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paul carbonaro (dayton, OH United States)
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Warlock by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection
Warlock by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection
by Jim Starlin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comic book magic by writer - artist Jim Starlin, 11 Dec. 2014
WARLOCK was just another comic book series (and not a very good one at that) until Jim Starlin walked through the door. No, he didn't just walk through it, he blew it to smithereens, and set about crafting his vision of how the series should play out. And what a vision! Even though WARLOCK was produced in the mid-'70s, it was no kids' comic book. Yes it could be enjoyed by kids, but it was so much more than mere kids' entertainment. As a mid-teen at the time, I was enthralled. Sadly, Jim Starlin didn't produce that many issues before he departed Marvel, but at least that meant his run could be collected in its entirety in one volume. What a splendid gift. Whoever you give it to should thank you profusely.


Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange
by Marvel Comics
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Ditko's 'Doctor Strange' - NOT Stan Lee's, 10 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Doctor Strange (Paperback)
Just to be clear, this is NOT Stan Lee's 'Doctor Strange.' The character was created solely by Steve Ditko who presented it to his boss at Marvel, Stan Lee. Stan wasn't sure about the viability of the proposal, but went with it. Eventually, under the guidance of writer-artist Ditko, the series and character became part of the Marvel establishment. I describe artist Ditko also as 'writer' because it was he who came up the plots for each issue as well as the artwork. After the pages were drawn, editor Stan would enter the picture and provide dialogue, captions, and thought balloons based off of the artwork in front of him and any notes Ditko made in the margin to guide Stan regarding plot progression and what the characters were likely to say. As editor, though, Stan had the power to either follow Ditko's prods or ignore them outright. Stan, then, is the editor/wordsmith on the stories as opposed to 'writer.' And, definitely, the issues in the collection comprise part of Steve Ditko's 'Doctor Strange' and are not Stan's.


Marvel Comics: The Untold Story
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story
by Sean Howe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where do I begin? :o, 14 Jun. 2013
Okay, let's start with Edward Heath. Do you remember him? Prime Minister of Britain, 1970-73. Tory/Conservative Party. A supporter of capitalism. Despite being pro-business, even Edward Heath declared that there is an unacceptable side of capitalism. Reading Sean Howe's 'Marvel Comics: the untold story,' there is no doubt that he is absolutely right! What manner of human beings are people such as Martin Goodman, Ron Perelman, Carl Ichan, and Ike Perlmutter? The answer is: business people devoid of souls, and for whom fellow human beings are nothing more than pawns to be used and abused. Everyone exists simply to serve the desired goals of these filthy-rich reprobates. Reading 'Marvel Comics: the untold story' is like diving into a cesspool of human behavior. Even though the vast majority of people featured are not filthy-rich, everyone seems to be in conflict with someone else (one way or another). Everyone tries to get one up on his opponent. Conflict sells, of course; it's dramatic. I don't suppose author Howe would have gotten far just telling us tales about glorious collaborations where writers, artists, editors, and publishers loved one another, and all was milk and honey. Frankly, given all the strife and conflict cataloged in the book, it is a miracle that Marvel Comics has not only survived since started by Goodman, but today prospers in the form of Big Screen dominance. Marvel Comics' characters regularly appear in movie blockbusters, and many more are on the way. Personally, I can't wait to see the Big Screen verson of Ditko's 'Dr. Strange' :-). Did you notice that I wrote 'Ditko's'? Stan Lee didn't even co-create 'Dr. Strange.' That was all Steve Ditko. And, since - in writing this review - I feel myself once again back in the conflict heavy narrative of Howe's book, let me take this opportunity to assert that even though Stan and Jack Kirby co-created most of Marvel's characters, for which Stan deserves credit, the 'Silver Surfer' is Jack's creation. As such, it's unforgivable that Stan didn't assign the writing and art to Jack when the Surfer was put on the comic book production schedule; instead he kept it for himself! Unforgivable. Now, where was I? Oh yes... Edward Heath.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2016 10:30 PM GMT


