Sportsmanship……Books!

Tomorrow, I will be at Walker Stalker in Chicago! Tomorrow.

And this time, I am also planning on showing how my book cover parodies have become far more plentiful than they used to be. In the beginning, it was just Danger Crumples transforming Christopher Pike’s 1990s YA output, as seen here –

I do think with Danger Crumples I may actually have parodied these covers into being more coherent stories. Oops.

However, now that most of these are only available as postcards and I had more plays on piggie names in mind – more pigs have gotten their own book series and three of the paintings will be on display for the first time and also possibly the last time, I tend to make new things for every show that I do because I have a lot of ideas and very inspiring piglets.

Peregrine, crime boss and queen of my herd, finally got her own book series – Prey Street. And once again she meets with her most frightening enemy – the phone. This time she let Merricat pick it up, as if that would help.

 

Finny got a series too! Finnybumps, it’s very specific and allows him to intimidate Salem, just as he tries to from across the room every day.

 

This is my favorite new book cover parody. Ozma’s 80s horror paperback. There’s always been something ominous and yet flashy about how cute she is, which could only be expressed by painting her while drinking a lot of Tab.

 

Walker Stalker! Tomorrow! I know I’m no Jerry, who I won’t be able to see because I’ll be at my table, and I’m clearly not King Ezekiel, who I won’t be able to mention Hellraiser: Hellworld to (um, that movie has Khary Payton, future apparent (I haven’t seen it) downer Superman Henry Cavill, and the best but somewhat -to put it lightly – misused person on Vikings, Katheryn Winnick all in it, what a strange world we live in), but I hope someone comes and sees me anyway because I have a very wide range of stickers this time.

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Veal Scallopini, Steak Diane, or human souls?

16. Burnt Offerings – Robert Marasco

Marion and Ben and Aunt Elizabeth and David live in the city. It sucks during the summer. It’s like really hot and there are too many people and Marion doesn’t feel like her antiques get their due unless she’s obsessively polishing them and so she’d really like to escape. Just this once.

Well, a house that’s only $900 and way out in the middle of nowhere comes up for the summer. It’s full of antiques, it’s by the beach and has a pool, the only catch is Marion has to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for an old lady she’ll never see. Perfect!

Everything goes fine and they all end the summer with a nice family chuckle as they drive back to the city. The end.

Okay, not so much. But it’s not ever really clear what is happening exactly or why that title was used if the very life is being sucked out of the adults. But I guess “Burnout Offerings” just sounds like a post-graduate school group therapy session title. Too contemporary.

Danger and Horace are waiting for me to get the movie so we can all figure out if we like that better. These boys really loved their 1970s horror cinema.

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I haven’t quite seen the movie yet, even though Eva Green is usually awesome.

55. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

More design than book, this is a story that I did not expect to be the start of a series. It’s good looking, but it wasn’t particularly emotionally engaging for me. I do like the design, the photos, the odd afflictions of the children and their caretaker’s powers; but it all just really stayed on the surface for me. It was a bit drafty, not unlike the landscape described in the book. I recently acquired the second book in the series cheaply, so, I’ll give it a shot, see if it gets better. It could always get better.

Long ago, I chose Twiglet to be the chosen pig pictured with this book. She was a peculiar and endlessly lovable pig.

 

Later, I acquired my own Miss Peregrine, so named for her slightly falcon-like appearance and she has acquired her own Miss Peregrine Funko figure with its own falcon. Perhaps a peculiar choice. She also has Sam the Eagle.

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Dead things, Mikey.

I am once again venturing out into the public to show my artwork and potentially sell a thing or two. This time I’ll be at Walker Stalker/Heroes & Villains Fan Fest in Chicago April 19, 20, &21 – I’m on the Walker Stalker side where my insistence on printing skulls and irreparably altering the world of horror to make it more guinea piggy makes more sense.

