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The Proletarian Gamble: Korean Workers in Interwar Japan (Asia-Pacific) (Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society)
The Proletarian Gamble: Korean Workers in Interwar Japan (Asia-Pacific) (Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society)
by Ken C. Kawashima
Edition: Paperback
Price: 15.93

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Scholarship, 9 Aug 2012
Kawashima's book is essential reading to anyone interested in the Japanese colonial period, and the attempts to manipulate Korean consciousness. Kawashima has uncovered an extraordinary amount of documentary evidence that had hitherto not been discussed much: there have already been a number of authoritative studies on the major abuses Koreans had to endure when the Japanese colonised Korean territory, but it is easy to overlook the smaller details -- the daily grind of discrimination in the workplace and in housing, and in day to day social integration at the `street level', and it is here that Kawashima focuses. He has meticulously, forensically, sorted and sifted through worker's diaries, radical underground press, government and think tank policy records, press releases, hospital, medical, psychiatrists' records, as well as police records and housing records, and in doing so, he reveals a cruelly cynical and soul-less social engineering process.

The Koreans however, put up massive resistance to these perverse, cruel and unjust social engineering methods -- and they have to be respected for that. Like the immigrant workers to UK in the 1950s, the Korean workers did not simply bow down submissively and 'bear the burden' and then pack up and go home -- on the contrary, they put up a spirited fight, and they overcame the odds, with dignity intact. Kawashima's research brings their struggle to life for the reader.

The Japanese in the early 1900s -- 1930s, were playing mind games with Korean immigrants that fundamentally, would only serve (intentionally, so Kawashima shows ) to tie them up in knots : on the one hand, Japanese society, government policy makers and employers told the Korean immigrants that they were welcomed with open arms, and that Koreans and Japanese were all part of the same multicultural 'family' -- but then Japanese society would block them in every possible way when Koreans genuinely did try to integrate. Subsequently, government officials and policy makers would then harass Koreans, accusing them of not making enough effort to integrate. But to complicate matters further, Koreans were made to feel there was no way they could ever actually be 'real' Japanese. For example, the Japanese would criticise the Koreans for not taking on Japanese cultural identities and Japanese personal names. But when Koreans actually did take Japanese names -- they'd be fired from their jobs and kicked out of their lodgings if it was ever discovered that they really had Korean names.

The Koreans initially did their best to integrate and `play the game', but they soon came to realise they'd been cheated, and they stubbornly stuck their heels in and refused to co operate with the policies that alienated, criminalised, undervalued, demeaned and dehumanised them. And they also refused to pack their bags and go back to Korea, as the Japanese social engineering groups and general society overwhelmingly seem to have desired. And indeed, Koreans are now very successful in their own right in Japan.

When reading Kawashima's exhaustive research and all the personal accounts of the Korean working class and those on the fringes of an alienated and oppressive advanced and sophisticated society, one can't help but be reminded of the very strong similarity to the way England perceives its migrants, particularly Muslims. The British media and governmental policy and think tanks tie them up in convoluted knots and double messages EG "You are one of us -- but we'll never let you be one of us. You are welcome -- but why don't you just go back home...You are totally free to live your culture here -- but don't ever practise your religion"

Just as the Japanese conveyed deeply duplicitous, confusing messages to the colonised Korean immigrants of the 1920s and 1930s, so do the British government think tanks and media sends out to its present day immigrant communities - there were Korean workers riots in the heart of Tokyo in the 1920s, and it is no wonder there have been riots in London.

No surprise -- if you send out double messages then you sow chaos, as Kawashima's commendable research has shown.

Kawashima's books is highly recommended - he uses Marx's "Capital" as well as Walter Benjamin as part of his theoretical prism, as well as incorporating insights from Slavoj Zizek, and as conceptual frameworks , or mirrors to reflect on the period, these are relevant and useful - Marx and Benjamin both analysed societies fractured by the industrial revolution and by the predatory instincts of capitalism, whilst Benjamin also dedicated much time to analysing the workings of the oppressive fascist state.

Zizek too, offers insight into the workings of the `secret state', hidden police strategies and the reactions of the underdog. Kawashima draws on these sources with precision and sensitivity.

As companion texts, I strongly recommend Shin Gi-Wook's "Ethnic Nationalism in Korea: Genealogy, Politics, and Legacy", "Peasant Protest and Social Change in Colonial Korea (Religion in the Age of Transformation,)" and the reader can then connect further pieces of the jigsaw by reading Bruce Cuming's "The Korean War: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)." Hildi Kang's "Under the Black Umbrella" is also essential reading.


Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel is Coming to an End
Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel is Coming to an End
by Norman G. Finkelstein
Edition: Paperback

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading From a Very Thorough Intellectual., 8 Aug 2012
The book is very focused. Finkelstein has absolute precision and organisation in his work. He has been through the historical record, the human rights records,and the so called academic scholarship,and and he sets it out for the reader in a strict, scholarly and methodical fashion -- and he shows where Israel is blatantly breaking the law, and preventing a two state settlement.

Dr. Finkelstein is not even presenting anything radical, 'left wing', or new in his solutions -- he is simply asking that Israel obey and follow the law, just like any other civilised nation, and he asks Israel to follow what the United Nations has demanded, and create two states, without delay. 'Just follow the law', is pretty much Finkelstein's constant refrain.

I am not sure what else Finkelstein's critics expect of him. How would they prefer he presented his stance? Would his critics prefer him to follow the 'radicals' and call for one state from the river to the sea? Finkelstein's wishes to see Israel simply follow what is legal are hardly radical.

He basically says-- Israel should withdraw to agreed borders, be serious about creating two states, no more settlement building, no more stalling, no more lies, and to deal with the refugee question in a just manner -- all of that has been legally demanded of Israel for decades now, and agreed on by the international community and the United Nations. The ball is in Israel's court. Just do it ! No more time wasting and no more power games and no more war mongering in the region.

What else does Israel want? To keep an Arab community penned up, indefinitely, in Gaza, behind walls, seething with hate and longing for revenge? Or, does Israel want to keep on treating non Jews as second class citizens within Israel? Israel has become an embarrassing anomaly, an anachronism -- these are the kinds of questions we should not be asking about a modern day democracy -- these were the kinds of questions countries like Rhodesia and South Africa had to resolve decades ago, and still Israel doesn't know what to do. Its current strategy for survival ( as Jabotinsky, Herzl, Ben Gurion and Sharon predicted) has come down to wielding its brute power to hurt, maim and harass and subvert the surrounding countries' populations and to humiliate the Arabs within Israel, and the Arab territories -- but how long can that last? It isn't really a workable solution for the problem is it?

You would do well to pay attention to what the greatest Holocaust scholar, Raul Hilberg said of Dr. Finkelstein. I quote :"[Finkelstein's] place in the whole history of writing history is assured." --Raul Hilberg, author, The Destruction of the European Jews.


Under the Black Umbrella: Voices from Colonial Korea, 1910-1945
Under the Black Umbrella: Voices from Colonial Korea, 1910-1945
by Hildi Kang
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential text., 26 July 2012
Hildi Kang's book is highly recommended to anyone who wants to understand Korean people more fully. To understand the present dynamic Korean society, and to understand Korean character, one should understand the scars of the past. According to the Cambridge professor and leading economist Chang Ha Joon, fifty years ago, Korea was poorer than Ghana. Now, it is one of the most powerful countries in the world, with a healthy and thriving economy.

However, to understand how Korea got there, one needs to know the past, and Kang's beautiful book achieves its aims admirably, collecting interviews with Koreans who went through those painful years from the late 1800s to the mid 1950s, offering the reader a rare prism through which to view such periods of massive change -- changes that brought Korean people from a feudal existence to a modern industrial one within a startlingly short period of time.

Kang's book compiles interviews with a diverse array of subjects : we meet those who found themselves at the bottom of society, compelled to conspire, or resist, on the run, hiding out in forest and mountains, or in jail, and we are also introduced to the higher echelons of society, meeting bank managers, academics, business men, and holy men.

The text also introduces the reader to Koreans from all corners of the diaspora -- we meet Koreans who were forced to the far flung corners Russia, Manchuria and Japan, and we meet those from North and South Korea, and those who chose to, or were forced to flee to America.

It is a very broad sample of interview subjects, and from a very broad social background, giving the reader valuable insight into a diverse array of characters and life experiences.

Notably, their personalities rather than their ideologies shine through their memoirs: their character, integrity, patience, their will to overcome, their essential humanity and frailties appear far more important than knowing where their intellectual, political or ideological sympathies lay.

It is a moving collection of memories, frequently shocking and sad, but equally inspiring, and sometimes, even amusing.

I learnt a lot from Hildi Kang's book, and also, I enjoyed it immensely -- it is beautifully compiled and edited, presented with a dedicated, sensitive hand.

