Writer Wednesday – Bob Freeman

1. Tell us who you are and a little bit about what you write.

My name’s Bob Freeman and I write occult detective fiction. It’s a genre I’ve been enamored with since childhood. The early seventies had sparked an occult revival of sorts. Real life witches were showing up on talk shows, movies like The Exorcist were dominating the box office, Marvel Comics was publishing Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf By Night, and The Son of Satan (to name a few), and on the small screen you had things like The Norliss Tapes and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Coupled with my early reading of Dennis Wheatley’s Duc de Richleau novels, it’s little wonder that my adult predilections have led down a similar path.

2. What is something that your fans would be surprised to know about you?

That’s a rough one because I’m something of an open book. One thing that may have slipped under the radar is my love of musicals. My favorite is the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar which, in and of itself, is probably a big shock to people who are quite familiar with my body of work and religious proclivities.

3. What made you become a writer?

I think most writers are shaped to become storytellers from an early age and I’m no different. I always loved a good ghost story, and growing up pretty isolated in rural Indiana, I spent a lot of time reading and letting my imagination run wild.

4. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser, all the way. If I know where a story is going, I lose interest right away. I enjoy the uncertainty and discovery that creating stories entails.

5. What is the biggest mistake that you’ve learned not to make while writing?

Not finishing what you’ve started. I’m an author who really needs to keep that fire lit. I am…easily distracted. Buckling down and seeing a project through to the end is the best advice I could pass along.

6. What is the last book you finished reading? What did you think?

I just finished Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot which offers a great new take on interpretations for those with an interest in cartomancy.

7. Would you like to pimp a specific project?

My latest collection is First Born, the first book in my Liber Monstrorum series. The book collects several stories connected to that mythos and particularly concerns my occult detective, Dr. Landon Connors.

8. Is there a URL or social media account you’d like to share?

My website/blog is http://occultdetective.com. The best place to connect with me online is through my twitter account: http://twitter.com/occultdetective

 

…On Life and Writing…

Life is not fair, nor just, nor even-handed. Bad things happen to good people and vice versa, not because of karmic debt, but because life happens. It is unpredictable. It is sometimes cruel and unforgiving, but this is the canvas upon which we work, where our seed has been planted, where our sword is sharpened.

I know it can feel overwhelming sometimes, but it’s not. It’s just life. It breathes in. It breathes out.

For all the heartache, all the loss, there is still beauty to be found in the wreckage and words to be written in blood.

I talk a lot about the negative side of writing, the work part… you know, the struggle. I’d like to take a moment to comment on how freaking thankful I am to be blessed with the storytelling gene.

Writing is ecstatic intoxication. It is surreal and wonderful and fulfilling in every way imaginable (except financially, but that’s for another blog). Brutal? Unforgiving? Yes, it is all that too, and more, but truthfully, there’s an almost indescribable elation that comes from stringing words together, from building worlds and giving life to characters, from sitting before a blank page and then filling it with nothing but your imagination.

I just felt like I needed to say that.

For all the misery and heartbreak and soul sucking excrement you have to put up with, it’s all worth it.

Words are everything. Especially when they’re yours.

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Book Review – Rocket Raccoon Volume 1: A Chasing Tale

Title: Rocket Raccoon Volume 1: A Chasing Tale

Author: Skottie Young

Illustrator: Jake Parker

Format: Hardback

Published: 2015

 

While we are far removed from Free Comic book day, this is one of the comics that I found myself picking then and I am so glad I snagged it. The comic is discontinued now but it was still a treat to read. To start off from the Guardian’s of the Galaxy franchise, Rocket is by far my favorite character, not because of the movies but because of the comics. For some reason, it entertains me to no end how Rocket goes around with a big huge attitude and calls out “Blam Murdered you!” when in a fight. That and his snark are massive wins for me and I simply adore the character. Thus when there is a comic that is all him, how could I pass it up. Particularly when the cover art for one of the issues is this:

Yes, that is massively entertaining to me. Anyway the comic is a collection of stories all of course pertaining to rocket and his faithful side kick Groot, who is also amazing to me with his three word dialogue of “I am Groot” which of course all mean different things when he says it, based on the responses Rocket gives him.

The story over all is bright and colorful as Rocket deals with the fact that he may not be the only one of him, and deals with all the women he’s wronged in his life as they have teamed up to take him down, then of course the most memorable of all the comics to me is the section where Rocket and Groot are telling stories of their adventures. In the end Groot tells one of the stories and every bit of dialogue is either “Groot” Or “I am Groot”. I know this can be annoying to some people but it amused me the story was all told via inflection and pictures and it was an entertaining story made all the better after you see the reactions of the campers who were being told this story.

Over all I spend a good portion of the book smiling and giggling and I am happy to have it in my personal collection. This book easily ranks in at a 4 out of 5 pages and is something that I would recommend as a great story to read through and one of the best comics I’ve read in a long while.

