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The latest books and literature reviews, comment, features and interviews, with extracts from famous texts and neglected gems.

Marvel Are Turning Comics Upside Down With Gender And Race Swaps

THERE’S no two-ways about it – comics have been a bit white, male and hetero. Of course, that isn’t entirely the case, but chances are, your favourite superhero is a straight white guy.

However, everything is turning on its head. Iron Man is getting a new silver suit for a kick off. Okay, that’s not interesting. How about this – Thor is now a woman. It isn’t Thorette or Thorita. Thor is now a woman. About time there was another female leading role in comicsville.

And now, Captain America is red, white and blue… and black.

 

 

Captain America Falcon Marvel Are Turning Comics Upside Down With Gender And Race Swaps

 

Marvel announced that Captain America’s mantle will be taken over by his long-time pal, the Falcon, the soaring superdude from Harlem (who is normally called Sam Wilson).

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Posted: 17th, July 2014 | In: Books, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


JK Rowling Thinks Phone Hackers Are ‘Dicks’

AFTER the mind-melting success of the Harry Potter books, JK Rowling is able to do as she pleases. She’s clearly still got a huge love for writing and, as we know, she’s got balls bigger than Godzilla.

So, in her next novel, she’s decided to have a go at those responsible for phone-hacking.

Rowling’s second crime thriller (which is written under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith) will use her own experiences under oath at the Leveson Inquiry after she suffered at the hands of press intrusion.

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Posted: 1st, July 2014 | In: Books, Celebrities | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Kill The Toff: The Prolific John Creasey And His Class Act

Kill The Toff 1951 Kill The Toff: The Prolific John Creasey And His Class Act

Kill The Toff first published in 1950

 

THE Toff, or to give him his proper name, the Honourable Richard Rollison, was the creation of the novelist John Creasey and first appeared in the tuppenny weekly crime magazine in 1933. The first novel ‘Introducing the Toff’ appeared in 1938. There were eventually fifty-seven books in the series the last of which, ‘The Toff and the Dead Man’s Finger’ wasn’t published until five years after the author died in 1973.

Fifty-seven novels is a lot of writing (Creasey occasionally published six Toffs in just one year) but actually it was just a fraction of Creasey’s output who, according to his publisher, is the 6th or 7th most prolific writer of all time.

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Posted: 30th, June 2014 | In: Books, Flashback, Key Posts | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Abnormal Tales: 33 Vintage Lesbian Paperbacks From the 50s And 60s

“TWISTED”, “Depraved”, “Warped” – these are words often found on the covers of sleazy lesbian paperbacks of the 1950s and 60s. Anything other than “normal” heterosexuality was seen as shameful and deviant. Yet, the populace gobbled up these lesbian tales by the truckload… it was sinful to practice, but evidently okay to read and fantasize about.

Here, for your vulgar amusement, are 33 covers of sinful tales of women who love women (the horror!). I’ve divided them up into 3 categories. Just because it’s filth, doesn’t mean we can’t keep it organized.

 

1. ABNORMAL TALES
Lesbianism is an abnormality, a sickness. Somebody call a doctor!

 

lesbian paperback 4 Abnormal Tales: 33 Vintage Lesbian Paperbacks From the 50s And 60s

 

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Posted: 30th, June 2014 | In: Books, Flashback | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


1940s Pre-Code Comic Book Horrors And Dr Wertham’s 1954 Seduction of the Innocent

 

seduction of the innocent 2 1940s Pre Code Comic Book Horrors And Dr Werthams 1954 Seduction of the Innocent

 

“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written.”

- Oscar Wilde

 

Dr. Wertham’s 1954 book, Seduction of the Innocent, was an American bestseller – it tapped into the fears of parents from sea to shining sea and led to the a frenzy of censorship in the comic book world.  The irony, however, is that the book was so poorly researched, that much of its content was simply made up.  Of course, the public didn’t give a baker’s f**k about facts, and Seduction of the Innocent became a sensation.

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Posted: 29th, June 2014 | In: Books, Flashback, Key Posts | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Terrifying Quiz From 1987 Evangelical Book ‘How to Raise ‘Purfect’ Kids’

IN 1987, John Ray Bohlen taught parents how to raise children in his guide How to Raise ‘Purfect’ Kids. You can read more of his wisdom on the Great Commission Ministries Website.

He writes:

In this day when juvenile delinquency is rampant and broken homes are rife, here is a safe, sure, and sane —– guaruntee from God!!! Here are practical Kingdom principles on how to raise perfect children written by a couple who did!!!

