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Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

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Book Review: 23:27 by H.L. Roberts

Friday, May 27, 2016

Comic Review: Scythe, Herald of Death (Issue 1) by Frederick Orozco and Catherine Humala

Title- Scythe, Herald of Death (Issue 1)
Author(s)- Frederick Orozco and Catherine Humala
Genre- Comic - Horror, Comic - Adventure

The initial plot is laid out on page one: before the earth there were four celestial beings. There is Life, Light, Time, Gravity, and Death. Death had to be confined, so he created reapers to do his bidding on earth in his stead. These are the Herald's of Death.

Enter April, a typical student who finds history boring and has a major, almost concerning, crush on a classmate. She even enters a dance contest to get close to him. After her audition, she walks home alone. All alone at night, she comes across two men who have just murdered a third. They can't let her live, right? A Reaper appears to take the soul of the man killed, but then he has the most concerning hallucination of what can be assumed as his daughter crying for help since she had no initial intentions of intervening to save April. Despite his effort, April is stabbed and the issue ends.

The story seems interesting. I can see how further issues can get very exciting. However, this first issue was dull and slow. The first issue should always captivate the audience and leave them thirsty for more, but Scythe just did not do that for me. It spends too much time on the mundane activities of school and everyday life. Not even the big event at the end had much of an impact. I also disliked the art style. It had the round-faced, cartoonish quality of a child's show and now a serious adult comic. I have every hope that the comic will amp up the action in the future series', but I don't know if I am willing to give it a shot.

Comic Review: Tank Girl (vol. 1) By Hewlett and Martin

Title- Tank Girl (vol. 1)
Author(s)- Hewlett and Martin 
Genre- Comic - Adventure, Comic - Humor, Comic - Dystopia 

Tank Girl is hard to describe. She is utterly insane and lives in a post-apocalyptic world consisting of talking kangaroos, villains, and yes, her giant tank. The good thing about Tank Girl is, number one, she doesn’t care what people think. Number two she is fearless. Number three? Well, her fashion sense in amazing. The back describes Tank Girl as “an ignorant, beer-swilling, bestial skinhead [who becomes] an ignorant, beer-swilling, bestial blonde in a tank.” What’s more to love? 

Volume 1 of Tank Girl encompasses 15 issues ranging from October 1988 to February 1990. The comics are utterly, but purposefully, non Sequitur and it’s beautiful. I read through many panels thinking, “I don’t know what is going on but I love it.”

A woman like tank girl naturally has a lot of enemies. Or makes enemies along the way. Besides Booga, a trusted Kangaroo companion. Things don’t always come out the way Tank Girl plans, but she always comes out the insane victor at the end. It’s hard to defeat a woman who is, as I said, utterly insane and possesses a tank.

There are some really good features to the anthology. I particularly liked the cut out Tank Girl paper doll. It comes complete with uni-cycle and flask of coffee. The end also features a few pages of the original color covers of a few issues. I love it when anthologies include the covers—it gives a greater sense of what the comic looked like when it came out and it feels you are truly reading the comics as pieces and not as one whole massive storyline.

Comic Review: Vamplets (vol. 1) by Dwonch Middleton

Title- Vamplets, Book One: The Nightmare Nursery
Author(s)- Gayle Middleton and Dave Dwonch/Illustrations by Amanda Goronado and Bill Blankenship
Genres- Comic - Humor, Comic - Horror

There’s a new and strange phenomenon happening in the supernatural world of Gloomvania. Vampires, merely by expressing their love, are manifesting babies. Since most of them were not expecting children, they simply cannot spend the 777 years it takes to raise a vampire baby. So they are sent off to a home. The little vamps, werewolves, and other adorable ghoulish creatures are a handful. One loves to invent, one is psychic, one is a destructive artist, and another is, yes, a baby vampire weapon’s expert.

Enter human Destiny. She answers an ad for babysitting services and finds herself transported to Gloomvania, a non-stinky stinkbug as her companion. She is brought to the home where the supernatural babies are kept and soon realizes that she is in for more than she bargained.
She takes the children to a bizarre bazaar and chaos ensues. Destiny acquires the assistance of a talking shrunken head on what exactly needs to be purchased for baby ghouls. When her back is turned, the children book it out of their carriage and head out to commit carnage baby-style.