And now, a preview of  some of the new stuff I’m bringing:

I’m not bringing Finny. He’ll be too busy riding his actual Big Wheel down haunted hallways.

 

Oh look, it’s the whole parody series of The Finning featuring Finny, Horace, and Mortemer- ready for you to stare at forever and ever. And ever.

 

I did finish this painting and I’m totally bringing it as long as nothing catastrophic happens at the scanning place I just took it to… As I’m on the zombie side of the convention, I continued my Romero parodying works with Peegshow. It really is finished though.

 

Night of the Living Ozma. She’s got her trowel, she’s black and whiteish and ready to eat someone controversially.

 

Stay tuned to this same guinea pig channel for a preview of the new book parodies. Yes, this time I will have much more evidence that my booth name Guinea Pigs and Books makes logical sense!

 

 

 

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All the Coopers can’t be Special Agent Dale Cooper.

68. Final Girls – Riley Sager

Xanax and grape soda. And Wine. And a boyfriend that South Park would’ve described as a ’90s guy – Chris, but in this case it’s Jeff. A baking blog. An expensive apartment in New York bought with the settlement funds from her friends’ deaths. That’s how Quincy makes it through being the final girl of a slasher-style cabin massacre. That and texts to and meetings with Coop, the cop who showed up. Until one of the other two final girls she’s aware of gets murdered…and the other one shows up at her building.

This was a fun thriller. It was also not fun, but them’s the brakes of massacre, anxiety, and PTSD depictions. It had a stellar ending, I was incredibly pleased as someone who has also had to deal with being a survivor of several abusive situations and doesn’t have a paid for expensive apartment and the ability to solely work on their blog instead of having a real job.

Merricat never had to pay for anything either, but, she had serious grit and still works posthumously as a model.

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ZZZZZzzzzzzzzz……….

17. The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To – DC Pierson

This book reads like it was written by someone who is too cool for school. The initial impression I got from the blurb of it seeming like a magical realism sort of sci fi teenage romp well written enough to be literary fiction is really inaccurate.

The science fiction bits come in toward the end and they don’t make up for the lack of cleverness and ingenuity with tired tropes. There was also a lot of space taken up by the main character wondering if making friends with the weird kid will also make him weird. Um, duh, kid, that’s the whole point of hanging with the weird kid…getting out of the banality. If you don’t want that, keep hanging with the stupid cool kids. An unwilling protagonist who spends too much time debating the risk of letting an actual story happen is a sad, sad thing in fiction. Bottom line for me was feeling like I’ve read this story before with less pretentious prose.

Belvedere would’ve put this book in the “rejected MFA imitations of more interesting genre fiction” section of his library.

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“Where certain fungal infections are common…”

61. Come Closer – Sara Gran

Extremely short at 168 pages, and not a young adult book, this was a bit of a surprise take on possession – from the inside.

The demon has apparently been fond of Amanda since she was a young child but didn’t try to take full possession then. She waited. Then, once Amanda was basically getting her shit together, she pounced.

One of the amusing parts of the book involves the failure of self-help for Amanda. She finds Demon Possession Past and Present, a book that has a checklist and levels of how possessed one may be. As she becomes more and more possessed, she isn’t allowed to read books that might have helped her, she even finds that she’s burned several of them in her fireplace. The doctor recommended by her husband tells her to eat more salt and turns out to be possessed too – somehow salt makes the demon stronger in this story as opposed to being a purifying element and something demons can’t cross. The psychiatrist recommended by the doctor before she knows the doctor is possessed is also concerned as to why she wouldn’t want to be more active in her own life, taking control, doing weird stupid stuff that’s detrimental to her health and relationships but also more active…he’s possessed too.

And for once in a possession story, there’s no fight. No holy water. No “The power of Christ compels you!” Just a girl and the demon that tells her she’ll never leave her.

Peregrine is the pig that will never leave me. She’s not even a demon; she’s just nice that way.

