Category Archives: Books

Reviews of books, magazines and other literature.

Out Now: “Superman/Batman: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Special Edition” #1

Artist: Jeff Loeb/Ed McGuinness/Dexter Vines
Title: “Superman/Batman: Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice Special Edition” #1
Label: DC Comics
Release Date: 3/23/2016
Genre: Illustrated
Rating: 3.5/5

Arriving just in time for the Warner Brothers Pictures release “Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice” comes this free issue of “Superman/Batman” #1 which has been rebranded for the film as a Special Edition. Those who already possess the original issue might still want to snag this based on the change in title and to have a nice new sleek copy of it if you’re able to get a physical edition. You can get that at your local participating comic book specialty shop like I did and all the rest will have to be served by the complimentary digital download. So what is going on in this issue you might be wondering? Well let’s address that.
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“Essential Graphic Novels” by DC Comics

Artist: DC Comics
Title: “Essential Graphic Novels”
Label: DC Entertainment
Release Date: 5/28/2013
Genre: Illustrated Medium
Rating: 3.5/5

This free edition was available at the comic shops very recently and it seemed that you were allowed to take a copy with you if you had purchased the new Superman title that was also on the stands. Well, at least this was what I noticed when I caught a glimpse of it at Forbidden Planet in NYC. Now that this free edition is available in a digital format and can be enjoyed either via your Kindle or other mobile devices, I figured let me give it a glance and see what it’s recommending to the fans of this kind of medium. The opening section of the book gives you what the editors have determined to be “25” absolutely essential trade paperback editions and I am happy to report that I have personally read no less than eleven of them. I admit that I was shocked and felt that I would be closer to the complete run of twenty five must have reads but then I glanced over the list a little deeper. There are several that I consider “solid” reads and a nice addition to your collection but as far as “essential” goes? Not too much. Let me preface this by citing how “Watchmen”, “V For Vendetta”, “Dark Knight Returns”, “Killing Joke” and “Kingdom Come” are must haves in ones collection and fantastic reads that you will return to again and again over the years and even make as recommendations to your friends that might be looking to indulge in the medium. I’ll also add the “Saga Of Swamp Thing” and the “JLA” to the mix because from page to page they keep you focused on the story and the incredibly written characters. “Swamp Thing” is just gripping and with “JLA” we were returning to the original core seven greats of the team. Whew was all I could say during those first few issues.

Now since this list is coming care of the editors over at DC Comics they are going to have their favorites and with that being said here are some tomes that I myself view as absolutely essential to own or at least read if visiting a friend that might have it. First up “Green Lantern/Green Arrow”; this title changed the times and how a comic book could be delivered. “Man Of Steel” was the revamp of Superman as done by John Byrne and this is a must have. “Superman Batman Generations”, the first volume brings us a tale of the hero’s first meeting as youths and into their far off future time. It’s a bit of an Elseworlds tale but I loved it. There is also some magic to be found in the book I feel is a seminal tome for collectors with “Crisis On Infinite Earths”. This was the first company-wide revision of their characters and found some of the long standing cast not making it out alive. I’d like to add that there are numerous collected editions of the earliest stories of numerous heroes and based on who you like to follow, should be investigated from the humble beginnings.
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“DC Comics: The New 52” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “DC Comics: The New 52”
Label: DC Comics
Release Date: 12/13/2011
Genre: Illustrated Medium
Rating: 4/5

This past September, DC Comics restarted its own history by cancelling numerous titles and relaunching them under the branding of “The New 52”. The massive event follows the epic “Flashpoint” series and becomes the perfect jumping on point for new fans of the medium and these classic characters. Many of them continued along as if nothing happened while many others received new costumes, origins and supporting characters. The entire batch of #1 issues have been collected into a massive hardcover “Omnibus” that spans some 1260 pages and gives you the whole new beginning scoop in one bookshelf worthy collectible. Having reviewed 85% of these titles for the official blog, I am pasting those overview thoughts in the review for this book as the full on content will be the same.


Superman Titles:
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“New York Dolls: Photographs” by Bob Gruen

Author: Bob Gruen
Title: “New York Dolls: Photographs”
Publisher: Abrams Books
Release Date: 9/1/2008
Genre: Rock History
Rating: 4.5/5

Photographer Bob Gruen lines out in his forward to the book “New York Dolls: Photographs” that in his life he has always found that one event leads to another and after a happenstance meeting with a manager friend of John Lennon, he caught another of this persons bands The New York Dolls at the Mercer Arts Center. The rest is as you say – history and since that time, the early happenings of the band and the name Bob Gruen were almost one in the same. The New York Dolls as a band were formed around 1971 and while only active with the members presented in this book for a couple of years, their impact and influence is still felt to this very day. They are cited as being founders of the Glam Rock movement by instilling fashion with high energy Rock and Roll shows and being instrumental in New York City’s becoming the music hot spot that it would become at this time. There are some who line out The Dolls being founders of Punk in some sense as well, and while most will agree that The Ramones hold this honor, it is true that The New York Dolls had some hand in this as well. If you are someone who needed an introduction to the members that we are focusing on, then let me line them out with David Johansen (vocals), Arthur “Killer” Kane (bass), Sylvain Sylvain and Johnny Thunders (guitarists) and Jerry Nolan (drums).
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“Vintage KISS Photos: 1974-1981” by Marc Scallatino

Author: Marc Scallatino
Title: “Vintage KISS Photos: 1974-1981”
Publisher: Independent
Release Date: 10/16/2009
Genre: Hard Rock Photography
Rating: 4.25/5

If you were a KISS fan at any point in your life then you probably followed the same course of action that most of us do and that was digging through the popular music magazines of the time and scouring them for images of our favorite Rock & Roll superheroes. I remember doing this back in the days of my own formative Hard Rock interests and looked forward to finding images of the band in such periodicals as Creem, Hi Parader and Circus. Another recollection was my thinking about how incredibly lucky those photographers were to have been that close to the band to be able to present me with these images in the first place. I admired them for that which they had delivered and I was surely going to keep seeking out their work in magazines to come. This kind of mindset in the KISS fan led to the obsession of folks like Marc Scallatino who became so fascinated by the bands iconic imagery that he began building up and stockpiling photos of the band. He admittedly never saw the band in their 70’s heyday and would manage to do so in their 80’s adventuring but one cannot fault him for that because based on the presented collection depicted in this book he has not only made up for lost time in his own eyes, but he has treated us to some absolutely incredible stuff that I can say any KISS fan would enjoy. His photo archive is entitled “Vintage KISS Photos” and it delivers just that……the bands early and most powerful years in terms of their own rich history. Beginning in 1974, the photos that Scallatino presents to us cover some interesting ground and several dozen of them have never been seen before by the larger demographic of KISS fans.
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