With Further Ado #275: 2023 Holiday Gift Giving Guide – Part 2

Ed is back with part two of this years gift giving guide. Check out these three awesome recommendations.

Scary Stuff!

Macabras The Horror Comic Art of Jayme Cortez
by Fabio Moraes with an introduction by Paul Gravett
Publisher ‏ : Korero
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 128 pages
ISBN ‏ : ‎ 781912740215

UK Publisher Korero continues to publish fantastic books that I love reading and I must find spots for on my bookshelves.

Before I cracked open Macabras, I didn’t know much about Portuguese-born artist Jayme Cortez. He spent his career in Brazil creating comics, cartoons and comics strips for newspapers and magazines, including O Terror Negro (The Black Terror). I’m glad a I know a bit now, and want to learn more.

The book is creepy in all the right ways. It showcases Cortez’s talents across different media – his painting, his illustrations, his comic work and more. Cortez was also able to employ a few different styles in each media too. To the eyes of an American like me – all the subjects seem hauntingly familiar but skewed just enough so they are fresh and new.

A nice addition to the book provided by author Moraes is the many original reference model photos that Cortez took for his paintings. They provide a rare look into the development process. And you can’t help but think, when you see a vintage photo with a woman about to be impaled by a wooden stake or some such – “What in the world was that model thinking about back then?”

For pop culture fans, I think it’s always important to expand our horizons and see what’s going on, or went on, in other parts of the world. And embracing oneself in Brazilian Horror comics, with a master like Moraes, seems like the perfect thing to do this Yuletide Season by gifting it to yourself.


By, CROM! It’s Conan!

Conan, the Barbarian: The Official Story of the Film
by John Walsh
Publisher ‏ : Titan
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 176 pages
ISBN ‏ 978-1803361765


Ok, I’ll admit it. And I know I’m in the minority. When the Conan movies came out in the early 80s, I wasn’t into them. For me, they seemed so off-model. I was a fan of Conan from comics and the novels, but not a rabid fan. My vision of Conan came directly from the John Buscema issues of the comics and the Frazetta paper back covers. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscles seemed right, but his face, to me, didn’t. Picky, I know.

So, with that background, it’s even more astounding that I’m here to tell you how much I like Titan’s new book, Conan, the Barbarian: The Official Story of the Film. It’s a deep dive into the making of the first Conan film (which debuted in 1982). This book is full of back stories and trivia. It’s all about how the movie got made and what parts didn’t get made. And it’s all even more fascinating than I would have imagined.

In fact, after reading this book, I’m so fascinated by this movie that I think I’ve got to put it on my 2024 Screams & Screens schedule.

One other Conan note : The new Conan comic from Titan is fantastic. It’s as if some Nemedian Wizard was able to pour equal amounts of familiarity and freshness into the creative brains of writer Jim Zub and artist Robert De La Torre. The new female lead is a welcome addition to the Conan mythology.

Highly recommended (especially the future issue with a Joe Jusko cover).

Book or Podcast?

The Parrot and the Igloo: The Climate and The Science of Denial
By David Lipsky
Cover design by Pete Garceau

Comic book fans have been focused on climate change ever since Superman’s father, Jor-El tried to warn Krypton’s Science Council of the fate of the planet. That makes it easier to make the case that this book belongs in a pop culture gift guide, right?

Lipsky confesses he wrote this book to mirror the format of a podcast. He uses dramatic cliffhangers and crisply defined characters to take readers on a journey through the many years since we’ve studied climate change. Lipsky also details the efforts to sabotage climate change knowledge and understanding over the years, much like the campaign waged by big tobacco to confuse the public of the dangers of smoking.

I don’t think this book is so much for lefties or righties, but a fascinating deep dive into recent history that’s perfect for anyone who’s perplexed by all the “noise” out there and confused why everyone fights with their relatives over holiday dinners whenever the topic of climate science comes up.

Big ideas, served up in an entertaining manner. And if you’re like me and like to skip around chapters, you’ll love this book too.

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Next week: Part 3 of the Annual With Further Ado Holiday Gift Guide

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