Saturday, July 30, 2011



Friday, July 29, 2011



DC Comics

Additional Inks On #6 SCOTT HANNA

I was really happy to find this trade at one of my local libraries. Our library system has a growing collection of graphic novels highly due to the influence of my favorite librarian. It also has to do with my local comic book store donating a number of books to different libraries. One of the many reasons I only buy comics from them.

And totally random and off topic Mar just told me someone donated a marshmallow shooter to book bucks reading challenge as a prize. I just thought that was cool.

Now back to the Flash review.

I wasn’t always the biggest Flash fan but I loved the Flash under the writing hands of Mark Waid and Geoff Johns. I loved the Flash in the DC Animated Universe and thought Warner should have cast Ryan Reynolds in a Flash movie instead of Green Lantern, even though Green Lantern is my favorite DC character. Just thought Flash would give a movie so much energy and feed into the American “Need for speed” fast cars and rush of life state of nature.

Though my perfect choice for Flash would be Neil Patrick Harris as Wall West.

I will say that I have never been the biggest fan of Barry Allen as Flash. I grew up reading Wally West as the Flash and to me, he is the best Flash so I didn't know what to think going into reading Flash: Rebirth, I just knew that I went in thinking I wouldn't like Green Lantern: Rebirth{don’t like Hal} but ended up liking it very much so I went in with a open mind.

Another reason I wasn’t sure I would like this is how Barry Allen had one of the most heroic and iconic deaths in the history of superhero comic books. A little part of me asked why bring him back when you already had so many good Flash family characters, his death was one handled in a great way? Why bring him back?

A question I’m asking now as I read that the DC relaunch/reboot of Flash has Barry Allen only as the Flash. But one thing is sure, if the new Flash series is as good as Flash: Rebirth I might have to pick up the first trade of the series when it comes out.

But speaking of the Flash relaunch. I can understand how with these relaunch books one of the things they want to do is attack the confusion that can come with a lot of shared universe stories. My gf asked if she could read Flash: Rebirth having previously not read much Flash at all. I think this story is fine for new readers. It’s an origin story and new story all in one. It introduces new readers and old readers alike to the characters, settings, and nature of The Flash. So why does this book need a relaunch because Flash: Rebirth basically takes care of those issues that new readers might have right here.

But all of that aside lets talk about Flash: Rebirth alone.

The artwork of Ethan Van Sciver is quickly, with each time I see his art, making me a fast fan. He looks to be able to handle just about anything asked of him to tell a great story.

I liked the Hal/Barry interaction and  the scenes of people preparing to celebrate Barry’s return by other heroes and normal people early in the story. This goes into as I spoke of earlier the nature of Flash which is family, community, duty, responsibility, and Johns handles that very well and in such a great fashion as he tells the reader, this is the Flash, this is what the Flash is about, without losing the story he is telling.

Like I said it’s a origin and original story all in one. This is what the movies should do with very well known superhero properties such as Superman, Batman, Spiderman, The Hulk. People know their origins. Do an origin/new story movie. Want to learn how to do that. Look right here in this book.

4 out of 5 Stars


Thursday, July 28, 2011

REVIEW: DOCTOR WHO A Fairytale Life #2



Pencils by KELLY YATES
Lettering by SHAWN LEE

It’s been a while since I reviewed #1 of this 4 Part limited series but as part of my trying to review as many comics as possible here we go. And since I have a dedicated three people who always ask me about writing more Doctor Who related reviews, I shall try to do more on that front, I promise, I really mean it.

Part 2 of A Fairytale Life sees the Doctor and Amy meeting some of the major players in the story. From dogheaded guards to a Knight with a sudden out of character sense of humor. By the end of the story the story finally really gets rolling so here to hoping Parts 3 & 4 pay off what the first 2 parts of this limited series setup.

This story seems to be leading down the old sci-fi road of medical technology out of hand trying to follow its programming to a extreme. What will separate it from being just another story along those lines is the reasons why it got to this point and how the Doctor deals with it.

So far A Fairytale Life reminds me a lot of the classic Doctor Who story The Androids of Tara but I might just be reading too much into the technology mixed with medieval feel.

Again, the first two issues are setup. Lets see with issue #3 if this story starts to lead to some payoff because right now its just a tie-in book to a television series with no unique nature of its own.

