Tuesday, September 20, 2022

HALLOWEEN A'COMIN' CREATURE FEATURE DISCOUNTIN'

 


PRINT            CREATURE FEATURE: A HORRID COMEDY    AUDIOBOOK                    

Well, as we head into Fall or Autumn (depending on what you call it) and move toward the horrors of Halloween, it’s time for Magpie Press to offer the ebook of  Creature Feature: A Horrid Comedy at the absolutely not scary but frighteningly low price of 99 cents. 

So, with the wave of a decomposing hand, Mr. Manfred Magpie has done so. 





And Mr. Manfred Magpie commands me to inform you that if you buy the ebook Creature Feature: A Horrid Comedy for your Kindle or Kindle Reader for this ridiculous price of 99 cents (especially during inflation), Amazon will offer you the wonderfully produced (by Seamus Dever) and brilliantly acted (by Seamus Dever AND Juliana Dever) audiobook of same for only $7.49! 


As Seamus and Juliana did an absolutely wonderful job creating the audiobook of Creature Feature: A Horrid Comedy, it would be HORRIBLE for good CREATURES to pass up this MONSTER deal.



Amazon ebook https://tinyurl.com/y4zxh6kf


Amazon UK ebook https://tinyurl.com/y9zrg8xq


Amazon Australia ebook  https://tinyurl.com/y6h56ozs


Amazon Canada ebook  https://tinyurl.com/y3zcqjh9


Amazon India ebook   https://tinyurl.com/y5jghfqm


Amazon paperback https://tinyurl.com/y6gqyea7



Here's a message from Seamus Dever—




And here's some of what people and publications and the internet have said about the book and the audiobook. Following that you will fine four fine samples from the audiobook for your listening pleasure.

Cheers! 

Or, Chills! 

Take your pick.

































Tuesday, August 9, 2022

HAPPILY REDUCED TO A CARICATURE




Recently John Canemaker, a New York-based animator, animation historian, and educator, asked me for a copy of a caricature he did of me in September 1979. I was his guest at his apartment while I was in town with famed Looney Tunes animation director Chuck Jones. At the time, I did publicity for Chuck, and we were there for a screening at that year's New York Film Festival of The Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Movie. It was a compilation of some of Chuck's classic cartoons tied together with new animation of a reminiscing Bugs. The caricature was of me, in a bathrobe, reporting to Chuck on my PR efforts. 


In looking for the copy in my files, I found several caricatures of me done by various animation artists during my first years in the industry from 1979 to 1984. Why the hell did I save them? Ego, pure ego.


Animators love to draw caricatures. And often, if you are near them, you'll find yourself the subject—sometimes the victim—of their flashing pencils and pens. I was always happy to become one. Why? Ego, pure ego.


Well, actually, I've always been an admirer of the ability of an artist to capture a personality in pencil and pen renderings. To one who can't do it, it always seems like magic. But, of course, it is not magic; it is natural talent honed by training and practice. Which is what we admire. Magic, if it did exist, would be no more worthy of admiration than a spring rain.  


Rather than let these renderings continue to live only in the dark in my old yellow file cabinet, I thought I would bring them out into the digital light. And so, here they are.





This first one is by Chuck Jones from July of 1979. If I remember right, he probably did it while I was in his office at the Sunset/Vine Tower, which is now a bunch of condos in the sky. 







I was probably meeting with Chuck, or possibly just chatting. In either case, he saw me as bowing my head—in reverence, most likely.



This next one is not really a direct caricature of me, but it is of a phone conversation I had in London in April of 1979. This was when Chuck and I were in London for his "season" at the British Film Institute. A "season" was an examination of a filmmaker and his work. This may have been the first public screening of The Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Movie


At this moment, I was visiting the Richard Williams Studio (Richard was also a client of mine) in Soho Square. 




I was in animator Eric Goldberg's office having a phone conversation with someone from a TV or radio chat show that Chuck had been booked on. This drawing by Eric accurately depicts my frustration in trying to explain what the heck a roadrunner was to the very British person on the other end of the line. 





Eric, by the way, later in life, was the lead animator of the Genie in Disney's Aladdin


The following two are by animators working for two of my publicity clients with whom I would spend time. I think Dave Bennett worked for Rick Reinert Productions, and John McGuire was on a project with Chuck Jones.





I refer you to the definition of "caricature" above. Dave and John shamelessly exaggerated what my mother called just being "pleasingly plump." A boy's best friend, you know. 


And here is John Canemaker's 1979 Tub-thumper in Bathrobe in the Early Morn




And another by John. Drawn a year later when I was in New York again for a business trip. This time with Richard Williams I believe. Williams, by the way, later directed the animation for Who Framed Roger Rabbit.




I was, at this time, moving out of publicity and into producing. In that capacity, in January of 1981, I was back in New York. This time with Brad Bird and Gary Kurtz. We were there with meetings I had set up with the great comic book creator Will Eisner. We were negotiating to secure the animation rights to his brilliant character, The Spirit

















This piece by Brad Bird he did, as he captions, while we were flying home.







