Saturday, December 19, 2015

Unsolved Murders: The Vermont Long Trail Disappearences

            There has long been a rumor that in the late 1940s a serial killer stalked the Long Trail in Vermont. And it is indisputable that between 1945 and 1950 at least 7 people vanished in the area, with only one corpse found. The Long Trail is a hiking route that runs for 272 miles, the entire length of the state. A long distance, but still small enough to be the roaming grounds for a serial killer.
            Middie Rivers, a 75 year old deer hunter, was the first to go. On November 12th, 1945, he went out, guiding a group of four hunters up the mountains as he knew the terrain well. On the way back Rivers got ahead of the rest of the group and was never seen again. A hunt by the state police, Boy Scouts, and locals could not locate him.
Paula Welden
            The second disappearance was college student Paula Welden who, on December 1st 1946, told her roommate that she was going for a walk. The last person to see her was a watchman at the local paper who directed her to the trail. A manhunt again revealed nothing, but rumors circulated of her moving to Canada with her boyfriend (this was proved false by the police) or living as a recluse up in the mountains.
            The third victim was James Tedford who disappeared after getting off a Greyhound bus to grab a quick dinner, in 1949. No one noticed when the bus took off without him. His disappearance was only brought to light when other passengers saw that his luggage was still there and an open bus timetable still lay on his seat. He was never spotted again.
            The fourth person to vanish was eight-year-old Paul Jepson. On October 12, 1950, Jepson had accompanied his mother in a truck. She left her son unattended while she fed some pigs. When she returned the boy was nowhere in sight. Search parties were formed to look for the child. Nothing was ever found. According to one story, bloodhounds tracked the boy to a local highway, where, according to local legend, four years earlier Paula Welden had disappeared.

Frieda Langer
 Fifth was Frieda Langer who was camping with her husband on the Long Trail. After accidently falling into a creek while on a hike, she decided to head back to camp for some dry clothes. She disappeared. It wasn’t until months later that her mummified remains were stumbled upon by some hikers. Unfortunately due to various scavenging animals, the exact cause of her death could not be determined. But at least her family had something to bury, unlike all of the others.
When Martha Jones disappeared next on November 6th, 1950, she was thought to have run off with her boyfriend in Virginia, like the rumors surrounding Paula Welden, but this was disproven. Once again a massive manhunt by the state police and locals found no trace of her.
The last victim of this potential killer was Francis Christman who, on December 3rd, 1950, vanished while walking to a friend’s house, located half a mile away. Her remains as ususal were never recovered. It is speculated that she may have accepted a ride with the wrong person, as the night was bitterly cold.
Just like Dr. Who
It has been disputed whether these deaths are connected. There have been “theories” (to misuse the word) running the gauntlet from it being coincidence, to a serial killer, to alien abductions, to a vortex sucking people into another dimension. The truth, for those who care about more than a good story, will ultimately never be known.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

God Told Me To!- A Film of Space Alien Jesus

            I ran across this little gem back in the old days of VHS tapes. It was at the bottom of a bargain bin at my local record store. The tagline read “The only man alive who can make the choice to help or destroy a mysterious force which has begun to unleash its dread power upon the earth!” A bold statement. Even back then I was lover of obscure films, so I snapped it up and about a week later popped it in (I love films, but also am rather lethargic). I loved it! Sure it had a low budget and was uneven at times, but overall it was a wild weird ride that has stuck with me over the years.
            The film opens with a man on a water tower in New York City firing into the crowded streets below, eventually racking up a kill count of fifteen. The protagonist Peter, a devout Catholic NYPD detective, manages to approach to sniper and they talk. The gunman is perfectly calm and when asked why he’s shooting at people, states that Gold told him to, before jumping off of the tower.

Tony Lo Bianco in God Told Me To
            After that the floodgates open and an entire slew of murders occur, all done by perfectly calm normal people, all claiming that God told them to. Eventually Peter discovers a link. Each of the people had contact with a bizarre underground cult leader by the name of Bernard Phillips.

