Books

Books

Tue
16
Feb

Johnny Boo and the Silly Blizzard: A Big Book for Little Readers

Johnny Boo and the Silly Blizzard

When Johnny Boo and Squiggle wake up in their hollow tree, they are greeted to a world that has been covered in snow overnight. It looks to Squiggle like the whole world's been covered in ice cream, so they get spoons to dig in. Competition soon arrives in the form of Ice Cream Monster, who tries to eat all the snow -- or "nothing-flavored ice cream" -- so there won't be any left.

But eating snow -- and being out in it for a long time -- leads to being really cold. And when more snow begins to fall, bringing a blizzard on our friends, Johnny's solution is to find his box of mittens so everyone has them to wear. But Squiggle and Ice Cream Monster disappear in all the snowfall and Johnny has to find them.

Tue
16
Feb

Dean's Deification a Thought-Provoking, Transgressive Masterwork

Deification by Brooklynn Dean

'Dies iræ! Dies illa; Solvet sæclum in favilla'

   'The day of wrath, that day; will dissolve the world in ashes'

  --Opening lines to Dies Irae (Day of Wrath), thirteenth-century Latin hymn

Our idea of the apocalypse, that period of final judgment when humanity's misdeeds are held to accountability and nations crumbles beneath worldwide cataclysms, has long cast a dark thrall on the collective unconscious, and from the fifth-century B.C. writings of Persian prophet Zoroaster to the ravenous civilization-devouring zombies of George Romero's seminal Living Dead films, the dire interpretations involving the time when time itself ends fascinates us. 

Wed
04
Nov

Put This One On Your Sith List - Star Wars: Book of Lists

Star Wars Book of Lists

When I was a middle schooler in the late 70s and early 80s, there were two books that would publish new editions which were required reading (three for me, if you count the Overstreet Price Guide to Comic Books): The GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS and THE BOOK OF LISTS. Both were filled with intriguing facts and figures that could keep me engaged for many an afternoon.

The STAR WARS BOOK OF LISTS tries to capture that same attention in a very handsomely bound hardcover with gold leaf imprinted on the cover. If you're a Star Wars fan, you'll pick this up immediately. However, you may also get disappointed quickly at what qualifies as 'trivia' in this compendium. For instance, "Caped Crusaders: Characters Who Rock Capes and Cloaks," which is immediately followed by "It's A Deal: Negotiations and Deals Made for Parts, Droids, and Information," are, kindly put, uninteresting. It screams out "I have to find 100 different lists to make from a finite set of films!"

Sat
31
Oct

The Flash 100 Greatest Moments Best 80th Anniversary Celebration of the Character

Flash 100 Greatest Moments

Of my forty-five plus years of reading comic books, my list of favorite characters has never really grown beyond two. The first to make my list was Batman. I've always told myself it was because he was just a normal guy who proved you could do anything with the proper training, mindset, and a billion dollars laying around, but truthfully it was because the television show kept me glued on my little four-year-old butt every time it came on.

The second was The Flash. The iconic yet simple costume, the thinking that went into the multiple applications of what was essentially a single super ability, and the Flash Facts that instilled a curiosity for science.

Robert Greenberger once again takes on the unenviable task of distilling eight decades of adventures into a concentrated list of 100 greatest memories, a task made even more daunting when taking into consideration the fact that there have been a handful of people to wear the mantle of the scarlet speedster.

Fri
16
Oct

Monsters Run in Mary's Family: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter

Mary: Advs of Mary Shelley's GGGGG-Gdaughter

Sixteen year old Mary Shelley carries a 197-year-old burden. She's the great, great, great, great, GREAT granddaughter of the original Mary Shelley -- you know, the lady who invented the science fiction genre with her story about a doctor who revives the dead? Right, that Mary Shelley, and that book. And ever since that fateful publication, the Shelley lineage has been populated with authors, including modern Mary's grandmother (recipes) and her mother, Tawny, who writes a mega-successful mystery series about a crime-solving sleuth, also named Tawny.

Mary is the one next in line, with the expectations that she, also, will find her voice and take up the pen. But there's a problem with that.

She doesn't want to. In fact, she doesn't know what it is exactly that she wants to do, but she knows it isn't that.

Fri
02
Oct

Up to the Hilt: The Lightsaber Collection Provides Detailed Look for Star Wars Fans

Star Wars Lightsaber Collection

Even the casual fans of Star Wars can tell you that the lightsaber is a deeply personal weapon to the one who wields it. Unlike a blaster, the lightsaber is not some mass-produced weapon made in a factory, with identically interchangeable parts. No, the lightsaber is crafted by hand by the Jedi or Sith who will take it into battle, making it an extension of themselves. "This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age," as Obi-Wan put it to Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars film. And, really, that whole "random as a blaster" comment pretty much sums up why the stormtroopers could never hit anything they shot at.

