Category: Books

CREEPY Archives Volume Five featuring Archie Goodwin, Steve Ditko, Reed Crandall, Angelo Torres & Alex Toth!

Creepy Archives Volume Five will drop on January 23, 2024.  It’ll be 224 pages of horror comics fun!

The Eisner Award winning Creepy Archives series is now available in value-priced paperback editions!

Enter a world of the finest in spine-chilling storytelling from comics legends Archie Goodwin, Steve Ditko, Reed Crandall, Angelo Torres, Alex Toth, and more. Creepy Archives Volume 5 unearths a treasure trove of horror, homicide, and hauntings that set the stage for many a nightmare. Includes the adaptation of the harrowing H. P. Lovecraft classic “The Rats in the Walls.”

Collects Creepy magazine issues 21–25.

  Deal me in.  Pre-Orders are available now.

FAR SOUTH by Rodolfo Santullo & Leandro Fernandez

FAR SOUTH by Rodolfo Santullo (writer) and Leandro Fernandez (artist) sounds like it might be pretty good.  Here’s the lowdown, followed by a couple of sample pages.  Click on them to see them biggie-sized.  Also keep in mind that they haven’t been translated to English yet.

What happens in the Far South stays in the Far South! Pimps, crooks and gauchos call it home even though it’s dirty, greasy and violent. Welcome to a ruthless world where violence is the only love language. A Sin City-esque graphic novel brought to you by Leandro Fernandez (The Old Guard) and Argentinian best-selling novelist Rodolfo Santullo.

An arid and wild land, cut off from the world, populated by rustic men with hot blood and fond of alcohol. This is where the taciturn Montoya runs a bar. A bar where the worst scoundrels in the area come to settle their differences or talk about their setbacks. This book will immerse you in the merciless world of these cowboys through a series of short stories of jubilant violence in the ancient land of the Gauchos!

John Benteen’s FARGO: HELL ON WHEELS – Adapted by Howard Chaykin

I can not wait for this to go live.  Deal me in.

A 96 page prestige format, action packed, hardcover graphic novel starring soldier of fortune Neal Fargo, based on the legendary ‘Fargo’ paperback series by John Benteen! Imagine if Conan was an American in the early 20th century. He still wouldn’t be as hard as Neal Fargo! Written and illustrated by the inimitable HOWARD CHAYKIN!

Exclusive Cover by DAVE JOHNSON.

Contributing artists also include Gary Frank, Butch Guice, Jordi Bernet, Enrico Marini, Robert Tanenbaum, Ron Garney, and more!

Who is Neal Fargo? Fargo has been described as “a combination of Robert E. Howard‘s Conan mixed with Sam Peckinpah‘s The Wild Bunch.  He was a big man, with wide shoulders, narrow hips the long legs of a born and bred horseman. His hair was close-cropped and snow white, though he was only in his thirties. He had grown up hard and never looked back. He’d punched cattle, rough-necked in the oil fields—even fought in the prize rings. He joined up with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and found his true calling—combat. His face was so battered, scarred, weathered and remarkably ugly that it was almost handsome. He drew helplessly admiring looks from the women and cautious, wary looks from the men. He was a soldier of fortune, for sale to the highest bidder—he was Fargo.

What’s the story? Fargo is hired to protect a small railroad on the verge of going out of business from being sabotaged by a larger ruthless and corrupt competitor. Fargo always enjoyed a challenge, and payback was fair play in his book. Fist fights, gunfights, women and whisky, ‘Hell on Wheels’ is a prime example of what makes Neal Fargo a timeless character in the world of adventure graphic novels. Combine that with the unique creative sensibility of Howard Chaykin, no stranger to tough, smart protagonists (with an eye for the ladies) and ‘Fargo: Hell on Wheels’ will be one of the most exciting independent graphic novels of the year!


S. Craig Zahler is best known as an award-winning screenwriter and director.  He’s the guy who wrote and directed Bone Tomahawk, Brawl and Cell Block 99 and Dragged Across Concrete.  Zahler is also an accomplished cinematographer, and musician.  But none of those things are what this post is about.

