Tagged: anthology

“Altered States of the Union” anthology shows what America could be


Have you ever wondered what could have been? What if Key West seceded from the mainland? If the state of Wyoming ended up in the middle of Pennsylvania? If freed slaves were given the state of Mississippi after the Civil War? Perhaps you would like a Brief Explanation as to how Budapest became the Taco Capital of the World? Or, if you prefer, there is one story that is a fight to the death between the governor of North Alaska, Sarah Palin, and the billionaire orange haired governor of South Alaska…

You can wonder all of these no longer with ‘Altered States of the Union: What America Could Be’; An American alternate history anthology (say that five times fast) that features a varied and fantastic line up of first time authors, New York Times best selling authors, and Hugo and Nebula award winning authors, coming all together with their own stories of alternate American history and describing what could have been if circumstances were just a little different. (And a little more crazy.)
It will be making its debut on July 15th/2016 at the Shore Leave Convention – aptly, the weekend before the Republican convention. For anyone that grabs it on Indiegogo, copies of the book will be mailed out shortly thereafter, if you’re not at the show to pick it up and get autographs in person.


This anthology wants to show you how we could have gone other ways, how we could have been very different than what we are– yet still be America. For anyone wondering how the Indiegogo will be spread out, they’re taking pre-orders to finance printing costs and generally passing along more money to the contributors— all proceeds after production and distribution costs go to the people whose work drew you to the book in the first place— which, after all, is how it should be.

The array of authors that are in this collection of historic proportions are:


Russ Colchamiro, Peter David, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald, Brendan DuBois, Malon Edwards, G.D. Falksen, Michael Jan Friedman, David Gerrold, Robert Greenberger, Alisa Kwitney, Gordon Linzner, Sarah McGill, Meredith Peruzzi, Mackenzie Reide, Aaron Rosenberg, David Silverman & Hildy Silverman, Ian Randal Strock, Ramón Terrell, Anne Toole, and ComicMix’s own Glenn Hauman as editor.

A mixture of NY Times best sellers, Hugo and Nebula winners, WGA award winners, president of American Atheists, and an editor of the Sandman comics is a sure win. Any anthology that includes the writer of “The Trouble With Tribbles”, a writer of “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”, and the president of American Atheists is an interesting mix that shouldn’t be missed out on.


Ed Catto: Yoe’s Haunted Pop Culture

Every two months, I’m not ashamed to admit that IDW supplies one of the guiltiest pleasures in my stack of new comics. Craig Yoe’s Haunted Horror is a ghastly anthology of the horror stories from comics’ Golden Age. But beware: these aren’t those hackneyed horror stories you’ve read so often before. Each issue is a collection of seldom reprinted tales – filled with shock endings, grisly artwork and politically incorrect morality plays well calculated to make you recoil in shock, disgust and horror.

I caught up with the head horror-meister, Craig Yoe. As a fan who’s fascinated by this unique series, I wanted to better understand what sort of sick mind could be behind it all. It doesn’t take long before you realize that Craig mixes his love for the genre with a deep appreciation of the talented-yet-underrated artists who originally produced these stories, and then mixes it all up in a cauldron of mischief.

Craig explained it all started with the Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein hardcover collection that he developed for IDW Publishing. “That was the first one out of the tomb”, said Yoe. But it was as much about the stories as it was about the creators, and that’s why it made sense to start with that particular volume. “Briefer was able to mix a touch of horror into his humor, and humor into his horror.”

That was followed by two more collections: Bob Powell’s Terror and Zombie. And as he’s recounting the history, Craig can’t help and pause to muse about Bob Powell. He was an “amazing artist,” Craig reiterates.

Soon there was a notion of turning these creepy collections into an ongoing comic series. Craig first recollects that it was IDW Publisher Ted Adams who first came up with the idea. “Wait, wait – was it a good idea? Maybe it was mine,” Yoe joked. “I view comics as an endangered species,” said Yoe. “And I hope it never goes away. It’s the perfect package: it’s not too big, you can fold it up in your back pocket, you can hide it under your mattress and it won’t make a big lump there so you can hide it from Mom. And then you can read it under the covers.” Clearly Yoe is a supporter of traditional comics. “A comic is a wonderful thing,” he declares with conviction.

