Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012: A Year in Books

  1. Breathers: A Zombie Lament by S. G. Browne
  2. Best Sex Writing 2012: The State of Today's Sexual Culture edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, selected & introduced by Susie Bright
  3. American Vampire by Scoot Snyder & Stephen King (writers), with Rafael Albuquerque (artist)
  4. X-Men: Magneto Testament by Greg Pak (writer) & Carmine  Di Giandomenico (artist)
  5. Zap: A Play by Paul Fleischman
  6. Binky Under Pressure by Ashley Spires
  7. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
  8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  9. Boudoir Books by Summer Ellis
  10. Doofus and Valiant by English Teacher X
  11. Crack in the Glass by Jonathan Carter
  12. The Darkness by Tony Cusumano
  13. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
  14. Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
  15. The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine by Peter Straub
  16. Star Wars: Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber
  17. Zombie in the Library by Michael Dahl 
  18. Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires
  19. Binky to the Rescue by Ashley Spires
  20. Adam Canfield of the Slash by Michael Winerip
  21. G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds by Max Brooks (writer) & Howard Chaykin and Antonio Fuso (artists)
  22. Batman: Long Shadows by Judd Winick (writer) & Mark Bagley and Ed Benes (artists)
  23. Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson
  24. The Boy Who Cried Ninja by Alex Latimer
  25. I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll
  26. The Breast by Philip Roth
  27. Kick-Ass by Mark Millar (writer) and John Romita, Jr. (artist)
  28. Kick-Ass 2 by Mark Millar (writer) and John Romita, Jr. (artist)
  29. Glue by Irvine Welsh
  30. Savages by Don Winslow
  31. The Good Lion adapted by Don Brown
  32. The Last Children's Book by Jesse Garza
  33. Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
  34. Cuffed by Alison Tyler, Sommer Marsden, and Sophia Valenti
  35. The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman
  36. American Gangbang: A Love Story by Sam Benjamin
  37. Migrant by Maxine Trottier
  38. Magritte's Marvelous Hat by D.B. Johnson
  39. Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen
  40. Flanimals Pop-Up by Ricky Gervais
  41. Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
  42. "Let's Get a Pup!" Said Kate by Bob Graham
  43. Chick 'n' Pug by Jennifer Sattler
  44. What Pete Ate from A-Z by Maira Kalman
  45. Tied Up & Twisted by Alison Tyler
  46. Wolf at the Back Door by Marilyn More
  47. Fifty Shades of Red Riding Hood by R.R. Hood
  48. Batman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder (writer), Jock and Francesco Francavilla (artists)
  49. Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns (writer) and Gary Frank (artist)
  50. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
  51. Batman: Eye of the Beholder by Tony S. Daniel (writer & artist), & Steve Scott, et al.
  52. Explorer: The Mystery Boxes edited by Kazu Kibuishi
  53. The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks (writer) and Ibraim Roberson (artist)
  54. Zom-B by Darren Shan

Monday, December 17, 2012

Zom-B by Darren Shan

Having read a part of Darren Shan's Cirque Du Freak series in the past, all I have to say about Zom-B is...HOLY SHIT! I know, it's a bit much, but seriously. HOLY SHIT!

I'm not going to stand here and state it's the best zombie book I've ever read–it's not even the best YA book I've read–but I will state that if you actually want to venture into reading it, you will probably not expect the twist toward the end–even though, it's pretty much obvious throughout the book after you find out.

Shan writes about two sorts of zombies–the Hollywood type and the metaphorical ones. Zombies are alive–or undead?–and students in London are skeptical. B's family thinks it's all charades, some sort of big publicity stunt. But B has to deal with more than just zombies. Dad is a total racist, whose influence is seen heavily in B's vocabulary and actions. B doesn't mean to be racist, it's just beginning to be difficult to see where the act ends and the truth begins. And while B knows that being racist is wrong and that seeing Mom beaten whenever she crosses Dad makes life unbearable, B doesn't budge. Instead, acceptance is granted and going with the flow is so much easier. And safer.

Now there's little I can praise the book for. It's hammered pretty quickly that racism is the key plot, and a lot is left unanswered. Like what's the point of B's nightmare? Whose that man at the beginning who's also an associate of B's racist dad, and what does he have to do with the zombies? And who will be the narrator for the second book? And will I even bother to read the second book?

