RETROMANIA: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past by Simon Reynolds ponders why it’s been so long since we went through a radical break with our artistic past akin to early rock-and-roll, punk, or the birth of hip-hop (“The first 10 years of this century may be the first decade in my lifetime that didn’t produce any distinctive musical styles of its own.”)—and conversely, why nobody’s rejecting the older generation’s Hokey Old Music. Reynolds concludes a big part of this is the sheer availability of everything from everywhen, plus bands have their own reason for reviving past glories (reunion tours often make more money than the band earned the first go-round). This is an interesting topic to me (I’ll probably have a more in-depth blog post on it soon) but I’m interested in the media I love (Movies, TV, comics, specfic) whereas Reynolds, a music writer, focuses overwhelmingly on music. As I hadn’t even heard of many of the bands he discusses, I just skimmed a lot of this—but that’s more personal taste than a flaw in the book.
HELLBOY IN MEXICO by Mike Mignola and various artists (cover by Mignola with Dave Stewart all rights reserved to current holder) looks at 1956, when Hellboy was still a rookie and wound up teaming up with some luchadores against the forces of evil. When that went horribly wrong, Hellboy became a masked wrestler on his own, drunk heavily and wound up fighting more evil. Several of the short stories collected here are vintage Mignola, where the supernatural is weird and unpredictable; House of the Living Dead, which I already have in hardback, is an entertainingly over-the-top riff on the old House of Frankenstein film. Good, though like a lot of Hellboy stuff I don’t know if it’s a good place to start if you’re not into him already.
BPRD HELL ON EARTH: End of Days by Mignola, John Arcudi and Laurence Campbell has the BPRD launching an assault on the Black Flame’s fortress, Director Nichayko taking a desperate step and a monster taking over Kansas. The BPRD series is wrapping up this year which may explain why this is much faster-moving and more action-packed than usual; a good read (but definitely not for newbies).
(And in case you were wondering, yes, I’ve added both TPBs to my Hellboy Chronology)