Peter goes public with the God angle and the city goes into a panic mode, with even more copycat killings occurring. Some of the cult members contact Peter, and a brief meeting between the two occurs, where the detective discovers that the cult leader’s power does not affect him. He also uncovers that a similar set of events took place some 35 years prior.

Now here is where things get weird. His investigation eventually leads him to an old woman who is his birth mother, having found herself impregnated by a strange orb of light while walking home from the New York World’s Fair in 1941, and giving up the child for adoption. He confronts Bernard and discovers the truth - both he and Phillips are the result of "alien abduction/virgin birth by an extraterrestrial (This is beginning to sound more and more like Mormonism). Also here it is alluded to that Heyzeus himself was another such alien birth.

Richard Lynch in God Told Me To
Peter is the result of his human genes being dominant, which is why he is unaware of his true nature, while Bernard is more like their unseen progenitor. Bernard reveals himself to be a hermaphrodite and wishes to spawn a new species with his brother. He further states that all of Peter’s previous attempts at children had died because Peter subconsciously willed them to, but Bernard is strong enough to ward him off. Peter refuses and attacks Bernard, which results in Bernard using his powers to destroy the building and commit suicide. Peter is arrested for murder, and responds to a question as to why he committed the deed with "God told me to”.

Andy Kaufman in God Told me To
            A few other things to mention here. This was the film debut of Andy Kaufman who plays a madman police officer who goes on a shooting spree during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Apparently during the filming, Kaufman, while dressed up in costume, began antagonizing and making insulting gestures to the crowd watching the production. He was so provocative that several of them tried to jump the barricades to beat up Kaufman and had to be held back by the director.

            Additionally the music for the film was originally supposed to be scored by the legendary Bernard Herrman, who was also doing music for Taxi Driver at the time. Apparently Herrman saw the film without music and came up with a few ideas, but died later on that day. The film was dedicated to him. The director then approached another veteran movie composer Miklos Rozsa who refused, stating “God told me not to.”   

Alternate title and poster
            While I love this film, critical opinion is very divided on the idea. In fact Roger Ebert in his book I Hated Hated Hated this Movie only gave it one star. Stating, “there were times when I thought the projectionist was showing the reels in random order, as a quiet joke on the hapless audience. But, no apparently the movie was supposed to be put together in this way, as a sort of fifty-two-card pickup of cinema… As I left the theater, dazed, I saw a crowd across the street. A young man in a straightjacket… was preparing to be suspended in midair hundreds of inches above the ground, and to escape, Houdini style. At the moment he was still standing on the sidewalk- but, believe me, it was still a better show.”

       My suggestion. Watch for yourself and make up your own mind. Caveat Emptor!

                                              The entire film is here.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Ten More Great Graphic Novels Being Sold on Amazon for a Penny

Previously I did an article called Ten Great Graphic Novels Being Sold on Amazon for a Penny , which I found useful to feed my reading addiction. But as was pointed out to me there are many more good books going cheap on Amazon. And so for those who want more, here are an additional 10 great graphic novel going for dirt cheap on Amazon.

Moving Pictures by Kathyrn & Stuart Immonon
The story of a dangerous relationship between curator Ila Gardner and Nazi officer Rolf Hauptmann, as they are forced by circumstances to play out their private lives in a public power struggle. Set during the Nazi occupation of France during WWII, the story unfolds along two timelines which collide with the revelation of a terrible secret and the realization that sometimes the only choice left is the refusal to choose.

A.L.I.E.E.E.N.: Archives of Lost Issues and Earthly Editions of Extraterrestrial Novelties by Louis Trondheim

What at first glance appears to be a charming wordless graphic novel for young children turns out to be something more complex and much more sophisticated. The language and even the alphabet are alien, but as human readers will soon discover, the themes and stories are universal. These interwoven stories and vignettes start out quite simply, but a darker, more complex side is gradually revealed as alien characters act out very human problems, from peer pressure to intolerance to the challenges of friendship.

