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Posts tagged: covers

At The Gutter: Cyberpunk for a Cyberpunk World


SF/F Editor Keith wonders whatever happened to cyberpunk:

Every now and again, like I said, those of us who grew up with cyberpunk wonder if there might be something new, something that isn’t just a “hackers versus a shady conspiracy” adventure novel. Usually, the books that are suggested to me as examples of “new cyberpunk” don’t really fit what I want from the genre. Plenty of them were good, but few of them grappled with the same big ideas that made me fall in love with Gibson’s “Sprawl” and “Bridge” trilogies, or Bruce Sterling’s Islands in the Net (still my favorite of all the books to emerge from the cyberpunk movement, and one of my favorite books of all time).

And then I found David Louis Edelman’s “Jump 225″ trilogy.

At The Gutter: These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things

Romance Editor Chris shares some of her favorite books from 2013:

I always enjoy writing a ‘Best Of’ column, and this year it’s particularly timely. Not only do I work in retail (which is category 5 insane right now) but my week also included a bicycle accident and a broken water main. Frankly, I needed some happy time. It did me good to think about and/or  re-read the books I liked best this year.  Here are a few of them.


Captain America by MIKE ALLRED


Captain America by MIKE ALLRED


I was struck with the idea of what the Marvel Universe might have looked like had it only ever have existed in pulp detective, crime and thriller novels - it started with an idea for an ongoing series of The Black Widow adventures, borrowing the cover layout from Mike Shayne detective novels. 

I assigned each character to a dream team pulp writer whom I thought matched the essence of the character. Donald Hamilton was best-known for his Matt Helm series of spy novels, which I thought made him an appealing choice for the Natasha Romanova “series”. Leslie Charteris was, of course, creator of the suave and witty Saint series of novels, so I gave him rein over the socialite adventurer Janet van Dyne and her scientist husband (Also, I thought Dashiell Hammett would have been a little on-the-nose), and Hoke Moseley creator Charles Willeford is assigned to craft the seedy, unsentimental world of Luke Cage, Hero for Hire.

None of these writers were particularly known for science fiction, which I thought made it more interesting to imagine them writing characters who - if not traditional sci-fi character - at least often set foot in impossible realms. You would have to imagine they’d be stripped down to characters devoid of super-powers and ladled with intrigue. 

Death to The Black Widow: A Natasha Romanova Thriller employs the title from Amazing Adventures #3, originally written by Roy Thomas. I do not have a source for the cover image. It borrows the cover design from the Mike Shayne series of detective novels. Spot illustration by Daniel Acuña.

The Sting of the Widow: A Natasha Romanova Thriller employs the title from Amazing Adventures #7, written by Roy Thomas. The illustration is by Jack Faragasso, and originally appeared on the cover of “Bait” by George Cassidy and “Cravings” by Jack Woodford. It borrows the cover design from the Mike Shayne series of detective novels. Spot illustration by Daniel Acuña.

No Place To Hide employs the title from Tales to Astonish #54, written by Stan Lee. The illustration is by Robert McGinnis and originally appeared on the cover of “The Wind-Up Doll” by Carter Brown.

Hero for Hire employs the title of the comic Luke Cage Hero for Hire, written by Archie Goodwin. The illustration is by Stanley Borack and originally appeared on the cover of “Hellbottom” by Eric Corder.

And lastly - big ups to Franklin Gothic, the trashy paperback’s go-to typeface CAN I GET A WHAT WHAAT!

At The Gutter: Thieves to the Left of Me, Killers to the Right

Romance Editor Chris takes a look at the bad boys of romance—“I’m talking about the seriously bad. The criminal.”

That’s a tough character choice.  The writer has to make someone who already has already demonstrated that he has no respect for the law and by extension, public welfare, into the hero.  That’s hard going. Thing is, when it works, it works really REALLY well.

Image via Existential Ennui


Black Dynamite #1 variant wraparound shark-punchin’ cover by Jun LoFamia, Colors by J.M. Ringuet. 


Black Dynamite #1 variant wraparound shark-punchin’ cover by Jun LoFamia, Colors by J.M. Ringuet. 

At The Gutter: At Play on the Planet of Men

Our new SF/F Editor, Keith Allison writes about Lois McMaster Bujold’s Ethan of Athos:

“His mother had often said, when you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action. She had emphasized the corollary of this axiom even more vehemently: when you desired a consequence you had damned well better take the action that would create it.” — Lois McMaster Bujold, Memory

There is an age-old fallacy that science fiction is for boys, by boys. Despite an abundance of evidence that this is just flat-out wrong, many publishers of books and games, and makers of movies, cling to it with dogged tenacity. Lois McMaster Bujold entered into this fray in the 1980s, when the debate about women and minorities in science fiction was not nearly as fiery as it is these days — but that’s because there wasn’t really any debate taking place at all. When she decided to become a science fiction and fantasy writer, she took the most direct route: she wrote a novel. When she was unable to find a publisher, she wrote another and sent it out as well. And then another while she was waiting to hear anything about the first two.

At The Gutter: Strong Female Character


Comics Editor Carol shares why the phrase “strong female character” bothers her a bit and then shares some of her favorite female characters.

A little while ago, a friend told me that I was a “strong woman.” It was a compliment and I took it as one. Part of me knows what he means, that I keep trying, that I pick myself up as best I can after things go to hell, that I try to keep moving. But part of me chafes at it, because I hear “strong female character” so much when people are talking about stories, whether comics, fiction, film, games or tv.  And it’s starting to become a meaningless sound to me.


This past weekend at San Diego Comic Con, The Mire won an Eisner Award for Best Single Issue! I am completely overwhelmed for the support everyone has shown my self published comics. I’m also honored because I’ve read all the other issues in the category and they were all phenomenal!

Post York was such a finely crafted book, and it came with a floppy record! James Romberger is such a great draftsman too! Really cool. Lose is a phenomenal piece of work; Michael DeForge has been consistently pushing the envelope and making some of the best comics out there. Michael Kupperman’s Tales Designed to Thrizzle has been one of my favorites for years, and don’t even get me started on Pope Hats!! Ethan Rilly is a brilliant storyteller.

Not just nominees, but it seems like everyone I know is doing the best work of their careers! I am constantly inspired by what I see people doing, and it just makes me want to work harder. And the fact that I’ve had the encouragement, help and friendship from so many people along the way of making these little books, I can’t express how much it means. 

If you are curious about The Mire you can get it on Comixology, or order it from the Werehouse! And if you are a store and want to stock my mini comics, head on over to Lounak Distribution

Thanks again you guys, you are the best.