Print books first this week, an odd assortment, as usual:
WAR STORIES, VOLUME 1 – A trade paperback reprinting four long comic book stories set during World War II, written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by several different artists. Ennis has written a lot of good stuff, including the series PREACHER, which I read in the seven or eight paperbacks collecting the whole run. His work probably isn't to everybody's taste – it runs toward the grotesque and profane – but I nearly always find it interesting. And of course I'm a long-time fan of war comics.
THE BIG WESTERNER, Robert Easton – This is the fine biography of Frederick Faust by his son-in-law Robert Easton. I read it years ago and hadn't replaced the copy I lost in the fire, but Half Price Books had a copy in the clearance section for $2. It's well worth that just for the extensive Faust bibliography included in it.
MAD STRIKES BACK! – This one is really odd, because it has an extra "Phony MAD Paperback" cover taped onto it, which you can see in the scan. It extends onto the spine as well, although the back cover is the regular one. This is a collection of parodies from the first couple of years of MAD Magazine, with an introduction by Bob and Ray. Some great stuff in here, such as "Prince Violent" with art by Wally Wood; "Ping Pong" with art by Bill Elder; "Poopeye", also by Elder; "Teddy and the Pirates" with Wood doing a great pastiche of Caniff; and "Manduck the Magician" with Elder taking on Lee Falk's creation. I've read some of these stories before, but I'm looking forward to reading them again. The copy I bought is a 14th printing from October 1963. Those of you who are fans of vintage paperbacks will know exactly what I mean when I tell you that it smells great.
MR. TOMORROW, Con Sellers – This is perhaps the oddest of all, what appears to be a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Con Sellers. For those of you not familiar with his work, Sellers wrote a bunch of Sixties soft-core erotica for such houses as Novel Books and Merit Books. In the Eighties he wrote a good family saga/historical novel centered around a whorehouse called KEEPERS OF THE HOUSE, as well as a series of historical novels about World War II that ran for several volumes. What little I've read by him has been pretty good. MR. TOMORROW was published by Papillon Books, an outfit I've never heard of, and copyright 1974 by Aware Press, Inc., another one that's a complete mystery to me. This novel will definitely get a Forgotten Books post, if I can get around to reading it. I'd venture to say that "forgotten" is an understatement.
Now, on to the new e-books:
THE CANYON, Frank Leslie (Peter Brandvold) – a brand-new Weird Western novella starring Brandvold's series character Yakima Henry. A review of this one will be coming soon.
HARD BITE, Anonymous-9 – The novel-length expansion of a great story that first appeared on BEAT TO A PULP (I think; I make no guarantees about my memory).
BIG MARIA, Johnny Shaw – a new novel by the fine writer behind BLOOD & TACOS.
Looks like a good line-up all around this week.