2 out of 5 Stars

*Classic Doctor Who Reference: The Androids Of Tara


Monday, July 25, 2011



WRITER Geoff Johns
ART Doug Mahnke and Shawn Davis

*Just a side note to start things. People have asked where the Torchwood reviews are and the answer is that I haven't gotten the chance to watch the second and third episodes yet and unlike some professional reviewers I don't review things I haven't watched or read.

I really want to start writing more full reviews about comic book trade collections and OGN books. And in my reviews I tend to call both graphic novels for a FYI. 

The problem with me reviewing more graphic novels usually comes that I can just read so many graphic novels at once that I tend to read tons from the library and then send them back quickly for the next person.

So here I go with seeing how this works. I'm going to try and review every graphic novel I read. I might fail to do so but nothing wrong with a little failure. Live and learn and all that. Writing reviews also usually gets my writing blood flowing before I work on my own stories later in the night; so the more reviews I write actually means I get more work on my own projects completed.

The Green Lantern books have been some of the best comics for the past few years. Right there with Captain America, X-Factor, Secret Six, and Birds Of Prey in my view. I actually think the first volume of Brightest Day was the weakest Green Lantern story in a while but I was still happy when I found out that one of our libraries had one of the tie-ins to the main series in Green Lantern: Brightest Day.

And I have to say I enjoyed this more than Brightest Day: Volume One. Mar did also. The Green Lantern is one of the few superhero books she has enjoyed. The highlight of the story was the humor that had a center point as Larfleeze. I read somewhere that DC will be doing a Red Lantern book. Hell with that I want a Larfleeze book. That or a Larfleeze/Atrocitus road trip buddy book.

And speaking of Atrocitus. He was also one of the big highlights of this story. I just love his design and how he was written here. 

I almost teared up at the entry story at the back of the book. Dex-Starr is just pure fucked up joy and both of our cats I think want to dress as Dex-Starr next Halloween.

At least that's what they tell me.

{NOTE: If anyone was getting any ideas about dressing your cat as Dex-Starr, that might not be a good idea. Might be pretty dangerous because they all have a little Dex-Starr in them}

There are a couple well written guest appearances by Lobo, The Flash, and The Spectre that fit perfectly into the story. I've always been a huge fan of both Lobo and The Spectre but they both have been so miss used a lot the past few years but here they were inserted in a way that both benefited this story and their individual stories. This is a very good way of using a shared universe.

Oh and Dex-Starr Vs. Lobo's dog. Not that was badass and the outcome the natural order of things.

The overall story is a build toward War Of The Green Lanterns, but in a story that weakens this story on its on, and there is a little preview at the end of that story for that crossover. When Flash confronts Hal about working with the other Corps you can't help but say he's right. Hal is ignoring death and destruction around him to keep things in his hands. He may say that's not his reasoning but I find it as always a matter of ego with Hal.

This story is action packed and it flows down a smooth storytelling path. One of these days someone is just going to field goal punt one of those asswipe Guardians because they have been painted as such tainted characters much the way Professor X has been in the X books at Marvel that it is hard not to cheer the bad guys getting their hands on them some day. Doing so might make for good stories but I wonder if like with Professor X it might hurt the characters worth in the long run writing them this way? 

But then again maybe the Guardians get rebooted as Smurfs who get to hang with Neil Patrick Harris when the DC reboot happens?

I have loved the whole of the stories that have involved all of the new Lantern Corps but the Green Lantern line needs to settle for a while I think and focus on exploring the rest of the DC Universe. Though these stories have been great I'm beginning to wonder when they will hit the wall and get stale. Keep the Lanterns unique and don't overexpose them and also keep the Green Lanterns the center point.

4 out of 5 stars


Sunday, July 24, 2011


By Jonathan Auxier

When a book starts with a small infant baby boy having his eyes plucked out by a raven it really must be read to completion. And so that’s what happen when I choose Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier for my before bed read. But ahead of getting way into the story discussion let’s talk about how this book came into my hands in the first place.

While attending ALA11 in New Orleans one of our biggest “Have To’s” was I had to meet Jeff Kinney, writer of the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books. Me and Mar both are huge fans of those books and the movies; so I jumped into the first line I saw where I overheard someone was talking about the Wimpy Kid books but after the publisher handed us ARCs of a book we hadn’t heard of before Mar ran off to get something signed by another author she was looking forward to meeting and I stayed in this line.

