Books (3)

First Look: 'Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?'

Written by 26 June, 2021

The story of serial killer Ed Gein has been told in a score of books and television shows. But I don't think it's ever been told in the format of a graphic novel.

Harold Schechter (Deviant, The Serial Killer Files, Hell’s Princess) has teamed up with five-time Eisner Award-winning graphic novelist Eric Powell (The Goon, Big Man Plans, Hillbilly) on Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?, which is set to be released on August 3rd, 2021.

Here is the official description of the book, from publisher Albatross Funnybooks:

Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? is an in-depth exploration of the Gein family and what led to the creation of the necrophile who haunted the dreams of 1950s America and inspired such films as Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Silence of the Lambs.

Painstakingly researched and illustrated, Schechter and Powell’s true crime graphic novel takes the Gein story out of the realms of exploitation and gives the reader a fact-based dramatization of these tragic, psychotic and heartbreaking events. Because, in this case, the truth needs no embellishment to be horrifying.

Here are some samples pages from the early pages of the book, courtesy of the publisher.

Last modified on Sunday, 27 June 2021 18:46

12 Great Golden Age Comics You Should Know

Written by 07 September, 2020

The so-called "Golden Age" of comics was the period that marked the rise of comic books into an art form. Beginning with the debut of Superman in Action Comics #1 in 1938, the period lasted until 1956 and it introduced characters that remain iconic in 2020: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Captain Marvel and more.

But for every superhero that became a legend, a lot of characters and the comics that spawned them weren't as memorable. These 12 titles might not have been as successful, but they certainly had some fun covers.

Ace Comics was produced from 1936 to 1949 and as you might guess from the cover, it reprinted daily comic strips owned by King Features Syndicate. The series is best known for republishing daily strips from The Phantom, which helped set the stage for later superhero comics.

Sparkler Comics was another comic book that mostly included comics aggregated from newspaper strips, in this case ones owned by United Features. It ran from July 1941 through December 1954. And by the way, how great of a slogan is "1,2,3, SPARK!"

Air Fighters Comics debuted in 1942 as anthology series that originally featured stories featuring a variety of aviation-related heroes. Produced by Hillman Comics, it was renamed Airboy Comics with its 23rd issue, published in 1945. Under the new name, it lasted until May 1953, when Hillman stopped producing comics.

Journey Into Unknown Worlds was produced from September 1950 to August 1957 by Atlas Comics, the precursor of Marvel. It featured artists who later become industry legends, including Joe Kubert, Steve Ditko, and Al Williamson.

4 Favorites was produced from September, 1941 through December, 1947 by Ace Publications. Ace had a number of comic books during the WWII years, but the company is best known for its popular Ace Double Novels, that collected two books by the same author in one paperback. In particular, the science fiction novels collected this way were extremely popular well into the 1970s. Most of these characters are now in the public domain, so feel free to reboot Magno & Davey into a modern, edgy crime-fighting duo.

Black Cat was published from 1941 to 1951 by Harvey Comics. Black Cat was created by Al Gabriele, is best known for his work on early Marvel Comics and for co-creating the Marvel characters Miss America and Black Marvel. Black Cat's secret identity was Linda Turner, the daughter of a silent screen actor and a stuntwoman turned actress who battled mostly Nazis and their supporters. 

All Winners Comics was an anthology series published from the summer of 1941 until August 1948. It was published by Timely Comics, which was the predecessor to Marvel Comics. The series featured the work of a lot of future Marvel superstars, including Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.

Speed Comics was an anthology produced by Brookwood Publications that ran from 1939 until 1941 when Brookwood was acquired by Harvey Comics. It's most notable for introducing the character Shock Gibson, who was one of the comic book world's first superheroes. In Gibson's origin story, scientist Robert Charles Gibson developed a chemical formula that allowed people to directly store, generate, and control electricity, and he became a superhero after trying out the formula on himself.

Police Comics was an anthology series produced by Quality Comics from 1941 to 1953. It's most notable for being the home of Plastic Man, Phantom Lady, Human Bomb, Firebrand - all characters later brought back by DC Comics when they acquired the Quality Comics assets in the late 1950s.

Forbidden Worlds was published in various forms from 1951 through 1967. It briefly changed its name to Young Heroes in 1955, due to pressure from the 1954 Senate subcommittee hearings on the dangers of comic books. 

Last modified on Tuesday, 08 September 2020 13:27

Book Review: 'She Will Rise' By Katie Hill

Written by 11 August, 2020

Katie Hill has the right to feel angry and betrayed.

In the fall of 2018, Hill was one of the rising young stars of the Democratic Party. After a successful and influential stint as Executive Director for People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) - where she helped lead the push to pass a ballot initiative that provided 1.2 billion dollars for the homeless - she successfully ran for a Congressional seat that had been in Republican hands for a couple of decades. Former President Obama appeared at one of her campaign events, she was the focus of a documentary series that aired on Vice and she was received a great deal of national media attention. She was seen as one of the shining stars in the generation of new Democratic female legislators that were elected in the 2018 election.

But within a year, her Congressional career was over. A conservative web site posted nude photos of Hill as part of a story that alleged she had an affair with one her aides. While she initially denied the charges, she later admitted that the affair had taken place, but before she was officially sworn into Congress. She also blamed her husband for the story becoming public and for leaking the photos to the press. She eventually resigned her seat, but not before giving a passionate speech on the floor of the House in which she argued that she was giving up her seat despite the fact that male colleagues had kept their jobs after committing equal or worse ethical violations.

"She Will Rise" is part autobiography and part reflection of the state of American politics. It might sound glib to say the book is the one you would expect Hill to write at this point in her career. But it's also an accurate take and how much you enjoy the book will probably hinge on how happy you are with that fact.

Hill has put together a solid look at some of the challenges female politicians have faced in earlier years and she admits to be concerned that future female candidates will be dissuaded from pursuing political office after seeing the public scrutiny she faced. She wisely argues that politics is still filled with misogyny and casual sexism. And that men and women should be treated equally when it comes to ethical violations.

It's true that there are men serving in Congress today that committed equally dumb ethical lapses as Hill and yet still kept their jobs. It's certainly not a fair situation. But Hill also doesn't seem to have come to grips with her role in the events that led to her resignation. She claims her ex-husband leaked the nude photos to punish her and that she had a relationship with someone in her Congressional office because her ex-husband was so controlling that work was the only place where she was able to form a relationship. All of which might be true. But while arguing that "a lot of other people are doing it" seems to be the argument de jour in 2020, it's not a great indication that when face with an ethical challenge, women will do any better with the situation than their male counterparts.

Katie Hill is an impressive person and I suspect she will continue to accomplish great things. But "She Will Rise" feels more like a bookmark to a turning point in her professional life instead of a guidepost to where she goes from here.