He also compares comics to a 45 RPM record: short and complete. On the other hand, the older comics he loves so much usually offered a number of complete stories in each issue.

Each issue of Haunted Horror is 44 full-color pages for just $3.99. And Yoe ensures that each issue offers a variety of stories, with a variety of artists –many of them unknown greats to today’s readers. Clearly, Craig is more reader than a collector, and creates this labor of love for other readers. “I’m not the type to put my comics in tombs of plastic,” he boasts.

In fact, Yoe often tries to showcase the work of “lesser known but brilliant” artists. And then he and his cadre of experts play “comic art detective” to diligently ascertain the correct artwork credits.

Is there a rhyme or reason to the stories that actually get selected for print? Yoe explained that longtime fan Jeff Gelb ‘cracked the code,’ and told Craig that he figured out Yoe’s strategies for choosing which tales are included. “It’s either tales with strong art providing a visual blast, or jaw-dropping stories.”

Still there have been some surprises for even a comic book horror expert, like Yoe. So often in these vintage stories, especially in the EC comics, the last panel would provide a shocking surprise. In fact, many fans would regularly get in a habit, when turning to the last page, of covering the final panel with their hand, lest their eye be drawn to the grisly surprise.

However, in the Jay Disbrow story in the first issue, this innovative artist had such an impactful, wide-screen style image, that he drew that last panel full page and sideways. “It blew my mind,” recalls Yoe.

I did ask Yoe if he ever found any the content he found too grisly or gross or in bad taste. “My moral compass broke years ago and I never replaced it,” he shrugged.

Yoe is also very particular in choosing covers. “The more simply designed covers seem to work the work the best”, said Yoe. “There’s no spinner rack these days, so the covers have to work at a very small scale – in Diamond’s Previews or online. You have to have a strong and immediate image, a force, that really reaches out and grabs you.”

The cover to the latest issue, Haunted Horror #10, really stands out. It features a lurid face, perhaps a ghoul or a mandrill, framed by an evil candle (the candlestick holder even says “evil”) and colorful winged creatures flittering about. “I was intrigued by this bizarre poster like cover by Golden Age great L.B. Cole.” Craig explained that he had many conversations after the artist’s comic book career. “Cole brought a graphic design sensibility to the design and color of his covers, in addition to his draftsmanship. He wanted to make his covers stand out on the crowded newsstand –and they did!”

In fact, Yoe is always looking to make each issue of Haunted Horror standout. He selects the stories to print not only from his personal collection, and those of his friends.

But in the great tradition of comic (and TV) horror hosts, Craig Yoe transforms into the creepy Warlock the Forelock in the pages of these comics to introduce the stories. And he doesn’t do it alone. Haunted Horror is actually the brainchild of several creepy editors, who fans know by their horror host alter egos: Madame Clizia and Mr. Kraswell. Yoe is so very appreciative for the help of his co-conspirators and friends in this mad venture. “I’m grateful for the kindness of my friends.” And that’s not so horrible, is it?



Mindy Newell: Yiddishkeit

I miss bookstores.  Being able to walk up and down the aisles, pulling out a title that sounds intriguing, perusing the dust jacket flap, sometimes sitting down on the floor and reading the first couple of pages…just killing a couple of hours lost in a bibliophile’s heaven.