Sun
27
Sep

Talking Craft with NYT Bestselling Graphic Novelist Kazu Kabuishi

Amulet Kazu Kabuishi

Between FLIGHT, COPPER, paperback cover illustrations of the Harry Potter books, and eight volumes of the best-selling graphic novel AMULET (with a ninth in the works), writer/artist Kazu Kibuishi is a role model for not excepting or expecting anything but success. His canny understanding of storytelling, as well as of where the market swings are in comic book culture, have made him an expert in the artform, capable of speaking on subjects from the most esoteric anime to your run-of-the-mill superhero arc.

Critical Blast is joined by UNSTITCHED creator Justin Dutton to spend an hour with Kibuishi discussing these aspects of the graphic novel industry, and what traits make for stories that stand the test of time -- and remain evergreen sellers in bookstores. Check the video below for all the details.

Fri
31
Jul

Bill Willingham Reaffirms $10K Embezzlement Claims Against HMH's Stephanie Cooke

Stephanie Cooke Bill Willingham Embezzlement

In the hotly anticipated second installment of Bleeding Fool's exposure of the Women In Comics Facebook group, colloquially referred to as the "Whisper Network" came surprise allegations from FABLES creator Bill Willingham against Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Stephanie Cooke of embezzlement "in excess of ten thousand dollars."

The claim dates back to 2015 and references the period when Cooke was Willingham's assistant. Willingham reconfirmed that this is still an open case, hampered by the fact that Cooke had since moved back to Canada.

Fri
24
Jul

A Quarantine Children's Fantasy: Ants Don't Talk, Do They?

Ants Don't Talk Do They?

One of my favorite books of my childhood was Caroline Rush's TALES OF MR. PENGACHOOSA, in which a young girl housebound with scarlet fever suddenly finds that in the stillness of her room the chirping of her hamster, Hammy, sounds like tiny little words. Eventually she begins to understand him, and he regales her of tales of his grandfather, Mr. Pengachoosa, whose magical encounters always tied to something in the house. It was such an impacting story that, as an adult, I had to seek out a copy on eBay for my personal collection.

Mon
15
Jun

Critical Blast Announces Online Launch Party for New Book, The Devil You Know

Launch Party for The Devil You Know

Critical Blast Publishing will be releasing their newest anthology, THE DEVIL YOU KNOW on July 1, 2020.

The speculative fiction collection -- featuring the works of Jared Baker, Erica Ciko Campbell, Sarah Cannavo, Michael W. Clark, Christopher Cook, Andra Dill, Cara Fox, R.A. Goli, Gerald A. Jennings, Kevin Kangas, Daryl Marcus, Damascus Mincemeyer, Steve Oden, Evan Purcell, Troy Riser, Joseph Rubas, Hannah Trusty, Wondra Vanian, Henry Vogel, and KD Webster -- recounts tales of meetings with the literary Devil, in the vein of "The Devil and Daniel Webster," "Faust," and other such similar conventions. With stories set in the past, present, and future, and ranging from comedy to horror, THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is designed to appeal to as wide a readership as possible.

Thu
24
Oct

Preview BULLETPROOF: ORIGINS a New YA Adventure Novel

We are officially one week away from the release of Stephen J. Mitchell’s debut novel BULLETPROOF: ORIGINS; the YA Adventure novel about a bullied high school freshman who discovers he’s indestructible. We present to you an exclusive preview of Chapter 1 in its entirety. The stunning comic-book style cover art was provided by up-and-coming artist Matt Flint. It was designed to look like the cover of a graphic novel as most superhero stories are told in the pages of comics, but this isn't an ordinary superhero story. It's a "sub-par" hero story!

Tue
17
Sep

The First 60 Inspiring Years: Barbie Forever

Barbie Forever 60 Years

At first blush, Robin Gerber's BARBIE FOREVER: HER INSPIRATATION, HISTORY, AND LEGACY might appear to be another beautifully designed coffee table book, packaged to appeal to fans of the Mattel maven whose fashions and careers have delighted and motivated children for decades -- six of them, to be precise! My expectation was the cursory introduction, maybe four or five pages of text delivering a succinct history of the doll and her creator, and then a veritable book full of photographs of Barbie through the years.

Thu
22
Aug

Introducing: Bulletproof

Bulletproof

You've seen the banners. You've seen the tweets and the Facebook postings. BULLETPROOF is coming...

But what is BULLETPROOF? And when is it coming?

Time for the Critical Blast staff to sit down and have a little geek out about the Disney/Sony custody battle over Spider-Man, the upcoming CW crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths, the continued tomkinging (yes, we've verbed it) of Batman this week -- oh, and lots and lots of discussion about BULLETPROOF, including the hotly anticipated release date!

Click and enjoy. (And if you like this type of content, by all means click that Subscribe button. It costs nothing, and it means the world to us!)

Wed
14
Aug

Sons of Chaos a Lushly Illustrated Look at Ottoman War

Sons of Chaos hardcover

The average  person today, when asked about Greek history, will probably recall the days of Plato and Socrates -- as though the country leapt straight from the days of philosophical and mathematical breakthroughs and went straight into the 21st century.

So when I read that SONS OF CHAOS was about the Greek war for independence, I was at a loss. When did Greece belong to someone else? When did this war occur?

