Atlas Era Tales of Suspense Masterworks Vol. 1 (Tales of Suspense (1959-1968)) Reviews & OpinionsSubmit Atlas Era Tales of Suspense Masterworks Vol. 1 (Tales of Suspense (1959-1968)) review or read customer reviews:
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This is a collection of horror, science fiction, and fantasy by some of the great comic book artists and writers of the time (early 60s). The book itself is printed on much higher quality paper than what was available back then. Anyone who appreciates the comics of that day will appreciate this volume. 'Nuff said.
I think Tales to Astonish had more consistent quality, but the best of Tales of Suspense holds up compared to Tales to Astonish. From the subscription rates that Marvel quoted in the 60s, TTA outsold TOS by about 10% most r the Marvel Age fan, this volume is packed with concepts or characters later reused and artists that would make their name in the Silver Age doing super-heroes. Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, John Buscema, Joe Sinnott, @#$% Ayers, and Stan Lee. This volume includes Russ Heath (better known for Playboy cartoons, Sgt Rock and Haunted Tank at DC), John Forte (from the Legion of Super-heroes fame or infamy, depending on your view) and Al Williamson, one of the all-time great sci-fi artists. Paul Reinman, inker on many Silver Age super-hero tales, has some fine work on four stories. Bill Everett, creator of Sub-mariner, and Carl Burgos, creator of the Human Torch, also each have a story ug Wildey, co-creator of Johnny Quest, has a great story in here called "the Runaway Planet". He also does a fantastic job on "The Wrath of Chondu" for those Defenders fans out sue #1 highlights - After a great Buscema cover, we get Steve Ditko's "Prisoner of the Satellites" features great art and an interesting premise with everyday man Mark Coren afflicted by a power from outer space. This could've been turned into an Atom nearly two years before his Silver Age debut in Showcase #34.#2 - After a great Steve Ditko cover, the lead story is by Jack Kirby "Invasion from Outer Space". The ending is a bit silly, but I like the intent. The best story is once again turned in by Steve Ditko with "The Secret of Planet X".#3 - The highlight here is Kirby's "The Terrible Time Machine". Ditko's "The Thing from Planet X" is interesting but probably not intending to be hilarious. The face of the Flower just cracks me up. Don Heck turns in great moody artwork for "The Haunted House".#4 - "One of Our Spacemen is Missing" by Kirby is an interesting premise with a strange ending. "The Voice of Doom" requires some suspension of disbelief but is a neat premise with very good artwork by Carl Burgos. "Beware of the … Robots" has greet Al Williamson artwork. Finally "One of us is a Martian" by Ditko would stand up well in Amazing Fantasy.#5 - "Ditko's "I Fought the Tyrannasaurus" is excellent with very strong artwork by Steve and an unexpectedly soulful story about an out-of-time traveler.#6 - "I Hear it Howl in the Swamp" by Ditko as he turns in a giant creature story with heart. Joe Sinnott explores the world of Mutants almost four years before the X-men in "The Mutants and Me".#7 - "I Come From the Shadow World" is a spooky Ditko tale with a great ending. "I Know the Power of the Genie" has some of Don Heck's best artwork ever and shows his true potential. "My Name is Robot X" by Paul Reinman is a novel story that Amazing Adventures would revisit in a few years in a different context. "I Was Trapped Inside of the Martian Maze", Ditko's second tale, again exalts the common man. "I Fought the Molten Man-Thing" is a decent Kirby Monster story.#8 - This is the best issue of the bunch!After an unbelievable Kirby cover, we get the lead story also done by Kirby, "Monstro… the Menace from the Murky Depths" straight out of Challengers or the FF, we get the scientist hero against the Atomic Monster. What I always find remarkable is how polished his artwork looks here compared to the early issues of Fantastic Four and Avengers, which looked very raw and uneven in comparison several years later. Dick Ayers, one of my favorite Kirby inkers, inks this one. Bill Everett turns in another one of his one-shot character gems with "the Story of Sammy Snork". Everett's thick and lush brushwork is on evidence here. He had a magic quality to render everyday women as sublimely beautiful, but still in an understated way. "I Am the Changing Man" from Steve Ditko is his best art in this collection. The alien from the planet Deth could be a prototype for the Skrulls in FF#2, still more than a year away. "The Runaway Planet" by Doug Wildey is a great apocalyptic tale. "It Walks by Night" is a fantastically creepy story by Don Heck.#9 - Another great Kirby one-two of cover and lead story with "Diablo… the Demon from the Fifth Dimension". Diablo was resurrected in the all Atomic Monster Hulk Annual #5 (which I crave to be masterworked).The story doesn't hold up as much as the art does, with inking by Dick Ayers. The figure at the story's end doesn't look like a typical Kirby or Ayers figure but more like Everett line work to me. I've always loved "The Wrath of Chondu" by Doug Wildey. The splash has fantastic artwork of Chondu, who would later appear in the Defenders as Chondu the Mystic. "Earth Will Be Destroyed" is an excellent Ditko story. "The Return of the Living Robot" reprises the earlier strong story in this volume, also by Heck.