Fuzz and Pluck: Splitsville by Ted Stearn  A David Lynchian children's story scenario where talking animals, animated toys and regular humans coexist in a landscape of surreal seediness; that's exactly what Stearn achieves, and the results are both dreamlike and picaresque as lovable teddy bear Fuzz and his pal Pluck, a denuded rooster, find work at Lardy's sandwich joint only to become separated and embark on strange journeys of despair and violence.

The Wild Party: The Lost Classic by Joseph Moncure March & Art Spiegelman

A jazzy, insistently rhyming roaring '20s period poem, banned in Boston when first published in 1928. Penned by the New Yorker's inaugural managing editor, is borne out by March's dither of hard-edged rhythms recounting the boozing, brawling and fractious lovemaking of an all-night party ending in a murder.The Wild Party is now given new life and expression, with March's text accompanied by more than 75 drawings by Art Spiegelman.

Incredible Change-Bots by Jeffrey Brown  Far away in space, there is a planet full of robots able to change from robot form to vehicle form - the Incredible Change-Bots! Leaving their war torn planet, the Change-Bots arrive on Earth, where their battle continues - but at what cost?! Part parody, part nostalgic tribute, part moral fable.

Red Meat: A Collection of Red Meat Cartoons From the Secret Files of Max Cannon

This strip features a disturbing and sidesplitting cast of characters that includes latex-clad fathers, sadistic milkmen, vomiting robots, malformed neighbors, incontinent inter-dimensional beings, decomposing clowns, and other bizarre characters. This is an acquired taste and Cannon stands out as a master of the "disturbing humor" strip.

The Jew of New York In 1825, Mordecai Noah, a New York politician and amateur playwright possessed of a utopian vision, summoned all the lost tribes of Israel to an island near Buffalo in the hope of establishing a Jewish state. His failed plan, a mere footnote in Jewish-American history.

Petey & Pussy by John Kerschbaum This book is on the surface, the story of a dog and a cat with balding human heads, but is more a character study of three (there is also a suicidal bird) New York City guys, bumming around the Big Apple. It is an interesting surreal journey that plays out extremely well. I wish to see a lot more from this author. 

Invincible Days by Patrick Atangan A collection of short stories from the author’s youth in the 1980s. As usual with this author the art is impeccable and the stories are well thought out and presented. Page design consistently follows a rigid nine-grid layout. Flat, expressionless animal faces mask the emotionally laden themes explored throughout the collection. These characters serve as voice for a shy Filipino boy baffled by Western culture and living in a house full of sisters.

Empire State: A Love Story (Or Not) by Jason Shiga
A Story of an introverted man, who follows a girl that has friend-zoned him, to New York City after writing her a letter describing his feelings after asking her to meet him on the Empire State Building. The work is done exclusively in red and blue tones, which some people have debated the symbolism of, I took the colors to represent the protagonist's level of comfort- Red means he's comfortable with his surroundings, blue means he's ill at ease. Agree or disagree as you will.

Hope you found something on this list that interests you. For more reading suggestions try out my What I've Been Reading page. Have fun!



Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mormons- The World's First UFO Cult.

            With the recent controversy in the Church of Latter Day Saints, with several thousand people leaving it due to the current demand that parents of homosexual children denounce them and vice versa, I decided to look into the cosmological roots of the Mormon church and … well what I saw sure looks like a UFO cult. Now most religious origin stories, at its core, comes across like a badly scripted D&D adventure. The Mormon religion however comes across like a badly written science fiction story. There are claims that the Book of Mormon is the world’s first science fiction story (Unfortunately that is untrue, the first universally accepted sci-fi novel being Somnium by Johannes Kepler written in 1608). Still I will postulate that Mormonism is the world’s first UFO cult. Allow me to offer some examples to back up my statement.

