Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

Heavy Metal Magazine

Heavy Metal Issue 1 cover

Heavy Metal magazine is mentioned pretty early on in Ready Player One (page 82) and I knew I would be hard pressed to get a hold of any issues let alone all of them to read through so here is a little overview of what this magazine was all about.

Started in 1977, Heavy Metal is a science-fiction and fantasy based collection of comics and stories that was released monthly. Unlike the comic books of the time that were regulated by the Comics Code Authority, Heavy Metal allowed for adult and explicit content within its pages.

The magazine was originally an official licensed American version of the Parisian magazine Metal Hurlant which featured the same things that Heavy Metal continues to publish to this day. American audiences weren’t used to the more European pieces of art and the underground comix (small satirical and self published comics common in Europe). This became a way to introduce America to a variety of different media that they would t otherwise see on the news stands.

But it was definitely meant for adults. Often featuring explicit imagery and cartoons, Heavy Metal became known for its bright full-color and glossy pages filled with photography, comics and short stories which spawned two feature films one that followed various storylines from several issues connected by one theme and a second that was its own story.

There are also several video games based on the magazine and they now own their own podcast network! Every other week you can find the latest episode of Heavy Metal Magazine: The Podcast and well as the full production podcast WonderWerk wherever you listen to podcasts. Both feature stories from Heavy Metal magazines along with lots of fan based hilarity and passion.

There are a lot of other podcasts as well that the network hosts including Pumpkin Spice Podcast (a comedy horror podcast), Putting the Science in Science Fiction (explore the line where science and science-fiction collide with hosts Heavy Metal CEO Matthew Medney, aerospace engineer John Connelly, and Benjamin Dickow of Columbia Space Center talk to experts on the subject), and even The TV Show Show (all about pop culture and tv!).

I think it is amazing that Heavy Metal is still around today. It really bridges the gap of what is considered comic, art, or explicit content. The meshing of a lot of those things is what makes a lot of people really think. Plus a good science-fiction based comic is always good in my book.

Featuring different artists, styles, stories and media there is most likely something for everyone in the pages… but makes sure you are 18+ before venturing into the pages of this awesome and slightly trippy magazine or anything that is based on its content.

We here at Gunters, Games, and Gold are not responsible for anyone consuming content they are not ready for.

.

.

If you want to purchase Heavy Metal Magazine you can at: Heavy Metal Magazine

If you want to listen to Heavy Metal: the Podcast or WonderWerk or any of the other podcasts on the Heavy Metal Podcast Network we recommend listening on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts!

.

.

Sources for our information above:

Heavy Metal Article on Wikipedia (yes we do look at Wikipedia and it’s linked sources!)

Posted in Blog Posts, LOTR, Week of Love

Romeo and Juliet, by Shakespeare: a Play review

Synopsis:

“Two households, both alike in dignity

(In fair Verona, where we lay our scene)

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny

Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

From forth the fatal loins of these two foes

A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;

Whose misadventured piteous overthrows

Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife

The fearful passage of their death-marked love

And the continuance of their parents’ rage,

Which, but their children’s ends, naught could remove,

Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;

The which, if you with patient ears attend,

What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.”

-Act 1, Scene 1, Romeo and Juliet

General Information:

-Genre: Romantic Tragedy, Tragedy

-Author: Shakespeare

-Number of Words: 24,545 (around 170 pages or so in modern printing)

-Characters: Romeo Montague, Juliet Capulet, Prince Escalus, Count Paris, Mercutio, Capulet, Lady Capulet, Tybalt, The Nurse, Rosaline, Montague, Lady Montague, Benvolio, Friar Laurence, Friar John, Peter, Sampson, Gregory, Abram, Balthasar, An Apothecary, A Chorus

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library!

-Page of Reference in RP1: 174

Review (contains spoilers):

One of my favorites of Shakespeare’s plays.  This is the classic tragedy almost everyone had to read in high school but this one sticks with you and changes as you age.

When I first read it I did identify a little with Juliet.  Her family seems quite harsh and the idea of two families feuding is insane. But I did think the pair were a little crazy.  It was not as many say #couplesgoals.

The older I get the more I see how much this show was meant as a warning, as many of Shakespeare’s tragedies were.  The story is that of woe, and heartbreak, and the consequences that overreach what you may think the decision you made would have had.

If you cannot grasp the language on the page (it is sometimes hard to read and ive taken classes to study it) then I recommend watching one of a million different versions.  One of my favorites is the version that uses the Bard’s actual language but set it in LA during a gang war- Romeo and Juliet with Claire Danes and Leonardo DeCaprio.  West Side Story is another wonderful retelling if you like musicals…though the ending was changed because Maria dying too was deemed too tragic. 

Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by P. Craig Russel: a Graphic Novel Review

Synopsis:

When young Coraline and her parents move into a new apartment she starts to explore the surrounding area and visits the neighbors.  Everyone seems nice but Coraline soon becomes bored, even more so when it rains so hard that she isn’t able to go outside.

While exploring her own house she finds a door that leads to no where having been bricked up to turn the sprawling manor house into individual units.  When she is awoken in the middle of the night to find the door not only open, but no longer bricked up, she enters the hall to find herself in a house similar to her own only better.

More and better toys, food she likes better, and better neighbors.  With another mother and another father…just like hers but not really. 

What will Coraline do when she is asked to stay by the Other Mother?  And is the house…the better house…all that it seems?

General Information:

-Genre: Dark Fantasy Graphic Novel

-Author/Illustrator: Neil Gaiman with illustrations by P. Craig Russel

-Number of Pages: 192

-Main Characters: Coraline, Mother, Father, The Other Mother

-Where to Read: Look for it at your local booksellers (often they can order items that are not in stock), or check for it at your local library (like I did!)

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Beautifully illustrated and rendered, this graphic novel edition of Gaiman’s classic Coraline is absolutely lovely.  The story is not lost in the art.  And while the story is quite dark (suitable for older children but younger children may be bothered by some of the imagery) the illustrations are anything but gory or overly graphic.

My first experience with Coraline was with the movie adaptation done by Laika film studio.  You can see my review of it here:

I was pleased to find that the story hadn’t been changed much.

This graphic novel form of the story is so wonderfully done that it makes an excellent edition to the novella.  It not only enhances the story but makes it accessible to more people.

I love that more and more novels and novellas are being turned into graphic novels. There are many people who struggle to read novels for various reasons and having graphic novels or audiobooks of these makes them more accessible.

And this one shows how art and story telling can go hand in hand.

The illustrations capture the essence of the book.  Sweet and not startling.  Just creepy enough to be on the dark side of fantasy but not too graphic…as the story is intended for children.  Coraline is an inquisitive child who is learning that her parents don’t always have time to keep her entertained.  They seem unattentive from her point of view.  Yet she grows to realize that they love her deeply and that she loves them too.

She learns to use her kindness to help others and save the future from the Other Mother. Her cunning and her quick wit keep the story interesting and charming.

Overall an enjoyable read and a lovely graphic novel.

Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, by Stephen King: a Novella Review

Synopsis:

Around a year after their parents’ divorce, nine-year-old Trisha and fourteen-year-old Pete are in the custody of their mother.  She tries to keep her kids entertained with family trips on the weekend.  But Pete is far from happy about the situation and this often ends in total blowups between himself and his mother.  Arguments that Trisha is getting annoyed hearing over and over again.

As they head out on one of their family trips, this time a hike on a six mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail, the argument between Pete and his mother continue.  Trisha is beyond annoyed.  As she tries to get her mother’s attention so she can get everyone to stop so she can go to the bathroom neither her mother nor her brother hear her.  In a bout of childhood irritation, she decides to just step off the path to relieve herself.  How far ahead could they really get?

As she returns in the direction, she remembers the trail is in, Trisha soon realizes that she may be in serious trouble.  The path is no where to be seen.  As she tries to figure out where she should be going the day drags on and she has to resign herself to the fact that not only is she terribly lost but she may have to spend the night outside in the woods.

With only her Walkman for company Trisha is lost.  As she tries to make her way back to civilization, she turns to her favorite Red Sox player, Tom Gordon, for company and strength.  As the days wear on though she cannot shake the feeling she is being watched.  Will Trisha make it home?  Or will It get her deep in the heart of the New England wilds?

General Information:

-Genre: Psychological Horror, Survival

-Author: Stephen King

-Number of Pages: 224

-Where to Read: check at your local bookseller (they can often order items that are not in stock), find it on audiobook, or check out your local library for a copy

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

A quick read, especially when it comes to the works of Stephen King.  I wouldn’t consider it horror by any means though it is labeled as such.  I decided to also categorize it as a survival story as it seems to fit more with several of the novels I’ve read in the last year that are in that genre (surviving plane crashes or blizzards, being lost a sea, etc.)

The story follows that of a little girl who gets lost in the woods.  A seemingly common thing when someone steps off the path especially along the larger and more dangerous stretches of trails like that in the Pacific Northwest or, in this case, the Appalachian wilderness.  The most frustrating part is that it was all preventable if only her mother had paid more attention to her daughter while hiking an unfamiliar trail with a moderate to difficult rating.