Book Review – Captain America: Road to Reborn

Title: Captain America: Road to Reborn

Author: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Various

Format: Paperback

Published: 2009

 

In an attempt to expand my horizons of comics I decided to pick up a Captain America that had the potential to look interesting from the library featuring Captain America or rather Bucky Barns as Captain America on some level.  This comic takes place after the death of Captain America.  It goes through the life and times of Captain America as a lot of people considered their past with him and what he had done.  We get to see this from the perspective of Bucky, and a from a few of his friends and romantic interests.  It was a neat story showing the value and importance of a beloved hero and what sort of impact that he had on other people.

 

Some of the stories were rather interesting such as the last one with the vampires which is a story featuring Bucky and retold by Bucky.  To be honest some of my favorite stories were the Bucky stories.  If the story of the Captain was not being recanted it was those who had survived him and his death dealing with the grief and shock of his death.

 

In the end the tile of the story I think is very apt and fitting as there is a point  where Captain’s survivors make mention of how there might be a way to save him.  The details are not spelled out at all and if one is not careful it can be read as a throw away line and be easily missed in the story.

 

Truth be told this story wasn’t that trilling or spectacular and there was noting that fully stood out for me save for the story that featured the vampires and I feel that is chiefly because vampires and werewolves fascinate me in literature.  So I think over all I would give the story a 3 out of 5 page review saying that it was a good read and it was easy to follow even if you don’t know too much they kind of let you know what has happened before this story for characters to be the way they are.

Book Review – Hawkeye My Life as a Weapon

Title: Hawkeye My life as a weapon

Author:  Matt Fraction

Illustrator:  David Aja & Javier Pulido

Format: Paperback

Published: 2013

 

Yes, I have been a Marvel kick as of late and I am unapologetic about this. I am in fact completely unapologetic that I am reviewing a lot of comic books but I find the stories to be quite good and entertaining and something I can do in my limited time my life affords me.  I like the characters crafted in comics and am addicted but that is me I love a good story and if I can get it quickly that can be good.  That isn’t to say I have abandoned books entirely I am actually slowly working my way through an actual book that is something more than a children’s book, but as I’m only half done I’m far from doing a review and comics are something I get through quickly.  I may be big about reading but at times I am slow at reading and to be honest I am a bit slow at reading and I suffer from reading ADD I am the type who could easily have 12 books going at once.

 

Any way my coworker had this comic with him and I stole it as well at the time I stole the Thor comic from him.  I had heard good things about this comic from the unique art style to it being a rather good story and really I was a little underwhelmed.  Maybe Hawkeye isn’t the hero for me.  Not to say I wouldn’t watch a Hawkeye movie and not because Jeremy Renner is an attractive actor but I feel that a movie might translate better to me than this comic did.  It had some good stories but they didn’t really grip me much. The best story to me was the young Avengers story that was tacked in the back of the comic book.  The characters had a lot of flavor and personality and I wold gladly read more of these characters.  Maybe that was my issue with the Hawkeye comics there was a certain lack of personality on some levels and it was more about the action.  For me I love characters and getting into their heads rather than just being his with some great action sequences.

 

Any way over all I would give this comic a 2 out of 5 I kept me occupied during a boring day at work but that was about it.  This book might be for some people but it wasn’t for me at all.

Book Review – Thor God of Thunder

Title: Thor God of Thunder

Author: Jason Aaron

Artist: Esad Ribic

Format: Paperback

Publication:  2013

 

This book came to me on an off day when I was a little bored.  My Co-worker got a few new comics in and there was Thor God of Thunder sitting on his desk looking all shiny and pretty.  It just called out my name saying Read me!  Now I’m normally not a Thor fan the movies is the base of my knowledge of this super hero and I wasn’t that wild about the movies – to me the point of the movies is Loki.  Yes I am something of a Tom Hiddleston fan – I can’t help it!  Any way I still picked up the book curious and got sucked in rather quickly.

 

The story of Thor here is well crafted it is telling telling one story that arches over Thor’s entire life time.  It starts with a very young Thor who is visiting ancient Norse Vickings.  He is cocky and full of himself as ever and is faced with a rather intriguing foe that changes his view on life to some degree as he was almost defeated.  While this story is told in parts we are given flashes of the present day Thor that we know and are familiar with one that is part of the Avengers in some way and is in present day earth realizing that there was more to his past chance encounter and there is something much darker and sinister going on that there is something going about killing and destroying all the gods of all the worlds.  This is where it really gets intriguing.

 

Of course, this story is all told in chunks and also shows a future Thor known as Old Man Thor who is beaten down most everyone is gone and lost and he’s trying to defeat and unbeatable foe who simply won’t just end things.  Old Man Thor though in a sad situation is kind of fun and super awesome and tough.  The story though in bites and moving from time point to time point in Thor’s life is well told and gives you enough to keep you going and it simply just masterfully crafted for a three for one store about one person at different points in time.

 

Over all this book was fantastic and I have been clamoring for the continuation which I am finally going to be able to read here soon and I can’t wait!  Over all I would give this comic a 5 out of 5 pages as it was simply that good and even if you are new to Thor this is a good start you aren’t left lost and wondering at all.

