Tag Archives: book reviews


Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE

Eclipse Monthly 7ECLIPSE MONTHLY Vol 1 #7 (April 1984)

Title: Confessions

Synopsis: The Masked Man (Dick Carstairs) shared this issue of Eclipse Monthly with the new superheroine the Nightingale and the early 1800s western hero the Californio.

The relationship between our hero and his reporter friend Barney McAllister got stretched to the breaking point in this tale as the Masked Man found himself tempted by the offers from Dan Drekston. Those offers: to cash in on Masked Man merchandising, Masked Man action figures and books adapted from his adventures. 

Eclipse Monthly 6Once again, years before the overrated and overpraised Alan Moore’s work The Watchmen we see other comic book writers covering material that Moore was praised for as if he was the originator of such meta concepts. Drekston is planning a merchandising empire similar to that of Moore’s superhero Ozymandias.  Continue reading

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Travels in the InteriorTRAVELS IN THE INTERIOR (1887) – Nearly eighty years before the movie Fantastic Voyage, this work of “ancient” science fiction detailed a party of shrunken heroes on an odyssey through a human being’s body. This cleverly-titled tale was written by Alfred Taylor Schofield under the name Luke T Courteney.

London medical student Luke Theophilus Courteney passes his examinations to be admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons. His uncle, Captain Goodchild, helps the young man celebrate by taking Luke (nicknamed Pill from his middle name) and his younger sister Belinda to Trebizond, Turkey for a brief holiday.

Goodchild kindly takes along Pill’s friend Sutton, who failed the examinations and needs some moral support. Pill’s mastery of anatomy will enable him, Belinda and Sutton to survive their upcoming microscopic adventure.
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For this superhero-crazed world Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE 

Eclipse Monthly 6ECLIPSE MONTHLY Vol 1 #5 and 6

Number 5 (February 1984)

Title: The Incredible Seven

Villains: The alien Wezzarian race

Synopsis: Writer and artist B.C. Boyer used this Masked Man story to wrap up the tale from his canceled Incredible Seven series.

Masked Man faceThe Masked Man learns how the Wezzarians and their ally Rileth – really a cyborg Adolf Hitler kept alive through Wezzarian technology – were thwarted by the Incredible Seven in their attempt to conquer the Earth.

Number 6 (March 1984)

Title: The Trial

Villains: A gang of ski-masked armed robbers Continue reading

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Reader Daniel Kibblesmith reminded Balladeer’s Blog that I had not followed up my reviews and revisions of the original Killraven stories (1973-1976) at Marvel Comics with my usual collection of links in one handy blog post. Here we go:

Killraven 1WAR OF THE WORLDS – Jonathan Raven, rechristened Killraven in the gladiatorial circuit of Earth’s alien conquerors of the “future,” leads a group of Freemen in an attempt to retake the planet. CLICK HERE   

THE SIRENS OF SEVENTH AVENUE – After learning the truth about Earth’s alien conquerors AND about his possession of “The Power” (a pre-Star Wars variation of the Force), Killraven leads his Freemen against genetically modified women called Sirens as well as against assorted other post-apocalyptic threats. CLICK HERE

Killraven WarlordTHE WARLORD STRIKES – On the run after the destruction of their Staten Island rebel colony, Killraven and his Freemen run afoul of the Warlord, a human quisling who has wanted revenge against the rebel leader ever since he escaped from the gladiatorial pens. CLICK HERE 

THE MUTANT SLAYERS – The Freemen are joined by scientist Carmilla Frost and her monstrous creation Grok as they battle the Warlord and an assortment of mutated Earth creatures and deadly beasts from the aliens’ home planet. CLICK HERE  Continue reading


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Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE

Fool Killer timelessPART THIRTY-SIX: Here’s a look at the Fool Killer’s targets in the June of 1910 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer publication:

*** Women who chewed snuff, whom Pearson and his Fool Killer called “snuff-dipping girls.” (Snuff-dipping girls, they make the rockin’ world go ’round! … Had to be said.)

*** Human traffickers. 

*** People who drank, since Pearson was oddly stuffy about alcohol consumption.

*** In a tongue-in-cheek bit he targeted Bronchitis itself, since stories were in the news about ex-President Theodore Roosevelt battling the illness. The Fool Killer implied that Bronchitis was a “fool” for daring to tangle with Teddy. He also made a joke about Teddy’s personality being so huge it took attention away from Halley’s Comet.

*** People who had predicted that the comet would hit the Earth, wreaking immense damage.

*** Scholars who thought they had discovered the Missing Link in Illinois.

*** Religious hypocrites who wore pointlessly expensive clothes to church just to show off their wealth. Continue reading

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Blue Book May 1912TALES OF TWENTY HUNDRED (1911-1912) – Written by William Wallace Cook, originally serialized in the monthly publication Blue Book Magazine from December of 1911 to May of 1912. This is Balladeer’s Blog’s third look at a work by THE William Wallace Cook and in this case it’s a six-part serial consisting of a half-dozen interconnected short(ish) stories.

PART ONE: THE BILLION DOLLAR CARGO (December 1911) – The year is 2050 A.D. Airships run by solar energy fill the skies while land vehicles are powered by radium engines. At hospitals “germicide treatments” can heal people of virtually any illness. Mind-reading machines called psychographs are used to read the thoughts of people who are on trial.

The United States, Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Austria and the nations of Scandinavia comprise a huge geopolitical entity called the Quadruple Alliance. That alliance’s greatest global rival is the Federated States of South America, made up of the nations of Central and South America. 

masc chair and bottleGeo-engineering on a massive scale has become possible. Wealthy industrialist Vincent Blake has already completed a project involving the elimination of the Aleutian Islands to allow the warmer waters of the Pacific Ocean to turn the Arctic region into a place with more moderate temperatures. Hilariously, this is depicted as having no adverse effects on the planet. (Hey, it’s a 1911 story.) 

Next on the schedule for Blake is an even more ambitious project – he plans to straighten the Earth’s axis and provide mild summer conditions year-round all over the world. This type of absurd notion was also featured in the 1894 book A Journey in Other Worlds, previously reviewed here at Balladeer’s Blog.

In that earlier story the establishment of year-round moderate weather was presented as a fait accompli and had had no negative side-effects. In this tale the Federated States of South America are convinced that Vincent Blake’s project will negatively impact them and launch violent plans to stop him. Continue reading

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For this superhero-crazed world Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE

Eclipse Monthly 4ECLIPSE MONTHLY Vol 1 #4 (January 1984)

Title: The Amazing Aphidman

Villain: The Organ Grinder

Masked Man full faceSynopsis: Writer and artist B.C. Boyer was wearing his Will Eisner hat more flamboyantly than ever this time around in a tale that piles on the comic relief with a shovel.

Big-time reporter Dan Drekston is still hanging around with the Masked Man (Dick Carstairs) and his friend Barney McAlister and is still threatening to blow our hero’s secret identity or to try proving he doesn’t turn over all the money or goods he recovers from robbers.   Continue reading

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