S. Craig Zahler is also a novelist.  His book THE SLANTED GUTTER came to my attention through Stephen J. Golds’ review on Twitter.  Gold said:

Just finished this crime novel by S. Craig Zahler and it may be one of the best-written noir stories of the last decade.
So noir it borders on absolute nightmare.

Don’t read anything about it. Just go into it blind. This book will lure you in and then pulverize you.

Here’s the synopsis on Amazon…

Take a roller coaster ride through the gutter in this gripping pull-no-punches thriller from S. Craig Zahler

He knows what you’ll do – including what you’ll sacrifice for protection.

Darren Tasking is an entrepreneur whose business is people, and when it comes to people he specializes in risk, pleasure, and fear.

He knows what will break you – before you even feel a second of pain.

Tasking has everything and everyone, in his orbit, under control. If there’s something he wants he will alter your life, elaborately and maliciously, until you yield to his wishes.

He knows what makes the Machos tick – and how to keep them in the dark.

The police tried to keep Tasking down with their macho modus operandi, sent him away long ago, but they couldn’t keep him incarcerated forever. Now he’s older, uncommonly careful, and keeps the machos oblivious to his enterprises. But when he meets a dancer named Erin Green at the Cherry Red strip club everything changes.

He knows the streets of Great Crown, Florida can only be dominated by the remorseless insights of a relentless slick like him.

The brothels and gambling parlors secreted behind iron doors keep the slick autonomous and successful, but Erin proves to be the variable that could put him on a collision course with unrepentant sadists, machos, and a trap created by the slick’s own extortionist machinations.

THE SLANTED GUTTER is a devastating character study painted with the darkest shades of noir, penned by a hand as unflinching as Tasking’s steely-eyed pursuit of his large dollar goal, as unforgiving on the reader as those who seek retribution against the slick for his nocturnal misdeeds.

Step into this gutter at your own risk.

THE SLANTED GUTTER has gone on my to-be-purchased list.  Oh, and how about that cover!

“Batman & Bill” (2017) / Z-View

Batman & Bill (2017)

Director: Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce

Stars: Marc Tyler Nobleman, Bill Finger, Fred Finger, Portia Finger, Thomas Andrae, Jerry Bails, Otto Binder,
Athena Finger, Judy Flam, Stacey C. Friends, Carmine Infantino, Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane, Daniela Nobleman  
and Bob Kane.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

For decades one of the biggest “secrets” that insiders knew was that Bob Kane wasn’t the sole creator of Batman. Despite this knowledge, every appearance of The Dark Knight contained the credit “Created by Bob Kane”.  The truth of the matter is Bill Finger was the creator of Batman’s costume, Robin, Catwoman, The Joker, The Riddler, Commissioner Gordan, the Batcave, Gotham City and more.  Yet Bill Finger received no credit or compensation while Bob Kane got rich and famous.

Batman & Bill is the story of one man’s quest to right this wrong.  Despite overwhelming odds justice finally prevailed.  This is that story.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Although the general public didn’t know about Bill Finger, it wasn’t a secret among comic book professionals and many fans. Bob Kane for years claimed he was the sole creator of Batman.  The publishers of Batman and all its spinoffs knew differently.  It wasn’t until after Bill Finger’s death that Kane started to give Finger some credit.  Still, Kane was the only one listed on any Batman comic, movie or merchandise.

When Marc Tyler Nobleman learned of this injustice, he made it his life’s mission to right that wrong.  He had nothing to gain, but like a true superhero wanted justice to be served.  And it finally was.

Batman & Bill (2017) rates 4 of 5 stars.

FLIPPING BOXCARS by Cedric “The Entertainer” Kyles with Alan Eisenstock

Here’s one I didn’t see coming.  Cedric “The Entertainer” Kyles (with Alan Eisenstock) has a book coming out on September 19th.  It’s titled FLIPPING BOXCARS.  Here’s the lowdown…

The first novel from one of the original Kings of Comedy, Cedric “The Entertainer,” an engaging and entertaining crime caper that is a valentine to close-knit black families and tightly woven communities struggling to get by during the Depression and World War II.

Babe is a charismatic and widely loved man, a gambler with a gift for gab that often gets him out of tricky situations. He’s also a dreamer, something he shares with his patient and loving wife, Rosie. They both yearn for financial stability and see the land they own as insurance for future generations. But when Babe and a few comrades enlist in a scheme that improbably falls apart, he endangers the little security the family has.

