to the West Coast, is the most popular and well-known to American motorists.

There’s something about Route 66 that oozes Americana. 

Whether it’s its historical significance, funky attractions or its winding and meandering trail through America’s small towns and cities, Route 66 is sure to captivate any traveler.

Author and photographer Drew Knowles and Santa Monica Press present the ‘High-Octane Fifth Edition’ of their ‘ Route 66 Adventure Handbook’ that now offers GPS coordinates and city maps.

This book is the ultimate guide to ‘America’s Main Street’ from coast to coast.

Pages are filled with black and white photos of offbeat roadside attractions, vintage motels and cafes, natural wonders and much more.

Jam-packed with fascinating text detailing historical facts and travel hints and suggestions of great places to visit the book is a ‘must have’ for any serious Route 66 fan.

So, be sure to ‘get your kicks’ from this ‘Route 66’ handbook that explores America at its best and quirkiest.

Aurora Model Kits With Polar Lights, Moebius, AtlantisAurora Model Kits
With Polar Lights, Moebius, Atlantis

Mention Aurora Model Kits and any model maker worth their salt (or an old guy like me who made Aurora Model Kits in the 1960s) immediately have various images come to mind.

Aurora, among model makers, brings up memories of monster, TV, movie and superhero plastic model kits.

As a young boy and teenager I made my share of Aurora Model Kits, among them ALL of the Universal Monsters, All of the superhero figures and All of the sci-fi model kits, including the vehicles.

Original Aurora Model Kits (especially in their boxes) are some of the most sought after and prized model kits.

Model kit collectors are guaranteed to pay high prices for these coveted model kits.

But, did you know that Aurora made model kits of all types?  Cars, planes, ships, animals, historical figures, military vehicles and every other conceivable type of model kits were created by Aurora.

In Schiffer Books’ and author Thomas Graham’s new book ‘Aurora Model Kits With Polar Lights, Moebius, Atlantis’ the history of the company is examined including interviews with former creators and employees of Aurora.

Sadly Aurora is no more, having gone out of business.  But, Aurora’s legacy lives on through the efforts of model kit companies: Polar Lights, Moebius and Atlantis.

The book offers full color photos of ALL of Aurora’s model kits including current prices, along with photos and prices of other company products that carry on Aurora’s proud legacy.

This book is a real feast for the eyes as readers travel down model kit Memory Lane. 


previews-May-2017Previews, May


Miraculous Adventures #1 l ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT

Dreadful Beauty: The Art of Providence TP l AVATAR PRESS INC

The Mystery Knight GN l BANTAM / SPECTRA

Lady Mechanika: The Clockwork Assassin #1 l BENITEZ PRODUCTIONS

Go Go Power Rangers #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS

Sisters of Sorrow #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS

Belladonna Annual 2017 l BOUNDLESS COMICS



The Phantom: President Kennedy’s Mission #1 l HERMES PRESS

Rick & Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It #1 l ONI PRESS INC.

Robotech #1 l TITAN COMICS

The Death of Stalin HC l TITAN COMICS

Disney Manga: Tangled GN l TOKYOPOP

Faith and the Future Force #1 l VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Volume 1 GN l VERTICAL COMICS



Bernie Wrightson: Art & Designs for the Gang of 7 Animation Studio HC l ART BOOKS

Kirby: King of Comics Anniversary Edition SC l COMICS

Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method Publisher Edition Revised l HOW-TO

Back to the Future: Sculpted Movie Poster & Ultimate Visual History l MOVIE/TV

Steven Universe: Art & Origins HC l MOVIE/TV


Doctor Who Magazine #514 l DOCTOR WHO

The Creeps #11 l HORROR

The James Bond Films Exhibitors Campaign Books Volume 1 TP l MOVIE/TV


Star Trek: The Women of Star Trek 50th Anniversary Trading Cards l RITTENHOUSE ARCHIVES


