Tag: Comic

The Works of Comic Book Theologian, Jack T. Chick.

The Works of Comic Book Theologian, Jack T. Chick.

I was just standing there on the street corner scoffing at people going into a Bible Study group, say Robert Johnson, former Atheist and newest member of Christian Reading Always Carefully Keeps People Off Things (CRACKPOT) Ministries. “But when Reverend Zeke Gage handed me the classic Chick tract, ‘Hi There,’ I had no idea of the changes that it would make in my life.”

Due to budget constraints and lack of support which the good reverend blames on the influences of Satan upon the world, the tract had been printed out on the parish’s inkjet printer rather than the classic small black booklet format found in non-Christian religious books on bookstore shelves the world over. Usually a perspective reader will have to pick up a copy of the Talmud, Tao Te Ching, or Koran to come across the works of comic book theologian, Jack T. Chick.

Chick tracts, which are known the world over for their factual portrayal of religions like Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism and especially Catholicism can be ordered off of the site Chick publications or many can be printed out and downloaded because of the author’s conviction that sharing the gospel and spreading the word about the Vatican ties to the Communist party are more important than making a profit. In fact, the tracts have been so successful that they have spawned several fan sites such as the Monster Wax Museum.

“I had no idea that not accepting Jesus as my savior was endangering my soul. Man, if I’d known not praying that simple prayer found at the bottom of that comic would have put me eternally in a lake of fire and brimstone, I’d have prayed it much earlier. The best part is I don’t even have to change any of my behaviors. It seems once when I get saved, I stay saved no matter what I do. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.”

Andrea Johnson said that such ignorance of the word of God is common as a secular public education system does not stress the gospels nearly enough citing inappropriate concerns over separation of church and state. “What is more important? Making sure freedoms and rights or respected or keeping people away from an eternally hot destination?”

Doctor Will Smith said, “You may think CRACKPOTs are only concerned about keeping you away from the work of the devil, but that is an erroneous assumption. We are also committed to providing good, Christian reading material in an effort to get more souls for Jesus. We cannot very well justify taking something away from people unless we put something in its place. That just would not be right with God.”

Robert Johnson said that he looks forward to his glorious mansion in Heaven and committing acts of further Evangelism for his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “Man, I can still do drugs and beat up people and it is all right as long as I ask for forgiveness.”

 …

Spotlight & Interview ~ Titanshade by Dan Stout

Spotlight & Interview ~ Titanshade by Dan Stout

If everything is going according to plan, I am currently sitting beachside with a copy of Titanshade in one hand and a margarita in the other!
**If everything is not going according to the plan, someone might want to send bail money.

After vacation edit: I survived. No bail money required!! I was grateful enough to start Titanshade beachside and hope to finish it by the end of the month!

But, you are not here to talk about my beach adventures. You are here because of your desire to consume and devour books and hopefully find a new book obsession, right? Lucky you, I have this fun little interview with the author of Titanshade, Dan Stout and all of the info one could desire about his newly released noir fantasy thriller…TITANSHADE!
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This noir fantasy thriller from a debut author introduces the gritty town of Titanshade, where danger lurks around every corner.

Carter’s a homicide cop in Titanshade, an oil boomtown where 8-tracks are state of the art, disco rules the radio, and all the best sorcerers wear designer labels. It’s also a metropolis teetering on the edge of disaster. As its oil reserves run dry, the city’s future hangs on a possible investment from the reclusive amphibians known as Squibs.

But now negotiations have been derailed by the horrific murder of a Squib diplomat. The pressure’s never been higher to make a quick arrest, even as Carter’s investigation leads him into conflict with the city’s elite. Undermined by corrupt coworkers and falsified evidence, and with a suspect list that includes power-hungry politicians, oil magnates, and mad scientists, Carter must find the killer before the investigation turns into a witch-hunt and those closest to him pay the ultimate price on the filthy streets of Titanshade.
Dan Stout, Titanshade, Urban Fantasy, Noir, Fantasy,
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Dan Stout, author, fiction author

Dan Stout lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he writes about fever dreams and half-glimpsed shapes in the shadows. His prize-winning fiction draws on his travels throughout Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim, as well as an employment history spanning everything from subpoena server to assistant well driller.

Dan’s stories have appeared in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post, Nature, and Mad Scientist Journal.
Author Interview, Interview, Author

Everyone welcome Dan Stout to Booked & Loaded!

B&L: Welcome, Dan! I have been looking forward to getting my hands on Titanshade after being struck curious by its cover and totally intrigued after reading the blurb! I will never apologize for being a cover junky!!!

