Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Comic Review: Wild Children by Alex Kot and Riley Rossmo

Title: Wild Children (one-shot)
Author: Alex Kot
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: 07/24/2012
ISBN: 1607065819

I'm honestly not sure what I thought about this after I finished it, but I'll warn potential readers that this isn't exactly light reading. I have to say that while this wasn't what I was expecting exactly, I was just left a little underwhelmed at the end of it all.

Guns. Acid. Cameras. School. The themes behind the controversial Hellblazer: Shoot by Warren Ellis and Phil Jimenez merge with the attitude of the Grant Morrison and Philip Bond masterpiece of teenage revolt, Kill Your Boyfriend, deliver a story of magic, passion, and disinformation. Wild Children: A different type of education.

I started out really digging the feel of this comic. The artwork is pretty good. It suited the initial feel of the characters while not being overly polished. When the artists start bringing in the more flashy stuff later on, it's actually to a rather nice effect. I believe that this is because initially we're to believe that this is a simple little world where everything is exactly as it seems to be, with the stranger artwork coming in only after revelations about said world begin to start sinking in to the various unnamed characters in the story. Art-wise, this was great. Story-wise, this was just "OK". I'm going to try to keep from being too spoilerific, but I'll warn you that I might accidentally let some story line spill in my attempts to explain why I felt disappointed by this.

We're thrown rather abruptly into the story line, with little to no information about our youthful characters other than they're teenagers that are pretty disillusioned with the educational system. A few of them are dating, but that's pretty much all we're ever really given about them. We don't even get their names. This actually works in the comic's favor for the most part since the point of this comic is that it's not supposed to be a big epic where just as much time is spent on fleshing out back stories as it is telling the bigger story. I wouldn't be lying if I said that it also kept me from fully sinking into the characters as much as I wanted to.

I think what the ultimate problem with this is that it just feels like it's trying too hard to tell its message. We have themes of anarchy, reality, and disillusionment, but I felt like I was being clubbed over the head with the message. The revelations here are interesting, which is why I was so disappointed in how heavy handed and preachy everything felt. The "ah ha!" moment just didn't have the momentum to go through the entire issue. In the end I couldn't help but feel that the characters were essentially being just as obtuse as the people they were trying to uprise against. The book relies too heavily on the idea that the message here is so novel and interesting that we'll just keep going.

Ultimately this wasn't bad and I appreciate that the comic team was taking a risk in trying to make something of this nature. It's just that this sort of thing has been done before and done better.   People who are entirely new to these types of comics will likely embrace this comic, and I encourage them to do so. There's a good idea here. For the ones who are familiar with surreal comics that deal with reality like this, you'll just get a feeling of "been there, done that, already replaced the t-shirt a few times". It's worth reading for the nice artwork and for introducing someone to surreal "challenge what you know" comics, but you'll want to have backup stuff to show them that there are better things out there.

3 out of 5 stars

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Daily WTF: Save the Pearls

When a friend introduced me to this series my mind skipped it, probably intentionally. This is a lot of WTF going on here.

Now before I get started in on this, in all fairness I'll admit that I haven't read the book. I'm not sure that I want to, as the premise sounds like something out of a bad 70s film. I might give it a try, depending on how my friend John reviews it. He's my go-to guy for potentially bad books.

But what is Save the Pearls, you ask? Put bluntly, it's a book where a post-apocalyptic future where solar radiation has killed off all of the white people. The remaining whites (called "pearls" in the book) are ruled over by dark skinned people (called "coals") and survive by donning blackface. Our book's heroine is of course a white girl, and of course she's the world's hope for survival. And our little pearl falls in love with a coal. Whom Foyt describes as a "beast-man".

I shit you not, that's the premise.

If you think that this sounds intentionally or unintentionally racist, you're not alone. A good portion of the people who heard the premise of Pearls has thought the same thing, with some posting negative reviews on Amazon saying as much.

I don't necessarily think that Foyt set out for her book to be racist and she claims that the book is supposed to be anti-racist and a "message of love and hope for the planet and for all men". It's just that in her writing she seems to be oblivious to how naive and ignorant her claims of "not seeing race" really is and how the book appears to pretty much most of its target audience. (I include adults in this as YA isn't just for teens nowadays.) To me this shows that you have a book that was written by a woman who is largely clueless of what the current issues in the world are for many people with skin color that isn't a shade of Caucasian. This is a woman who assumes that her son seeing her skin as tan (remember, she's a white woman) means that he doesn't see colors, a person who assumes that white people can sometimes pass for black simply by tinting their skin. This is actually the most offensive part of it all: that a white woman assumes that saying she isn't racist makes the book not racist. She's just that completely and utterly unaware of how bad it is that everyone is named after a gemstone of some sort... except for African-Americans, who are named after coal, are portrayed as "beast-men", and a whole slew of other stuff that makes me cringe.

Even if we were to ignore the cluelessness, then we have questions over the huge plot holes in the book. Why is it that only white people are affected by the solar rays? Dark skinned people get sunburn too, you know. If they're that weak that only the lily white people die off then odds are that the solar rays would be avoidable by people managing to stay, y'know... inside. Out of the sun. Or only coming out at night.

Also, if the dark skinned people are the people in charge then why refer to them as "coals"- a term that has already been used by others in a racist manner? Why would the dominant people refer to themselves as "coal" while the whites are referred to as "pearls"? Even if it's supposed to be a derogatory term, why would they refer to the "hated" color as a semi-precious object while they refer to themselves as well, coal? Why not have them call themselves "ebonies" while the white people are referred to as something other than a desired jewelry object? Or better yet, why not just forego the whole term thing and just refer to them by their skin colors? It would be a little more awkward, but not nearly as awkward and inexplicable as the whole "pearl" and "coal" thing.

Really the most offensive thing is Foyte's cluelessness, something that becomes painfully apparent in the free preview on Amazon. I might actually read a copy of this via Netgalley because this looks like it could be entertaining in its unintentional racism and cluelessness.

I just have to say that at one point Foyt was patting herself on the back for the book not initially getting any protest or complaints. I think that's less because people were accepting of how she wrote the book and more because they were busy trying to pick their jaws up off the flow.

Further reading:

*Today In Racism: YA Series “Save The Pearls” Employs Offensive Blackface And Bizarre Racist Stereotypes Plot 
*Just read the first chapter of Save the Pearls, Revealing Eden…
*Save the Pearls on Amazon 
*Official StP site 
*Official StP facebook page

Hotel replaces Bible with Fifty Shades of Grey. Will hilarity ensue?

I just read a HuffPost article about a hotel in England (Damson Dene) that decided that since not everyone is into the Christian religion, it'd be inappropriate for them to keep up with the tradition of leaving a Bible in the nightstand.

