It Came From The Book Store Part IV

No trip to Philly is complete without some cheesesteaks!
No trip to Philly is complete without some cheesesteaks!

It’s been a minute hasn’t it? Sorry, I didn’t mean to go almost an entire year without updating. Things got busy, interests and priorities shifted and yeah, here we are. But today is January 7, 2024, which marks 17 years since RVGFanatic launched. I figured it’s a good time as any to dust off the cobwebs and begin, hopefully, a chain of (somewhat) semi-regular updates. If you’re reading this, thanks for still checking in even though I went MIA for nearly a year. I’m doing well, my wife is good, and our son is now a healthy and adorable 19 month old toddler. I’m still playing games whenever I can, I still want to add more gaming reviews to RVG for sure, and I’m still heavily into books. Although now mostly comic books and graphic novels. This post will highlight my trip to Philly last February. Hope y’all are doing well yourselves. On with the show!


We drove by the Eagles’ home just one week after they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII by a score of 38-35. I did notice that some people took the devastating loss hard, as there was a sort of sad heaviness on many faces.

Good thing it doesn't list a year. Better luck this time!
Good thing it doesn’t list a year. Better luck this time!


Of course, the first thing my wife and I had to do was dig into some Philly cheesesteaks. We made a beeline for the two highly touted cheesesteak joints: Pat’s and Geno’s.


I didn’t realize, not being a Philly native or ever visited before, that Pat’s and Geno’s are practically right next to each other. So we didn’t have any time whatsoever to recover from eating at one place to the next. But hey, vacation right? Calories don’t count! Sure…

Reading Terminal Market is a must for food lovers
Reading Terminal Market is a must for food lovers


I lost count of how many cheesesteaks we tried. They were all delicious. I particularly liked the gumbo there.


We heard a ton of praise for the pork roast sandwich from Tommy DiNic’s, so we had to sample that. Maybe it was an off day for them but my wife and I both thought it was rather lacking and didn’t live up to the hype. That bad boy next to it, however, was the best sandwich I ate on the entire trip. Better than Pat’s or Geno’s. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but it’s aptly named the Train Wreck. Damn right. And damn good.

We also checked out Betsy Ross' house
We also checked out Betsy Ross’ house
And of course, you gotta visit the Rocky statue!
And of course, you gotta visit the Rocky statue!
The view from the Rocky steps was spectacular
The view from the Rocky steps was spectacular
Absolutely iconic
Absolutely iconic
Haddonfield and Voorhees exit!? Yes please!
Haddonfield and Voorhees exit!? Yes please!
View from our hotel room
View from our hotel room
For our last Philly meal, this pizza review caught my eye
For our last Philly meal, this pizza caught my eye
Zach with some heavy hype!
Zach with some heavy hype!
Thanks Rosario's! It was definitely delish
Thanks Rosario’s!  It was definitely delish
Love the nostalgic flair to these toys
Love the nostalgic flair to these toys
Atomic City Comics was super badass
Atomic City Comics was super badass


Walls upon walls stacked with manga, graphic novels and comics! From Marvel to DC to indies, everything was well represented. That group came in shortly after me and they were blown away by the selection. They started geeking out seeing all the Tezuka manga. Pretty cool, haha.

Anyone who appreciates Tezuka is a classy person!
Astro Boy and Tezuka represent!  <3


It was almost a religious experience for me. I loved seeing all the manga stacked to the high heavens. The classic Lone Wolf & Cub series as well as Inuyasha. Maison Ikkoku too! I already own all of them but it never gets old to see their beautiful spines in the wild.

I found a series I never heard of before
I found a series I never heard of before
Come to find out it was a contest winner type deal
Come to find out it was a contest winner type deal
The art intrigued me enough to pick up
The art intrigued me enough to pick up
I hope I don't regret this blind buy :P
I hope I don’t regret this blind buy :P
At the very least, the art's pretty cool
At the very least, the art’s pretty unique
Picked up a few from this upper shelf
Picked up a few from this upper shelf
Never seen this one before
Never seen this one before
I'm a fan of old manga like this. Instant pick up!
I’m a fan of old manga like this. Instant pick up!
Not for everyone but I dig stuff like this
Not for everyone but I dig vintage stuff like this
I'm a fan of Moto Magio
I’m a fan of Moto Hagio, but never seen this before
Was sold from the back cover alone!
Was sold from the back cover alone!
You just won't find stories like this anywhere else
You just won’t find stories like this anywhere else
So trippy... it can only come from Japan!
So trippy… it can only come from Japan!
No words needed, haha
… yeah


One of the best things about exploring these comic book stores is discovering all the cool shit you never knew existed before. I had no idea there was a Mask comic. I always thought the 1994 Jim Carrey Mask movie was an original. But no, before that summer blockbuster there was a Mask comic. So cool! Personally, I have very fond memories of the Jim Carrey film. I shared those memories in my Mask Super Nintendo game review. Can’t wait to read the comic!

Stan "The Man" Sakai!
Stan “The Man” Sakai!
Never knew this predated Yojimbi
Never knew this predated Usagi Yojimbo
Love how colorful and zany it appears to be
Nilson Groundthumper looks like a colorful blast


But my favorite find from Astro City Comics was this. The Ballad of Yaya. Never knew it existed before, but upon first sight I knew it was right up my alley. There is a serious Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki feel to it. Printed in cute pocket edition size, this 9 volume series takes place in 1937 and follows two plucky children as they navigate the dangers of war breaking out all around them.


Each volume is only 96 pages, so it definitely leaves you wanting more. I’ve read the first entry so far, and really enjoyed it. It’s a bit sparse but that art is amazing. Definitely the kind of comic to revisit time and time again!


Shortly after coming home, I looked up Atomic City Comics for fun and was pleasantly surprised to see someone wrote up a feature on it just a few days prior. I was like, “HEY!  I was literally just there!”


I was very happy to support small business. I bought more than I should have, but I’m glad to do my small part in showing some love and appreciation. It’ll be a sad day if comic book stores like this ever die out completely. You just can’t beat that brick and mortar feel, ya know?


The proud owner of Astro City Comics
The proud owner of Astro City Comics

Cheesesteaks, iconic statues, historic sites and some cool comic book stores, Philly was a fun visit. I’m excited to take my son on all future trips, now that he is old enough to travel with us. We just came back from Japan and I told my wife that’s the last time we’re traveling without the little goober. Our next trip is to Los Angeles next month, which I know has a ton of good eats and comic book stores galore. Looking forward to checking out a few of those and eating some delicious L.A. food! Happy New Year everyone :)

It Came From The Book Store Part III

Coming in 2022 uhh…

My oh my, it’s been a while hasn’t it? A lot has happened since late November. But first let’s address the elephant in the room. Eagle-eyed readers took notice of a major announcement in my 15 year retrospective article posted one year ago that never materialized. By year’s end I wanted to launch an article highlighting my top 200 favorite Super Nintendo games. That obviously did not come to fruition. Aside from life’s craziness, my list wasn’t complete yet and I didn’t want to start throwing in titles for the sake of meeting a self-imposed deadline. The list’s status remains in the air, but it’s going down before all is said and done. But perhaps next time I’ll wait for it to be (almost) ready before I give y’all a heads up…

The year RVG was born
The year RVG was born

The good news is I’m still alive! And so is RVGFanatic, even if the updates in recent years have been way sparser than I would like. But hey, better late than never. My website quietly turned 16 years old last month. Crazy! Anywho, just to share briefly, in the past 2 months my son, wife and I all got COVID. We were OK for the most part but it was tough on my son (and thus, tough on us). He also got a nasty bout of RSV not long after. Seeing your poor precious baby in the ER hooked up on IVs at 4 in the morning is rough. Thankfully, the little guy is doing well now. In addition, my 103 year old grandma passed away in January. It was sad, but I’m glad she lived a great long life. I also take solace in the fact that her legacy and lessons live on through the rest of us.

What once was games now has become books
What once was games now has become books :P

A huge thank you to anyone reading this right now. That means you either randomly wandered here for the first time (highly unlikely haha) or you’re still checking in after all these years. That means a lot, especially since updates have been irregular for some time now. To be perfectly honest, for this first post of 2023 I wanted to review a Super Nintendo game for old times sake. It also would have doubled as a feeble attempt to make up for the lack of the top 200 article that was promised last year. But current passions won out. Therefore I’m sharing some of the books I bought during December instead. I hope you continue scrolling because there are some really cool comics, manga and graphic novels to gawk at. Some gnarly artwork for sure! Who knows, maybe you’ll see something that might strike your fancy enough to check out.



In mid December my wife and I drove 40 minutes out to a Disney store (they are dying in my area) to pick up a Minnie Mouse plush for my niece. After grabbing some delicious hotpot down the street, we hit up the nearby Half Price Books where I laid eyes upon this gorgeous tome. I had never heard of The Dylan Dog Case Files before. It held a hefty price tag of $50 ($45 after my teacher discount), but online it was going for a little more (and not always in the best condition). This copy was a bit nicked up but it wasn’t too bad. A perfect example of being in the right place at the right time. Assuredly, this collector’s item would soon have been snatched up by someone else had we not dropped in that fine evening!

Thick spines always catches my eye
I love thick spines and I cannot lie
Almost 700 pages split up of short stories
Almost 700 pages split up between 7 sinister stories
Love that gothic artwork!
Love that Italian gothic artwork!
I checked the website that night; it was still listed
I checked the website that night; it was still listed
Thank you Disney Store for leading me to this!
Thank you Disney Store for leading me to this!



