Archive for October, 2021


Sensational cover

Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Kim Todd pulls no punches in her new book Sensational: The Hidden History of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters.”  Opening with an expose on the illicit abortion trade in 1880s Chicago, Todd sets the stage for her analysis of more than a century of “writing while female.”  Todd’s unflinching portrayal of pioneering female journalists offers a new—and far more complete—view of the history of American journalism.  From the moment when Elizabeth Cochrane, aka “Nellie Bly,” burst on the scene with her undercover profile of New York’s public mental hospital, through the Yellow Journalism era of the late 1890s and well into the twentieth century, Todd tracks the evolution of journalism as a profession, and with it the rise and fall of women reporters.  The social issues that sparked the enormous popularity of stories written by women, and what caused “respectable” publications to pull away from their superstar reporters–and historians to whitewash their contributions–form the meat of Todd’s extensively-researched volume.

Continue reading

dc-vs-vampires-1-1  large-3689398

Sometimes you just know when you’re going to want the graphic novel/trade edition of a new series.  That looks certain for the new DC vs Vampires, a story outside the normal continuity of the DC Comics superheroes that will twist the most famous into vampires, and it takes long-time fans of DC characters to one of their favorite places: the Hall of Justice that we grew up with in the Superfriends television series.  The first chapter finds New 52 Justice League Dark character and I, Vampire lead Andrew Bennett crawling to the iconic Justice League headquarters to share word of something dire with the League, where he finds Hal Jordan and one of the Wonder Twins.  

There is a new vampire leader on Earth and what he’s plotting will mean the end of human domination of the planet.

Stories like DC vs Vampires are a great chance to dip back into the DC Universe without needing to get caught up on all the series and crossover events.  In a word, these limited series are just plain fun.  

large-7965530  large-6664766

Wonder Twin powers activate!  Form of… anything that will get this vampire out of my face!  Take a look at a preview of the first issue–and lots of cover variants for the first and subsequent issues–below.

Continue reading

dnd goft guide banner 2021

It’s less than two months until Christmas.  It may seem a bit early, but with carrier services already delaying shipping it’s a good time to get squared away on holiday shopping, so we’re getting you started today with our Mega-Sized Dungeons & Dragons Holiday Gift Guide.  This has been a stellar year for D&D players, with new adventures and sourcebooks for the “world’s greatest roleplaying game.”  If you’ve been tracking the breadth and scope of the 5th Edition with us at borg, you know there is truly something for every fantasy fan in your realm.  If you’ve ever wanted to start playing Dungeons & Dragons, but didn’t have anyone around that knew how to play, Wizards of the Coast released a boxed set with everything you need to get started.  Expanding on its earlier D&D Starter Set, the D&D Essentials Kit includes all of the components to get started on an adventure out-of-the-box, with hours of adventuring for 2-6 players.  That’s just the beginning…  We have three new accessories to share, especially for anyone looking for the gamer who has everything: The Witchlight Carnival Dice and Miscellany set, Dungeon Master’s Screen: Dungeon Kit, and the yet-to-be-released book of adventures, Strixhaven: Curriculum of Chaos If your gamer is hard to buy for, they probably don’t have these new releases yet.  Let’s take a look at these and everything you need–or may have missed–from the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons:

Continue reading

the-mandalorian-chapter-14-baby-yoda- Simplicity baby Yoda

It’s been a year since the airing of Season 2 on Disney+ of the first episodes of The Mandalorian.  As they say, “better late than never.”  That applies to a round of craft patterns released this week for the first time by Simplicity, the pattern making company that has been making all sorts of clothes, craft, and utility item patterns for nearly a century.  Although crafters have been making and selling items in places like Etsy and eBay, these are the officially licensed plans to make your own Baby Yoda aka The Child aka Grogu.  Or make your kid into Baby Yoda.  Or carry Baby Yoda–or the Mandalorian logo or helmet image–around town on a snazzy laptop bag and be the envy of your co-workers.  The plush Baby Yoda evokes the plush Chewbacca and R2-D2 toys from the 1970s released for the original Star Wars.  They are definitely cute, and no doubt will be fun to make.  Check out the new product tie-ins for The Mandalorian from Simplicity below.

Continue reading

Sheena20210101151OSuydamVirg  Sheena20210101131MParrilloVirg

Review by C.J. Bunce

Sheena, Will Eisner and Jerry Iger’s jungle adventurer returns next month in the pages of Dynamite Comics’ new series, Sheena: Queen of the Jungle.  Sheena is stuck, transferred to a strange place and time, manipulated as a pawn, held hostage for the lives of her animal friends.  In a throwback to Predator, she is sent on a solo mission into the jungle to discover what happened to a lost research team.  Taken inside a giant biodome she must uncover the secrets of the dome and those who brought her there.  Can she survive as new obstacles are thrown in her path?  Stephen Mooney writes this very different take on Sheena, with artwork by Jethro Morales and several variant covers by Dynamite’s familiar pantheon of cover artists.  The first issue is the set-up, introducing a sci-fi/tech environment with Sheena’s backstory hidden from the reader.  Here is her mission, but why is she here in the first place?  It’s a good start for high adventure comics fans.

