Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Car Warriors issue 4

Car Warriors
issue 4
Epic Comics / Marvel, September, 1991

The Delorean Run is underway......and our contestants are neck-and-neck on the road to Lansing !

But violence and mayhem accompany the race, as the mutants of the wastelands try their best to snuff out any trespassers.......

Even the Wysockis, my favorites among the racers, will find the going gets difficult.....

And then, there's the stench of corporate treachery waiting at the finish line.....!

Here it is, the final episode of 'Car Warriors', featuring one of the more gruesome illustrations of gunshot-mediated disembowelment I've ever seen in a 'mainstream' comic book.....!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Book Review: Computerworld

Book Review: 'Computerworld' by A. E. Van Vogt

0 / 5 Stars

“Computerworld’ (203) is DAW Book No. 554, published in November, 1983; the cover artwork is by Michael Whelan. DAW also released the book with the alternate title ‘Computer Eye.’

This is one of the worst sf book’s I’ve ever read. I certainly wasn’t expecting a remarkable novel from Van Vogt….. but even by his considerably relaxed standards, this novel is truly dire.

I didn’t get past page 30 with ‘Computerworld’, and I have come to mourn the time I wasted to reading those first 30 pages. 

[For a review based on the reading of the entire book, readers are referred to the M. Porcius Fiction Blog.]

Apparently, in the early 80s, Van Vogt decided to learn all he could about computer technologies and operating systems, and decided to write a novel using the computer as the narrator….. a second-person narrator, at that. 

Van Vogt calculated that working an entire vocabulary of computing terms and jargon into his prose would give his novel a degree of authenticity that, presumably, would startle and astonish those legions of sf readers who refused to acknowledge his unique genius........

Thus, the entire novel is thus one long exercise in deciphering a stilted prose style designed to mimic the computational processes of a very advanced computer. It’s like reading really, really bad fanfic 
....with the inflection of a metallic monotone....about a HAL 9000 computer (i.e., the one from 2001 ) in control of the USA

Here are some selected excerpts:

I replied in the male voice I used when speaking to men. “Each human being" – those were my words- "now numbering in America one hundred and seventy-eight million, four hundred and thirty-three thousand, nine hundred and eleven individuals – as of a cut –off moment when you finished asking your question, has a distinctive bio-magnetic configuration, each different from all others in thousands of ways. As you know, my previous recognition of a human man, woman, or child depended on my comparing his physiognomy with earlier models of him in my memory banks, and of comparing his voice in a similar fashion. I still do this, but it is an automatic process not really necessary any more to recognition. That now requires only the golden profile.”

The Pren-Boddy vehicle is proceeding along the Main Street of Mardley, heading south. I drive the S. A. V. E. (#) to the nearest intersection, and the other three available S. A. V. E.s to the three next intersections. In each instance, I wait on the side street. My plan is to fire at, or ram, the rebel machine from successive side streets.

His voice pauses. Because even as he is speaking, David’s attention is distracted toward a large dog that, at that moment, comes to the foot of the stage steps. The animal, a brown (shade 8) mixed breed, puts its fore paws on the lower of the two steps.

At once, David’s body begins to shimmer. Swiftly, it takes on a dog shape. The transformation is so rapid that by the time Glay tate grabs at the changing-shape-thing, what he grabs is 9/10ths brown, fuzzy-haired dog-duplicate.

But he grabs hard. And he holds the David-animal body firmly. As he continues grasping it, the dog changes back into boy. Into David Norton. In my line of vision, 38 people have stood up in a manner known as jumping to their feet. And there is a sound. What I, by comparison, would call a collective moan. The sound comes from all over the tent. I count 241 moans, most of them from people I cannot see.

Even the most ardent of those wretched souls who continue to insist that Van Vogt was an unfairly maligned genius of sf, are going to have difficulty endorsing this book……

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Void Indigo issue 1

Void Indigo
by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik
issue 1, November, 1984
Marvel / Epic

After reading the Void Indigo graphic novel, I decided to search out and investigate the short-lived, 2-issue comic book series that Epic comics released in November, 1984 and March, 1985. 

The reason for the series' cancellation after the first two, of what were intended to be six issues, apparently had something to do with the outcry from comic book critics over what they perceived as 'Void's' portrayal of sadistic violence and misogyny (according to the 'Void Indigo' Wiki entry, a comic book critic named Bob Ingersoll called the comic 'a crime against humanity). 

The plot, which picks up at the end of the graphic novel, is barely coherent: Ath Agaar, a barbarian warlord who was killed eons ago by a cabal of four evil necromancers....

......has been reincarnated in the body of a red-skinned, shaven-headed alien space pilot named Jhagur......!

After his spaceship crash-lands in the desert of New Mexico......

Jhagur - who has a variety of superhuman powers, including the ability to alter his appearance - takes on the form of a young man named Michael Jagger.....!

Jagger / Jhagur takes up residence in L.A. with a shapely blonde named Linette, and embarks on his mission of vengeance. For the Dark Lords who murdered Ath Agaar have been reincarnated, as denizens of southern California no less, where they are enthusiastic participants in all manner of evil acts. 

As 'Void Indigo' issue 1 opens, Jhagur has eliminated one of the four Dark Lords, and is actively seeking the other three....who have no intention of going quietly......

Posted below are the contents of the first issue of 'Void Indigo', the comic book. 

It's an awful comic. Val Mayerik's artwork is horrible - little more than preliminary sketches hastily reworked to meet an obviously too-close deadline. 

The color printing is the worst I've ever seen in a major publisher's comic published in the 80s......even making allowances for the poor quality of the color separations, which in the 80s relied almost exclusively on cheap, plastic printing plates, Void Indigo's colors are truly awful.

But, looking at the contents of the first issue of 'Void', well....I broke out laughing when I finished reading page 2 !

Looking at the comic 30 years after its initial publication, 'Void Indigo' is not a 'crime against humanity', but garish, freewheeling, exploitative mess of a comic book. A mess that, despite the dysfunctional plot, artwork, and coloring, has some real entertainment value...particularly in its crazed depiction of California culture of the mid-80s, its gratuitous nudity and violence, and its cheerful violation of every one of today's standards for politically correct comic book content. 

Stand by for the contents of issue 2, coming soon to the PorPor Books Blog !