It’s Storytime with King Kong at Simian Saturdays

Browne-King-KongOver at the StarWarp Concepts blog, you’ll find the latest installment of Simian Saturdays, a series of reviews I’ve been doing that examine the movies (and other media) that focused on King Kong, the giant monkey who’s captured generations of monster fans’ hearts. It’s part of SWC’s celebration of King Kong, the latest addition to its Illustrated Classics library that’s now on sale.

In week 1, I reviewed the original King Kong, from 1933. Week 2 was the 1976 remake of King Kong. Week 3 was the 2005 remake of King Kong by director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit). Today it’s Anthony Browne’s King Kong, a children’s book adaptation of the original story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper. Go check it out!

King-Kong-Final-FrontCvrKing Kong (the SWC Illustrated Classic) is an e-book-only release that reintroduces monster fans to the 1932 novelization of the original movie classic. Written by Delos W. Lovelace, based on the story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper and the screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose, it includes scenes that didn’t appear in the final cut of the film—including the notorious “spider pit” sequence in which Kong’s human pursuers are attacked by horrific arachnids and insects. The SWC version features six original black-and-white illustrations by comics artist Paul Tuma, whose pulp-influenced style has appeared in the pages of The Twilight Avenger, Flare, and Dan Turner: Hollywood Detective.

King Kong is on sale right now, so visit its product page at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information.

StarWarp Concepts’ Classics Collection

King-Kong-Final-FrontCvrThis past Tuesday saw the release of King Kong, an e-book-exclusive release that’s the latest entry in StarWarp Concepts’ growing collection of classic dark-fantasy titles. Written by Delos W. Lovelace, based on the story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper and the screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose, it’s the novelization of the original 1933 film that introduced monster-movie fans to a version of “Beauty and the Beast” like no other. The SWC edition features scenes that didn’t appear in the final cut of the film—including the notorious “spider pit” sequence in which Kong’s human pursuers are attacked by horrific arachnids and insects. The SWC version also features six original black-and-white illustrations by comics artist Paul Tuma.

King Kong, however, isn’t the only title that Panatics might find interesting—just check out the following:

Carmilla_CoverCarmilla is J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s 19th-century classic vampiric tale of love gone wrong. Laura is so desperate for a friend that when a young woman named Carmilla practically turns up on the doorstep of the castle owned by Laura’s father, she thinks her prayers for companionship have been answered. But as she comes to realize, Carmilla isn’t as interested in making friends as she is in spilling blood. Regarded as the one of the earliest female vampire tales—if not the first—Carmilla was an influence on author Bram Stoker in the creation of the vampire brides in his seminal novel, Dracula, and remains a popular character in fiction to this day. Just like with A Princess of Mars, our edition contains six original illustrations done especially for StarWarp Concepts by the super-talented Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0, The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1).

SWC_SnowWhiteSnow White is the classic story by the Brothers Grimm, and was the first of our e-book-exclusive titles. You know the tale: A wicked queen, jealous of her stepdaughter’s beauty, plots to kill the girl so that the queen can become “the fairest of them all.” But standing in her way are seven dwarves who’ve taken quite a liking to the young lady—and they’re not about to let the queen win this particular beauty title. Featuring lush full-color illustrations first published in 1883, it’s always on sale for the wickedly low price of just 99¢!

whitefell-werewolf-cvrWhite Fell—The Werewolf: Originally published in 1896 as The Were-wolf, the launch title in the new SWC Horror Bites line was written by renowned author, artist, and suffragette Clemence Annie Housman, and is regarded by scholars as perhaps the first feminist werewolf story. In it, a beautiful woman named White Fell wanders into a snowbound village—and into the hearts of twin brothers, one of whom immediately becomes smitten by her. The other brother, however, soon grows suspicious of the enigmatic White Fell. Where did she come from? Why does she always carry an ax? And is her sudden appearance somehow related to the recent sightings of a bloodthirsty wolf in the area? He may come to regret being so inquisitive…

Carmilla and White Fell—The Werewolf are available in both print and digital formats; King Kong and Snow White are digital exclusives. Visit their respective product pages at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information.