Dan: Thanks for having me. And no need to apologize— I am unashamed about my love for cover illustration and design! This past year I scored a major holiday haul when I was gifted copies of Art & Arcana and Paperbacks From Hell, both of which are deep dives into the kind of cover art and illustration I loved as a kid and an adult.

B&L: What did expect before seeing the cover for yourself?

Dan: So, one of the incredible things about working with DAW Books is that they love it when the author has a vision for the cover. My editor, Sheila Gilbert, asked if I had any suggestions, and I was able to pitch a rough idea. When the cover artist, Chris McGrath, got involved, he got an advance copy of the manuscript, and checked in regularly to make sure the artwork was in-line my vision of the characters. DAW just connected us on email and let us go at it. Seeing my characters come to life like that was geek heaven.

Of course, Chris is a brilliant artist, so he took my rough concept and delivered something far beyond my initial ideas. He pretty much blew my mind with every sketch and iteration. He also brought a ton of small details that help put it over the edge—things like the aviator sunglasses that really make the cover pop.

B&L: Do you feel it accurately reflects the feel of Titanshade?

Dan: Absolutely! After seeing Chris’s artwork, I knew that the final look was going to be good, but the finished design exceeded my expectations. From the slight tilt to the artwork to the spray-paint feel of the title logo and the distressed treatment give the book a torn and ragged feel that’s a perfect match for the story inside. It’s so clear that the team at DAW really got the feel of the book and took the time to bring it to life. I’d love to give a shout-out to Katie Anderson, who did the jacket design, and Alissa Rose Theodor, who did the interior.

B&L: What inspired you to write a book where 8-tracks are high tech?

Dan: I’m really fascinated by the concept of fantasy worlds apart from ours: …

Book Review: The Double-D Avenger

Book Review: The Double-D Avenger

It’s no secret that when any book is made into a movie, the film is going to blow if you’ve read the book first. But, is it possible that a film made into a novel could actually be better than the movie? I think so, and as proof, I offer Jerrod Balzer’s novelization of a William Winckler screenplay, The Double-D Avenger.

Released through Skullvines Press, this comedy of Double-D proportions is about Chastity Knott, a woman who runs the most successful pub in town. But after a breast exam reveals that she has cancer, she closes up shop to travel to South America in search of an erotic cousin of the banana that has magical healing properties. But that’s not all it does, as Chastity soon learns that she has superpowers thanks to the Crockazilla plant.

Upon returning home, her celebration is cut short by the evil plots of Al Purplewood (snort) who runs a bikini bar across town. Al sends his three sinister strippers to bump the chesty Chastity off, and instead, Greek goddess Hydra Heffer shoots and kills Chastity’s cowpoke suitor Bubba Olympian. This leads Chastity to swear to use her powers to bring to justice the trio of Hydra, a former pirate named Pirate Jugs and a thawed out cavewoman, Ooga Boobies.

The battles in the book are truly of Tit-anic proportions, and with a plot like this, you can expect breast jokes to be overrunning the bra cups. Being a fan of puns, this book worked for me quite well, since I was alternating between giggling or groaning at the jokes. (Groaning in a good way, mind you.)

Jerrod’s sense of humor actually helps make the script even better as he fills in gaps in the histories of the characters, which weren’t covered in the movie. One of the best jokes involves a scientist dying of a heart attack, and another involves the sexual molest of a stuffed bear.

Fans of schlock comedy will find very little to complain about, and as adaptations of screenplays go, this helps to make a goofy comedy into a solid page turner where the only pauses you’ll make will be to laugh or groan at the jokes.

I give The Double-D Avenger four stars and recommend it to anyone looking for the breast, er the best in comedy entertainment.…

Book Review: Music and Suicide by Jeff Clark

Book Review: Music and Suicide by Jeff Clark

You have the right to demand recognition by the other. But you have no right to seek completion by means of the other. You will always be incomplete. Jeff Clark, “Shiva Hive”

I first encountered this little book in 2004 when it arrived in the mail as one of the benefits of my (now defunct) membership in the Academy of American Poets. I was enthralled with its music and daring. Clark admits to “a distrust of easy assonance/ musicality/ imaginativity not in the service of something progressive” and it abundantly shows.

The works contained in this book are varied in form. Sometimes they are free verse, sometimes in the form of an interview that reads like a confrontation with the self (“Shiva Hive”), and sometimes they look and feel like prose pieces. Not the short, one paragraph prose poems that readers are most accustomed to, but pieces which can stretch three pages. The poems are arranged chronologically and often read like restless- even disturbed- dream sequences.

