Comic Report: Essential Godzilla

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By now you all should be aware that I’m a Godzilla fan and a comic book reader, so it shouldn’t surprise you that I would collect Godzilla comics. There have been three runs that I know of available in the US, a run by Marvel, one by Dark Horse, and the current IDW printings. While a video production this week slowed the intended project and my review of the Marvel run has come to a close, I thought I would give some final thoughts on The Essential Godzilla a black-and-white collection of all 24 issues of Marvel’s series. Down below should be some samples of reviews I’ve done of the individual issues. Zemanta, the service WordPress uses to find related links, probably won’t have all 24 reviews.

I have managed to pick up a handful of issues of the actual comics but these are old and probably hard to find. So Essential Godzilla was my best bet to follow the whole run, and thankfully it lived up to expectations…most of the time.

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Book Report: Blips!

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Blips

Last week I said I’d look at my other video game joke book. Well here it is. Blips! may have Pac-Man on the cover (yes, that is Pac-Man) but this one is more about what we would today call “gaming culture”, and outside of the fact that arcades existed and people aren’t swearing at each other over the internet there’s not really that much difference. Except that adults seem to be defining gaming culture instead of kids. I mean “adult” like “college age”. I wonder if they take themselves too seriously to find this book amusing. Well, I like it anyway.

Blips!

PUBLISHER: Scholastic Books (1983)

WRITER: Bob Stine

ARTIST: Bryan Hendrix

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Book Report: Pac-Man Riddle & Joke Book

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I wasn’t sure what to do for this week’s report and although posting late the distractions of the week may have kept me from having a report at all. Then I saw this reading of a very lame Pac-Man joke book. For those of you who didn’t click on the link, the Pac-Mania joke book is mostly the same image of Pac-Man with some minor changes to it to match whatever horrible pun he just wrote. It’s kind of like an art class practice session or one of those puzzle pages where they ask you to finish the image. You can see the host die a little bit with each page he looks at. Still, it inspired me to drag this out late last night.

Pac-Man Riddle & Joke Book

The Pac-Man Riddle And Joke Book, written and drawn my Mike Thaler and published by Pocket Book subsidiary Archway, had to be something I picked up at a school book fair. There’s another video game joke book I’ll review next week but this is the one I was reminded of after watching the video. Instead of the same stale image with some minor tweaking every image is new and while a few of the same jokes actually popped up there are a lot of things that make this a lot funnier.

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Book & Record Report: Superman book & record

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So I’m hopefully done with this latest kidney stone issue but I haven’t gotten back to action just yet. So here’s another crosspost from the other site…which I also didn’t get to work on this week.


Remember when Superman was fun? DC wants you to forget fun altogether unless killing heroes, dismemberment, and boobs all in your face is your idea of fun. They’re all for you then. But I want to look at a Superman story from my youth. Namely, this one.

Superman...smiling? When will you see that again?

Superman…smiling? When will you see that again?

This is from the Peter Pan Book & Record series. They made a lot of licensed book & record comics, including other DC characters, horror stories like Frankenstein and Dracula (possibly the Marvel Dracula and it was all kid-friendly stuff), and TV shows like Star Trek. I have one of the Star Trek stories and we’ll get to that someday.

There are two things in this review you don’t usually get in a “Scanning My Collection” article. One is what you’re not getting: credits. I can’t seem to find concrete proof of who worked on this comic or the accompanying audio so I can’t really comment on them. The other is audio actually showing you the story in a rather decent presentation combining the audio (minus the page change noises) and the comic panels. So watch for yourself…”City Under Siege”! Bing.

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Book Report: Total Recall novelization

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Total Recall was a 1990 movie directed by Paul Verhoeven and based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick called “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale“. The short story follows a man named Douglas Quail who learns that he’s had two past lives not through reincarnation but due to altered memories.

The movie that followed changed Quail’s last name to Quaid and was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. (A remake came out in 2012 but I haven’t seen it.) The screenplay by Donald Shusette, Dan O’Bannon, and Gary Goldman (with Jon Povill taking O’Bannon’s place for the full story) was adapted into a book by Avon Books with Piers Anthony as the writer. Most adaptations are based on earlier scripts, so lines are changed and scenes are added or removed. Sometimes scenes are added to fill out the book. A novel has different needs and skills from a movie. (There were also other adaptations; a comic by DC Comics and a few video games. I own the comic and the Interplay-produced NES game.) One thing Anthony did was expand on the origins of the alien machine at the heart of the story.

I’ve already reviewed the chapters one at a time as part of my other site’s “Chapter By Chapter” series. This is a round-up review and a decision of the book’s future in my collection.

Total RecallTotal Recall adaptation

Avon Books (June, 1990 (first printing)

AUTHOR: Piers Anthony

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Book Report: Battletech: 1st Somerset Strikers sourcebook

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Battletech Sourcebook Somerset

I saw ads for the Battletech role-playing game in some of my comic books growing up but I never saw any evidence of it. Dungeons and Dragons was the big game in the ’80s and you weren’t likely to see anyone else playing it. I had my own issues with D&D and never had time for any of the other “pen and paper RPGs”, including this one.

However, an animated series was produced in the ’90s and aired in syndication. (I’ve seen a source peg it as a Fox show, but the only place I saw it was a then unaffiliated station that was never part of Fox.) While I didn’t get interested in the RPG I have wanted to play the video game (and it’s spinoff series, MechWarrior). So why do I have this sourcebook?