In these pages, meet Joey, Kari, Dawn Joy, and Josh. They are fun loving, people loving and God loving! They are obediant, but creative; righteous but not religious; rrespectful, but not restrained.

John has yet to write a book on spelling, but he is massively popular (it says here):

John Bohlen is a person of unquestioned integrity who has dedicated his life to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. John’s message about “The King’s Greatest Secret” has blessed many throughout the United States, and his books are in great demand in Africa as well as in the United States.

 

Does it work? Well, look at his kids:

Screen shot 2014 06 22 at 09.43.33 Terrifying Quiz From 1987 Evangelical Book How to Raise Purfect Kids

 

 

Spotter: Christian Nightmares

 

Posted: 22nd, June 2014 | In: Books, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Peter Tork’s Dairy Erotica On Acid: A Look Inside The March 1971 ‘TEEN magazine

P00001 Peter Torks Dairy Erotica On Acid: A Look Inside The March 1971 ‘TEEN magazine

 

THERE’S no better insight into the teenage girl psyche than those ubiquitous teen magazines. So, let’s step into the mind of early Seventies teenyboppers and take a look at the March 1971 issue of ‘TEEN magazine.  It’s chock full groovy advertising and advice, fashion and feminine hygiene. Within its glorious pages we’ll find a plethora of mini-skirts, a cry for the whereabouts of Peter Tork, and how to look fabulous in the jungles of Vietnam.  Come take a look!

 

 

DYE ADVERT – MAY CAUSE ACID FLASHBACK

 

P00039 Peter Torks Dairy Erotica On Acid: A Look Inside The March 1971 ‘TEEN magazine

 

This tie-dye painting in combination with that wallpaper is causing a bit of a sensory overload.  While I’m sure that wall is nice while gobbling up psychedelics, it would be migraine inducing on a daily basis.

 

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Posted: 6th, June 2014 | In: Books, Flashback, Key Posts, The Consumer | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Lifesurfing: Your Horoscope Forecast Guide 2015 – Monthly Forecasts Of Uncanny Precision

victor olliver Lifesurfing: Your Horoscope Forecast Guide 2015   Monthly Forecasts Of Uncanny Precision

 

SUCH a joy to be back among you, especially given the egregious state of blogging these days. I can but do my best, permitting you a glimpse of Arcati’s ancient soul which bubbles with spite and acuity and long memory, though I dress it all up in a sage’s garb and vocabulary of daunting endowment.

Yes, I shall be publishing a naked Prince Harry artwork – by a former mayor (only the best on Arcati). But before that exciting controversy, I wish to do what we all do these days – and offer you my ass.

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Posted: 23rd, May 2014 | In: Books | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


‘We Go To The Gallery’: Enjoy Miriam Elia’s Twisted Spoof On The Peter & Jane Books

peter and jane We Go To The Gallery: Enjoy  Miriam Elias Twisted Spoof On The Peter & Jane Books

‘WE Go To The Gallery’ is artist Miriam Elia’s twist on Ladybird children’s books Peter & Jane.

Miriam Elia cover We Go To The Gallery: Enjoy  Miriam Elias Twisted Spoof On The Peter & Jane Books

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Posted: 16th, May 2014 | In: Books, Key Posts | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Attack Of The A-Frame: The Design Virus That Spanned Decades

A Frame 5 Attack Of The A Frame: The Design Virus That Spanned Decades

 

THERE’S only a finite number of ways you can arrange a canvas.  Naturally, there’s going to be some patterns that emerge, and certain motifs will be copied and repeated to oblivion within the pop art landscape.  An artful conception will suddenly be mimicked on comic book covers to movie posters to paperbacks to album covers, and it will continue for decades.

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Posted: 13th, May 2014 | In: Books, Film, Flashback, Key Posts | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Philippe Petit: ‘Our Senses Are Being Controlled By Technology

PA 4472926 Philippe Petit: Our Senses Are Being Controlled By Technology

 

PHILIPPE Petit Is talking to the New York Times about his new book  Creativity: The Perfect Crime. It begins:  “Make no mistake. I frown upon books about creativity.”Is talking to the New York Times about his new book  Creativity: The Perfect Crime. It begins:  “Make no mistake. I frown upon books about creativity.”

 Most books on creativity are written by an author who references all the great creators of humanity — very often Einstein, the Beatles. They’re not drawing from themselves, and these books are usually in the self-help department. And very often, at the end of a chapter, they have an exercise for you to do. I don’t frown upon them; let’s be frank, I hate them.

On his wire-walking:

…two years ago in Washington Square Park. I put a little rope between two trees, and I improvised. If a leaf fell from a tree, I’d stop juggling and play with the leaf. I went to my prop bag and got a little bandage and stuck the leaf back on the tree. People loved it.

