Monday, June 14, 2021

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 6/12/21

These are books I bought myself, online, and then let others wrap up so I could pretend to be surprised by them on my birthday about a week ago. That may sound weird, but you really can't beat it for getting exactly the presents you want, so I recommend it highly.

The Burglar in Short Order by Lawrence Block collects all of the short stories about Bernie Rhodenbarr, gentleman bookseller and equally gentlemanly burglar. I suspect Block has basically retired from writing new fiction - he is 82, and wrote professionally, and in great quantities, since he was about 18 - so I'm not going to do the usual "oh, maybe we'll get a new novel" stuff here. It's great to have all of these stories in one place, and maybe will make me want to re-read the novels, of which there are a pretty large number of which are all loads of fun.

The Vault of Walt, Vol. 2 by Jim Korkis - I'm not one of your world-class theme-park (or specifically Disney) fans, but I like both of those things probably more than most people. And I do like random bits of nonfiction, so books of theme-park stories are a lot of fun when I come across them. Korkis is one of the grand masters of this thing: this book is the second in an annual string that got up to a tenth volume last year, which followed a long career within Disney as in various roles that mostly involved history and gathering/collecting stories. I read the first book in this series several years ago; I was slightly surprised to see how many of them there are now when I went to buy this one.

Lester Fenton and the Walking Dead: Unsettling Zombie Love! by Kyle Baker is an obscure 1992 story - originally an 11-pager in the DC anthology Fast Forward #2 - that Baker republished under his own imprint as a separate book sometime in the past decade. I suspect he has rearranged panels to stretch the story out rather than adding new material, but circa-'92 Kyle Baker is some of my favorite Kyle Baker, so that doesn't bother me.

Bad Machinery, Vol. 9: The Case of the Missing Piece by John Allison - collects the ninth storyline of a great webcomics series by a great creator, about which I've been burbling here for a number of years. (See my post on the eighth volume, which has links further back for the terminally bored and/or interested.) Look: these are great and funny and awesome, and if you're still not reading them, I don't think I can fix what's wrong with you.

Poison Flowers & Pandemonium is a bittersweet book; it collects the last four comics stories Richard Sala made before his unexpected death last May. His work was unique, with spooky stories inspired by old horror movies and an art style that layered vibrant watercolor on top of sleek black lines.

Trots and Bonnie is a big, almost comprehensive collection of the great comics feature from National Lampoon in the 1970s, written and drawn by Shary Flenniken, who didn't do a whole lot of comics after that. (Or maybe she did, and it will all be re- or initially published now, and we will find out it was all awesome. That rarely happens, but I like to live in hope.) This is great work that was one of last "why the hell hasn't that thing been collected yet?" questions in the comics world, so I'm looking forward to getting back to it all these years later.

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