Gary Kurtz, of course, had previously produced American Grafitti and the first two Star Wars films. I don't know what the hell ever happened to Bird.



When I became an executive in Gary Kurtz's Kinetographics film company, I was tasked with assembling an American animation team for a Japanese-American co-production that Gary was producing with the Japanese animation company TMS. One of the directors from TMS was Hayao Miyazaki, who later became HAYAO MIYAZAKI. One day I shocked his very Japanese core when I gave him my philosophy about sushi: 


The only thing that should eat a raw fish—is another raw fish. 


Thus this quick caricature of me that he did.





I traveled to London in 1982 to meet with Richard Williams. Gary Kurtz was contemplating getting involved in Richard's animated feature The Thief and the Cobbler. It was a production looking for financing, and Gary was interested in helping. He wanted me to assess the current state of the production and my opinion of its potential. When Richard, who had previously known me as a low-cost publicist wearing thrift store sports coats, saw me in my handsome new London Fog foul-weather coat, he quickly drew this view of the new me. 





The Japanese-American co-production with TMS was based on Winsor McCay's early 20th Century newspaper comic strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland. 





Some of the talents I found and hired for the production included: Andy Gaskill as our American co-director; Roger Allers and Robin Budd as our animation directors; and Norton Virgien as our production manager. Roger later co-wrote and co-directed Disney's The Lion King, and Andy worked on the story and was the art director for the film. Robin Budd became a successful animation director for Canadian animated TV series. And Norton Virgien became one of the directors of the Rugrats series, co-director of The Rugrats Movie, and a producer on many projects. All very talented guys. 


The Nemo (which is what we called it—never "Little Nemo") film we were all working on was never made. A Little Nemo in Slumberland film was later made by TMS without Gary Kurtz. The less said about that film, the better. Nevertheless, it was an interesting two years with these very talented guys. And Amanda Martin, the lovely lady who was my assistant and later my lovely wife.  And, of course, Gary Kurtz and Roberta Jimenez, who was handling marketing and later became Gary's wife.




ANDY GASKILL WITH CHILD









ROGER ALLERS WITH CHILD








ROBIN BUDD









NORTON VIRGIEN






 THE LOVELY AMANDA MARTIN







GARY KURTZ AND ROBERTA JIMENEZ






During the two years that I was on the project, It was Andy who did most of the caricatures of these guys and me.


This first one is a mock Nemo comic strip Andy did as a birthday greeting faxed to Gary Kurtz, who was in London. Gary was splitting his time between our production and the London productions he was involved in. This piece makes a none-too-subtle note of that.





Next is a birthday greeting faxed to me when we were still based in Hollywood before moving to Japan. I was obviously on a trip. Either to Tokyo for meetings or to London trip to see Richard Williams. It has greetings by many of the American Nemo group, including the great Ray Bradbury, who was working with us.






This is Andy's view of Gary, me, him, and Roberta as characters from the Nemo strip. Andy is Little Nemo, I'm Flip, Gary is King Morpheus, and Roberta is the Princess.






Andy loved placing us in the Nemo grab. Here the Princess is being "played" by Amanda.





I'm including this last one because it was in the file folder. It is a commercial caricature of me, obviously done at Disneyland. It proves that when you pay for a caricature, you come out looking not half so bad.




 


I like this one because it captures the current me doing what I do and being what I am. 




Cheers to all!


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If you wish to visit my Amazon Authors page you can do so by clicking here:




And you can find out all about my books here: 





  



 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

CONSIDERING "THE LOVE/HAIGHT CASE FILES" BY RABE AND BINGLE







Horror seems to be a popular genre these days. In novels. In film entertainment. In videogames. In the January 6th Congressional Committee Hearings. I’ve never quite understood why. All those monsters and creatures, zombies; creepy crawlers; ghosts; irradiated mutants; vampires, and stitched-together, re-animated, inarticulate, ungraceful stompers over the landscape never held much of an appeal for me, if “appeal” is the proper word. But then, as I’ve previously written, my mother never let me watch monster movies when I was a kid. So I was not inculcated in my tender years with what many have told me is delicious fright. But, no matter how delicious, fear does not seem to me to be that appetizing. 

 

All that said, I did write a horror novel, Creature Feature: A Horrid Comedy. Albeit, as the subtitle suggests, a satiric and comic one—which is the only excuse I can offer.

 

Given the above, imagine my dismay when I learned that Jean Rabe and Donald J. Bingle, two authors I admire, have brought forth from their fertile and creative minds The Love/Haight Case Files, currently contained in two books. Book 1: Seeking Supernatural Justice and Book 2 Fighting for Other-Than-Human Rights.

 

Supernatural? Other-than-human? This did not bode well for me.