            Let’s get to the meat of the matter. The God of Mormonism did not create everything ex nilio as did the Hebrew Deity, but instead constructed the world from existing celestial debris. In fact the Mormon God was born a regular guy like you, me, Ghandi, and Hitler. He eventually rose past his mortality through a processes called “eternal progression” and became a divine being. And later on his Jewish son Jesus, or Heyzeus, or Yeshua ben Yoseph (take your pick) followed suit here on Earth.

            This concept of “eternal progression” or “exaltation” is a key element of the Mormon proclamation. That if a person strives for purity and righteousness (as defined by the boys in Salt Lake City) and to be “one with Heyzeus as Heyzeus is one with God”, then a mortal man might become joint-heirs with Heyzeus and become a God of a world. Now this part does sound a lot more like old school D&D, but it gets more sci-fi real quick. All of this happens after you die, naturally.

            The requirements for “exaltation” have changed over time. Originally you had to be white- as the Mormons’s proscribed that dark skin was the Mark of Caine and a sign of damnation. Thus it was forbidden to marry a dark skinned person, and they could never rise up to be even a low level cleric in the Church’s hierarchy. This requirement was changed in 1978 after Jimmy Carter threatened to remove the Church’s tax exempt status.

            Nowadays a Mormon adherent has to undergo a series of sacraments into order to become “perfect”. One is that a man has to have a “celestial marriage” to an opposite sex partner (the opposite part is explicitly stated) via an ordinance of sealing ritual, which goes not only unto death, but well beyond. So be careful, you will be stuck with whomever you marry until the heat death of the universe! The celestial marriage can occur in person, via a proxy strand-in, or even after the person has died. Under Brigham Young multiple celestial marriages for men were required to continue on the road to “eternal progression”. This naturally coincided with the Mormon’s former bigamous practices, the great legal sticking point of their religion. This, along with the murder of Joseph Smith in 1846, caused the Mormons to exile themselves to Utah in 1848, which at the time was outside the borders of the United States. The necessity for a pluralistic marriage was later rescinded in 1890, but the practice continued for some time after and still is in some isolated communities.

            That is how a regular Joe becomes a God. A bit nebulous I know, but the reality is that it is a simple step-by-step process of sacraments, similar to the Catholic Church’s first communion and confirmation. A route by the numbers procedure.

            But what about the Big Man himself? Mormon doctrine teaches that the Earth is not a unique place, but simply one of many planets where human beings live (like Star Wars), all of whom meet in God’s joint after they die. Each of these Earths were crafted by Jehovah and his boy Heyzeus, who shows up and dies on every one. Jehovah himself was born a dude on an unnamed planet where people like us live and eventually rose to become the God that we all know and blame our problems on.
             Where this unnamed planet is has never been stated, but the suggestion is that it is in a parallel universe, as none of the worlds were created until Jehovah showed up. He establishes himself in a place called Kolob, which is either a star or a planet (the word “star” is used interchangeably in The Book of Mormon). One day on Kolob is the equivalent to 1000 Earth years. Where this star or planet is has been up for speculation ever since the idea was written down. Theory’s range from it being the planet Mercury, to being at the center of the Milky Way, to its being a star outside of our galaxy entirely... Or of course it could just be made up.

            Moving onto the birth of Heyzeus, to the Mormon’s: God literally came to Earth, fucked Mary- despite her claims to not be worthy (is this the beginning of rape culture?)- and inseminated her with himself, which overrode her DNA. Thus he created a clone of himself (I assume Jehovah was Jewish in his past incarnation). He does this in order to die and ascend, showing people the true path to immortality, but unfortunately this wasn’t picked up on until over 1800 years after Heyzeus’s execution by the state.