Thankfully, MOST books sold at Half Price are typically 50% off its cover price. Take, for example, Zero’s Journey which retails for $19.99 but was had for under $10 after my teacher discount. It was a perfect pick up since it was nearing Christmas when I spotted it on the manga shelf.

Never liked the movie but like the characters
Never liked the movie but I like the characters
Feels like a natural extension of the film
Feels like a natural extension of the film



In late 2021 I bought the gorgeous Hellboy Omnibus Box Set. Mike Mignola is a genius and B.P.R.D. is part of the Hellboy universe. This particular set is an older edition (they have since released a sleeker edition with updated numbering), and it’s a bit beat up as you can see. But for half off, it was too good to pass up on. Plus anytime you can complete an arc or series in one go, you take it!

Story looks like a hell of a blast
Story looks like a hell of a blast



Last summer I picked up the oversized hardcover edition of The Boys. Never got around to buying volumes 2 and 3, though. So when I saw these paperback babies of volumes 2-6 (of 6), I couldn’t resist. (I’ll have to sell off the oversized omnibus volume 1 at some point). Again I got these for a little more than half off with my teacher discount. It was like $13 each instead of $70+ with the hardcover oversized editions. I know a lot of comic book collectors prefer the hardcovers but I don’t mind a softcover if the price is too good to pass up on!

Pretty dark stuff. His girlfriend got snuffed!
Pretty dark stuff. His girlfriend got snuffed!
Updated edition of B.P.R.D.
Updated edition of B.P.R.D.

Took this pic at Barnes & Noble. I saved so much money getting these at Half Price instead!



Imagine my thrill when back in December I spotted a gently used copy of Milestone Compendium One for $25.99. Best of all, I had over $150 store credit so I got it for “free.” Milestone is a beloved comic series from the 1990s. It retails for $59.99 and contains over 1,300 pages of ’90s goodness. Milestone Compendium Two just came out last week which I promptly picked up.


SOOO 1990s, ha!
SOOO 1990s, ha!



Created by Paul Chadwick, Concrete began its tale in the mid ’80s. At first glance it may appear to be yet another superhero story, but it’s anything but. Rather, it’s a very measured and nuanced story about a man whose entire body has been enveloped by pure concrete. This taxing scenario is examined in the most realistic and minute terms possible, right down to the kind of furniture needed. It’s a lonely slow burn that offers a contemplative read for any who have the patience to experience this very unique story.


One of the storylines is that people can send in letters asking for Concrete’s help. These noble endeavors allow Concrete to use his new unique body for the greater good of society. It’s essentially a slice-of-life comic.

One such letter
One such letter



Speaking of more quiet slice-of-life stories, I’ve had my eye on Himawari House by Harmony Becker ever since it was released in late 2021. Finally came across a used copy for under $10 and eagerly snatched it up.

I love these coming-of-age tales
I love these coming-of-age tales
Color would have been nice, but BW is cool too
“Fish out of water” stories are always a blast to read



Equally as satisfying as finding a long wanted title for half off its cover price is the thrill of discovering something cool you never knew existed. The Dream of the Butterfly has MAJOR Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki vibes. The cover already had me sold but once I glanced inside, it only took all of 3 seconds for me to throw it into my basket!

Serious Spirted Away vibes
Serious Spirted Away vibes



Perhaps best known for his Giant Days series, John Allison has quite a fan following in the comic book community. His comics are vibrant, funny and just plain zany. When I saw this cute pocket edition of Bad Machinery, a series unbeknownst to me prior, it was an easy instant buy.

The vibrant art really jumps off the page
The vibrant art really jumps off the page



Alright, enough of that cutesy shit! Here is AX, an out of print book that features many different manga artists and some controversial stories to say the least!

Shit gets weird fast
Shit gets weird fast
Both the art and story quality vary
Both the art and story quality vary



I own all 8 of the original B&W editions, but will be upgrading to this fancy full color collection. I haven’t read it yet but this series looks like a creepy blast.

And now its oversized and in full living color
And now it’s oversized and in full living color



Discovered this webcomic and like Bad Machinery it comes in these cute pocket editions. It’s about a co-ed college dorm and its dysfunctional inhabitants. There are currently 11 pocket books available, and the series continues to be published on the artist’s website.

Looks pretty fun!
Examines the light and dark side of college dorm life



Speaking of webcomics, one random day in December I randomly ran across two shorter but thick ass black spines. It simply said SORCERY 101 with the volume number. I found out it was the complete webcomic series and in the basket it went. Did I mention that I love thick spines as well as pocket editions? Which is ironic when you think about it, because none of these pocket editions would fit in anyone’s pocket except for Godzilla.

Intriguing plot
Intriguing plot
Love the artwork! Took a blind gamble on this one
Love the artwork!



This haunting autobiographical memoir by Kate Beaton has attracted a ton of praise. This typically isn’t my sort of thing but this 400+ page memoir was only $18 (retail price $40). So why the hell not, y’kno?

The greys reflect the dark story held within
The bleak greys reflect the dark story held within



Another autobiographical memoir. Hey didn’t I just say these aren’t my sort of thing? First off, the cover and spine is beautiful and eye catchy. Second, the true story sounds pretty interesting. The Pacific Crest Trail runs 2,660 miles, from California’s border with Mexico to Washington’s border with Canada. To walk it is to undertake a grueling test of body and spirit. This autobiographical work from an Irish visitor to the United States recounts the author’s own attempt to walk the length of the USA’s west coast. It mixes prose with art. Pretty fascinating!

Good stuff
Art is simplistic yet somehow quite striking



Back to the fantastical! Head Lopper & The Island (or A Plague of Beasts) looks like balls to the wall madness. I mean, our hero carries around a decapitated witch head that still speaks! Citizen Kane? No. A must read? Absolutely.

Plus the art looks pretty badass too
Plus the art looks pretty badass too



Dark Horse is one of my favorite publishers. Anytime I see their logo with that stylized black horse on a particularly thick spine I always get a little bit excited. This trade paperback, released in late 2021, contains 300+ pages of horror content from a variety of writers and artists, with good ol’ Mike Mignola (of Hellboy fame) getting top billing. As with any anthology, there are hits and misses to be sure. The whole thing is pretty sleek looking and feels great in your hand. Can’t wait to read it eventually.

Nice thing too is you get to see different art styles
Nice thing too is you get to see different art styles
Some nightmare fuel for sure!
Some nightmare fuel for sure!



Speaking of nightmares, how about My Friend Dahmer, a graphic novel highlighting the author’s high school encounters with future serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer. Derf Backderf (his parents had balls of steel to use half of his last name for his first name) went to Revere High School in Ohio with Dahmer, and recounts his experiences with a teenage Dahmer in the late ’70s in the Midwest. This book received a boatload of praise for how bold and unique it was. What are the odds that a cartoonist was friends with Dahmer growing up? And would, decades later, recreate those high school years of Dahmer? Another run-of-the-mill fantasy or coming-of-age tale regurgitated for the 1,000th time this ain’t!

The back cover is super cool
The back cover is super cool
It feels immediately nostalgic and haunting...
It feels immediately nostalgic and haunting…



And now for something a lot more lighthearted. And it doesn’t get much more lighthearted than the adventures of Billy Johnson and his crazy talking duck friend.

Some befriended Dahmer. Others, a duck?!
Some people befriended Dahmer. Others, a duck?!



Dungeon Critters is a colorful graphic novel with an RPG feel. This is the kind of stuff I would have loved if I were a kid. Hell, I guess I still do! But yeah, check out the artwork and colors on this bad boy. They’ve come so far with books. We didn’t have graphic novels like this back in the ’80s and ’90s!

Ooooh... ahhh...
It’s like a Super Nintendo RPG come to life!



Never heard of Stonebreaker before. It seems to be your typical coming-of-age fantasy adventure. A mysterious world filled with talking creatures, check. A plucky protagonist, check. Danger lurking behind every corner, check. But the different shades of color used section by section is pretty damn neat. Good enough for a relatively blind buy!

Looks like an adventure one can get lost in
Looks like an adventure one can get happily lost in



From the man, the myth and the legend himself, Osamu Tezuka! Storm Fairy, a short story collection, is not one of his better known works such as Astro Boy, Black Jack or Phoenix. But I am a simple man. I see Tezuka, I buy Tezuka.

Tezuka's considered by many as the father of manga
Tezuka’s considered by many as the “father of manga”



Over the decades I’ve heard of Robotech here and there, but I never took time to explore it any further. It’s beloved by many westerners living in America back in the ’80s who remember Robotech fondly as one of their earliest exposures to the world of anime and Japanese style comics. Seeing the beautiful nostalgic cover in the store for half off made for a no brainer buy.

So many cool comics, so little time!
So many cool comics, so little time!



You can’t talk about robots in the world of anime and manga without mentioning Gundam. And here’s a huge 550+ page tome that depicts the journey of the men responsible for the birth of Gundam.

We salute you, fine gentlemen
We salute you, fine gentlemen



This beautiful 500+ page hardcover sat in the locked glass counter near The Men Who Created Gundam. I already own some of Moto Hagio’s work and I consider myself a fan. The artwork is always so interesting.

Fantastic stuff
This was first published in the early ’70s



Got the complete omnibus set of Sweet Blue Flowers. I love the quality and feel of these volumes. They’re so wonderfully produced. These are the kind of books that get snatched up fast… within days if not hours. They fly off the shelves like screaming bats out of hell. Always feel so lucky when I spot manga such as this in the wild…

Sit back and admire the details here for a bit
Feels so timeless, does it not?



