Books to review (#SFWApro)

BLACKFIRE by Hernan Rodriguez is a good historical horror story, though the art is iffy (I had trouble telling several characters apart). Napoleonic soldiers separated from the army during the retreat from Moscow stumble into an isolated valley where the dark god Czernobog has been imprisoned … until now. I know enough Slavic lore to wince at some of the changes, though they’re really nothing beyond what the Greek and Norse gods get in the MU.

POMPEII: The Living City by Alex Butterworth and Ray Laurence, focuses less on the eruption (which takes up the last chapter) than life in a provincial Roman city of the first century where problems included trade competition, the shifting balance of Nero-era Imperial politics (Nero’s bride Poppea came from Pompeii so it was hoped she’d do right by the home town), and an earthquake preceding the fatal eruption by a few years. The emphasis of the book is on the warp and woof of Roman life, from the complexities of social class and position, Roman gender issues (“To thrust was manly, to be thrust into was effeminate.”) and the mix of the dim view of marriage (romance in marriage was something to snicker at) to the lurid taste in sexual sculpture and graffiti. As someone who’s knowledge of Rome is mostly limited to the imperial level (and of course the development of Christianity) this is a real eye-opener: if someone made Rome up, I’m not sure I’d find it believable.

15852189ESSENTIAL SURREALISTS by Tim Martin is a collection of Pretty Pictures—or at least Weird Pictures—with commentary, including not only acknowledged members of the surrealist movement but artists who influenced them, associated with them and foreshadowed them, so this includes Rousseau, de Chirico, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Magritte (who provides the cover image), Tanguy and Arp among others. Turns out I’m less familiar with the movement than I thought, so this was informative, and the art is great (obviously YMMV).


Leave a comment

Filed under Comics, Reading

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.