If you’re into adult coloring books and classic Edgar Allan Poe stories, check this out. Artist Odessa Begay has created a clever collection of coloring pages inspired by several of Poe’s works. The pages are very thick and printed on front and back. From eerie settings to skulls and creepy imagery – this will be a very fun book to color with Halloween approaching!
This is the 2nd box from DC’s Legion of Collectors and the theme was DC TV. The Legion of Collectors offers these boxes starting at $25 plus s/h.
Like the other mystery boxes from Funko, each box comes with an exclusive badge and pin.
And this detailed card of everything included in the box is handy.
DC Villains Tshirt – There was a chance of this one or a Heroes shirt. I was extremely bummed I didn’t get the Heroes one as it was the only one I liked of the two. The retro Harley Quinn outfit is so corny, I would never wear this out in public.
Batgirl Comic #35 – I LOVE that they are include comic variants in these boxes. And the Batgirl run is great. I already read this series, so I’ll probably pass this on to my niece.
EXCLUSIVE Hawkgirl Funko POP! – I love this retro Hawkgirl design. And it’s a character I don’t have yet, but
EXCLUSIVE Wonder Woman Invisible Jet and Action Figure – This was an extremely fun bonus. I would have loved it even more if it was a POP style instead of just an action figure. But this way, I’ll let my niece and nephew play with it.
SUMMARY: This was a great box, despite the tshirt disappointment. It’s still better than a POP-style shirt. I would have just preferred all female heroes vs having any villains spotlighted. My favorite item in the box was the Wonder Woman and invisible jet exclusive.
The next theme is: Batman Villains – so I’ll be skipping that one.
The Last One by Alexandra Oliva
She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.
It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.
Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.
But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.
A Survivor-type reality show turns horrific, but Zoo can’t grasp the truth and clings to the hope that everything is just a part of the show – elaborate props and hidden cameras. The show starts like many others, with likable and unlikable characters (who soon become the “villains” of the show). And drama makes for better tv. After team challenges, comes the solo adventure – when Zoo becomes separated from the others. And her reality becomes skewed.
The Last One is a survivor story told in a unique way. We follow Zoo’s journey, with flashbacks to the start of the show. I thoroughly enjoyed this way of unfolding the story and characters. Suspense builds from the post-apocalyptic Zoo and her companions, to a Zoo who can’t comprehend what has happened in “present day.” The story is well-paced and wrought with excitement, drama, and engaging characters. The adventure builds to a surprising but satisfying conclusion. I highly recommend this one for those who enjoy psychological thrillers.
This month’s theme was ANIMAL PLANETS. Each box comes with a nice card describing each of the month’s picks.
This month, there was also a cute, original, card-sized print.
XOC: Journey of a Great White (Retail $19.99) – This definitely didn’t interest me. Maybe children really into sharks would enjoy it. Disappointment #1.
Publisher: Oni Press (August 21, 2012)
Homecoming Vol 1 (Retail $9.99) – This looks like a fun, alien invasion story. I’ll definitely give this a try.
Publisher: Aspen MLT, Inc. (September 6, 2016)
Jurassic Strike Force 5 Vol. 1 (Retail $9.99) – Wow, another dud. The artwork is as corny as the story.
Publisher: Zenescope (October 22, 2013)
Sam and Fuzzy Fix Your Problem (Retail $15.00) – I’m not into comic strip style, so this is disappointment 3 of 4.
Publisher: TopatoCo (2010)
Summary: Only one pick this month peaked my interest. What a waste of another good theme. Unless they get back to more mainstream DC, Marvel – even Dynamite – I probably won’t sign back up again.
Check out this free black and white preview of Acheron Issue #1 (actual comic is in color):
Preorder Acheron comic issues 1-4 here:
50 years ago, the first episode of Star Trek aired! Happy 50th Anniversary to my all-time favorite franchise!
Syfy is airing a marathon of Star Trek movies. And BBC America is airing a marathon of the TOS and TNG episodes.
How are you celebrating?!
She rides a cool motorcycle, swings a mean right hook, and has backup from the best crime-fighters in the biz, but Batgirl’s greatest weapon has always been her mind. As the brilliant Barbara Gordon, she’s on the verge of a tech breakthrough that could transform her beloved Burnside neighborhood, and all of Gotham City to boot—though if it falls into the wrong hands, it could just as easily devastate them.
But how can Batgirl stop a hacker who can break into her brain itself?
