Monday, 30 April 2012

The Ruby Files volume one

 As anyone reading this blog will know I have a love (some may say obsession) with all things Si-Fi, but one of my other loves growing up was old gangster films and story’s. As a youngster I would sit and watch films staring the likes of Bogart, Cagney and Borgnine, In those days of the late 60’s early 70’s there always seemed to be a film of this type on a least once a week. Add to that Elliot Ness and the Untouchables’ in their weekly show, and gangsters, cops and private detectives seemed to fill my TV viewing.

Now I will admit it’s a long time since I read any detective comics or books, and the Untouchables’ was probably the last gangster film I watched if you don’t count re-runs of The Godfather. Where is this all going I can hear you asking, well its heading to my reconnection with the gangster filled world of my childhood via a book called The Ruby Files. I first became aware of the Ruby Files when I heard one of the co-creators of Rick Ruby talking on a podcast; Bobby Nash is a regular on Earth Station One and was talking about his work. My interest was peaked and as a result I bought a copy of The Ruby Files, below are my thoughts and interpretations of the book. I do not go into too much depth as I don’t wish to spoil it for anyone, what I will say is that I absolutely loved the book and I could not recommend it any higher.

The Ruby Files

Rick Ruby is a private detective plying his trade in 1930’s New York, Rick’s an ex-cop who left the force due to his disillusionment with all the corruption around him. He still has ties to and connections within the police force which can be an advantage to him in his new line of work, Ricks world is full of the things you associate with 1930’s America. The Speak Easy's, fem fatales, crooked cops, mobsters and of course murder and danger.

Rick has all the usual glamorous trappings you would expect for a private detective of that era, a small slightly rundown office over a bar, an old friend on the force and a secretary who acts like she doesn’t give a dam but we all know has a heart of gold.

As for Rick back story well that's slowly unfolded to you as his story progresses, and you are fed tit bits about his past none of which take you away from the main theme of the story. So you never get bogged down in events from his past, this was one of the things I particularly enjoyed as I read the book.

Rick is what you would describe as a man’s man; he is a hard drinking, smoking, punch first ask questions later type of guy, with more than an eye for the ladies. He is also exactly the type of man you would want in your corner if your back was against the wall, provided you had the money to pay him for his services of course.

I could see aspects of Marlow, Spade, and Hammer in Rick, and I could easily see him up on the big screen been played by Bogart, Robert Mitchum or Dick Powell which is no bad thing. But for me I see Rick as Bogart even though he's described as having red hair, when Rick speaks I hear good old Bogie's voice in my head.

The book consists of 4 stories all written by different writers, each of whom have put their own slant on Rick and the world he inhabits, while still sticking to the core of the character. It is also a testament to all four writers skills that I can honestly say I don’t prefer one story over another, each has its own unique merits but all had me utterly engrossed as I read them.

I have listed the stories and their writers below and the synopsis given for each story, as it is given in the book.

WOUNDS: by Andrew Salmon
While trying to clear a murdered police officer, Ruby becomes entangled in police corruption and a connection to his father's death.

A beautiful, mysterious blond wants her brother found. It's a deadly setup, and Ruby walks into a case of cold blooded murder.

TULSA BLACKIE'S LAST DIVE: by William Patrick Maynard
Rick heads out to Hollywood to solve the death of cowboy superstar Tulsa Blackie.

Rick is hired to help a German scientist defect, but uncovers more to his job than his leggy client let on.

Rick is the creation of Shaun Taylor and Bobby Nash who along with Andrew Salmon and William Patrick Maynard, have all created story’s that word by word pull you deep into Rick’s world. It’s a world I would never want to live in, but its one that I enjoyed visiting and hope to do so again soon.

Click the link to be taken directly to The Ruby Files website, all the information on where to buy the book, bios on the characters, news on appearance's by the writers and so much more.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Frankenstine Agent of S.H.A.D.E #8

Frankenstein and Lady Frankenstein are on a mission to find there son, a search that leads them to castle Frankenstein. Frankie and his estranged wife both thought their offspring was dead, so it’s a mission filled with both dread and hope. It was at the end of the last issue Farther Time revelled he was still alive, further fracturing the relationship he/she has with both Frankie and his ex-wife.

