Sunday, November 29, 2015

Currently Reading

Some of you know that my favorite comics are early to mid-70s Marvel. I picked up a couple of cool collections within the last month, but time has been in short supply, so I’ve just been picking at them. With Thanksgiving out of the way, I plan to dig deeply into both.

The Man-Thing book is the first volume of a series collecting Steve Gerber’s work on the swamp monster. Gerber was wildly original, and even early in the book you can watch him crank up the crazy. During this period, Marvel published out a lot of books with the only the lightest editorial interference, leading to an anything-can-happen vibe. This is most apparent in Gerber’s work.

The other book is the massive Werewolf by Night Omnibus, an oversized thick tome (over 1100 pages) collecting the horror/superhero series. A variety of writers worked on this, Doug Moench being one of the best and the one who stuck around the longest. The early issues have terrific Mike Ploog art (he’s also in the Man-Thing collection, and worked on early Ghost Rider and The Monster of Frankenstein for Marvel). I also have a real fondness for the art of Don Perlin. He stuck around Marvel for a long time and did solid work on Ghost Rider.

So excuse me while I plug in the lava lamp and travel back to the early 70s, when gas was cheap and so were the comics.

Monday, November 23, 2015

I Taste Like Turkey

At least Archie thinks so.

Or maybe I taste like Little Friskies. Or butt.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Work News

Thanks to the readers of The (Ashland, KY) Daily Independent for the award I’m holding above.

I love what I do for a living, and I also know that these votes were for the show, not for me, so I share this with Jim Forrest, MJ McKay, Tim “Fig” Carper and Justin Credible, all good broadcasters and good friends

Friday, October 23, 2015

Writing Update

With the erratic nature of my schedule (and other issues over the last few years) I’ve decided not to make any predictions or premature announcements about my writing.

Having delivered that disclaimer, I can say the writing is going well on the new horror novel. If things stay on track, I hope to have this finished around Thanksgiving. Typing “The End” and following it up with mashed potatoes and dressing would be a powerful combination.

Also, there’s movement on another project. It’s actually an old one, but by the time it’s published it will be new again. Is that cryptic enough?

I should be able to announce something here right around the first of the year.

Keep your fingers crossed. I’m hoping for good things in 2016.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Black Bat Audio

 Black Bat Mystery Vol. One, new stories of the classic pulp hero, is now available as an audiobook. I’m one of the writers in this edition. You can click here for four action-packed pulp adventures.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Bye-Bye, Boehner

(originally published in the Ashland Beacon)

In case you didn’t hear the news, Boehner resigned.

It was a pretty big surprise. Everyone knew the pressure he was under. We just didn’t realize how badly he wanted out.

Hambone Boehner spent nearly 20 years as the activities director at The Possum Ranch, the best gentleman’s club in Argillite. Until last Friday.

There are quite a few rumors going around about why he quit. Was it a coincidence that his departure coincided with the visit of a prominent dignitary? 

Philomena “Floppy Philly” DeMarco is the largest exotic dancer in the world, tipping the scales at seven and a half bills. The fact that she was doing one show at The Possum Ranch was the buzz of the community. When the tractor trailer emblazoned with the Floppy Philly logo pulled up in the gravel parking lot of The Possum Ranch, Hambone Boehner was the first to rush outside to greet it.

He was overheard asking the driver, “Is this trailer full of all her costumes?”

“Naw,” the driver said. “Her stuff is in a van about a mile behind me. This trailer is for hauling her.”

As activities director, Hambone normally made out the dancer’s schedules, supervised the checkers tournament and paid the hospital bills of Papaw Hymerdinger after he made inappropriate comments to Moose, one of star dancers at The Possum Ranch. That was usually twice a month.

