Ghost Stories - Cover

Ghost Stories Of An Antiquary – Volume II

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – Volume II is an upcoming graphic novel. An Adaptation of four of M.R. James’ supernatural tales of terror. By the way of Leah Moore and John Reppion, under Self Made Hero in fact but published by Abrams Books. M.R. James has been cited as being an influence on the works of both H.P. Lovecraft as well as Stephen King.

Ghost Stories - M.R. James

The esteemed M.R. James – medievalist scholar as well as writer of ghost stories!

With it being October of course, what better way to celebrate the season than with some of James’ stories? Because with the second volume of Ghost Stories of an An Antiquary you get a nice selection from the author’s work.

With Number 13, illustrated by George Kambadais. We are introduced to a young man named Mr. Anderson. Who has arrived at the Golden Lion inn in Viborg, Denmark. A researcher who certainly uncovers something startling. Whilst checking on his fellow lodgers he discovers there is no room numbered 13 listed in the available rooms. Except if that is the case…why does Mr. Anderson pass a room marked 13? As well as the mystery of the singing and laughing from behind a door to a room that isn’t supposed to exist?

Next up in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – Volume II is Count Magnus! Illustrated by Abigail Larson it is the tale of one Mister Wraxall. A travel guide writer. Mr. Wraxall is visiting Sweden for research on an upcoming book. However the man instead learns of the bloody handed legacy of the titular Count Magnus. A fearsome man who it was rumored was to be on a ‘Black Pilgrimage’. In addition to causing enough fear to warrant three large padlocks on his place of rest. What might happen if those padlocks were to be opened?

Ghost Stories - Count Magnus

Some doors are not meant to be open!

Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad is the third entry. In addition this is a story by M.R. James that I know well thanks to a television adaptation. This story which is illustrated by Al Davison concerns Professor Parkins, who is on holiday. While the Professor might intend to spend time playing rounds of golf, he uncovers an odd item located in a burial site. What was once a Templar preceptory hides a whistle. Being an educated man and scorning of what some might deem superstitious. Parkins blows the whistles. Twice. Being a ghost story it shouldn’t surprise you that something answers the call, right?

Ghost Stories - Oh Whistle

Professor Parkins is going to learn to keep an open mind!

The last story presented in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – Volume II is The Treasure of Abbot Thomas. Illustrated by Meghan Hetrick. In this tale we meet Antiquarian, Mr. Somerton, who follows the trail of a coded message. Which in fact is hidden within a stained glass window in the Abbey of Steinfeld in Germany. Furthermore the reason for this coded message is it is said to lead to a hidden treasure. Somerton and his trusted servant, Mr. Brown – are able to decipher the clues which lead to an abandoned well that once belonged to Abbot Thomas. A well that curiously indeed contains steps that lead down into the darkness…as well as a guardian.

It is the fourth tale that is very much like the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, friends. It is probably my favorite of them all. But each one does represent a wonderful type of ghost story by the way. If you find you need a little something to help you get into the spirit of the season. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – Volume II comes out this Tuesday. Or instead you can order a copy for yourself by following the link to Abrams books.

Now that you now what to expect from Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. Why not watch the 1968 television adaptation for Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad?

[Via] Montague James

Planet of the Apes Revelations

War For The Planet Of The Apes Revelations

With War for the Planet of the Apes set to debut tomorrow. It is the perfect time to head out and pick up the prequel from Titan Books. Written by Greg Keyes War for the Planet of the Apes Revelations picks up shortly after the events of the 2014 film. I certainly hope this won’t come as a spoiler but Caesar’s clan of apes isn’t so exactly sure that what Koba attempted to pull off was the wrong thing.
Planet of the Apes Revelations - Koba

So of course with some apes feeling that Caesar might in fact be a little too forgiving of the Humans. I feel it’s more than safe to tell you that Koba’s revolution isn’t quite finished. Or at the very least in Planet of the Apes Revelations there is still the very real threat of dissent.
Planet of the Apes Revelations

In addition if you remember at the end of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The community of humans was able to send a signal to a military group. With the end of the film painting a rather and the unevitable war between apes and humans. This is in fact exactly where Planet of the Apes Revelations picks up, just moments after the end of the film.

Keyes does a wonderful job with not just the cast of characters we’ve met through the films but also introducing new ones. Case in point, Ray, an oranguatan who is both friend and companion to the Son of Caesar, Blue Eyes. Much like in the films with Maurice, Ray kind of steals the show in the book, providing wisdom beyond his years and counsel.
Planet of the Apes Revelations

As I said, Caesar has his hands full with possible treachery and dissension within his ranks. Which is why of course Blue Eyes and Ray get the majority of attention in the book. However it also introduces us to a main protagonist from the upcoming film. Colonel McCullough who is of course played by Woody Harrelson and at least in Planet of the Apes Revelations you can’t help but kind of understand where he is coming from. While some elements of his personality are very much like Caesar – he is obviously the dark side of that.
Planet of the Apes Revelations

So do you need to read Planet of the Apes Revelations before seeing War for the Planet of the Apes? Having not seen the film for myself yet I am still confident in saying that the answer is a negative. But Keyes really does a great job expanding the cinematic world we’ve been introduced to in the first two films. I’ve read his previous prequel novel for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes entitled Firestorm. He won’t let you Apes fans down and the best part is you can head out right this minute and pick up the book for yourself!