             All of this is very science-fictiony. There are several other cosmological and doctrinal elements which mirror Christianity (regarding Satan and the fall of the Angels, and so on), but they are best summed up in the cartoon below. Enjoy and caveat emptor.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Turkish Star Wars- The Definition of "So Bad It's Good"

            Where to begin here? The Turkish Star Wars is notorious in some circles for its unauthorized use of Star Wars footage (often it is rear projected while the actors perform in front) and swiping bits from the sound tracks to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Flash Gordon, Ben-Hur, Planet of the Apes, The Black Hole among several others.
            The actual name of the film is Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam translated as “The Man Who Saved the World.” It was made in 1982 on a, presumably, low budget. But due to the very sketchy Turkish laws surrounding copyrights made up for it by stealing all of its space combat scenes from Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica.
            The action sequences are the most laughable scenes. Often our heroes fight large pink furry creatures, obviously inspired from Chewbacca, but they come across more like Gossamer from Looney Tunes. They effortless rip off arms and decapitate them all without shedding blood. Also there are a number of mummy creatures, who look as if they are wrapped in toilet paper, and can kill a man with one flick of the wet end. These also cause our heroes no significant problem.  

            My particular favorite part however has to be the training montage. To prepare for his final battle our hero rips off Rocky and begins exercising to build himself up to superhuman proportions.  He does this by pounding the flats of his palms onto mounds of dirt, punching boulders, and hopping around with rocks tied to his legs. This last exercise allows him the power to bounce off trampolines when the camera angle is low.

No copyright infringement here.
The plot, from what I can tell, follows Murat and Ali, whose spaceships crash on a desert planet following a battle, shown by using footage from Star Wars as well as clips from the space shuttle launch. While hiking across the desert, with absolutely no evidence they guess that the planet is inhabited solely by women. Ali demonstrates the whistles he uses on women. However, he blows the wrong note or something and they are attacked by skeletons on horseback, which they defeat in hand-to-hand combat. The main villain soon shows up and captures the heroes, bringing them to his gladiatorial arena. The villain tells them he is actually from Earth and is a 1,000-year-old wizard. He tried to defeat Earth, but was always repelled by a shield of concentrated human brain molecules (shown as the Death Star). The only way he can bypass this is to use a human brain against it.
The heroes escape by beating everyone up and hide in a cave full of refugees. Murat develops a romantic connection with the only woman there, who looks after the children. (The romance is shown through many long eye-contacts and smiles from the girl, but nothing more. In fact, I don’t believe she has any lines). The wizard’s creatures attack and turn several of the children into monsters, their blood used to renew the evil wizard's immortality. The three then flee the cave and find a local bar, an obvious Mos Eisley Cantina rip off. The two men quickly get into a bar brawl, but the villain suddenly appears and captures them again.
The wizard separates the men and tries to convince them to join him. He sends his queen to seduce Ali, while he orders Murat to be brought before him. He offers Murat the chance to rule over the earth and stars if he joins him. He possesses the power of Earth's ancestry in the form of a golden brain, and all he needs to conquer Earth is a real human brain. After Murat refuses to give up his brain, the wizard shows that he has captured the woman and child. Meanwhile, monsters attack Ali when he is about to kiss the queen. They are both disabled by guards and then unproductively tortured by the wizard. Finally, the wizard pits Murat against a laugh inducing giant monster in the arena. Murat kills the monster and flees, taking the woman and the child with him. Ali is left behind.
Murat finds out about a sword made by the 13th clan, who melted a mountain thousands of "space years" ago to forge the weapon. Murat later finds this sword in a cave defended by two golden ninjas. He gains his light sabre equivalent- a golden sword shaped like a lightning bolt, which is obviously just made from wood and painted gold.  The hero runs around awkwardly with it, touching his enemies and killing them instantly. Murat goes to free his friend from a dungeon. However, Ali becomes envious of the sword, knocks out Murat and takes both the sword and the golden brain. The wizard tricks Ali into giving him the items. Now possessing them, the wizard has increased powers of some kind. He kills Ali and traps Murat, the woman, and the child, who then escape again 
Murat decides to melt down the golden sword and the golden human brain and forge them into a pair of gauntlets and boots. Equipped with magical gloves and super-jumping boots, he searches for the sorcerer to avenge his friend's death. After fighting monsters and skeletons, he comes face-to-face with his nemesis and karate chops him in half. He then leaves the planet for Earth in the Millennium Falcon.
            The film, as you have read, is astoundingly insane. I first found it on sale (long before Youtube) at a little video store in Buffalo that specialized in out of the ordinary films, and bought it on a whim. Some friends and I sat down, cracked open a few beers (every bad film is made better with beer) and watched. There were no subtitles in my copy, so we made up a plot as we went along, laughing our asses off the whole time. From what I saw it had bad editing, grainy film stock, odd choices of music, laughably cheap props, and amazingly bad action sequences. We had no idea what was happening, but loved every minute of it. Now that’s the definition of so bad its good.