Star Wars Han Not Solo Softhand Ink Px Silver T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR

Marvel: Venom Full Overhead Adult Deluxe Mask l COSTUMES & PROP REPLICAS


Marvel Gallery: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 PVC Figures l DIAMOND SELECT TOYS & COLLECTIBLES

Street Fighter Knockouts Series 1 Vinyl Figures l CRYPTOZOIC ENTERTAINMENT

Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy: Dancing Groot 12-Inch Feature Figure l MARVEL HEROES

Mazinger Z 12-Inch Light Up Figure l SD TOYS

Toy Story 3 Miracle Land Statues l TOY STORY


Dragonball Z Master Stars Piece Piece Manga Dimensions Figures l DRAGONBALL Z

Marvel Now: Venom Artfx+ Statue l KOTOBUKIYA

Godzilla 12-Inch Series: Godzilla 2014 Blue Dorsal Figure l GODZILLA

Godzilla 12-Inch Series: Final Wars Mecha Gigan Figure l GODZILLA

Aliens: Colonial Marines 1/18-Scale Figures l ALIEN

James Bond: Goldfinger 1/6-Scale Collector Figures l JAMES BOND

Marvel Universe Variant Play Arts Kai: Magneto Figure l MARVEL HEROES


Halo: Master Chief Light-Up Ultra Prestige Adult Costume l PREVIEWS ARMORY

Halo: Master Chief Adult Light-Up Deluxe Helmet l PREVIEWS ARMORY

The Dark Knight Rises: Batman Special Edition Cowl Replica l DC HEROES

Godzilla Inflatable Costume l GODZILLA

Gremlins: Evil Stripe Puppet l HALLOWEEN

Gremlins: Gizmo Mogwai Puppet l HALLOWEEN

Nintendo: Mario And Yoshi Adult Inflatable Costume l NINTENDO


Dragon Ball Super Collectible Card Game l BANDAI

Rick and Morty: Anatomy Park Board Game l CRYPTOZOIC ENTERTAINMENT

My Little Pony: Tales of Equestria RPG Sourcebook HC l NINJA DIVISION GAMES

The Terminator Official Board Game l SPACE GOAT PUBLISHING


American Comics, Daniel Craig,
Bee Gees and Led Zeppelin

When it comes to comic books different collectors consider certain eras more important than others.  I, for one, like the Silver Age, primarily because I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s.  Others prefer the Bronze Age, Copper Age and so forth.

But, none of the aforementioned ages would have existed unless there had been a Golden Age.

Most comic book historians agree that the Golden Age started with Action Comics #1 with the introduction of Superman.

Granted, comic books got their start a few years before Action Comics #1, but mainly as reprints of Sunday newspaper comic strips and some other rather non-descript and minor stories.

In ‘The Classic Era OF American Comics’ writer Nicky Wright and publisher Carlton Books examine the Golden Age of comics beginning in the late 1930s to its end in the mid-1950s.

During that time period a great deal occurred.  Superhero comics hit it big, especially during the war years.

After WWII comic books began to branch out to humor, detective, sci-fi, horror, funny animal and other genre.

Horror comics become so prolific that the general public took notice and almost destroyed the comic book industry until a self-censorship board was established.

Superheroes waned, sales started to falter and it wasn’t until superheroes were reintroduced that sales picked up.

For a thorough examination and explanation as to the importance of the Golden Age be sure to pick up a copy of this fascinating and enjoyable book packed with full color art.

‘Bond, James Bond.’  To most modern movie audiences that is the phrase and character actor Daniel Craig is most associated with.

Granted Craig is an excellent James Bond.  His portrayal of the famous spy has rejuvenated the franchise and brought in a legion of new fans.

But, Craig already had a successful acting career long before the James Bond films established him as a mega-star.

Born and raised in North England, Daniel was bitten by the acting bug at a young age.

He started his career in the theater, moved onto TV and film and has been on the ‘A’ list of actors for the past decade or so.

