Monday, June 10, 2013


We’ll start this week with Dell’s Four Color #371 [February-March
1952] starring Mickey Mouse.  This is the 23rd of 27 Mickey Mouse
issues of Four Color.  Like most of the comics that were on comics
racks in my December 1951 birth month, I’ve never read this comic
book.  However, the Grand Comics Database credits Dan Gormley with
the cover art and offers some information on the contents:

“Mickey Mouse and the Inca Idol Mystery” (24 pages) is tentatively
identified as penciled by Dick Hall.  The GCD has this synopsis of
the story:

Two crooks use Mickey and Goofy to unknowingly help them smuggle
the "Inca Idol" from the South American city of "Inca Blinka".

Hall is also tentatively credited as the penciler of an eight-page
untitled Mickey Mouse story.  Synopsis:

Mickey and Pluto are accidentally locked in a museum. Black Pete
and El Cad break into the museum to steal the original plans of the
pyramids from the mummy of King Tut-Tah-Tut.

Mickey Mouse gag strips appear on the issue’s inside front cover,
inside back cover and back cover.  All but the first are drawn by
Bill Weaver.

Keep watching this bloggy thing for more vintage comic-book covers
from the month of my birth.


These past few days, in between my garage sale and a spot of work
for a client, I somehow managed to finish reading a pair of novels.
Which brings us to...

Supernatural Born Killers by Casey Daniels [Penguin; $7.99] is the
ninth book in the author’s Pepper Martin series and the first one
which has disappointed me.  Pepper is the daughter of a disgraced
plastic surgeon who ended up in prison and, in doing so, cost her
the society lifestyle the beautiful redhead had been enjoying.  She
gets a job as a guide at Cleveland’s famous Garden View Cemetery.
After an encounter between her head and a tombstone, Pepper finds
she can see and communicate with the ghosts of folks buried at the
cemetery...and said spirits find they can count on the feisty young
woman to help them settle the earthly affairs that keep them bound
to the cemetery.

Pepper’s previous clients have include President James A. Garfield
and a Mafia don.  She’s had an on-again, off-again romance with a
homicide detective who, despite having appeared before her when he
was temporarily dead and given her evidence to find his “killer,”
is still having a tough time believing in her gift.  This time out,
her client is the detective’s former partner, a missing cop thought
to be dirty.  Also this time out, the case involves valuable comic
books.  That’s where the book started to lose me.

A key element of the plot is a stolen “platinum” copy of Superman
#75 and the book widely exaggerates the price of this not actually
rare issue.  In general, comic-book fans are not treated kindly in
this novel.  That began to piss me off after a while.

What really undoes the book for me are the changes to basic tenets
of the series.  All of a sudden, Pepper meets ghosts who are able
to touch the physical world enough to help her in her new position
as the cemetery community relations manager.  All of a sudden, her
dad is out of prison and, with her mom, wants Pepper to join them
in a detective agency.  All of a sudden, Pepper’s gift is revealed
to be a hereditary thing.  All of a sudden, her doubting boyfriend
accepts her abilities and proposes to her.  The book reads as if it
is the last book in the series or if a bunch of Hollywood asshats
gave the author notes on how to improve the novel.  I’m not certain
which would displease me the most.

I heartily recommend the previous eight books in the series.  They
were all great fun.  This one, not so much.  Oh, it has some fine
moments, but the payoffs to the moments are not at all satisfying.
If it’s the last Pepper Martin novel, the series is ending poorly.
If it’s not, I hope the next novel recaptures the charm and spooky,
sexy excitement of the earlier books.

ISBN 078-0-425-25125-2


Stephen King’s Joyland [Hard Case Crime; $12.95] reminded me that
one of my seven favorite authors of all time deserves his place on
that list and also that I’ve neglected his works for far too long.
Hold that thought for now.

In Joyland, college student Devin Jones has taken a summer job at
the small North Carolina amusement park of the title.  Though the
young man doesn’t realize it at first, he’s also there to deal with
the loss of his first love...and perhaps for some greater purpose.

King’s characters are wonderfully made.  Devin, his widowed father,
landlady, employers, co-workers, park visitors and others snap into
view as King describes them in brilliantly crafted short paragraphs
and sentences.  If and when Joyland becomes a movie - and, please,
let it be faithful to the book - there will be a dozen great roles
for talented actors.

Joyland immerses the reader into the world of the carny.  There are
wonderful descriptions of the operation of the amusement park that
speak to King’s characters.  There are unsolved murders most foul
looming over Devin’s summer as well as modest yet powerful brushes
with the supernatural.  There is joy - what else would you expect
from a place that, as its aged frail owner says, sells fun - and
there is the sorrow that challenges that joy, just as it does in my
life and your life.

King’s writing carried me away.  I can't recall when I last enjoyed
a novel this much.  Great story, great characters, great writing.
Why have I let my admittedly crazy busy life keep me away from the
man’s books for so long?  That needs correcting.

Joyland is one fine book.  I recommend it most highly.

ISBN 9871781162644


If I didn’t list them, you would ask for their names.  Don’t deny
it.  I know you, my beloved readers, I know you.  In alphabetical
order, here are my seven favorite non-comics authors:

Dave Barry
Max Allan Collins
Harlan Ellison
O. Henry
Stephen King
Ed McBain
William Shakespeare

I hereby resolve to myself that I will spend more time with them in
the months and years to come.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella


  1. Platinum editions of Superman #75 aren't worth a fortune?? Dang!

  2. A fine list of writers. Although Max, Harlan, Stephen and even ol' Bill Shakespeare aren't exactly non-comics authors. Bill had no choice in the matter, I know...