Let’s end this article with a BANG and take a sweet gander at my first buy of 2023! I’ve never played the Witcher games before. But I’ve heard a ton of praise surrounding the comics. So imagine my joy when I spotted this big, beautiful hardcover standing tall and proud in the locked glass counter. Best of all, it was half off at $24.99. After applying my 10% teacher discount, I got it for just under $25 out the door. What a deal!

Simply magnificent
Simply magnificent


I am so Jerry here, and Jerry is so me
I am so Jerry here. Love my compendiums!

December 2022 was an amazing month full of glorious finds. I’ve bought a few more since then that I will share another time in part IV. But yeah, whether it’s something I’ve had my eye on for some time or perhaps I’ve stumbled into something badass I never knew existed — the thrill and allure of the book store always seems to beckon me back. Anyway, thanks as always for dropping by. Let me know in the comments below if there was one manga, comic book or graphic novel in particular that resonated with you for whatever reason. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Alright, until next time, take care and a belated happy 2023! I wish all of you the best.

Love me some compendiums and deluxe editions!
Where were these when I was a kid?!

The Promised Neverland


It’s been a little over a year since I started collecting manga (fall of 2021 was when I initially fell down the rabbit hole). What a wild journey and year it’s been! The Promised Neverland, written by Kaiu Shirai and illustrated by Posuka Demizu, was the first manga series I read from beginning to end. I devoured all 20 volumes over the summer of 2022. In particular, I blew through the first 9 or so volumes in as many days. This article will give you a general overview of the series with no spoilers. I hope to post more series overviews as time goes on. Let us, then, visit the year 2045 and a little orphanage…


Our story opens up with a large group of children living at an orphanage. Emma is one of the main characters and all of the little kids adore her. We also meet Emma’s friends, Norman and Ray. The three of them are the oldest kids at the orphanage. At first glance, it appears as though all is swell and there is a lot of love. Of course, that doesn’t last for very long.


Occasionally, a child will be plucked from the orphanage to go live with their new adopted family. Such was the fate of little Conny. But before she can be shipped off, Norma and Emma notice that Conny has left behind her prized stuffed bunny. With the little fella in tow, they set off to meet Connie to make the return.

Oh my God whaaa!?!
Oh my God whaaa!?!

And with this startling realization, our characters are thrust into a spiraling descent of pure horror and madness. Who — or what — killed Conny, and why?!


It’s immediately revealed that some sort of demonic alien creatures are at the helm. The intrigue jumps off the pages as readers are thrown right into the frying pan with no warning. It’s an amazing opener that really hooks you in.


We also meet Mother, the adult in charge of the children at the orphanage. She is clearly in cahoots with the demons. It quickly becomes a cat and mouse tale of probabilities and deduction.


As they discuss the various possibilities and dissect the situation, the story quickly evolves and shifts with each beat. I love when a story takes you on a wild ride with many possible outcomes.


We get to know our protagonists better with each passing chapter and volume. Emma has a pure heart of gold, and she loves her family more than anything in the world. She would rather die than to escape while leaving even just one person behind. Emma is the personification of nobility and compassion.


The artwork by Posuka Demizu is pretty solid. The creatures are truly fearsome and the kids have the best expressions.


As the series progresses, we meet more characters such as the bizarre (and creepy) Sister Krone. She gave me the heebie-jeebies.


We’re treated to thrilling action panels such as this. I love the sense of ferocity and how it’s rather cinematic at times.




The series is far from perfect, however. While the first 9 or so volumes were thrilling and incredible, I felt the middle portion of the story hits a bit of a lull. Let’s just say the mystery of the demons is detailed a little too much for my liking, which reduced the sense of danger or intrigue for me personally. The story kind of went in a direction I wasn’t expecting and certain parts did drag a bit. The last handful of volumes does improve but for me it never hit the height of the first half of the story. I would still recommend The Promised Neverland, however. I’m glad to have read it and you know what they say — you never forget your first!

My son enjoyed it!
My son enjoyed it!


It Came From The Book Store Part II


My wife and I visited Portland earlier this month. Less than 3 miles from our hotel was the world’s biggest store that sells used and new books. Powell’s was heaven for a bookworm such as myself! I could have spent hours days in there. There are 3 locations in Oregon and of course I had to hit up all 3. I picked up a handful of graphic novels (the comic medium is my favorite these days), and can’t think of a better time than to launch part 2 of my “It Came From The Book Store” series (the first one was written almost 8 months ago). But rather than just show you the 14 books I picked up, I’ll share some of the sights we saw in Portland along the way as well.


The Powell’s location in Burnside covers an entire city block! Incredibly insane. Walking down the first flight of stairs, I immediately ran into the graphic novel section for kids and young adults. As much as I love and appreciate manga, there might be a (big) part of me that enjoys graphic novels even more. I love their bright colors, beautiful artwork, and awesome sturdy design (flip through one and admire the craftmanship and even the smell of the ink). So at Powell’s, some of the books are new while some are used which can be as much as 50% off the cover price. It’s oddly addictive to flip a book over hoping to find a gently used copy for half off or so. It felt like a mini treasure hunt. If I didn’t already own it and it was marked used at 30-50% off, in the basket it went!


For example, this hardcover graphic novel retails for $22.99. Luckily I found a used copy nearly half off for $11.98. I love how they list the date of the item’s arrival. It’s neat to see how long it’s been sitting in the store. Or conversely, how recently it came in. The latter is always satisfying because you feel like right place, right time! Or maybe that’s just me :P

Graphic novels for days. Graphic novels galore!
Graphic novels for days. Graphic novels galore!


I love reading these little staff pick cards. Coincidentally, I recently bought Odessa online prior to this Portland trip. I had no idea Jonathan Hill lives in Portland. Nice to see the hometown support. Haven’t read Odessa yet but it looks like a compelling post-apocalyptic adventure.


His latest work was just published, Tales of a Seventh Grade Lizard Boy. Looks like a fun read for anyone who has ever felt they don’t quite fit in.


We visited Cosmic Monkey Comics next. Mad respect to them for displaying this shrine, devoted entirely to iconic mangaka (manga artists) such as Osamu Tezuka, Junji Ito and Naoki Urasawa just to name a few. Extra brownie points for including Taiyō Matsumoto!

Impressive manga section
Impressive manga selection
We rode the tram next to get a nice view of Portland
We rode the tram to get a nice view of Portland
Quite lovely
Quite lovely


For lunch we found ourselves at a quaint spot with 3 restaurant choices. My wife had chicken and rice from Nong’s Khao Man Gai, and me being a sandwich lover I went with Snappy’s, supposedly a local favorite. Their decor adds such a nostalgic flare to the cozy deli store. It felt like I was transported back to the mid ’90s!

Id love to know the backstory to the VHS boxes
I’d love to know the backstory to the VHS boxes
Too bad the sandwich was only OK :P
Too bad the sandwich was only OK :P


We visited St. Helens (about 45 minutes from our hotel) to see their Halloween Town display. This is the exact location where the 1998 movie was filmed.

All sorts of spooky sights on hand
All sorts of spooky sights on hand
This was a bit creepy
This was a bit creepy
I never saw the movie but my wifes siblings like it
I never saw the movie but my wife’s siblings like it
Lets go explore
Let’s go explore
What we found!
What we found!
Love all the horror movie villain references
Love all the horror movie villain references


Speaking of ghosts, I bought the collected edition of Brody’s Ghost which collects all 6 volumes in a 600 page tome. It’s one of those harder to find Dark Horse graphic novels so it can go for $50 online. Powell’s had a slightly beat up copy for $35 (no tax in Oregon) so I bit the bullet. But that same day I found it on eBay for $14.99 Buy It Now. I’d planned to buy it later that night but then the seller sent me a $9.99 offer. Talk about patience being a virtue!


“Mix in a pinch of The Sixth Sense with a dash of The Karate Kid and a bit of The Crow, and you’ll start to get a feel for Brody’s Ghost.” Mighty fine (and tantalizing) blurb from Wired on the back cover.

The note I left the overly generous eBay seller
The note I left the overly generous eBay seller


So after Halloween Town, I told my wife I’d like to return Brody’s Ghost and that it might be fun to watch Smile. If so, it would be our first movie in a theater since September 2021 when we saw Shang Chi over a year ago! So I Googled Powell’s and found a location in Beaverton where magically there happened to be the only late night showing of Smile. Our trip was winding down and we had wanted to try Killer Burger before leaving Oregon. Luckily, there also happened to be a Killer Burger in the same plaza as Powell’s! The book store, burger joint and movie theater were all within a half mile of one another. Serendipity!

It was very good!
It was very good!


The Powell’s location in Beaverton is tucked away in a small mall. I remember seeing the store sign looming in the horizon and getting all excited, ha!

Almost there!
Almost there!
I could spend hours here
I could spend hours here. The store was massive


During the return I was chatting it up with the cashier. I found out he grew up in the same area as I did. It was pretty random but super cool. As mentioned earlier, I returned Brody’s Ghost because an eBay user sold it to me for under $15.


After returning the book and enjoying our greasy burgers, we caught Smile in the nearby theater. We both liked it a lot. It felt a bit like It Follows but even better. I highly recommend it. It was way better than that piece of crap Halloween Ends.


