Category Archives: books
For the past three years, Toronto’s WHIMM have brought the searing intensity of their live performances to stages across North America, honed through touring. Singer/guitarist Mounir Chami, bassist Andrew Matthews, and drummer Jonathan Pappo create ominous, emotionally charged avant-rock fusing spellbinding melodies with an urgency akin to 1980s anarcho-punk. WHIMM’s debut, A Stare Ajar, was released by Pleasence Records on October 27.
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Izzy Lee has directed several award-winning short horror films, including Innsmouth (available to watch on Shudder); For a Good Time, Call; and Rites of Vengeance. She has also written several short stories for various anthologies. For more about her work, check out her website, Nihil Noctem Films.
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Pleasence Records is a Toronto-based record label owned and operated by James Lindsay and Paul Lawton. This year the label has released albums by Moon Eyed, Fake Palms, WHIMM, and more. For a look at their full list of releases, visit their website or follow them on Twitter.
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This Friday sees the release of the long-awaited Justice League film. Well, long-awaited for folks who may have avoided the recent DC Universe films or weren’t entirely impressed by the ones they saw. Look, I hear you. Man of Steel lacked optimism, while Suicide Squad lacked pretty much everything that’s supposed to make a movie good. However, though I may stand on my own, I do believe that Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a masterpiece in its Director’s Cut form (go watch it – I’ll be here when you get back in three hours).
Folks who frequent Biff Bam Pop! know the name of Lucas Mangum. He’s one of our own, he’s a friend, he’s a contributor here onsite, but more than that, he is one hell of a writer beyond the world of pop culture we cover here. I suggested his novel Mania last year in our Holiday Gift Guide, and now Lucas has a new book out, an anthology of short stories. Meet me after the jump for the details on Lucas Mangum’s Engines of Ruin.
I really enjoy reading graphic novels, but when Biff Bam Pop’s fearless leader asked me if I wanted to review a graphic novel about Martin Luther that was timed for the 500th anniversary of Protestant Reformation, I was at first hesitant, but then my curiosity took over. Why did Martin Luther risk his life to go against Papal edicts? Meet me after the jump for my review of Plough Publishing‘s presentation of Renegade: Martin Luther, The Graphic Biography followed by an interview with Dacia Palmerino and Andrea Grosso Ciponte. Read the rest of this entry
I’m old enough to remember Stan’s Soapbox and to have the Origins of and Son of Origins of Marvel trades on my shelf. I’ve known Stan Lee as the mastermind of my favourite comic universe my whole life. His trademark wit and that infectious grin have both been synonymous in my mind with the Marvel Universe since long before “The Man” started popping up twice a year in his Marvel Cinematic Universe cameos. To me, Stan Lee has always been as much a character as his creations, a larger than life fictional version of himself, not the very real and, dare I say, uncanny creative mind presented in fantastic detail by Bob Batchelor in his extensively researched biography: Stan Lee, the Man Behind Marvel.
Thursday night, in front of 1,100 excited and devoted fans gathered in Toronto’s Koerner Hall, Stephen King and his son Owen King read from their new collaboration, Sleeping Beauties.
Published by Simon & Schuster Canada, the novel, about a sleeping epidemic that affects women around the world, is the first time the two have worked together, thought they did do a book tour back in 2013, when Stephen was promoting Doctor Sleep and Owen his first novel, Double Feature. I was in the middle of a battle with pneumonia that had actually sent me to the hospital, but that didn’t hold me back from making the event when it hit Toronto. That night, I had the chance to talk to the elder King, probably my greatest inspiration as a writer. He signed my Marvel Comics Dark Tower Omnibus, and I showed him the outline of the Michael Whelan-inspired art that would soon become my second tattoo.
This night at Koerner Hall had no autograph session, but it was still exciting to be in the room with both Kings. Owen was noticeably more comfortable in front of a crowd than he was back in 2013. He started the evening reading from Sleeping Beauties, a book that’s humour becomes surprisingly evident when voiced by its authors. As expected, while Owen received a great ovation, the audience was clearly there for his legendary father, who was clad in a shirt that he gleefully informed us carried a caption that read “If you go home with someone and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.”
Horror fiction, regardless of how well it is written, often goes exactly where seasoned reader expect it to go. It’s rare that a writer in the horror genre hits us with a perspective or idea that we didn’t see coming. Nor is it unusual for a story or novel to haunt us with creepy images, vivid descriptions of gore, or a heartbreaking death. How often, though, does an author pull this off with superior literary quality?
This is the territory the reader will find themselves in with Mike Thorn’s Darkest Hours. It’s apparent from the opening tale of this 16-story collection, “Hair,” that Thorn has aspirations beyond a simple spooky yarn. When you open with body horror hair fetish, it’s safe to assume you’re in not in Kansas anymore.