So they decided to replace it with Fifty Shades of Grey.

I have to admit, I'm intrigued. There's already been the typical statement that the move was inappropriate (by a Vicar, no less), but I'm interested in knowing what the average visitor will say or do.

Will this lead to more people coming to the hotel in order to see if the books are really there? If someone takes the book with them, will they be charged with it? If they don't, will the next visitor run the risk of touching a "used" (wink wink, nudge nudge) copy of the book?

And most importantly, if someone decides to torch their copy of the book in the loo's wastebasket and ends up setting the whole hotel aflame along with all of the hotel's copies of the book, would that be considered an   public service or a terrible atrocity? Depending on how you felt about the book, your opinion of this might differ.

(And if you're more of a Mile High club fan,  Virgin Atlantic Airlines will let you listen to the audiobook free of charge.)

My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic... the comics!!

I know I've posted a few press releases this morning, but you have to admit that they're pretty cool. But nothing is as cool as the announcement that there will be MLP:FIM comics! Yes!

Read on for the coolness. These ponies are going to love and tolerate the erm... apples out of you!

My Little Pony Gallops Into Comics
IDW Publishing and Hasbro, Inc. to produce first ever My Little Pony comics
[My Little Pony Image]San Diego, CA (July 13, 2012) – At Comic-Con International, IDW Publishing and Hasbro, Inc. teamed up to announce the addition of yet another hugely successful brand to their portfolio. Based on the Hasbro characters from the popular My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic animated series, created by Hasbro Studios and currently airing on The HUB TV Network in the US, IDW’s MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC comics will offer all-new stories featuring the beloved ponies: TWILIGHT SPARKLE, PINKIE PIE, RARITY, FLUTTERSHY, RAINBOW DASH, and APPLEJACK.

“My Little Pony is a highly successful brand and we’re incredibly excited to have the opportunity to extend the franchise through this collaboration with Hasbro,” said IDW CEO and Publisher, Ted Adams. “We look forward to providing new stories for the fans and launching their favorite ponies into comic book form.”

Fans of the animated series will be excited to hear that the comics will stay true to its moral foundation, while providing themes and subject matter that older audiences can also appreciate. MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC will bring new adventures to the ponies as they help residents of Ponyville while learning memorable lessons about the meaning of friendship.

Coming in November 2012, the series will be written by Katie Cook (Gronk), who has previously worked on DC and Marvel Comics. Taking on the artistic duties is Andy Price (DC Legacy, Batman Archives), with special covers throughout the series by artists including Jill Thompson (Sandman, Beasts of Burden), Stephanie Buscema (Womanthology), and many more.  

Hasbro’s My Little Pony brand was re-launched in 2003 and has brought fun, friendship & joy to millions of kids of all ages around the globe. The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic animated series premiered on October 10, 2010, on The Hub TV Network, gaining much acclaim due to its brilliantly written plot lines, high quality graphics as well as the overarching message of friendship!

Visit IDWPublishing.com to sign up for updates and learn more about the company and its top-selling books.

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PR:Good Charlotte Guitarist Sinks Teeth Into The Comics World

IDW Publishing to publish monster mashup
by Billy Martin and Brent Allen

[Vitriol the Hunter Image]San Diego, CA (July 15, 2012) – Good Charlotte guitarist Billy Martin can now add another accomplishment to his already impressive résumé. A graphic artist, clothing designer and guitarist, Martin will now turn his considerable talents to comics. IDW Publishing is proud to announce VITRIOL THE HUNTER, an all-new comic book series co-written by Martin and Brent Allen, featuring interior art by Martin.

“This book has travelled everywhere I have on tour over the last few years,” Martin said. “I’ve had a light table and art supplies set up on countless busses and hotel rooms across the world.”

Scheduled to launch in early 2013, VITRIOL THE HUNTER is co-created by Martin and Allen, and draws on the folklore and old monster myths prevalent in today’s society, twisting them into a macabre-style story reminiscent of classic horror movies crossed with futuristic fantasy. A self-proclaimed vigilante, Vitriol embarks on a mission to protect his homeland from the malicious monsters that have overtaken it, led by a brutal tyrant vampire.

Additionally, Martin is producing a soundtrack inspired by VITRIOL THE HUNTER. Under the name VillainMartin has been creating remixes, as well as writing and producing music for other artists. This will be his first official release of original music as Villain, showcasing his dynamic mix of electronic music with traditional film score. The special soundtrack for VITRIOL will be available for free download inside the comic.

“Billy and I have done numerous writing projects together and this is definitely our best work to date,”Allen said. “Being from Baltimore, Edgar Allan Poe is a hero of mine, and I can only hope to step foot in part of his shadow on this project. We are both really excited to hear how the readers take to the world we created.”

Set in the fictional city of Basilika in 2127, VITRIOL THE HUNTER chronicles our hero’s journey as he encounters werewolves, hordes of hellions, and other walking myths. This new horror series is slated to run for six issues.

“The best part of working with Billy over the past several years has been watching him grow as an artist,” series editor Denton J. Tipton said. “You could tell he had tremendous talent from the start, but he’s really honed his style and absorbed the techniques of graphic storytelling. Taking our time with this series has really paid dividends, but we can’t wait for everyone else to see the results!”

VITRIOL THE HUNTER #1 ($3.99, 32 pages, full color) will be available in early 2013.

Visit IDWPublishing.com to sign up for updates and learn more about the company and its top-selling books.
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About IDW Publishing

IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. Renowned for its diverse catalog of licensed and independent titles, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry, including: Hasbro’s The TRANSFORMERS and G.I. JOE, Paramount’s Star Trek; HBO’s True Blood; the BBC’s DOCTOR WHO; Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Toho’s Godzilla; Wizards of the Coasts Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons; and the Eisner-Award winning Locke & Key series, created by best-selling author Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez. IDW is also home to the Library of American Comics imprint, which publishes classic comic reprints, and Yoe! Books, a partnership with Yoe! Studio.

IDW’s critically- and fan-acclaimed series are continually moving into new mediums. Currently, Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Disney are creating a feature film based on World War Robot, while Michael Bay‘s Platinum Dunes and Sony are bringing Zombies vs. Robots to film.

PR: IDW Blasts Off to the WILD BLUE YONDER!

Mike Raicht, Zach Howard, and Austin Harrison take readers beyond the clouds!
[Wild Blue Yonder Image]San Diego, CA (July 15, 2012) – IDW Publishing is proud to announce a brand-new creator-owned miniseries from creators Mike Raicht, Zach Howard, and Austin Harrison featuring color by Nelson Daniel! When land and sea have become deadly and uninhabitable, the intrepid survivors of ecological disaster must take to the skies; to the WILD BLUE YONDER!

