Hi gang, as you can tell from the title here, I’m launching a brand new podcast called The High Five. The idea is that I love pop culture so much and want to get the word out to as many people as possible, so I’m creating High Five lists each week that celebrate the worlds of film, TV, comics, books, toys, music and even other podcasts!
To kick things off, I’m doing a series of episodes looking back on the very bad year that was 2020 with an eye towards some of the great media I put into my brain. This first one gets into my favorite comic and book reading experiences of the year. You might notice a lack of horror titles and that’s because I’m going to do a whole separate list focusing on just that genre for most of these categories because I absorb so much of it.
I hope you enjoy the episode. If you’re looking for a rundown of what I talked about, hit the jump and see the comics and books as well as some other helpful links!
One of the things I miss most during this time of quarantine is just aimlessly wandering around stores. Obviously, there are so many other more important things going on, but it’s one of the little things about the old days I look back on fondly, especially when it comes to book stores. I haven’t been in a Barnes & Noble in months and it really bums me out! I’d love to go to a used or independent book store too, but there aren’t any around where I live, much to my chagrin.
To at least partially fill that void, I’ve signed up for a few ebook mailing lists to bring cool new books and some hot new deals into my life (see what I did there?). If you’re interested, you can sign up for one through Amazon, but there’s also a site called BookBub that I’m a big fan of. You just go in, add the genres you like and they’ll hit you up with daily sales on digital books that run between one and three bucks. That’s how I first came upon Craig Davidson’s The Saturday Night Ghost Club!
As anyone who was paying attention to UM in the fall will know, I plunged deeply into the world of horror for most of September and October. By the time I finished up the epic undertaking of It’s All Connected 2020, I took a break from watching a lot of horror movies throughout most of November, but kept on making my way through my daunting To Read boxes. To that end, I pulled out an old paperback I scored from the library’s free table several years ago as well as the next Paperbacks From Hell reprint from my favorite publisher Valancourt!
I really can’t understate how influential Wizard was to me as a budding comics fan. I’d been going to the comic shop for a few years by the time I discovered the mag at a mall book store. I started out reading Superman and Batman comics and added other DC comics because I knew about them from the house ads, but it wasn’t until Wizard that I really began to learn more about comics as a whole. I’ve always been pretty risk-averse and budget conscious, so it took an extra push to spend my limited funds on something new. With Wizard, I found a group of writers who opened up my world to all sorts of new books I’d never heard of including, but not limited to Hellblazer and The Goon, both of which I’m writing about here today!
I fully intended to have this final It’s All Connected post for 2020 ready to roll last week, but then 2020 kept on 2020ing, so I got a little (completely) distracted. Anyway, here we are, after two months of watching, I made it through 33 feature films! I might still go through and do a By The Numbers post mortem kind of thing on the movies I made my way through getting from Swamp Thing to The Legacy, but that’ll be a post for another day.
As you may know from my various writings about their Paperbacks From Hell series, I have become an avid follower of Valancourt Publishing. So, a few months back when I saw that they had started a new imprint called Monster, She Wrote, I got very excited. A series of books with consistent cover art spotlighting female horror and weird fiction? I was in! But, I was having trouble finding the non-fiction book that started it all! What happened and how did it work out?
Welcome to the penultimate entry in the 2020 UnitedMonkee Halloween Scene It’s All Connected experiment! As I said last time, the decision to watch Food Of The Godsimmediately afterFrogs added a bunch of movies to the process. The final film I watched would have been seen much earlier, but it all worked out in the end. Today I will discuss the trio of British films I watched to get to my ultimate destination!
When I was a kid growing up in the 80s and 90s, there were so many incredible, robust toy lines to get into. I was a big fan of He-Man, Transformers, M.A.S.K., G.I. Joe and the Ninja Turtles, but there were even more ideas that seemed to just hit and disappear forever. So, you might go to the store, get something cool, tear open the box and then never know what that thing was actually called. For years, that was the case with a Pepsi can toy I have that splits open to reveal a tiny robot man and a flying…chair or something for him. Only years later would I come to find out the line was called Computer Warriors and had this great commercial!
Just look at how glorious these toys are! I was already a fan of small toys that looked like other things and could change! Plus, you add in the mystery of those things I kept hearing about called home computers and you have the recipe for something incredible! Also, maybe this is where I realized that soccer is evil!
Alas, the Mattel line apparently didn’t do as well as they hoped and it only lasted the one wave. I did just discover that there was supposed to be a cartoon as well, though it never got past the pilot stage! Oh what could have been. Actually, thinking about it, this idea could easily be brought back right now. I’ve got two kids and it seems like everything’s already about being these cool, tiny little toys. Include some blind bag options and, like, an iPad that turns into something and you’ve got a hit on your hands Mattel!
Back in the day, I used to do recurring posts here on UM called The Box wherein I would grab some random comics from a huge box my inlaws gave me and give them a read. I thought it would be fun to do something similar, but with a somewhat narrower focus on horror comics from those same boxes (though now they have a special place on my comic shelves). As it turned out, I had a bunch of 70s Marvel horror comics, so I jumped right in with those! Horror had a nice resurgence at this time because the Comics Code loosened some of its restrictions. In these five comics I’ve got Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, Son of Satan and all sorts of anthology tales!
I’m at the end of this year’s It’s All Connected as far as watching goes and I’ve got to admit, I haven’t exactly been hitting it out of the park. Totally changing my plan and watchingFood Of The Gods after Frogs might have been fun in the moment, but it sure added a lot of steps that might be more accurately labeled as missteps. Find out more when you hit the jump!