#10 - The third in a row with Kirby providing strong artwork for both cover and lead story. "I Brought the Mighty Cyclops Back to Life" has a romance story pop up in the middle of a giant monster tale! Once again Ayers inks really make Kirby's art shine. Reinman turns in great artwork in "I Was Trapped in Nightmare Valley". Ditko has another masterful tale in "Behind My Door Waits… Medusa" which vies for #8' Changing Man for the best tale in the collection. I love his bearded character and the ornate door that he holds the skeleton key up to. This could've been a backup tale in Doctor Strange! Lastly, Heck does decent work with "I Am the Shaggy Creature".These last four issues in particular are treasures of the transition period from the Altas Era genre stories into the Marvel Age. All the earmarks are here: monster as sympathetic anti-hero a la the Thing and the Hulk, scientist as hero a la Hank Pym, Tony Stark and Reed Richards, Robot as hero, similar to Iron Man, mystic tales gravitating to Doctor Strange with Chondu and …Medusa. The alien menaces that would soon confront the Fantastic Four. Mutants! The ever-present fear of the Red Menace. This is a valuable window into the evolution of Ditko, Kirby, Lee, Heck into the stalwarts that usher in the Marvel ping all that is a wonderfully informative introduction by Dr. Michael J. Vassallo. He points out several interesting tidbits about the artists and stories, such as intriguing information on Bill Everett and John Buscema's tales in here as well as placing the collection in its historic context post-Atlas implosion and e hardcover has long-since sold out so grab the softcover while there are still copies for this rare glimpse into an underrated and by-gone era in comic literature and art.
If you're after it just for the giant monsters (as I was), then they are Oog, Klagg, Bruttu, the Creature in the Black Bog, the Insect Man, Monstrollo, the Thing That Crawled at Night, the Martian Who Stole a City, the ghost on The Haunted Roller Coaster, and the Monster in the Iron Mask.But this isn't meant to denigrate the other stories, some fantasy, some sci-fi, some paranormal--all well done. As another reviewer pointed out, we got these comics a month at a time when we were kids and were thus unaware of the repetition, but now, when you read them all together, you can see how plots got recycled and recycled and recycled yet again. However, all the stories remain entertaining, which shows how skilled Lee, Kirby, Ditko, Ayers, et al. were at putting a new twist on an old ese Masterworks books memorialize an era which will never be repeated in comics, the Age of (and the fascination with) The Giant Monster--unless the real world unleashes another inexplicable horror upon us like Atomic Fear.
I love this period of Marvel's history, and cannot get enough of these stories. Even though I own most of the original comics this hardcover will be read again and again. The new intros by the likes of Roy Thomas and Dr. Mike Vassalo are wonderful and informative.
Although marketed as an Atlas era masterwork, this masterwork actually overlaps into the "Marvel Age". Sprinkled throughout are bottom of the page blurbs for the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and Amazing Adult Fantasy. Unfortunately, the winds of change did not blow very strongly through this e artwork is its strongest selling point. Indeed, the Atlas era masterworks are broadly aimed at fans of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. Those fans will have little to complain of in this book. Ditko's stories especially will resonate strongly with readers of his Dr. Strange feature. To my eye is the stellar work of Don Heck. Heck is finally getting the respect as the consummate professional that he was. His stories in this book demonstrate that super heroics wasn't his strongest genre. Paul Reinmann also turns in fine e writing is still at the levels of the late Atlas era. Repetitive, derivative, and unsophisticated. Stan Lee's major strength was in dialog and characterization and the short stories here gave little scope for that. All the wretched text stories are uncredited; no doubt their authors prefer it this e major difference between this and the two previous volumes is the extra issue included in this book. This is presumably setting up the next volume to finish up the non Marvel Age features that started in a few issues. Such planning is typical of series editor Cory Sedlmeier as is the superb commended to all those aware of the limitations of the stories of this era. Few of these stories hold up as stories; there appeal is strictly artistic.
These science-fiction and horror stories from the so-called Atomic Age (the 1950s) hold a special fascination for me. There were a number of these anthology style titles from this publisher stretching all the way to the Silver Age and slightly beyond. The stories were sometimes cliched and formulaic, featuring one strange and unusual monster after another (it was always fun seeing what they would come up with next). Some were earnest and ironic and featured lessons about human nature, ethics, and morality. The artists were often great names like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, already known to many readers here. If you like these kinds of stories, you will like this book. After the last of Marvel's reprint titles from the '70s was discontinued, finding these stories became difficult if not impossible. In Marvel Masterworks, we now have an excellent format for reading them.
Affordable edition - great to see all these Kirby & Ditko artwork before they created Fantastic Four, Spider-man & others. Wish they would publish more of the Marvel Masterworks of these sci-fi/monster comics in this affordable format & not just hardcover.