On the verge of losing everything, what’s a family man to do?

If you’re a gambler like Babe, you double down and risk it all for one big score—this time, a plan involving railroad boxcars.

Will Babe succeed? Will Rosie continue to support her husband? Are the Feds on to his make-or-break scheme?

FLIPPING BOXCARS is Cedric “The Entertainer” at his most engaging best—a charming, fast-paced novel that pays homage to his beloved grandfather and a generation past, anchored by rich, multi-dimensional characters and oozing with irresistible charm.

KRAJ the ENFORCER: STORIES by Rusty Barnes

I’ve never read anything by Rusty Barnes.  That’s about to change.  I’m going to put in my order for KRAJ the ENFORCER: STORIES.  Check out the synopsis below,  It may be something you’d like as well.

Meet Kraj—pronounced krai—a low-level errand boy and hitman masquerading as a bouncer for Tricky Ricky Gutierrez, nefarious owner of the Twist, a club in upstate Elmira NY. A place that has both a LGBTQIA night and a cowboy country night, this cockeyed corner bar in northern Appalachia supports Ricky’s illegal schemes, and serves as a rural balm for Croatian-war refugee Kraj.

Kraj plies his trade over a short span, moving from petty theft to strong-arming tips from people at the door, breaking up redneck fights, protecting the club’s nubile female staff and collecting gambling debts owed Tricky Ricky. Kraj eventually gets sucked further and further into Ricky’s underworld plans, where he wants to be seen as a man on the come-up, but he has problems moving up in Ricky’s organization will never solve. His sister Ana, missing since the Croatian War for Independence, never strays far from his mind.

Kraj, together with his sometime girlfriend Cami, newly become manager of a franchisee McDonald’s, and his manager Mikael. negotiates his way through underground fight clubs, prostitution rings, drug deals, petty thievery, and of course, murder. Tricky Ricky gives Kraj a great deal of rope and autonomy to operate.

Will he hang himself with it or swing?

TOO MANY BULLETS (Nathan Heller) by Max Allan Collins!

Max Allan Collins’ Nate Heller series is one of my favorites. Collins takes famous murders, thoroughly  researches them and then sticks Nate Heller in the middle of things.  It’s cool seeing Heller (who ages in real time through the series) interacting with famous people in cases and often with an ending not quite like what we’ve come to believe.  Collins always includes an afterward with insights and a bibliography.

Collins latest Nate Heller yarn is TOO MANY BULLETS.  Here’s the lowdown…

Acclaimed “True Crime” detective Nathan Heller, whose cases have sold more than 1 million copies, returns to uncover the secrets behind Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 assassination in this brand-new novel from bestselling ROAD TO PERDITION author Max Allan Collins.

In 1968, Nate Heller is there when Robert Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel. Heller takes it upon himself to investigate the murder when a friend of his and Bobby’s raises doubts about the LAPD’s investigation. Heller strongly suspects the involvement of Jimmy Hoffa (currently imprisoned), but Hoffa seems to be in the clear as the private eye looks into the possible presence of CIA enemies of RFK’s on the murder night, the apparent manipulation of Sirhan Sirhan into a Manchurian Candidate-style assassin, and a probable second shooter.

A TROLL WALKS INTO A BAR: A Noir Urban Fantasy Novel (Alexander Southerland, P.I.) by Douglas Lumsden

I usually like my crime fiction to be hardboiled and realistic.  Well, as realistic as hardboiled fiction usually is.  Still, sometimes it’s fun to venture off into some crazier territory. A TROLL WALKS INTO A BAR: A Noir Urban Fantasy Novel (Alexander Southerland, P.I.) by Douglas Lumsden looks to fit the bill.

When a troll speaks–listen up! Hardboiled P.I. Alexander Southerland just wants to enjoy a quiet drink when a 500-pound troll walks into the bar. Next thing he knows, Southerland is navigating his way through rogue cops, a gang war, beautiful nymphs from the ocean depths, a were-rat, the mayor’s corrupt fixer, the sleaziest (and cleverest) gnome in Yerba City, and creatures right out of legend. At the center of it all is a mysterious locked box. Can Southerland discover its explosive secret–and survive long enough to pay his rent on time?