Coming back to this book six years later was a completely different experience than the first read. I was charmed mostly by the surface stuff the first time around. However, seeming as it does that I have lived whole lifetimes in the intervening years, I was struck by the quote that opens this article. It seems that this is the point of the collection. It is treated on almost every level: as applying to relationships, the motions of life, even one’s experience with art. Every artist- particularly poets- have experienced this love/ hate, enamorment/ disallusionment in relation to their art. Clark takes a very tough-minded, urban stance toward these things throughout.

The book is packaged well. The cover is dark with an image of what appears to be subway lights or lights in the ceiling of an industrial building. Text on the cover is sparse and in a thin, stretched font. The pages inside are relatively thick and rough to the fingertips, which is appropriate. Sometimes the poems are divided by pages that are totally black, some with that spiny, white writing, some without. The book itself is thus a work of art that reflects what is to be found inside. This is not a collection for those seeking beauty. Rather, it makes poetry out of the sparse, cold, lonesome, dark, ugly.

Ultimately, though, I was disappointed upon returning to it. I could not sense the magic I had felt in it before. But perhaps I was seeking completion, which as Clark said, I have no right to. Maybe the incompleteness, the uncomfortableness is the point. Much as the deliberate unbalancing of the accepted sensibilities was the point of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. It would be too much to say that Music and Suicide is a poetic equivalent to Wilde’s controversial novel, but it could be that was Jeff Clark’s ambition.

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Romance Land Drama – A Reader’s Perspective

There has been so much romance land drama this year, it consumes entire visits with friends that read. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you are luckiest reader alive, I envy you and I want to know how your secret. Also…don’t read this article. Seriously, ignorance is bliss.

You are still reading, and I will assume that you know at least some of what the drama is. This post is a reader’s perspective about how the drama is affecting me. How are readers feeling? What are bloggers doing different?

This post isn’t about the specific authors or many issues. So many others have brilliantly reported on all of these issues. There is literally nothing I could add. This post is simple. It is about how all of the drama affects me, as a reader. It is about how all of the drama affects me, as a blogger.

Having the drama (which appears to not be slowing down anytime soon) on a constant loop across every social media outlet is exhausting. Unfortunately, it also is anything new. From plagiarism, harassment, siccing “fans” on other authors, trademarks and catfishing….there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. I feel like the current issues hit a little harder because of the legal aspects and CLEAR ridiculous ripple effect of authors. For some unknown reason, going “ohhh that was a great marketing tactic” and following the lead of the circus master right into the fucking funny car. Only, it isn’t funny. It is stressful. I know it is stressful on the authors and I think that no one really seems to talk about how the stress has trickled down to the readers.

Witnessing readers gently pointing out that reactions from the crazy drama lama is not productive and they were bothered by it, seemed to create conflict and justifications from some authors. The problem is, those authors are not listening. Others seem to be a little oblivious. Others seem to take the possession of THIS IS IMPORTANT, so readers need to get over it. We get that it’s a big deal. We get why you are upset. The reality is…there isn’t a lot we can actively do about it. When every author everywhere is screaming over the internet about the same drama over and over…it diminishes the value of the real issue. Desensitizing readers with petty drama lama blog posts or social media posts, doesn’t add anything to our concerns. Do we want to be updated about the legal issues, sure. Realistically for every event, we probably get 1,000 updates. Regardless, important legal updates are not the same thing as every bizarre or inappropriate action.

Reading is an escape. Escaping into a world where love wins, fantastic creatures roam and kicking ass is the where we want to be. When you end up absorbed into the business side, it becomes hard to disconnect from it. Losing the value in the escape we desire and creating a deafening white noise effect of worry. What if this author actual plagiarized? What If I love this book and find out he/she is really a damn psycho and tomorrow they are going to show their true colors? What if this author is really a racist? What if this author…… Maybe this isn’t everyone’s internal dialog, but you know what I am saying here.

The effect on me is huge. It is affecting my book purchases, my ability to review and honestly…even my actual enjoyment of reading. Especially reading romance.

I mostly purchase the books I read. Publishers provide a small percentage of the books I read and are an exception, rather than the norm. Budgeting is also is a factor and although I used to be very liberal with purchases, time has shown that only a small percentage of the books I purchased were being read and changes were made to this habit. Now, I tend to make lists and when I am ready to read a new book I scroll through my list and purchase the book right before I read it. Yay, adulting.

Currently, almost all purchases are on hiatus. Being overwhelmed with all of this has pretty much shut me down on buying or reviewing books from anyone new, especially Indie. Many authors out there have a consistency about them and those I trust. This starts at the top of well-known large pub authors and down into Indie authors. The crazy isn’t isolated to one or the other, but it is certainly becoming a more predominate “trend” within in the Indie community – especially Romance. Indies have always made up a huge part of where I spend my money. That is how I have shown support, in addition to reading and reviewing. The random crazy didn’t really affect my personal habits …