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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

J LHLS Archives: August 2004

Saturday, August 7, 2004


Brownsville

Written by Neil Kleid, art by Jake Allen
196 pages
To be published in 2005 by NBM Publishing

"'Jewish gangster' isn't a term you hear much in post-Holocaust society... but back when the Dodgers played in the East and licorice cost a penny a bag, Brooklyn corners were lousy with semitic young toughs looking for adventure and excitement - none more so than in Brownsville."

Reviewed by Laurel Sutton

I want to tell you all to run right out and buy this book - I like it that much. But you CAN'T, because what I'm reviewing is a 14-page preview that I got at Comic-Con. The actual book, a 196-page graphic novel, will be out in 2005 and even thought that's like 6 months away, I really really want the book NOW, please.

I love gangster stories, probably because my mother is an Italian lady from Brooklyn and at one time dated a semi-made man ("I didn't like him. He tried to boss me around."). The Italians always get the lion's share of attention for running the Business in the early 20th century, but their Jewish counterparts were just as active. This graphic novel tells (will tell?) the story of two who were members of Murder Incorporated, the Mafia's enforcement arm. [more]

Posted by Laurel Sutton @ 10:56 PM PST [Link]



The Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Vol. I)
By Una McCormack and Heather Jarman
Publisher: Star Trek; 2 Bks in 1 edition (June 1, 2004)
ISBN: 0743483510

Review by Kathryn L. Ramage

Volume I of The Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - the first of a new series from Pocket Books - presumably sets the template for future volumes. This book features not a single novel, but two novellas, each looking at a planet from the Trek universe, but unrelated except for their mutual connection to Deep Space Nine.

The first story, Cardassia: The Lotus Flower by Una McCormack, is set after the end of the DS9 series, as the Federation helps to restore post-war, Dominion-devastated Cardassia. McCormack uses well-established characters from DS9 as her key players: Elim Garak, and Miles and Keiko O'Brien. Former spy/assassin/plain-and-simple tailor Garak has not only returned to his homeworld, but he is working as part of the new Kardasi government ("At my time of life," he laments, "to be reduced to upholding democracy!"). The O'Brien family have been stationed on Cardassia; Keiko is the director of a project to develop fertile soil in a barren desert land, and she encounters some problems with Cardassians who still hold xenophobic values, including a terrorist organization called The True Way. When the arrival of a visiting Bajoran religious figure sparks an incident - in the very contemporary form of a child suicide bomber - these three main characters each acts in their own way to resolve the tense and suspenseful situation: Keiko from the inside, Miles anxiously outside (working with Gul Macet, who bears a striking resemblance to the belated Gul Dukat*), and Garak going back into his past to find his own means of dealing with The True Way. [more]

Posted by Kathryn L Ramage @ 07:51 PM PST [Link]

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Loki #1
Cover By: Esad Ribic
Writer: Rob Rodi
Published by Marvel

Review by Chad Denton

I admit it, I've always been a sucker for supervillain origin stories or tales told from the perspective of the villain. Even when I was a kid and just getting into the colorful universes of superheroes, the villains always seemed more interesting to me: after all, one could often relate to their motives more often. Who hasn't wanted to stick it to the smart and smug guy, like how Dr. Doom wants to humiliate and destroy Reed Richards? Who hasn't secretly wished that a Magneto would hurl men like David Duke or Fred Phelps into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and leave them to die?

Loki is a particularly interesting case. Maybe even more than Dr. Doom or Magneto, his mission is a highly personal one. All he really wants is to humiliate his overbearing stepbrother, Thor. If the best way to do it is actually take over their world, Asgard, then so be it. This story, which may or may not be canonical (I'm not really up on my recent Thor continuity, so I actually don't know), asks the question of what would happen if Loki actually did manage to throw his brother in chains and take the throne of Asgard. Would he find satisfaction or is the only satisfaction he can ever have is in the thrill of the fight? Does Loki even really want to defeat Thor? [more]

Posted by Chad Denton @ 05:58 PM PST [Link]

Avengers #500
Cover By: David Finch
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: David Finch
Inks: Danny Miki
Published by Marvel

