Vote! Sci-Fi from the Rock!

So, that last Sci-Fi from the Rock anthology title was in 2013, and that’s a darn shame. The main reason for this has been waiting for the next epic installment of the Full Moon series from Steve Lake, but that’s no excuse. So, Engen Books will soon be formally announcing a new Sci-Fi From anthology collection to be released at Sci-Fi on the Rock 2016!

We’re opening up the entry to anyone who attends and loves Sci-Fi on the Rock, and we need your help deciding on a title! Please vote or comment below, and make your voice heard! :)

Please note: if “horror” wins that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll have only horror stories, but it will likely mean a focus on those types of stories. The same is true of all possible titles.

Not sure what we’re even talking about? That’s okay! You can read Steve Lake’s short story “Legacy of the Full Moon” short story for free here on Goodreads!

Legacy of the Full Moon (Full Moon Series, #1)Legacy of the Full Moon by Steve Lake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



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From the Writing Desk: Planning and Plotting

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IDW’s Mars Attacks Crossover: A little dissappointed

Mars Attacks IDW

Mars Attacks IDW

So I love IDW. Every year they have these great crossovers. Last year it was Infestation 2 an this year it seems like its Mars Attacks. MA had gone through a boat load of publishers over the years, just about all except Marvel ( I think), and IDW is a natural fit.

Why am I disappointed?

There’s no Mars Attacks Ninja Turtles.

And it would fit so well with the current story! Mars versus Krang’s army!

Ugh. Hate it when the Turtles get left out. And they’ve met the Martians before, when Image had the licence.



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TTT Update

So as an update to this, I did actually get one of the books I have looking for from Santa:

Mirage TMNT #3

The original Ninja Turtles #3.

Was also gifted with a bunch of issues of Flaming Carrot guest-starring the TMNT, as well as the infamous “Mars Attacks Image #1″ and a few other scattered issues. All in all a good haul, with #3 as the gem.

Thanks, Santa! :)

Matthew LeDrew
Never Look Back

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Turtle Thursday: New Friend, Old Enemy (review)

Nickelodeon ShredderThis was another solid episode, doing well to establish the Shredder as a continual threat. By episode’s end, Splinter is aware that the Shredder is aware of them, and we’ve met two of his new henchmen: a Foot elite guard named Bradford and a wise-cracking street thug named Xever. They have allayed my fears that there would be a mutant every episode, as there wasn’t one here… but Pixel Dan’s review of the new toys in the line has made me aware they will be mutated at some point, taking the place of Bebop and Rocksteady as the main henchmen. At least they seem to be competent henchmen.

Without giving too much away, this is a Mikey-centric episode about him trying to find a friend and ending up being taken in by the Foot accidentally.

Raphael and Leonardo

I’ve forgotten to mention, the Turtles do this cool white-eye thing when they’re in hardcore Ninja mode. It’s pretty cool, and very effective for switching between the lighthearted tone of the series to a more serious one. And the Turtles do do some proper Ninjaing in this episode, so that’s happy. While this episode was a tad predictable, it still serves its purpose well. And the Ninja-fighting is done incredibly well.

Can’t wait to see how this series treats the Shredder.

Never Look Back
Matthew LeDrew

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Top Ten Books on my bookshelf right now

The marching orders from The Broke and the Bookish this week were to write a top ten list of the books I plan to read in 2013.

I refuse to write on this, as it always depresses me when I can’t follow my own rules. Ergo I have come up with my own: the top ten books on my bookshelf right now.

Here’s my bookshelf:

My Bookshelf

As you can see it has five shelves. Starting from the top I’ll pick two from each shelf and we’ll see what we get. Here we go:

Hunting Humans

10. Hunting Humans (Elliot Leyton): A terrifying analysis of the modern multiple murderer and serial killer. Right up my alley as a horror/crime author, but also amazingly written and by a fellow scholarly Newfoundlander to boot. That something from home is considered the world’s top must-read for homicide detectives is a very proud thing to me. I secretly hope Elliot Leyton reads my books someday.

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

9. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (Roger Lancelyn Green): Arthurian legend is one of the playgrounds I’d love to play in, but feel unqualified to, especially the grail legend.

Standing Tall, A Daughters Gift (Jacqui Tam)

8. Standing Tall, A Daughters Gift (Jacqui Tam): This book just makes me cry. I love it, every minute of it, but it’s deeply saddening. It’s a must-read for anyone with a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s.

The Divine Ryans (Wayne Johnston)

7. The Divine Ryans (Wayne Johnston): A crazy coming-of-age take mixed with Greek legend mixed with a Newfoundland backdrop and Catholic guilt, tradition, and conspiracy. Um… awesome.

The Wealthy Barber (David Chilton)

6. The Wealthy Barber (David Chilton): This book has the best financial advice I have ever gotten. Shame I suck at following it.

Stephen King Goes to the Movies!

5. Stephen King Goes to the Movies! (Stephen King… Obviously.): All the best Stephen King shorts that were adapted into film under one roof, with notes by the man himself on the stories and the films? Epic.

X-Men / Spider-Man: Time's Arrow

4. X-Men / Spider-Man: Time’s Arrow Book One: The Past (DeFalco & Castro): Spider-Man and Bishop in the old west. It’s just too perfect not to work. I read this 100 times growing up, and I may yet read it again. It’s a great book.

