Author: Scott VanderPloeg

Jiminy Christmas! | Dust Jackets Must Die

Why are publishers still producing dust jackets?  The technology has been around for a good century or so to print whatever you want right on the book cover.  In fact the dust jacket was meant as a protection for the book binding of the 19th century and was discarded immediately.  It wasn’t until the early 20th century that fancy designs and artsy materials appeared on the dust jacket to attract potential buyers and has been a selling tool ever since. You can’t really read a book with a dust jacket on: you end up holding it while the book slips down and out.  To keep the book and dust jacket together when reading you have to hold the book by the front and back; completely uncomfortable.  In the end you take it off and enjoy the reading experience.  I guess that’s why books are worth more with the dust jacket: they’re so annoying people get rid of them and they become scarce. The big issue for me is I’m a collector: that means try as I might I can’t just toss the dust jacket.  I have to preserve it and keep it minty fresh: I know it adds value to the book!  A company called Brodart invented the book jacket cover about ninety years ago and I use their Just-A-Fold Archival III acid free polyester covers; same thing as...

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Review | Xenozoic

Long time comic fans will recognize Xenozoic Tales as a long running black and white story told by Mark Schultz, or adapted to the little screen as the animated Cadillacs And Dinosaurs.  I had thumbed the various issues and collections but never had the urge to pick it up.  Flesk Publications has released Xenozoic, the complete collection of all stories to date in one hefty 352 page trade paperback.  Here’s the publisher’s blurb: Forced into hiding by a global ecological cataclysm, humans emerge from their underground warrens half a millennium later to discover that the Earth has been totally transformed. All of the familiar flora and fauna are gone, replaced by a radically altered natural order populated by rampaging dinosaurs and strange, new creatures. It takes guts, grim determination, ingenuity and a whole lot of old-fashioned luck just to survive, much less thrive, in this alien wilderness—all qualities that ace mechanic Jack Tenrec, lovely scientist Hannah Dundee and their friends possess in abundance. But even the worthiest of these hardy souls are hard-pressed to surmount the obstacles presented by their new homeland. And when those trials are further compounded by the underhanded and selfish actions of the cutthroat human scavengers they encounter, even the best equipped and bravest among them might not endure. That sums it up nicely.  We follow our two main characters as they interact with the...

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Review | Dan Brereton: The Goddess & The Monster

Dan Brereton has been pigeon-holed as an artist of horror and horror comics.  Image has published Dan Brereton: The Goddess & The Monster, a hardcover art book collecting various horror illustrations.  Let the pigeon-holing continue.  Here’s the publisher’s blurb: After more than 20 years, DAN BRERETON, award-winning comics creator and painter, collects his best works for the very first time in this beautiful full-color hardcover volume. THE GODDESS & THE MONSTER features 144 pages of furiously colorful illustrations in BRERETON’s unmistakable style, spanning his work in comics, film and more, ranging from the commercial to personal, adventurous to lurid,...

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Bound Together | The Tick Omnibus

During the 1990s The Tick from Ben Edlund and New England Comics was the hottest comic property going.  The black and white comics were a smash success that led to an animated cartoon and a live action television series. Of course it was the comic books that started it all: Edlund had created the Tick in high school as first appeared in the New England Comics (NEC) newsletter; they are a large chain of comic stores.  A comic was developed and published by NEC that featured this odd character and his even more bizarre enemies.  Edlund completed twelve issues and then went on to greener pastures in television while NEC continued the book and spin offs but they never had the same knack for comedy. During its heyday multiple printings of the first issues occurred with different covers for each printing: something fairly new for the time.  Issue two had a rectangle cut out of the cover’s center: a lot of imagination went into those early issues. In 1990 NEC published The Tick Omnibus: Sunday Through Wednesday.  The softcover collects the first six issues with a forward by Edlund and an unsigned introduction by I believe George Suarez the editor.  There was also a signed and numbered limited edition of the same material with a run of 3000, signed by Edlund, Suarez and Robert Polio the art director.  Edlund...

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Review | Conan Volume 7: Cimmeria

I was a faithful fan of Dark Horse’s Conan relaunch with Cary Nord as artist but after he left I drifted away.  Came across Conan: Cimmeria or Conan Volume 7, depending how you interpret the spine and title page of the book, at my local comic shop and it looked intriguing.  It’s a collection of Conan The Cimmerian issues 0-7 which tells a split story, written by Tim Truman with art by Tomas Giorello and Richard Corben.  Here’s the publisher’s blurb: Conan volume 7: Cimmeria marks a transitional period in young Conan’s life, as he spurns civilization — with its turncoats and legal trappings — and returns to the beloved, brutal country of Cimmeria, where he was born and raised. The dangers found in the snowy mountain passes of his barbaric homeland are a welcome change from the mind games and treachery Conan encountered in the cities of the East, but there are unfortunate lessons in treachery to be learned here, too. When a tentative truce with the Aesir is threatened by the actions of Caollan, the first woman Conan ever loved, Conan again finds himself at the heart of a larger conflict that will test not only his physical strength and cunning mind — but his passionate heart as well. The great thing about Conan is you don’t need an introduction or much of a back story: he’s...

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