I read the Amazon sample and liked what I saw.  Check it out.  You may as well.

JACK REACHER: THE SECRET by Lee Child & Andrew Child

Next month we’re getting a new Jack Reacher novel!  As you can see, it’s THE SECRET written by the father and son team of Lee and Andrew Child.  Here’s the lowdown…

1992. All across the United States respectable, upstanding citizens are showing up dead. These deaths could be accidents, and they don’t appear to be connected—until a fatal fall from a high-floor window attracts some unexpected attention.

That attention comes from the secretary of defense. All of a sudden he wants an interagency task force to investigate. And he wants Jack Reacher as the army’s representative. If Reacher gets a result, great. If not, he’s a convenient fall guy.

But office politics isn’t Reacher’s thing. Three questions quickly emerge: Who’s with him, who’s against him, and will the justice he dispenses be the official kind . . . or his own kind?

“Justified: City Primeval” (2023) starring Timothy Olyphant & Boyd Holbrook / Z-View

Justified: City Primeval (2023)

Written by: Dave Andron & Michael Dinner (eps. 1 – 2, 7 – 8); Eisa Davis & Chris Provenzano (eps. 3, 5); Taylor Elmore (ep. 4); Taylor Elmore & V.J. Boyd (ep. 6)

Directed by: Michael Dinner (eps. 1 -2, 8); Jon Avnet (ep. 3); Gwyneth Horder-Payton (ep. 4); Kevin Rodney Sullivan (ep. 5); Sylvain White (ep. 6); Katrelle Kindred (ep. 7)

Stars: Timothy Olyphant, Boyd Holbrook, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Adelaide Clemens, Marin Ireland, Victor Williams, Norbert Leo Butz, Alexander Pobutsky, Terry Kinney, Regina Taylor, Yosef Kasnetzkov, Paul Calderon, Amin Joseph, Walton Goggins, Keith David, Natalie Zea, Luis Guzmán  and Vivian Olyphant.

Tagline:  None.

The Plot…

Raylan Givens (T. Olyphant) is a US Marshall and part time father to his 15 year old daughter, Willa (V. Olyphant). Raylan is sent to Detroit to testify in a court case.  While testifying, Raylan tests Judge Alvin Guy’s patience.  That evening the judge is murdered by a sociopath named Clement Mansell.. Raylan is assigned to the team tracking down the killer.

Mansell is known as The Oklahoma Wildman.  He has no fear and kills without remorse. Before it is over, Raylan will find himself dealing not only with Mansell, but an attorney willing to cross the line in her efforts to become a judge, a dirty cop, and the Armenian mob.

“You want a shootin’ match?  Let’s go.”

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Elmore Leonard novel City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit doesn’t feature Raylan Givens.  It was adapted to bring back Justified.  The novel’s protagonist is Homicide Detective Raymond Cruz.  The Cruz character also appeared in Leonard’s Out of Sight novel.  When Out of Sight was transformed into a feature film starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, Paul Calderón played Detective Cruz.  Calderón also appears as Cruz in Justified: City Primeval.

A hero is only as good as the villain he’s facing.  Clement Mansell is a great one.  Boyd Holbrook is perfect.  Other standouts include:

  • Aunjanue Ellis as Carolyn Wilder.  Wilder is Mansell’s defense attorney who ends up in a complicated relationship with Raylan.  She’s strong, vulnerable and willing to cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed.
  • Vondie Curtis-Hall as Marcus “Sweety” Sweeton.  Sweety was once a talented musician, crook and friend to Mansell Clement.  Now Sweety owns a bar.  Sweety is drawn back into the life with the return of Mansell and his plan to get rich.
  • Adelaide Clemens as Sandy Stanton.  Sandy is Mansell’s woman girl. She’s in way over her head and sees no way out.
  • Victor Williams as Detective Wendell Robinson.  Williams is best known for his comedic role on The King of Queens.  Here he shows his dramatic chops.
  • Keith David as Judge Alvin Guy.  Keith is only in one episode, but he shines.