Full film here

Monday, November 16, 2015

Blood from the Sky: Odd Things that Have Fallen from Above

On August 27th, 1968 blood and flesh fell in 1/3 of a square mile area between the Brazilian towns of Cacpara and Sao Jose dos Compos. The downfall lasted between five to seven minutes. Later analysis determined that the material was of human origin and Type O variety. Odd things have been reported tumbling from the sky for centuries, but this was the first times items of this nature had been spotted.
Typical in these atypical events is that an inordinate amount of some type of animal- frogs, earthworms, fish- descends, leading people to believe that the cause is a tornado or water spout that hurled a school of the hapless creatures into the sky, only to crash some miles distant. But in this instance no such weather condition had occurred within 100 square miles of the area, leaving puzzled meteorologists and officials to shelve the incident in their unsolved mystery files.
Image result for sao jose dos campos mapThere was however, two other odd occurrences reported five days prior to the event. On the night of August 22nd several unidentified flying objects (as nebulous a term as that is) had been spotted over a dense forest area over 10 miles south of Sao Jose dos Compos. Watchers described it as a “war between at least 30 balls of red and blue light.” Others described it as more of a physical romp than a battle, as if the orbs were playing. The spectacle lasted nearly an hour with each color “whirling and chasing each other in a turbulent [and certainly un-aerodynamic] manner” until they all suddenly “blinked out”. Naturally no rational scientific explanation was forthcoming and apparently the indigenous people believed it to have some sort of religious meaning- though the specific nature of this belief has not been recorded.
The second incident occurred the next day on August 23rd. A bus on the regular run from Sao Paulo was found abandoned on the side of the road. There was no sign of the driver or any passengers. Found inside the bus was a large number of bags and other parcels indicating a moderate amount of passengers, estimates ran to about 20 including the driver. There were no blood stains, bullet holes, broken windows, or signs that anyone was forcibly removed from the vehicle. However it is noted that the keys to the bus’s ignition were missing. There has been no sign to indicate what had happened to the bus’s occupants. Whether this incident is connected to the other two is up for speculation.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Ten Great Graphic Novels Being Sold on Amazon for a Penny

As I discussed in my previous entry, Reading As an Addiction, I’ve digested an inordinate amount of books and graphic novels over the years. To better support my habit I have a rule in that I never buy a book when it first comes out. Give it enough time and the price will always go down. Thus I can get four to five older books for the price of that new release. If I’m lucky, the price on that book has dropped a ridiculous amount, often to a penny. So for those of you who must feed the literary monkey on your back, here are ten great graphic novels being sold on Amazon for one cent.

Three Fingers by Rich Koslowski- This is a fun, behind the scenes, pseudo-documentary of the cartoon scene, where toons live alongside humans as second-class citizens. Mimicking a television expose’s hyperbolic format, Koslowski alternates confessional head shots of interviewees with "archival" stills that narrate the history of toons in film. It chronicles the rise of a Walt Disney character and his greatest actor, Ricky Rat, and the terrible secret they have.

