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  • gilwilson 10:03 PM on December 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , audiocomics, battle for los angeles, black bat, , domino lady, g8, graphic novel, moonstone entertainment, phantom detective, , , secret agent x, , ufo,   

    Audiobook Review: “Battle for LA; Return of the Originals” by C. J. Henderson 

    Battle for LA_art

    Audiobook Review:  “Battle for LA; Return of the Originals”

    By C. J. Henderson

    Multi-cast performance

    Produced and Published by  AudioComics & Moonstone Entertainment

    Total Length: 41:56

    I think I have just found the perfect combination of some of my favorite things; UFO conspiracies, pulp magazines, comic books and audiobooks.    This audio production combines all these into one great production that keeps you hanging on to every sound and leaves you wanting more.

    This audiobook is actually more of an audio drama, in that each character is voiced by a different actor.  Each actor is able to portray the characters that are in the super-hero realm and make them sound life-like.  The actors even add in that extra little bit of “oomph” that makes them seem larger than life like a real comic book or pulp fiction character should be.  The sound effects surround the listener with realistic 3d effects that feel as though they are in the middle of the action.  You may even find yourself dodging bullets.

    Born out of pulp-fiction magazines from the early part of the 20th century, this story unites pulp heroes that influenced the creation of certain comic book heroes.  Historically speaking the pulp magazines were the forerunners of comic books.  The pulps were published weekly or monthly and featured stories that could be told in one issue or in some cases as serials that span several issues.   This story features the following pulp heroes:

    • The Black Bat came out about the same time as DC comics’ Batman, and each publisher said the other was a copy, eventually they were allowed to co-exist, but in the long run Batman became the more popular.   The Black Bat is former District Attorney Anthony Quinn.  He became the Black Bat after being blinded and having his face disfigured by having acid thrown in it.   That origin story reminds me of Two-face from the Batman comics, but Two-face is a villain and not hero.
    • The Phantom Detective was published from 1933 to 1953 and is in real life the wealthy Richard Curtis Van Loan.  He uses his amazing skills of deduction to solve crimes that have the police puzzled.
    • Domino Lady comes from the racier side of pulp comics.  Educated socialite Ellen Patrick puts on a domino mask and a backless white dress to avenge the death of her father, District Attorney Owen Patrick.   Armed with a .45 pistol and a syringe full of knockout serum she takes on the toughest of foes, but her beauty is her greatest asset.   Using her feminine charms usually put these pulp magazines into the soft-core porn side of the genre.

    Those are the main characters of this production but two other classic pulp heroes make a small cameo appearance in the final battle:

    • Secret Agent X is a master of disguise, known as “the man of a thousand faces”, who adopts several different identities in each story.  He is a dedicated crime-fighter working undercover for the U.S. government; this is unknown to the police who consider him an outlaw.
    •  Airboy, Davy Nelson II, the son of an expert pilot and, despite his youth, a crack flyer. His friend, inventor and Franciscan monk Brother Francis Martier, had created a highly maneuverable prototype aircraft that flew by flapping its wings, like a bird.

    So now we know the heroes let’s get where this story really gets to be interesting.  This audio drama brings to full 3d audio movie life the graphic novel by C. J. Henderson.    Just three months after the U.S. became involved in World War II by the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor, the U.S. was on alert for further invasions from Japan.  Especially vigilant was the West Coast.  From late 24 February to early 25 February 1942 over Los Angeles, California an incident occurred that has had UFO conspiracists asking lots of questions.   The Air Force has claimed the incident was caused by a “false alarm” in which a weather balloon became the focus of several hours of shooting and air raid warnings.  Thousands of rounds were fired at an object that was tracked over Los Angeles.  UFOlogists think this was an alien craft and when viewing the photos find further proof it was not weather balloon.

    Henderson uses this event to bring together the original heroes and creates a villain with an occult background set to destroy the U.S.   The event in question was just the launching platform for a group of “Orientals” to send cylinders with a strange power over the human mind to Los Angeles.   Armed with knowledge of the mysterious cylinders, the Originals risk all to do what is right, no matter what the cost.

