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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, , moonstone entertainment, phantom detective, , , secret agent x, super heroes, 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 8:51 PM on February 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , christopher j. priest, , , , , , , super heroes   

    “Green Lantern: Sleepers (Volume 2)” by Christopher J. Priest & Michael Ahn 

    dcgl02large

    “Green Lantern: Sleepers (Volume 2)”
    by Christopher J. Priest & Michael Ahn
    Multi-cast performance
    Produced by GraphicAudio
    Approx. 6 Hours

    Yes I will fully accept the fact that I am a nerd, I love my comic books. I used to be such a die hard fan of comic books that I even picked a side. I was the hardcore Marvel comics fan, so much so that I wouldn’t even look at a DC comic. Later in life I learned, it was okay to like all the comics. I began reading some of the other publishers like; Image, Dark Horse, et. al, but when it came to DC I just felt like I was cheating for some reason. I liked to read The Flash, and Batman, but for the other heroes I just couldn’t make myself do it.

    In comes my love for audiobooks and what lead me to where I am now. I used to make monthly road trips that would last about 8 hours and I would pass the time with audiobooks, on top of that my work commute was 30 – 45 minutes depending on Kansas City traffic, so there was more time for audiobook absorption. So I had more time for comics than audiobooks. Then to my amazement a few years ago I was introduced to GraphicAudio because of their production of some comic book novelizations into audiobooks. GraphicAudio was taking some DC comics novels and turning them into audiobooks, but not just an audiobook rather, “A movie for your mind.”

    GraphicAudio uses a highly skilled team of voice actors, out of this world sound effects and ready-for-theatrical-release music and mixes it all in to make the superheroes come to life in full 3d sound and mental imagery. GraphicAudio has a great library of DC comics based audiobooks and I understand will be working on some Marvel collections soon (I can hardly wait for those productions). These productions are nothing short of amazing. When you think of comics you think of the great artwork that steers the story. GraphicAudio is able to take the comic artwork and bring it to your mind through sound. Their sound effects sound just as though they are leaping out of the pages of a comic, not the funny “kapows” and “blams” but with Earth shattering explosions, and the sound of Green Lantern’s aura that sounds as though it is surrounding you as the listener. GraphicAudio has created the perfect way to listen to comic books.

    This audiobook is the second in a series written by Christopher J. Priest and each book is linked in a very cool way that makes it so as a fan you have to read or, in this case, listen to, all the books. I won’t give away how they are linked because it is a bit of a spoiler, and I don’t like to give out too many spoilers. This book covers the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott.

    “Sleepers Book Two” tells the origin story of how Alan Scott and how he came to fight crime as the Green Lantern. The other aspect of this story that makes it unique is that the Golden Age of comics occurred during World War II, and while nations were at war this super hero was fighting bank robbers not Nazis. With that aspect a question is formed, “Why doesn’t he go wipe out the Nazis, with all that power he yields?” Well eventually the Green Lantern, Alan Scott, does go overseas but once he does he meets up with Malvolio, a Green Lantern (at least at first appearance to Alan) who can help Alan discover what it means to hold the power of the Green Lantern. The beginning of this book explains the origin of Malvolio and the nice part of this is that the reader/listener knows that Malvolio is not a good guy and only the worst can be expected.

    In the beginning of the book it is revealed that Malvolio is a 17th-century supervillain, actually an anti-Green Lantern who wants to take over the world. The Guardians imprison Malvolio, but he escapes and makes it back to Earth just in time for WWII. Malvolio decides to cut a deal with Hitler that endangers the entire Allied campaign in Europe and the Pacific. Not one to think small, he is determined to eliminate the entire Green Lantern Corps, destroy Earth, and decimate all other worlds that have ever had the protection of a Green Lantern.

    Great origin story, great production and great super-powered battles make this a must hear audio book from GraphicAudio.