Suburban Nightmares: The Science Experiment by Larry Hancock, Micheal Cherkas, & John Van Bruggen- A collection of nine stories from the independent comic of the same name. The running theme here is one of the paranoia of post-war 1950s America manifesting in anti-communist hysteria, the atomic bomb, aliens, all wrapped in a suburban setting. The art here is distinct, sticking with Cherkas standard black and white blocky style, which adds another level to the paranoia of the series.

2024 by Ted Rall-  An adaptation of Orwell's 1984 to fit modern times. Rall does an amazing job here in staying true to the feel of dread surrounding Winston, but operating in a strictly capitalist, rather than socialist, society. Where Orwell’s Big Brother wanted a country where every person was completely focused on the goals of the party, in Rall’s interpretation total distraction is the party’s plan, where the citizens are so immersed in consumer crap that they don’t care what the powers-that-be are up to.

Volcanic Revolver by Scott Morse- 1930s New York is a dangerous place to be. Crime lords battle for control of the streets, and the web of corruption extends from the docks through the media and up to the highest levels of government and religion. Though just one player in the city's grand drama, Vincenzo is skilled in many arts. He paints, runs a bakery, and runs a secret counterfeiting operation. When a rival mob family sends a bomb into Vincenzo's shop, it starts a chain of events that shakes up the underworld and leads to an elaborate plot for vengeance.

Strangehaven- Arcadia by Gary Spencer Millidge - Alex Hunter crashes his car to avoid an apparition in the winding road. When he awakens he finds himself in Strangehaven, a gently off-kilter village that he first doesn't want to leave - and then finds himself entirely unable to escape. He soon encounters some of the village's bizarre inhabitants. This is a greatly underappreciated story by a master artist, and his work keeps getting better and better. While this story takes its time, I feel that it is worth the journey.

M by John J Muth & Adam Kempenaar- Based upon the Fritz Lang film of the same name, about the hunt for a pedophile haunting the streets of Berlin in the 1930s, ending with a very intense trial scene. While the action is the same as the movie, what brings this graphic novel out are the photorealistic paintings, making this an unforgettable story. 

Crecy by Warren Ellis & Raulo Caceres- This the story of the battle at Crecy in France where the smaller army of England’s Edward the III faced the seemingly overwhelming forces of Philip the IV of France, yet England prevailed, cutting down “the flower of French Chivalry” in an afternoon and, reportedly, spawned the use of England’s two finger salute. Told from the perspective of foot soldier, this is a fascinating tale filled with all sorts of historical tidbits.

Rocketo- Journey to the Hidden Sea Vol 1 by Frank Espinosa & Marie Taylor- In a far flung destroyed earth, where the magnetic poles no longer exist, the Mappers chart the new seas. After returning from a war a broken man, Rocketo Garrison is swept away on a journey to the Hidden Sea, a fabled land that may hold the key to an ancient mystery. This is truly a different story, filled with tons of imagination and flair, and a unique illustrative style. 

Solstice by Steven T. Seagle - An off putting business mogul goes on a trip for the Fountain of Youth in South America, after discovering that he has brain cancer. His son Hugh goes with him, his other son having committed suicide years earlier due to the father’s incessant bullying. As the book opens, Hugh is making a one-handed attempt to keep his father from falling to his death on the summer solstice in equatorial Chile. Hugh fails to save Russell, but only after relaying the backstory in a tangle of crisscrossing flashbacks.

Clover Honey by Rich Tommaso- This is not the revised, redrawn twentieth anniversary version of the book, but its original presentation- that I felt needed very alteration. Abigail is an aspiring hitwoman out to prove her value to the family. She braves the wilds of Newark, overpriced parking, traffic jams, and bad hair days to track down Trevor, her former mentor, who is on the lam with a big briefcase of mob dough.
Hope you’ve found something that peaks your interest. For more suggestions check out the What I've Been Reading  page