 The story of how their son came to be is told in a quick flashback, were we see Lady Frankenstine go from excited to greving mother in two pages. The falshback also goes some way to explaining why the once happy couple are now not so happy, I suppose killing your genetically created child at the point of birth would put a strain on any relationship. I use the term birth lightly as he actually smashes out of a glass birthing matrix and attacks Lady F, which causes Frankie to act shall we say rashly.


Back to the present and the Frankenstein’s are wandering the castle looking for their son, with Lady F telling Frankie he has to give him a chance this time. Now given that their son has lets say anger issues, and his last meeting with his parents ended up with him been shot in the head. It’s no real surprise that things soon go drastically wrong, and battle ensues when they all meet up in the castle lab. However when the full picture is revelled their son is show to be a tragic figure who is ruled more by instinct than free will, a situation made more tragic by the fact he seems to know this but cannot do anything about it.

And as Frankie and his son fight it out Lady F deals out her own version of tough love, one you will not find in any child rearing manual that I know of.

At the end of the book we are left with the Frankenstein’s relationship in tatters, and a SHADE organisation that is falling into chaos as Ray Palmer threatens to have its funding pulled.
It’s a credit to Jeff Lemire that two creatures such as Frankenstein and Lady Frankenstein, can be written in such a way that your heart goes out to both of them. And when Lady F kisses Frankie and tells him that she loves him, but then walks away seemingly forever, you are left in no doubt the despair been felt by the big man. His final words ‘’SHADE is all I have now. Lets go home’’ convey just how far he has fallen, as he realises any hope he had of winning back his wife died in the castle, ironically the place they were both given life.
The art work by Alberto Ponticelli, Inks by Walden Wong and colouring by Jose Villarrubia, all play there part in make this top class issue. Jeff Lemire is leaving this book at issue 9 to Justice League Dark, his replacement Matt Kindt has big shoes to fill.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Batman The Dark Knight #7

It’s Batman vs Bane in an all out slug fest that runs from the start of the book to not quite the end but close enough. Bane is high on a new form of venom that has not only increased his strength but also his intelligence, now given that Bane was already ridiculously strong and was known to be Batman’s most intelligent villain old Bats has his work cut out. Although if he has increased his intelligence you would have expected him to know that throwing rocks at Batman, is probably not the best strategy he could have picked but maybe that's just me.

Once Ivy is safely out of the way Batman confronts the rock throwing Bane and surprisingly doesn’t fair too well, and just when you think we will get a repeat of Banes greatest moment (see Batman 493 old universe). Bane is distracted by a member of the Justice League, which gives Batman the gap he needs to put Bane down. By first administering the venom antidote, then knock him off a cliff top on to the rocks below.
Now I won’t give away who the JL member is who helped Batman, but he is quick and wears red, oh go on then it’s the Flash.
Bane aparantly lives to fight another day as we see him washed out to sea, and Batman does his best Arnie impression to Flash saying ‘’He’ll be back’’.

The final panel where the true identity of the White Rabbit is revelled was a big surprise to me; if I’m honest I had originally thought it was the person it turned out to be. Then decided against it for what I thought were obvious reason, so the twist when it was revelled was a surprising one (I think I've said before I'm easly fooled).
The only gripe I have regarding White Rabbit, is how she manages to always get away with out any problems. Even with the Flash in attendance she still manages to get away, and given the type of costume she wears you would think that someone would notice her bounce past (sexist pun sorry)

Finch’s artwork is good although I’m not too keen on his style of Bane, but that is a minor complaint on my part and I have enjoyed the story. Paul Jenkins writting is never going to win awards, but as Batman storys go it keeps you entertained, and in the end thats all you can ask. Another plus is the lateness that dogged the previous incarnation of the book, seems to have been resolved now that the comic is been co-plotted which has to be a bonus.