     
  • gilwilson 10:11 PM on October 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , H.E.R.O., heroes, kevin rau, , , , super heroes,   

    “H.E.R.O. – Metamorphosis” by Kevin Rau 

    “H.E.R.O. – Metamorphosis”
    by Kevin Rau
    self-published
    340 pages

    The digital age is upon us and what may have ruined the music industry may be a boon for the publishing industry, well maybe more for the authors than for the publishers. When the mp3 format for music came out it was a nice way to store audio files on the computer but as the market demanded mp3 players became a hit. I had one of the original Rio mp3 players, I believe it only held about 64 megabytes worth of files. Which at the time (late 1990s) it was enough, or so we all thought. Then Apple came along with their iPod and changed the way music was distributed.

    This has been a bad thing for the recording industry. The sharing of mp3 files is super easy and pirating of music is pretty common. This caused major losses for the recording industry by way of sales. The recording industry should have stepped up and made sure that all the music released was worth having, but someone along the way dropped the ball and now the only thing major record labels release is the same old cookie cutter pop that sells but has no real artistic value. The positive side of this is that local bands and talent that would have been otherwise looked over can now self publish and distribute their music easily. So now we have choice, but sometimes you have to really sift through the detritus to find a treasure.

    This seems to be happening now with books and authors. When the portable eReader “Kindle” came out many authors wrote stories that were available only online. Later the “Nook” came out and then there were many eReaders all competing for your dollar. I purchased a “Kindle” and have enjoyed it ever since. I love having thousands of books in my hand on one device. This also has created a market that made authors able to self publish. I am constantly scouring the internet for free books by up and coming authors and many times they will offer their books for free in order to get their name out. This is how I discovered this book and the entire “H.E.R.O.” series by Kevin Rau.

    I’m a huge comic book fan and I often find great audiobook versions of novelizations of comic books. This time around I ran across Kevin Rau on Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/herobooks )and discovered he was creating his own world of superheroes with his line of books that are all self published, and like any good dealer, the first hit is free. His books are all available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and many other online booksellers and you can get this first one for free. I will warn you that this will turn into a habit, because these books are addictive, especially if you love comic books and superheroes.

    On his website ( http://www.kevinrau.com ) he has 3D graphic renderings of the heroes and villains in his book. As a full-time computer programmer he is able to use that skill to create the computer generated images which adds to the effect. He has published a book that contains the images, which makes a good companion to this collection.

    So let’s talk about this book, “H.E.R.O. – Metamorphosis.” This one is pretty much the introduction to the series and it does a great job of bringing the reader into Kevin Rau’s Superhero and SuperVillain world. Through the changing of three fairly normal college age friends from normal humans into metahumans, Kevin not only introduces the three heroes but the world that created them and even the politics of a world where super powers happen.

    The world was once threatened by an asteroid, and in order to save the planet nuclear missiles were launched to destroy the threat. While a cataclysmic event was averted by the destruction, a side effect was created. Pieces of the asteroid became radioactive and began falling to the planet. These fragments had the power to change human D.N.A. and mutate those that were too close. Some gain powers and become heroes and some villains. In the worse case scenario some become so horribly mutated they not only look horrid, but also lose their minds. An organization was formed to allow those that become heroes to help and to round-up the mutants who present a danger to all.

    Lance, Rael and Stephanie are all good friends who have been raised in single parent homes, more to the point, those single parents were all metahumans. They have been raised as if they were to become heroes themselves, taking the proper courses in school and even through weight training and martial arts. One day they are told to be at the mall when the next meteor shower hits, and sure enough they become heroes and their lives change forever.

    Lance becomes the hero Spartan, a brick who is super strong (think of The Incredible Hulk). Rael becomes a bit of a mutant in that his eyes become catlike, his teeth sharpen a bit and his hands have turned into claws, he becomes the Black Tiger and is able to use his martial arts training better than before. Stephanie becomes Psystar, a hero who is able to read minds and influence emotions, she is also able to fly. The three have been studying and training for this for all their lives and when a mutant by the name of Shrinker begins kidnapping humans to feed her army of mutants the three go into action to shut her down.

    The story is extremely fun and very smooth flowing. My favorite part of the book is that the author tells the story from the different perspectives of the three friends and mixes in third person perspective to tell the entire story. I really can’t wait to get my hands on the next book. I should say that this book does seem to be aimed at a younger audience so don’t go expecting something with intense depth. Just prepare yourself for a fun superhero novel with some very well written fight scenes.

     
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