Giving credit where credit is due, I stuck to my word and saw this short (yet long) book to the end. Though, I can't imagine wanting to read more. I've accepted the ending. I've accepted a lot of things. But yeah.

Zom-B is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (to be linked later), as well as, for Nook (to be linked later) and Kindle. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Let's Talk About... The Walking Dead, Season 3

So unless you've been living under a rock, or just have no sense of entertainment, you have to agree that The Walking Dead is one of the best shows on television. And that's even despite the fact that the comic series is horrendous (okay, that's just my opinion, some of you might actually like the redundancy of Robert Kirkman's writing). And since it's already two days since the mid-season finale aired (so, if you haven't watched that, you may want to avoid this post due to possible spoilers that will more likely ruin your experience).

At the end of season two, the rest of the motley crew of zombie apocalypse survivors learn the terrible truth (and we finally got to understand the series title)–they are the walking dead, not the zombies. It doesn't matter how you die, as long as your brain is intact, you will come back. Rick not only drops that bomb, he admits that he killed Shane for the group–though I suspect he was just talking to Lori at that moment–and states that their party is no longer a democracy, but a–dare I say it?–Rick-ocracy.

Season three opens some months later, with the remainder of the group doing what they can to make it into the next day. Lori is full-blown pregnant, Carl is forced to grow up–no more get back in the house, Carl--and the men seem to be sporting some awesome facial hair–though somehow Daryl and Rick keep it at a bare minimum, and that goes for their hair, too. Andrea and Michonne are on their own–unless you include her two zombie pets–and everyone thinks that the former is dead (so it doesn't make them assholes).

Because I'm pressed for time, and you attention, I won't get into the entire series. So let's just dissect the finale and talk about a few things I'm glad about this season. The latter first. I'm happy that Lori's finally gone, and I'm also happy she had a more respective death than what happened in the comic. I'm also happy that Judith gets to live for a little bit longer (that's assuming that the show runners really want to keep a baby in the series). Carl's metamorphosis from the little shit (sorry for the lack of a better word) to the man he  is in this season is something to smile upon. The introduction of the prisoners actually goes a lot better than it did in the comic, though that will become redundant if I keep comparing the series to the comic. I like how we see the Governor's descent to pure insanity, starting with the asshole stage. And, of course, Michonne's now in the series, and how can you not like that?

Now, for the former. Season three has been a whirl wind of events. We lost a lot of good people this season. But I get the feeling that the show runners only like having one black male character in the series. T-Dogg died during the season, and Oscar–one of the prisoners–took his spot as token black guy. He was killed off before the end of the finale, the same episode that Tyreese is introduced. And Morgan? Well, he wasn't ever going to be a main black character. He only appeared in one episode--though it's rumored he will return to the cast in the next half. The Governor betraying Merle is something I anticipated since I saw the look in Merle's eye when he wasn't allowed to go searching for Daryl. Pitting the two brothers against each other was also an inevitable move–if not the Governor, Rick would surely have pushed for it. Shane appearing at the end–well, Rick thought it was Shane–shows us that Rick is becoming emotionally compromised, just as the Governor is becoming the true monster we all knew he was. Andrea not trusting Michonne (though letting her go) has pretty much sealed the deal that I can't stand her and want walkers to rip her apart. The man had his zombie daughter locked up in a room full of zombie heads, how can she not see what he really is?! Michonne realizing that she needs the team more than they need her–emotionally, anyway–shows there is some humanity inside her computeristic personality. And I'm sure there's going to be some business with Axel next half season, so that's something to keep an eye out for.

The mid-season finale's cliff hanger wasn't as exciting as I anticipated–season two's mid-finale ended with a zombified Sophia emerging from the barn, though we all knew in our hearts she was there all along. So what do we have to look forward to next season? More Tyreese, that's for sure. And the possibility that we finally learn what happened to Morgan and Duane. And Merle's redemption and Andrea's inevitable fate of being Lilly Caul or dying brutally at the hands of the Governor and/or walkers. That's about it. We'll just have to wait and see.

The Walking Dead returns to AMC on February 10th. Until next time, keep on huntin'.