“I couldn’t be happier to continue my long partnership with Zach Howard,” said Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Officer. “He illustrated the first comic I ever wrote, and has been producing some stunning work for IDW ever since. Add to that Mike Raicht’s clever scripting and the amazing colors of Nelson Daniel and WILD BLUE YONDER becomes much more than just an innovative concept.”

In a wildly imaginative take on the post-apocalyptic thriller, RaichtHoward and Harrison have created an eye-popping world of flying machines, massive, makeshift fortresses and a desperate war among the dwindling population left to the scarce resources on land. As mankind has become accustomed to the reality of a prosperous life only existing in sky bound territory, a desperate war has broken out for control and survival on the ground and high above it.

“We've been striving to put Wild Blue Yonder together for a long time,” said Raicht. “It is so amazing that it is finally coming together. To be able to publish it at IDW, the same place that has produced some of my favorite creator owned properties, like 30 Days of NightThe Cape, and Locke and Key, is cooler than I can ever truly express.”

“I honestly couldn’t be happier. It’s very gratifying to be drawing my own books full-time while publishing them through my favorite company. Good times!” added Howard.

Clashing factions fight tooth and nail with primitive weapons in a thrilling, high-stakes world of tightly-knit families and deeply realized characters, all cobbling together a life in a world beyond imagination.

“We’re excited for people to see the story unfold in the series,” said Harrison. “Everyone at IDW has been great and supportive.  We’re thrilled to be working with such a great company.”

Visit IDWPublishing.com to learn more about the company and its top-selling books. IDW can also be found at http://www.facebook.com/#!/idwpublishing and http://tumblr.idwpublishing.com/ and on Twitter at @idwpublishing.
share on Twitter Send IDW Blasts Off to the WILD BLUE YONDER! to friends on Facebook  

About IDW Publishing

IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. Renowned for its diverse catalog of licensed and independent titles, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry, including: Hasbro’s The TRANSFORMERS and G.I. JOE, Paramount’s Star Trek; HBO’s True Blood; the BBC’s DOCTOR WHO; Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Toho’s Godzilla; Wizards of the Coasts Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons; and the Eisner-Award winning Locke & Key series, created by best-selling author Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez. IDW is also home to the Library of American Comics imprint, which publishes classic comic reprints, and Yoe! Books, a partnership with Yoe! Studio.

IDW’s critically- and fan-acclaimed series are continually moving into new mediums. Currently, Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Disney are creating a feature film based on World War Robot, while Michael Bay‘s Platinum Dunes and Sony are bringing Zombies vs. Robots to film.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Book Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen, Harlequin Teen UK
Release Date: 04/24/2012
ISBN: 0373210515

If you're wondering where you've heard the name "Julie Kagawa" before, it's from her bestselling Iron Fae series, which I absolutely recommend. It's because I absolutely loved that series that I picked up a copy of this book from Netgalley.

In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die…or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

The whole post-apocalypse thing has become rather popular in the last few years, but Kagawa takes it up a notch by adding in vampires. This hasn't been as fully explored in YA fiction as it has been in general fiction, so this should be still somewhat newish to some readers. For those who are pretty used to the mixing of vamps and gritty post-apocalyptic survival, rest assured that Kagawa brings enough creativity to the table to where you won't be constantly comparing it to what has come before. (Some comparison is to be expected, of course.)

I liked the characters in the book, especially Allison. She's tough, snarky, and unwilling to give up her humanity despite being undead. Allison might be a little "typical YA heroine" at times, but there's a reason that characters like this are so popular and that's because they're easy to commiserate with. I do wish that some of the other characters had been a little more fleshed out. Since the story is told from Allison's viewpoint we only get to see what she does, so many of her initial "friends" (if you can call Stick and the others friends) and later comrades are given relatively fleeting glances in comparison to Kanin and Zeke. It's frustrating because some of them seem like they could have been some pretty great characters to bring into the mix a little more, especially Ruth. She's given short shrift as she's mostly only jealous of Allison without doing much, which is a shame. She could've been made into a great rival character.

Overall though, this was a book that I just blasted my way through. I absolutely love Kagawa's work and the first books are always her strongest. The Immortal Rules is no exception to this and I look forward to the next book in the series. This isn't a perfect book, but I'm hoping that we get a deeper look into this world and its characters in the next entry. This is out now, so if you haven't picked up a book to take with you on that summer trip, this should absolutely be added to your reading pile.

Four out of Five stars

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Review: The Uninvited by Heather Graham

Title: The Uninvited (Krewe of Hunters #8)
Author: Heather Graham
Publisher: Mira/Harlequin
Release Date: 08/28/2012
ISBN: 0778313700

I believe that this might be the last book in the Krewe of Hunters series, and I have to say that I'm a little glad at that. The idea behind the ongoing series is good, but there's only so many times you can create new Krewes just to start a new love interest before it just seems a little "same old, same old".

1777: In the throes of the Revolutionary War, Landon Mansion is commandeered by British Lord "Butcher" Bedford. He stabs Lucy Tarleton—who spurned his king and his love—leaving her to die in her father's arms.

NOW: After the day's final tour, docent Allison Leigh makes her rounds while locking up…and finds a colleague slumped over Bedford's desk, impaled on his own replica bayonet. 

Resident ghosts may be the stock-in-trade of stately Philadelphia homes, but Allison—a noted historian—is indignant at the prospect of "ghost hunters" investigating this apparent murder. 

Agent Tyler Montague knows his hauntings and his history. But while Allison is skeptical of the newcomer, a second mysterious murder occurs. Has "Butcher" Bedford resurfaced? Or is there another malevolent force at work in Landon Mansion? Wary, yet deeply attracted, Allison has to trust in Tyler and work with him to discover just what uninvited guest—dead or alive—has taken over the house. 

Or their lives could become history!

Now I have to say that one of the things I enjoyed about this entry was that Allison and Tyler don't actually jump into bed together immediately. Graham has the pair experience sparks, but for the most part they focus on the whole "someone is killing people and Allison is in danger" stuff first. We see Allison feeling guilty about her attraction to Tyler, thinking that it's inappropriate to lust after him when people are dying all around her, people she cared about. This is a very natural reaction and one that I'm glad Graham explored here. After all, if a few of your coworkers died you probably wouldn't be solely focusing on the sparks between you and Agent Awesome-Sauce.

I also rather liked the way the book played out for the most part. The mystery was nice and the history seemed to be pretty well researched, something that I noticed in the last few books in the series as well. This is one of Graham's strong suits in this series.