In ‘Daniel Craig The Illustrated Biography’ written by Tina Ogle, fans of the handsome Brit will learn all about his early life, family, acting chops and his eventual rise to superstar.

Packed with photographs, the book makes for an engrossing examination of the newest James Bond and his long and impressive acting career.

Yes, I admit it.  I lived through the Disco Music years.  I was attending The University of Miami at the time at the height of the Disco Craze. 

Miami was the epicenter of the music, fashion and culture of the Disco Mania years and I was a part of it.

I may even have my old platform shoes and sharkskin shirt around here somewhere.

The Brothers Gibb, or as they are affectionately known as: The Bee Gees, were the main architects of the Disco Craze.

Their hard-hitting and catchy tunes tuned in a whole generation to the beat of Disco.

However, did you know that they actually got their start as young boys performing in Australia, evolved to a somewhat comber ‘message; Rock and Roll band and eventually hit it big with Disco?

Sadly only one Bee Gee survives but the group’s music is still popular to this day and with their talent of changing with the times the Bee Gees successfully survived the Disco Era and carved out a career for themselves in popular music.

‘Treasures Of The Bee Gees’ written by Brian Southall is a heartfelt Memory Lane trip from their beginnings to their eventual disbandment.

The slipcover hardbound book is chockfull of photos, recreated memorabilia and detailed historical text chronicling their long and illustrious careers.

Now where is a good Disco Night Club when you need one?  “You should be dancing!”

When I was in high school I worked evenings at a local store.  Part of my job was to order and restock the record section.

One day while looking through the record order catalog I spotted a rather odd looking album featuring a stark black and white photo of the Hindenberg Zeppelin in flames.

The album was by a group called Led Zeppelin.  When the album came in I bought a copy, mostly out of curiosity.

I took it home, played it on my stereo and was immediately hooked.

Their music was like anything I had ever heard before.   Before long Led Zeppelin caught on with other teenagers and their songs were playing on all the local radio stations.

Their music was dubbed ‘Heavy Metal’ and it influenced a whole generation of bands.

Author Chris Welch has assembled a cornucopia of photos, memorabilia facsimiles and in-depth text that follows the group through its origin, spotlights its members and goes in to great detail as to why Led Zeppelin is considered the ‘Biggest Band Of The 1970s.’

The hardbound, slipcase book is a treasure trove of Zeppelin memorabilia including a coloring book!

For all you Led Heads out there, this is the book you gotta have!  Why it’s almost like taking ‘A Stairway To Heaven.’


Kong Skull Island

They did it!  The creative team behind the ‘Kong Skull Island’ film finally got it right!

The original ‘King Kong’ movie set the standard for the giant ape phenomenon.

There have been some sincere and good adaptations of the ‘Kong’ franchise, most notably the 2005 movie by director Peter Jackson.

Kong Skull Island is a follow-up to that film but, in my opinion, is a much better film.

Kong Skull Island showcases the sheer size of Kong, his intelligence and power.  Kong is more than a giant ape.  He is an icon and myth brought to life.

kong_art_pp2Placing him on his island home: Skull Island, the film makers showcase Kong’s survival skills, mastery of his environment and the other oversize creatures on the island.

The actors do a great job of underplaying their roles preferring to spotlight the true star of the film: Kong.

Titan Books presents ‘The Art And Making Of Kong Skull Island’ in a spectacular hardbound book that delves deeply into the massive amount of work and creativity required to make the new film.

In the book readers are treated to production art, cast and crew interviews and spotlights, set designs and construction, visual and physical effects, creature designs, costumes and all things pre and post film production.

kongpbThe book is brimming with photos and full-color art, lots of inside and behind-the-scenes information and some cleverly inserted art and photos foldouts.

It’s a massive and informative examination of the Kong phenomenon.