(For further reading, I also strongly recommend Shin Gi Wook's thorough and scholarly works on the same period, which collects accounts of peasant resistance in the rural countryside, valleys, caves, and forests of Korea, as well as Ken Kawashima's groundbreaking studies on Koreans' bravery and massive resistance in the inner cities and in the dockyards, construction sites and underground mines of Japan. Bruce Cuming's meticulous work too, is essential reading.)


Turok, Son of Stone Archives Volume 1: Son of Stone Archives v. 1
Turok, Son of Stone Archives Volume 1: Son of Stone Archives v. 1
by Giolitti
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 37.99

5.0 out of 5 stars These Turok volumes are a real joy --, 4 July 2012
These Turok volumes are a real joy -- the publishing company have done a nice job here. The book is well bound, with a sturdy handsome hardback tan cover with a sheen finish, and an iconic dinosaur character from the strip stamped on the cover in slightly raised form. The binding and spine are securely sown, with a strong cloth stitch and fabric binder, and not the weak glue adhesive that some comic collections use. The spine features raised lettering too.

On the inside of the cover are frames from the strip, blown up large, so that they appear like pop art images.
The art work is faithfully rendered here, with rich and bright colours, showcasing the imagination and creativity of the artists, and the current publishers thankfully have not `amended' the occasional smudging and rushed paint work of the originals, all of which preserves the mood and atmosphere of the paper editions.

The stories have a magical, alchemical foundation for those of us who loved these genres when we were growing up - the main characters are living in wild places, sleeping under trees beside rivers, and eating the fish and game they have hunted. They leave their world, to travel deeper and deeper under the earth, from one cave to the next, discovering new levels of existence as they explore, and stumbling into new worlds and new valleys as they leave each darkened cave, leaving behind companions in each world, and confronting new enemies in each place.

The stories have a `moral' message -- reconciliation is better than revenge, sleeping under an open sky near a river is a special experience, be cautious rather than hot headed, make friends rather than enemies; it is better to beat up ugly monsters and be kind to the smaller ones with big soulful eyes; watch out for cavemen with huge bushy eye brows and long hair, whilst the cavemen with fine features and shorter well -combed hair are probably nice guys and so on, all messages the publisher Dell probably thought that young boys of the 1950s should be informed about, and probably felt were better and far more wholesome than the messages EC were putting out at the time!

The Dell publisher followed the 'wholesome comics code' to the maximum -- besides one of the stories, there are not many girls to be seen anywhere in these 'manly' narratives. In one edition, Turok and Anders are gobsmacked and filled with awe struck politeness when they notice -- there is a girl in the forest! They spend the next twenty pages mooning about the place, starstruck, shyly minding their language ( the 'ughs' and 'hunks' are dramatically reduced) and being, well, less violent, not harming small large eyed animals around the place, and spending more time developing 'womanly' skills, such as working out how to stitch bearskins, cook, and so on.

Alright, alright, it was the 1950s, remember...

So, these really are well worth the money to a reader of a certain age, who can remember how enchanting these comics were first time around in the 50s and 60s.

It is also true that some of the stories don't even make sense -- but, well, so what.

Take the Turok trip - they really will transport you back to a more naive, simpler, slower time, when life was a lot less complicated.


Singerman!
Singerman!
Price: 20.58

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roots Rockers militancy from start to finish., 28 Feb 2012
This review is from: Singerman! (Audio CD)
This is a near perfect introduction to some of the strongest reggae vocal tracks laid on vinyl from the mid to late 70's -- classic Roots Rockers militancy from start to finish.

And at the staggeringly low price -- how could you refuse it?

The album opens confidently, with a paradoxically languid , feverish swagger -- Max Romeo striding into "Fire Fe the Vatican", a further cut to "War in A Babylon", Black Ark style.

Everything is here for the serious reggae listener -- from the hard, hard dubwise Shaka workouts like Johnny Clarke's "Every Knee Shall Bow", Black Uhuru's " Rent Man" and Linvall Thompson" Jah Jah the Conqueror" to spiritual lyrics of deep insight such as Junior Byles "Remember Me", dealing as it does with Gnostic themes of reaching to the other shore, attaining the deathless and deliverance.

Dennis Brown weighs in heavily with his version of "Man Next Door" with its lyric of inner city isolation and frustration, stuck in substandard dwellings, trying to bring up a family with some sense of dignity. Horace Andy matches that sense of frustration with "Problems", replete with an icy keyboard sweep from Augustus Pablo.

Blood and Fire music is a thing of beauty we should still feel privileged to hear, and one shouldn't forget -- prior to re release,these tracks were extremely difficult and costly to get hold of,mostly only available as long deleted, hard to find 12" vinyl discs out of JA.

Without any concessions to trite cliche or sentimentality -- the vocalists and lyrics here reflect a deep yearning for peace of mind and body,and in places act as a set of meditations on rejection of worldly snares and attachments, the insights inviting the listener to deeper self knowledge.


Alpha Boys' Band 1910 - 2006: Music In Education
Alpha Boys' Band 1910 - 2006: Music In Education
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: 12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Foundation Rockers, Foundation Meditation and Foundation Discipline., 28 Feb 2012
At last, the long awaited Alpha collection -- it is also a pleasure to hear so many fresh tracks -- and not the usual recycling of the (albeit excellent) Trojan back catalogue.

The album follows a definitive, chronologically and musically stylistic progressive pattern, moving from rather conventional jazz to Afro-Cuban influenced meditative introspection, and then onto upbeat Ska with a very slight touch of early roots styles with African percussion.

The first three tracks by Bertie King, Dizzy Reece and Joe Harriott represent a traditional, overtly orthodox trad jazz approach, and it is only when we reach the third track that the bass begins to resonate with that familiar and distinctive sense of Kingston roots rock vibrations. These tracks are reminiscent of aspiration towards early Charlie Mingus and Coltrane compositions.

Don Drummond and Tommy Mcook compositions here take us firmly into more familiar territory with their ( then nascent ) Ska rhythms. The Raymond Harper composition "Safari" transforms into something more serious, sounding like early Ray Barretto and Chico Hamilton rhythms supported by a powerful, weaving bass-line. There are shades of the Impulse Chico Hamilton album "The Dealer" in evidence here. Jo Jo Bennett and Vin Gordon add some heated soul to the proceedings, whilst Lester Sterling adds some hooligan rude boy rhythms. Headley Bennett makes a beautiful meditative contribution with "Hot Coffee", hinting at the more spacious Pharaoh Sanders -like tones he would go on to showcase in his 70's rebellious roots rockers work.

It's a beautifully realised project, from its sleeve design, to its meditative yet predominantly upbeat choice of rhythms.

This record will be considered important amongst the seriously committed Ska, Blue Note, Afro Cuban and Impulse label jazz students, standing as a landmark, representing a time in Jamaican history when a new musical hermeneutics, semantics and syntax were being mapped out by remarkably talented young men.

These very same musicians would then go in, in the late 70's, to tear up these musical plans, with the intention of mapping out new and uncharted musical territory, and in doing so, they would question the boundaries and conclusions of earlier musical ontology -- however, these foundation experiments demonstrated here stand as testament to their early creative discipline and imagination.


New Galaxy Of Dub: Sci Fi 2
New Galaxy Of Dub: Sci Fi 2
Price: 10.52

3.0 out of 5 stars Space and Dub, 27 Feb 2012
Mad Professor has produced his fair share of cerebral works over the last ten years with Mafia and Fluxy.

Then there is Mad Professor's historical status and contribution to the genre -- Everyone who has experienced Shaka has been transformed by the experience -- What is not often mentioned however, is Mad Prof's contribution to Shaka's ascendance and transcendence -- the majority of Shaka's much sought after 12's and albums recorded between 1981 to 1984, were engineered by the Professor. And that includes the ground breaking "Commandments Of Dub Volume 1".

Back to this album now -- "Alien Invasion" features sublime vocal chants, splintered, introspective and cold piano works -- "Stone From Nakhia" dissolves linear beats and time concepts as the Professor draws you into his imaginative landscape. "Dub The Clairvoyant" is pure dub impressionism.

So this is a worthy venture -- restrained, subtle and dreamlike. A possible reservation and objection in places however, is Dave Fluxy's occasional over use of a digi bass drum, which tends to obscure the subtlety and intelligence at the heart of Mad Prof's rhythms -- Rather than deepen the soundscape, the bass drum seems to put limits on it, drawing up parameters around the freefall of Mad Prof's imagination. Mad Prof's insightful light touch at the controls surely doesn't require this.

But perhaps that's simply a subjective opinion -- digi stepper's use of bass drum still (inexplicably?) seems to consistently draw new audiences and listeners to reggae -- so perhaps Fluxy is simply giving the people what they want?

But ultimately -- how could one possibly resist an album with titles like "Maniac From Mars", "Spaceman From Baghdad" and "Genetic Academic"?!

Mad Professor is proving to be consistently reliable these days, and the depth of his drum and bass textures and audacious sound treatments can still inspire. For the last 25 years, Mad Prof has translated his dream states into a musical syntax. At his best, his heuristic explorations still manage to capture the imagination, and his innate empathy with the considerable talents of Mafia and Fluxy is only too obvious.


Blazing Horns/Tenor In Roots
Blazing Horns/Tenor In Roots
Price: 32.24

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rebel Rockers., 27 Feb 2012
Coming up from the legendary Alpha school and going on to play with fellow musical originators and genuine innovators The Skatalites, Mcook has left his mark on countless roots records, and given deep pleasure and insight to those who take their reggae music seriously.

It would probably be an impossible task to say for certain how many reggae records Mcook has appeared on, but his work for Glen Brown and Yabby U is undoubtedly extraordinary work. Deeply dread, but at the same time,eerliy atmospheric, spiritually moving, sedate and powerful : If anyone has the right to be likened to the geniuses of jazz such as John Coltrane, then men like the awesome Don Drummond and Tommy Mcook would be first in line for consideration.

The last album from Blood and Fire featured relentless and single minded D.Brown and Ranking Joe chants, but this is a far more diverse affair: It features a wide range of vibes and styles, from African jazz tinged workouts to blistering and bottomless dubs, on to soulful and emotional grooves rounded off at times with pure and naive melodies.

The album kicks off with the track "Blazing Horns", a cylindrical and cavernous dub to a Yabby U track from "Chant Down Babylon". Sophisticated jazz drumming spirals into a metallic dub, interrupted by euphoric rewinds and echo loops.

"Tommy's Mood" sounds like the rhythm track is being wrung out and turned inside out, harsh and bright snare and cymbal work dominating until the sax takes the heart of the melody into a quasi African jazz township vibe: Sublime and deeply meditative. Abdullah Ibrahim fans and those of you into early Fela Kuti are going to love this.

"Ites of Zion" sounds reminiscent of the sax blowing on "Daniel" from "Heaven is My Roof": Strictly Pharaoh Sanders meets King Tubby style, John Coltrane's holy ghost invoked, led and beckoned through the echo chamber. Regal and mournfully poetic with an edge of danger.

"Lambs Bread" is a militant drum and bass affair driven by scraping percussion and surreal sax. Mid way through the track ghostly spliced and cut up vocal loops drop in and out ( apparently at random), weird and dread-ful.

After the spaciousness of the Yabby U tracks on this CD ( eleven in total ), the next eight or so tracks are eccentric bass heavy soul grooves from a previously unreleased Glen Brown white label release. (Don't expect the surreal landscape spaciousness of "Termination Dub" but a more raw and primal affair)

This is a beautiful release. Tommy Mcook recorded intense and timeless music for Yabby U and Glen Brown, music which deserves to be heard in this format, carefully presented by Steve Barrow and with immaculate mastering from Kevin Metcalfe. The bass and drum resonance is a true pleasure to hear (and feel).

All we need now is a collection of Joe Higgs, Pablo Moses or rare Ethiopians sides from Blood and Fire to kick off next year in fine style.


Vision Ofa Psychedelic Africa
Vision Ofa Psychedelic Africa
Price: 13.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Psychedelic dubwise., 27 Feb 2012
"Those were extreme, extreme records we made as African Head charge. In those days I was concerned with sound mixing, and into development of ideas: I like to go into that whole motion. I was crazy about it.....African Head Charge music takes you overboard: I can really relate to those African Head charge records. Those sounds were original vibrations. One thing's for sure, you'd always get something original out of our corner and as I said, I'm only interested in originality - I like to create new sounds. I'm a searcher in my life, and that includes being a searcher for new sounds. " (Eskimo Fox, original African Head Charge drummer, interview 2004)

Even though On-U Sound has produced a string of lukewarm Dub Syndicate and Sound Boy releases over the last two years, supporters can justifiably claim they are still on top form -- The Ghetto Priest and Eskimo Fox albums were some of the strongest On-U Sound releases since the mid 80's, and this AHC album -- though flawed -- has some high points of invention too.

The curiously entitled "Mr Whippy Does Djibouti" -- apparently so named due to a bizarre keyboard sound -- is a high point here, and comes straight out of the Pharaoh Sanders, Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman lineage. Backward tape loops and lonely piano notes over hammering bass vibrations make this a deeply original composition, even by AHC's standards of oddness. Halfway through the track, the sound engineer digs up a twenty five year old ONU Sound sample to put through the wringer -- "Welcome to the night dream."

"Run Come See" has a delicate Impulse style jazz snare sound driving the massive bass boom, cut and spliced with a Skip McDonald style blues vocal sample -- Think a heavily dubbed Elvin Jones and Richard Davis here -- "Symbol of Rebellion, reaction and progress" chants Bonjo I, over what sounds like a cut up loop of a kitten crying. Version follows, with a huge bass underpinning a Tubby's/Glen Brown approach to endless and deep vocal echo.

"More Fluid" has a Doug Wimbish style liquid funk bass. "Unplanned Treatment For A Septic Horn" with its early 80's Herbie Hancock keyboard hook, reworks, opens up and dubs further space into "Healing Ceremony" from the "Songs of Praise" album.

The album is not without flaw -- some of the tracks are over cluttered, have little identity, and in places the samples are gratuitous, out of place and self conscious. Some of the tracks -- with pointless, anachronistic samples -- are simply depressing, it must be said.

Over all though, this is excellent and courageous work, proving On-U Sound still have that distinctive edge of oddness that drew people to them in the beginning. There is a lot here that deeply satisfies.

If you are looking for further comparison, much of this album is reminiscent of the Randy Weston/Pharaoh Sanders album "Khepera" and Steve Turre/Herbie Hancock's "Rhythm Within" album.

This album's high points make it a worthy venture, which, like the best of On-U Sound music, goes well against the tide of current commercial concerns -- and it should praised for it.


Showcase Presents: Witching Hour v. 1
Showcase Presents: Witching Hour v. 1
by Neal Adams
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars These DC Reissues are always welcome--, 23 Feb 2012
These DC Reissues are always welcome-- yes, the stories are corny;more than a few are actually terrible; yes, some of the art and narrative continuity is chaotic and sometimes so random you lose track of the story -- but, who actually cares when the scripts are about psychedelic hippy weirdos doing battle with devil worshippers, or tales about eccentric Eastern European Ashkenazim psychiatrists finding access to other worlds and dimensions, or about English gentlemen finding a secret universe in their suburban basements?

So, yes, you gathered, it is as out there as the earlier re-issues.

Regarding the art work, it is disappointing none of the Filipino artists are represented here, ( so I will give it 4 stars) -- Alcala and Nino et al represented a real peak of imagination and innovation in 1970's comic book art -- And disappointingly, the variety of art work/typeface/design styles featured in some of DC's other titles( so evocative of the 70's period ) is just not here. But it partially makes up for that with some distinctive representation from Kaluta, and there is some excellent expressionist style work from Alex Toth.

Italian American Jerry Grandinetti's work is extraordinary throughout , with his heavy, expressionist woodcut styles, clearly influenced by German cinema and by other early 20Th century avant garde movements, in their clever use of heavy black patterns and angular shards of light. It is clear from his work here what an under rated talent he truly is. DC surely should be collecting the best of these artists for a high quality colour edition.

The story lines, as usual, are a fusion of Ray Bradbury and John Wyndham styled stories, mixed with influences from old European folk tales, with a touch of Alfred Hitchcock and Twilight Zone script styles, and not forgetting of course, the strong influence of hippy and psychedelic culture on the narratives.Frequently, the 'real world' impinges on these bizarre narratives -- there are stories here about German army prison camp survivors, others about plantation slaves revenge, and a number of the tales clearly channel the authors' and artists own experiences in 1930's/40's Lithuania, Latvia,Romania,Poland, and of course, a large proportion of the stories feature the urban legends , fears and paranoias of small town USA, and reflect bizarre 1960's views of gritty life in American inner cities.

Comic collectors obviously would hope these reissues were in colour, with the original ads retained, for the mood and atmosphere of 'the reading experience' -- but at the price of these Showcase reissues, one can't complain too much.

A really worthy project would be for DC to collect the best of all their mystery titles, and publish a compilation in colour, with attention to detail and quality. There is certainly an audience out there for that, judging how often the best comic blogs feature artists such as Alcala, Nino, Toth, and judging from the great respect they are shown.

But, in the meantime, these reissues, flaws and all, keep us content --

So -- when is the next one released?


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