Balladeer’s Blog is once again proud to cover an exciting new work from some of the most daring and visionary creators in graphic novels today. BATTLE BRICK ROAD is a post-apocalyptic take on Frank Baum’s Oz stories twisted through the ingenious prism of artist ERIC WEATHERS and writer ZEB HATFIELD with lettering by FARAH NURMALIZA.
Get ready for Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion like you’ve never seen them before – as technologically and biologically enhanced warriors in a dystopian world that not even Mad Max could survive.
Battle-hardened, survival savvy Dorothea Gale – Thea for short – searches for her father through the futuristic technological wasteland called OZ (Operation Zephyr). At her side is the hovering A.I. named TOTO (Target Objective Tactical Overwatch) and the mysterious Scarecrow, a vigilante skilled with firearms AND a deadly scythe.
The bleak world of Oz has wound up divided into four separate spheres of influence, ruled over by the Watchers of the North, South, East and West. And some of those Watchers are downright WICKED!
The villains are served by their armies of perverted biological and technological creations, with only Thea, Scarecrow, TOTO, the Tin Man and the Lion standing against them.
Order your copies of this 52 page epic today via Indiegogo: Continue reading
THE DEATH-TRAP (1908) – Written by George Daulton, this story was published in the March, 1908 issue of Pearson’s Magazine. It’s once again Ancient Creature Feature time with this story about a monster from Lake Michigan which sometimes enters the Chicago sewer system to prey on unsuspecting denizens of the Windy City.
The tale’s unnamed main character leaves his Chicago gentleman’s club at 2 in the morning after a night of drinking, card-playing and cigar smoking. He refrains from taking a horse-drawn cab since he feels that walking will do him good.
He comes to regret that decision when, on a poorly-lit street, he sees a drunken sailor get dragged down into the sewer and devoured by a slimy, half-glimpsed creature. Our hero flees for his life and doesn’t stop running until he’s reached one of Chicago’s bridges.
It is there that he encounters Hood, an eccentric but courageous Chicagoan who had his own encounter with the sewer monster weeks earlier and has been looking for it every night since. Hood spotted our main character’s headlong flight and figured he had just found another witness to the creature’s existence. Continue reading
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! LOVE, GEORGE (1973) – Category: Bad movie elevated by kitsch value in the casting.
Directed by THE Darren McGavin and featuring his wife Kathie Browne in a small role, this hilariously bizarre film is also known as Run, Stranger, Run. “Run, Potential Viewer, Run” would be a more appropriate title.
Happy Mother’s Day Love, George (henceforth HMDLG) is often described as a psycho-sexual thriller but actually it is nothing more than a melodramatic soap opera with a few murders and VERY few scenes of blood and gore. Those blood and gore scenes are so over-the-top they are completely at odds with the low-key, almost made-for-tv mildness of the rest of the movie.
This was a theatrical release but is so subdued and slow-paced it seems like a telefilm. You and your friends can keep yourselves entertained making jokes about the recognizable cast members to kill time since the first murder doesn’t happen until we’re more than an hour into this flick.
Ron Howard IS Johnny, a teenager who has come to town to discover who his birth parents are but who mostly just stands around staring at people and ESPECIALLY at houses. He seems completely taken aback that the townspeople find this somewhat creepy. Johnny is intrigued by the rash of missing persons plaguing the small town and feels they are connected to the secret of his past. Continue reading
The 1971-1973 British series The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes dramatized non-Holmes stories of detectives solving mysteries in Victorian and Edwardian England written by contemporary authors. For Balladeer’s Blog’s review of the first episode click HERE
Episode: THE AFFAIR OF THE AVALANCHE BICYCLE & TYRE CO. LTD (October 4th, 1971)
Detective: Horace Dorrington, created by Arthur Morrison. The first Dorrington story was published in 1897.
Review: Horace Dorrington was a refreshing change among the London by Gaslight detectives. The wily, double-dealing scoundrel represented every reason that hoity-toity Britishers of the day looked down on the character of private detectives. Writer Arthur Morrison’s Dorrington was in the grand literary tradition of despicable yet charming rogues.
Peter Vaughan is nearly flawless in his portrayal of the suave yet black-hearted detective. In the opening scene – a teaser before the main mystery – we viewers get to see Horace Dorrington’s true nature.