For the full story adapted of the film be sure to pick up ‘Kong Skull Island, paperback novelization by Tim Lebbon.



sgt pepperSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

I can remember it like it was yesterday. The year was 1967.  I was 14 years old.

Like other boys my age I was interested in girls, cars and Rock and Roll music.

Most Pop music of the time was either teenybopper or bubble gum.  Few ‘message’ songs were popular. The British Invasion was in full swing.

The Beatles were the head runners of the British Invasion and up until that point most of their music was about love and growing up.  There were tinges of social commentaries and observations, but overall the gist of their music was fairly conventional and non-threatening.

The group stopped performing live and were producing only studio albums.

Then ’Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ was released.  It was a revelation and a total departure from anything that had been done in the Rock and Roll music genre.

Phenomenally produced and orchestrated (literally) the album was an instant success.  Young people (particularly the hippie and flower power crowd) lauded its lyrics, hidden meanings, drug undertones and psychedelic imagery.

Remember this was the time of rampant drug experimentation with the youth of America and the world.  Pot and LSD were the drugs of choice.  Throw in anti-establishment mentality, counter-culture lifestyles, free sex and anti-war protests and it was easy to see why Sgt. Pepper struck such a cord with young people.

Considered one of the most influential albums ever produced, the record album is a classic in ever sense of the word.

It’s been 50 years since the album was released and in commemoration of the event Carlton Books and author Brian Southall have released a brand new tribute book called ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: The Album, The Beatles and The World In 1967.’

Inside readers are treated to vintage photographs, intriguing text and more.  As colorful as the album itself, the book is divided into both a ‘Side A’ and a ‘Side B.’

Side A offers an up-close-and-personal look at the personalities involved in the making of the album, its production, how it was received and how it has shaped popular music since its inception.

Side B looks at the world between the years 1966-68.  Learn about how societies were shifting, priorities changing, conflicts arising and how The Beatles played a part in the transformation of so many levels of society, especially in the Western World.

The book makes for a fascinating trip in time when everything was changing and The Beatles were at the forefront of the changes.



trailerwwIIdecayTrailer Trash, Urban Decay 2 and World War II Posters

Trailers.  There seems to be a stigma associated with living in a trailer.  Or as it is now politically correct to refer to as ‘Mobile Homes.’

We’ve all seen the stereotypical depictions of those who live in trailers: country bumpkins, mentally challenged, reproducing like rabbits, slothful and peculiar.

You read such descriptions in popular literature, see it on TV and movies and other popular social media outlets.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

When I was growing up ‘Trailer Parks’ were just beginning to become popular.  I had a few friends who lived in ‘Trailer Parks’ and I always thought it was cool. 

Most had their won laundries, swimming pools, parks and even some small stores.

Early ‘Trailers’ were really miniature homes.  Everything was present: fully equipped kitchens, bedrooms, full baths-all that were cleverly designed to fit into a narrow and long, pre-assembled homes on wheels.

Truthfully most early ‘Trailers’ were made better than most homes you buy today. 

Maybe that’s why more and more people are hunting for and remodeling early ‘Trailers’ and residing in them.

‘Don’t Call Them Trailer Trash’ written by John Brunkowski and Michael Closen and published by Schiffer Books, offer a complete, ‘Illustrated Mobile Home Story.’

Everything that is even remotely related to Mobile Homes is included such as advertisements, toys, Mobile Home Parks, license, furnishings and there’s even a brief history of the genesis of Trailers and their evolution.

Tow ‘em, live in ‘em-Trailers are cool and this book is the coolest.

What is it about decrepit and decaying places of business, worship, retail and education that fascinates us so?

Is it the feeling of nostalgia for days gone past?  Does it remind us of how the passage of time changes such structures and in turn ourselves?

Author/photographer Martin ten Bouwhuijs presents, ‘The World Of Urban Decay 2’, a fascinating look at decay and disintegration.