Incredible Hulk: What Savage Beast (Peter David)

3. Incredible Hulk: What Savage Beast (Peter David): again, an emotionally crippling story centered around comic book characters dealing with the responsibility of parenthood, life, legacy, and science. There’s this scene where Bruce talks about how God gave him an amazing gift for science and he used it to make a bomb, and the the Hulk was his punishment… it’s just moving. It’s an amazing book. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Hearts in Atlantis (Stephen King)

2. Hearts in Atlantis (Stephen King): My favorite of the traditional King collections.

X-Men: The X-Cutioner's Song

1. X-Men: The X-Cutioner’s Song (Marvel): Ellen bought me this for my birthday. I had tried to collect all the chapters as a kid and couldn’t. Reading the whole thing, together, was just a scratch off my bucket list (so to speak). It was great.

Never Look Back
Matthew LeDrew

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Exploring Super Galactic Space Explorers

Super Galactic Space Explorers

It’s far too late to pass this off as a “Gut Reaction” as I usually like to bill comic book reviews, but nevertheless this is the long overdue review of Super Galactic Space Explorers from Ink’d Well Comics. It’s written by Jay Paulin with art by Ariel Marsh.

This comic feels like it’s from another time, and I’m going to explain that comment in full detail right now.

Indie comics have gone through many, many transitions over the last 30 years or so, but arguably their most successful era was the boom in black-and-white indie comics that happened in the wake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. After it’s success there were lots of other indie companies that popped up producing very similar things, in similar styles. And they all sold like crazy, regardless of content, bought by comics enthusiasts trying to get a head start on the next big thing. Of course a boom like that can only last for so long, and the bottom fell out.

Here’s a brief list of the sheer amount of titles that come to mind: Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters • Barnie the Invisible Turtle • Guerrilla Groundhog • Ex-Mutants • G.I. Rambot • Aristocratic Xtraterrestrial Time-Traveling Thieves • Fish Police • Troll Lords • Sultry Teenage Super Foxes • G.I. Jackrabbits • Shadow of the Groundhog • Reagan’s Raiders • Geriatric Gangrene Jujitsu Gerbils • Pre-Teen Dirty-Gene Kung Fu Kangaroos•Bucky O’Hare.

Of the comics that came out at that time, some were blatant cash-ins with no attempt at creativity (Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters), while others were legitimately good titles that simply took advantage of the boom in the medium to get their product out there ( Troll Lords, Bucky O’Hare).

Despite being published darn near 30 years later, Super Galactic Space Explorers seems to have come straight from that time: a great indie comic with a title that has that same 4-word scheme that seemed to work so well after TMNT. From a story department as well it crafted in a very compressed way, like the stories at the time were. It’s refreshing and it’s good and it’s right for all ages.

And that’s where the similarities differ. Back in the day the main publishing houses marketed their heroes as all-ages and it was up to indie publishers to bring us a grim, realistic alternative. Now mainstream comics are all dark and grim and sexy, so the indie world is filling the gap again by publishing a story I was happy to buy a second copy of and give to my friend’s six-year-old.

And it’s insanely marketable. I hope this comic and franchise does well. If it doesn’t, I think it’s all bad timing. In the early 90s there would have been a tv show and toys and everything else of this by now. And i think it would do very, very well.

But onto the book itself. It’s a sweeping story about anthropomorphic cats in space, fighting an evil cat lord that was sent to space by humans and now wishes to make all of humanity pay. As I understand it the idea was conceived by Ariel Marsh and then given to Jay Paulin to write so that she could do the art chores (I may be wrong). And I have to say, this is Ink’d Well Comics’s best comic to date. It also shines a light into the narrative style of Jay Paulin.

Allow me to illustrate via example: a few years ago, after the success of The Dark Knight, David Goyer was given the writing duties of a horror film called “The Unborn.” I saw it in theaters, and it was truly awful. Not one part of it made sense. I didn’t understand how one writer could produce something so good then something so bad. One reviewer online commented that he suspected Goyer was a good “idea man:” that he could come up with good idea but needed other authors to realize them. When left alone, he flounders.

I suspect it’s the opposite with Paulin. I think he’s at his best adapting the idea’s of others, and it shows here in SGSE. His other 2 solo offerings, Faces and Infantasy, are both good, but there is a little bit of “what were you thinking when you came up with this.” That sounds harsh, and I don’t mean it to be. They are wonderful comics. But they aren’t “stories” by my definition. They’re like character studies. They are very GOOD character studies, but when I buy a comic I want a story. SGSE is a great story, and I think that in Ariel Marsh he has discovered his Kevin Eastman, as it were. I expect great things from these two.

The only issue I have with volume one of Super Galactic Space Explorers (spoilers) is that it ends on a cliffhanger. A terribly dark cliffhanger. Everyone knows that, in sci-fi, the second installment ends on a dark cliffhanger. Been that way since The Empire Strikes Back, likely always will be. I would have loved an ending to this segment, and I’m worried they’ll lose people because of it. I hope not though, because it’s a great book.

Here’s hoping Volume 2 comes out soon.

Never Look Back
Matthew LeDrew


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