Revelations of a Football Manager
Revelations of a Football Manager
by Terry Neill
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Hindsight can be very enjoyable, 24 Jan. 2013
Reading Terry Neill's book for the first time (and about 27 years after it was first published) makes for a really different, but still very enjoyable reading experience. Yes, Neill makes references to a number of events and prominent soccer people prior to 1985, but he also makes a good spattering of references to how he thinks things will turn out in the future - some of which have proven prophetic and some not. For example, and regarding the latter, Neill states that ever-spiraling upward transfer fees will be a thing of the past before too long, because clubs will prefer not to pay huge transfer fees. They will prefer to pay each other low ones and, instead, pay the players much more than they would otherwise have expected. Well, he is wrong because of course we have now had transfer fees as high as 80 million pounds (Ronaldo to Real Madrid from Manchester Utd) and even the hapless Fernando Torres cost Chelsea 50 million pounds from Liverpool! But, then again, he could be said to be right... but only in the cases of end-of-contract Bosman players who go for nothing, and who get paid more than a fortune in wages and signing on fees, etc. He also didn't believe top flight stadia would be all-seaters, believing that it would go against the spirit of the sport not to have terraces for standing. I agree with him wholeheartedly regarding the 'spirit' thing. As for being prophetic... I confess: I don't have the book at hand, as I type :-( Therefore, you will have to take my word that some things Neill refers to have come to pass, but none that stand out so that I can tell you right now. Sorry! :o


The Manager: The absurd ascent of the most important man in football
The Manager: The absurd ascent of the most important man in football
by Barney Ronay
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fluff and hyperbole no substitute for substance, 27 Nov. 2010
I had a bad feeling about this book from the early pages. Quite simply, it was full of fluff and hyperbole which basically add up to padding. And, for the most part, that's how the book continued through to its end. I can only assume this diasppointing outcome is because although the manager is an interesting character in the evolution of professional soccer, there really isn't that much 'story' to tell. It also makes me think that (a) the publisher pressed author Ronay to fill 283 pages to make the book seem more substantial than it is, and/or (b) the author is simply in love with the 'sound' of his own words :O He never opts to give one description to make a point when he can give three in rapid succession - which he does time and time again. If the book's content were truly substantial, he wouldn't need to do that. He would get to the point, make it and move on. And, beyond the literary crimes just described, Ronay commits the cardinal sins of providing background information that is completely wrong! Just two examples: He states that Alec Stock used to manage Arsenal. He never did! He also claims that after being sacked by Derby, manager Brian Clough bought a ticket to attend the next home game at ... the City Ground! That stadium, of course, belongs to Nottingham Forest. Clough bought a ticket to enter the Baseball ground! Dear, oh dear!


Counter-Clock World (Voyager Classics)
Counter-Clock World (Voyager Classics)
by Philip K. Dick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars more social debate than sci-fi, 3 Aug. 2009
The reviews already written say plenty about this novel (and they do so excellently, in my humble opinion). I would just like to add a little, though. That is, I advise new readers not to expect much visionary sci-fi. The 'vidphone' is okay, of course, but even that futuristic device requires a 1960s type operator to make a connection from the western United States to Italy. Then, there is the air car, but that's a bit of a cliched item in sci-fi tales and, I have always thought, a fairly far-fetched aspect of sci-fi vision. But both the vidphone and air car are offset not just by the very 1960s element of a phone operator, but also by the 1960s aspects of needing to get up to manually turn of the TV, and the use of reference cards at the Library, and so on. I have to be honest and admit I was shocked at Dick's lack of sci-fi vision in this novel. Perhaps I am overlooking something and will be taken to task for my criticism. If so, that's okay. If I'm wrong, I like to be corrected.
I know the main thrust of the story concerns matters of societal well-being as opposed to 'true,' futuristic sci-fi, but I would still have expected as reknowned a novelist as Dick to appreciate that if the future has flying cars and vidphones, it certainly wouldn't need TVs to be turned off manually.


Fallen Idle: Fighting Back from the Booze, Swindles and Drugs That Ripped My Life Apart
Fallen Idle: Fighting Back from the Booze, Swindles and Drugs That Ripped My Life Apart
by Peter Marinello
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars book's as zippy as peter was, 23 Aug. 2008
I was a kid when Marinello signed for my beloved Arsenal, and I immediately wanted to be like him. I followed his career from that point on and, of course, was disappointed how his star fell and fell and fell. Much of 'Fallen Idle' deals with Peter's days as a player; in fact much more so than the sordid details of how he lost all his money, and that he did so against a backdrop of family strife. I suppose I had expected more about the latter and less about the former (especially since the former becomes more insubstantial with each passing season). Still, I don't want to gripe. The writing is honest and engaging and, as I said in the title, it fairly zips along just as Peter himself once did.