On a random note, we saw a screening of this film a few days in advance. I was so disappointed. They did Halloween fans dirty. Go watch Smile instead…


In total, I bought 14 books from the 3 Powell’s locations. Let me share quickly each book and a sample page :)

Looks like a blast. Cant wait to read
Looks like a blast. Can’t wait to read
Looks absolutely bonkers. Instant buy :P
Looks absolutely bonkers. Instant buy :P
I have the first book in this series. Really vibrant
I have the first book in this series. Really vibrant
Told ya!
Told ya!
Another title I never heard of before
Another title I never heard of before
I'm such a sucker for coming of age shit!
I’m such a sucker for coming of age shit!
Another one I wasn't aware of
Another one I wasn’t aware of
Unique artstyle
Unique art style
Love that cover. Absolutely intriguing
Love that cover. Absolutely intriguing
Huge fan of the atmosphere the art evokes
Huge fan of the atmosphere that the art evokes
The sequel was another no brainer buy
The sequel was another no brainer buy
I bought the last in the trilogy after I got home :P
I bought the last in the trilogy after I got home :P
I think this one has Back to the Future vibes
I think this one has Back to the Future vibes
Beautiful art
Beautiful simplistic art
Another title I never heard of
Another title I never heard of
You had me at hello
Nothing divine about this face!
I'm so done with zombies. Not, haha
I’m so done with zombies. Or not, haha
At half off and in pristine condition its hard to resist
Art is definitely on the sillier and zanier side
I also love graphic novels that are about real life
I also love graphic novels that are about real life
About a boy with ADHD. Done in memoir style
About a boy with ADHD. Done in memoir style
Here's another realistic one
Here’s another realistic one. Love the title pun
Love how super appealing the art is
Love how super appealing the art is
Sick little Halloween display
Sick little Halloween display
Sorry for messing it up. I had to buy this one!
Sorry for messing it up. I had to buy this one!
Not a graphic novel but I still love my prose books!
Not a graphic novel but I still love my prose books!
The 14th and final book I bought while in Oregon
The 14th and final book I bought while in Oregon
Now let's see if they will all fit in my luggage...
Now let’s see if they will all fit in my luggage…
These sturdy hardcovers made for a solid foundation
These sturdy hardcovers made for a solid foundation
Love the perfect fit!
Love the perfect fit!



We had a great time in Portland. We ate at a ton of food carts. I had a blast at my book stores. We video chatted with my parents multiple times a day so that we could see our almost 5 month old son, Owen. Portland was a lovely little getaway but we were ready to go home and be with Owen again. I hope to take him when he’s around 6 or 7 years old. I have a feeling he’ll grow up liking books, ha! And that he would feel like a kid in a candy store at Powell’s, where the aisles stretch on as far as the eye can see. My wife also wants to see the leaves change colors, which unfortunately we went too early to be able to see. So anyway, hope you enjoyed this little trip to Portland with me. Until next time!

So much sifting through and reading their recs!
So much fun to sift through and to read their recs!



Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s I was an avid reader. I loved the wild ride a great book would take me on. Getting swept up in a grand adventure from the coziness of my bed was largely appealing. Whenever I wasn’t gaming or hanging out with my childhood best friend, my nose was most likely buried in a (scary) book. In 2019, after years — nay, DECADES — of not caring much for books, I got back into reading in a big way. I started off collecting all my favorite childhood books, as well as the ones I never read but had always wanted to. It was eerily similar to my SNES resurrection from 2006. History was indeed repeating itself. But then I started branching out from simple chapter books. I got into collecting pulpy horror paperbacks, sci-fi, and eventually the odd graphic novel here and there. Outside of a few comics back in the day, I never really delved into the comic medium. My wife used to joke, “Please don’t ever get into manga or comics.” Exactly one year ago, I somehow did. This article will highlight my descent into manga madness over the past 365 days. But first we have to start from the very beginning. Let’s see now… ahhhh, it all started when…


Although I loved illustrations growing up, I actually didn’t read much comics outside of Garfield as a kid. That and an old Chinese comic series by the name of Old Master Q. I didn’t know how to read the language, but my uncle was more than eager to turn those comics into story time. I fondly remember many Saturday nights in the late ’80s chilling in the backyard on a cool crisp night as my uncle would read the comics to my brother and me.


Old Master Q was created by Alfonso Wong (1925-2017) and is considered a legendary Chinese comic for its long running history. These simple comics often consisted of single page six panels, with limited text. A lot of it was pretty universal so that even a little kid who didn’t understand a lick of Chinese could enjoy. I’m not even sure if my uncle could read it; he might have just used his imagination to fill in the blanks. Regardless of his method, my brother and I ate it up. It was a wonderful way to spend a lazy Saturday night back in those good old days of late 1980s suburban life.


Old Master Q comics were sold at lots of random little places. We always bought them at a local Asian grocery store. I remember the ducks hanging in the window right as you walked by. Believe it or not, it still exists to this day — that picture was taken just last week and brought back a wave of nostalgic memories! I hadn’t been back to that plaza in at least 25 years.

The classic gigantic lion statue still stands as well
The classic gigantic lion statue still stands as well


Of course back then there were no translations. Apparently “scanlations” (as they call it) now exist. But as I said, the illustrations usually spoke for itself, so the language barrier did not matter as much. And with a crazy uncle dramatically filling in the blanks, it was almost better than movie night. Old Master Q was just really fun. I loved it whenever they featured supernatural elements. Some of those ghostly images are burned into my brain 35+ years later!


This is where one might think I fell in love with comics and became a lifelong fan. Actually, I mainly stuck to chapter books and somehow never got into the comic or manga scene. But Old Master Q definitely made me appreciate the comic medium, and I’m sure somewhere deep down it became a dormant love that would one day naturally sprout. And sprout it did…


Saturday, August 21, 2021. I just completed my first teaching week back at school for the first time since that fateful day of March 13, 2020 (coincidentally a Friday the 13th) when news broke that we would be shutting down (as did all schools across the country) due to the lethal wide spread of COVID-19. As luck would have it, my class had a case that first Thursday, so on Friday August 20th my class was shut down for the day. I had to do contact tracing with my principal. It was weird and a difficult time. The following day, my wife and I decided to get out of town for a little bit. We drove out an hour to grab some lunch and visit a board game store she had been meaning to check out. There was a Half Price Books nearby, so I dragged her along reluctantly. Normally I never bother to browse the manga section, but for whatever reason my feet led me there that day. It was a decision that proved to be a game changer, for better or for worse. There on the shelf I spotted a beautiful thick spine (I’m a sucker for such things, you see). It was omnibus volume 1 of Samurai Executioner by Kazuo Koike.


I quickly pulled it off the shelf to further inspect it. It was a 750+ page monstrosity. It looked so badass and immediately piqued my interest. It was like one of those “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!” moments. I marveled at all the amazing black and white illustrated panels. Other than Garfield, I had never read any comic books or manga in my entire life. For whatever reason, I just never dipped my toe into that ocean. It was as though comics and I were two ships passing in the night. Maybe now it was time to change that. Still, I remained hesitant. Mainly because it had a sticker price of $29.99. Even after my 10% teacher discount, that would be $30 for a book that originally retailed for $19.99.


I was at a loss for words. I had never seen a book at Half Price Books priced as anything more than half the cover price. Hence the store name of Half Price! So this told me right off the bat that Samurai Executioner was a different kind of breed. I stood there holding the book for what felt like 20 minutes, talking myself into it and then out back and forth. In the end, I found myself placing the omnibus back on the shelf. I just couldn’t justify the $30 price tag. I couldn’t pull the trigger.


But I did pull the proverbial trigger on Infinite Kung Fu, which was an oversized graphic novel by Kagan McLeod. It was only $12 and that was a bullet I was more than willing to bite. I saw Infinite Kung Fu as sort of compensation for not buying Samurai Executioner.

Mixes kung fu with zombies? SOLD!
Kung fu mixing with zombies?  SOLD!


Of course, over the next few days my decision not to buy it dominated my every waking moment. By Monday night I had decided I had made a mistake. To rectify that, I was going to drive the long two hour journey (both ways) to pick it up. Tuesday evening, August 24, 2021. After getting out of work late due to a staff meeting and getting my classroom in order for the following day, I arrived at Half Price Books a little after 7 PM. I eagerly ran to the manga section to pluck Samurai Executioner off the shelf. This time I would not blink. (It also turned out that $30 at that time was actually a decent price for it compared to the going rate online). But a pit in my stomach swelled as I glanced at the shelf and saw it was no longer there *insert dramatic gasp*


I looked up and down the shelves three times, going through the five stages of grief in my typical overly dramatic fashion. It was worse than a gut punch. It felt like I had been decapitated. (Sorry, as stated I tend to have a super dramatic mindset from time to time). In the end, I realized I was simply too late. I regretted not biting the bullet the previous Sunday. Should have known once I left the store that day that it wouldn’t still be there a few short days later. That’s just how these things go. I started to browse other aisles when I saw a guy (probably in his early 40s) carrying a basket. And in that basket — sure enough, because the manga gods have a cruel sense of humor — was that very $30 Samurai Executioner copy! And that’s when I went through the five stages of grief AGAIN for a second time all within 10 minutes. Adding insult to injury, now I knew on top of being too late that I was late by no more than probably 10 minutes! If ONLY I had gotten to the store EVEN JUST a measly 30 minutes earlier… UGH! I was really kicking myself then and there.

I still have some PTSD about that experience...
I still have some PTSD about that experience…

Things got bleak and almost took a dark turn. I got so desperate that the thought of tailing him around the store, hoping to see if he might remove the copy from his basket due to a change of heart, crossed my mind. In another scene, I envisioned myself snatching it from his basket once he put it down and got distracted browsing for more books to buy. That’s when I knew I had to go home. Just the thought of that made me feel disgusted with myself. I cannot and would never sink so low. I made the long hour drive back in defeat and disappointment.


It was a hard lesson learned: sometimes you just gotta pull the trigger because you might not get a second shot. At least in the wild. Thankfully, with the internet, unless a book is out of print and super rare, odds are you can buy almost anything your heart desires. Sometimes you need a little patience and a lot of money of course, but life is what you make of it. I eventually bought all four omnibus volumes of Samurai Executioner within the month and my little Half Price episode became a distant memory.

