Category: Fantasy Realms


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Review by C.J. Bunce

One of the 21st century’s best comic book artists with a singular style brings her heroine back to the comics pages.  Writer-artist Cynthia von Buhler is know for her sensationalism, both in story concepts, artwork, and marketing, merging real-world events and time travel tours to the past via her comic book work, as seen in her striking The Illuminati Ball We first met her heroine Minky Woodcock in Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini (reviewed here), as she recounted the 20 days leading up to the famed magician’s death on October 31, 1926.  Her next Minky adventure is now available in single monthly issues, Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla.  If you like the idea of a girl Friday coming into her own, then Minky Woodcock is for you.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s more likely than not you haven’t heard of Galaxy’s Edge, or Black Spire Outpost, or the remote Outer Rim planet called Batuu.  But you have heard of Star Wars.  Billions have seen that fictional space fantasy galaxy via movies, books, and a TV series.  But far fewer have made their way to Walt Disney World in Florida or Disneyworld in California, and that means a tie-in, real world location event experience is out there that most Star Wars fans haven’t tapped into yet.  That’s where Abrams Books’ seventh book in their concept art library documenting the Star Wars universe comes into play.  The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will take readers where they’ve never been, a world inspired by the artwork of Ralph McQuarrie just as the movies were so inspired, further springing from 11 movies, three series, and dozens of books.  The result is a destination different and new that fans have never seen before.
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Humble Bundle has launched its latest content bundling opportunity with IDW Publishing, publisher of Dungeons & Dragons tie-in comic book adventures.  The “Humble Comics Bundle: Dungeons & Dragons by IDW Publishing” will run through May 3, 2021, and it features a large selection of Dungeons & Dragons adventures, including up to 28 full graphic novels, plus individual issues of IDW’s latest D&D series, Infernal Tides and At the Spine of the World.  As with past Humble Bundle promotions, readers can simply pay what they want, starting at only $1.00 to purchase a basic tier, then increase their contribution up to $25 to add more graphic novels to their collection.  Take a look back at previews and reviews of several of these here at borg.

You have four tier opportunities to choose from:

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Wood Wife cover

Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Fantasy fans likely know Terri Windling primarily as an anthologist, editor of collections of modern fairy tales with co-editor Ellen Datlow including Black Thorn, White Rose, The Green Man, A Wolf at the Door, and others.  Now Windling’s own original novel, The Wood Wife (1996) is getting a new release from Tor Books as part of its “Tor Essentials” library of books.

Readers (and writers) who came of age in the 1990s will find much here that feels like coming home to a familiar landscape.  Windling’s tale of magic in the American desert, and the humans seduced by it, is at once a murder mystery, a story about art and artists, and a haunting fairy tale.  The Wood Wife is a classic example of American fantasy at its finest.

When a poet she’s never met dies and leaves writer Maggie Black his remote home in Arizona, Maggie seizes the chance to leave her nomadic life behind and settle in the stark and beautiful Sonoran Desert near Tucson.  Hoping to write a biography of Davis Cooper, the poet she wrote her college thesis on, Maggie eagerly digs into his papers, not realizing she’s opening the door to more than just his past.  Strange things begin to happen: objects and people go missing, she has mysterious encounters with even more mysterious strangers, and she begins experiencing rumbles of unearthly dangers.  As Maggie grows to understand the desert, she also uncovers its underlying magic, learning it’s as full of folklore, fairy life, and magic as anywhere in Western literature.

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The eight-time Eisner/Harvey Award–winning comic book series returns this year.  Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory continues the adventures of the wise dogs in Dark Horse Comics’ unique blend of fantasy, humor, and horror.  An elder member of the pack of recalls a harrowing World War II mission where a mysterious curse creates an army of crawling, disembodied heads threatening to overwhelm Japan.  The dogs attempt to solve the mystery, coming into conflict with shape-changing tanuki, evil oni, and a horde of vengeful demons.  Writers Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer and letterer Nate Piekos return with artist Benjamin Dewey to take fans of the long-running, episodic series where they’ve never encountered this anthropomorphic pack of brave sleuths before.