The color art of the comic is very lovely. The color palate sticks to the colors you would associate with a world called Gloomvania. You get lots of purple and blue, with the adorable addition of pink. After all, these are babies. The way the babies are drawn are the best part because they are adorable, and yet it is quite obvious the sort of monsters they are. The illustrators are top notice and this first volume did not let me down as far as plot development and action.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Comic Review: Zombie Tramp (vol. 1) by Dan Mendoza

Name- Zombie Tramp, vol. 1 
Author- Dan Mendoza 
Genre- Comic - Mature, Comic - Horror 

Janey Belle is just a high priced Hollywood call girl who makes the wrong decision when she chooses to help out her Madame, George. When George is arrested, Janey is asked to spend a night with Sheriff Rudolph in exchange for George's freedom. Except the sheriff wants more than to spend a night with Janey; he also wants to feed her to his zombie son, Jason. Janey wakes up from the encounter a zombie herself, and bent on getting revenge against the people who caused her to die... and become reanimated. Aided by the Voodoo Queen Xula, Janey visits her old madame and then the sheriff, each one in turn satisfying the rage of betrayal and abuse in Janey. She possesses some interesting abilities, too, which I very much liked about the story. For example, Janey, if she loses a part of her body, can replace it with someone else's part. It was amusing to see her tear an arm off and stick it on her own body. And, it seems that each night Janey must sleep in the ground, and once she awakens she is regenerated. The book art is a gorgeous scheme of bold black, white, red and grey. I love the style of art that Mendoza is gifted with because it is sexy and yet still grotesque. Highly recommended to people who like horror comics, or just zombies in general.

Book Review: Bioshock Infinite- Mind in Revolt by Joe Fielder

Name- BioShock Infinite- Mind in Revolt 
Author- Joe Fielder with Ken Levine 
Genre- Fiction -Video Game, Fiction - Dystopia

When you play Bioshock Infinite, you encounter an anarchist group called the Vox Populi (Voice of the People), led by former house slave to the Columbian royal family, the Comstock's, Daisy Fitzroy. According to the game, Daisy killed lady Comstock and went on a mad rampage since, inciting revolt and rebellion. Of course, you know from the tone of the game that Daisy is innocent, was set up, but a lot of the backstory relies on reading between the lines and intuning.

Mind in Revolt is "based" on a scientific piece called The Psychology of Dissent Interviews with The Anarchist Daisy Fitzroy by Dr. Francis Pinchot. Dr. Pinchot is a member of the Columbian Founding clan. When anarchist and murderer Daisy Fitzroy is captured, he is allowed to take her for psychological evaluation. The game storyline has already established that Daisy is very charismatic, intelligent, and savvy. She's a hard woman to trick, and doesn't fall easily for people's attempts at dishonesty or misdirection. Naturally, a psychological evaluation would be difficult. Mind in Revolt gives us a greater sense of who and what Daisy Fitzroy is. She is even able to persuade a founder, a Doctor, to aid her in her rebellion. That is the nature of charisma and intellect-- she just inspires people through her rhetoric and knowledge. For anyone into the Bioshock series, this short read is well worth it. You learn a little more about Daisy, but also about Columbia and Comstock.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Comic Review: The Crow Special Edition by J. O'Barr

Name- The Crow (Special Edition) 
Author- James O'Barr 
Genre- Comic - Mature, Comic - Horror

Eric and Shelly are a young couple in love, poor but happy. They are very deeply in love, in fact, Shelly remarking that her love for Eric was so deep that it sometimes frightened her. That immense a love. Well, imagine one night, broken down on the side of the road, a car full of drug-addled deviates pass by and then decide to stop. Unable to control their own impulses and high on the rock and the desire to inflict pain, they shoot Eric and brutalize Shelly before kicking her head in. Shelly is declared DOA and Eric lingers on though he is pretty braindead-- two shots to the skull will do that. But Eric didn't follow a piece of important wisdom given to him by the crow: Look away. Eric looked and watched as Shelly was violated and killed, and it would manifest such a hate and anger in him that, a year later, his specter would return for vengeance.

Eric doesn't return a normal man-- he is an immortal creature of purpose, pure intent purpose of meeting and destroying the collective who had destroyed his life: Tin Tin, Tom Tim, Fun Boy, Top Dollar... these are the men who must pay for what they did to Shelly. Using his immortality and strength, Eric meets each of these men and kills them. I don't want to go into detail about how because that would utterly spoil everything.

The artwork is dated, but beautifully so. It has that 90s vibe, the big rock hair, and long leather trench coats. The color scheme relies on black being the predominate color so that the comic appears dark and desolate as if it took place only under the canopy of stars. This makes the book even more mysterious, Eric more threatening, and the comic more beautiful. Heavily recommended to people who like dark comics, revenge comics, and bloody comics.