Now I have read and heard quite a lot of venom (deliberate pun) aimed at this book from issue 1 onwards, and while I will admit that it is not the best of the Bat books it is still an enjoyable read. This is not the same type of Batman comic that Scott Snyder is putting together, but it doesn’t pretend to be either. This comic is like your summer blockbuster film, all you have to do is pay your money and sit down and enjoy the ride.

I for one will be paying my money to see what happens next issue.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Why digital comics are not for me

Since the launch of the new 52 I have been buying some of the comics in digital format, the reason I chose to read them this way was I originally did not intend to buy them when they first came out. Then when my interest was peaked unfortunately for me they had sold out in the local comic shop, so I had two choices pay inflated prices on eBay or go digital, I chose digital. The platform I use to read my comics are my laptop and IPod, I have yet to buy a IPad and apart from reading comics on one I really cant think of a reason for having one. Now I appreciate that the platforms I use for reading digital comics may not be the best, but its what I have so I have to run with it.

From the very first issue it didn't feel quite right, once I finished reading the comic I was left with a feeling that I was missing something. The whole experience felt a little sterile and flat to me, undeterred I continued to buy some of my comics in the digital format. I kept telling myself that I felt this way because it was a new experience, and that I would eventually get used to reading comics in this way. Unfortunately after 7 issues that feeling hasn’t gone away, and I have decided to stop buying digital.
Now I want to state quite clearly that I am not knocking the digital format, and I understand the reasoning for the promotion of it. It will hopefully pull in new comic readers, who either don’t have access to or don’t want to go into comic shops. I can also see the advantage some people will find, as they instantly download their comics in this Now, Now, Now world that we live in.

I also understand that digital may well be the way comics are read in the future, in much the same way that the music industry has evolved over the years. If someone had told an 11 year old me as I bought my 45mp record of Slade's Good buy to Jane, that in the future he would be downloading music (legally) and storing them on a music player he carried around in his pocket. He would have thought you had gone mad, but until that future comes for comics I will stick with the hard copies.

 Digital isnt for me simply because I am a collector (my wife may say hoarder) of comics, I like to hold the comic in my hands as I read it. Having the comic there in my hands is a big part of the comic experience for me, I also enjoy bagging and putting away my comics in their acid free bags and boxes ( I Know Geek).
But for me, that’s what I miss when I read digital.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

All Star Western #7 - The Arena

 He was a hero to some. A villain to others. He had no friends, but he did have two companions. One was death itself, the other was the acrid smell of gunsmoke. Wherever he rode people spoke his name in whispers Jonah Hex.
When a comic starts with a monologue like that you know your in for a roller coaster of a ride, and this book doesn’t disappoint.

Hex and Amadeus Arkham have arrive in New Orleans trying to track down Thurston Moody, the ring leader from Child Labor story line that ran in the previous issues.
In the first 3 pages we get to see a Paper Mill blown up, Hex ride in to the burning building and send 3 people out on his horse. Then just for good measure he manages to stagger out carrying a a young girl in his arms whilst on fire, if he thought New Orleans was going to be quite compared to Gotham then he has to think again.

Hex is close to death after going into the burning mill but his life is saved by Hannibal Hawkes and Kate Manser, they use some kind of mystic medallion which they place around his neck to save his life (that explains the 1970’s then).
Hawkes & Kate who seem to have a past connection with Hex persuade him to help them find the group responsible for the mill explosion, now I wasn’t aware who Hawkes & Kate were but they do have a DC history (see below for an explanation)

After begrudgingly agreeing to help, Hex sets out to the docks where the rich watch immigrants fight it out in a kind of gladiatorial arena. Its during one of the fights that we meet arena champion Z.C. Branke,a young woman who looks as if she has been dressed by a 15 year old boy whose testosterone has got the better of him. Or she could just dress that way to put off her male opponents, either way it works as she proves to be quite the handful (no pun intended).