King Kong Now On Sale!

King-Kong-Final-FrontCvrHey, Panatics! On sale today from the StarWarp Concepts webstore is King Kong, an e-book-exclusive reprint of the 1932 novelization of the original motion picture, and the latest addition to SWC’s line of classic books. Written by Delos W. Lovelace, based on the story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper, the SWC edition features six brand-new illustrations by pulp-comics artist Paul Tuma (Tales of the Green Hornet, The Twilight Avenger).

Not familiar with the story of the king of the monsters and the woman with whom he falls in love, resulting in one of the strangest “beauty and the beast” stories of all time? For shame! I thought all monster fans knew Kong’s story by now. Well, no biggie—allow me to present you with the back-cover copy from SWC’s edition:

Ann Darrow was a down-on-her-luck actress struggling to survive in Depression-era New York City when she met moviemaker Carl Denham. He offered her the starring role in his latest film: a documentary about a long-lost island—and the godlike ape named Kong rumored to live there. Denham needed a beauty as a counterpart to the beast he hoped to find, and Ann was the answer to his prayers.

Mystery, romance, a chance to turn her life around, even the possibility of stardom—to Ann, it sounded like the adventure of a lifetime! But what she didn’t count on were the horrific dangers that awaited her on Skull Island—including the affections of a love-struck monster…

 Originally published in 1932, this fast-paced novelization includes scenes that never appeared in the final version of the classic 1933 film—the most famous of them being the gruesome Skull Island “spider pit” sequence, in which hordes of monstrous arachnids attempt to devour Ann’s rescuers!

Critics have certainly enjoyed this novelization:

“A cracking adventure that shoots along at breakneck pace.”
—The Science Fact & Science Fiction Concatenation

“Lovelace’s novelization is an interesting read and moves with a breezy pace. Fascinating for fans of the film.”—Library Thing

“Recommended for hard-core Kongites.”—Sci-Fi Dimensions

King Kong is available right now for download, so visit its product page at StarWarp Concepts for further information, including a free pair of sample chapters.

Simian Saturdays Hobbits Along with King Kong 2005

king-kong2005Over at the StarWarp Concepts blog, you’ll find the third installment of Simian Saturdays, a series of reviews I’ve been doing that examine the movies (and other media) that focused on King Kong, the giant monkey who’s captured generations of monster fans’ hearts. It’s part of the SWC countdown to the March 7 (tomorrow!) release of King Kong, the next addition to its Illustrated Classics library.

In week one, I reviewed the original King Kong, from 1933. Last week, it was the 1976 remake of King Kong. Now it’s the 2005 remake of King Kong by director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit), starring Naomi Watts (The Ring), Adrien Brody (Predators), Jack Black (Kung Fu Panda), and motion-capture artist Andy Serkis (Avengers: Age of Ultron) as the giant monkey who likes climbing New York skyscrapers. Go check it out!

King-Kong-Final-FrontCvrKing Kong (the SWC Illustrated Classic) is an e-book-only release that will reintroduce monster fans to the 1932 novelization of the original movie classic. Written by Delos W. Lovelace, based on the story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper and the screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose, it includes scenes that didn’t appear in the final cut of the film—including the notorious “spider pit” sequence in which Kong’s human pursuers are attacked by horrific arachnids and insects. The SWC version features six original black-and-white illustrations by comics artist Paul Tuma, whose pulp-influenced style has appeared in the pages of The Twilight Avenger, Flare, and Dan Turner: Hollywood Detective.

King Kong goes on sale tomorrow, March 7, 2017. In the meantime, visit its product page at StarWarp Concepts for further information.

Happy 95th Anniversary, Nosferatu!

nosferatu-a-symphony-of-horror-movie-poster-1922Okay, I’m a day late in celebrating it but yesterday, March 4, was the 95th anniversary of the day in 1922 when German movie-going audiences were introduced to, and horrified by, Count Graf Orlok, the vampiric star of director F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror. (It took another seven years before the film reached America.)

