Archives for Bookshelf

BOOKSHELF: Megaforce Records’ founder Jon Zazula on his HEAVY TALES

Reading the new book, Heavy Tales: The Metal. The Music. The Madness As Lived By Jon Zazula, written by Megaforce Records co-founder, Jon Zazula, is akin to listening to some of the label’s biggest releases without a single second to pause between any of them. It’s a mile-a-minute, blisteringly-paced read, loaded with so many stories about near-failure, astonishing success, and the toll all of that can take. From a tiny record stall to releasing some of the pinnacles of heavy metal, Zazula’s new autobiography covers everything you could possibly want – stories about Metallica, King Diamond, Anthrax, Testament, Blue Cheer,
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Cine-Ween: The Twin Seductions of Romance and Horror

The door that creaks; the echoing footfall. A chiming grandfather clock in the hall. It’s the root of so many horror books and films that we rarely give attention to it:  The house, the home, the center of a woman’s life for thousands and thousands of years. When one begins to tackle the tropes of what I think of as “domestic horror”– specifically, a woman being both physically and psychologically harmed, at home, by a partner or entity– it’s the home and family setting that makes the story all the more threatening.  It has left me to wonder: on the
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BOOKSHELF: SUBURBAN GRINDHOUSE is More Than Just Another Review Compendium

There are few publishers out there who regularly and reliably dig into the weird world of cinema with such successful results as the UK-based Headpress. Be it the made-for-TV movies compendium, Are You in the House Alone?, Fascination‘s analysis of Jean Rollin’s oeuvre, the obsessiveness of Spinegrinder, or Bleeding Skull‘s trash-horror odyssey, among many others, the company has made a name for itself delving into the often-overlooked and ignored corners of cult film. The same can be said for writer Nick Cato, whose Suburban Grindhouse Memories column ran for nearly a decade on the website Cinema Knife Fight. As the
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BOOKSHELF: Exploring Lesser Known Cinematic Stories With FORBIDDEN HOLLYWOOD and HOLLYWOOD BLACK

Running Press have recently released two very excellent books through their collaboration with Turner Classic Movies. Mark A. Vieira’s Forbidden Hollywood: The Pre-Code Era (1930-1934) and Donald Bogle’s Hollywood Black: The Stars, the Films, the Filmmakers are both richly illustrated, oversized hardbacks that come in just under coffee table size. That size thing is kind of important; both books need to be big enough to reproduce the amazing photos included within their pages, especially those in Forbidden Hollywood, which fairly leap off the page with luminescence. However, given that they’re not “coffee table books” in the usual sense (in that
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BOOKSHELF: Qiana Whitted’s Brilliant Analysis of EC Comics “Preachies”

Qiana Whitted’s new book for Rutgers University Press, EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest, perfectly demonstrates why I love the ’50s publisher of titles like Tales from the Crypt, Shock SuspenStories, and Weird Science. In the course of her analysis, Whitted — a professor of English and African American studies at the University of South Carolina — breaks down a series of stories from the course of the company’s history, demonstrating that the “Entertaining Comics” could be more than just lurid and violent twist endings. Specifically, Whitted looks at the preachies, “socially conscious stories that boldly challenged the conservatism
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BOOKSHELF: Bill Schelly’s James Warren Biography is a Horror Nerd’s Dream

Fantagraphics’ upcoming biography of publisher James Warren, by Bill Schelly, titled James Warren: Empire of Monsters – The Man Behind Creepy, Vampirella, and Famous Monsters is a horror nerd’s dream. Replete with the history of multiple iconic publications, it’s not only the tale of Warren’s life, but that of magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland, Help!, Creepy, and Eerie. Were Warren to have only published Famous Monsters of Filmland, his contribution to fandom would’ve been lauded for generations. However, given that the likes of Creepy and Eerie brought the work of EC-era artists to a whole other group of kids, he
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BOOKSHELF: Craig Oldham Reveals the Details of Making THEY LIVE: A VISUAL AND CULTURAL AWAKENING

In November, John Carpenter’s sci-fi invasion classic, They Live, celebrated its 30th anniversary. To say the movie’s influence has been long-reaching would be to undersell They Live‘s cultural impact by quite a lot, but suffice it to say, the film’s imagery and story have cropped up in any number of unusual places, from South Park to the punk rock of New Jersey’s Night Birds, to name but two random selections. In honor of that anniversary, Rough Trade Books released They Live: A Visual And Cultural Awakening, the first in Craig Oldham’s Epiphany Editions. “Designed as a perfect replica from the
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BOOKSHELF: SUPERHERO BODIES Explores the Endless Permutations of Identity

For whatever reason, I fall in love with academic essay collections. The ability of the writers to analyze pop culture in new and unique ways always opens up my eyes to new possibilities when it comes to interpreting the things which I watch, read, and to which I listen. Superhero Bodies: Identity, Materiality, Transformation, from Routledge’s Advances in Comics Studies series, is one of those such books. Per the introduction, the book is “the first collection of scholarly research specifically dedicated to investigating the diversity of superhero bodies, their emergence, their powers, their secrets, their histories, and their transformations.” Now,
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BOOKSHELF: Richard Lloyd’s EVERYTHING IS COMBUSTIBLE Burns With Fascinating Stories

Richard Lloyd is not Richard Hell. Richard Hell was born Richard Lester Meyers, and he was the other guitarist in Television; Lloyd’s the one who stuck it out. He was familiar with Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, and more of the icons of late ’60s rock ‘n’ roll guitar god suchness. Now that that’s out of the way, on to his memoirs. How do you review a book like Everything Is Combustible: Television, CBGB’s and Five Decades of Rock and Roll? It’s linear (at times), sure, and definitely works in the memoir style, wherein Lloyd relates tales of
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