Collects Tales to Astonish 1-10 (1959-1960). Stan Lee writes the introduction.Tales to Astonish had all of early Marvel's top artistic talent. In some ways, their artwork here is even better than it would be for the first few years under Marvel's heroes, possibly due to lower page rates? Yes, some of the tales appear a bit predictable and some of the characters are one-dimensional, but what amazes me is the shear variety of different stories Kirby and Ditko were doing at this time. Kirby did 7 covers and 4 stories that were published in Jan '60 (Tales to Astonish 7, which he did the cover and "We Met in the Swamp", published in this volume). He was doing Westerns, Romance and War stories in addition to these Sci-Fi, Fantasty/Horror and Atomic Monster tales. Kirby has 8 stories in this collection. Ditko has ry few characters repeat in these stories. Kirby's Genie and Ditko's Colossus are the only two in this volume. Each month, they had to invent completely new worlds and new casts, introduce us to them along with the threat or mystery, and wrap it up all within 5 pages. Many of these stories leave me wishing we could see would happened just before or just after the story ends.Even artists that were considered lesser talents during the Marvel Age, such as Don Heck and Paul Reinman, turn in fine work during this period. Joe Sinnott and @#$% Ayers have several stories that they pencil e hardcover has been sold out for awhile. Copies now sell for $100-200, so this softcover is a great way to enjoy these classic stories.Highlights from the issues (all writing credits are unattributed. The collection assigns plot and script to Stan Lee and Larry Lieber. I'll mention who is credited with the art):#1 - "We Found the Ninth Wonder of the World" by Kirby, starts off with a twelve-foot lobster terrorizing a research vessel and their problems continue to get bigger. "I Know the Secret of the Poltergeist" by Ditko has moody art as only Ditko can deliver. This story would fit well within the world of Dr. Strange. "I Was the First Person to Set Foot on… the Mystery Planet" by Carl Burgos (creator of the original Human Torch) and, some folks speculate, Jack Kirby. This story is an interesting sci-fi tale about an interplanetary explorer and the strange world he finds.#2 - "When Aliens Meet" is a great morality tale and drawn surprisingly well by Don Heck. "I Was a Man in Hiding" is a great sci-fi piece by John Buscema, one of only six stories he did for Atlas during the first half of 1959. He wouldn't return to Stan Lee's fold until 1966.#3 - I liked every story in this sci-fi packed issue. Ditko's "I Journeyed Back to the 20th Century" is an interesting take on time travel. His art in this story is very different than the first, using a much thinner stroke. "I Discovered the Men from Mars" has great artwork from Joe Sinnott and looks like it could've been a supporting story to DC's Legion of Super-Heroes from the early 60s. "I Found the Perfect Hiding Place" has stylized art by Carl Burgos and is an interesting morality tale that tries to convey the vastness of space. "I Am the Giant from Outer Space" has good artwork from Paul Reinman. The ending might be a bit expected by us now and was not exactly original even then, but it was probably much less predictable to readers of the late 50s. "I Escaped to the Stars" by Bob Forgione is an interesting introspective on dealing with imprisonment in the future.#4 - "I Was a Prisoner of the Martians" has some of the best full artwork that I've ever seen from Joe Sinnott. Likewise "My Forbidden Paintings" has exceptional art from Don Heck and is a neat tale in the vein of "be careful what you wish for." Ditko has Captain Racer battle Bogane in "The Man who Floats in Space."#5 - This is another potent issue. Kirby turns in powerful art on "I was Trapped by the Things on Easter Island." I really enjoyed "I Can See Tomorrow" about the risks in predicting the future. "I Found the Nightmare Note" has beautiful renderings of a gray cat by Al WIlliamson. "I Landed on the Forbidden Planet" by Ditko is an awesome tale about a world gone giant. Marvel might have had this story in mind when Steve was briefly tasked with the Micronauts.#6 - "I Saw the Invasion of the Stone Men" is one of Ditko's rare Giant Monster works and it's fine indeed. "I Laughed at the Great God Pan" shows Kirby's penchant for mythology tales. "I Was the Man Under Glass" by Joe Sinnott is a great morality tale about the folks in power having such disregard for those beneath them. I remember reading a tale from earlier in the Atlas Era that was more directly colonial than this sci-fi allegory, but had a similar conclusion.#7 - Here is where sister title Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish really take off. Don Heck has spectacular art in a giant monster tale called "He Waits for Us in the Glacier". "We Met in the Swamp" has terrific art by Kirby in a tale about aliens and otherworldly cultural differences. "I Lived a Ghost Story" has spooky art by Paul Reinman."I Spent Midnight on Bald Mountain" and its companion story in #8 "I Live Again" are my two favorite stories in this collection. A sculptor moves to a deserted castle in central europe to craft his masterpiece. He uses material from hallowed grounds to construct his colossus of good and material from places of infamy to construct his figure of evil to depict the symbolic struggle of "Good vs Evil". Lightning strikes the clay causing it to spring to life. This colossus is not directly related to the creature called "It, the Living Colossus" created by Jack Kirby in Tales of Suspense #14 but definitely seems to be a source of inspiration, especially from the second tale.#8 - "I Live Again" is a fantastic tale, though the Colossus is significantly bigger this time around and more of the scale for The Living Colossus. The ending to this one is haunting indeed, if you keep your disbelief suspended. "I Dared Defy the Floating Head" by Reinman emulates Kirby to a degree. "I Am the Genie" is a great mystical story by Kirby with excellent inking by Ditko. "Mummex, King of the Mummies" has unbelievable art by Don Heck. It's a shame we didn't get more of this version of Heck during the Marvel Age. I would definitely enjoy Mummex vs Iron Man.#9 - "The Return of the Genie" bears little resemblance to the Genie story from #8, this time Kirby is inked by Christopher Rule and the tale is more sci-fi oriented. "No Way Out" by Steve Ditko has a Twilight Zone flavor to it. "I Saw Droom The Living Lizard" us a great Godzilla/Gorgo tale done by Don Heck. (Steve Ditko did several issues of the Gorgo comic starting a half year later in 1961 for Charlton Comics.)#10 - For the finale, we get a double-dose of Jack Kirby: "I Was Trapped by Titano the Monster that Time Forgot" and "What Was the Strange Power of Simon Drudd". "Something Lurks Inside" is an excellent sci-fi horror is is a fantastic volume and something that young and old alike can enjoy. Fans of Marvel's Silver Age will enjoy seeing these artists in their pre-superhero mode but still see the heritage of many Silver Age stories.
