Hasslein Blog: March 2013


Hasslein Blog

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter From Hasslein Books


Saturday, March 30, 2013

GUEST BLOG: Looking Back at Batman #229

Batman #229
By Matthew Sunrich

Batman's not the kind of guy who frightens easily, so when we find him wearing an expression of abject terror, we can be sure that {expletive deleted} has gotten real. 

Such is the case on the cover of Batman #229.

Neal Adams evokes a sense of classical horror in this illustration. Whose meat-hooks are those manhandling the Caped Crusader? Who is that sinister-looking character in the background? And why isn't Batman kicking the crap out of all of them, as he usually does in these sorts of situations?

Does the story within have, in fact, anything at all to do with the cover?

Let's find out, shall we?

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Kirk Gorn Wild


GUEST BLOG: Marvel Premiere #38

Marvel Premiere #38

By Matthew Sunrich

One can easily argue that the 1970s was the decade when "fantasy" finally solidified as a genre. And one can also argue that comics had a lot to do with it.

While many, many writers and artists have had a hand in the development of fantasy, the two men without whom the genre would not exist are J. R. R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard.

Fantasy is a category of literature that can be divided into several sub-genres (with new ones cropping up all the time), but the two most enduring are those that Tolkien and Howard engendered. The former gave us "epic" or "high" fantasy, while the latter gave us "sword and sorcery."

Epic fantasy tends to involve longer stories; its heroes face forces that, if left unvanquished, have the potential to affect the lives of everyone. To wit: If Frodo hadn't destroyed the One Ring, all of Middle-Earth would have fallen under the control of Sauron.

Sword-and-sorcery tales generally deal with more personal quests; if the heroes fail to achieve their goals, it is unlikely that anyone else will ever even know. The impetus behind most of Conan's adventures, for example, is the promise of riches.

While these sorts of stories had been popular among readers of fiction for several decades prior to the Seventies, it was the introduction of a visual element that really grabbed the attention of the uninitiated.

It is well understood, for instance, that the sales of Conan's paperback reprints had been mediocre until Frank Frazetta, perhaps the first true fantasy painter, began illustrating their covers. The introduction of the Cimmerian's comic series also brought a lot of attention to the character.

Similarly, Gil Kane and Archie Goodwin's graphic novel Blackmark, published just one year after Conan's comic-book debut, won critical acclaim and showed that graphic fantasy was a viable commodity.

Who doesn't love a striking fantasy illustration, after all?
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Monday, March 25, 2013

GUEST BLOG: A Day Long Remembered for the Star Wars Fan Community

Today, Eddie van der Heijden offers a guest blog discussing his role in a project I recently undertook for starwars.com, for Star Wars fandom and, of course, for my own geekiness. Take it away, Eddie...
—Rich Handley

A Day Long Remembered for the
Star Wars Fan Community

By Eddie van der Heijden

One danger in being a long-time Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU) story collector is daring to think that you know it all. I realize how bad that sounds, but it is the truth (at least in my case). You think you're aware of all the stories out there, from the very first original adventure, published on Sept. 13, 1977 ("New Planets, New Perils," in Marvel's Star Wars #7), right up to those being published right now (Ania Solo, anyone?). I first became aware of the marvelous Star Wars stories that expanded the adventures of our heroes way back in the pre-Internet days of 1983, when I, as a 15-year-old Dutch young man, visited a small store in Amsterdam. There, on a small comics rack, I noticed a copy of Star Wars #63 ("The Mind Spider"), which I immediately bought. That was the genesis of the story collector I am now (and have been for the past 30 years).

I have always been very proud of my Star Wars collection, which includes (almost) all comics, novels, magazines, short stories and online content published to date. (Or so I thought.) I maintain a precise database of items I am still missing, so you can imagine my suspicion when, in a post on Dec. 16, 2012, a new forum member at the Dark Horse Star Wars boards mentioned original Spanish comics based on the Ewoks and Droids television series. In his first post, Adolfo Rodriguez wrote:

"My first time here, hello. What about the ewoks and droids comics from Spain? There were a comic named MyComyc here in Spain that included four pages of our favorite characters: two for ewoks, and two for droids."

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GUEST BLOG: Ee Chee Wa Maa! Translating Spain's Long-Lost Ewoks and Droids Comics

It is my great honor to welcome long-time friend and Star Wars collaborator Abel G. Peña to the Hasslein Blog. Abel recently worked with me on a translation project that I'll be unveiling later this week in an article for Lucasfilm's starwars.com. For now, Abel describes his role in the process. If you're into Star Wars, translation, Spanish lore or simply wonderfully constructed language, this is worth your time to read, as Abel is an expert on all counts. He's a truly gifted writer and a good friend, and the Force will be with him... always.
—Rich Handley

Ee Chee Wa Maa! Translating Spain's 
Long-Lost Ewoks and Droids Comics

By Abel G. Peña

"I'm not much more than an interpreter, and not very good at telling stories. Well, not at making them interesting, anyway."—C-3PO

Recently, I translated a total of 15 Star Wars comics based on the Droids and Ewoks animated series of the mid-1980s (which can be downloaded soon). These stories were published in Spain under the MyComyc imprint in castellano (which is just fancy-talk for Spain-style Spanish). In a sense, this was a project I had to do.
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Sunday, March 24, 2013

GUEST BLOG: Red Sonja—The Marvel Years

Rachel Helie, a friend of and occasional blogger for Hasslein Books, recently suggested bringing writer Matthew Sunrich into the fold. It was an excellent suggestion. Matt's first work for Hasslein, presented below, is an expanded version of an article that previously appeared at his blog. It is our honor to present it to you now, and our hope that Matt will continue to write for the Hasslein Blog. Matt, you have the mic.