It’s based on the animated series, but also works to correct factual errors to set events in the main Battletech universe. In-canon the cartoon is an error ridden summary of the events of the Clans first arrival (I’ll explain all that in the article) and the effort to repel them my uniting units of formerly opposing forces. In world, the show is considered poorly regarded, but in the real world I very much enjoyed it. They even found a way to shoehorn in the CG by introducing “enhanced imaging” for the Mech pilots (or “Mech Warriors). That’s why I picked up the book. Over on my other site I’ve gone through my Battletech comics and I thought I would finish my “Battletech Week” here at The Clutter Reports with a look at this book.

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Book Report: Superman “Which Way” book

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Superman01

Thursday was Superman’s 75th anniversary and since he’s my favorite DC superhero, if not my favorite period, I wanted to do something special. Well, I have a Superman book here that won’t go through the “Chapter By Chapter” process over on my other site, because it doesn’t read like that. I’m sure you’ve heard of Choose Your Own Adventure ® books. They’re awesome. The Wikipedia article I linked to refers to them as “gamebooks” and there are elements of role-playing games in there. If you haven’t heard of them, the idea is that at certain points in the story a choice is offered. The reader then makes a choice and his or her choice will change the story. You don’t read it like a normal book, but bounce to different pages to continue the story. They’re a lot of fun.

They’re also very popular, so much so that other book publishers got in on the game, creating similar “gamebooks”. One of them was Archway Paperbacks, who created the “Which Way” series, an obvious play on their name. Like CYOA, Which Way books had the reader playing themselves as a character. The narrator talks about “you” and character names aren’t given. Even in the two Star Trek books you “play” an ensign and decide who you want to hang out with.

An intended sub-series was the “DC Super Heroes Which Way” books (although the gamebooks website in that link refers to them as “Super Powers” it clearly says Super Heroes on my book). I was lucky to get the first one in the series, featuring the Man of Steel himself, Superman! On the back cover of mine are teasers for a Wonder Woman and a Batman book. According to that gamebook site, Wonder Woman’s never showed up, although apparently Supergirl and the Justice League did have books and Batman’s showed up eventually. The series didn’t do well for Archway. Too bad, because the Superman one was darn good!

Superman Which Way

“I get by with a little help from my…enemies?”

Superman: The Man of Steel

Super Heroes Which Way #1

PUBLISHER: Archway Paperbacks (1983)
A British printing was released in 1985, and this book was reprinted for his 50th birthday under the “Super Powers” series.
WRITER: Andrew Helfer
ARTIST: José Delbo

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Book Report: Flash Gordon – The Ice Monster

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I never had the Flash Gordon comic strip in my local paper, and my first introduction wasn’t the cult hit movie or the old serials. It came from two sources. This cartoon:

…and the book I’m about to review. I suppose this is, by textbook definition, a “graphic novel”. It’s a comic book in novel form, although it’s actually three short stories. I picked this one up at my school’s book fair (which I think was my favorite thing about school since I loved to read even back then) when I was in elementary school, and I’m thinking that despite when the book was published it had to be around the same time as the cartoon. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what drew me to it. Then you have a guy battling a giant lizard with a sword while some tribal girl tried to not die. Third or fourth grade me? SOLD!

Flash Gordon Ice Monster

Doesn’t actually happen in the book, which is too bad.

Flash Gordon: The Ice Monster

Tom Doherty Associates (1966, 1968?)

WRITER/ARTIST: Al Williamson

For those of you not in the know, the Flash Gordon comic strip, created by Alex Raymond, involves the title character and his friends battling evil on the planet Mongo, mainly dealing with Ming the Merciless to stop his invasion of Earth. Their plan was to unite the various kingdoms against Ming. This story takes place after they succeeded and Mongo was at peace. You can learn more about the strip thanks to a review by my colleague at Reviewers Unknown, the Comic Strip Critic.

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Book Report: The Phantom Chronicles – Volume 2

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I’m not the biggest fan of Lee Falk’s classic comic strip character The Phantom, but I do enjoy it a lot. At a convention a couple of years ago I came across this anthology of prose stories based on the comic. I won’t go over each individual story, because there are about 16 stories (well, 15, really), but you can see the individual reviews at my other site. This is merely an overview of the entire book, with the question of “do I want to read it again?” deciding its future in my novel library.

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Book Report: Transformers: Exodus

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Over on my other site I’ve been doing an article series called “Chapter By Chapter”, where I review a book one chapter at a time. My inaugural book was a Transformers novel, based off of a recent (and very good) Transformers video game, War For Cybertron. When I’m done reading the book there I will come here and give an overview with the thought of whether or not I’d like to read it again. (Reading a book again years later? Whaaaaaaaat?) So let’s take a look at this book and see if it is worth a re-read, or if it was ever worth reading in the first place.

By the way, if you want to see my chapter by chapter review, click here.

click for full-size image

Transformers: Exodus – The Official History of the War For Cybertron

WRITER: Alex Irvine

PUBLISHER: Del Ray (an imprint of Random Publishing House)

BOOK DESIGN: Elizabeth A. D. Eno

PUBLISHING DATE: 2010

FORMAT: hardcover novel

ISBN: 978-0-345-51985-6

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