While I was never a big Namor fan (and this boy growing up in The Bronx had to watch where he plunked down his 12 cents for a Marvel fix) he was involved in tales with the Avengers and Fantastic Four so I knew his origins story. Most of the Sub Mariner stories here are circa 1966 and have SUCH a total '60's feel to them. I have always loved Gene Colan's work. At this point he was working for DC and wanted to work on Namor so the pseudonym Adam Austin (Adam was a baby name he and his wife were considering) was born. Stan Lee claims not to know why in the foreward but any history of Marvel will reveal how woefully underpaid these guys were. Anyway if you like Gene you MUST check this out because with the exception of 4 stories- the 1939 origin, a Daredevil #7 pencilled by Wally Wood and 2 Kirby stories it's all Austin nee Colan, such a treat to watch the evolution of an artist. Gene in an interview expressed displeasure in his early SM work but IMO it's just a perfectionist never being totally happy with the finished product. The deep sea panels are beautiful, I suggest you check them out for yourself as I uploaded a few. As for the stories, eh, never a fan of all Namor's regal posturing but it had its' place. This was a favorite of Stan Lee's and I love it as it showcases the artwork of Gene Colan.
An excellent volume in the Marvel Masterworks series, but probably not for everyone. Besides brief appearances by Iron Man and Daredevil, there's not a lot of connection to the regular Marvel Universe. And there's a lot of reading - you know, actual reading - so that might be off-putting to a lot of modern eat stories and some fantastic artwork by Gene Colan and Bill Everett, including Everett inking Colan. Unfortunately, most of the first few stories are inked by Vince Colletta, completely destroying Colan's moody artwork. Colletta can do some good work, but he wrecks detailed pencils with his e stories pretty much show Namor reclaiming his kingdom, finding Neptune's trident to cement his rule, all amidst the machinations of Warlord Krang. Interesting, near-Shakespearean dialogue highlights these wonderful old tales! Recommended!
Now available on Kindle! I started collecting the Kindle versions of the early Marvel Comics last year. This was a gap I wanted to fill! The Sub-Mariner guest appeared in stories since his Silver Age revival in 1962, but he finally got his on series in Tales To Astonish #70 replacing Giant Man. Daredevil # 7 is his last guest appearance before his TTA series debut and Tales of Suspense #80 is part of a crossover battle with Iron Man.
Though I'd rather have the comics, Tales to Astonish are not only rare, but 's a blast watching Gene Colan develop. At first he is somewhat hobbled by Vince Colletta's inking, but as his style develops, Colletta is forced to improve too. Bill Everett inks 2 issues, and their opposite styles really blend well. To my surprise, Colan's most stunning art (before Doctor Strange) are the two issues #80 & #81 inked boldly by @#$% Ayers. The art is fluid and like distorted, odd-angle photographs. Though Colan would return for fill-ins on Sub-Mariner #'s 10, 11, and a run in the 40's, he never captured the majesty, arrogance and power of Namor as he did in the two best issues of TOS. The quest theme allows the extended storylines that Stan Lee excelled in. It's funny how Namor goes from being cool & stand-offish to the smitten Dorma, but a few issues later is head-over-heels & launching into violent tirades of jealousy. Much of the writing is humorous since Namor is so headstrong and sometimes insulting to his minions. Lucky for us he never took anger management e issues by Jerry Grandinetti & Bill Everett are good too, though Everett's style was so stylized, it looked dated by the '60's (& pre-historic by the mid-70's, before his untimely death). But let's be clear, Everett created Sub-Mariner by himself. Part of Stan Lee's genius was bringing back characters from another era, like Subby & Cap, and making them exciting to newer e Kirby fill-ins are fantastic, because The King never got to draw Namor & Iron Man enough. Usually just guest-stint in early FF or Avengers. His Iron Man is classic, and even if you don't like his take on Namor, no one, but nobody draws action sequences like Kirby. On top of that, you get a Wally Wood Daredevil vs. Sub Mariner issue, at the peak of Wood's style. Overall a fine collection at a decent price.