Okay, bookstores aren’t entirely gone, but they are, as everyone knows, on the endangered list.  My own first hint of this came about 15 years ago when the Borders in the Short Hills Mall closed up.  It was astonishing—this was a bookstore that was always mobbed, no matter the time of day.  Many, many people objected to the closing, and many, many people let the mall’s management know it; the customer service desk clerk told me, as I filled out the complaint form, that there were over 3,000 signatures in the first week alone protesting the shutdown, and demanding, if not the return of Borders, the opening of another book proprietor.  I thought, and I’m sure many others thought, that the store closed because the management had raised its rent beyond what Borders was willing to pay.  But now I think that I witnessed the beginning of the end.  I knew for sure that bookstores were about to go the way of the dodo bird when I drove over to Hoboken one Sunday morning a few years ago to spend a few hours in the Barnes & Noble there to find that it was gone; I remember being shocked (“Holy shit!” I said out loud) because not only is that particular store is in a city with a university (Stevens Institute of Technology), but it is also home to the sort of population that publishers love and book stores crave—well-educated and upscale and readers.

I bring this up because I recently bought a book on Amazon that whetted my appetite, especially because it is the last work of the late, great Harvey Pekar, who was one of its editors.  That book is [[[Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular & The New Land]]].  According to the blurb on Amazon, which is lifted from the front flap of the book’s dust jacket:

Yiddish is everywhere.  We hear words like nosh, schlep, and schmutz all the time, but how did they come to pepper American English, and how do we intuitively know their meaning?


John Ostrander: Short Form and Long Form Storytelling

My favorite new show on TV this year is The Blacklist. It’s on opposite another show I enjoy a lot, [[[Castle]]], which is now in its sixth season. Assuming it makes it (and I certainly do hope it’s renewed). I wonder if I’ll still love The Blacklist five years from now.

The new trend in American TV appears to be serial anthology shows such as [[[American Horror Story]]] and True Detective. Both take a season to tell a complete story and then the following season tells a different story but in the same genre. [[[American Horror Story]]] often keeps most of the same actors but then casts them in different parts. You tell the story and then you move on, giving a complete beginning, middle, and end.

There’s a lot to be said for that. The BBC series, [[[Broadchurch]]], told a good story – so much so that I wonder how they’re going to do a sequel as they evidently plan to do.

With a long running series, you have to find ways to keep it fresh if you want to keep the viewers coming back and the reasons for continuing the show are often financial and economic ones rather than creative ones. (more…)

Vampires Set Free in October! Get A Free eBook!

tumblr_static_mw-by-mw-2013-tumblr-150x138-6299495Lez Vamps is an anthology of vampire stories inspired by one single painting by award winning comic artist Mark Wheatley. The book features additional illustrations by Mark, inspired by the stories. It is a vastly entertaining exploration of blood sucking and lust! A perfect Halloween Gift for the, ah, oldest kids you know!

Last year, Mark Wheatley was looking for ways to promote his Facebook fan page, his website and his experiments with online self-publishing. Putting out a free eBook might help drive some traffic.

Now, Mark liked the idea of a free eBook. But he was too busy creating art to write a free book himself. So he opened up the process to his fans. He posted one of his paintings to his Facebook page and anyone inspired could write and submit a short story based on their interpretation of the art. The best submissions, would be bundled together and put it out as a free eBook. It’s a novel way of involving his fans with his art and his Facebook page!

Well, Mark doesn’t do things half-way. So, he got a crew of professional writers and editors to read through and judge the submissions. And he didn’t just slap the book together, but got the project edited by Gary Henry. Mark also designed the interior pages and added even more art inspired by the stories to the final mix. The book is a collaboration of many people, fans and professionals, all brought together and inspired by Mark Wheatley and his vivid vision of vampires!

The result is a short, free eBook of sexy, scary, funny, strange and eclectic vampire stories.

Lez Vamps will be free for the entire month of October. Lez Vamps is available in three standard eBook formats – ePub, Mobi and PDF. The PDF version is an elaborately illustrated book! When we say free, this isn’t “With a Qualifying Purchase: Free” or “Sign Up for this Mailing List: Free,” but the actual “Just Grab it and Run, with No-Strings-Attached” kind of Free!

Download your Free eBook by clicking right here.

And if you are on Facebook, you can keep up with all of Mark Wheatley’s books, projects and art by liking the Mark Wheatley Facebook page here.


