With Further Ado #275: Holiday Gift Giving Guide 2023 – Part 3

There are so many amazing Pop Culture treasures out there. Shall we jump right in and take a look at a few more for this year’s Holiday Gift Guide?

Dig Two Graves
by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Titan Books (September 19, 2023)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 208 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1803364612

Whenever there’s a new book by this particular author, Mike Gold always jokes “If you only read one Max Allan Collins book this month, read this one!”

But that’s just the way I feel too. I’ve been a fan for a long time, but for me – it never gets old with this writer. The latest book, Dig Two Graves is part of the Mike Hammer series. Collins again collaborates, after a fashion, with his mentor Mickey Spillane. When Spillane died, he left instructions with his wife to reach out to Collins and figure out what do with all the half-finished manuscripts and story fragments.

I’m so glad this has come together and Titan publishes them. They are crackling good fun and I daresay I like them better than the original Spillane stories, as heretical as that may be.

In this mystery, Hammer and his long-time secretary and partner Velda Sterling leave New York and the action shifts to Arizona. It’s great fun with witty dialog, kooky characters and plenty of action. You can’t help but recall every 1950s movie you’ve ever seen to mentally conjure up the visuals for this thriller.

MCU : The Reign of Marvel Studios
by Johanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales and Gavin Edwards

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Liveright
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 528 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1631497513

The Marvels didn’t impress the bean counters with its box office numbers last month. And it seems to me that Marvel Cinematic Universe fanboys have devoted a lot of time to complaining about the recent movies and TV shows.

With all this negativity swirling about, I thought it was the perfect time for me to get smarter about the background and origins of the Marvel movies (and the Marvel TV series).

This meaty book provides an in-depth look at the behind-the-scenes machinations of the Marvel screen efforts. I feel like I “was there” throughout this time, often reading the trade publications and social media. Having it all in one place makes understanding the big picture easier.

And there’s so much new information too. Who knew, for instance, that there was a Daniel Craig “Thor” movie in development? In particular, I find the ebbs and flows of the creative teams, and their dictates and organization, to be the most fascinating part of it all.

One frustration – no pictures. With a topic like the Marvel characters, it’s hard to understand how the decision to have ZERO pictures, or illustrations, in this book was made.

This hefty book serves up chewy chapters and if you are the type who likes skipping around and not reading sequentially (like my dad!) you’ll appreciate this one.

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Next week: Part 4 of the Annual With Further Ado Holiday Gift Guide