I am glad Marvel is publishing paperback versions of their Masterpiece collections... this book is great and does present the best of the Sub-Mariner storys. I love watching the progression of Gene Colons work (under several different inkers) and the Jack Kirby drawn tales. Love the paper and coloring as well... thank you Marvel.
When I was a kid, growing up on the Atlantic, I had a connection with Namor. Aquaman never did it for me. When I was in the ocean all day I wanted to be Subby. Angry because of the injustice done to his people by the human race, Namor was a much more complex character than most. He was def before his time, being an anti-hero and his speech and cry of "Imperious Rex" was a declaration of the underdog. I loved his quick temper and his immaculate physique, I had no access to his old stories-give or take a couple in "History of Comic" books that were published at the time, so it all began here, in these stories for me.I had never read the Daredevil #7 by Wally Wood , which is, as mentioned here, a very special comic. I can't really put my finger on why it's so great- there is something very special about it, not just the art, story etc., but it really stands out. Maybe it's the way Namor is portrayed as a very stoic yet ethically/morally correct figure and it's meshing with Wood's illustration? The "Quest for the Trident" story line is stellar. It's a real "Hero's Journey" story. Namor having to prove himself by obtaining the Trident, that Neptune himself has offered up to the real ruler of the Atlantis. Namor's obstructions are enormous:massive Octopus, Seaweed man, Deadly Diamonds, and my fave, the Faceless Ones!! Krang is the prime antagonist, not only wanting Namor's spot as ruler, but also his love for The altruistic Lady Dorma!! Krang's "RoboTank" stands out as one of the great weapons. From issue 70 to 76 tension is high. In 76 Namor finally gets his hands on Krang, who of course,has more tricks up his sleeve! Krang then gets Puppet Master to help him out, which he does by awakening the Behemoth!!! Subby fights the scientific surface man over the polluted water/nuclear testing; represented by Hank Pym (Ant-Man), and Namor's time in NYC always provides illustrations with verve and flair and action at it's peak!! I don't need to mention the amazing art by Adam Austin (Gene Colans pen name) which just gets better as the story moves along- this has been mentioned over and over in these reviews. I never believed to this day that Subby gets the respect he deserves in the Marvel Universe. I understand that his ambiguity is probably the reason for this. He is one of my favorite characters and this is the best place to start. Stan's Trident Search story is in his top 10 in my opinion ever. I think he has a great respect for the character and it shows tremendously in this collection.
In the 60s with James Bond, the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and other superspies at the height of their popularity Marvel comics had the inspiration of retooling their tough-as-nails World War II character Sergent Fury into the greatest superspy of them all: Nick Fury Agent of is book covers Nick's earliest adventures and his first encounters with sinister organizations like Hydra, AIM, the Druid and the Secret Empire. The creative minds of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee are on fine display as Fury visits flying aircraft carriers, drives around a flying Porsche, and battles all sorts of insane schemes to rule to world. All the while he does it while speaking in an outrageous Noo Yawk accent and griping about how things were a lot simpler back in the mehow the crazy mix works. Fury serves as our hero and as our point of view character, always commenting on how crazy the situations are and somehow always getting the job why only 3 stars? For one thing the art in this book is rather lackluster, Kirby provided layouts but the art was finished by a host of mediocre draftsmen. For another it ends just as the series was getting good, when Jim Sterenko's innovative layouts and designs would really make it a classic. Lastly, there is a much cheaper and better reprint out there in the form of 'Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD' which covers most of Sternko's run and many of the classic moments people still remember unless you are devoted fan of the character and want to see where it all began, the Marvel Masterworks edition is really not for you.
Growing up and watching Marvel cartoons, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury we're given a mixed portrayal. While generally, the villains hated them, they also ended up fighting heroes like Spider-man and even the Hulk. This portrayal has gotten more nuanced with the militaristic S.H.I.E.L.D. being viewed with distrust in the wider Marvel ever, it wasn't always so. In the 1960s, with James Bond and the Man from U.N.C.L.E. a phenomena, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby launched Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a regular half-issue feature in Strange Tales. This book collects the 12-page stories from Issues 135-153 of Strange Tales plus a crossover with Captain America in Tales of Suspense #78 and Fury's first post-World War II story which appeared in Fantastic Four #21 and had Fury as a CIA e stories are great, the villains are superb classic 1960s bad guys on an epic scale. The supporting cast is strong as well with Fury supported by fellow World War II Commandos Dum Dum and Gabriel Jones, as well as conscientious rookie Jasper Sitwell, who also brings a bit of comic ever, the star is the big feature and it's Nick Fury. The silver age incarnation of this tough as nails World War II commando turned super spy could only have been effectively played by John Wayne. Fury is wise-cracking, ornery, and courageous with a firm and steady admiration between him and his men. Fury is the type of hero they just don't make any more. Truly, a great character in all of his quirks such as his cigars and his tendency to appear shirtless (some times without any explanation.) This was a blast and I can't wait to read Volume 2.