Nosferatu, in case you were unaware, was actually an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. You think Twilight is just Harry Potter with the “serial numbers”—character names and plot locations—filed off to create a new setup? Or that Fifty Shades of Gray is just a reformatted Twilight? Well, producers Albin Grau and Enrico Dieckmann and screenwriter Henrik Galeen were doing that stuff almost a hundred years before Meyer and James—only no one’s ever insisted that all copies of their derivative works had to be destroyed!

That’s exactly what Florence Balcombe Stoker—the author’s widow—demanded when she learned of the film. Originally she sued Grau and Dieckmann’s Prana-Film company for copyright infringement—Grau had never bothered optioning the rights to Dracula and just ripped it off—but when it became clear the movie wasn’t a box-office hit, she said she’d settle for all copies of it being destroyed, and the judge presiding over the case agreed with her! Luckily, some copies survived so that generations of horror fans could see for themselves what a great film it is, and how disturbingly creepy Count Orlok is, as portrayed by actor Max Schreck.

There’s another reason (isn’t there always?) I mention Count Orlok: his is one of the vampire clans featured in the Pan novels Blood Feud and Blood Reign (and the upcoming Blood & Iron)—although I spell it Orlock there. But really, he’s the same vampire you’ll find in Nosferatu. And maybe one day, if Pan is unfortunate enough, she might find herself running into that rat-faced creep…

If you’ve never seen Nosferatu because it’s an old, black-and-white silent (no sound) movie, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Go find a copy—there are tons of them out there, since the movie has long been in the public domain—and check it out!

That Monkey Has Aged Really Well…

king-kong-cvrHey, fellow monster kids! Can you believe it? Eighty-four years ago today, on March 2, 1933, New York movie audiences got to feast their eyes on, and get the crap scared out of them by, the Eighth Wonder of the World: King Kong! Looks good for his age, doesn’t he?

Of course I’m not just mentioning this momentous occasion because I’m a lover of that big ol’ lug’s movie—after all, star Fay Wray was my first scream queen—but because, as I’ve none-too-subtly mentioned a number of times at this blog, Pan’s publisher, StarWarp Concepts, is publishing a King Kong title of its own.

King Kong is an e-book exclusive that will reintroduce monster fans to the 1932 novelization of the original movie classic. Written by Delos W. Lovelace, based on the story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper and the screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose, it includes scenes that didn’t appear in the final cut of the film—including the notorious “spider pit” sequence in which Kong’s human pursuers are attacked by horrific arachnids and insects. The SWC version features six original black-and-white illustrations by comics artist Paul Tuma, whose pulp-influenced style has appeared in the pages of The Twilight Avenger, Flare, and Dan Turner: Hollywood Detective.

Not familiar with the beauty-and-the-beast story of Kong and his “love interest,” Ann Darrow? Well, here’s the back-cover copy from the SWC edition to bring you up-to-date:

Ann Darrow was a down-on-her-luck actress struggling to survive in Depression-era New York when she met moviemaker Carl Denham. He offered her the starring role in his latest film: a documentary about a long-lost island—and the godlike ape named Kong rumored to live there. Denham needed a beauty as a counterpart to the beast he hoped to find, and Ann was the answer to his prayers.

Mystery, romance, a chance to turn her life around, even the possibility of stardom—to Ann, it sounded like the adventure of a lifetime! But what she didn’t count on were the horrific dangers that awaited her on Skull Island—including the affections of a love-struck monster . . .

King Kong (the SWC edition) goes on sale next Tuesday, March 7, 2017. In the meantime, visit its product page for further information.

Happy Will Eisner Week 2017!

WillEisnerWeek-2017Graphic novels: Who doesn’t love to read them, especially if they can be used to get adults, teens, and kids interested in reading? And if there’s one thing the staff at StarWarp Concepts believes in, it’s promoting literacy. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s a yearly literacy event that’s been set up to help get the ball rolling!