Beautiful, full-color photographs lead readers through control rooms, schools, warehouses, churches, military bases, hospitals, cars, theaters, residents, and dozens of other interior photos of long abandoned and decaying structures-some furnished, some not.

I enjoyed looking at each and every photo.  I imagined now crumbling buildings full of life as people lived in and worked in each.  Now both the structures and most of the people who populated them are crumbling into dust.

World War Ii was an ever-present memory when I was a lad of eight.  The war had ended a mere 16 years earlier.

Most World War II veterans were in their 30s.  Many lived and worked in my hometown.  Most kept quiet about the war.  But, occasionally one would tell tales of the war-none of them pleasant.

Growing up in the 1960s I was fascinated by the war.  Kids in my neighborhood still played soldiers-most as WWII soldiers.

Much of WWII memorabilia was easy to come by-including posters.

In ‘World War II Posters’ by David Pollack, readers are treated to posters from both the Allied Forces and in a lesser degree from the Axis Forces.

Page after page is filled with patriotic images, recruiting posters, homeland security warnings and much, much more.

For a real visual treat about the history of WWII, as chronicled by artists and designers, this is the book WWII fans will love.

It’s a great collection, taken from a long gone era.





beatles100Counting Down The Beatles Their 100 Finest Songs

Shhhh!  Don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret.

I’m so old that I remember watching The Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show back in 1964.

I was there when they transformed from a Bubble Gum Rock Group to a trend-setting quartet to icons of Rock Music.

From mop top, teenage troubadours to cutting-edge musicians, The Beatles captivated America and the world with their music and lyrics.

Throw in their evolving lifestyles, drug use, questionable morals and their often tumultuous inner personal lives and you have one of, if not the number one, Rock and Roll group that changed music forever.

Their influence on culture (or should I say-counterculture?), fashion and pop culture was second to none.

Every Beatles fan has their favorite songs, from the early love song days to their more introspective work, the Beatles changed the world.

It’s been said that they introduced the singer-songwriter era and help culminate a wide spectrum of musical styles.

In author Jim Beviglia’s new book from Rowman & Littlefield: ‘Counting Down The Beatles Their 100 Finest Songs’ readers learn the how and why behind each top 100 song.

Expertly researched and chronicled the authors’ delving in to the meaning behind each tune and their lyrics reveal the inner workings that led to the creation of each masterpiece.

As a Beatles fan I was both amazed and surprised by much of what I read.  The entire book is a penetrating and poignant breakdown about the creative surge that The Beatles possessed.


Gary Burghoff: To M.A.S.H. And Back and Honey West

GaryBurghoffRadar.  Mention that simple two-syllable word and any dye-in-the-wool M.A.S.H. fan immediately knows of whom you speak.

Radar (Walter O’Reilly) as portrayed by actor Gary Burghoff, was the company clerk for the Korean War M.A.S.H. (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) seen in both the M.A.S.H. movie and TV series.

In fact, Gary was the only actor that appeared both in the movie and TV series.  He left the series after eight years to pursue other interests and because he was physically, mentally and spiritually worn out.

Gary slowly transformed the character of Radar from a snide, mischievous and somewhat lecherous Army clerk to an innocent, naïve, clairvoyant, hometown boy who basically ran the camp.

While childlike Radar possessed a strong moral and trustworthy character, could be fiercely determined and often was the voice of reason in situations than often saw the worst of mankind.

In ‘Gary Burghoff: To M.A.S.H. And Back –My Life In Poems and Songs (That Nobody Else Wanted To Publish) Gary recounts his life from his early days in Wisconsin to his meteoric rise to stardom as one of TV’s most beloved characters.

Brutally honest and candid Gary details both the ups and downs of his personal life and career while maintaining a delightful humorous attitude.

Often touching and funny, the book, published by BearManor Media, offers an up-close-and-personal examination of the actor.