Beasts of Burden Occupied Territory cover

The book collects Issues #1-4 of the single-issue series in a hardcover compilation.  Here’s a preview from Dark Horse Comics of Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The first season of Netflix’s imported series Glitch is so well done, it’s easy to compare it to the first season of TV’s Lost–another genre-bending series that held enough back that viewers never quite knew the secrets behind the strange happenings to an unusual assemblage of characters.  That’s the good and bad part about Glitch, because by the end of the second season the story loses its way and ultimately doesn’t deliver the payoff the first season deserved.  That said, a great cast of Australian actors, including some familiar faces from the Star Wars franchise, and great mystery and intrigue ultimately make the series worth watching despite its drawbacks.  Something wicked this way comes–again–to Australia, co-starring Emma Booth, the lead in the Starz series The Gloaming.  When officer James Hayes appears one night at a cemetery in his small town of Yoorana, Victoria, who could know that people would begin pulling themselves out of their graves?  Is this a zombie show or something with more to say about humans and the world?  It’s not the payoff but the journey that is so much fun in this 2015-2019, three-season, 18-episode tale now streaming on Netflix.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Put away what you remember (if anything) about the 1970s Kung Fu television series.  You didn’t really watch the series for David Carradine, did you?  If you were like most of the viewers, you probably showed up for the martial arts.  CW Network’s new reboot of Kung Fu is for that same audience, but it also casts a wider net.  Wednesday night Olivia Liang showed up to take the new series, CW’s Kung Fu, by storm.  You can compare it to the similar-vibed, live-action Mulan, some of your favorite recent martial arts series that have the same dramatic beats like Wu Assassins, or you can compare it to series like Charmed, Smallville, Stargirl, or Riverdale.  Fans of all these shows will get a kick out of the ease at which the CW has brought a young Chinese-American hero into our must-watch DVR queue with college student-turned-Shaolin warrior Nicky Shen.  She’s a completely modern, updated Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and she brings with her an interesting supporting cast while pulling some intrigue into the story via elements of classic Chinese mythology and history.  It’s fantasy, and its supernatural, and there’s swinging kicks and swordplay you’re not going to want to miss.

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SurrealEstate

We were hoping for a new Ghostbusters this year (last year, too), but were happy to get Truth Seekers as a consolation prize.  We get a double benefit coming with Syfy’s new supernatural series SurrealEstate We thought we were losing our regular fix of Tim Rozon, co-star of both Wynonna Earp and Vagrant Queen–both wrapping up their series for good.  So we’re glad Syfy tapped Rozon for another genre role, this time as Nick Roman, a real estate agent specializing in haunted houses, who brings along his own motley team of ghostbusting “experts.”

SurrealEstate also stars Sarah Levy (Schitt’s Creek), Adam Korson (The Twilight Zone), Maurice Dean Wint (Haven), Savannah Basley (Wynonna Earp), Jennifer Dale (Lost Girl), and Tennille Read (Heroes Reborn).

Here’s a brief look from Syfy at SurrealEstate:

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Kenobi cast

He already established himself going lightspeed as a guy named Han in the Fast & Furious movie series.  He’s Sung Kang, an actor from Georgia who brings an extra dose of cool to every TV or movie project he’s a part of.  Thanks to Disney and Lucasfilm, he’s now going to be a part of the Star Wars universe.  He and a host of other actors were announced this week as Disney revealed the key cast of the six-part event series Obi-Wan Kenobi, which begins filming soon.  Ewan McGregor has been tied to the project for years, finally to reprise his role from the Star Wars prequels as an older Jedi Master.  Joining him from the prequels is Hayden Christensen as Anakin or Darth Vader, along with Joel Edgerton as Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen Lars and Bonnie Piesse as Aunt Beru.  The real question the cast announcement raises in light of last year’s appearance of a de-aged Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian is: How could Lucasfilm not give Hamill an appearance in this series, too?  Sure, he’d be a kid whining about spare parts at Tosche Station, but why not?

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Here’s some news that got us off to a great start this week–The Agatha Award nominees for 2021 were announced this weekend.  For more than three decades the annual honor has recognized nominees like familiar names John Grisham, Anne Perry, Max Allan Collins, Sue Grafton, Mary Higgins Clark, Charlaine Harris, Janet Evanovich, Ann Cleeves, Rhys Bowen, Charlotte MacLeod, and many more, as well as celebrated those significantly contributing to the mystery genre, like Angela Lansbury and David Suchet.  Nominees are announced early each year and winners awarded at the summer mystery convention Malice Domestic.  The annual list commemorates traditional mystery works typified by the novels of mystery author Agatha Christie (pictured above).  And who was nominated for the 2021 Agatha Award?  Our own borg contributor Elizabeth C. Bunce, for her novel Premeditated Myrtle

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