Where the book falters is that there are some scenes where it just seems a little bland and I really couldn't help but wish that we'd more get to the point. I also felt that the ending was a little overly rushed, making the rationale of the killer and the reveal underwhelming. I wasn't expecting a reveal that would make me gasp, just one that felt a more built up. It just feels like Graham sort of ran out of pages and figured "OK buttercup, time to wrap this mother up". This felt a little disappointing because the book up to that point was good. I almost think that the book would've been better served by not having a big showdown scene and having the baddie arrested without the inevitable "hey, I'm kidnapping the girl so I can kill her" scene.

Overall though, this wasn't terrible. It was good to see Adam poke his head into the book. I liked the history mixed into the book and I liked that the romance took a back burner to the story. I just feel that this series has run its course and that while I wouldn't mind seeing a story centered around a pre-existing couple (much like how Nora Roberts's In Death series does this), it's time for Roberts to move on. She's gotten a fresh wind with the last few books, but I can't help but feel that she'd rather be writing something else.

3 out of 5 stars

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Stop the Goodreads Bullies: The drama continues

If you're reading this, I'm going to guess that you're familiar with the whole STGRB situation. Not familiar? Here's a brief recap:

Basically put, there's a group of authors on Goodreads that took exception to the way some of the users were reviewing and responding to comments. They said that some of the reviews were overly abusive and inappropriate and that when authors tried to respond to the reviews, they were harassed by users. (Most of the reviews highlighted were rather tame, all things considered, and/or were written by people who weren't interested in reviewing for blogs or even for anyone other than themselves.) In an attempt to showcase this behavior, they started a site where they posted the screen names, real names, locations, and whatever information they could find about the reviewers. Needless to say, the blogging and professional writing world did not take kindly to this, with many authors and blogs writing articles that condemned the site. 

Now that brings us to current events. I found a blog by AnimeJune on Gossamer Expressions (click here to see it) that has screen caps of the various things that STGRB had been posting about the various reviewers that they considered bullies. I'm stealing one of the pictures to post here because quite frankly, it's one of the most damning. 

STGRB is currently trying to pretend like they'd never posted any personal information about the people on their site, but as you can see in the above image, that's not true. They not only give her real name and location, but they also mention where she likes to go to eat or just to walk. I'd heard that they'd had this posted, but this is the first confirmation I've seen of this.

If that sounds freaky, then you should know that they actually posted more information about another reviewer named Lucy, who recently reported that she'd received a harassing phone call from a random person. There's also pictures to where the STGRB site was hunting down information about "bullies" that they lacked names and locations for. (If you want to see the pictures for this, go check out AnimeJune's blog!)

Put bluntly, the STGRB people are nothing more than a pack of bullies themselves. They've claimed that they've never harassed anyone and that they never intended for anyone else to harass the reviewers, but given that they've already lied about posting personal information, I'm not so sure that I believe that. Heck, even if they're telling the truth, you can't post so much personal information about someone and not expect someone to try to do something. The one thing I've learned about the internet is that if you post someone's personal information, someone is going to use it. I've read enough ED articles to know that much.

Shoot, even if all of the information posted on the site was public knowledge, there's no reason to post that much info. What point does it serve? What really do you hope to accomplish by letting everyone know that Reviewer Rhonda is actually Sam Spade, who lives in NYC and works in a Denny's? It accomplishes nothing because there's no reason for anyone to really know any of that. Lucy could've been Donald Trump for all I care. If the only thing about her that bothers you is the way she reviews and how she comments, then that's all you need to report on. If it is necessary for them to post this information, then why aren't they posting their own information? Why is it that so many of the people on the site feel the need to hide the same information they're trying to reveal?

My point is, even if the reviewers are every bit as bad as you claim they are, you're going about it the wrong way. If the point of STGRB was to highlight specific authors as victims and to point out bad behavior, they've failed miserably. All they've done is to make the very people they claim are "bullies" into victims and making the authors they're trying to defend look like crackpots by association.

Further reading:
*AWWC thread on STGRB

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Authors Behaving Badly: Carroll Bryant update/overview

Hi all!

I'm writing because I want to update everyone on the whole Carroll Bryant thing. When I first came across the Goodreads/Bryant affair, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, sometimes people can be a little trigger happy to jump on the "author drama" bandwagon.

Then a friend of mine (a few of them, actually) started filling me in on everything that went on. Now I'm not sure how much of all of this is true, but this is what's currently floating around in the rumor-sphere and I'm going to compile most of it here for clarity's sake.

Note: this is not an encouragement for anyone to go and harass Bryant. The argument on Goodreads is done and it should remain done. This is here for clarity, posterity, and just to show people how not to respond to a  bad situation that gets worse and worse.

Before Bryant was removed from Goodreads, the arguments between him and a select group of reviewers were starting to get heated. I didn't read all of the comments on the blogs posted on Goodreads, but I do know that at some point it was brought up that one of the reviewers that Bryant was complaining about was someone that he'd been in a relationship. The girl (who lives in Mexico) was supposedly 17, with her turning 18 before the relationship ended. (Before you start saying "illegal", know that the legal age of consent in Mexico starts at 12 and much of the United States' AoC is at 17. It's squicky to me, but technically legal.) There was also talk about different things that went on in their relationship, but I have no way of knowing what exactly is the truth of this and to be honest, some of it is pretty damn sensitive. Some of it ranges from Bryant flying down to see her, other talk has Bryant giving the girl fake photos of himself, only for her to discover that he'd been lying to her about his age and appearance. Some of it, as I said above, states stuff that neither party would really like to be repeated on the internet, whether it's true or not. After the breakup, the reviewer didn't post a review.

Now here's where I have to say that Bryant should have cut his losses and moved on. Regardless of how bitter the breakup was or wasn't (and supposedly it was bitter), there's no sense in trying to get a review out of an ex. Putting her name on the list is just sort of well... petty.

At the same time some of the other blogs were supposedly telling Bryant that they weren't going to review his book. Some accounts have the bloggers being friends of the ex, others saying that the bloggers didn't know the girl in question and that they decided to not review the books for reasons that were entirely their own.
This is about the time that Bryant posted the blog complaining about unprofessional reviewers and not getting what he was promised. For my initial feelings on that, you can read my blog post here. What pretty much happened from there is common knowledge. Bryant's blog angered a lot of people and Bryant stoked the fires. Bryant was accused of preying on minors and of being a pedophile, the back and forth of which has been recorded on some blog sites. (See the bottom "further reading" section for this.) Because I didn't read all of the posts and due to my personal feelings about relationships with such a large age gap, I'm not going to comment on this.

Bryant eventually got reported to the point that he was removed from Goodreads. He eventually posted his list on his own blog. As you can expect, the typical reaction ensued and the argument that was initially on Goodreads merely shifted to Carroll's own blog. I did manage to read the interaction between Bryant and the people posting on his blog and all I can say is that Bryant responded very poorly. Calling people names and getting hostile is not going to make anyone see your viewpoint or go away. All it does is stoke up the fires.

