With Further Ado #277: Holiday Gift Guide 2023 – Part 4

It’s time for our last round for the annual With Further Ado Gift Guide! Prepare to be amazed at even more treasures for you to gift to your loved ones. Or to yourself. There’s no judgement on my end.

The Wicker Man : The Official Story of the Film
By John Walsh

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Titan Books
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 192 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1803365084

I love the old Hammer Films, especially the ones that starred Christopher Lee as Dracula And for people like me, there’s a lot to like about a book that focuses on a lost classic like The Wicker Man. This 1973 film has always had a mystique about it. The old Cinefantastique magazine even proclaimed it “the Citizen Kane of Horror Films”.

Distributed by British Lion Films (just before they were taken over by EMI) The Wicker Man has a fascinating history. Author John Walsh brings it all to light in this book, subtitled as “The Official Story of the Film.” Titan Books, as usual, has published another gorgeous, epic book stuffed with wonderful images and cinematic history that leaves you eager to learn more.

Vintage Crime Comics Calendar
Classic Pre-Code Crime Comic Book Art

Publisher ‏ : Asgard Press
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Calendar‏ : ‎ 16 months
SKU ‏ : ‎ CRI24CAL

For several years, I was buying these Asgard Press calendars and using them in my home office. I loved the size, the graphics and the thoughtful design. There were a lot to choose from, but I focused on the DC calendars and was bummed out when they lost the license.

Looking forward, their 2024 Crime Comics Calendar is a beauty and I’m already writing all my very important appointments in it. It showcases 13 wonderful crime comic covers from titles like Authentic Police Cases, Crime Fighting Detective and Crimes by Women. Several are illustrated by L.B. Cole but there are plenty of other featured covers from other familiar artists, like Blackhawk’s Reed Crandall and Archie’s Harry Lucey.

The bottom section of each month has a serialized essay by comics historian Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg. There’s not a lot of new ground covered, but it’s still fascinating reading and a solid historical summary.

Bye Bye Baby
By Ace Atkins

Publisher ‏ : ‎ G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593328538

This Spring I went to Boston for four days and had a ball. I miss that city, and don’t believe that I don’t get more frequently.

That’s just one reason I’ve always enjoyed the Spenser mystery series. This Boston detective, created by Robert Parker, essentially carried on the grand tradition of hard-boiled private eyes – with a modern bent. Parker’s been gone for several years, but Ace Atkins followed up with a solid job writing this series.

Last year’s Bye Bye Baby was the final Spenser novel that Atkins wrote. (Mike Lupica wrote the newest one, just out this year.)

Comic fans love team-ups and this sort of has that vibe. In this adventure, Spenser is a bodyguard to a Congresswoman who seems an awful lot like AOC.

It’s fun and breezy, with all the smartass quips and Beantown action that Spenser fans have come to love. When reading this book, I can’t help but think, “why don’t I go visit Boston more?”