Whilst Hex is at the Arena Hawkes & Kate change to their alter egos Nighthawk & Cinnamon, think a supped up Lone Ranger and female Tonto and you wont be too far out.
When there motivations are questioned by Arkham, Cinnamon replies  ''You telling me Gotham City doesn't have any masked vigilantes'', ''certainly not, and I don't believe we will have the need for one'' replies Arkham. The geek in me punched the air.
Back at the Arena and Hex has been talked (didn’t take a lot) into fighting in the arena, where he faces the biggest man mountain you will ever meet. The outcome is predictable but still enjoyable, and the final panel sets up the story nicely for next issue.
The cover art by Ladronn is superb as is in the interior art by Moritat (artists must not have first names), 7 issues in and this is still a solid book and well worth picking up. As a certain podcaster says a top of the stack book, and you cant get higher than that.
The back up story starts with Nighthawk & Cinnamon in a tight situation in a mining town, but then flashes back several years to tell the origin of Hawkes which looks interesting although a bit contrived. However, I am looking forward to reading the rest of his story, and I'm hopeful that Cinnamon's origin will play into it also.

I did a bit of checking (Goggle) into Nighthawk & Cinnamon history, and it seems that they were early incarnations of Hawkman & Hawkwoman in the old DCU.
I don’t know if this origin is still intact in the new 52, only time will tell.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The Random 10 - No: 1 The Bobby Nash Interview

My guest for the very first edition of The Random 10 is comic book writer and novelist Bobby Nash.

Bobby has kindly agreed to answer 10 questions, but before he does that here is a little bit of information about Bobby.

 From his secret lair in the wilds of Bethlehem, Georgia, Bobby Nash writes. A multitasker, Bobby is certain that he doesn’t suffer from ADD, but instead he... ooh, shiny.

When he finally manages to put fingers to the keyboard, Bobby writes novels (Evil Ways; Deadly Games!; Earthstrike Agenda), comic books (Fuzzy Bunnies From Hell; Demonslayer; Domino Lady vs. The Mummy; Lance Star: Sky Ranger “One Shot”), short prose (A Fistful of Legends; Full Throttle Space Tales Vol. 2: Space Sirens; Green Hornet Case Files; Tales of The Rook; Zombies vs. Robots), novellas (Lance Star: Sky Ranger; Ravenwood: Stepson of Mystery; Nightbeat; Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars), graphic novels (Yin Yang; I Am Googol: The Great Invasion; Bloody Olde Englund), and even a little pulp fiction (Domino Lady; Secret Agent X; The Avenger; The Spider) just for good measure. And despite what his brother says, Bobby swears he is not addicted to buying DVD box sets and can quit anytime he wants to. Really.

When not writing fiction, Bobby is usually talking about writing fiction at conventions and writers conferences where he teaches writing courses and panels and promotes his books. Bobby is also a part-time extra in movies and television, is the co-host of the weekly Earth Station One podcast (, and writes for New Pulp ( and All Pulp ( news sites.

For more information on Bobby Nash please visit him at,,,, and among other places across the web.

How did you first get into writing?

I started writing as a kid, mostly comic book stories that I would then draw. From there I started writing stories for others then eventually started writing for magazines and comics, and then eventually moved into short stories, novels, and screenplays.

I realize that makes it sound awfully easy, but it took a lot of time, hard work, patience, and more than just a little bit of luck. Timing plays as much a role as talent.

Who or what were your early influences?

I’m influenced by everything. It can be movies, books, TV shows, comics, newspaper, or just watching people and events unfolding around me. All of that goes into a blender in my brain and comes together as my style. It’s hard to point to any one thing and say that it was my inspiration.

Where do you draw your ideas for stories from?

Story ideas come from everywhere and nowhere. How’s that for a confusing answer? In all honesty, I don’t know where all of the story ideas come from. Sometimes ideas just come to me out of nowhere. Other times the ideas comes from research, and I’ve had some stories come to me in dreams. I guess the ideas just keep on churning in the back of my mind until I’m ready to process them.

