Quick Review: THE LADY FROM THE BLACK LAGOON by Mallory O’Meara (Hanover Square Press)

OMearaM-LadyFromTheBlackLagoonUSUncovering the overlooked, oft-dismissed contribution of Milicent Patrick to the development of horror cinema

The Lady from the Black Lagoon uncovers the life and work of Milicent Patrick — one of Disney’s first female animators and the only woman in history to create one of Hollywood’s classic movie monsters

As a teenager, Mallory O’Meara was thrilled to discover that one of her favorite movies, Creature from the Black Lagoon, featured a monster designed by a woman, Milicent Patrick. But for someone who should have been hailed as a pioneer in the genre, there was little information available. For, as O’Meara soon discovered, Patrick’s contribution had been claimed by a jealous male colleague, her career had been cut short and she soon after had disappeared from film history. No one even knew if she was still alive.

As a young woman working in the horror film industry, O’Meara set out to right the wrong, and in the process discovered the full, fascinating story of an ambitious, artistic woman ahead of her time. Patrick’s contribution to special effects proved to be just the latest chapter in a remarkable, unconventional life, from her youth growing up in the shadow of Hearst Castle, to her career as one of Disney’s first female animators. And at last, O’Meara discovered what really had happened to Patrick after The Creature’s success, and where she went.

A true-life detective story and a celebration of a forgotten feminist trailblazer, Mallory O’Meara’s The Lady from the Black Lagoon establishes Patrick in her rightful place in film history while calling out a Hollywood culture where little has changed since.

In The Lady From the Black Lagoon, debut author Mallory O’Meara gives us an interesting and illuminating look not only at the life of a pioneering female artist, but also a glimpse into the early years of behind-the-scenes Hollywood. A must read for cinephiles, horror fans and also pretty much anyone who likes narrative non-fiction. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

Excerpt: BASQUIAT — A QUICK KILLING IN ART by Phoebe Hoban (Open Road Media)

HobanP-BasquiatToday, we have a short excerpt from Phoebe Hoban‘s Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art. Published by Open Road Media as an eBook on May 17th, here’s the synopsis:

A vivid biography of the meteoric rise and tragic death of art star Jean-Michel Basquiat

Painter Jean-Michel Basquiat was the Jimi Hendrix of the art world. In less than a decade, he went from being a teenage graffiti artist to an international art star; he was dead of a drug overdose at age twenty-seven. Basquiat’s brief career spanned the giddy 1980s art boom and epitomized its outrageous excess. A legend in his own lifetime, Basquiat was a fixture of the downtown scene, a wild nexus of music, fashion, art, and drugs. Along the way, the artist got involved with many of the period’s most celebrated personalities, from his friendships with Keith Haring and Andy Warhol to his brief romantic fling with Madonna.

Nearly thirty years after his death, Basquiat’s story — and his art — continue to resonate and inspire. Posthumously, Basquiat is more successful than ever, with international retrospectives, critical acclaim, and multimillion dollar sales. Widely considered to be a major twentieth-century artist, Basquiat’s work has permeated the culture, from hip-hop shout-outs to a plethora of products. A definitive biography of this charismatic figure, Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art is as much a portrait of the era as a portrait of the artist; an incisive exposé of the eighties art market that paints a vivid picture of the rise and fall of the graffiti movement, the East Village art scene, and the art galleries and auction houses that fueled his meteoric career. Basquiat resurrects both the painter and his time.

Continue reading

Upcoming: Gwen Stacy is Spider-Woman…

… this time, without gratuitous, ridiculous butt-graphics on the cover. In Edge of Spider-Verse #2, an alternative Marvel universe’s Gwen Stacy is New York’s spider-bitten protector. I don’t have a huge amount of interest in what is becoming an ever-more-complex web of Spider-Man-related series,* but the artwork by Robbi Rodriguez caught my eye. First, here’s the cover…

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And second, a pair of interior pages. I rather like the hoody-outfit Stacy wears, and Rodriguez’s overall aesthetic and style is really interesting and eye-catching (I have no idea if there’s a proper term for this approach, so I won’t attempt to make one up)…

EdgeOfSpiderVerse-02-Preview3

Edge of Spider-Verse #2 is due to be published September 17th, 2014.