After reading the back of one of the ARCs  I was interested in getting a book signed for Mar’s library and also one for myself that I was thinking of giving away on my blogger.

I will say right away I’m not going to give away my copy of Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes, I really enjoyed this book and want to keep the autographed copy in my collection. No army of ravens or apes could take it from my hands. Though clockwork kings are pretty scary.

Back to the signing line talk.

When I got up to my point in line I had Mr. Auxier sign one copy to Mar’s library and the other just signed{once again, at the time I wasn’t planning to keep the book. MINE NOW!} Jonathan Auxier was very nice and it was really cool to meet a new writer who wrote a book I would recommend to anyone.

Now as I mentioned when I reviewed The Name Of The Star by Maureen Johnson while in New Orleans we barely had time to just stop and read anything; which was very strange for us being there for a book convention but I was writing during the trip also and Mar was Geocaching. We both were seeing and loving as much of the flavors of the city hitting historic sites and taking in the tastes you can only find in NOLA.
When we returned home from our Big Easy adventures I decided to add one book to read before sleep and one during Geocaching with Mar. The Name Of The Star fitted in as my travel read and Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes was there for before bedtime.

The Name Of The Star was such a great read it overran everything else and just before I finished it I started reading Peter Nimble. After finishing The Name Of The Star I knew even after only reading a few chapters Peter Nimble would be my main read for a while. Though it took me a long time to finish it, I’m a slow reader, that fact had more to do with my own writing taking over my free time than any comment on Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes.

I’m really not that slow of a reader but always have 800 things going on at once.

This book is adventure, it has the creepy nature that all middle grade high adventures should have, and has more than enough imagination to keep your brain moving at a fast pace.

I love seeing good reads like Peter Nimble and also such great books such as Tom Angleberger’s Horton Halfpott reaching back to the past and bringing back the great creepy and creative nature that once lived so vibrantly in middle grade and children’s books. That is slowly returning into our lives in my lifetime but we still need more creepy.

Creepy good.

Dark good.

Creative good.

And they do so without trying to copy other books. These books exist on their own as great reads that should be in everyone’s collection no matter your age. Peter Nimble fits that bill perfectly.

I say when Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes hits the stands in August go out and buy it. Buy it for a kid, buy it for a library who is underfunded {aren’t they all}, buy it for a friend, and don’t forget about buying it for yourself. You will not regret any purchase, for whatever plan you might have for this read.

Also though this makes a good read before bedtime, it’s also cool to read it while walking across a downed tree to get to the other side of a stream on your way to find a ammo box full of superhero toys.

4 out of 5 Stars


Tuesday, July 19, 2011


i picked this book up at ALA11 and now I will be giving it away here on my blog and its a very simple contest to win a signed copy. Just comment on this blog entry with anything you like and I'll pick one person randomly to send this book to. The contest will last one week and if I don't get more than three comments I will be donating it to a local library.


Saturday, July 16, 2011



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

REVIEW: Torchwood Miracle Day - The New World


Without any new Doctor Who right now I decided to fill my TV reviewing void with the new Torchwood series; so just like the first episode of this season of Doctor Who, my first review of this series of Torchwood ends up being posted later than I wanted to.


This series of Torchwood has a buzz about it because it will be co-produced by STARZ an American movie channel network. The buzz I think is mostly filled by a lot of people expecting to hate it from the beginning; which I'm sure a lot of people will just based on those feelings.

I'm hoping the show will be good not just because I enjoyed previous series of Torchwood nor because of its Doctor Who tie-in but mainly becaue Mar really liked Torchwood and its a Doctor Who connection we can share. She enjoys Doctor Who and will watch it if its on and I'm watching it but Torchwood has been a series she has enjoyed.

And not just because of the hot boy on boy action.

But she loves that too.

So do I :)

This show is one of the few reasons we are keeping the movie channels. Matter of fact we never watch movies on these channels and only the TV series they are showing, stuff like Weeds, Game Of Thrones, Treme, Shameless, and now Torchwood. I just pray STARZ does a better job with Torchwood than another US channel did with The Prisoner. Great casting but shame on you American TV, shame.

I have enjoyed all of the seasons of Torchwood. I know a lot of people who either loved the first season and hate the second or the reverse. Children Of Earth seems to have an extreme like or extreme hate connection to it. I loved it. Mar loved it. The cats are in the middle.