True Grit
True Grit
by Frank Mclintock
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'True Grit' is true McLintock, 17 April 2007
This review is from: True Grit (Paperback)
Frank McLintock was always the most honest of players; hard-working, ambitious, determined, and with an absolute never-say-die spirit. Before there was Tony Adams, before there was Patrick Vieira, before there was Thierry Henry, Arsenal had the greatest captain the club could ever wish to have.

He was the heart and soul of the Arsenal team that won the Fairs Cup (Eufa Cup) in 1970, and the League and FA Cup double a season later. It was his never-say-die spirit that rescued the dream of the double when all seemed lost with seconds to go in the Cup semi-final v Stoke. It was McLintock that got his head to the ball and forced a Stoke defender to handle on the line, thus giving Peter Storey the chance to equalize from the penalty spot and allow Arsenal to fight another day. It was McLintock that always led by example and drove his troops on, demanding ever more of them in the quest for greatness. Arsenal owe so much to this one man.

As you read through his life story, though, you will be shocked at how he came to be treated by the Arsenal big wigs, especially the under-appreciative and pompously arrogant Bertie Mee (about whom a book has been written that contains the title 'gentleman' - which he surely wasn't). Yet, in recounting the treatment he received at the hands of people such as Mee, McLintock harbors no lasting grudge. He just tells things the way they were.

'True Grit' is a compelling read because it is quite a story of a young man from a poor part of Glasgow who achieved what he did in Football through sheer hard work and determination; absolutely through 'true grit.' The book is as 'honest' as its author, and that alone makes it another notable success for Frank McLintock.


Slings & Arrows Comic Guide - 2nd Edition
Slings & Arrows Comic Guide - 2nd Edition
by Frank Plowright
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars endless hours of reading pleasure, 18 Aug. 2003
Try this: think of any particular comic book title and check out what the reviewers say. Then, when you're at a sudden loss for a title, think of a particular writer or artist and you'll find a bunch of titles suddenly springing to mind. Or, just try to think of titles by company. Or by 'circa' - as in what you read as a kid, as a teenager, as a young adult and, assuming you are one now, an aging adult (what do you mean, aging adults should get a new hobby??).
The comic book guide has so many titles to choose from that it's a mammoth task to plow through it alphabetically. But that's not a criticism. I'm just saying you can have fun by approaching the reading of the guide in ways I suggested above.
I've hardly put it down since getting it a couple of weeks ago. It's providing me with endless hours of reading pleasure and, of course, it's always a hoot to read opinions that contradict my own regarding certain titles. All I remember about 'Super-Villain team-up' is that it soon became a lot of fun and I was disappointed when it was canceled. But, if the review of the title is to be believed, it lacked real quality (and probably did). Then again I'm probably one of the few people who think a fair chunk of Kirby's solo work is sadly infantile, no matter how greatly he contributed to the art form and successful business of comic books. The reviews tend to praise Kirby as much as possible. And so on.
All in all, a great compilation and I believe a 'must' for any serious comics fan.


Glenn Hoddle: My 1998 World Cup Story
Glenn Hoddle: My 1998 World Cup Story
by Glenn Hoddle
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Experience life as both Hoddle the England coach and man., 21 July 2000
Everyone knows that Hoddle is vilified and ridiculed in the press not least due to the fact that he often prays before, during and after games, has faith in the apparent healing powers of Eileen Drewery, and because he revealed Gazza's blow up at being left out of the '98 World Cup squad. Well, read this book to get a balanced view of things. After reading it, I'm confident you will:
a) appreciate he has one of the best coaching brains in England; b) realize he isn't some religious zealot; c) appreciate that just perhaps Eileeen Drewery has a special ability to heal; d) discover that the gazza revelation wasn't 'cruel' whn put in context; e) wish he were still England coach . . . and more.
I enjoyed tagging along on the World Cup roller-coaster ride with Hoddle, and I felt I learned a lot about him from his personal life details. Looking back on World Cup qualifying in late '97 and the tournament itself in the summer of '98, I can now view that period from a very different perspective because I have been behind the scenes with the England coach. More than ever I'm convinced that Hoddle was our best coach since Ramsey.
The ONLY irritation for me was Hoddle's constant references to his having 'a strange feeling' about this, that, and the other. I would say he reads too much into things. If someone is injured, for example, it's a simple fact. The player is injured. It doesn't mean that myserious workings are in place so that a substitute can emerge to save the day, and so on. We all have 'funny' feelings about things from time to time. They don't necessarily have to mean anything!
Despite Hoddle's 'constant references,' it doesn't qualify him as a religious nut!
It's a good book. Read it and enjoy it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 7, 2010 10:57 PM GMT


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