 

But I had nothing to fear. The books are generously populated with ghosts (including one who is a lead character), vampires, werewolves, zombies, living stone gargoyles, not to mention more obscure (to me, at least) waterborne creatures. But the interconnected tales (four in each book) that are the Love/Haight case files do not frighten you with their supernatural characters. But instead, with the oppression, discrimination, and injustice these characters suffer at the hands of bigots, haters, and monied interests, all of whom are the real monsters in these tales.  

 

The premise of the two books is simple. Magic has returned to the world, and supernatural creatures—once thought only the stuff of legend and myth-making—are now quite natural. For some reason, many of them have congregated in the Bay Area around San Francisco. Well, it is a lovely city. And being immigrants and refugees, they are facing a barrier of prejudice and discrimination put up by some of the locals. 

 

Who you going to call? Well, obviously, not the Ghostbusters. But rather lawyers Thomas Brock and Evelyn Love. Thomas starts out living but quickly becomes a ghost in the first book. Evelyn is a newly-minted but brilliant attorney. Although they are both humans (even if one is dead), they are appalled by the injustices thrown upon the backs of the prejudicially dubbed Other-Than-Humans or OTs.

 

So, if these are not horror stories, what are they? Why, legal procedural/urban fantasies, of course. And within these stories, you will find fine points of the law, danger, excitement, sadness, humor, and hints of romance among what may become a most unusual mixed couple. And wonderful people—or possibly better said, personalities—to spend time with. All of which combine into two excellent reads, indeed. 

 

The Love/Haight Case Files are, of course, big metaphors for the world as it is. Prejudice and hate endeavor to make monsters out of a host of “others” but only succeed in making monsters out of those who spew it out. Rabe and Bingle humanize the non-humans in these fantasies. And thereby implicitly exposing the horror of dehumanizing humans in reality. 

 

You can often find the truth about authors in their work. But, for the facts, let’s turn to Jean’s and Don’s official bios from their websites.

 

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ABOUT JEAN RABE







I write with dogs wrapped around my feet. I get to wear sandals or bedroom slippers to work and old, comfortable clothes. When the weather is fine I get to write on my back porch. I love summer.


I write mysteries and fantasies because life is too short to be limited to one genre.

I started getting published when I was 12, studied journalism at Northern Illinois University, then went to work as a news reporter…eventually for Scripps Howard, where I managed their Western Kentucky bureau. Getting itchy feet, I moved to Wisconsin and went to work for TSR, Inc., the then-producers of the Dungeons & Dragons game. I dipped my itchy feet into the fiction pool and wrote Dragonlance novels for several years. Now I’m back in Illinois, my land surrounded by train tracks that offer music to write by. And there are plenty of dogs in the neighborhood to provide an accompaniment.


I am a recipient of the Faust, the grand master award of the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, and the Illinois Author Project’s Soon-to-be Famous Award. I’ve been on the USA Today’s Bestseller list a few times … ah, I’ve never hit the Times.


I’ve written more than forty SF, fantasy, mystery, and adventure novels (including a couple of ghosted projects), more short stories than I care to count, and I’ve edited magazines and anthologies.

When I’m writing I listen to classical guitar and 60s rock … depending on my subject matter. And at every good opportunity I toss tennis balls for my cadre of dogs.

 

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ABOUT DONALD J. BINGLE

 







Donald J. Bingle is the author of six books and more than sixty shorter tales in the science fiction, fantasy, thriller, horror, mystery, steampunk, romance, comedy, and memoir genres.

 

Random true facts about Donald J. Bingle: 

·    He was the Keeper of the World’s Largest Kazoo.

·    He made up the science of Neo-PsychoPhysics for a time travel roleplaying game.

·    He is a member of The International Thriller Writers.

·    He once successfully limboed under a pole only nineteen inches off the ground.

·    He has written short stories about killer bunnies, civil war soldiers, detectives, Renaissance Faire orcs, giant battling robots, demons, cats, werewolves, time travelers, ghosts, time-traveling ghosts, spies, barbarians, a husband accused of murdering his wife, dogs, horses, gamers, soldiers, Neanderthals, commuters, kender, Victorian adventurers, lawyers, and serial killers (note the serial comma). Of those subjects, he has occasional contact in real life only with dogs, cats, gamers, lawyers, and commuters (unless some of those are, unknown to him, really time travelers, ghosts, demons, serial killers, spies, or murder suspects).

·    He prefers gamers to commuters.

·    He prefers dogs to cats.

·    He is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

·    He was once hit by lightning.

·    He was the world’s top-ranked tournament player of classic roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons for more than fifteen years.

·    He is a member of the Horror Writers Association.

·    He was an Eagle Scout.

·    He is a member of the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

·    He used to write movie reviews for Knights of the Dinner Table, a comic book about gamers.

·    He is a retired attorney.

·    He has likely attended GenCon for more years than you have been alive.


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 Cheers to all!



Coming Soon—Two New Novels

In November: The Reluctant Heterosexual: A Tragicomedy In Four Movements A Prelude And An Interlude

In December: The Definition of Luck or The Post-Modern Prometheus