Will Eisner Week is an annual celebration—held this week from March 1 to March 7—and is run by the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation. It promotes literacy, graphic novels, free speech, and the legacy of the late Will Eisner, who would have turned 100 on March 6.

Eisner, for those of you who might be unfamiliar with his work, was the creator of the 1940s masked crimefighter The Spirit, and one of the founding fathers of American graphic novels. A Contract with God, A Life Force, Dropsie Avenue, and The Dreamer are just some of the fascinating tales Eisner wrote and drew, featuring ordinary people in extraordinary (and sometimes not-so-extraordinary) situations. And even though he passed away in 2005, Eisner continues to inspire generations of writers and artists. Events are being held this week around the world; visit the Will Eisner Week site for more information.

StarWarp Concepts, of course, has its share of graphic novels, and the folks there would have absolutely no problem at all if you happened to order them as your reading material for this special week. Check out the following titles—there may be one (or more) that pique your interest:

pan_annual_coverThe Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1: Okay, it’s not a graphic novel, but at 56 pages it’s still a pretty thick comic book, with three stories of Pan and the monsters that live in her New York City hometown. As regular visitors to this site know well, The Saga of Pandora Zwieback chronicles the adventures of sixteen-year-old Pandora Zwieback, a Gothy horror fangirl who possesses amazing powers that she just learned about, including the ability to see past the human disguises worn by monsters to blend in with society. And The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1 is a 56-page, full-color special that contains two stories by Steven A. Roman (that’s me) and one by Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up, The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold), and art by Eliseu “Zeu” Gouveia (Lorelei: Sects and the City, The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0), Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School), and comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld). “Song of the Siren,” by Zeu and me, sees Pan run into one of her boyfriend Javi’s exes—who turns out to be a mythological siren! “After Hours,” by Sholly and Ernie, is about a demon who walks into a bar for a little downtime. And the short story “Shopping Maul,” by me, with Elizabeth providing title page art, involves Pan and her fellow Fiend Club friends dealing with Elegant & Gothic Lolita vampires in a Queens, NY retail outlet.

troubleshooters_lrg_coverTroubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings: Perfect for superhero fans, this graphic novel is about a supernatural team of superfolk-for-hire, consisting of a wizard, a sorceress, a female ninja, a high-tech-armor-wearing rock concert lighting designer, and a werewolf. Not every superhero team has Tony Stark’s billions to play with, you understand, and the Troubleshooters are just looking to earn a living while fighting the monsters that have always lurked in the shadows. Makes sense, right? Of course it does! Written by the husband-and-wife team of Richard C. White (The Chronicles of the Sea Dragon Special) and Joni M. White, and illustrated by Reggie Golden and Randy Zimmerman, Night Stalkings presents the TSI members on their first mission: protecting a multimillionaire from a trio of Middle Eastern demons out to raise a little hell! Critics likened it to an indie version of DC Comics’ Justice League Dark, so if you’re into superhero and dark fantasy mash-ups, then Troubleshooters, Incorporated might just be a team you want to check out.

Both titles are available in print and digital formats, so visit their respective product pages at StarWarp Concepts for all the ordering information, as well as sample pages.

Happy reading!

Carmilla Haunts Classic Radio Shows

Doing Homework 1946To celebrate this year’s 145th anniversary of J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s gothic vampire classic, Carmilla, Pan’s publisher, over at the StarWarp Concepts blog I’ve been doing a series of blog posts in which I’m reviewing various adaptations (comics, films, TV) of this strange and creepy paranormal romance.

Today’s entry, which wraps up the series, examines a trio of terrestrial-radio adaptations produced in the 1940s and 1970s, one even hosted by master of the macabre Vincent Price! Head over to today’s post at the SWC blog and find out how well (or how poorly) Carmilla’s vampiric passions translate to what one of my college radio-production professors used to call “the theater of the mind”!

If you’re unfamiliar with what is probably Le Fanu’s most famous work, here’s the back-cover copy from the StarWarp Concepts edition:

Carmilla_CoverBefore Edward and Bella, before Lestat and Louis, even before Dracula and Mina, there was the vampiric tale of Carmilla and Laura.