The story seems a bit unbelievable for more modern times, as the young girl (aged 9) has a skill set that isn’t taught often anymore.  She knows some foods that are safe and scvangable in the New England wilds.  Some of this was taught in school and others were taught by her mother.  Now it seems that we would only learn these items if our children participated in something like Boy or Girl Scouts or showed a genuine interest in the great outdoors.  Most families today don’t even go hiking on the weekends, let alone teach general survival skills to their children.

Overall, the story is good.  One of a young child, lost in the woods and struggling to survive.  She makes choices, some good and some bad, that even adults often cannot when stuck in similar situations.  But she is a child and therefore some of the things she chooses to do seem more adult and mature that what a typical nine-year-old (even in the 1980s) would chose to do.

Or perhaps I’m just looking at things through a modern lens where we don’t have this knowledge.  Our schools are different.  Our parents work too hard and don’t often have the time to teach their children any of this information (or even know these things themselves).

Frankly the premise of a nine-year-old knowing a lot of this information is kind of out there.  It may have been more convincing if the girl and her brother were closer in age (say her brother being 16 instead of 14 and she herself being 14 instead of 9) where she and her brother may have been exposed to scouting, family camping trips, general exploration and even her own interests.  But for a young child whose only real obsession is that of the Red Sox this just feels contrived.

King does, however, capture the eerie and creepy feeling of a mind who is going slightly feral.  Between the starvation (as she doesn’t know a lot but enough to not die) and being sick, sunstroke and the general fear of being alone and lost, King does touch on how your mind can play tricks on you in this context.  And while I wouldn’t categorize this as horror, the idea that our brains can go into a survival mode turning what would be considered by the rational mind as normal such as animal activity and death, claw marks on trees from bears and general trouble in the woods into something completely sinister and slightly paranormal is disconcerting.

A decent story but nothing that I would commend King on.  If you enjoy survival stories you will enjoy this.

Review:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King: an Illustrated Short Story review

Synopsis:

Late one cold January night, it begins.  An attack on a lone man, trapped in a shack along the railroad tracks.  And so goes the year…the cycle of the Werewolf… as one tiny town suffers the fate of a creature whose bloodlust cannot be satisfied.

General Information:

-Genre: Horror 

-Author/Illustrator: Stephen King, illustrated by Berni Wrightston

-Number of Pages: 128 pages

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order books for you if they are not in stock), or look at your local library (like I did!)

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

An interesting idea to a story.  Each chapter contains an illustration and then the short story for that month.  Progressing from January to December the story follows a town that is being ravaged by the attack of a werewolf.

It’s a simple concept put together with concise writing.  I haven’t read enough of King to know if this is his normal writing style (though after slogging through half of IT I have the feeling being concise isn’t his forte).  So for that I find it an interesting exercise in varying writing styles by a well-known author.

Honestly, interesting but not really a life changing read.  Defiantly something for people who are interested in writing studies from their favorite authors.

The illustrations are simple and well thought through.

Review:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

The Addams Family, by Charles Addams: a Comic Strip Review

Synopsis:

A series of one panel comic strips that were about an unnamed macabre family that consisted of: a loving father, a stern but compassionate mother, a despondent daughter, a michevious son, an eccentric uncle and a flighty grandmama. 

The strip was published in the New Yorker starting in 1938 and ran throughout the next 40 or so years.  It told moments in the lives of this family, a stark contrast and a satirical look on the white-picked fence and 2.5 kids polished and living in suburban America.

General Information:

-Genre: Dark Humor Comic Strip

-Author/Illustrator: Charles Addams

-Number of Panels: unknown (as far as I can find the strip didn’t have a consistent publishing schedule even though Charles Addams did publish some comic panel in nearly ever issue of the New Yorker Magazine from 1932 to nearly his death in 1988)

-Main Characters: an unnamed family (we now know them as Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Uncle Fester and Grandmama)

-Where to Read: old copies of the New Yorker can be found at local libraries and in locally owned antique stores… you can find a variety of the comic’s panels online

-Page of Reference in RPO: 177

Review (contains spoilers):

Super cute but inconsistent and lacking the depth that was given to the characters later onscreen.  The panels are sweet and often funny and a true commentary on the idea that the macabre is automatically bad.  Charles Addams challenged that idea by creating a loving and kind family that had interests the exact opposite of the traditionally accepted interests of America at the time.

Review:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.