Few people realize how talented Mr. Burghoff really is.  Considered by many to be a modern Renaissance Man, Gary acts, is a musician, writer, artist, poet, songwriter, inventor, environmentalist and more.

The book makes for a delightful and eye-opening read that fans of both Gary and M.A.S.H. are sure to cherish.

Honey-West-Front-Cover-500x500Ahhh-Honey West.  I was a mere 12 years old when Honey West, starring Anne Francis premiered on TV. 

Her striking figure, lush blonde hair, birthmark and sultry eyes set my young heart to aflutter.  She was my first TV starlet crush.  There would be others, but Honey West was the first.

‘Honey West’ written by John C. Fredriksen, chronicles TV’s first liberated female.

 As a role model for modern women, Honey demonstrated that anything was possible for a female in a man’s world.

Smart, resourceful, fiercely independent and proficient with weapons, the martial arts and subterfuge, Honey West took on spies, bad guys and underworld scum.

Interviews with both cast and crew shed light on the making of the series and just how groundbreaking it was. 

Full episode descriptions are also provided sprinkled with interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits of information.

Laced with photos, the book brings back pleasant memories of the series that redefined women on TV.




Cop Shows, Booking Hawaii Five-O

and Quinn Martin, Producer

Next to Westerns my favorite Prime Time TV shows are Cop Shows, or Crime Shows, as they are sometimes called.

Ever since the dawn of TV Cop Shows have been around.  Dragnet, The Naked City, The Untouchables, Hawaii Five-O and literally dozens, if not hundreds, of Cop Shows have filled the airways for decades.

What is it about Cop Shows that so captivate audiences?

Surely it’s not escapism as most Cop Shows revel in tracking down killers, rapists, kidnappers and other such dastardly bad guys.

In ‘Cop Shows: A Critical History Of Police Dramas On Television’ authors Sabin, Wilson, Speidel, Faucette and Bethell, along with publisher, McFarland & Company, Inc. present an in-depth analysis of what makes Cop Shows tick and why they are so popular.

Reflections of their times, COP Shows, examine and portray societal changes, struggles and crime.  The shows tend to examine the cops themselves from the fiercely independent loner to the troubled, walk the line between justice and revenge individuals to the strong group dynamic of a particular police force.

Whatever the reasons the book provides a thorough look at the phenomenon of the Cop Show and its many manifestations.

One of my all-time favorite classic Cop Shows is Hawaii Five-O.  Introduced to TV viewers in 1968 the show lasted 12 years making it one of the longest running Cop Shows on TV.

Hawaii Five-O centered on the police exploits of the Hawaii Five-O police task force headed up by ex-naval officer Steve McGarrett, as played by Jack Lord and his assistant Dan (Danno) Williams, portrayed by actor James MacArthur.

What made the show so unique is that it was filmed entirely in the Hawaiian Islands.

At that time Hawaii had no film studios so Hawaii Five-O, created by Leonard Freeman, had to start from scratch including securing a studio, hiring non-actor locals and persuading Hollywood’s talent to travel to Hawaii to guest star on the show.  Needless to say, a free trip to Hawaii was a great incentive.

Karen Rhodes’ ‘Booking Hawaii Five-O’ provides a critical episode guide and history of the popular Cop Show including photos, behind-the-scenes secrets, cast and crew interviews and much more.

‘Book ‘em Danno!”

One of the greatest (if not the greatest) TV producers of Cop Shows was Quinn Martin.  Although he was also known for a plethora of other genre series.

In ‘Quinn Martin, Producer’ author Jonathan Etter, delves into the long and illustrious career of Martin and the many shows he produced.

Readers will learn all about his battles with the networks, hiring and firing practices, his guidelines for writing and directing his shows and most importantly learn about the man himself.

Each show he produced is examined in detail from its conception to it cancellation.

 If you love classic Prime Time TV shows as produced by one of the giants of the industry then this book is like a hearty meal to a starving man:  it’s filling, full of meat and satisfying.




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