This volume isn't as stong as what would come later; But it's got alot of good stories in which Shield lead by NIck Fury go after the forces of darkness like hydra and aim. Both of which are like forms of spectre. I disagree that the art is lackluster , it's just not as spectacular as what would come later. Except of course for the kirby and steranko work in this one. I do think John Severins work is as good as anybody out there. his style is fluid and awesome, john buscema as well is a great artist. So that makes four greats imo, howard purcell who really can draft a fine artpage is in here too. You can really see his best work in the 'doctor fate' archives book from d.c. Here he is still doing a good job. The other artists are decent though and even ogden whitney who did alot of funny books is in here. THe stories are typical spy stories and they have lots of action. And one of shields agents is a african american, that's a step up for comics. These were 12 page stories that usually told one epic over several issues. Stan lee scripts of course and jack kirby does most of the layouts. Basic art and then the others work over him. This is a cheap way to get all these tales.
I disagree with the previous reviewer who says this volume "really isn't for you". I enjoyed Sgt. Fury's exploits and was quite glad when Marvel brought the character back as Colonel Nick Fury - now with S.H.I.E.L.D. Yes, the artwork is mostly not by Steranko, but so what? Most of the Marvel titles -- including Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos -- were not drawn by Steranko, and I love his work. Here we get to see the first stories of Colonel Fury and the first glimpses of Hydra and A.I.M. in Marvel's Strange Tales series. Plus the pairing of Nick Fury and Captain America! Both this and the following Nick Fury Volume are well worth it.
Received it when estimated and was not disappointed. It was great to read the early SHIELD stories in color and in their uncut fullness. Several of the stories I had read earlier in reprints, but this collection contains the original pages and panels in place and I was surprised with some new scenes I had never come across before. Excellent!
I thoroughly enjoyed Sgt. Fury's exploits and was quite glad when Marvel brought the character back as Colonel Nick Fury - now with S.H.I.E.L.D. Here we get to see the first stories of Colonel Fury and the first glimpses of Hydra, A.I.M. and -- in the last two stories -- the artwork of Jim Steranko -- all from Marvel's Strange Tales series. Plus the pairing of Nick Fury and Captain America! Both this and the following Nick Fury Volumes are well worth it.
I missed out on the early Steranko work for Marvel so this was a book that I really wanted.I had high expectations based on the Steranko work that I had already read and this was not a e book itself was nicely packaged and the coloring which comes out 'bolder' on fine paper instead of the cheap comicbook paper of that time looked only complaint is that the last Steranko issue (#5) was not included in Vol. 2 and I had to buy Masterworks SHIELD 3 to complete the Steranko run. But that volume can be found fairly cheaply and does include a Barry Windsor Smith issue along with some creative Frank Springer issues so I can't complain too much.If you are a Steranko fan then I also recommend Masterworks Captain America Vol. 3 which has a mini-run of Steranko issues that is very nice.
This is a great look at Jim Steranko's take on Nick Fury in his classic Strange Tales run. If you're a Nick Fury fan or a Jim Steranko fan, this is worth the read. The introduction from Steranko is particularly interesting and getting to see the art and panels in nice, crisp color, as if the comics had come fresh off the newsstands, is a treat as well.
The first SHIELD Masterwork introduced the reader to Nick Fury repackaged from WWII as a modern spy in Marvel's attempt to capture some of the interest in the James Bond-fad of the mid 1960s. Steranko began his work in that volume, but now he takes over with a wild energy rarely seen before in comics. He pushes the art in all sorts of directions and actually writes dialogue and script that reads more like a novel than the typical comic. This volume collects the best of his series. Though a few Steranko issues will appear in the next volume, this is the one that is all for the quality of reproduction, it has the same glossy paper of the other Masterworks. As for the coloring, it is closer to the original than the "modernized" coloring that appeared in the Marvel reprints of a few years ago. This preserves more of Steranko's original work.
This is a collection of short graphic novel stories. The characters range from major players like Darth Vader to very minor like the robot with the bad servo that Luke's uncle almost buys. The stories also range from serious to r the most part, I preferred the serious stories that added to the overall story. The little bits of information just add that nice feeling of getting to see behind the curtain of the main stage show. The exception for me was the Jar Jar Binks story. It wasn't a bad story and it did add to the mythos. The problem was it was just so annoying reading the pigeon speech that they e parodies and humorous stories tended to be just silly. There is plenty of room for humor in Star Wars stories, but they still need to have a focus to them. They need to be more than just a e artwork also had a wide range naturally. Usually, the more serious the story was meant to be, the better the artwork was. For some of the humorous stories, the artwork was very cartoony.I would have to say there are some very good stories with excellent artwork in this collection. But there are also some stories that just weren't that good with artwork that was fairly bad as well. So for the whole collection, I can only give it an average rating of three stars.