Book Review – World War Hulk: X-Men

Title:  World War Hulk: X-Men

Author:  Christos Gage, Robert Kirkman, Dan Slott, & Daniel Way

Illustrators:  Stefano Caselli, Butch Guice, Javier Saltares & Andrea Di Vito

Format: Paperback

Published:  2008

 

This is a review that has been a long time coming I read this comic book in a desperate plight to avoid doing working on a paper.  I finished the book and found myself busier than I could imagine and never writing the review.  I came into possession of this book from my co-worker who is one of my comic guru’s.  While my one friend got me started and has me obsessed with Batman or more namely Robin (aka Tim Drake) my coworker is trying to ensure that I expand my horizons.  Thus he gave me his copy of World War Hulk X-Men, as well as another World War Hulk book I have yet to read.

 

The basic premise of the store is that Hulk being a danger to mankind was sent into out space to a planet that was habitable for the Hulk but was uninhabited.  He was sent by a group known as the Illuminati that includes various different Marvel heroes.  Unfortunately there was an error in the ship flight path and Hulk was sent to an inhabited plant where he was made a slave and worked and fought his way to being king of said planet.  He found a wife and had a child but the planet was destroyed.  Enraged by what happened the Hulk returned to earth to exact revenge on the Illuminati and any who got in his way.

 

This book is a multi-story cross over having a few issues of X-Men, a few issues of Avengers: The Initiative and issue of Ant-Man a few issues of Iron man and a few issues of Ghost Rider.  It is a rather expansive story line that hit several characters and tied into together each comic would reference the same events from different character perspectives.  It was interesting to see the different perspectives of the same event.   It is something I haven’t seen before but have wondered about.  What was X characters reaction to a situation why didn’t character Y get involved.  This book answers that and for that it is cool.

 

However, I also had problems with this.  Many of these comics, though part of the World War Hulk story line are only a small part of the over-arching story line for the different characters.  Many of these issues were part way through the characters story line and thus referenced things in their story that was not part of the Hulk story.  I can respect that, but it made it very difficult to follow along, particularly as I am very new to the Marvel universe.  I know of these characters and have a basic understanding of what they do but I don’t KNOW the characters I don’t know some of the back story from other sources like I did with Batman.  Most of my knowledge of the Marvel Universe was X-Men cartoons as a child and the recent Marvel movies.  There were a lot of things that I knew I was missing out on and it made the story kind of difficult to get into.  Like there was a mysterious character that I could tell I should have known who it was if I was familiar with the story arch but I wasn’t and it made me feel like I was missing out.

 

Over all the story was hard to follow and not that gripping to me.  I am actually dragging my feet to read the next book but seeing as I am borrowing I feel like I need to read it.  So it will sit in my desk drawer for a bit longer and I’ll give this book that I did read a 3 out of five pages.  If I knew what was going on the book would have been good but being a bit lost it wasn’t that great.  World War Hulk is not a good starting point for getting into the Marvel Univer

Book Review – 1602 by Neil Gaiman

Title: Marvel 1602

Author:  Neil Gaiman

Artwork: Andy Kubert & Reinhard Schweizer

Format: Graphic novel/comic collection

Published:  2004

1602 is a collection of 8 parts that operate under a very interesting premise – what if all the Marvel characters start their stories 500 years too soon? – written by the incredible Neil Himself Gaiman.   The story starts with a girl on a boat – 14-year-old Virginia Dare and her protective Indian guide on her way back to England to ask Queen Elisabeth for more money for the Roanoke colony.  At the same time, King James and the Inquisition are both trying to get all the freaks killed.

After that, there is *a lot* that goes on, and honestly, I think that it loses a little something if you’re not really into the comics.  For instance, Hawkeye makes an appearance as an apprentice… named Peter.  And if you weren’t really into Hawkeye or you missed the one offhanded comment that made you go… Oh, wait a minute!… you’d probably miss it.

So, truth be told, I missed most of them.  I mean, Thor was pretty easy, since he came down as, um, Thor.  But was that other one Arachne, Spider Woman or Black Widow?  And if it was Black Widow, who was the other one that I *thought* was Black Widow?  I’m pretty sure those are the X-Men, but I couldn’t name all of them, and even my Ultimate Marvel Character Guide isn’t helping with some of these.  Others aren’t so hard to come up with – Doom, Strange and Banner are called Doom, Strange and Banner, for instance.

Since this is a graphic novel/set of comics, let’s talk about the artwork for a minute.  The artists used a combination of techniques that made the art title pages (there are eight, one for each of the original parts) look like old wood carvings, and really gave the collection a feel of old 17th century artwork.  But some of the illustrations came out a bit odd.  For instance, Queen Elisabeth looks a bit like a groupie for Insane Clown Possee in a couple of them.  And because of the techniques, we lose a lot of the details that we expect in a graphic setting.  Not going to lie, it’s the only reason I read these – for the artwork that accompanies.

So although I give the story a four, I have to give the overall a three out of five.   If you’re into Marvel, don’t miss it, but otherwise, you’ll miss a lot.

 

 

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