He charges a cheating wife three hundred British Pounds for supposedly “buying back” her indiscreet letters to a lover who is blackmailing her. He cheats his unseen partner in the detective firm out of his share of the fee by having the wayward wife make the check payable to him (Dorrington) only and after she leaves we learn that Dorrington didn’t “buy back” the letters from her blackmailer – he stole them – so he just pocketed three hundred Pounds in pure profit. Continue reading
Richard C Meyer’s fantastic team of mercenary superheroes nicknamed the Jawbreakers are back in action! They’ve been called the new AVENGERS, the new JUSTICE LEAGUE and the new X-MEN, and with good reason.
Meyer aka Ya Boi Zack is the man who recently brought readers the spectacular Stallone graphic novel project THE EXPENDABLES GO TO HELL. He’s also the creative mastermind of the IRON SIGHTS series. However, his most popular creations remain the superheroes in JAWBREAKERS, this time with art by Aaron Alfeche, main cover by Kyle Ritter and variant cover by Meyer himself.
JAWBREAKERS: GRAND BIZARRE, the third installment of the superteam’s adventures, features never before revealed secrets regarding the group of mighty mercenaries plus the mind-blowing menace of the Grand Bazaar. Said Bazaar appears on Earth once every 66.5 years and is a more hardcore version of the kind of foes that the Justice League Dark and the 1970s Defenders fought.
The title, Grand Bizarre, is a play on Grand Bazaar, so no, that’s not a typo on my part. To order this latest volume of Jawbreakers excitement: Continue reading
THE MATARESE CIRCLE (1979)
TIME PERIOD: Late 1970s with investigations into events from before World War One and later.
To me this lengthy, epic espionage novel from Robert Ludlum was his finest work, partly because it nicely encapsulated how – over the course of the 20th Century – the world gradually found itself at the mercy of elaborate “intelligence communities” (LMAO) working in conjunction with international corporate fascists.
There’s something almost poetic about the way that – with the hindsight we have now – the bitter enmity between the novel’s central characters (one a U.S. agent and the other a Soviet agent) is washed away a mere decade before the real-world collapse of the Cold War paradigm.
And with that same hindsight it’s almost eerie how those two rivals come to realize that the real seeds of future totalitarianism lie in the New Feudalism’s ugly motto: Nations are obsolete, so wealth wedded to unchecked political power is the coming thing. Ludlum’s arch-villain Guillaume de Matarese was positively prescient.
LEAD HERO: Brandon Alan Scofield – Codename: Beowulf Agate. Forty-six year old veteran of Consular Operations, Ludlum’s fictional Intelligence Organization specializing in defections from hostile nations – mostly Communist – to the United States.
As The Matarese Circle opens in 1979, Scofield has been with Consular Operations for 22 years, almost since its founding. A Harvard grad fluent in multiple languages, Brandon joined the U.S. State Department right out of college. After a couple years in the “real” State Department he gravitated to State’s covert section Consular Operations (or Cons Op for short).
In those early years Cons Op’s activities were not yet totally Top Secret. They were virtually a humanitarian organization which tried to accommodate as many people fleeing the Iron Curtain nations as possible. So many Eastern Europeans began seeking asylum in the Western World that the Soviets realized they had to take steps to cut off the flow of escapees.
Similar to the way they would later construct the Berlin Wall to prevent flight from East Berlin in particular, the Soviets clamped down on potential defections throughout Europe and elsewhere. Soviet intelligence agents – among them Vasili Taleniekov – began shutting down the almost openly- operating Cons Op defection network. Continue reading
CONSOLATIONS IN TRAVEL or THE LAST DAYS OF A PHILOSOPHER (1830) – Written by THE Sir Humphrey Davy, this is largely a work of philosophical discourse but with one section devoted to a science fiction tale: The Vision.
In that section of the book Sir Humphrey relates a first-person story in which he is taking in the Colosseum in Rome. An extra-terrestrial being calling itself a Genius and claiming to be from the Sun appears to him.
First this honey-voiced being fills him with a series of visions regarding humanity’s history, from prehistoric times to the recent past. After that the visitor from the Sun takes him on a tour of our solar system.
The first planet they travel to is Saturn, where Davy is awestruck by the alien landscape. Strange clouds fill the skies and among the oddest planetary features are large columns of liquid which flow from the ground upward. Saturn is inhabited by intelligent beings with three pairs of wings and organs like elephant trunks dangling from their bodies. Continue reading