Ended up buying volume 4 the very next day
Ended up buying volume 4 the very next day
Alls well that ends well
All’s well that ends well



Samurai Executioner wasn’t my first manga purchase, however. Back in 2019 when I was going on my crazy Sunday Goodwill runs with my girlfriend (now my wife), I came across The Gods Lie. At the time I didn’t care for manga whatsoever but it was in great condition and at $1.99 it was hard to pass up on. That and it looked like something I would enjoy reading one day if I ever made time for it.

Gorgeous spread!
Gorgeous spread!
I'm reading it right now and it's pretty fun so far
I’m reading it right now and it’s pretty fun so far


On another Goodwill run, I ran across Triton of the Sea omnibus volume 1. There was a considerable blemish affecting the cover and the first few pages but the rest of it was unmarred. The back cover revealed that it was a Kickstarter project retailing for $19.99. At $1.99 it was a no-brainer buy, even though my interest in manga was very minimal. I picked it up with the idea that it would be fun to read one day and who knows, maybe I will get into manga at some point. And if not, it was only 2 bucks. The back cover also boasted that Triton was created by Osamu Tezuka, the legendary mangaka of Astro Boy. I heard of Astro Boy over the years and had some faint understanding that Tezuka was sort of the grandfather of manga. That’s good enough for my $2.

Definitely can't wait to delve into Tezuka's works
Definitely can’t wait to delve more into Tezuka’s work


In a moment of sheer serendipity, after developing a passion for manga in August of 2021, about a month later I ran across a copy of Astro Boy omnibus 1. I did some Googling and found out that the entire series was published over 7 thick omnibus volumes from Dark Horse. I bought all 7 volumes in my first transaction off Mercari.

Love that thick red spine
Love that thick red spine and image!
The spines lined up are so gloriously satisfying
The spines lined up are so gloriously satisfying

Osamu Tezuka created many classic manga series, such as Phoenix, Black Jack and the aforementioned Astro Boy. I’ve read a few of his works already; they truly are time machines to a bygone era. His work can feel a bit archaic at times, but they are also timeless in many ways. Ah, so many great manga waiting to be read and so little time!

Tezuka's legacy will outlive us all
Tezuka’s legacy will outlive us all



The internet can definitely be awesome. Over the past year I’ve gotten so many good deals on manga. Early on, particularly those first five months from August to December of 2021, endless packages were arriving nonstop. Things were getting crazy. I was brand new to the hobby and there was so much I wanted that it was easy to find something new I wanted. A slow day would consist of receiving three packages! I suddenly became very familiar with the mailman just like during my Sega Saturn and Super Nintendo days when I was buying them left and right. Few things are as satisfying as waiting on some big packages and seeing that FedEx truck pull up in your neighborhood. It’s a glorious sight, indeed. But buying online will never match the thrill of finding things for cheap in the wild. Whether it’s at Half Price Books, Goodwill or local used book stores, finding a (rare) manga series on the cheap can’t be beat! Here are just some of my more memorable finds…


Almost found a full set of Hana-Kimi at Goodwill for only $1.99 each! They were in amazing condition as well. I was a little disappointed it didn’t include volumes 1-3 but that very same day just mere hours later…

I found them at Half Price for $5 each! Meant to be
… I found them at Half Price! Meant to be


Love visiting Half Price because you never know what you might find in the manga section. Some series can be seriously scalped online for ridiculous prices, but Half Price usually sells them for half off. That’s how I was able to find many of the beautiful Shaman King singles for cheap.


I say usually because some Half Price locations can be shady and scalp their manga at ridiculous prices, sometimes even higher than what they go for online. I always chuckle when I see such crazy prices. It all depends on the manager and the person pricing the manga. Most are cool but some can be very greedy. As a general rule of thumb, be patient and don’t spend more than you’re willing. Most manga will eventually be available for a more reasonable price.


Definitely not rare by any means, but picked up Bakuman 11-20 for $4.50 each. I love that instant collection feeling when you find half (or more) of a series in one go.

A manga series many older fans will fondly recall
A manga series many older fans will fondly recall
$4.50 each after my 10% teacher discount, score!
$4.50 each after my 10% teacher discount, score!


There are currently 27 volumes of D. Gray-Man. Was so lucky to run into these for cheap. Like I said, there’s nothing like the thrill of the hunt. You never know what you might find any given time you enter a book store. And it’s all about being at the right place at the right time.


Occasionally I’ll run into a random series that I might not be interested in buying online, especially at some of those insane prices, but if I see it for cheap in the wild I’m more willing to give it a shot! See Kitchen Princess. Besides, you know I’m just a sucker for those thick spines and omnibus editions! As a fun aside, did you know that Squid Games was based off Kaiji: Gambling Apocalypse?


I’ll buy manga once in a while from Barnes and Noble as well. I love that educators get a 20% discount. Twice a year during teacher appreciation week we even get 25% off. Man, did I pick the right profession or what? Earlier this month I discovered a new series (actually an old series finally translated to English) by the name of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou. It’s supposedly one of the most beloved manga series ever created, ranking in the top 50 currently on the website MyAnimeList. I cannot wait to delve into it!

One of the best slice-of-life manga out there
Supposedly one of the best slice-of-life manga ever
The colors shimmer in the light. So gorgeous!
The letters shimmer in the light. So gorgeous!
My very first RightStufAnime order
My very first RightStufAnime order :)

I also shop on RightStufAnime, which is a famous website for manga lovers. They used to sell manga at a 25% discount rate with free shipping and no tax. Sadly, over the past year the site kept going downhill with some unfavorable changes. 25% discount got reduced to 20% and now tax is charged depending on the state you live in. Bummer. It hasn’t been the same since.


I have fond memories of hunting down all 18 volumes of Inuyasha the VizBig editions back in late 2021. The hardest to find volumes were numbers 8, 14 and 16. I drove 2 hours and 15 minutes to a Barnes and Noble to buy those 3 harder to find volumes right around Christmas time. It was well worth the drive.


On that same trip I picked up Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service omnibus volume 4. It was the last copy within a 250 mile radius and the first 3 omnibus volumes were already costing an arm and leg online. So I didn’t want to miss out on volume 4! Volume 5 is finally being released later this month on August 30, 2022, so it’s been a good while between releases. Once again, I’m a sucker for thick spines and omnibuses.


Barnes has these little blurbs on certain manga series. I always love reading them and admiring the love and passion the staff members put into making them. Dorohedoro is a series I can’t wait to jump into!

Ah, Berserk, an all-time classic according to many
Ah, Berserk, an all-time classic according to many
Another titan of the manga game, MONSTER
Another titan of the manga game, MONSTER
My all time favorite description, hands down
My all time favorite description. Chainsaw Man!


This was my best find so far. Mushishi volumes 8, 9 and 10 for under $15. This copy sells for north of $200. Like I said, you never know what you might find walking into a book store. And right place, right time. Timing is everything in life.


Tezuka and Koike living peacefully together
Tezuka and Koike living peacefully together
Love the color scheme here
Love the color scheme here

I don’t always display my manga by alphabetical order. Sometimes it’s based on fit. Ranma ½ is another classic that I’m excited to eventually read one day. Cross Game is slice-of-life and based around baseball, so I know I am going to love that. Heard a lot of good things about it!


Love when a series fits a shelf perfectly, as seen here with all 37 volumes of Magi. Found Magus of the Library for half off at Half Price and Made in Abyss for cheap online. I rarely pay retail for manga. Great deals are out there if one is willing to exercise a little patience! Heard a lot of praise for these 3 series. Definitely eager to jump into them one day…

Heard Toriko is crazy with its worldbuilding
Heard Toriko is crazy with its world building


This was my first manga shelf that I ever put up, so this one holds a lot of sentimental value for me. I love the way Barefoot Gen (what a beautiful little series that is) fits in perfectly with the first volume of 20th Century Boys (a fun and wild story)! I’ve since acquired Children of the Sea volume 4, however, and bought more volumes of Maison Ikkoku as they were released, so the shelf no longer looks like this. Love the sturdiness of most manga and how lovingly well crafted they are. The stories inside are usually pretty fantastic, too! The good ones have this incredible way of making me feel like a little kid on the inside all over again. Almost as if I’m hanging out in the backyard with Uncle Jimmy reading Old Master Q on a lazy Saturday night back in the late ’80s. A very satisfying hobby!



Getting into the manga scene over the past year has been super fulfilling and enjoyable. I can’t believe how I went from never really caring about it for most of my life to it now being my biggest hobby. It seems as though my young son is a fan in the making as well! The little guy is absolutely enthralled by all the illustrations and daddy’s voice reading the dialogue. Thanks for joining me on this very nostalgic trip down memory lane of my manga journey over the past 365 days. I acquired a ton over the past year, so for year number 2 I wish to spend more time reading instead of shopping. My wife certainly shares the same wish! But yeah, in a nutshell that’s been my descent into manga madness over the past year. Thanks a lot, Samurai Executioner! From should I buy it to… all this. What a rabbit hole ride it has been! Looking forward to reading all the amazing stories just waiting to be read and discovered :)

Some of the true GOATs in the manga game there!
Some of the true GOATs in the manga game there!