    This audio drama takes just over 40 minutes to devour, but if you are on a trip or doing housework or some other chore that consumes time, this will make it seem as though only a couple of seconds pass because of the intense action taking place.

     
  • gilwilson 11:06 PM on March 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , graphic novel, , , , , , ,   

    “Civil War” (Marvel Comics) by Stuart Moore 

    marvelcw

    “Civil War” (Marvel Comics)
    by Stuart Moore
    Multi-cast production
    Produced by Graphic Audio
    Approx 6 hours

    Okay I have to start this review out with a confession. That confession is that I just experienced a six hour nerdgasm. Holy freakin’ cow, this audiobook just rocked my world.

    Now that that is out of the way let explain a few things. I’m a huge Marvel Comics fan and have been for years. What makes me a fan is that all of Marvel’s heroes are realistic. Yes I know super powers aren’t real, but Marvel makes it so that the heroes have everyday problems and how they cope with those problems and fight for what is right is what gives them the everyman experience to which the average reader can relate. Iron Man/Tony Stark struggles with his own alcoholism, Spider-man/Peter Parker has to contend with high school (in the early years) and bullies, the Fantastic Four have family problems and Ben Grimm has to contend with being made of rock, never able to be normal. Being able to relate to the average comic book reader makes Marvel, in my opinion, the most enjoyable comic book publisher around.

    Over a decade ago It was announced that a live-action Spider-man movie was going to be released and when this theatrical magic that was thrust upon us by Sam Raimi hit the theatres I was one of the first in line. Spider-man is my all time favorite, by the way. When the opening movie credits started I wept tears of excitement. Finally, my hero is on the big screen. By the end of the movie I was emotionally drained and pumped up at the same time. Not long after the release of the Spider-man movie I was forced to stop my weekly visits to the comic book store due to an economic downfall on my part and later moving to an area that had no comic book stores. I wasn’t able to go back to reading comics until just about a year ago.

    During my comics hiatus I missed some exciting events in the Marvel universe. One of which was the mega-crossover event that is covered by this novel. The “Civil War” created a major schism between the heroes in the Marvel Universe. This schism is a lot like the events that happened after 9/11 and the following P.A.T.R.I.O.T. A.C.T. in the United States. Where people (heroes in this case) were forced to give up freedom for the nation’s security. After a major accident that occurs with some heroes and leaves a town in New England decimated and over 900 dead, the government decides that superheroes must become registered and screened before they can use their powers. Captain America does not believe that freedom should be surrendered, and Iron Man (who stands to make lots of money selling weapons to Homeland Security in the deal) thinks that this is what must be done to protect innocents. the superheroes are split on this and thus begins the “Civil War.” Those that do not register are hunted down and imprisoned.

    In a curious note, this story can also be related to today’s issue of gun control. Where some events that have taken American lives lead to gun legislation arguments.

    During my comics hiatus I had heard about this crossover and was extremely curious. I can’t say I was too excited because I hate those stories that pit hero vs. hero. But with the political aspect involved I was intrigued to see how each hero would react. I then decided when the chance came up I would find the trade paperbacks of this crossover and read them, this turned out not to be so easy for me. Then I heard a novelization of the event was coming out and I knew I’d be reading that, but just when I heard about the release of the novel I heard that GraphicAudio was going to do an audiobook version of the novel. I was psyched at this point and knew right away I was going to wait for that release. After nearly a year of constantly checking the GraphicAudio website, it was released and to make it even more exciting was offered a review copy. Pure excitement ran through me. Finally, I will hear some of the world’s greatest heroes as portrayed by the excellent productions of GraphicAudio.

