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Category Archives: books

Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel – Reviewed by Richard Kirwin

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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.

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31 Days of Horror: Stephen King and Owen King live in Toronto recap

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.”

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31 Days of Horror 2017: Join Mike Thorn in His Darkest Hours

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.

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Happy 70th birthday, Stephen King!

Stephen KingToday, Thursday, September 21st, 2017 marks Stephen King’s 70th birthday. I think it’s fair to say that for many of us at Biff Bam Pop!, we wouldn’t be writing words regularly if not for the inspiration of King and his incredible work. To celebrate the monumental occasion, the writers of Biff Bam Pop! have banded together to share our favourite books from Stephen King’s catalogue, and say thank you to the man for all the nightmares.

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Name: Andy Burns
Favourite Stephen King Book: The Stand
Why: The Stand is epic storytelling, full of wonderful characters and stunning set pieces. It was the first apocalyptic novel I can remember reading, and I was thoroughly gripped by the end of the world scenario King crafted. Though The Dark Tower as a whole is my favourite work by King, as a standalone novel, The Stand is the author at his finest. The Complete and Uncut version also contains my favourite King moment from any of his books – Stu Redman’s recollection of meeting the long dead Jim Morrison at a gas station. Happy birthday, Stephen King!

Name: Glenn Walker
Favourite Stephen King Book: The Stand
Why: It was his first magnum opus, his first truly epic novel, with a huge cast of characters – characters that on multiple readings became more and more real.  Everyone in the book lived and breathed in my head as I read, and I followed them all from their lives in the old world to the reconstruction of the post-Captain Trips world.  It was a tale of ultimate good and evil, introducing concepts like the Walkin’ Dude that would resonate with later works, and a story of survival and seduction, and at times unspeakable horror, touching on everything available to the writer at that moment.  It’s not perfect. It was also the first of King’s disappointing cop-out endings, in my opinion, the rest of the book was so good I didn’t care.  I love this book so much, it’s one of my top five favorite books ever, and I have revisited it dozens of times since first reading it in paperback fresh off the shelf.  Like a good vinyl album (yeah, I’m that old), you play it so much, you have to replace it because it’s so worn down – I have been through three copies of The Stand, I love it that much. Read the rest of this entry

Best-Selling Swedish Thriller Novel ‘Quicksand’ Comes To Netflix

If you are a fan of The Bridge on Netflix, get ready to add another upcoming TV show to your queue: head writer Camilla Ahlgren is adapting Malin Persson Giolito’s best-selling thriller Störst av Allt (Quicksand) into a new Netflix Original Series.


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True Crime Corner: Lizzie Borden

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Did you know that this year marks the 125th anniversary of the slayings of Abby and Andrew Borden, killed in their Fall River, Massachusetts home? Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother, but some people question her innocence all these years later, and have their own theories on what happened. Since I recently visited the scene of the crime (now a bed and breakfast), I thought I would write this edition of True Crime Corner (at least part of it anyway) from there. And if you’ve never been there, go visit, I recommend it!

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My Mission to The Dark Tower

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For me the release of The Dark Tower as a major motion picture is a countdown.  I’m on the clock, literally, as I want to finish the book series before the film comes out on Friday.  I don’t know if I’ll make it.  While you wish me hopeless luck, meet me after the jump to find out why I’m doing it, and my re-read thoughts.

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The Path to The Dark Tower is Near

To say that reading The Dark Tower changed my life is far from an understatement. It’s a fact. I never read Lord of the Rings. I haven’t gotten into Game of Thrones. No, for me, it’s only been Roland Deschain and his quest to get to the tower that holds all worlds together.

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Seven years ago, I was commuting from my home in Toronto to a crappy job about 90 minutes via subway away. What kept me going through the first few months of 2010 was reading The Dark Tower on my little Sony e-reader. While I had picked up the original trade paperback edition of The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger when it was released back in 1988 (and I was just 11 years old), and read subsequent instalments including The Drawing of the Three and The Waste Lands, the wait time between novels had killed my interest in the series, and it lay unfinished. However, in that winter of 2010, I was determined to read the books I’d already started, and finish the series.

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True Crime Corner: Jonestown

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Sometimes things happen which both fascinate and terrify. While I heard about the horror that took place at Jonestown, it wasn’t until I listened to the heart wrenching audio recording of the tragedy did I really look into the events of November 18, 1978. In this edition of True Crime Corner – what befell the congregants of the Peoples Temple, led by the charismatic pastor Jim Jones?

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True Crime Corner: Andrew Cunanan

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He may be most known for killing a celebrity designer in the fashion world. However, before he murdered this man, he is suspected of traveling from coast to coast, ending the lives of four men along the way and devastating their families. In this edition of True Crime Corner, who was Andrew Cunanan?

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