Friday, June 29, 2018

Cosplay Pin-Ups, By Design and Pocket Knife

“This ain’t your run-of-the-mill Cosplay book!”
If you frequent comic book, toy, game or TV/movie conventions you’re bound to run into people playing their favorite genre characters.

Some of their costumes get quite elaborate and a few a little too revealing.

Photographer Alvarado takes Cosplay to the next level with his Cosplay Pin-Ups book published by Schiffer Books.

Inside Alvarado showcases is gallery of photographs where he has taken beloved characters from the above mention genres and added more than a fair share of cheesecake and sex appeal.

He stages some truly exquisite photographs and by careful manipulation in Photoshop and other photo-editing programs gives the photos a sleek, almost cartoonish look.  

Some of the models are interviewed and spotlighted.  The resulting  photos are reminiscent of the old WWII pin-ups girls kicked up a notch.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times before I am a big fan of TV shows and movies.  I love all types: comedies, dramas, musicals, Westerns and suspense-all of them have their high and low points.

But, if it were not for the theatre, more specifically Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, TV and movies as we know them would not exist.

Without play production many of the superstars of TV and film would be absent.  In fact, many of the top-selling TV shows and movies are derived from plays.

In Fraver By Design readers are given a gallery tour of five decades of theatre poster art from Broadway, Off-Broadway and beyond--as created by Frank “Fraver” Verlizzo.

What a great compilation of historical fact -filled fun and insider information, production notes and best of all: full-color theatre poster recreations of some of the greatest play productions of all time.

When I was a kid every little boy carried a pocket knife with him.  I carried one as far back as I can remember.  I even gave a Show and Tell of my knife collection when I was in sixth grade.

That would never happen today-for a number of reasons.

Every little boy enjoys knives.  There’s something aesthetically and eye-pleasing about their functional designs.

In The Gentleman’s Pocket Knife the complete history and construction of the world’s most beautiful models are given their just due.

Author Stefan Schmalhaus presents a stunning, full-color photo gallery of some of the most beautiful and innovative pocket knives ever created, from all over the world. 

Readers learn how pocket knives are manufactured, their long history and get to see the different types of pocket knives, along with their multi-functions.

Single blade to multi-utility use, they are all represented and showcased in this beautiful, new hardbound book highlighted with spot varnish full-color photos on its cover.

The Return Of The Ripper

Recently I was introduced to a new wonderful new series of books by the father and daughter writing team of Charles Veley and Anna Elliott.
The books offer a unique take on the Sherlock Holmes legend:  Holmes and Watson are joined by Sherlock’s daughter Lucy James.

Recently united with the daughter he never knew he had Holmes is pleased to discover she has many of his more admirable traits-primarily a mind for solving crimes.

Beautiful, talented and adept at social graces (that’s one trait she possesses her father does not) Lucy is every bit is as curious, courageous and meticulous as her famous father.

The Return Of The Ripper is the latest release of the five Holmes/James novels.  I’m excited about reading the entire series.

In Holmes’s latest adventure Holmes, James and Doctor Watson investigate a number of crimes, among them a robbery, a questionable suicide of a clergyman, the murder of a recent immigrant woman and the slashing murders in the back alleys of London.

Are the crimes related and has the Ripper really returned? Holmes/James and Watson face off against one of their most diabolical foes in a new adventure filled with mystery, intrigue and with danger around every corner and dark alcove.

Readers are invited to join the stalwart threesome as they plunge into the dark and dank underbelly of London’s seamier side and an investigative romp amongst the pretentious glitz and glamour of London’s Victorian upper class aristocrats.

Like the Sherlock Holmes chronicled before, this new book contains memorable rogues and angels, mysteries upon mysteries and nothing and no one ever appears as it/they really are

Throw in Lucy’s upcoming wedding, Watson’s romantic rekindling after his wife’s death and Holmes coping with being a father, a soon to be father-in-law and dealing with a new set of emotions and feelings to deal with and you have a new Sherlock Holmes tale worthy of the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mysteries.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Close-ups and Six Rode Home

TV is magic.  Or at least it is to me.
While much of the TV shows broadcast today leave me cold I do love many of the old 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and (in part) 1980s TV programs--serious or funny.

Many TV shows of the past offered viewers a slice of American life, flights of fancy and fantasy and adventure and danger—safe on a couch or armchair.