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Posted: 10th, May 2014 | In: Books, Celebrities | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Game Of Thrones: George RR Martin On Nazis, Borrowing Shakespeare And His Moral Code

 

PA 11200264 Game Of Thrones: George RR Martin On Nazis, Borrowing Shakespeare And His Moral Code

Author George R.R. Martin appears at a book signing for “A Dance with Dragons” at Barnes & Noble in New York, Thursday, July 14, 2011. HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” based on RR Martin’s epic fantasy novels, was nominated for an Emmy for best drama series on Thursday. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

 

GAME of Thrones author George RR Martin has been talking to Rolling Stone:

“Ideas are cheap. I have more ideas now than I could ever write up. To my mind it’s the execution that is all-important. I’m proud of my work, but I don’t know if I’d ever claim it’s enormously original. You look at Shakespeare, who borrowed all of his plots. In A Song of Ice and Fire I take stuff from the Wars of the Roses and other fantasy things, and all these things work around in my head and somehow gel into what I hope is uniquely my own. I don’t know where it comes from, yet it comes — it’s always come.

“If I was a religious guy I’d say it’s a gift from God, but I’m not, so I can’t say that.”

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Posted: 4th, May 2014 | In: Books | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Al Feldstein, 1925–2014: The Great Editor Of MAD Magazine

RIP L Feldstein: editor of the once great MAD magazine.

 

PA 19699027 Al Feldstein, 1925–2014: The Great Editor Of MAD Magazine

In this 1972 file photo, “Mad” magazine Editor Al Feldstein, center, sits with Art Director John Putnam, left, and a freelancer named Jack, at the magazine’s New York headquarters. Feldstein, whose 28 years at the helm of Mad transformed the satirical magazine into a pop culture institution, died Tuesday, April 29, 2014. He was 88. (AP Photo/Jerry Mosey, File)

 

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Posted: 1st, May 2014 | In: Books, Flashback | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Wonderful London Review of Books Personal Ads, Curated By David Rose

the book lover 1897 The Wonderful London Review of Books Personal Ads, Curated By David Rose

The Book Lover — Frantisek Kupka

 

DAVID Rose created a ‘love sought’ section for the London Review of Books. Rose was the organ’s advertising director when he developed the personals section in 1998. Lovelorn literary types wrote in. The very first classified ad went:

“Disaffiliated flâneur, jacked-up on Viagra and on the look-out for a contortionist trumpeter.”

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Posted: 29th, April 2014 | In: Books | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

THE sad truth is, nonfiction garbage is hard to come by.  Libraries regularly cull their shelves, ridding the world of their outdated and tacky tomes.  Plus, how many people are going to display any one of these books in their home library and endure the subsequent deep and abiding shame?  Not many.  So, they end up on the trash heap, gone forever…. That is, until someone like me resurrects them (at least their covers) for your viewing enjoyment.  You’re welcome. 

 

1972 TFH Book Dog Horoscopes Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

Dog Horoscopes (1972)

 

Your Horoscope for Today:  With Venus moving into gentle Pisces this week, you will feel a distinct urge to dry hump human legs.  You may even decide to accept a friend’s invitation to smell his/her anus.  The afternoon and evening brings the possibility of lots of indoor pooping. 

 

nonfiction 1 Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

How To Heal The Sick, Cast Out Devils And Still Go To Hell by R. W. Schambach (1976)

 

This book is fine, but I’m more interested in the companion volume: How To Live Selfishly, Enjoy Pornography, And Still Go To Heaven.

 

Enduring Poles by Natsolim aka Harry Milostan 1977 Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

Enduring Poles by Natsolim (1977)

 

Finally, a guide to enduring those insufferable Polish people.

 

SUBLIMINAL SEDUCTION WILSON BRYAN KEY FIRST PRINTING 1974 Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

Subliminal Seduction by Wilson Bryan Key (1974)

 

“Are you being sexually aroused by this picture?”

If your answer is “yes”, I think it owes more to your debilitating alcohol addiction than any advertising trickery.  Is this orange rind supposed to remind me of a flaccid and dismembered sex organ?  If so, then I am most definitely not aroused…. nor will I be for quite some time thanks to this.

 

More Lives Than One by Jeffrey Iverson 1977 Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

More Lives Than One? by Jeffrey Iverson (1977)

 

In every life this woman was prone to staring blankly upward.  Nutty theories like this were rampant in the 1970s, here’s another…

 

sbs Helping Yourself With White Witchcraft Al Manning 1972 Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

Helping Yourself With White Witchcraft by Al Manning (1972)

 

Among the many promises offered on the back:

How to use rituals and spells to attract money and prosperity!
How to use rituals and spells to attract and hold a lover!
How to ward off the Evil Eye and protect yourself against Secret Psychic Attack!