A sinister figure has been haunting Batgirl’s nightmares and stealing all her secrets, from her high-tech innovations to her hidden identity. And he’ll use that knowledge to destroy her forever.
Now Batgirl must assemble a band of her best friends and closest allies—including Spoiler, Black Canary, Batwing and more—to stop the most dangerous enemy she’s ever known, or Burnside and the entire Bat-family will burn…
It all comes down to this! The revolutionary creative team of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr bring the saga of the Batgirl of Burnside to a close in BATGIRL VOL. 3: MINDFIELDS. Be there for the shocking climax to one of the greatest Batgirl stories ever told!
Collects BATGIRL #46-52.
In this third volume of Batgirl of Burnside, the plot is just as engaging as ever as a mysterious assailant messes with Batgirl’s memories. And while she’s great on her own, I love the team-up scenes even more. I have really loved these 3 solid graphic novels with great villains, friends, and story lines. The story ties up with a bittersweet ending that left me wanting more. I loved the artwork and imagery. And one of my favorite stories was the finale, a one-shot that was told completely with pictures, no words. It was fantastic.
SOME THOUGHTS ON WORLD BUILDING
by Alex Bledsoe
World-building is a cornerstone (heh; building pun) of fantasy. Starting with the assumption that something unreal exists—vampires, dragons, elves, whatever—we then expand into the ways it influences the world in which the story happens. I’ve done it in three different ways.
The most obvious way, in my Eddie LaCrosse novels and stories, is to create an entirely new world from scratch, one that has no connection with our own, either in history, culture or religion. It’s called a “secondary world” in fantasy-speak, a term coined by Tolkein to differentiate a setting from the real, or primary, world. I’ve always disliked that term, because it implies a diminution, as if the fantasy world was somehow less than the real world. Granted many times it is, but when it works, it’s as real, as primary, as the one I’m sitting in as I type this.
When I created the world of Eddie LaCrosse, I made a couple of decisions up front. People would have regular names (i.e., Eddie), they would not speak in either faux Shakespeare or cod-Bilbical (“Behold, he is the Chosen One, who will fulfill yon Prophecy!”), and that the characters would all have identifiable jobs. I chose all this because I wanted to write the series in a voice similar to the great noir writers (Chandler, Parker, Vachss). It’s hard to do that seriously with Tolkein-ish names (“Eowyn walked into my office with a stride like a prize Rohan filly”—see?).
My Tufa novels take place ostensibly in the “primary” world, but deal with a unique fictional culture that exists within it. To make that work requires a balancing act between things the reader knows (cars, farms, families, et al.) and things they likely don’t (fairies, dream time, etc.). There’s no guide for this sort of thing; it either feels right, or it doesn’t. Sometimes it feels right at first, then goes wrong as you develop it further.
This is very close to the concept of “magical realism,” a term often used by literary writers who don’t want to be classified within a genre (i.e., “speculative fiction” instead of “science fiction” [I’m looking at you, Cormac McCarthy]). It was first used to describe the work of Latin American authors such as Isabel Allende, and has an appropriately nebulous definition. But I read a great description once (don’t ask me where) that said, in paraphrase, “It takes the world as everyone knows it, except for one aspect that’s slightly askew.” Think the magical cooking in Like Water for Chocolate, or the clairvoyance of The House of the Spirits.
This approach has the beauty of maintaining the sense of wonder that sometimes get lost when “paranormal” elements are accepted as part of the world, as in much of urban fantasy. The lack of overt explanation for either the reader or the characters means that they share the surprise at any “magical” occurrences.
I wrote two vampire novels set in 1975 Memphis, and that presented a challenge not unlike building a fantasy world. Although I lived through that period as a child, I wasn’t attuned to the subtleties of it; my memories are mostly of pop culture references. I had to research events, attitudes, even Seventies clothing (AGHHH!) in order to create—or in this case, recreate—the world. And as Michael Cimino said about Heaven’s Gate, “One uses history in a very free way,” so there is one glaring (to me, at least) anachronism that so far no reader has mentioned.
I’ve written about other “worlds” in various short stories, including westerns, horror, and of course, fantasy. Through all this, I’ve learned one thing: you can’t take the world for granted. Even in an entirely contemporary, entirely mundane story, you may be creating a world that a potential reader has never seen. It’s your job to figure out the details that will conjure that world in the reader’s mind so that they can inhabit it as fully as your characters. If you achieve that, then you have built a world.