I have my favorites as most people do but there are those programs and characters that strike a chord with all viewers of past TV series.

In Eddie Lucas’ Close-ups Conversations With Our TV Favorites, published by BearManor Media, readers join Mr. Lucas as he has some up-close and personal conversations with such TV stars Peter Brock from The Big Valley, Barbara Billingsley of Leave It To Beaver, Dwayne Hickman of Dobie Gillis fame and over a dozen other actors and actresses from long ago TV series.

What a delightful journey!  I really enjoyed traveling down TV Memory Lane with some of my favorite actors and actresses and reading their accounts of working on their respective series.

Candid, up-front and filled with surprises and little known tidbits, the book is a veritable treasure trove of memories from a bygone era.

The American Civil War nearly tore this country apart.  Neighbor fought against neighbor and brother against brother.  Entire families were devastated as the toll of the war left its ugly mark-especially in the Southern States.

In Michael Dante’s Six Rode Home, a half a dozen horse soldiers return home to the South.  

Downtrodden and disheartened that their side lost the soldiers are still excited to be going home.  What will they find?  Will their family’s still exist?  What cost has they and their loved ones paid?

Along the way they experience the entire gamut of emotions from joy to horror.  Like all wars The Civil War carried with it a heavy cost.  In Six Rode Home readers are invited to witness what war-weary and disillusioned Southern soldiers experienced on their journey home and their eventual arrival.

I encourage readers to take to heart the message and to never forget.  Only when we learn from history can we ever truly change.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

ScreenBar e-Reading Lamp

What’s adjustable, powered by dual color LED, adjusts for lighting conditions, is made from aluminum alloy and polycarbonate, uses minimal energy and includes a USB that hooks directly into your computer?
Why it’s BenQ’s ScreenBar e-Reading Lamp of course.

This slim, ultra- cool design light is perfect for computers.  The long light bar completely illuminates the entire screen and adjusts for lighting automatically via its ambient light sensor and has zero glare.

The counterweight screen attachment instantly adjusts itself to accommodate any computer screen.

It’s cool to the touch, saves space and best of all gets high ratings from consumers and computer experts alike.

It’s easy to assemble right out of the box, a snap to use and a manual and video are available to upload online.

Get rid of those oversize and cumbersome desk lights and move into the 21st Century with the Screen e-Reading Lamp designed for the user in mind.
Simply slide the light bar into its holder, connect the USB cord, plug into your computer USB port, place it on your monitor, turn it on and bingo!—you’re ready to go!
It comes in a slide-lid box and is secured in place in a form-fitting, interior cradle.  Parts are protected by clear film and easy to follow instruction are illustrated on the back of the box.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Star Wars Stormtroopers Beyond The Armor

Stormtroopers-perhaps some of the most misunderstood, unappreciated and reviled individuals in the Star Wars Universe.
But, is that really being fair?

After all, the first Stormtroopers were programmed clones of Jango Fett-a notorious bounty hunter and later versions of the Troopers were indoctrinated individuals who were little more than fodder for the Empire and First Order.

I say we give them a break.  After all, they are lousy shots and their armor can’t even stop a laser handgun blast.

In Star Wars Stormtroopers Beyond The Armor by Ryder Windham and Adam Bray, published by Harper Design, the Stormtroopers are given their just dues.

Face it, if it were not for the Stormtroopers there would be no Star Wars.  Darth Vader would simply be a black clad creep going solo. The Empire and First Order would never have formed or survived and there would never have been such a bloody rebellion (oh, that’s a bad thing!).

In the book readers learn about the genesis of the Stormtroopers, their evolution through the Star Wars Universe, their weapons, armor, the different types of Stormtroopers, how they were trained and much more.

Along the way readers get to see a gallery of photos from the various films, animated TV series and video games and see the various merchandize and publications featuring the Stormtroopers such as comic books, toys and the like.

Besides the Stormtroopers themselves their weapons, transports, equipment and even their cosplay appearances are also included.

The book is absolutely brimming with art and photos accompanied by historical text, production notes and how the Troopers came about from concept to completion.

As a special added bonus there are fold-out illustrations, art and photos and a very ‘special’ inside back cover envelope contain reproductions of archival Stormtrooper art.

What a fun read! I got a real blast looking at all the cool photos and art and I came away with a whole new perspective of the Stormtroopers.