It says that the author was an accountant before he flaked out.  Personally, it’s hard for me to take a witch or warlock seriously with those kinds of credentials.

“Morgan La Fey, Enchantress, Tax Professional and Financial Advisor” just doesn’t work.  Neither does “Angmar the Witch King, C.P.A.”

 

Creative Firing Chester Burger 1974 Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

Creative Firing by Chester Burger (1974)

 

In which we learn how to fire people via poetry or haiku.  Especially interesting is the chapter on creating beautiful watercolor paintings of nature scenes… all signed “you’re fired”, of course.

 

nonfiction 2 Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

It Hurts So Bad, Lord! by Andrew D. Lester (1976)

 

Yeesh.  This is just awkward.  Let’s move on…

 

Amanda Stewart SEX THERAPIST MY STORY 1st Printing Ace 1975 Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

Sex Therapist: My Story by Amanda Stewart (1975)

 

“Are the new sex therapists part of the legitimate medical community – or are they prostitutes?”

What in the ever lovin’ f**k?  Was this really a question?  I can understand if there was a healthy skepticism about this new profession; however, it seems a stretch to speculate that it entailed having sex for money. (But if it is true, I hope it’s not too late for me to make a drastic career change.)

 

RIPLEYS BELIEVE IT OR NOT 19th Series 1st Printing 1972 Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not 19th Series (1972)

 

“Is she the bearded lady, or is she part porcupine, or what? [see back cover]”

Ummm.… why in the name of all this holy would you ever think she is the bearded lady?  For the curious, the back cover reads:

  “What she has on her face are ordinary toothpicks broken in half; for some reason, a light touch makes them cling.  Believe it… or Not!”

 

How to Really Love Your Child by Ross Campbell 1977 Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

How to Really Love Your Child by Ross Campbell (1977)

 

We know you’ve been faking it for a long time.  Now, it’s time to learn how to really love that brat.  And once you’ve figured that out, it’s on to that spouse of yours…

 

1970 Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

How To Live With A Neurotic Wife by Stephen Baker (1970)

 

Well, it certainly makes things a lot easier if your wife happens to be a stone cold fox…

 

neurotic wife2 Tomes Of Shame: Awful Nonfiction From The 1970s

 

The back cover reads “The author and his (non-neurotic) wife.”

First of all, Stephen Baker obviously used Al Manning’s White Witchcraft to make this happen (there can be on other explanation).  Second, I’m not thrilled with his cocky grin.  We know you did well for yourself, Stephen.  No need to gloat.

Posted: 28th, April 2014 | In: Books, Key Posts | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Inside Scarfolk: An Interview With The Mayor Of Dystopia UK, Richard Littler

 Children and hallucinogens Inside Scarfolk: An Interview With The Mayor Of Dystopia UK, Richard Littler

 

IF you’ve visited Richard Littler’s Scarfolk, you will have come away with a feeling of how life was in mid-20th Century Britain. Scarfolk is a dystopian town in the North-West of England gripped by fear of witches, children, babies and salad.

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Posted: 25th, April 2014 | In: Books, Key Posts | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Tormented And Alone: The Neurotic Dreams Of The Ladies Of Romance Comics

 ex rom 28 09 resize Tormented And Alone: The Neurotic Dreams Of The Ladies Of Romance Comics

 

READING old romance comic books is like slipping into the subconscious mind of the mid-century female. It was a time when their entire well-being and happiness revolved around dumb men; when every single action and decision was predicated on pleasing oblivious males.  Thus, in comic after comic, with rarely an exception, you have the requisite scene of the beautiful female lying in bed pining desperately over some clueless oaf.

 

4 4 2012 8 26 16 PM Tormented And Alone: The Neurotic Dreams Of The Ladies Of Romance Comics

 

No doubt, it’s still pretty common for females to fantasize over men.  Women’s Lib made great strides towards creating a more level playing field, but it didn’t do away with human nature.  To a certain extent, the cliché is a timeless truth: girls will be girls, and boys will be boys.

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Posted: 24th, April 2014 | In: Books, Flashback, Key Posts | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Gabriel García Márquez 1927-2014

RIP Gabriel García Márquez, 1927-2014:

 

Gabriel Garcia Marquez Gabriel García Márquez 1927 2014

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Posted: 17th, April 2014 | In: Books, Celebrities, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0