You write both comics and novels. Do you approach them in different ways?

Oh, absolutely. Comic scripts and prose manuscripts not only have a different format, but you have to approach each of them differently.

With comics, you have to think in snapshots of the action. The bulk of what I write in a comic book script is never seen by the reader. I primarily write for the artist(s) so they know what to put into the story. The artist them paints the scene with the art so the writer doesn’t have to write that a character walks into a room because the art showcases that. Comic book creation is a lot of give and take between writer and artist. When writing comics you are a part of a creative team.

When writing prose (novels, short stories, novellas) the writer works alone so it is my job to show the action as well as the dialogue and paint the scene for the reader with words. A character walking into a room has to be described with sights, smells, thoughts, and the like because there are no illustrations to show what the room looks like.

So, yeah, there are differences. You definitely work different creative muscles for each type of writing.

If you could write a story using any character which would you choose?

I get this question a lot. It changes from day to day, but I would love the opportunity to write The Fantastic Four. I also like to think I have at least one good Stargate or Star Trek story in me. Maybe one day I’ll get the opportunity.

How do you like to relax when you’re not writing?

Not writing? I’m afraid I don’t understand the question.

In all seriousness, even when I’m not writing I’m still writing. Going for walks, driving, shopping, mowing the lawn, walking through a book store, etc. While I’m not physically writing at those times my brain is constantly working through plots and character moments. I keep a notepad with me for this instances. Quite often, leaving the house is a good way to get those thoughts flowing because you aren’t trying to force it.

Like everyone, I like to go out, catch a movie, read a book, watch TV, or hang out with family and friends. I just have to make sure I get my writing work done around those things because writing for me is a job, not a hobby.

You use twitter and other social media to connect to fans. Do you consider this to be an important part of your work?

Absolutely. Social media is a very important aspect of my promotional planning. I try to post at least once a day, usually two or three times since there are those who only check in at certain times of the day. I try to vary my social media times so I can reach as broad an audience as possible. The other trick is to not use social media as simply a selling tool. If the only thing you ever post is “buy my book” then people start ignoring you. In addition to posting about my books, I talk about TV shows I like, good books I’m reading, and how my writing day is going.

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and various forums and social media sites across the internet. It seems like I’m on all of them. Especially when it comes time to update them. 

Your latest novel is Deadly Games!. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Deadly Games! is a suspense thriller novel and the first book in a proposed series. There is a plan for a second “Deadly” book in 2013.

Deadly Games! is a novel about revenge. Darrin Morehouse is a criminal mastermind and player of games. From inside his prison cell he initiates one last game against the people responsible for his downfall, prosecution, and incarceration. To win all they have to do is survive the game.

Here’s the official description.
About Deadly Games!:

They played the most dangerous game of all and death was only the beginning...

Six years ago, Police Detective John Bartlett and journalist Benjamin West were instrumental in the capture of notorious master criminal Darrin Morehouse. Their story played out in the media, rocketing both Bartlett and West into local celebrity status.

Today, Morehouse, still a master game player and manipulator, commits suicide while in prison. His death initiates one final game of survival for the people Morehouse felt wronged him the most. At that top of the list are Bartlett and West, who must set aside their differences to save the lives of Morehouse's other victims and solve one last game before a dead man’s hired killers catch them and his other enemies.

Deadly Games! is a fast-paced action/thriller featuring action, suspense, murder, and the occasional gunfire from Author Bobby Nash, the writer of Evil Ways, Domino Lady, Lance Star: Sky Ranger, and more.

Do you have any upcoming books or projects you wish to talk about?

I always have several projects in the work at any given time and 2012 and 2013 will see several projects come out that I am a part of, including:

Novels: Lance Star: Sky Ranger “Cold Snap” [Airship 27], an as yet untitled Domino Lady novel [Moonstone Books], Evil Ways [re-release - New Babel Books], Evil Intent [New Babel Books], Blood Shot, and a sequel to Deadly Games! [BEN Books].