Now you know about Planet of the Apes Revelations why not check out Jason Edmiston’s “Trophies”?


Image courtesy of Jason Edmiston’s deviantART Page.

Did You Know “The Baby-Sitters Club” Had Their Own Album?

That’s right – those baby-sitters and their Stoneybrook-based club had an album!

One Great Idea After Another…

I’ve been (nostalgically) going back through the Baby-Sitters Club book series since last August. My inspiration came from it being the 30th anniversary of the first book. The series has captivated me as much as an adult as it did when I was nine years old. I know it seems strange to enjoy the adventures of teenage girls navigating through life and running the ultimate business, but I always liked how wholesome the stories are, and how well they hold up. While the covers of the books feel dated, the stories are timeless.

I read the first eighty-eight books between 1992 and 1995, when I decided it was time to leave this important part of my elementary school life behind. I was starting seventh grade, and I guess I felt it wasn’t “cool” to read the books anymore. When I started reading the books, I was young enough to be a baby-sitting charge, but by the time I stopped reading, I was older than the club’s two youngest members (though I was in the same grade as them). I was also baby-sitting myself by that time – I watched my own version of the Rodowsky boys, but thankfully I didn’t have a Jackie Rodowsky on my hands!

 

Of Course, The Baby-Sitters  Club Had a TV Show

Because one great idea deserves another!

Like other popular books series of the time (think Ramona Quimby and those Sweet Valley Twins), the baby-sitters also had their own show – it ran for 13 episodes across one season. It also had the distinction of having the most catchy theme song of them all…

Uploaded by Allison Venezio

This song, I should mention, is now stuck in your head. It’s so catchy!

I’ll definitely have to go into more depth with the television show at some point – I own the episodes (and I’ve written recaps for several), but I gotta talk about the soundtrack.

Songs For My Best Friends

The Baby-Sitters Club: Songs for My Best Friends is a 12-song soundtrack featuring nine tracks specifically written for the series, as well as the ultra-catchy theme for the TV show, “Say Hello To Your Friends.” The album was released on October 13, 1992, featuring the vocal stylings of “The Baby-Sitters Club,” featuring Kelly Sachs. Tracks 1-9 were written by Sachs, Jeff Barry, and Lisa Spiro, while “Say Hello To Your Friends” was written by Glen Roven. It’s also not the version from the TV show, but a remixed version.

The tracks are a flowery assortment of happy, perky tunes, mixed with love, friendship, and empowerment tunes, a reminder that education is important, and of course, the show’s theme song (though a different arrangement of the one heard on the TV show).

Just look at this track listing! Those titles!

1. Dance

2. Good Time

3. In Your Shoes

4. Him

5. We Will Inherit The Earth

6. Dear Diary

7. Telephone Talk

8. School is Cool

9. Slumber Party

10. Say Hello To Your Friends

So…how does it sound?

It’s So 1980s Dance!

The songs have a very Debbie Gibson/1980s teenybopper-esque sound. Considering that this was from 1992, that’s probably not what your average eight-year-old in 1992 liked.

Me, on the other hand…

If I had known this existed, it would have been in regular rotation in my Walkman, right alongside my Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. That’s my eclectic music taste for you! I’ve always had it!

So you know it is awesome!

Why didn’t I know this existed?!

Of course, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t share my new music find with you?

Uploaded by Larry TGroce

Say hello to your flowery, perky earworm!

More Baby-Sitters Club Reads…By Me!

Oh, and if you want to see some of my Baby-Sitters Club recaps over on my blog…

I celebrated my 500th blog post by recapping Claudia and the Mystery of the Secret Passage, Halloween with a not-so-Halloween (but still, Halloween-esque) recap of Dawn and the Haunted House , and Christmas with an actual Christmas episode recap (The Baby-Sitters Special Christmas). I also wrote about a Valentine’s Day-themed novel, and my first Goodreads review on my most recent read from the final series of books.

But this is the post that got this whole crazy train of BSC excitement going!

Say hello to your girlie nightmare, friends!!!  :-)

 

Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Hope Nicholson

The Spectacular Sisterhood Of Superwomen!

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen is a 240 page tome by Hope Nicholson. While it is a fact that I have had the pleasure of reviewing some really great books lately. The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen however is not one that was sent to me. This actually came from one of my co-workers at the Arkadia Retrocade. She felt it might be a great idea to get the word out about the book. She is certainly correct on that!

In fact The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen was published on May 2nd. But I must say when my friend handed me the book this was the first I heard of it. Which is an absolute shame. Hope Nicholson has crafted a fantastic compilation of some of the most well known as well as obscure female superheroes. Adding in interesting facts and where one might be able to find the essential reading for each character.