    I was first introduced to GraphicAudio about five years ago through a DC comics audiobook. That production blew me away. The fights were all realistic, and the otherworldly sounds that can only happen in sci-fi or comics were so original that It seemed as though they had actually gone to a rift in space and recorded a superhero battle. I then started listening to every comic book audiobook created by GraphicAudio. At the time all they did were DC comics and even though I was a marvel fan I took them all in and just let the “Movie in your Mind” aspect of GraphicAudio wash over me. In fact because of GraphicAudio, when I did start purchasing comics again I picked up some DC comics and gave them a chance where I would have not done before.

    GraphicAudio’s tagline is, “A Movie in your Mind,” and with every single audiobook they produce they deliver. With surreal sound effects and exciting music the illustrated artistry that is the main punch of comic books comes to life with sound. Once you experience this from GraphicAudio you will not be able to listen to an audiobook the same again.

    On top of the excellent ambient sound, GraphicAudio has some of the best voice actors I’ve ever heard. Each actor portraying the heroes in “Civil War” captured every essence of the characters and the plethora of emotions, which really pulled out the basis which makes Marvel my favorite. The actors all related to the characters and made them sound like heroes with the nuance of everyday problems. I was ready to nit pick this aspect, being the big Marvel fan, but there was nothing done wrong. Every hero sounded exactly like I imagined, no wait, strike that, they sounded better than I imagined.

    Once again I was so psyched about this marriage of Marvel and GraphicAudio that, again, I wept with excitement at the opening credits of this audiobook, and even doubly so when Spider-man fought his battles. I’m sure the other drivers in traffic would have thought me crazy if they happened to look over while I was cheering Spidey on in his battle.

    All I can say is, no matter what your preference in comics, audiobooks or escapism, you must go out and get this audiobook and be ready to be blown away.  When this book was over I was physically and emotionally drained, yet pumped up.  Pumped and ready for more.

    I selected this post to be featured on Book Review Blogs. Please visit the site and vote for my blog!
     
  • gilwilson 10:24 PM on September 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , audio comics company, , , , , , graphic novel, josh kinney, titanium rain   

    “Titanium Rain: volume 1” by Josh Finney 

    “Titanium Rain Volume 1”
    by Josh Finney
    Multi-cast Audio Drama
    produced by AudioComics
    Running time 1:27:44

    If you’ve been a constant reader of my posts you probably already know that I’m a big fan of comic books and graphic novels. So, every chance I get to listen to an audio version of a comic I take it. So far I have not been let down, this is the second comic book based story for audio I have heard from Audio Comics Company and this group knows how to do it right.

    When you think about comics you think of the intense graphics helping to tell the story, which always intrigues me about how that gets translated into audio form. There are a couple of audiobook companies that do it right and based on the awesome work I’ve heard, the Audio Comics company will be one on my list for any future releases.

    Audio Comics paints the background, which would normally be done with graphics, with a complete 360 degrees of sound. The explosions the weapons fire and the special effects fill the air just as the graphics would fill the background. These aren’t cheesy effects either. I was listening in my car at one point in the story when the jets were flying and I had to ease off my gas pedal because I felt like I was in the jet as the battle progressed. During the explosions, through my Bose Wave Radio (via aux input), would cause the walls in the room to rumble. This one was a fantastic aural experience.

    Being a voiceover artist myself, I get real critical when it comes to voicing for audiobooks, but the Audio Comics company doesn’t have to worry about be picking on their actors, they were all excellent and every voice artist was able to bring out the complete characters through their work on this project.

    So, all in all, this story is a definite must experience audio book. What about the story itself? Well it is very intriguing and a nice little near-future sci-fi war story.

    I had first heard about this graphic novel back in 2010 when the Chinese government would not allow the book to be sold due to its “politically sensitive content.” When a comic book, or rather a graphic novel, is banned for any reason, I have to at least check it out.

    The year is 2031 and a civil war in China has become a global conflict. China’s supreme military leader is assassinated and the general that takes over decides it is time for China to return to its roots and announces himself as Emperor. The U.S. becomes involved when the Chinese attack Japan. That is the political situation and creates enough of a reason for a good war story, but in this book, that is merely the tip of the iceberg.