What's interesting is that after the list was posted, one of the blogs stated that they had never approached Bryant for a review. This is pretty interesting, considering the vitrol that Bryant had been posting up to this point. Shortly after the blog containing the list was posted, it was quickly removed. The aftermath of this is that at least one of the blogs (I think the same one that stated they never contacted Bryant) changed their review policy to where they will no longer review self-published books unless they are familiar with the author or the pitch was very exceptional.

Now my reason for posting this is not to bring up drama, get views, or to cause trouble. With how freaky everything was getting, I wanted to post a rough outline of the events for those who are just as boggled as I am by how utterly pear-shaped everything got in such a short period of time. That Bryant's story is now being picked up by STGRB doesn't help make anything less messed up.

I hate to say it, but Bryant pretty much hit every single thing on the "How to be seen as a crazy author" checklist. I'm trying really hard to make this blog as neutral as possible, but my reaction to this is about the same as my reaction to the whole Candace Sams affair. While Bryant never threatened to call in the FBI (that I'm aware of), his actions and reactions were just as poorly done and I'm left with this WTF feeling over everything.

All I can say is that Bryant's best course of action would be to quietly walk away from this fight. He can't win and associating himself with a group that's pretty much widely despised and criticized by most of the literary world will do little or nothing to help his now tarnished reputation.

With the recent increase in reported drama between authors and reviewers, (some of it deserved, some of it not) I can't help but wonder what this is doing for the image of the self-published author. Whatever it's doing, it's not doing the indie world any favors.

As far as all the indie/self-published hopefuls go, I just want to recommend that if the above situation happens to you, don't respond.  It doesn't matter if you think you're in the right. It doesn't matter if you think you are being bullied. It doesn't matter if the other person is airing your personal life and calling you names. Don't respond. No, it's not fair that reviewers seem to be able to post whatever they want or back out of promised reviews, but they're just average schmoes. They don't stand to lose reputation and readers if the general public perceives your actions as hostile or bad. If you really feel that certain bloggers and reviewers are jerks/unprofessional/bullies, then vent in private and just tell a few trusted friends online who they shouldn't do business with.

Update 2.0:

Just wanted to add that I've put a few more links down below and that one of them has a much more detailed synopsis of everything. It looks like the young lady in question did live in Mexico and that Bryant flew down to see her, but was refused. After all of this she was harassed and stalked by Bryant to the point where she made everything private. I try to be neutral on stuff like this (as there's always two viewpoints) but it's pretty much impossible to defend Bryant's actions here.

Also, it looks as if Bryant has re-posted his list. I've linked it below, so if you want to see it you can click it. Now the reason why I'm mentioning this is because one of the blogs on the list (A Cupcake and A Latte) has closed all of her review stuff very suddenly and inexplicably. What is worrisome about this is that from what I've heard, none of her friends have heard anything from her. Considering that STGRB has made Bryant their poster child and one of the focuses of STGRB's attention has reported that she's received a threatening phone call, it's entirely possible that this blogger was getting harassed all this time and just decided it would be easier to leave the internet than to stay on. If this is the case then it really doesn't bode well because by all accounts the blogger for ACaAL didn't do anything wrong and wasn't even in contact with Bryant at all until he started fingering her as one of the people who supposedly requested a book and didn't review for him.

If anyone knows anything else, please feel free to chime in!

Further reading:

*Goodreads Follies: Indie Authors Meltdown on Goodreads
*Goodreads Follies: Carroll Bryant vs Autumn Rosen - Round 2
* Important Change in Review Policy - The Strange Case of Carroll Bryant
* The Rex Files: The Legend of Carroll Bryant
*Carroll Bryant: The List

Monday, July 23, 2012

Stop the GR Bullies: Get Over Yourselves

I stole this title from Ray Garton's HuffPost article about this group. I will not link to the group and other than the title of the blog, I'll refer to them only as STGRB. I don't want them getting any more traffic than they have already. (Click here for his article.)  I just recently found out about this, and I have to say that I'm horrified. (I picked a wrong time to take a siesta from the internet and finish my books for review, apparently. I walk away and come back to find two WTF scenarios.)

The site is essentially a place for people to post the private information of reviewers they believe are "bullies" at Goodreads. According to author Jessica Scott, they were also posting photos of these reviewers and of their families. So you have a website that not only told you the real names and contact info of various people, but also showing you what they look like.

Seriously, what the freaking heck? What about that sounds like it's "striking back" at the "bad" reviewers? What about that is in any way constructive? Easy answer: it isn't. There is nothing about publishing private information that would even potentially be helpful in any way. No matter what the argument is, there's no excuse for posting personal information about anyone on a site that's essentially a site for people to lump together and bitch about people that they say have written nasty reviews. All that does is encourage people to harass, stalk, and prank the people you have listed, whether they have any beef against that person or not. Don't believe that there are people out there who would do this? Go google "Encyclopedia Dramatica". There is a whole section of the internet that will harass people just because they can, and trust me- these people make a simple negative review seem like it's nothing. When you see people try to justify multiple years of harassment of an autistic man by saying that "he's a jerk", it's hard to see the justification of people saying that their feelings were hurt by groups of people on Goodreads.
One of the people that the site complains about reviewer Wendy Darling, someone I've conversed with on Goodreads. She can be a tough reviewer, but she's also a fair one. WD doesn't post negative reviews just for the hell of it and she doesn't write them with the idea that she's going to harass authors just to gain publicity. (She doesn't need it! She has enough followers!) STGRB in particular focuses on the fiasco surrounding Kiera Cass, her agent, and Wendy's review for The Selection (which I blogged about). STGRB is quick to make it seem like Wendy is some nasty reviewer who was gunning for Cass. Thing is, Wendy was more upset with Cass's AGENT than anyone else, as the agent repeatedly posted nasty comments about Wendy's review and anyone who defended her. What also bothered Wendy and many other reviewers/readers was that people were saying that Wendy had no right to post a review because she didn't finish the book.
The point of me going on about this is that Wendy didn't do anything wrong by posting a review that stated that she didn't like the book. That she didn't finish the book doesn't mean that she's not allowed to post a review because hey- if you couldn't finish the book because you disliked the book then that that's still an opinion that you could share with others. Also, Wendy isn't required to respond to people apologizing, especially when that apology only comes after several people began to state that the poor reactions by the agent (and the author's lack of reaction to her agent's abhorrent reactions) would keep them from being able to read the book.