Some actors/actresses are born to play a character.  Timothy Olyphant is a perfect example.  He IS US Marshall Raylan Givens.  Everyone remembers the great lines and Olyphant’s delivery.  I also love the quiet moments when Olyphant uses his body language, eyes and facial expressions to sell a scene.

It’s not often a series returns and is as great as the original.  Justified: City Primeval is a great example that it can be done.  There’s an excellent set-up for another season at the end of Justified: City Primeval.  I hope it happens.

Justified: City Primeval (2023) earns 5 of 5 stars.

“Desperation Road” starring Garret Hedlund & Mel Gibson – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Desperation Road is one to keep an eye on.  Great source material, starring Garret Tulsa King Hedlund and co-starring Mel Gibson.  Yeah, deal me in.

In a small Mississippi town, justice and the law are two very different things. Academy Award Winner Mel Gibson (Braveheart), Garret Hedlund (TRON: Legacy), and Willa Fitzgerald (Scream: The TV Series) star in a modern noir thriller based on the acclaimed novel by Michael Farris Smith about two lost souls tortured by the mistakes of their past and bound by a secret that keeps them running.


CAST: Mel Gibson, Garrett Hedlund, and Willa Fitzgerald

BE USEFUL by Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Arnold Schwarzenegger has a free daily newsletter.  It’s full of short valuable tips on physical & mental health as well as a peak behind the curtain to see what Arnold is reading, watching and thinking.  Arnold also has a new book coming out on October 10th.  It’s called BE USEFUL.  Here’s the lowdown…

The seven rules to follow to realize your true purpose in life—distilled by Arnold Schwarzenegger from his own journey of ceaseless reinvention and extraordinary achievement, and available for absolutely anyone

The world’s greatest bodybuilder. The world’s highest-paid movie star. The leader of the world’s sixth-largest economy. That these are the same person sounds like the setup to a joke, but this is no joke. This is Arnold Schwarzenegger. And this did not happen by accident.

Arnold’s stratospheric success happened as part of a process. As the result of clear vision, big thinking, hard work, direct communication, resilient problem-solving, open-minded curiosity, and a commitment to giving back. All of it guided by the one lesson Arnold’s father hammered into him above all: be useful. As Arnold conquered every realm he entered, he kept his father’s adage close to his heart.

Written with his uniquely earnest, blunt, powerful voice, Be Useful takes readers on an inspirational tour through Arnold’s tool kit for a meaningful life. He shows us how to put those tools to work, in service of whatever fulfilling future we can dream up for ourselves. He brings his insights to vivid life with compelling personal stories, life-changing successes and life-threatening failures alike—some of them famous; some told here for the first time ever.

Too many of us struggle to disconnect from our self-pity and connect to our purpose. At an early age, Arnold forged the mental tools to build the ladder out of the poverty and narrow-mindedness of his rural Austrian hometown, tools he used to add rung after rung from there. Now he shares that wisdom with all of us. As he puts it, no one is going to come rescue you—you only have yourself. The good news, it turns out, is that you are all you need.

SGT. ROCK VS the ARMY OF THE DEAD by Bruce Campbell and Eduardo Risso!

Bruce Campbell teamed with Eduardo Risso to create SGT. ROCK VS the ARMY OF THE DEAD.  Here’s the lowdown…

Berlin, 1944. The Nazis are besieged on all fronts by the Allied forces. Defeat is inevitable. But Hitler and his team of evil scientists attempt a last-ditch effort that may turn the tide of the war and rewrite history itself: a serum that resurrects their dead soldiers, stronger than they were in life, and sends them back into the battlefield.

Now Sgt. Frank Rock and Easy Company have been dispatched into enemy territory to face off against the strangest, most horrific enemies they’ve ever encountered: Nazi zombies!

Sgt. Rock and Easy Company are behind enemy lines, armed to the teeth, and ready to go up against the strangest-and deadliest-enemies they’ve ever encountered: zombies, and a whole lot of ’em! Strap in, soldiers, it’s you against the world…of the dead!

Horror icon Bruce Campbell and comics legend Eduardo Risso bring you a terror-soaked Sgt. Rock tale like no other!

Collects DC Horror Presents: Sgt. Rock vs. The Army of the Dead #1-6.