Red Sonja: The Marvel Years

By Matthew Sunrich

In 1970, Roy Thomas managed to convince Stan Lee to license the rights to Conan the Barbarian, Robert E. Howard's seminal sword and sorcery adventurer, who had been enjoying great success in mass-market paperback (thanks in no small part to the glorious cover art by Frank Frazetta), for a comic series. Barry Smith was tapped to handle the penciling chores, and the book quickly became one of Marvel's top-selling titles.

With two dozen or so issues under their belts, Thomas and Smith decided to introduce a female character into the book, one who could hold her own against the Cimmerian swashbuckler. For inspiration, Thomas looked through Howard's oeuvre and discovered a story called "The Shadow of the Vulture," originally published in 1934, which featured a female warrior named Red Sonya (note the difference in spelling) of Rogatino. The story takes place in the sixteenth-century Ottoman Empire rather than in Howard's Hyborian Age, but Thomas thought it could be easily adapted for his purposes. The result was Red Sonja's first appearance in Conan the Barbarian #23.

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Science! (As in... She Blinded Me With...)


And Now a Message From Our Sponsors


Ladies and Gentlemen: The Cthulhamp


Friday, March 22, 2013

Happy Birthday, William Shatner

Some people have called William Shatner a dick over the years, but we at Hasslein Books completely disagree. There is nothing dick-like about Shatner whatsoever! Happy birthday, big guy.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

GUEST BLOG: Cubing—The Looney Tunes Show

Once again, we turn the conch over to writer Duy Tano, of The Comics Cube!, a popular blog covering the comic book industry. This time, Duy has agreed to write a really serious piece for us about a really serious novel he read over Christmas, and we can't wait to see what he has to say!

I was considering writing this really serious piece for Rich on this really serious novel I read over Christmas, but you know what, I'm just gonna talk about Looney Tunes.

[ED. NOTE: Dammit! —Rich]

The Looney Tunes Show is a cartoon sitcom that is currently 14 episodes into its second season, unless Rich decides to hold off on posting this and they air more episodes in the meantime, in which case, what're you doing to me, Rich? Have I not served my time? Did I not atone for my past sins? Have I not repented enough for the time you and I stole that—

Um, anyway, moving on...

The Looney Tunes Show is a cartoon sitcom that is currently 14 episodes into its second season. The basic premise is simple: Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are housemates. Or, more specifically, Daffy Duck has been freeloading for five years off of Bugs Bunny, who is independently wealthy. That's the premise of the show—two guys who by any stretch of the imagination shouldn't even be friends or share a roof. I know that some hardcore Looney Tunes fans (yes, I just typed out "hardcore Looney Tunes fans") disapprove strongly of this basic premise, but that's just the nature of comedy; the basic premise can be absurd or ridiculous, because it leads to conflict and comedy.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Lego see this film right now!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day From Hasslein Books


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sketches... Bond Sketches

by Rich Handley

Are you ready for a sneak-peek of artwork from Alan J. Porter's upcoming James Bond Lexicon: The Unauthorized Guide to the World of 007 in Movies, Novels and Comics, by the ever-brilliant Pat Carbajal? As Bond told Plenty O'Toole, "But of course you are." Now pay attention, Double-Oh-Seven:

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Don't You Mean... BIZARRO Hasslein Books?


Monday, March 11, 2013

Don't Panic... Just Remember Douglas Adams

by Rich Handley

We wish a happy 61st birthday to the late, great Douglas Adams, the author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently novels. Mr. Adams, a true genius of sci-fi comedy, was taken from us far too soon, dying in 2001 at the young age of 49. Happy birthday, sir... I hope wherever you are, you have a towel in your luggage, a second head on your shoulders and a fish in your ear.

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Friday, March 8, 2013

New Book Announcements Coming Soon

Hasslein Books will soon be announcing a pair of titles about... ah, but if we revealed it now, then the word "soon" would be nonsensical.

Let's just say it'll be a wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey announcement.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Alright, suckers: New artwork from Pat Carbajal

by Paul Giachetti

The first of Pat Carbajal's illustrations for the Red Dwarf Encyclopedia have come in, and they're nothing short of amazing! Can you guess what they are?

Answers after the break, although if you can't figure it out, you probably shouldn't be looking up Red Dwarf news in the first place....
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