Ideally I'd give issue one of star wars tales 2.5 stars. But 3 is ok. It is a compilation of different stories all of which are "non-canon". The one that was good is about "Skippy The Jedi Droid". The other stories are just bad in stoy and presentation. They have Mara Jade and she is depicted as a bimbo who wears impossible tall high heels, extremely tight leather, and let's say very large "assets". Another story has a certain Sith guy fight with a Jedi lady. She, strangely, is also depicted as barely having any clothes, despite the implied old age. She looks like she was 50 or 60 but had Botox to tighten her face. Anyways that character is also very weird for Star Wars n't think I am just a prude who wants to pick on depictions of women in comics. I am not like that. It's just the depiction of women in these short stories seems to be so sensualized and unrealistic, in addition to being simply out of place in the Star Wars universe.On the other hand, all of the comics in this compilation are essentially fan fiction, so there isn't a real standard of quality to base criticism on.
Star Wars Tales puts to pen and paper what every fanboy out there has imagined. It takes beloved characters, and puts new spins on them by placing them in situations that they would never find themselves in film, or other media. The story doesn't just begin, and end with the main characters from Star Wars (Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, Darths Vader and Maul, etc.), it develops whole new ones further breathing life into the background of the Star Wars Universe. It's not perfect by any means, and there's a lot that doesn't jive with the film characterizations, but if you take it for what it is, the Star Wars Tales volumes are all fairly enjoyable, and good value for the price.
It has tales, and they are from Star Wars. For the penny a page or so I got them on sale I'm satisfied. They're not exactly chronologically in order, (Tales 2 has a prequel C3PO to Tales 1's intro for example, but go ahead and get the first one. If you like it, get the next - lather rinse repeat until you've had enough. Not a bad way to spend a flight all in ese are not as good as the best of modern graphic novels, not in terms of artwork or writing,but nostalgia can make up for a lot.
Let's start with what this book comes down to: an over-priced comic book...but a good one! The quality of book itself, from the glossy sheen of the pages and the thickness of the paper tell the reader that this is well-made; it won't be falling apart anytime ere are a variety of stories within, each from the point of view of a different artist and writer, giving the reader a sense that the next story is something unique and interesting.Unfortunately, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone because even with Amazon's awesome prices, this series of comic book collections is still over-priced. When you finish reading it you'll realize that the stuble on your chin hasn't even STARTED to re-grow since you shaved last! In other words, it is a very short read for the price.I thought I would delve into this "TALES" series, as it caught my eye at the nearest "giant bookstore," but after series two (2) I decided to stop and continue with the cheaper (and longer reads) $7.99 Star Wars novels.
A little bit of everything from all eras of Star Wars. Whether you like the serious side, the contemplative, the speculative, or the utterly silly parts of. The Star Wars universe, there is a little something for everyone here. Being a collection of short stories, some are heads and shoulders above others, but as a whole, these are very fun, well written, and well drawn stories.
This is an issue with the book itself or the condition of which it might have been stored. The binding is not set very well and the pages come loose. I read each edition I ordered (I ordered all six volumes) and in almost each on pages were coming loose after only one reading. If you want to read this in anything other than ideal conditions then don't expect it to last very long.
as ive seen in other complaints,the binding of these books are aweful,thats my only e stories are still cool though,but Dark Horse could have done better with keeping these books together,soon as i opened it,it was falling apart,so its defineately safe to say they did a poor job with the glue on the binding,thats the only reason i didnt give it a 5 star rating
With all the hoopla about the Star Wars buyout by Disney and the impending films, it would be easy to refer to the Thrawn trilogy for story ideas. But Star Wars tales gives a collection of stories ranging across the spectrum and--the visuals are stunning. "Extinction" would have translated beautifully to a live-action sequence. I think the writers need to look at the visual mediums to see what imaginations are out there. If nothing else, we might avoid another Jar-Jar.
This book collects almost all of the Hulk's stories from Tales To Astonish. Issues 60 to 96. But it doesn't have his first appearance in issue 59 where he fights Giant Man and Issues 97 to 101 which are the last 5 stories before he gets his own comic book in 1968 (Hulk 102).