And all of that leads us to Miracle Day- The New World.

The new opening titles sequence were cool, simple, but I liked. I think they needed to make a change because of this season being a fresh start but they keep enough of the feel of the past series music and sound effects to remind you of the previous seasons.

After watching for a bit Mar commented, "I don't know if I like this."
Me, "You just don't like that their hasn't been any boy on boy action yet?"
Mar, "I miss Yonto."
Sad faces all around in the apartment.

And that's a good sign when Mar is talking about a show when watching it because she normally starts reading in the middle of shows if she has no interest; so commenting at all is a good sign that she might keep watching.

I have to say I think this first episode of this series is stuck between a rock and a hard place with how they have to approach all the returning characters because on one side you want to make it appeal to American audiences who haven't seen the show before but at the same time you can't ignore the past and old fans will expect little hints and comments about the past they know. I think this first episode balanced that out the best they could.

As with a lot of first episodes are all setup and you have to have that in mind when discussing them. I've talked about this before in past reviews so I wont dive deep into it here but its worth remembering that in a ongoing series of stories the first chapter will probably not knock you out of your seat. It can do both setup and knock you off your ass but that pretty rare.

I think with this series they have a good group of characters, with a good group of actors, that have the ingredients of making a very good series out of what I know about the overall story.

I'm sorry it took me so long to get my thoughts up, a lot of stuff going on this week, but next week I hope to get my thoughts on the next episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day up right away in more detail.

3 out of 5 Stars


Sunday, July 10, 2011


Volume Four in a four volume poetry album limited series. Each volume also contains part of a four part story. Volume Four contains the final part of this story: The Wall Bound #5

These monthly poetry volumes were a good exercise for me as a writer to test two muscles. One being the poetry writing muscle and the other writing a multipart story that I tried and hope made people want to see what was going to happen next.
These volumes also were a test for me in seeing if I could meet a monthly schedule. Now I didn’t write these volumes in the months they were published. I didn’t even start the series until I had first drafts of each one finished.  It would take at least a few weeks of rewrites for each volume and then a few for editing.  This was a good test for me for what I really wanted to try which is a monthly epub short story series for a download price of $1.00
And starting in August that is what I will be doing and I hope you join me as I go head long into another exercise, another test, and another stretching of the muscles and here is the plan to date for how things will be working:

August will see Tin Universe #7 published. This will be a self-contained story to start the Tin Universe short story series continuing in numbering from previous Tin Universe stories. #7 as I said will be a self contained short story featuring the character of Pulpy, previously seen in the first Tin Universe story, my first book, STEREO, and also the short story FLIGHT OF THE COMING STORM. From #8 on, the series will mainly focus on characters I introduced in my second book, THE PAST FORWARD, with here and there self contained stories featuring the rest of the Tin Universe of characters already introduced or just sitting in my head. Also if I run into some cash I would like to hire some writers to take their own crack at exploring this imprint of stories. This line will for the most part fall into a YA sensibility when it comes to its storylines and stories.

The Tin Universe series will rotate monthly with another series titled Chaos Read. Chaos Read #1 will premiere in September. This series will feature more self contained short stories that explore the other worlds, realities, and thoughts I have that I want to write about. You might even see hints or crossovers with the Tin Universe but that would be years down the line because I already have three years of first drafts for both series. Chaos Read will also differ from the Tin Universe in having much more adult content in some of its stories.

So with that I hope you join me for one or both of these series. I love trying new and differing things with each project I do because if nothing else after each one is finished I’m better writer for doing them and have had a lot of fun.

Brian C. Williams


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I keep having a discussion with friends in publishing, and doing so right now offline, about how YA books with female lead characters almost always have the head obscured on the photo covers. I'm always told its so more people can identify with the character. 
If that is true then 
1-why have the lead characters on the cover at all? 
2- why doesn't that happen as much with YA male lead characters?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

REVIEW: The Name Of The Star

Written by Maureen Johnson

Published by 
G.P. Putnam's Sons
An Imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Release Date September 2011

*As always I'll start by saying my reviews are more book discussions than the reviews most people write. I talk about feelings before, during, and after reading a book.

I was able to get a signed ARC of this book while attending ALA11 in New Orleans with Mar and I want to start by saying this. The Penguin staff were one of the better groups at organizing, informing, and moving a signing. I just wanted to say that because there were a couple of publishers, big publishers, who acted like this was there first time at the dance so to speak.