Sword and Sorcery Comes to Seventh Star Press

Cover Art: Enggar Adirasa

Seventh Star Press has announced that the two volume anthology series, Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword, and Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery. The series will be available August 8th in ebook format with print editions coming a week or two after.

Press Release:

New 2 Volume Sword and Sorcery Anthology Edited by James R. Tuck, Deacon Chalk Author!

Available this Thursday in eBook formats, and mid August in print, SSP is proud to offer a 2 volume anthology edited by James R. Tuck, author of the Deacon Chalk Novels.

Introducing Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword, and Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery, featuring two dozen brand new, hard-hitting sword and sorcery tales!  Here are the two covers from artist Enggar Adirasa!  Stay tuned for more information on this exciting release week!

“HARK! to the sounds of battle. Mighty men and women who take their destinies with the strength of their arm and the sharpness of their blades. These are tales of warriors, reavers, barbarians, and kings. Lands of wonder populated with monsters, black-hearted sorcerors of Stygian power, and heroes who have blood on their hands and on their steel.


Learn more about Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword and Sorcery here.


Contact: James Palmer
Mechanoid Press Saddles Up for a Ride Through Some Strange Trails

ATLANTA, GA—Mechanoid Press, an innovative small press publisher of science fiction and pulp adventure, has just released their latest anthology, exploring the Weird West.
STRANGE TRAILS features exciting tales of a West that never was, written by some of the biggest names in New Pulp.
“The Weird Western is very popular today,” says Mechanoid Press publisher James Palmer. “I wanted to put something together to celebrate this bizarre yet exciting sub-genre.”
Palmer has assembled a posse of some of today’s most talented New Pulp authors. Riding the range is Josh Reynolds (Mr. Brass), Tommy Hancock and Morgan Minor (Pro Se Productions), Barry Reese (The Rook), Edward M. Erdelac (The Merkabah Rider), and Joel Jenkins (Dire Planet).
“Everyone in the book is there because they have solid New Pulp and/or Weird West chops,” says Palmer. “All the stories are terrific, and I know readers will love it.”
STRANGE TRAILS is available in print here:
And Kindle here:

About Mechanoid Press
Mechanoid Press is an independent publisher specializing in science fiction and New Pulp e-books and books. Join the Robot Revolution at www.mechanoidpress.com, follow the ‘bot on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mechanoidpressand like them on Facebook.

Strange Trails Cover Revealed

Cover Art: James Burns

James Palmer has shared the cover for his latest anthology from Mechanoid Press, Strange Trails. The cover was designed and illustrated by James Burns, who also did the cover for another project James was involved in, Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars from White Rocket Books.

Palmer also shared the table of contents for Strange Trails:

Mr. Brass and the Master of Serpents by Josh Reynolds

Sins and Lillies by Tommy Hancock & Morgan Minor

The Mechanical Heart: A Tale of Julia Holst and the Weird West by Barry Reese

The Akeldama Dig by Edward M. Erdelac

Mummy Train by James Palmer

The Eye of Ulutoth by Joel Jenkins

And here’s the equally snazzy back cover:

STRANGE TRAILS will be available in both print and e-book formats.
Coming soon from Mechanoid Press

Mike Gold: Two For TwoMorrows

Mike Gold: Two For TwoMorrows

Layout 1If I quit my day job, I just might possibly keep up with the output from TwoMorrows Publishing. Sundry regularly published magazines (Alter-Ego, Back Issue, Draw!, etc.), trade paperback and hardcover profiles of significant creators, publishing lines, eras and events – I can’t begin to list them all here. Well, I could, but they do a better job on their own website.

Did I mention they do everything up in both hardcopy and digital? Well, they do, and they’ve made many an otherwise tedious commute into Manhattan a lot more palatable.

I only get to bring to your attention a small fraction of their books. I’m still pissed that travel and work schedules didn’t allow me to review their Matt Baker: The Art of Glamour. So, to paraphrase the great Jack Kirby (and, yeah, they also publish The Jack Kirby Collector), just buy it.