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“The maiden’s waiting for her knight in shining corduroy.” – Creepshow

74. There’s Someone Inside Your House – Stephanie Perkins

This little slice and dice of teenagers has some interesting elements. It’s a pretty accurate depiction of high school in the Midwest, especially if you are different from the normies in any capacity. The inclusivity is a change of pace from most of what I’ve seen in YA that’s supposed to be horror even though this book isn’t really scary or thrilling. There is a lot of blood, so that’s interesting considering that it’s not particularly suspenseful. The best part of the whole thing really is the reasoning behind the killings. It’s also very small-town Midwest but deployed in a totally new way.

Whoever’s in the house woke up Murderface. They better watch out or she’ll cute them to death.

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“All good scientists are from Missouri: in other words, they should continually be saying, ‘Show me’.”

73. Unbury Carol – Josh Malerman

“Hell’s heaven” was uttered so, so, so many times that it distracted me from the plot. Everyone says it. The husband, the sheriff, the assassin, the outlaw, Rinaldo, the helper girl, the funeral director, some guy…I’m not entirely exaggerating. As we know, if something distracts me so much that I lead with it, I may not be entirely complimentary to the story.

One thing I will say, I believe Malerman spent a lot of time organizing the world he wanted to portray and yes, the Western can be a repetitive genre. Hell’s heaven.

There were definitely a lot of concepts that deserved a less distracting phrase interruption than “Hell’s heaven” or, the other one, “Shudders.” We have a greedy husband with a wife who has a condition where she looks dead but can still hear everything going on around her – and she’s rich. We have that wife’s lost love who totally screwed up – James Moxie, who went on to become a very famous outlaw and holed up on the other end of the “Trail” from where Miss Not Dead Carol lives.

We have an important journey, a very austere inventor mother who really comes through in an unexpected way, and an assassin with an interesting method of walking and he’s so evil he doesn’t even need a hat. And then there’s Rot, the fantastical character who continues to lead the good characters astray to hopeless places and the bad characters to what they need. I’m still not sure how I felt about that character and whether or not he was really necessary. At the end I definitely felt like he was just butting in randomly to delay the plot and it would’ve been tighter if he hadn’t. He definitely got in the way of the main scene that really needed to be there for the title character. Show, don’t tell, Malerman. Hell’s heaven.

Ozma’s distinctive face makes her a guinea pig of certain distinction on any and all trails. She’s a sweet little legend in her own right.

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Reindeer Hell

2. The Ritual – Adam Nevill

Wet. Cold. Brutal. The Ritual is a lovely book. I truly enjoyed reading it, but I do gravitate toward journey stories and when that journey ends up involving an ancient cemetery, metal, hooves, and a single person who keeps having to defend their life choices to their bitchy friends who are, in the end, kinda envious of their freedom and fortitude, I know I’m going to love it. And it was scary too.

Nevill’s description of that upper floor of the first creepy-ass cabin they ran into did my head in- it’s always better to describe the unnatural in increments – plus he said the sculpture’s tail was mouse-eaten and that is truly terrifying when coupled with the knowledge that the lost middle-aged men went into that cabin with wet jeans…and also came out with wet jeans and nightmares.

If being chilled to the bone and unable to get warm doesn’t scare you, then this won’t really work for you and you’ll probably get annoyed by the amount of environmental description but for me that worked very well. I also really, really liked the little old lady who doesn’t say anything. She’s pretty much my favorite character, even if she is technically against our protagonist.

If you’ve seen the movie, then what I just described might sound odd – because they pretty much took out all my favorite parts. The cabin sculpture’s not the same, the little old lady is missing, and so are most of the hooves and the metal and the cemetery (or maybe they found that but I don’t recall the super cool church that went with it). The movie is as pretty and full of trees as I expected, but, as per usual, the book is better.

This is Finny. He has been turning to calcium from the inside while keeping the most feisty attitude long enough that I am pretty sure he is a mythological beast creature. Brutal.

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