Living with her widowed father in a dreary old castle in the woods of Styria, Laura has longed to have a friend with whom she can confide; a friend to bring some excitement to her pastoral lifestyle. And then Carmilla enters her life.

Left by her mother in the care of Laura’s father, Carmilla is young, beautiful, playful—everything that Laura had hoped to find in a companion. In fact, the lonely girl is so thrilled to have a new friend that she is willing to overlook the dark-haired beauty’s strange actions…which include a disturbing, growing obsession for her lovely hostess.

Carmilla, it seems, desires more than just friendship from Laura….

Carmilla—the SWC edition, featuring six original illustrations by artist Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0, The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1)—is available in print and digital formats, so visit its product page at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information.

Carmilla the Nightmare Classic

Carmilla-ShowtimeTo celebrate this year’s 145th anniversary of J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s gothic vampire classic, Carmilla, Pan’s publisher, over at the StarWarp Concepts blog I’m doing a series of blog posts in which I’m reviewing various adaptations (comics, films, TV) of this strange and creepy paranormal romance.

Today’s entry is Nightmare Classics: Carmilla, a 1989 version done for Showtime that stars Meg Tilly as Carmilla and Ione Skye as her victim/intended lover, Marie. The setting moves from Styria to post–Civil War America, but it remains the tale of a vampire in search of love­—and blood. Head over to today’s post at the SWC blog and check it out!

If you’re unfamiliar with what is probably Le Fanu’s most famous work, here’s the back-cover copy from the StarWarp Concepts edition:

Before Edward and Bella, before Lestat and Louis, even before Dracula and Mina, there was the vampiric tale of Carmilla and Laura.

Carmilla_CoverLiving with her widowed father in a dreary old castle in the woods of Styria, Laura has longed to have a friend with whom she can confide; a friend to bring some excitement to her pastoral lifestyle. And then Carmilla enters her life.

Left by her mother in the care of Laura’s father, Carmilla is young, beautiful, playful—everything that Laura had hoped to find in a companion. In fact, the lonely girl is so thrilled to have a new friend that she is willing to overlook the dark-haired beauty’s strange actions…which include a disturbing, growing obsession for her lovely hostess.

Carmilla, it seems, desires more than just friendship from Laura….

Carmilla—the SWC edition, featuring six original illustrations by artist Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0, The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1)—is available in print and digital formats, so visit its product page at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information.

Watching Carmilla Become One of The Vampire Lovers

Vampire_lovers_posterTo celebrate this year’s 145th anniversary of J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s gothic vampire classic, Carmilla, Pan’s publisher, over at the StarWarp Concepts blog I’ve started a series of blog posts in which I’m reviewing various adaptations (comics, films, TV) of this strange and creepy paranormal romance.

Today I’m taking a look at The Vampire Lovers, the 1970 Hammer Films version starring Ingrid Pitt as Carmilla and veteran actor Peter Cushing (whom you younger Panatics might recognize as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope and—in CG form—in the recent Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). Head over to today’s post at the SWC blog and check it out!

If you’re unfamiliar with what is probably Le Fanu’s most famous work, here’s the back-cover copy from the StarWarp Concepts edition:

Carmilla_CoverBefore Edward and Bella, before Lestat and Louis, even before Dracula and Mina, there was the vampiric tale of Carmilla and Laura.

Living with her widowed father in a dreary old castle in the woods of Styria, Laura has longed to have a friend with whom she can confide; a friend to bring some excitement to her pastoral lifestyle. And then Carmilla enters her life.

Left by her mother in the care of Laura’s father, Carmilla is young, beautiful, playful—everything that Laura had hoped to find in a companion. In fact, the lonely girl is so thrilled to have a new friend that she is willing to overlook the dark-haired beauty’s strange actions…which include a disturbing, growing obsession for her lovely hostess.

Carmilla, it seems, desires more than just friendship from Laura….

Carmilla—the SWC edition, featuring six original illustrations by artist Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0, The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1)—is available in print and digital formats, so visit its product page at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information.