Novellas, Short Stories, Anthologies: Zombies vs. Robots [IDW], The Green Hornet: Still at Large [Moonstone Books], The New Adventures of The Eagle [Pro Se Press/Pulp Obscura], Box 13 [Moonstone Books], The Avenger: Tales from Bleek Street [Moonstone Books], Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar [Moonstone Books], Nightbeat [Radio Archives], Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 4 [Airship 27], Secret Agent X Vol. 4 [Airship 27], and more.

Comic Books and Graphic Novels: Bloody Olde Englund, Operation Silver Moon, Domino Lady/Sherlock Holmes [Moonstone Books], Lance Star: Sky Ranger #2 [BEN Books], and more.

Where can you be found for anyone who wants to check either you, or your past and present work?

My main website can be found at can find pretty much anything you need to know about me there.

Many Thanks.

You bet.

On a personal note I again want to thank Bobby for his time, and encourage you to check out his website and work.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

News & Rumour April 8th 2012

Walking Dead:

Actress Danai Gurira has been cast as the sword welding Michonne for the 3rd season of Walking Dead, Michonne was seen briefly at the end of season 2 saving the life of Andrea. Michonne is a key character in the comic books, and fans are delighted at her addition to the show.
Gurira's previous roles include Lie to Me, Law & Order and Life on Mars US version.

Captain America 2:

Disney have set the 4th April 2014 as the release date for Captain America 2, the story will pick up where the much anticipated Avengers Assemble will leave-off. Chris Evens (not the Radio 2 DJ) will continue in his role as cap, but if you cannot wait that long don't worry as Iron Man 3 (May 2013) & Thor 2 (Nov 2013) will keep you entertained until then.

Being Human:

Being Human will be returning for a 5th series next year, and some fans are hoping for a move away from the grim story's of season 4.  Not to say that the story's weren't good they were, but they lacked some of the dark humour of previous seasons. With the shows regular characters now all moved on (killed) we should see the new season start with Hal (vampire), Tom (Werewolf) who worked so well together in the last season, and the recently deceased Alex (ghost).
I for one am looking forward to watching it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

It seems that the new film of the beloved Turtles will have a dramatic change to the characters, the Turtles will no longer be teenage or mutant. Michael Bays take on the much loved franchise will have the turtles as aliens, personally I don't think Grown up Alien Ninja Turtles has the same appeal to it somehow but that's just me.

Recently Michale Bay is quoted as saying
“These turtles are from an alien race, and they’re going to be tough, edgy, funny, and completely lovable. Kids will believe one day that these turtles do exist when we’re done with this movie.”

I used to watch the cartoon with my kids (my excuse and I'm sticking with it) where they were know as hero turtles in the UK, and later I took them to the cinema to see the films and I have to say I enjoyed both takes on the Turtles. I will reserve judgement on this new concept until I have seen it, but I do find it strange that having decided to make a film due to a ready made audience base. That film makers decide to alter the concept because they don't think it will work?

Supernatural Season 8:

News that Supernatural has been commissioned for an 8th season are filtering on to the net, unfortunately for us in the UK season 7 hasn't been shown as of yet. I believe it is due to be shown on Sky Living sometime in June, it seems strange that shows like Game of Thrones or Fringe can be shown days or at most a week after been aired in the states. Yet Supernatural is 9 months behind the states, so if your a fan and want to see you could just buy the box set. 

The Random 10:
In a shameless bit of self promoting (well its my blog), I am announcing a new monthly (I hope) interview feature called The Random 10. The idea is to ask 10 random questions to someone with a connection to the comics or Si-fi, and publish it on a monthly basis. My first interview will be up in a few days and will be with comic writer and novelist Bobby Nash, Bobby kindly agreed to do the interview and I have been corresponding with him over the last few days. I am very excited about adding this new feature to my blog, so any thoughts on it would be appreciated.