The whole ALA11 experience was hugely positive but because of a couple unprofessional things in terms of stupidity I wanted to get that out of the way to showcase a positive when it came to professionalism.

One of the main reasons I wanted to go to ALA11 was to get to meet Maureen Johnson. I've become a big fan of  her writing but in a some what different way than how most readers find a writer. Let me explain, I'll try to keep it short, and then get on with my review of The Name Of The Star.

I had heard the name Maureen Johnson a lot. That sort of thing happens when you live with a YA Librarian(Mar) who reads tons, you end of at least knowing the names and books that are making impacts, but I didn't have any sort of introduction to her writing until I added her on Twitter. Mar at the time wasn't on Twitter so I added a bunch of writers, people, and things she was interested in so I could let her know about things. But of all of those adds Maureen Johnson's Twitter feed stood out. She was smart, funny, entertaining, and her Twitter actually had better writing than a number of books I was reading at the time. So once we planned to go to ALA11, and unlike Chicago last year, this time I wanted to attend the floor show so to speak, I decided I wanted to get something signed by her. 

Going into ALA11 the only thing I had read of her's besides her Twitter feed was her short story in Zombies Vs. Unicorns, which I liked a lot. My plan was to print out a page from her Twitter feed and have her sign that and I would turn that into a bookmark; which I ended up doing. I was in line to get an ARC of her new book when I learned the book had a Jack The Ripper connection. I've been a reader of Ripper information since I was in my very early teens.

Thank God my parents never questioned my reading choices because they were pretty messed up back then and continue to be than God. See those of you questioning what kids read. I'm was obsessed with Jack The Ripper as a kid and I turned out ok. Yes my fragile little kid brain survived reading about murder and the truth about humanities depths to joyfully play in evil.

I didn't have a moment to start reading The Name Of The Star while in New Orleans, mainly due to my own writing while there, but when I got home, rested a bit, the first book I picked out of my ALA11 stacks was this fine book.

The story begins with Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux starting her studies at her new school in London. Like a lot of horror stories this tale is about life transfers from one portion of life to the next. Yes, as in a lot of horror stories this one is about a young persons life transfer into adulthood but just as the original Jack The Ripper killings were a transfer of the world at large from a time of modern society thinking it was civilized to the realization that it wasn't. Evil wasn't just for fairy tales but inside the human heart. And not very deep inside the heart either. The Ripper killings showed the world the brutality of the individual seemingly for no reason that it had tried to shield its eyes from but the inventions of technology and thinking of the time started to show all how brutally animal we are, were, and always will be. In that aspect Jack The Ripper was the craftsman of the modern worlds sense of self.

In The Name Of The Star Maureen Johnson gives you a story about life, growth, death. She introduces characters you care about. I found myself wondering who would die? Would this character? I liked that character I hope she doesn't die? Also knowing this was part one of a series made me hope none of my favorite character ended up dead. 

And while she built characters I cared about she also lead me down one road from what I was expecting from this book into something else. Then when you get comfortable as a avid reader thinking you can calm yourself into the rest of the book she shakes you with shouts that just because this story has gone this way doesn't mean you know the road these characters are on.

I think a lot of Ripper stories tend to fall flat because the writers take the source material as a excuse to write graphic scenes of violence after graphic scene. The writer here does not shy away from the brutal nature of the original killings or death itself but instead plays the story like the feeling of being in a graveyard even in the daytime and no matter what, even during smiles, and laughter, for at least seconds that you are there you just know deep down you could die here. And that's the crafting of the writer here. Even when the characters find moments of normality and peace you still get those fillings that these moments the most dangerous of their lives.

As usual I will not go into great detail about the story itself, trying not to spoil things, but I have to say I plowed throw most of this book in one day while out with Mar geocaching and if I didn't have such a huge stack of ARCs to read and review from ALA11 I would going for another Maureen Johnson book right away. Maureen Johnson writes with a talent that makes you want to know whats next, from her and her characters, and that is what a very good writer does I think.

I will not be giving this book ARC away here on the blog because I had it personally signed to me but promise future blog giveaways of materials I picked up while at ALA11.

Shades Of London, Book One: The Name Of The Star
by Maureen Johnson

4 out of 5 stars