The Adventures of Tintin


Apologies for the lack of updates — this is RVGFanatic’s first update in a little over 2 months. In late May, my wife gave birth to our first child! So as you can imagine, we’ve been pretty busy with Owen. It’s amazing to be a father after 38 years on this earth. We’re enjoying our time off work to take care of our little one. During my downtime, I’m still reading and visiting the odd book store here and there. Last week, at Half Price Books, I came across a set of comic books known as The Adventures of Tintin. Now I didn’t grow up reading comics much, and I knew of Tintin but never read one. However, I know they’re one of the most beloved and nostalgic comics for people the world over, especially for those who grew up outside the US, where this series was mega popular and adored.

10% teacher discount made it a sweeter deal
10% teacher discount made it a sweeter deal

Unfortunately, whoever sold this set to Half Price did not have the 8th and final volume. That one in particular is a lot harder to find, and much more expensive. But I was lucky enough to find this lovely compact hardcover set for such a great deal. One of my favorite reasons visiting a used book store is you never know when you might be at the right place at the right time. Sometimes you walk away with an amazing haul of treasured goodies!

Lacking the cool spine art, but that's quite alright
Lacking the cool spine art, but that’s quite alright
Alternative box set
Alternative box set
Yet another one
Yet another one
And the original oversized paperbacks
And the original oversized paperbacks


According to the stickers, this set came in a week earlier. I almost walked out of the store and missed it too! But I decided to glance at the beginning of the graphic novel and comic section and lo and behold, there she was. Flipping through some of the pages, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of awe and nostalgia, even though, as stated previously, I had no childhood connection to these books really. It’s just something about the fantastic art style that harkens one back automatically to childhood and simpler times. A time in your life when your most pressing task was to make your bed and do your homework. This article is not a review of the series but rather an overview. I haven’t read any of the books yet, but I look forward to doing so in the years to come. And I can’t wait to read them to my son!


This particular hardback edition contains mostly 3 stories in 1, with the two exceptions being volumes 1 and 8. The first volume contains 2 stories while volume 8 contains 4 3.5 stories — the last 3 Tintin adventures number 21-23 and the 24th story which was never finished but released posthumously. The original paperback covers are shown to the side of each front cover.


The back of each book is simplistic with an overview of each title contained within each volume. Nothing fancy, but it works.


The Adventures of Tintin was first published in 1929 by the artist Hergé, whose real name was Georges Prosper Remi. He was born on May 22, 1907. That’s crazy because my son Owen was born exactly 115 years later! Hergé’s first story, Tintin in the Land of Soviets, was published in black and white.


My man is pretty far down the list of famous people born on May 22, so I had to do my part and give him an upvote.


His second story, Tintin in the Congo, carries a bit of controversy. The African natives were depicted in a way that can be offensive to some. It’s often stated that similar to other artists of long ago, he was portraying them in a way that was “according to the time period.” As a result of such outdated depictions, Tintin in the Congo is often excluded from his various collection box sets. This set, however, includes it.

This foreword provides more background detail
This foreword provides more background detail
Yeah, innocent or not, not the best of looks...
Yeah, innocent or not, not the best of looks…


Many people often agree that Hergé’s first two works are his weakest ones. The later entries supposedly get drastically better. Here’s a fun little scene between Tintin and one of the recurring allies, Captain Haddock. Thundering typhoons indeed! Love this page. Makes you just want to curl up under a warm blanket and lose yourself in Tintin’s madcap world for an hour or two.


The Adventures of Tintin involves a little bit of everything: action, humor, mystery and even the slightest hint of the supernatural. Tintin is an upstanding character that appeals to many kids and even (young) adults.


My son is gonna love this stuff. Wish I read it as a kid; I would have ate it up.


Hergé’s art never fails to impress. His style has long since been imitated (but never quite duplicated).


Tintin’s adventures take him all over the world. The various locales presented in each unique story ensure that readers will take delight in embarking on a special voyage to many magical lands.


There are a plethora of intriguing panels within each of the 23 stories. So many moments full of wonder, imagination, mystery, excitement and peril. It’s no wonder that these tales are cherished the world over.


Tintin is a young reporter who spans the globe thwarting bad guys and righting various wrongs the best he can. The stories sometimes even have a slight historical slant, which only adds to the overall package.


It can get a little creepy at times as well! By the way, is it just me or does that look a lot like Doug Funnie and Porkchop there? Hmm.


More stunning artwork from Hergé. It’s simple yet extremely striking. My man Tintin rocking the rickshaw like an absolute boss there, yes sir!


The mood and atmosphere that Hergé creates through his dialogue and art is truly terrific. Although I haven’t delved in entirely just yet, already it’s clear to see what a master he was at crafting mood and a sense of palpable danger just around the corner that drives both the story and reader forward.


More absolutely amazing art by the man, the myth and the legend. This stuff is simply phenomenal.


Tintin definitely wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He threw down when he had to!


Like watching a mini movie unfold before your very eyes.


I love his bigger panel shots because of the insane amount of intricate details found within them. This is such a great series for reluctant readers.


Throughout Tintin’s wild escapades we find some recurring villains who are wicked to the core. After all, what’s a great hero without some diabolical bad guys to thwart?

Lots of humor abound
Lots of humor abound


Explorers on the Moon, published in the early-mid 1950’s, saw Tintin roaming around on the moon — a decade and a half ahead of famous astronaut Neil Armstrong who would go on to accomplish that feat in 1969. Pretty dope.


Why am I suddenly getting strong Yuri Stranger Things Season 4 vibes here? :P


WATCH OUT FOR THE DEMOGORGON!!! Er… or the Abominable Snowman at least.


I could post more of his stellar artwork for days, but I think — pardon the poor pun — you get the picture by now. Hergé undoubtedly created an epic series that deserves to be seek out and read by anyone remotely intrigued by these shots. I can’t wait to dive in, myself!



The Adventures of Tintin has been translated in over 70 languages and has sold more than 230 million copies. Its legacy is no doubt one of the most beloved comics ever created. The stories are almost 100 years old, but countless readers remember them fondly and reread them to this very day. There is a timeless appeal to this series that I can’t wait to personally experience for myself. And in about 5 or 6 years from now, I’ll be ecstatic to introduce them to my son. I have a feeling Owen will love Tintin, his zany companions and his outrageous globe-trotting adventures. For those of you who have read this series — perhaps you even read them growing up — I would love to hear some of your personal memories and thoughts down below! I’m so thankful that I was lucky enough to run across these copies because I’m sure someone else would have snatched them up not long after. Now, if I can only find that elusive 8th and final volume for a decent price… “Thundering typhoons!” as the good captain might say :P

The Sleepover (Michael Regina)

Michael Regina | November 9, 2021 | 224 pages
Michael Regina | November 9, 2021 | 224 pages

Browsing my local Barnes and Noble one random day this past November, I spotted a new graphic novel on the shelf that immediately caught my eye. From the simple title to the creepy art cover, I knew it was right up my alley. I got back into reading books in 2019, and only in the past year or so have become enthralled with the graphic novel medium. Man, if only these bad boys were around back in 1993 when I was 10 years old! Sure we had comic books but nothing like the high quality today’s graphic novels pack, in terms of color and page quality. But I digress. Speaking of 1993, that’s the year The Sleepover takes place, and Michael Regina was not shy about early-mid ’90s references. But unlike some other entities, he didn’t go overboard so it wasn’t super in your face, which I appreciate because some of these throwback nostalgic stories can be too much when it comes to that sort of fan service.


The story focuses on Matt Russo and his younger sister, Judy. For years their nanny, Ruby, has taken good care of them while their mom toils away at work. One day Ruby dies. The mom scrambles to find a new nanny. Miss Swan is sus to say the very least. Matt is stricken with emotional grief as he laments the loss of his nanny, whom he shared a close bond with. His friends come over for a sleepover in an effort to cheer him up and fuel his mind with horror movies and video games galore, while fueling his stomach with pizza and soda. Sounds like an epic sleepover from the ’90s eh? I know I sure had my share of those!


But of course, what good is a story if there’s no conflict? The boys’ plan to have the perfect sleepover is soon thwarted when they come face to face with a local urban legend that is beyond anything they have ever encountered before…


I really like the art. It’s clean, simple and pleasant to look at. The Sleepover opens up with Matt and his 3 friends watching The X-Files. The first episode aired on September 10, 1993, which is perfect since this story takes place in the fall of ’93. I remember reading this first page at Barnes and Noble and thinking, “Oh yeah, this is an instant buy.” Thank God for their 20% off teacher discount! ;)


Matt and Judy’s nanny, Ruby, is introduced early on, and throughout the story we get occasional flashbacks to see through Matt’s eyes why Ruby means so much to him and his family. It’s a wild and crazy stormy night, making it perfect for a ghost story to be told…


One of Matt’s friends regales the group with a local urban legend of a horrible witch that lives in the woods nearby. Judy, being a lot younger, seeks Ruby’s reassurance. You can tell that Matt’s got the heebie-jeebies!


You keep saying that, four eyes. You keep saying that.


Every group in the ’90s had a kid like this. The one always sprouting off about ghouls and ghosts, trying to convince everyone else that something sinister is afoot…


Hell, maybe YOU were that kid. Hmm, maybe I was in mine…


I love the full page chapter breaks! There is something so simple yet alluring about a classic nice little house set clearly somewhere in the suburbs. Probably because that’s where I grew up and had all of my childhood memories. Whether it was my house or one of my friends’ giant two story homes, they were always the backdrop of a fun Saturday night staying up late watching scary movies and playing SNES games until the cows came home.


Sadly, Ruby the nanny passes away. The Russos attend her funeral, but life marches on. As soon as they get back home, the mom has to go back to work and she needs to find a new nanny pronto. No rest for the weary, eh?


The help wanted ad dubiously finds it way into the woods. No harm no foul though, right? Sure.


