Cross-Hatchings for October 2014

Bits and pieces. This-n-that. Wonder Woman, the Shadow, and two-fisted time travel.


Feeling Smug: Back when we did the "I'ds of March" group thing, I said with the success of Batman '66 that Wonder Woman '77 was an obvious next step, and by golly, they're doing it.

It's probably too much to hope for that they'll confine themselves to the 1940s Nazi-fightin' Wonder Woman from the first season of the Lynda Carter TV show, but even the later seasons had more charm and fun to them than the DC books have had for quite a while now. First time I've been genuinely interested in Wonder Woman comics in years.

Likewise, I've been saying for what feels like forever that DC should reprint the John Ostrander Spectre run in full... and that seems to be happening. Pre-ordered volume one of THAT sucker as soon as it popped up in my Amazon recommendations, and we are supposed to see volume two in December.

And we finally got collections for Gerber's Phantom Zone, the Vertigo Hex, and the Atomic Knights/Hercules Showcase... all stuff I've grumped about here more than once. Best of all-- well, for me, anyway-- they're following up that terrific Archie Goodwin Tales of the Batman collection with one featuring the Bat-stories of Len Wein... which means all of "Bat-Murderer!" and Untold Legend of the Batman in hardcover, along with a bunch of other cool stuff. My desert island Batman book, volume two.

Good on you, DC. Not that they actually are listening to me or anything but I do feel like I'm on kind of a roll here with the wish list after years of nothing but crickets.

So while we're riding this wave (so to speak) how about Atlantis Chronicles, huh?

Just saying... Aquaman's a hit now, you've got the Throne of Atlantis movie coming up, it's a no-brainer. We've been asking for years.

And volume 2 of Infinity Inc: The Generations Saga would be nice, too, as long as I'm daydreaming. It was actually listed on Amazon at one point and then it mysteriously went away. All of us that bought volume one in good faith would like it back on the schedule, okay? If somebody up there really IS listening to me, I don't know how the hell they missed me saying how incredibly crass it is to end a hardcover comics collection on a cliffhanger. Because when I'm talking about collected editions, that comes up a lot.


Two-Fisted Readin': If I can't have Chuck Dixon writing tough and cool adventure comics-- in my perfect world, Dixon and Mike Grell and Beau Smith are all writing for some variation of a revived Amazing High Adventure title with art from Sergio Cariello, the Kuberts, and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez-- but anyway, even though that comic doesn't exist, I can at least enjoy Mr. Dixon's new venture into tough and cool adventure prose novels.

Bad Times is about the adventures of a time-traveling squad of badass former Army Rangers.

I know, right? Really, what else do you need from a recommendation? There's no part of that premise that's not awesome.

Here's the blurb for volume one, Cannibal Gold: "Four men. Four Days. For the fight of their lives. It was just a walk in the desert to a place 100, 000 years in the past. They thought they knew what to expect but they were wrong. Now a team of scientists is trapped in a world they were not prepared for and can never return from. Their only hope lies in a quartet of former US Army Rangers willing to travel to prehistoric Nevada and face unknown horrors and impossible odds to bring them home from... Bad Times. New York Times bestselling author Chuck Dixon presents the first in a new original science fiction series featuring the kind of action, breakneck pacing and suspense that millions of readers around the world have come to expect."

I assure you volume one delivered (Dixon knows how to bring the FUCK YEAH!, especially with stories about military guys) and volumes two and three are on their way here.

At the moment, Dixonverse has a deal where you can get all three of them for $30. Definitely the way to go-- supports the author directly, cheaper than retail, and they're signed, even.

Plus it's time-traveling Army Rangers fighting cannibals, pirates and gladiators. Come on, you can't pass that up!


Two-Fisted Bookscoutin': Well, we couldn't shop at the Antiquarian Book Fair, but I did turn up a nice little pulp-fiction rarity not too long ago that I'm really enjoying. Specifically, the Shadow.

I love the Shadow. Been a fan ever since I first came across the Steranko paperbacks from Pyramid books, back when I was a sophomore in high school.

Naturally, I followed up at the library soon after, and found there were actually a few Shadow pulps reprinted in hardcover or trade paperback, often with an intro from author Walter Gibson. Now, the new books coming out from Anthony Tollin are the best the Shadow stories have ever looked, there's no question about that, and I really, really recommend them.

But I have a soft spot for these older books, nevertheless. In recent years, finding these vintage Shadow hardcovers has become a sort of bookscouting thing I pick at.

All this is by way of gloating that I scored one of the rarest. The Shadow and the Golden Master is a lovely hardcover that came out from Mysterious Press in the 1980s, reprinting the first two Shiwan Khan adventures... which, as it happens, I have never read.

They really are as good as everyone says, and I was pleasantly surprised that bits of these stories found their way into the Alec Baldwin movie.

It's been on my wish list for years, and I almost never see it for under forty dollars. Even beat-to-hell ex-library copies with stickers and stamps go for upwards of $20.

Mine was four bucks. Found it at a Goodwill. First edition and in amazingly good shape. That's a fist-bumping, victory-lap, happy-dance bookscouting moment and it really made up for being broke at the fair. So, y'know... BOOYAH.


And that's really it for this time out. I got so revved up talking about these cool books that I'm going to go curl up and read for a while. See you back here... next week.

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