Surprisingly, the war was relatively recent, as historical epochs go: the 1800s, in fact. When, you know, there actually was an America, so the fact that I did not know about this is a bit embarrassing. However, when it was explained that this was one of the wars of the Ottoman Empire, that, at least, was something I had heard of, so I felt a little better.

Tue
13
Aug

Bizarre Bump-Offs and Extraordinary Exits: History's Weirdest Deaths

History's Weirdest Deaths

The Internet has made famous the Darwin Awards -- people who died in such fashion as to have done a benefit to humanity by removing themselves from the gene pool. But people have been making their final exit in unusual ways long before we were able to share such stories in a viral fashion.

James Proud has collected these historical horrors (and sometimes hilarities) in this comfortable-sized hardcover, HISTORY'S WEIRDEST DEATHS, featuring over 120-pages of anecdotes, peppered with the occasional page of factoids and tidbits -- ending, appropriately enough, with famous last words.

Tue
23
Jul

Boy Bond: Get to Know the Famed Double-0 From the Ground Up

James Bond Origin V1

Ian Fleming's MI-5 agent James Bond has thrilled and chilled readers and moviegoers for decades. But despite all that history, how well does anyone truly know the man?

Jeff Parker and Bob Quinn team up through Dynamite Comics to give us a Bond we've never seen before; a Bond who could be both shaken and stirred, far from infallible, hardly smooth, but very much showing that diamond in the rough quality that makes him a candidate for a new type of defense program.

When we meet Bond, he is only 17, growing up in a Britain beseiged by Nazi blitzkreigs. A student, he teaches judo on the side, and befriends a German professor who knew his mother from their years at school together. But when the professor is attacked and killed, James takes the initiative to track down the men behind it, causing him to miss his train for a class outing.

Thu
11
Jul

Lost Kitties Collector's Guide Lost on Non-Collectors

I grew up in an era where baseball cards were things to chase, where sealed packs kept you from knowing what you were going to get. The cards smelled like bubblegum and the bubblegum tasted like cardboard.

So the "mystery package" concept isn't new to me as a collector. But the "mystery toy" package is something of a more recent development (said mystery toys found in cereal and Cracker Jack boxes notwithstanding). Hot Wheels has their mystery car concept, and Zerboz delivered mystery plastic superheroes for a while.

The most recent development in this collectible craze is Lost Kitties, from Hasbro. I know this because I have the LOST KITTIES COLLECTOR'S GUIDE, written by Maggie Fisher with design work by Hasbro. That is, from this book's title, I know there are these things called Lost Kitties and that they can be collected. As to how well I am guided in that effort, well, that's another matter.

Mon
24
Jun

Macri and Zanotti's The Wall Well-Intended, But Problematic

The Wall A Timeless Tale

In a colorful kingdom, the king takes a walk with his advisor, and discovers there are many people in the land who do not look like him. Wishing not to see them, he orders them banished, and when that is not enough, he calls for a wall to be built.

But he has already sent away the wall builders. Finding he needs them, he has them called back to do the work.

And that is the first flaw in Giancarlo Macri and Carolina Zanotti's children's book, THE WALL: A TIMELESS TALE, illustrated by Mauro Sacco and elisa Vallarino.

The story sets out with the noblest of intentions--to instill in children the lesson that people who look different are still people, and that they have talents and skills to be appreciated. Teaching children not to exclude based on looks is something all decent human beings want for the next generation.

Wed
12
Jun

Steampunk Terrorism Clear and Present Danger in Latest Newbury and Hobbes Adventure from Titan

Newbury & Hobbes: The Undying

Sir Maurice Newbury and Veronica Hobbes are special agents to the Queen who specialize in the outre. Their world may seem to be another steampunk genre adventure, but it is much, much more than that. It's as though the best Victorian-era Doctor Who episodes were used as the backdrop for the forerunners of Jonathan Steed and Emma Peel.

Our saga opens with Sir Maurice and Miss Hobbes in a street brawl, battling masked cultists. But these are no mere anarchists, for behind their masks lies a gruesome discover -- they are a mesh of man and machine, operated on by some mad genius who has advanced science and stunted ethics.

Mon
25
Mar

Cirsova Publishing Announces Fully Illustrated 70th Anniversary Edition of Leigh Brackett’s Stark Trilogy

Cirsova Stark Anniversary

Little Rock, AR, 4/1/2019— Cirsova Publishing has teamed up with StarTwo to create an all-new, fully illustrated 70th Anniversary Edition of Leigh Brackett’s original Eric John Stark Trilogy. Cirsova Publishing aims to bring the action, adventure and romance of Leigh Brackett to a new generation of readers.

First published in the Summer of 1949, Queen of the Martian Catacombs introduced the world to Eric John Stark, the black mercenary swordsman. Stark’s adventures continued on Venus in 1949’s The Enchantress of Venus, and the swordsman returned to the Red Planet in 1951’s Black Amazon of Mars. While Brackett would revisit the character in 1970s with the Skaith trilogy, the original novellas are significant as one of the last iconic Sword & Planet cycles of the pulp era.

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