Hell, it doesn't matter what Wendy wrote or what any reviewer writes in a valid negative review. Very few negative reviews are an active attack against the author and people have the right to post what they feel about the books they read. Authors do have the right to get angry, but they need to do it in the privacy of their own homes and keep their anger off the internet. Responding to any negative review runs the risk of them saying something stupid that will come back to haunt them. That might not sound fair to some, but the thing is... when you put your work out for public consumption you're going to get negative comments. You're even going to get some pretty nasty stuff said about you. Just look at Twilight and the vitrol it's received over time. Do you see Meyer going on and posting the personal information about the people that post stuff like "Edward is a stalker, your books romanticize abusive relationships" or "Jacob imprints on a baby, you're romanticizing pedophilia and child grooming"? Nope. She hasn't and she won't, at least I'd like to think so. She also doesn't encourage others to take these actions and from all I've seen, does not condone such actions.

Now to be fair, I went over the website to see some of the "awful, harassing" reviews that people claim are bullying authors. Of all the reviews posted, I couldn't really see where any of them were so awful and life shattering that they needed to be posted on the internet as an example of unexcusable reviewer behavior and have their personal information posted for all to see. From what I can see of the site it looks like they've removed any of this stuff but what's disturbing is that at one point they had it posted and didn't initially see where the posting of this info would be a bad idea.

Do I think that sometimes people overreact to authors responding to negative reviews? Yep. Do I think that some of the negative reviews out there are a little irrelevant? Yep. However, I also think this of many positive reviews as well, especially when I see some insanely blatant attempts by authors to bombard their books with multiple positive reviews that they've either posted themselves, gotten their friends/family to post, or received by trading positive reviews with other authors. It's frustrating when you see someone give a book they've never read 5 stars or giving a positive rating for a book that they clearly didn't like, all because they felt bad for the author or out of some misguided fandom guilt. It's funny how so many of the people on STGRB are so quick to highlight the so-called negative reviewers as the cancer that's killing Goodreads when they ignore that there's a large section of authors that try to game and manipulate the system by flooding the system with fake ratings and reviews. (This isn't limited to Goodreads either- you see this on Amazon as well!)

One of the people from the site tried to justify their site and their behavior on the HuffPost (click here), but the fact remains that no matter how you try to justify it, STGRB goes about trying to combat "bullying" by encouraging the bullying of the reviewers, whether this encouragement was intentional or not.

The bottom line is that not every reviewer is going to post a review that is positive or that meets what the author, you, or even I think is a rational negative review. They don't have to. The beauty of the review system of any given public ratings site is that you get the candid and uncensored opinion of the random reader. Not every reviewer is Roger Ebert, giving elegant and detailed reviews where they state their opinion and that's not the point of these review sites. The point is to get the opinion of the average person in their words. That means that occasionally you'll get reviews that are rough or that focus more on the reviewer's personal dislike of the author than on the book in question. This is inevitable.

Try as much as you like, there will always be a portion of the reviewing world that writes reviews along the lines of "my dog could barf up a better book" or "this author must have never gotten laid because the sex in this is blah blah blah". Like it or not, this is how many people talk about things, whether it's a book, a movie, or a TV show. I've worked in enough retail stores to know that people say all of these things about your books, sometimes saying things even worse than this. The only difference from the people in the retail stores and Goodreads is that now it's on the internet. It's not going to go away and trying to stop it via plastering names and reviews on a website and labeling them as bullies won't stop a thing. If anything, it's the worst thing any author can do because you've shown the professional publishing world that you are incapable of getting a negative review and that you are a potential PR risk, a loose cannon that might not be worth the money you could bring in.

The author's job is to learn how to deal with this in a way that won't ruin their image. This pretty much directly translates to "ignore the comments, don't respond" because it's near impossible to respond to a negative review and not come off as defensive. Even if you are incredibly eloquent, it's just better to ignore the negative reviews, because you're always going to get them. ALWAYS. If you're an author then you're going to get negative reviews as long as your books are in the public sphere, even long after you're dead. Just look at Jane Austen, who still gets people saying some pretty nasty things about her books. You just have to learn to grow a thicker skin and deal with them. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by railing against the reviewers.

Further reading

*Stop the GRB: A response
*A perspective by one of the "bullies" labeled by STGRB and how she's been harassed

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Authors Behaving Badly? Carroll Bryant

I was recently directed to a rant by indie author Carroll Bryant on Goodreads. (Click here to go to said post.)

Basically what Bryant posted was that a number of blogs had approached him for copies of one of his books (I think it was Children of the Flower Power) and then never delivered the reviews or interviews they'd promised. To a degree I can certainly understand his frustration, even though I'm not an author. It's got to be really upsetting when you send a physical book out to someone, spending your own money to send out copies of a book that you only have in limited supply. I've had to spend my own money to mail out books from various contests I've held, so I know how expensive it can get when you're sending out 3-4 books at a time to various places on the globe.

Yet what makes Bryant's rant a little off is that he's threatening to post names of various bloggers.

This is both good and bad in a way. Why is it good? Because quite obviously, there are a few bloggers out there that are exactly what Bryant's rant complained about. You're going to get people like that everywhere, not just in the literary world. How many of the bloggers on his list actually are freeloaders or scammers though... that's where the list turns bad.

Reason number 1: Not every blogger has loads of free time to review books non-stop like a machine. This past year I myself have gone through months where I'm only able to read for 2-3 minutes at a time and review books have piled up like snowflakes in a blizzard. I've got novels that I've purchased years ago that have piled up because I feel that I should read the review books first. This isn't something I recommend, though, because when you start reading only to review, you begin to lose joy in the very thing that you love: reading. This means that you do less of it because it feels like work, even if it's a book you know you like. (Although in my case my lack of reading tends to be more because I'm coming into my final years of college and have to take all of those great 300 and 400 level classes that I've been putting off.) That some of his reviewers were teenagers just sort of takes this to a new level because life is pretty busy when you're a teenager, or at least that's what it felt like when I was still in my teens. (Now I miss the free time I had back then, but when I was about 16-17 it felt like I didn't even have enough time to take a breath!)

Reason number 2: Sometimes the blogger doesn't give a review or holds off on giving a review or interview because they just didn't like your book and are afraid of hurting your feelings. I've done this in the past. I've put off giving a definitive answer because I didn't want to hurt the author's feelings, especially if they were indie. Being told that your baby smells bad hurts even if it isn't being said maliciously. I don't like telling people that I didn't like their books because I know that even the nicest criticism still cuts. I know it's necessary for the author to grow, but that doesn't make it any easier for you (the author) to hear or for me (the reviewer) to say. Sometimes I'll write negative reviews if I think I can write them well enough, but a lot of times I'll pass on them. Why? Because many times I'm pretty sure that I'm just not the right reader for a book and I don't want someone to pass on a read because they read a review where the reader was just the wrong person. Of course the fear of angry author rage doesn't help this out any either.