Ah, it plays out like a classic scene from a thriller or horror movie. The bad guy (or gal) is introduced with an ominous back of the head shot. To make matters worse, the parent has already met them and is none the wiser! Looks like the poor kids will have to fend for themselves…


Whoa, major creep vibes! Ms. Russo approved of this nutjob?! Talk about not winning the Mother of the Year award.


Cheese and rice, man. Miss Swan is so unsettling.


I love how all those parents approved of their kid to have a sleepover with a random new nanny that they haven’t met yet. But I suppose they trust Ms. Russo’s judgment. Ha! Little do they know.


Scary movies and a sleepover. As timeless a combination as any other imaginable 1-2 combo.


The ’90s stylized S in “Best Sleepover” popped me. Hard. My wife teases me that I used to write my name Steve with that S back in the ’90s. Hey, we really thought it was cool back then! Major props to Regina for that subtle nostalgic callback.

My wife is puking right about now, ha!
My wife is puking right about now, ha!


What else made for an epic sleepover back in the ’90s? Why, chugging, of course.


Ah, the prank call. When you were 10, and with your friends, these unethical acts were undoubtedly a crowd pleaser. I can still hear the stifled laughter to this day.


Whether it was Halloween, Friday the 13th, Child’s Play or even Leprechaun, horror movies were a staple of my childhood sleepovers. I like how Regina threw in Vampire Hunter D. I’ll never forget the first anime my old best friend Nelson and I ever watched: Devil Hunter. The unexpected (and excessive) nudity, to my 10 year old eyes back then, was wild.


But the definite MVP of my childhood sleepovers: video games. Just being in a room with 3 (or 10) friends all cheering and yelling, playing late into the early mornings… those were some badass times. Love the nods to Mortal Kombat here.


Last (and possibly least), the random talks we had about girls and crushes. These were always fun 10 minute breaks but I always wanted to get back to my slasher movies and 16-bit video games!


Miss Swan’s evil eyes jump off the page with a very otherworldly glow…


Have I mentioned how much I love the simple effectiveness of these full page chapter breaks?


We come to find out more about the witch’s backstory in a flashback and some exposition.



Love this scene! Plays like how it would in a horror movie. Very cinematic.


Miss Swan’s true form is creepy and demonic. She would be a badass horror movie villain.


Gotta appreciate the Super Soaker shoutout! If you grew up in the early-mid ’90s, you know all about that Super Soaker life!



So I won’t reveal more of the story — you’ll have to read the rest to find out what happens. But I can’t resist sharing this callback. Gamers from the ’90s will know those infamous four words: “RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE!”

That glorious glow beckons like none other
That glorious glow beckons like none other


I remember seeing Altered Beast for the first time circa 1989 at my friend’s house. Tommy and Denny were those two brothers who always got the coolest and latest games first in your gaming group. I was blown away by the graphics and sound.

What a sight to behold in 1989
What a sight to behold in 1989!


“POWER UP!” Two of the most iconic words in gaming history.


You damn right
You damn right

Michael Regina did an excellent job capturing what being a 10 year old boy in 1993 was like. Absolutely nailed it.



In a YouTube video he posted, Michael Regina shares some background info on his graphic novel, The Sleepover. It’s an interesting watch for anyone intrigued by the book.


Regina based a lot of his graphic novel off his very own childhood. They grew up with a nanny also named Ruby who took care of him growing up. Ruby was a huge part of the family.


The Sleepover is dedicated to Ruby. Pretty cool how much of his own childhood experiences were incorporated in the book.




The Sleepover has garnered some high praise, and deservedly so!


Nightmare fuel
Nightmare fuel

Looking for a spooky middle grade graphic novel? Look no further. The premise is simple and straight forward. A group of 10 year old boys face off with a witch demon in an American suburb. They’ll need to rely on their wits, and each other, to survive the night(mare). Michael Regina knocked it out of the park with this one! While a little basic (don’t expect any crazy twists or plot development), it’s just a fun ride from beginning to end, with some genuinely creepy moments sprinkled here and there. If The Sleepover came out when I was 10, I probably would have read it 50 times. I could easily see this being adapted into a NetFlix movie one day. It’s got that sweet early-mid ’90s vibe going for it, as well as being rather Stranger Things-esque. Hard to go wrong with this sucker. I’ll never look at a raven the same way ever again.


Basewood (Alec Longstreth)

Alec Longstreth | March 18. 2014 | 216 pages
Alec Longstreth | March 18. 2014 | 216 pages

When I got back into reading in 2019, I didn’t care at all about graphic novels or comic books. It just wasn’t a medium that interested me. The few graphic novels I did pick up here and there were all in full color, such as Jeff Smith’s Bone series. I had zero interest in black and white comics. Since then, however, I have developed a deep appreciation for black and white comics. There’s something about them that can be very stark and striking, in a way that full color would actually detract from. I recently discovered Basewood, a giant comic book that measures in at a whopping 9×12. I got a free copy last week and devoured it in one sitting!

There's Jeff Smith, creator of the popular Bone series
There’s Jeff Smith, creator of the popular Bone series



I love the full 9×12 pages devoted to each chapter. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous. One of those imaginative worlds you can’t help but dive into and want to stay for a spell or two.


The story revolves around Ben, a man who finds himself mysteriously in the land of Basewood. He has no clue how he got there, and he seems to be the only one inhabiting the land. Having lost memory due to a severe head injury, Ben sets out to fit the pieces of the puzzle together.


It isn’t long before he finds a furry friend. The late evening and heavy downpour creates a very atmospheric opening.


Alec Longstreth’s drawings are simple but detailed and beautiful. It’s a shame he didn’t publish more comics.


This panel gives the reader an idea of just how big Basewood really is, and how daunting it would be to navigate one’s way out. Good luck with that, Ben!


Although Ben can’t remember how he ended up in this isolated place, he hasn’t forgotten his boy scout skills. Unfortunately for him, the fire attracts the local wild life…


It’s a terrible, ravenous wolf dragon!


I love Alec’s decision to add in a little fantasy element. This fantastical antagonist adds a lot of tension and extra depth to the story. Not only is the journey over the cliffs long and arduous, but the wolf dragon is a constant major threat lurking in the background.


We’re soon introduced to the lovable Argus, a hermit who lives deep in the woods with his trusty mutt. He’s a wise old man who knows the land like the back of his hand. He also gives our protagonist someone to converse with to move the story along.


I just love how grizzled and haggard Alec made Argus out to be. If you look closely, his right hand seems to be skeletal. A neat little touch to show that Argus has been through some real shit…


As it turns out, Argus has seen some shit all right as he has history with the terrible beast. He also possesses a heart of gold, gladly offering shelter and companionship to Ben.


Another amazing full page chapter shot. Love it!


Basewood is the kind of comic book that begs to be marveled at. At times I found myself staring at the panels in awe for an extra moment or two. The amount of tiny details that Alec put into it is mind-blowing! I love Argus’ badass treehouse :D


It’s no luxurious 5 star hotel but beggars can’t be choosers. Actually, Argus didn’t do too bad for himself.


Cue the classic flashback expositional scene. One can almost feel the cozy heat of the fire rising out of the panel and seeping into your bones.


Basewood features a few flashback scenes to add depth to each character. This is Argus’ backstory and origin story, if you will.


There is almost a nostalgic quality to Alec’s art. Very cool and pleasing.


You get a strong sense of the small, tight-knit community that Argus and his wife grew up in. A place where no one bothers to lock their doors and lends a helping hand to one and all.


Argus and Violet soon have a baby boy, and all is well.


But naturally, in most stories peace never lasts for long…


You can feel Violet’s terror bleeding off the page. How utterly frightening and hopeless she must have felt :(


Basewood is shockingly more gruesome and disturbing than I ever thought it could or would be. But that only serves to intensify the story as well as build up empathy for our main characters.


I love how not all the pages are uniform in terms of how the panels are arranged. Some of them feature wild back to back shots, like this striking one here. It really amplifies the intensity of the moment and is an absolute marvel to gawk at!


I’m not going to reveal further details of Basewood. I would hate to spoil the rest of the story for anyone, as it’s one of those books that you really should go in blind and enjoy. When I first saw this book, I was hoping it would be something of a hidden gem. I didn’t realize how truly brilliant it would turn out to be!



I relished every single second I spent in the world of Basewood. The art is phenomenal, I love the variety of the panels and the story is so good. It’s a simple story filled with tropes. But you care so much for the characters and the artwork is so stunning that you overlook this. Not every story needs to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a really well told story, even if the framework of it is something you might have seen or read a hundred times before. Basewood is an immersive world full of heart, love, courage, sacrifice, danger and friendship. There isn’t a whole lot of text and the 216 pages can probably be read in around an hour or so, but the time will be well spent. If you have any interest in comic books at all, or if these picture intrigued you in the least, I cannot recommend Basewood highly enough. The ending does feel a little rushed but again, I’m willing to look past that. The journey is so damn fascinating and a wild roller coaster ride, even if Alec didn’t completely stick the landing. At the end of the day, it’s all about how a book makes me feel. And Basewood left an indelible mark on me. It’s one I’m excited to reread over and over in the years to come.


