Words For Pictures by Brian Michael Bendis – Book Review

Words For Pictures Cover
Reprinted with permission from Words for Pictures by Brian Michael Bendis, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Watson-Guptill, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.

Award winning author Brian Michael Bendis is well known to Marvel Comics fans for his work on The Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man, X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy. This beautifully illustrated full-color book details the process of writing comic books and graphic novels, from outlines and pitches to full working script. Practical advice to aspiring writers is also given in a series of interviews with top professionals including, Mark Bagley, Klaus Janson and Walter Simonson among others.

Bendis doesn’t sugar coat the difficulties of the writing process and he doesn’t promise an easy path for those wanting to make a career in the industry. He states,  “Write something that you want to read. Write true. Write honest…you can never make everybody happy so don’t try.”

Artwork (c) 2014 by Sara Pichelli

The author of comic books and graphic novels is essentially writing for himself, his editor, the reader and the artist. Bendis devotes a chapter to “Writing For the Artists” Communicating with the artist and writing to their strengths is key according to Bendis.  As a former comic book artist myself I appreciate Bendis’ approach to writing and his consideration for the artist. He admits the artist spends much more time illustrating the script than the writer does writing it. It’s a collaborative effort.

Brian Michael Bendis

Bendis includes a chapter on “Writing Exercises” where the reader is asked to write their own alternative version of published pages. As Bendis states, “reverse engineer.” Other tasks include completing a part finished story and providing dialogue for empty speech balloons.

Bendis has written a book that will interest all writers, both professional and amateur.

Words for Pictures by Brian Michael Bendis, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Watson-Guptill, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Available for purchase at Amazon.com and all online bookstores.

AREA 51: The Graphic History of America’s Most Secret Military Installation – Review

9780760346648Area 51 has been shrouded in mystery and speculation concerning UFO’s, alien autopsies and reverse engineering since the mysterious crash in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. New York Times best selling author Dwight Jon Zimmerman and illustrator Greg Scott recount the declassified history of Area 51 and strip it of conspiracy theories. What they reveal is a top secret military base used by the U.S. Air Force, the CIA and aerospace company Lockheed Martin during the height of the Cold War and beyond to the present day.

While the public were literally kept in the dark regarding activities at the secret installation the latest technology was being tested on keeping America one step ahead of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile the mysterious lights in the surrounding landscape were mistaken for UFOs. The public claimed a cover-up of recovered alien bodies and alien technology but the real cover-up was the testing of top secret military aircraft such as the U-2, A-12 and SR-71 under operations such as Oxcart and Black Shield.

The first unmanned drone was tested in October 1962 under Project Tagboard. Failures were commonplace as idea often outpaced effective technology. Drones would have to wait decades before the technology proved effective. Author Zimmerman demonstrates that none of these test aircraft were perfected overnight. There was human error and loss of life along the path to perfection. Reverse engineering of alien technology played no part in their creation. Area-51-Graphic-History-PagConspiracy theorists will no doubt remain unconvinced by the declassified information and will see it as misinformation designed to mislead the public away from “the truth.” But whatever your views on the subject this is a well researched and fascinating book that is aided by Greg Scott’s accomplished artwork. Definitely worth a read and recommended.

Published by Zenith Press, USA, November 2014. Thanks to Nichole Schiele.

Review copyright Paul Green (Weird Westerns) 2014.

Brimstone Deep by Laurian Smith review

718X2mOwthL._SL1024_Jim Harper arrives in a small mining camp to investigate a large statue of a chained lizard. His theory that it may be one of the “extinct” scale-armored lizards named Drahkom is borne out when he discovers the stone lizard and finds it to be alive.

Captured and imprisoned for its Brimstone, with scales “coveted for armor” the Drahkom tells Harper he wants to be released and join his “captors in death”. Harper and a small group of miners set about releasing the huge lizard from its stone chains unaware of the devious nature of the Drahkom.

Published on Amazon Kindle, the description as an e-book places a new definition on what constitutes a book. A short story is a more precise description. But however you wish to describe it Laurian Smith’s 22-page story is an entertaining and well written Weird Western.

Review copyright Paul Green 2014

“FarOut” Weird Western “Cowbot” Webcomic

Farout_35ENGautier Langevin & Olivier Carpentier are the creators of the ongoing webcomic “FarOut” featuring “cowbots” in conflict the Engineer and his gang in a robotic Wild West. Nominated for Best Webcomoic at the Joe Shuster Awards 2014.

Check out the webcomic at FarOut


“Vampire Siege at Rio Muerto” by John W. Whalen

91pK0O6ya2L._SL1500_“Hunting monsters is my business.” A wealthy New Mexican ranchero hires Monster Hunter Mordecai Slate to track down the vampire who ravished his daughter. Don Pedro Sanchez wants Slate to bring him back alive, so he can have the pleasure of driving in the stake himself. Slate travels from Socorro to Las Cruces where he finds his prey, Kord Manion, and comes up with an unusual way to transport him back north. Kord’s brother, Dax, and his gang of vampire outlaws follow in pursuit, half a day behind. During the chase, Slate stops to rescue a girl in trouble and tries to get her out of harm’s way. His journey leads him to a desert ghost town called Rio Muerto, where he will face his greatest challenge in the ultimate battle between good and evil.”

About the author: John M. Whalen has been a reporter, an editor, and an astrologer. He’s the author of dozens of short stories that have appeared in a variety of publications and anthologies. Whalen’s first novel, “Jack Brand,” was published by Pill Hill Press in 2010. “Vampire Siege at Rio Muerto” is the first novel featuring Monster Hunter Mordecai Slate.  Slate has appeared in seven stories that were published in various anthologies and magazines. For more information on Slate and the latest news on Whalen’s writings, check out his blog 

“Sheep’s Clothing” by Elizabeth Einspanier

51r2hFAWJqLIt is the year 1874. Doc Meadows, frontier doctor working in the small town of Salvation, has always considered himself a sensible man, and has not believed in monsters for a long time. When injured half-Indian Wolf Cowrie staggers into his practice one night, however, he brings terrifying news–a vampire he hunts plans to settle in Salvation and turn it into his own private larder. Now Doc has to overcome his skepticism and fear in order to face down this new threat to his town, before Salvation becomes just another ghost town in the territories. Sheep’s Clothing hearkens back to early depictions of vampires as bloodthirsty, charismatic monsters, borrowing more strongly from Dracula than more common modern interpretations.

About the author: Elizabeth Einspanier is a writer of cross-genre fiction of all kinds, mainly focusing on science fiction, fantasy, and horror, while dabbling in poetry on the side when the mood strikes her. Her short stories have been published in Down in the Dirt and Dark Fire Fiction, and she is the author of a Weird Western novella entitled Sheep’s Clothing. She has been a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild since November 2013.

Sheep’s Clothing is available via paperback and e-book on Amazon (link)

“Holliday: Mountain Madness” Weird Western Webcomic

10348691_649947288429758_1486590906810739701_oHOLLIDAY: MOUNTAIN MADNESS  features a resurrected Doc Holliday, dealing out justice to monsters and occult menaces with witchcraft and six-guns! Aimed at fans of weird westerns, occult, horror, steampunk and teslapunk.

10006947_606533479437806_1561567721_nWriter Bill Woodcock Jr. and artist Gregory C. Giordano describe the webcomic as, “A weird psychotronic acid western of the further adventures of Doc Holliday!”

Check out the webcomic

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