Reason number 3: Just because a blogger reneged on your deal doesn't mean that they're bad sauce. It'd be nice if they were to just say "no, I'm not going to review your book or interview you because of ________", but it's not always like that and sometimes there are good reasons behind it that have nothing to do with a blogger being flighty. Just because you had a bad experience with a blogger once during a certain point in time doesn't mean that this is standard for the blogger.

Reason number 4: Because it makes you look like a nutter. Sorry, but this is the truth. Threatening to post names of bloggers, whether they deserve it or not, looks very bad. Indie authors have to fight for publicity and to get their novels out, which isn't helped by the growing group of readers/reviewers/bloggers that are looking for bad behavior to feed on. This isn't the same as trying to neutrally report on it, mind you. No, there are people out there who are looking to crucify any author who makes a move that is even slightly dubious. I'm not going to name names, but I've seen people holler over author behavior that isn't all that bad, to be honest. This type of trend makes a lot of readers and reviewers leery of reading new authors, which makes it harder for many indie people to be taken seriously. It also makes it a lot harder for the author behaving badly to be taken seriously.

Reason number 5: Because you'll get blacklisted in return. Even if every single blogger on Bryant's list deserved to be black listed, creating a list of bloggers that shouldn't be used or visited makes the other reviewers and bloggers leery. What exactly do you have to do to be put on a list? Would any behavior do? What if the qualifications for being on the list changes over time and you get put on it simply because you're slow in responding to emails and other stuff? It makes you look as if you're a powder keg waiting to go off. As a result the blogger/reviewer crowd in general will simply stop doing business with you because they don't know how you'll react. This doesn't mean that everyone will ignore you, but it will make it harder for you to get that serious review or interview with Dear Author or any of the other big name blogs out there.

I guess the bottom line here is that authors just have to be careful about posting stuff like this. I understand Bryant's frustration, but he's got to understand that this is actually pretty standard. Even the big names in the literary business have people who get review copies and then never actually follow through on their promise to review. Some of the publishers get responses back saying that they won't get a review from Publisher's Weekly, some of them never even get as much as a one sentence email saying that Klausner can't make the time to post a review on Amazon. And these publishers send out far more copies of their books than the indies do. (Granted they have more money to be sending out copies en masse, but it still happens.)

So this brings us to the big question of what can you do if you have something like this happen?

First off, complain privately and only to a group of people that you know won't blab to outsiders. I know that you might mean well, but public rants can and will be taken badly. It doesn't matter if you have the world's best argument, it won't go over well when the subject is creating a list of bloggers that you think have bad practices.

Secondly, if you must make up a list, keep that private as well. Only give it to those trusted friends. NEVER discuss them publicly unless you absolutely can talk about it neutrally. Even then, make sure to say that this is only your personal experience and that it might differ from person to person. I've had some pretty bad experiences with authors, but I don't go around making big public lists of authors that you shouldn't read. Not only does that make me look bad, but come on... the author might have been having a bad day or something along those lines. If I have that happen I tell a few of my closest and most trustworthy friends to beware of those authors and then move on.

Thirdly, invest in ebook copies of your book. It is exciting to send out and receive paper copies of books, but go for ebooks. Not only is it more environmentally friendly to send out ebooks to reviewers, but this way you lose out on less if the reviewer doesn't follow through with their promise to review you. This is why I usually prefer ebook copies. I know that if I were to go through a slow period of reading, I won't feel bad that an author sent me a paper copy that could've gone to a more prolific reviewer. (Or that if I have a paper book I don't like, that the book could've gone to someone that would've liked it more.)

Finally and most importantly, the best advice is to just move on. No matter whether or not the reviewer deserves your scorn or not, there's nothing good that will come out of posting public lists or rants about them. If they are a bad blogger or reviewer, they'll do a good job of shooting themselves in the foot and most times reviewers like that will end up quitting their blog after a set period of time anyway. Blogs in general tend to only have a life span of 4-5 years, with the blogger either retiring, forgetting about the blog, or passing the torch onto others for whatever reasons. There's nothing to gain from publicly roasting bloggers for what is ultimately small potatoes. It stinks that you're out the cost of postage and a book, but just tell a few trusted author buddies not to use that blogger and move on. The short-lived publicity you get when others report on your actions is not worth the grief you'll get from it later on down the road when someone continues to associate you with something you wrote in a heated moment you'll later come to regret.

Follow up:

Well, it looks like the original thread on GR has been deleted and Bryant has been banned/blocked from the site. Despite this, he still posted the list on his personal blog, which seems to have also been removed. I am not going to repost the list, for obvious reasons. The only comment that I'll make is that it's a good thing that Bryant removed it, and not because he posted names of blogs that he wants to warn others about.

What this might mean for Bryant in the long run has yet to be shown. I'm trying to remain somewhat neutral about this in public, but this is really just another good example of what not to do when faced with something that upsets you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Comic Review: Aron Warner's Pariah, Volume 1

Title: Aron Warner's Pariah
Authors:  Philip Gelatt, Aron Warner
Illustrator: Brett Weldele
Publisher: Sea Lion Books
Release Date: 07/24/2012
ISBN: 098361315X

I have to say, if the goal of Sea Lion Books sending me review copies is partially to make me want to own the physical books myself, they're achieving it with a rate that's probably scaring my checkbook. (Not that I don't scare it myself every time I walk into my local comic book store or Barnes & Nobles.) I need this book, just like I needed a copy of the first volume of Storm Born.

Brent Marks, a known Vitro, is desperately trying to live a normal high school life while suffering the slings and arrows of being known as an uber-geek. But, things go from bad to worse when the Vitro community, en-masse, is blamed for a fatal explosion in a military weapons lab and the subsequent release of a deadly toxin. Caught up in a global panic, the Vitros become subject to a groundswell of persecution, as they are declared terrorists and hunted down!

The first issue of the comic was rather slow in revealing its data, and despite the fast pace of the first volume, I'm still left with a lot of questions that haven't been answered. This is to be expected, as you don't give it all up in the first go, but I'm dying to know more about these characters. What exactly are the Vitros? They're smart, but why are they so different? How were they made? Were they really accidental? One of the characters in the series makes an off-hand remark about Vitros being an accident, but somehow I'm not so sure of that.

There's a lot of character introductions here, so you really only get enough to get a basic feel for the more important people. One of my two favorites has to be the super-smart yet somewhat out of touch Franklin, a Vitro that was raised in an unloving and completely isolated environment. As such he has the book smarts yet perhaps not the street smarts to deal with the others. The other favorite has to be the uber-creepy Maudsley, who thinks nothing of manipulating people with nothing but his words... to deadly effect. There's some pretty intriguing characters here and the first issue deals with the brainy Brent, but these two are the ones who truly stole the spotlight and odds are that they'd be the two best characters to watch. If they were real, I'd love to see what an interview with either of them would be like. (Although I'll admit that I'm grateful that Maudsley doesn't exist IRL. That I know of.)