It Came From The Book Store


Since getting back into reading 3 years ago (2019 feels like AGES ago), I’ve been to my fair share of book stores in the surrounding 150 miles or so of my home. I’ve unearthed some amazing gems, ran into nostalgic childhood favorites and discovered some bizarre oddities and fascinating obscurities. Rather than wait to read the whole book and then do a review, I’ve been long meaning to share my random finds in a series of shorter articles entitled IT CAME FROM THE BOOK STORE. I always loved that cheesy old line “It came from so and so,” so I can’t think of a better title for this new series than that! I have thousands of titles to select from, but for my first entry into this brand new series I have to highlight the amazing find I made this past October of 2021. Come with me as I take you back to that fateful day…



In October of 2018, I began dating the woman that would eventually become my wife. We lived 2 hours apart. We alternated weekends driving to each other’s place. Her town had way better book stores than where I live, and that’s how I got back into reading. Fast forward 3 years. October 2021. I visited the Half Price Books in that town and could not believe my eyes when I made my way to their horror section. It was jammed to the gills, packed to the rafters with paperbacks from Hell galore! Someone had apparently unloaded their ENTIRE horror book collection, as upon further examination most of the books had the same old book store stamps from a bygone era. Whoever sold these books to Half Price must have had them stored in the attic or something for the past 30+ years!


Here’s The Midnight Hour by Donald Bacon. Didn’t buy this one because the plot didn’t appeal to me, nor did the many negative reviews. BUT… that gawd damn glorious cover, with the die cut and everything… it’s an all-time classic in terms of horror paperback covers!

Flip it and you see this lovely little scene!
Flip it and you see this lovely little scene!


Richard Laymon is one of my favorite horror writers to have ever lived. Always a blast to run across one of his cooler covers that does not belong to the lame generic Leisure lineup. Here’s Funland, one of his many kooky and crazy horror stories set in a dilapidated rundown amusement park in some podunk beach town.

Somewhere Cyndi Lauper approves
Somewhere Cyndi Lauper approves

Fun fact: Funland was my first 500+ page read of my life. The first of many. Thanks for the memories, Uncle Dicky, and rest in power my man!


J.N. Williamson was another prolific horror writer of the 1980s. I have yet to read any of his work, and word is they’re quite trashy and typically of a lower quality, but it’s hard to talk about “Paperbacks From Hell” without at least giving him a blurb. Just look at those covers. You won’t see anything like that in today’s new horror books. The covers of these old nasties always felt like you were looking at something you shouldn’t be looking at. Very akin to gawking at horror VHS boxes back in the ’80s and early ’90s!

Simple. Effective. Sold!
Simple. Effective. Sold!


And much like cool horror movie boxes, a lot of the times the actual content failed massively to live up to the cover’s awesomeness. Still, there’s no denying that there’s a certain charm behind it all that is now nearly non-existent in today’s world. You might even say… such old relics are Dead to the World


Speaking of horror writers from the ’80s, another big one was William W. Johnstone. I haven’t read one of his books yet but I hear this guy is batshit crazy! His books are very lewd and offensive. And I found a good bunch of them, including his infamous DEVIL series, that fateful day at Half Price.

One of the creepiest covers ever assembled!
One of the creepiest covers ever assembled!
The placement... *chef's kiss*
The text placement… *chef’s kiss*
I gotta read this in 2022
I have to read this in 2022
The attention to the cracked makeup, whoa!
The attention to the cracked makeup, whoa!
Love those old Zebra spines!
Love those old Zebra spines!


One of the cool things about Half Price is that most of their used books are marked half off. Some aren’t, but these books were still a steal at these prices because the old horror paperbacks can command a pretty penny on the open market. Another nice thing is that Half Price shows the date books were processed into the store’s inventory. I was lucky to visit this location not long after they JUST put these vintage babies on the shelf. The more popular items fly off the shelf fast, so a lot of it comes down to being at the right place at the right time! And on that fateful day, I definitely was.


My epic haul!
A trashy killer deer story? I’m SO there

I’m super ecstatic to kick off this brand new IT CAME FROM THE BOOK STORE series with this amazing haul. Some days I go book shopping and come away empty handed. Other days I find a few goodies. But legendary finds like this only come around once in a blue moon! I walked away with so many infamous and beloved horror paperbacks from the ’80s. I’m sure there’s a fair share of stinkers in here, but I got most of them for $3 or so, and it’s hard to beat that! And what a joy to finally write something under 1,000 words and took me less than an hour to produce! You know, I think I’m going to like this series a whole lot. I hope you will, too. Until next time, take good care!

Ancient relics from a bygone era...
Ancient relics from a bygone era…

Die Hard (Roderick Thorp)

Roderick Thorp | January 26, 1989 | 232 pages
Roderick Thorp | January 26, 1989 | 232 pages

It’s often been argued whether or not Die Hard is truly a Christmas movie. It’s been debated and bandied about almost as much as “is a hot dog a sandwich?” If you wanna know my personal opinion, yes to the former and no to the latter. Die Hard is one of the most badass and coolest movies to ever come around. For me, it’s right up there with The Terminator, Predator, Aliens and Back to the Future in terms of epic movies from the 1980s. So when I found out that Die Hard originated as a novel under the title of Nothing Lasts Forever, I had to get my hands on a copy pronto. Of course, you gotta go with the classic movie tie-in edition. I knew it would be next to impossible for the novel to be as awesome as the movie, so the question for me going into reading it was moreso along the lines of “is it in any way, shape or form a decent companion to the movie?” With that in mind, let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane…

Yeah, he wasn't John McClane originally...
Yeah, he wasn’t John McClane originally…



Die Hard roared into theaters on July 15, 1988. The film followed the exploits of John McClane, a one man wrecking crew, as he fights to save his separated wife and countless hostages from the vile clutches of some East German terrorists. Taking place over the course of one wild night (Christmas Eve) and one highly memorable set piece (the fictional Nakatomi Plaza), Die Hard was an action movie for the ages. It launched Bruce Willis into superstardom and had one critic call it “a perfect action movie in every detail, the kind of movie that makes your summer memorable.”


Die Hard was filmed at Fox Plaza in Los Angeles and completed in 1987. Fox Plaza is 35 stories tall (493 feet) and served as the film’s memorable backdrop. Made on a budget of 28 million, Die Hard went on to gross that number five times over for a whopping 128.1 million. It’s crazy to think that the film is close to celebrating its 35th anniversary.


The film worked on so many levels. One of the biggest reasons was the pinpoint portrayal of villainous mastermind, Hans Gruber (one of the best movie villains of all time, up there with the likes of Darth Vader and Michael Myers). Played by Alan Rickman, Gruber’s accent and wicked ways were masterfully memorable.

Good shit
Good shit



The first thing readers will discover, sadly, is that there is no John McClane in this book. Well, there is, but NOT John McClane, if that makes sense. McClane actually goes by Joseph Leland in this book. Not quite the badass name but I digress.


Another difference is Leland and the flight attendant develop a relationship whereas in the movie he remains committed to reconciling with his partner.


I love this description of Los Angeles. It simultaneously captures L.A.’s grime and beauty. “Dirty yellow soup lying heavily in the valleys” is an exceptional line. “At night he felt something eerie in the way the palm trees were silhouetted against the baleful yellow sky” really brings to mind L.A. at night time. It’s too bad then Thorp didn’t have more of these gems as his writing in this book, at times, is a tad clunky.


Stop it, he’s dead. My God. What a scathing diatribe. You can’t help but feel bad for Joe. It’s realistic too, as it’s often been said how being involved in law enforcement is often times difficult on relationships. Sometimes it’s just too hard for the other partner…



Another big difference between the film and the book is the age. McClane is in his 30s whereas Leland is significantly older. That might explain why Frank Sinatr, in his ’70s at that point, originally received the role. And for a book written in 1979, surprisingly there are a few parts that have aged like fine wine. Leland’s perspective on technology and consumerism, for example, is harrowing and quite accurate even when viewed from today’s landscape, well over 40 years later. What that says about society I will leave that up to you to ponder…


I’m glad the part about walking around barefoot was faithfully translated to the big screen. Hollywood definitely didn’t alter that one. It’s such a small moment, but it’s one in which I instantly associate Die Hard with.


The 9:11 part made me feel some kind of way :(


Whether you call him Leland or McClane, he’s still a badass mutha.


Leland tearing this guy a new ass hole is my favorite part of the book. You can just feel the intensity and machismo dripping off the pages.


Just like McClane, Leland does have a bit of a sense of humor. Of course, Bruce Willis took it to the next level. It was good to read the interplay between Leland and Sergeant Powell (AKA Carl Winslow from Family Matters).

Everyone's favorite cop from the '80s and '90s
Everyone’s favorite cop from the ’80s and ’90s


As stated earlier, some of Thorp’s writing is a bit clunky. Take for example the passage above. I know this was written in 1979 but that’s just poor writing in ANY era. My reaction to reading the flight attendant’s comments matched exactly that of the reporter at the end there. “Uh, thank you?”


It *IS* a Christmas movie, damnit!
It *IS* a Christmas movie, damnit!

I came into reading Die Hard with tempered expectations. Rather than being a movie novelization, I knew it was written nearly a decade before Die Hard launched in theaters. Therefore, I knew I would have to adjust to McClane, er, Leland, not being as brilliant as Bruce Willis. Turns out the same should be said for Hans Gruber. He plays a much smaller role in the novel. In the movie however, Alan Rickman really elevated the Gruber character to legendary villain status. Die Hard is definitely a shining example of the movie being a thousand times better than the novel it was based upon. That’s not to say that it was a bad read. It was just OK. I liked it enough for the good parts. And there are some extremely violent descriptions about how Leland takes out the terrorists (some of whom are female by the way). But some parts were way too dull and/or written poorly. At certain points, part of me just wanted to throw the movie on and throw the book out. But I persisted to the end. It was a very uneven reading experience. Some good parts mixed in with some bad ones. Now I hesitate to read the two sequels, but I digress. A belated merry Christmas and happy new year! Let’s hope 2022 will be good to us all.