    This story is really about the 704th Phoenix Tactical Fighter Squadron. This squadron is sent to the frontlines because of their special abilities. Actually the abilities are what makes the story a great sci-fi.

    The 704th are all a bunch of washouts. They couldn’t make it into a real Air Force squadron, but thanks to a scientific experiment they get a last chance. Each member is “voluntarily” turned into a type of cyborg in what is dubbed as the “Prometheus Project”. Using nano-technology the members are able to control their planes as thought they are merely an appendage of the humans involved.

    The audio drama is told as a series of flashbacks jumping from the ongoing battle to the past where the pilots all become one with their aircraft. Audio Comics did an excellent job of separating the flashbacks with simple audio cues. They didn’t have to give the dates or times of each segment rather the audio moved the story along with great audio segues between sections.

    Jump on board now, this is to be released as a trilogy and this is only the first. Great story, awesome sound and perfect acting will get you wanting more.

     
    • The AudioComics Company 8:05 PM on September 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Many thanks for the wonderful review! The question remains, where can you find “Titanium Rain?” CD’s are available through Amazon, CDBaby, and ZBS.org, and you can purchase the Mp3 download through iTunes (only $5.00), Amazon Mp3, CDBaby, AudioComicsCompany.com, ZBS.org, and US.7Digital.com.

      Like

  • gilwilson 10:22 PM on March 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , graphic novel, , , , new gods, , , ,   

    “Final Crisis” by Greg Cox 

    “Final Crisis”
    by Greg Cox
    Multi-cast performance
    Produced 2010, by GraphicAudio
    Approx. 8 Hours

    “Final Crisis” was a crossover storyline that appeared in DC comics published throughout 2008, primarily the seven-issue miniseries of the same name was written by Grant Morrison.  This was the last of the multiverse type series from DC and sort of closed up some gaps left in the previous titles; “Crisis on Infinite Earths”,  “Infinite Crisis”, “52”, and “Countdown.”  However I think this created more questions than answers and served no other purpose but to confuse the reader.  While having some great confrontations and interesting twists on science and gods the story just didn’t do it for me.  I was so glad I listened to the audio book format of this title.

    As usual GraphicAudio delivers this audiobook with a punch, and I’m talking one of those full-graphic-with-exploding-colors-as-only-seen-in-comic-books punches.  When GraphicAudio promises a “Movie in your Mind” they aren’t exaggerating.  First off the voice actors are superb and voice each character with precision accuracy, Superman sounds like Superman, Batman sounds like Batman and so on.  There is no denying the excellence in the talent pool here.  The sound effects will blast you out of your seat.  With planets exploding or crumbling, a black hole sucking in the multiverse and even Green Lantern’s ring fizzling out, the sound effects are perfect. And the music, well pretty much all I can say here is “WOW!”  The music moves the story, mood and action perfectly.  All in all these GraphicAudio productions are perfect.  For me it was the only saving grace in this title.

    The gist of this story is that one of the new gods, Orion, is murdered and another new god, Darkseid, sees this as his chance to take over Earth.  Also one of Earth’s multiverse monitors is stripped of his powers for letting Earth 51 be destroyed.  While some of my favorite heroes play major parts in this, The Flashes (yes 3 generations of The Flash) open a time portal allowing things to begin and end, and The Green Lantern Corps try to stop Darkseid, I think the story relied too heavily on Superman.

    There was one saving grace for the story and that was the creation of a young Japanese group of superheroes.  Mixing superheroes with Japanese pop-culture, the characters are: Most Excellent Superbat, Big Atomic Lantern Boy, Shy Crazy Lolita Canary, Shiny Happy Aquazon and Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash.  I first had some good laughs with their names but sheesh the way they interacted was fun.  At one point all the characters had revealed their powers, except one, and when asked what his was Most Excellent Superbat responded, “Mine is the best of all, I can buy anything.”

    Throughout the story I was confused as to what caused what and with The Flashes and Superman doing a little time traveling that just made it even more hard to follow.  But thanks to GraphicAudio, I had a great time listening.

     
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