But I will seize this moment to briefly wax poetic about two of their latest releases: The Star*Reach Companion by Richard Arndt, and Dan Spiegle: A Life In Comic Art by John Coates.

DanSpiegle_MEDDan Spiegle is a proper legend. As a kid I missed most of his “early” work because I didn’t like westerns (aside from Maverick; lucky for me, Dan drew the comic version) or teevee tie-in comics. Therefore, I missed out on his beautiful Hopalong Cassidy newspaper strip and his work on Lost In Space and other Dell/Gold Key titles. I did latch onto his work in Korak, Green Hornet and Doctor Solar, but he met me more than half-way when he started working at DC Comics in the 1980s (Jonah Hex, Teen Titans, Unknown Soldier). The work he and Mark Evanier did on Blackhawk single-handedly justifies the overworked and overwrought concept of rebooting. He and Evanier (who wrote the introduction to this book) also did one of my all-time favorites of the era: Crossfire, published by Eclipse Comics during the Great Independent Age of Comics.

Dan Spiegle: A Life In Comic Art contains everything you would expect in such a volume: history, index, interviews. It is lavishly illustrated, and, yes, it’s okay to just look at the pictures (yeah; just try that!). There’s eight color pages reprinting some of his watercolors; most of us haven’t seen them before and, damn, are they worth the wait. There’s at least four of them that I would steal if I was clever and fast enough to get away with it.

The Star*Reach Companion is a long-overdue analysis of and tribute to Mike Friedrich’s classic anthology comic. Mike thought it was a great idea to get some of the best people doing comics at the time to create, writer and/or draw stuff that was of a more mature nature – and I don’t necessarily mean salacious – and there “some of the best” includes Neal Adams, Frank Brunner, Howard Chaykin, Steve Ditko, Michael T. Gilbert, Dick Giordano, Steve Leialoha, Marshall Rogers, P. Craig Russell, Dave Sim, Walter Simonson, Ken Steacy, Dave Stevens, Mike Vosburg, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Workman …you get the idea. I’m hard-pressed to think of an anthology series with a better line-up.

Not that a lot of folks didn’t try, and a great many of them were quite, quite good. The Star*Reach Companion covers most of these publications as well, and here it serves an important historical function.

The problem with books like these is that, if they are successful, they leave the reader with a thirst they can never quench. Sure, we can pick up the back issues and the reprint books – and after reading these two, I’ll bet you wind up doing at least a bit of that. If you don’t, you’re missing something.

In fact, this is why I implore comic book stores with large back issue inventories to stock TwoMorrows’ books and magazines. They publish the true comics Who’s Who of What’s What.




Moonstone’s the Spider Extreme Prejudice Drops!

Back Cover

Moonstone Books has released a new pulp anthology called The Spider: Extreme Prejudice.

About The Spider: Extreme Prejudice:
New short stories of searing white-hot prose starring pulpdom’s most violent and ruthless crime fighter ever: THE SPIDER! More just than the law, more dangerous than the Underworld…hated, feared and wanted by both! One cloaked, fanged, borderline crazy denizen of the dark force-feeding hard justice with a pair of 45’s! Guest stars: The Black bat, The Green Ghost, and Operator 5!

The Spider: Extreme Prejudice features stories by Will Murray, Mel Odom, C.J. Henderson, James Chambers, Ron Fortier, Bobby Nash, Howard Hopkins, Eric Fein, Gary Phillips, Don Roff, Matthew Baugh, I.A. Watson, and Rik Hoskin.

You can learn more about The Spider: Extreme Prejudice here.

About The Spider:
More just than the law, more dangerous than the Underworld…hated, feared, wanted by both. Extreme sworn enemy of crime, The SPIDER clashes against super-criminals whom no one else can handle. He remains one step ahead of the law in his endless crusade to destroy the human vipers that nest in our society.

Visit the official Norvell W. Page blog here.