Here is a preview trailer and the variant covers for the first issue of Sheena: Queen of the Jungle:

Continue reading

Halloween-Kills-Footage-Anthony-Michael-Hall-Tommy-Doyle

Review by C.J. Bunce

Director David Gordon Green’s 2018 movie Halloween was great fun (reviewed here), a welcome callback to the low-budget filmmaking style of the 1970s, a sequel/reboot of the original horror film that set off a new era of scream queens and slasher horror films.  But it was only the first act in a three-act opus that continues in Halloween Kills and will wrap next year in Halloween EndsWith this month’s premiere of Halloween Kills on streaming platform Peacock Premium, fans will realize Gordon knows the franchise, the genre, and all that retro nostalgia that has audiences clamoring for shows like Stranger Things and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.  Complete with obscure characters from the corners of Haddonfield, Illinois, returning 40 years later, Halloween Kills is not just good horror but great–complete with all the non-apologetic, operatic gore and scares that have been the backbone of the modern monster movie mega-franchises first resurrected by John Carpenter and Debra Hill back in 1978.  Since then we’ve seen the likes of Michael, Jason, and Freddy stepping in for Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, The Mummy, and the Phantom of the Opera.

Continue reading

This is Gus

Welcome news for fans of Psych is a new trailer (below) for the second sequel to a sequel, Psych 3: This is Gus It looks even more like the series than last year’s fun drama we first discussed here at borg, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home (the first new original movie to premiere on NBC’s Peacock streaming service), and Psych 3 will also premiere on Peacock–in a few weeks.  The movie, the third of six sequels that creator/showrunner Steve Franks said he plans to make, switches focus from Timothy Omundson′s character Lassiter aka Lassie to Dulé Hill′s Burton Guster, aka Ovaltine Jenkins aka Hollabackatcha aka Domo Arigato, etc., whose new wife has some secrets for Team Psych to uncover.  Best of all, the movie is less than a month away.  Who doesn’t need a good laugh?  Everyone is back: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Kurt Fuller, and Corbin Bernsen, and, of course, Tears for Fears′ own Curt Smith.

Continue reading

Bebop pic

Running for 26 episodes between 1999 and 2001, the future noir anime series Cowboy Bebop arrived as an instant classic for the medium that many have called the greatest anime of all time, a Japanese sci-fi Western three years before Firefly.  Imagine what Firefly would look like if directed by Quentin Tarantino, and you have the new teaser-trailer for Netflix’s 10-episode live-action series Cowboy Bebop, coming in 30 days. 

bEBOP SHIP

It has the style and the throwback vibe of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as well as a cool soundtrack, and comic book-style scene-change pan slides with the characters participating in the movement.  The series stars John Cho (Star Trek) as a Bruce Lee-inspired bounty hunter named Spike Spiegel, Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage) as the show’s larger than life cyborg and former investigator Jet Black, Geoff Stults (Stargirl) as Jet’s former partner Chalmers, and Daniella Pineda (Jurassic World: Dominion) as bounty hunter Faye Valentine.  And a corgi (his name is Ein).

You don’t want to miss the teaser and opening credits–take a look at both below.

Continue reading

Five Decembers cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Every once in a while Hard Case Crime includes a novel that seems to come out of nowhere, a book that is neither hard-fisted crime noir, a lost book of a famous crime author of the past, or the work of a new writer.  Soho Sins (reviewed here at borg) is an example.  The next is Five Decembers, coming to bookstores next week from the imprint and available for pre-order now here at Amazon.  Written by James Kestrel (a pseudonym for Jonathan Moore), the novel is interesting for all the components the author ties together.  It’s ultimately a strange 1940s era romance, like the romance thread of a Herman Wouk novel (The Winds of War, War and Remembrance).  For the first 200 pages the reader thinks he/she is reading a detective story.  As the story gets revved up, the author shifts gears and settles in on a historical fiction tale, switching gears again into a vengeance story.  It feels like an assemblage of ideas, an anthology of war stories rolled into one, ultimately pinning it all on one protagonist and pushing it all forward in an exhausting journey of a Hawaii detective trying to find a particularly bloody killer, sucked into the crime so much that attention to the facts of the crime gets him through the entirety of World War II.

Continue reading

A Curse Dark as Gold cover Elizabeth C Bunce

Halloween is less than two weeks away and if you’re still looking for a ghost story to get you into the mood of the season, check out Edgar Award winner and borg writer Elizabeth C. Bunce’s novel A Curse Dark as Gold, available in hardcover, paperback, and E-book editions from Amazon and other booksellers, first reviewed here back in 2011.  The audio book as read by British actress Charlotte Parry, known for her roles in Tony Award winning Broadway plays and TV work, is a great way to immerse yourself in this ghost story.  A Curse Dark as Gold is set in the Gold Valley in that far away land where fairy tales reside.  Charlotte Miller is a girl in her late teens whose father dies and leaves her the town of Shearing’s woolen mill, which serves as workplace for most of her community, along with the care of Charlotte’s younger sister Rosie.  Unwanted responsibilities fall into the lap of this young woman from page one.  At its foundation A Curse Dark as Gold at first is a spin on Rumpelstiltskin-type “helper” tales of the past, but this story takes on a life of its own.  Shearing is at once lovely and pastoral, yet dark and creepy doings begin to emanate from every corner.  A mysterious uncle arrives and begins to interject himself into the girls’ lives, pecking away at their sanity.  As if sick itself, the mill begins to respond to the death of Charlotte’s father, with boards crashing down, textile machines failing, and the very fabric of the town seeming to unravel.

A Curse Dark as Gold audio Elizabeth C Bunce told by Charlotte Parry

The story is set at the dawn of an Industrial Revolution in a world not unlike our own.  Water wheels are about to be replaced with steam power and the smoke-filled cities that come along with that new technology.  Charlotte has inherited her father’s acumen as a savvy businessperson, yet pressures including competition from big city wool firms and unfair attempts to squeeze Shearing’s mill out of the marketplace cause the mill to lose its workers.  The economic issues are only the beginning of Charlotte’s problems.  A strange neighbor lady is a follower of Old World ways, superstitions and magic, and she tries to help.  Charlotte is steadfast and stubborn, relying only upon her own intuition as she turns away from everyone near her, including sister Rosie and her new husband.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: