East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Beware what you wish for…

As the saying goes… because your wishes might come true.
And no more that six weeks ago I was saying to myself what a damn chore – not to mention the expense – would be trying and putting together a decent collection of The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire. A decent collection, mind you, not a complete one.

And now I found out Rebellion Publishing will issue the first 340 pages volume of the Trigan Empire in 2020. Finding the stuff is no longer a problem – but expenses might become critical. The series, written by Mike Butterworth and drawn by Dan Lawrence, ran between 1965 and 1982, and this means a lot of pages.

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Introducing the Nemo Dynasty

Domenico Attianese is a writer, journalist and screenwriter based in Italy, and a good friend. I am therefore quite happy to point you in the direction of Point Nemo, the first boon in the Nemo Dynasty series.
You can consider it, if you like, a pilot episode in a TV series.

The idea is simple – for generations the descendants of Captain Nemo have fought against the coming of the Great Old Ones, but now H.P. Lovecraft is about to unleash on our planet the scariest of these ancient horrors.
So, OK, maybe simple is not the right word…

Like the unholy child of Alan Moore and Jules Verne, with more than a hint of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Domenico’s story is fast, furious and fun, and mixes pulp action with ancient horrors and a nostalgic look at our childhood heroes.
And yes, it leaves you wanting for more.
But that’s the idea.
So here’s hoping a lot of people buy this baby, so that the author will be motivated to write the rest of the series…


Fighting as narrative (or vice-versa)

I have just watched Seven Strike as One, the final episode of the third and last season of Into the Badlands, to me still the best fantasy series on the telly these last few years, and one I will miss a lot now that’s gone. The finale was fast but highly satisfactory, and ended with two colossal hooks for a possible sequel that, alas, seems unlikely.

Sherman Augustus as Moon, Eugenia Yuan as Kannin, Nick Frost as Bajie, Daniel Wu as Sunny, Emily Beecham as The Widow, Lewis Tan as Gaius, Ally Ioannides as Tilda – Into the Badlands _ Season 3, Episode 16 – Photo Credit: Aidan Monaghan/AMC

I admit I am a fan of the series – I love the characters, the setting, the fighting choreography, the small scale of the story that makes this more sword & sorcery than epic fantasy, the retro-futuristic elements.
I will try and get the DVDs sooner or later.
And there’s another reason why I want to re-watch the whole series – Into the Badlands is absolutely great at making the fight scenes part of the narrative.

(spoiler alert: I’ll be using clips from the first season of the show, so they should be pretty safe, but if you’d rather watch the episodes first, just don’t start the videos)

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Here be monsters: Brian Keene’s The Lost Level

Brian Keene’s novel The Lost Level was published in 2015, and a few friends told me wonders about it, but only this week I was able to finally crack my copy open and read it, fully aware of the fact that in the meantime The Lost Level has turned into a series.

In a nutshell: occult dabbler Aaron Pace finds a way to travel the multiverse through occult means, but then stumbles into the Lost Level, an inter-dimensional Sargasso Sea, a cul-de-sac from which there is no way out, where the dregs of infinite worlds and timelines get dumped for all eternity.
Faced with telepathic snake-men, dinosaurs, giant robots and other horrors, and in the company of a beautiful woman and a two-fisted cat-man, Aaron starts his exploration of the Lost Level.

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A mix-tape of the ’70s: Normandy Gold

I went through one of my usual bouts of insomnia, last night, compounded by my pollen allergy giving me the first troubles of the season, and so I did a bit of reading. The first book I picked from the Hard Case Crime Humble Bundle I mentioned yesterday is the graphic novel Normandy Gold, written by Alison Gaylin and Megan Abbott, with art by Steve Scott. The reason for my choice, I liked the cover. So sue me.

The plot (without spoilers): after a very hard start, runaway girl Normandy Girl (she was to be called Victory, then her dad died in the D-Day) has pulled herself together and is working as a sheriff in Oregon. When her half-sister dies in Washington DC, Normandy starts her own personal investigation, opening up a plot that mixes corruption, blackmail and espionage. But Normandy is out for vengeance anyway.

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