Review by Chad Denton

Here at last is not only a hugely important anniversary issue (according to the numerology that serves as a religion for superhero serials), but the first part of the much-hyped "Avengers Disassembled" issue which had quite a few preludes in other titles up to this point. The title alone doesn't provide much of an indicator as to why this story should be a big deal: after all, one of the motifs of the Avengers is that the line-up is often in flux and its members don't quite get along as well as other superhero teams. Besides, we know there has to be an Avengers team or else there won't be much point in having a series, unless the creators are planning to do what Chris Claremont did with the X-Men in the late '80s and follow the wanderings of individual members for years. [more]

Posted by Chad Denton @ 05:58 PM PST [Link]

Sunday, August 1, 2004

Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll
Written by M.G. Lord
Walker Publishing Company, Inc. , 2004

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

"Forever Barbie" tells you everything you wanted to know about Barbie, as well as some things you really didn't want to know, from the point of view of a former Barbie owner, as well as someone whose view of womanhood was shaped by the childhood trauma of losing her mother to breast cancer. Whether you love Barbie, hate her, or are just plain indifferent to her, you've got to read this book for the sheer satisfaction of discovering the truth about one of our most popular cultural icons. Let's face it, Barbie is to dolls what Elvis Presley is to rock music and Marilyn Monroe is to glamour.

What can you say about a gal who has everything? Everything that you never had growing up, like good looks, lots of pretty clothes, cars, houses, glamorous jobs, a good-looking boyfriend who never makes sexual demands--that's our Barbie, the "teenage fashion model" doll created in 1959 by Ruth Handler and named after her daughter Barbara. Ruth founded Mattel Creations with her husband Elliot in 1945; the idea for a child's doll with a woman's body came to her when she saw her daughter and her friends playing with paper dolls who were "never the playmate or baby type," but rather "the teenage, high-school, college, or adult-career type." ("Forever Barbie", Para.3, page 29) [more]

Posted by Ida Vega Landow @ 06:16 PM PST [Link]

Post Office
A Novel By Charles Bukowski
Published by Ecco Press

A review (of sorts) by Ginger Mayerson

Henry Chinaski is the spiritual father of Customers Suck.

From Part One:

I caught all this a she rushed at me. I was sliding the registered letter back into the pouch.
She screamed, "Give me my letter!"
She grabbed the letter and ran to the door, opened it and ran in.
God damn! You couldn't come back without either the registered letter or a signature! You even had to sign in and out with the things.
"HEY!" I went after her and jammed my foot into the door just in time.
"Go away! Go away! You're an evil man!"
"Look, lady! You've got to sign for that letter! I can't let you have it that way! You are robbing the United States mails!"
"Go away, evil man!
I put all my weight against the door and pushed into the room. It was dark in there. All the shades in the house were down.
"Either give me the letter back or sign for it." ... I showed her where to sign.
She handed back the pen... Then she was in front of the door, arms spread across. The letter was on the floor. "Evil evil evil man! You came here to rape me!"
"Look lady, let me by." With one hand I tried to push her aside. She clawed one side of my face, good. I dropped my bag, my cap fell off, and as I held a handkerchief to the blood she came up and raked the other side. (pg 37)

So the next time you're having a bad day with a customer, I want you think of old Henry Chinaski and ask yourself: What would Hank do?

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 06:00 PM PST [Link]

SpecWar

Not exactly reviewed by Ginger Mayerson

Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes I come across something that simply defies Mayersonization and this time, it's SpecWar. Although I did like #8 (Pirates!), I just couldn't connect enough with this comic to say, well, anything about it.

I originally thought it would be like the DARPA.gov website and be about, y'know, speculative warfare, but it's not. I find the DARPA website rather scary; I'm a secretary for a medical researcher so some of the concepts at DARPA are familiar, but designed to kill, not heal. However, our lab is applying for a DoD grant in medicine (the healing kind) and the online submission site is possibly even more scary than the DARPA site. Leave it to the DoD... oh never mind.

Anyway, these comics (#2-8) are very well drawn and produced and even though I didn't get it, I'm sending them to another J LHLS reviewer who might get it. I do have a thought on the next comic convention Mr. Lauria (who was very charming to me) attends, I think he might spruce up his booth or table with camouflage or bunting or something; I recall it being rather plain. He might also see if the military will lend him some guys and gals in uniform to talk to the potential customers. I mean, if he's at CCSD next year, there's more military around there than you can shake a stick at.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 05:59 PM PST [Link]

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