Monday, November 15, 2010

Stuff! Glorious Stuff!

Yes, there is stuff aplenty out there, and your host has too much of it! Here are some of the more interesting goodies that have arrived recently --

THE WEIRD WORLD OF EERIE PUBLICATIONS, Feral Press. Eerie Publications were really mostly a guy named Myron Fass, an "ehh" comics artist from the 50's who turned his talents to publishing. Fass produced hundreds of crazy magazines, ranging from pop-culture (I still have his cheapo Tiger-Beatish Springsteen one shot from the 1970's), soft-core sex, supernatural/UFO and even semi-political magazines. But Fass is best known for his line of unbelievably grisly horror comics that appeared from 1967-ish into the early 1980's. Weird, Tales Of Voodoo, Witches Tales, Tales From The Tomb, etc., etc. About ten years ago I went on an eBay jag and picked up around 220 of the comics, and I always wanted to know more about this bizarre company. Well, author Mike Howlett gives me "more" and then some! At a mind-boggling 300 pages, many in color, this book spills the beans on the Eerie empire, and finally reveals the name of the best (nastiest) cover painter from the comics line: Bill Alexander.

THE PROMISE. For a Springsteen fanatic like yours truly, this is really something. A documentary on the making of Springsteen's "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" album, plus the remastered album itself, two CDs of outtakes, and two, count 'em, two concerts on blu-ray. Hardcore Bruce addicts have heard many of the outtake tracks on the "Promise" album, but not all, and certainly not in this quality. I'm still plowing through the contents, but this is an amazing set...

THE HORROR, THE HORROR. An impressive collection of full color 50's horror comics, the stuff that "inspired" Mr. Fass, with tons of commentary and even a DVD of an old television show decrying the effects of this nasty trash on the youth of America. (I haven't seen the DVD yet, but I assume they do not conclude the effect was positive.) Evidently the book's compiler and I share similar tastes because many of my favorite 50's covers are reproduced here, including the surreal painted covers by Ekgren, and work by Steve Ditko, Basil Wolverton and other greats. It is impressive just how sordid and nasty these stories could get.

DICK BRIEFER'S FRANKENSTEIN. Yet another swanky hardcover compilation, this time of Dick Briefer's cool and strange Frankenstein series from the 40's and 50's. It's an odd series that went from serious horror to the flat-out comedic adventures of the monster, and back again. I always wondered how the monster's nose ended up in the middle of his forehead (maybe Dr. F. lost his glasses)... not sure we learn the answer here, but I've always enjoyed these oddball books.

And there's more, so much more!! To be continued!