Hosting Philomena “Floppy Philly” DeMarco was the biggest thing Hambone Boehner had ever been involved with. To mark the occasion, he was dressed to the nines, including the tuxedo he inherited from his uncle Stoney “Stone Face” Boehner, who’d been an undertaker at Diggley’s Funeral Home (“Put ‘Em in the Ground for No Money Down!”) back in the 50s. It fit a little snug, so much so that the button popped right above the cummerbund and a large patch of hairy pale flesh was visible.

Witnesses say he was trembling a little as he approached the back of the trailer. Word had it that Hambone wanted a raise from Big Ethel, the owner of The Possum Ranch, and if he pulled off the Floppy Philly show, his star would be on the rise.

The driver rushed around to open the trailer and lower a ramp. They say the squeak of those shock absorbers could be heard all the way to Quincy. A large form stepped slowly down the ramp. As she came into view, onlookers report that the sun itself was blocked by her size. No one got a good look at Philomena “Floppy Philly” DeMarco, since she was covered in a large hooded robe that could have clothed an NFL team. The driver and Hambone Boehner hurried her to the back entrance of the club, if by “hurried” we mean “moved like a snail on Nyquil”.

While we may only speculate as to what was going through the mind of Hambone on that most auspicious of dates, the events of that night were witnessed by most of the town.

It was easily the biggest crowd in the history of The Possum Ranch, even bigger than the Mac-n-Cheese Wrestling Tournament of 2012. Even the wives of regulars showed up. After all, it’s not often that you get a chance to see a famous 750-pound dancer in action.

Hambone Boehner had planned for everything. He had extra beer, extra folding chairs from the VFW, 200 pounds of pork rinds and a large sound system he rented from his nephew’s heavy metal band, Dissected Frog Croaks.

There was one thing he overlooked. And you really can’t blame him.

The stage at The Possum Ranch was structurally sound, having been reinforced with good American steel to support the pounding it regularly received from the club’s plus-size dancers. However, no one thought to test it for the likes of the mammoth Philomena “Floppy Philly” DeMarco.

The music began, and the beats of “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" filled The Possum Ranch.

The curtains parted wider than ever, and out stepped Floppy Philly in her size XXXXXXXXL G-string and pasties the size of 18-inch pizzas. She took one step toward the audience before the stage collapsed and she disappeared from view.

One observer noted, “It was like the Earth just opened up and swallowed her whole, which was kind of confusing since she was approximately the size of the Earth.”

After the patrons were evacuated, Hambone Boehner was seen entering the office of Big Ethel where he presumably tendered his resignation.

Meanwhile, Big Ethel hopes to have Philomena “Floppy Philly” DeMarco excavated from the cavern beneath The Possum Ranch by this weekend. The equipment has to be to special ordered. The dancers are tossing pork rinds down the hole to keep Floppy Philly alive.

As for the former activities director, word on the street says that Hambone Boehner has a new spray tan and he’s considering getting into politics.

We wish him well.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

The New Guy

This is Archie, choosing last night’s viewing.

He’s the latest addition to the family, having moved in on September 22nd. Today, he’s almost 16 weeks old.

It’s been 20 years since we’ve had a kitten in the house, and he’s already earned the nickname The Black Tornado. He’s constantly on the move: jumping and climbing and rolling and flying from one piece of furniture to the other.

He never stops. Until he does. Then he lapses into a kitten coma for 20 minutes, until he suddenly explodes into wakefulness, ready to explore this new and exciting world again.

At this point he’s all ears and eyes and one very long tail, leading us to believe he’s going to be a big boy in a few months. He consumes any kind of food left unattended, like some sort of roaming furry garbage disposal.

Callie and Sabrina, our two older cats, divide their time between hating him or fearing him or being confused by him. For his part, Archie is constantly jumping on them, trying, I think, to get up a good game of tag.

If I sit down to read or stretch out on the couch, a purring Archie instantly appears, climbing on me, demanding a spot to nap, some soft stroking and, occasionally, a finger to nibble on.

We only have a short time to enjoy this phase of Archie, the tiny dervish, filled with wonder and searching for adventure. I want to experience as much of it as I can.