* Seriously, Marvel – not everything has to be cross-pollinated and crossed-over. It’s really damned annoying. Not to mention expensive. (OH! Of course! That’s why you do it…)

Another Cool CONSTANTINE Cover (DC New 52)

The New 52 Constantine series has been getting some really cool cover, lately. The piece that will grace the 17th issue – by Juan Ferreyra – is particularly cool, too, because it ties in with the centennial commemoration of World War I…

Constantine-17

The issue – published on this week – is written by Ray Fawkes, with art by Edgar Salazar and Jay Leisten, and colours by Richard and Tanya Horie. Here’s the synopsis:

John Constantine is no stranger to death, but he’s never seen it on this scale – a spell gone terribly wrong has sent him back through time to World War I! Unfortunately, he’s not the only mage in the trenches… and where death has this much power, black magic couldn’t be more dangerous!

You can check out a preview of the issue here.

Some Pieces of Wolverine Art… (Marvel)

Despite my belief that the mini-series will either be a disappointment, fail to deliver, or quickly retconned, Marvel has released some pretty cool artwork for Death of Wolverine. Today, for example, the following three images arrived in my inbox. They’re a selection of three work-in-progress versions of the same page: pencils, inks, and colours…

DeathOfWolverine-01-Preview1-Pencils

DeathOfWolverine-01-Preview1-Inks

DeathOfWolverine-01-Preview1-Colors

The artwork is by Steve McNiven (pencils), Jay Leisten (inks), and Justin Ponsor (colours). The series is written by Charles Soule. Issue one of Death of Wolverine will be published on September 3rd, 2014 – it will also include 20 pages of bonus content, like these progression pages.

In addition to these three versions of the page, Marvel have also unveiled some Canadian variant covers. Why Canada? Well, Wolverine is Canadian. Here are the variant covers and the series synopsis…

DeathOfWolverine-Canada1&2

Born in Alberta, Canada – James Howlett’s long and eventful life now comes to an end. He has been counted among the X-Men, the Avengers and Canada’s own Alpha Flight.  He’s fought alongside heroes in numerous wars. He’s been the headmaster of a school for gifted youngsters. He has been the best there is at what he does for over a century. But the day has come where his best is not enough…

Left without his mutant healing factor, his enemies now close in for the kill – and the Wolverine faces his greatest battle alone. As he runs the gauntlet of his deadliest foes, be there when the once indestructible killing machine makes his final stand! What does a world without Wolverine look like?

DeathOfWolverine-Canada3&4

In case you’re wondering, the plethora of Maple Leaves all over those covers is kind of appropriate…

Art: MS MARVEL #5

Spotted this on ComiXology’s “Pre-Order” page, and just really liked the cover. While the series sounds great, I haven’t read any, yet (waiting for the collections). It’s been getting rave reviews across the board, though.

MsMarvel-05

The cover is by Adrian Alphona, and the series is written by G. Willow Wilson. Ms. Marvel #5 will be published on June 25th, 2014. Here’s the synopsis:

How does a young girl from Jersey City become the next biggest super hero? Kamala has no idea either. But she’s comin’ for you, New York.

Cover Art: Constantine #15 (DC New 52)

I haven’t been keeping up-to-date on single issues from any of DC Comics’ New 52 series for quite some time. I did, therefore, only just spot this piece, which graces the cover of Constantine #15. The artist is Juan E. Ferrevra. I particularly liked the silhouette effect.

Constantine-15-Art

The issue is written by Ray Fawkes, and internal artwork is by ACO, Richard and Tanya Horie.

Here’s the synopsis:

John Constantine witnesses the horrifying reach of magic when he meets the world’s wealthiest mage – a woman who’s been draining all the good luck out of her home city of Hong Kong and benefiting from the suffering of millions.

Upcoming: THE MIRROR EMPIRE by Kameron Hurley (Angry Robot Books)

I’m a little late to the party, here, seeing as nearly everyone has shared this cover (ever since it was unveiled on A Dribble of Ink). And, once you look at it, you can see why. The cover for Kameron Hurley’s upcoming fantasy novel THE MIRROR EMPIRE is pretty damned stunning…

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The piece is by Richard Anderson, who also did the US cover for Brian Staveley’s The Emperor’s Blades. (I must say, though, this one is much better.) The novel is due to be published by Angry Robot Books in September 2014. Here’s the synopsis…

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.

In the end, one world will rise – and many will perish.

Kameron Hurley is, of course, the award-winning author of God’s War, Infidel and Rapture. I’ve only read the first one, but it was damned good. The trilogy was published in the US by Night Shade Books, and Del Rey UK published the first book last year, and Infidel last month.

Also on CR: Guest Post by Kameron Hurley; Review of God’s War