Friday, May 14, 2010

What I've Read Just Lately

ICON: Frank Frazetta
This collection of Frank's work does a pretty good job of cataloging his career, from early comic work to movie posters and then especially his celebrated novel covers. I actually bought and read this years ago but with his recent passing, it seemed like a good time to peruse it again. There won't be another like him, an absolute living legend.

Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser: Graphic Novel
by Fritz Leiber, adapted by Howard Chykin and Mike Mignola
I had a slow start-not with this book but Fritz Leiber in general. I was kinda iffy on Conjure Wife and when I got into Sword & Sorcery big time I grabbed the Fafhrd & Grey Mouser books but they sat for a long time while Howard, Wagner and others dominated. When I finally started the first book I wasn't blown away and stopped.-Ill Met in Lankhmar is just not one of my favorite tales-BUT when I first saw this graphic novel collection I was intrigued in part because I like Mike Mignola's style a lot (Hellboy) and figured maybe the medium could change it up for me. I bought it and it to sat, until my friend Daron Fraley said I my work reminded him of Leiber-I thought I better read some more. And enjoying later tales much more I have kept reading-the Graphic is excellent, subtle nuances in Leibers prose are lost but are replaced by Mignola's fantastic art as well as just great storytelling. Highly recommend for comic and S&S readers.

Chronicles of Conan 15: The Corridor of Mullah-Kajar
by John Buscema, J.M. DeMatteis, Roy Thomas and Larry Hama
Most of this collection of the 70's Conan comic collection was from when Roy Thomas quit and DeMatteis took over. The single story by Larry Hama (of G.I.Joe and Wolverine) was actually my favorite in the collection (Not including Howards) the titular Corridor of Mullah-Kajar, great yarn about illusion and what we think we see. DeMatteis's stories were alright but not great, for all Roy Thomas's playing around and making all of REH's stories into Conan's, he still had a greater sense of what belonged in the cannon. The single Thomas piece is the adaption of Phoenix on the Sword (one of my all time favorites) and as much as I like Buscema's art- I really liked the art by Vicente Alcazar. Quite visceral.

On Sparta
by Plutarch
A fascinating book on the lives of prominent Spartans-Lycurgus legendary founder of Spartan law and Agesilaus Spartan King, among others. I especially enjoyed the section on Spartan sayings, a veritable goldmine of wise words and thoughts to use for other endeavors in writing. This penguin edition also has an appendix by Xenophon on Spartan society, lots of good stuff.

My reading has been sparse lately, catching up on lots more writing but I was very excited to snag the audio book for The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell, the fifth book in the Saxon Tales, one of my favorite ongoing series. I'll begin this very soon. Well worth the read for anyone who like action-historicals. Plenty to chew on for those that are looking for something in fantasy as well-just to keep yourself rounded in reality's blood and thunder.


Angie said...

You should share some of that Spartan wisdom with us.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

I've had a real hard time getting into Leiber. Not sure if it is his writing style or my own impatience.

Charles Gramlich said...

I have ICON too, and enjoyed it. I didn't feel the same way about the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser graphic novel as you. I thought it was very weak and not nearly as good as Leiber print works. However, I'm not a huge Leiber fan either. He is a bit slow and I've had some disagreements over the years with things that seem to be themes in the Fafhrd/Mouser series. Some day I'll post on those.

David J. West said...

Angie-I will soon good idea for a post.

Paladin-It took me awhile to get into his stuff, and reading them in order may be why the better tales seem to be later in the books.

Charles-I did like the graphic but yeah there may be some themes I didn't like either-specially "Lean Times in Lanhkmar" So I would enjoy a post of yours on that.