Hope has separated the characters she has selected by decades. With an introduction for each decade explaining how the comics industry was changing. Furthermore she has provided candid commentary on the legacy of the chosen characters. As well as how many of the featured characters have been altered over the years for good or for ill. In addition Hope has selected an icon for each of the decades.
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen

Case in point on the candid nature of Hope’s commentary. An excerpt from her entry on Wonder Woman:
“But no one knows how to define Wonder Woman – what her true essence is. She’s what we female comics readers regard as or icon of strength and power, and yet she’s slippery as water to pin down.

And really why shouldn’t that be the case? Why should identity be solid, when everybody changes? Why lock down a character to just one version? And why exactly must there be only one, single, iconic, heroic female figure in comics, when there is no one major male comic book figure?”

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen takes a look at over 102+ female comic characters. Giving we the readers a nice history of how female heroes and characters have changed. Ranging from 1930’s Little Lulu up to Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) as the icon of the 2010s.
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Ms. Marvel

Of course I would be remiss to not mention how happy I was to see some of my favorite female comics characters chosen for the book. For example in the chapter for characters of the 80s, we have none other than Amanda “The Wall” Waller of Suicide Squad!
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Amanda Waller

Additionally with this many characters you will discover some you’ve not heard of before. In my case I was delighted to learn of the likes of 1954’s Tomboy, 1966’s private eye Tiffany Sinn, 1985’s Sunflower, or 2013’s Bandette!
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Bandette

If you love comics as much as I do, seek out The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen. Hope Nicholson has really done an outstanding job with this book. It is an absolute joy to read and provides a wonderful history of female characters in comics. I certainly hope she is absolutely thrilled and proud of her work.

With Wonder Woman finally getting a movie worthy of such an icon. Perhaps The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen will help to shine the spotlight on equally deserving characters?

[Via] Warner Bros. Pictures

If you are in the mood for equally engaging female heroes you might want to check out my review of Christie Golden’s fantastic Assassin’s Creed: Heresy!

The Battles of Tolkien - David Day

The Battles Of Tolkien By David Day

The Battles of Tolkien was sent to me a couple of weeks back by Thunder Bay Press. I will say right up front that reviewing David Day’s book on The Battles of Tolkien has been a joy. Day is well known for his previous books on the literary works of J. R. R. Tolkien. Including Tolkien: the Illustrated Encyclopedia, Tolkien’s Ring, as well as The Hobbit Companion.

The subject of that last books is exactly how I was introduced to the works of Tolkien. All thanks to the 1977 Rankin and Bass animated adaptation in fact. The Hobbit was the perfect television special, it certainly helped to fuel my interest in fantasy. To say nothing of ingraining a love in me of all thing regarding Dwarves!

[Via] kierst love

Of course I would have to wait a couple of more years before I actually dived into the books of Tolkien. However thanks yet again to adaptations such as 1978’s The Lord of the Ring and 1980’s Return of the King. I at the very least had a basic understanding of the highlights of the books themselves.
The Battles of Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings Poster

Naturally my love for the tales of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings grew after I had the chance to read the actual books. I dived into them headfirst and spent a month of my youth reading them cover to cover. Although I would certainly have to wait quite a bit longer before tackling The Silmarillion.
The Battles of Tolkien

What author David Day has done with The Battles of Tolkien is create a companion book. A 256 page guide to the battles between the forces of light and darkness in the Middle-Earth. Exploring the real world history as well as other mythology that influenced his writing. Through the 37,000 years of Arda, the name the author chose to represent Earth in his works. You will learn of that tactics of the armies of Middle-Earth and of course the outcomes of those famous battles.
The Battles of Tolkien - The Battle of the Five Armies

I will add these are of course divided up into their proper ages. Beginning with the Valarian Age and through the First, Second, and Third Ages. In Day’s The Battle of Tolkien you will learn of The First War, The Battle of Unnumbered Tears, The War of Sauron and the Elves, and the Disaster at Gladden Fields. To name a few. In addition to the history that Day has included are an artist’s rendition of the maps to these epic battles.

The Battles of Tolkien - Comics Grinder

Image courtesy of Comics Grinder

Furthermore throughout the book are some incredible pieces of artwork from the most memorable moments in the Tolkien books. I realize it is rather odd to point out the beauty of the book itself. But in this case I must. The Battles of Tolkien is beautifully binded in a faux-leather cover. It is much a joy to hold as it was to read.

The Battles of Tolkien is the perfect gift for any fan of the author’s work. David Day presents the useful information plainly and clearly. I would add you don’t have to worry about it being stuffy or the like. It is available for purchase right this second by following the link to Thunder Bay Press or you can as well just head over to Amazon. It would certainly make a great Father’s Day gift!

In closing I should add that in it’s favor. The Battles of Tolkien doesn’t skimp on the battles of the majestic Dwarves!

For a little more fun with Tolkien’s The Hobbit you might want to check out This 1966 animated version by Gene Deitch!