Volume one of this series ends with quite a bang, so I'm glad that I had issue five bundled into my review copy. I'm going to write a mini-review for that, but I'll leave that on the final part of my blog. If you don't want spoilers, you'll want to stop here. If you want to know, read on. Just know that this is well worth the price of admission, and with all of the comics being adapted into movies or TV shows, this would be something that would look good on either screen. Absolutely worth checking out.

(Thar be spoilers, arr!)

Now for the evaluation of issue 5. The first volume ended with our intrepid teens waking to find themselves on an ancient space station. A space station that they soon discover is rapidly deteriorating to the point that they're going to die within five hours if they don't find a way to (if I could quote Tim Gunn) "make it work". This issue has them focusing their superhuman intellects on the task at hand, which is pretty interesting to watch. So far we've seen glimpses of what they can do, but never really any of the actual work in depth. This issue shows us how they might work as a team in the future. The issue is pretty well paced and as a result, is nice and exciting. There's also some great foreshadowing in the artwork by way of a well placed image in the helmet of a space suit (no spoilers on what it resembles!) and Weldele is to be congratulated on this. I'm rather happy that SLB has the same artist doing the artwork, as it allows for more collaboration between the teams and a better understanding of the story than if they'd brought someone else in partway through. (Plus I really dig his style.) Definitely a good followup to the cliffhanger of the first volume.

I know this sounds fangirlish, but this is one of those great indie series that will probably never get the attention it so very much deserves. 

Five out of five stars

(Reader copy provided by Sea Lion Books)


Richard Stark’s celebrated antihero returns for another job with Darwyn Cooke!

San Diego, CA (July 9, 2012) – Rickard Stark’s Parker series, already revered as novels and graphic novels, raises the stakes with Darwyn Cooke’s new adaptation of The Score—a high-octane heist story that has Parker taking aim on his most audacious task yet—robbing an entire town. In Cooke’s previous graphic novels, the menacing, steely Parker has faced all manner of deadly pitfalls while navigating a career through America’s seedy criminal underworld, but this might be his biggest challenge yet—and arguably Cooke’s best entry yet.

“Honestly, it’s hard for me to be objective here,” saidCooke, “but people tell me this one came together pretty well.”

“As usual, Darwyn is being modest,” said series editor,Scott Dunbier, “each book has just gotten better and better... I have no idea how he’ll top this one!”

The third of five planned adaptations, THE SCORE seesCooke adapting the original 1964 novel, a beloved crime classic and one of the most highly regarded books in the series. A stylish feast for the eyes and a breakneck, sweat-inducing journey that follows one of the boldest capers ever conceived—from the initial pitch to its final, inevitable conclusion, THE SCORE is a book fans everywhere will be clamoring to get their mitts on!

Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score will be arriving in comic shops July 11th and being released digitally via Comixology the same day!

Cooke has won numerous awards during his relatively brief career, including six of the prestigious Eisner Awards (Two of which have been for previous Parker books). He is nominated for three Eisner Awards at the forthcoming 2012 ceremony for his work on the Parker: The Martini Edition.

RICHARD STARK’S PARKER: THE SCORE is a 144 page, full-color, hardcover graphic novel that will be available July 11th, 2012.  Diamond order code: FEB120313.

Visit IDWPublishing.com to learn more about the company and its top-selling books. IDW can also be found at http://www.facebook.com/#!/idwpublishing and http://tumblr.idwpublishing.com/ and on Twitter at @idwpublishing.

share on Twitter Send PARKER “SCORES” THIS JULY to friends on Facebook  

About IDW Publishing

IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. Renowned for its diverse catalog of licensed and independent titles, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry, including: Hasbro’s The TRANSFORMERS and G.I. JOE, Paramount’s Star Trek; HBO’s True Blood; the BBC’s DOCTOR WHO; Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Toho’s Godzilla; Wizards of the Coasts Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons; and the Eisner-Award winning Locke & Key series, created by best-selling author Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez. IDW is also home to the Library of American Comics imprint, which publishes classic comic reprints, and Yoe! Books, a partnership with Yoe! Studio.

IDW’s critically- and fan-acclaimed series are continually moving into new mediums. Currently, Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Disney are creating a feature film based on World War Robot, while Michael Bay‘s Platinum Dunes and Sony are bringing Zombies vs. Robots to film.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The ponies are coming! Ponified book characters

If you've ever been on the internet for a minute, you've heard of them. The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic show and its fandom. If you've been on there for a few minutes longer, you've probably seen some of the inevitable ponification of various book characters. Maybe you've even seen custom figures that have been altered. Either way, it's usually a blast to look at.

For fun, I'm linking to some of the stuff I've found through my travels:

(Note: I did not create any of these images or figures. When possible, I'm linking to the accounts for the artists via their names so you can shower them with praise and/or money. I've heard that artists like money and praise.)

Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter

These images comes to you from the Deviant Art account of Eris Chaos Goddess.  If you've ever wondered what Jean Claude and Nathaniel (bottom image) look like as ponies, here you are! I have to say, part of me wishes that she'd included Nathaniel's pearl necklace in this one...

This custom figure of Asher comes from marienoire, who did a pretty awesome job. (It looks like she does a lot of custom figures.)

The Last Unicorn

This one I found via a Google image search, but the image name has the artist as "shockowaffel". I know that this seems to have been more taken from the movie version of the book and that Amalthea is already in pony shape, but this is a gorgeous picture.

Harry Potter

All  of these ponified characters come to you courtesy of asdflove on Deviant Art, who has a load of other great pony images!


Here we have an image from the Tin Tin books, brought to you by sutakaibagirl!

The Hunger Games

Now we have an image from The Hunger Games, drawn for your viewing pleasure by ToxicKittyCat!


Finally we have the Twilight ponies. Here's one brought to you by maikoforev5674 of Bella.

This is a custom of Edward Cullen by trillions. I have to say, it's pretty awesome!

I can't help but link to more of the custom Twilight ponies because well... they're gorgeous! This one is by jupiternwndrlnd. Please someone- throw money at her!! This is incredibly well done on the cutie mark artwork!

For my last image I have a quartet of custom ponies by eponyart, with each pony representing one of the books of the series.

Again, I want to emphasize that I own none of the above images and had no factor in their creation. I just saw them and couldn't help but want to post them on my blog because they were so cool and so the above artists could get some more well-deserved recognition!