Although the original Incredible Hulk series was cancelled after only six issues, a string of memorable appearances in other Marvel titles such as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four led to a tremendous resurgence in popularity, earning him a starring place in Tales to Astonish, a double-feature style magazine in which the Hulk was paired with Giant Man, and later with Namor the Sub-Mariner. It was truly in the Tales to Astonish series, most of which is collected here, that the Hulk began to flourish. The book introduced mainstays such as Glenn Talbot, the Leader, and the Abomination, and set up the soap opera-ish, serialized storytelling for which Marvel would become famous.Tales to Astonish kicks things off by beginning the Hulk’s very first long-running storyline, a saga which also introduces his greatest nemesis. The brain to the Hulk’s brawn, the Leader is the ultimate foil and to this day rightfully stands as his opposite number. While Bruce Banner was a brilliant scientist changed by gamma rays into a rampaging monster, the Leader was, by contrast, an unskilled laborer whose brush with gamma rays transformed him into an insane, evil genius. The Hulk and the Leader are like two sides of the same coin; similar origins, but with different backgrounds and circumstances propelling them down two different directions. It’s only natural that they would become the deadliest of enemies. The Abomination, another longtime foe of the Hulk, also has a certain resonance. More akin to a dark reflection, a twisted mirror image that shows what could happen if the Hulk’s power was harnessed for the purposes of evil, the Abomination is even stronger than the Hulk and maintains his normal intellect, still making him one of the most dangerous adversaries the Hulk ever erestingly, Stan Lee continues to experiment with the Hulk’s personality. When Tales to Astonish begins, the Hulk has a brutish, thug-like persona that’s very cunning and belligerent. As the series progresses, however, the Hulk’s intellect slowly declines to the level of a small child, then he quickly gains the mind of Bruce Banner (although he still winds up talking like a thug), and then the process repeats, with the gradual regression back to the childlike savage that would define the characterization of the Hulk for the entirety of the next ch will also be said about the art, and rightfully so. The contributions of such legends as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita Sr., and more, help to skyrocket these stories into the “Epic” ddled only by the Communist overtones of certain issues and some dated dialogue, these early Hulk stories remain a treat to the diehard Marvel fan, showing the continual evolution of a fan-favorite character, the solidification of his supporting cast and the settling into a reliable means of storytelling. These truly are Tales to Astonish!
This guide is absolutely amazing. I know the power of the pressure cooker in making food quick and easy. However, I have always assumed that the flavor is just mushy and tasteless. Well, that is what I felt until I tried the amazing recipes in this book. I love the fact that this book has pictures of the different recipes. Even the kids love the recipes from this book. They want to help prepare the meals because they are so easy. It has become a new family favorite activity around the pressure cooking making food together. This was an amazing book on multiple levels!
There aren't many healthy recipes. The Lean Turkey Lasagna has 20 grams of fat per serving!
This guide is absolutely amazing. I know the power of the pressure cooker in making food quick and easy. However, I have always assumed that the flavor is just mushy and tasteless. Well, that is what I felt until I tried the amazing recipes in this book. I love the fact that this book has pictures of the different recipes. Even the kids love the recipes from this book. They want to help prepare the meals because they are so easy. It has become a new family favorite activity around the pressure cooking making food together. This was an amazing book on multiple levels!
I read this book in one long cozy night--it's a quick read, and I [email protected]#$%! wasn't over so soon as I really enjoyed it. Overall the writing is very good, fairly concise, with scenes that are practically painted with bright colors and textures...and I like the "style" of the book: small and handheld, and a couple of rich fonts were used that give the feel of antiquity. I will definitely curl up to this book again one day, much like a favorite movie you'll watch from time to time. This book makes me want to watch Disney's Snow White again--I feel I could appreciate it even more now.
I truly didn't expect much, when purchasing this book. I'm an adult who loves all things Disney related and figured I would give it a shot. What I expected to be mediocre fan fiction turned out to be so much more. I read it in one sitting, unable to put the book down. It is a beautiful, dark and very believable journey into the cause of the Evil Witch's wickedness. Well written. I highly recommend this book for teens and Disney Loving adults alike.
Okay - first..thank you to the reviewer who had the ISBN number for the 2nd book! I just added it to my cart and based on a review of the 2nd book, it looks like it will be the right one.We bought this for my 1st grade son who loves stories and was completely intrigued by the idea that there were superheros before Batman and Superman. I started to read it out loud to him and before I knew it, the whole family was gathered around including my husband, who has read the Odyssey and Iliad many times, 3rd grade girl and kindergarten girl. Everyone LOVED it! My husband was impressed at how the story was redone for a younger age but was still true to the feel. The groan when the book ended and Odysseus was not home yet was huge! I had to promise to order the next volume today.I would highly recomend buying the 3 book volumes instead of individual books - it makes kids realize that each book is just part of a big story. AND be ready to buy the next volume! The other reviewer gives you the number to look up.We also bought him the coloring book from Dover of Greek Gods and Goddesses from Amazon. It really helped with picturing some of the gods - although we realized at the end of Mary Pope Osborne's book that the author has sketches of them and pronounciation lists! Oh well.... he still loves the coloring ere are some gross parts (people being eaten by the Cyclopes and Giants and the Six Headed monster) BUT it is well handled and not overly graphic at all. We are crazy overprotective parents about what our kids watch and my kndergarten girl didn't even bat an eye. So don't let that stop you from buying the book. I think everything was entirely age appropriate for younger elementary who have not had a birds and the bees talk as well!Overall - it is a great way to introduce your kids to the Odyssey and I will absolutely be looking for anything written by the author (actually already added a couple to my cart!)
This book is a wonderful synopsis of the Greek Odyssey, written for the middle school student. I read it, remembering the full version I had to read in high school. I appreciate the scaled down version, thinking of the fourth and fifth grade students who are reading this for the Oregon Battle of the Books series. Mary Pope Osborne does as excellent job. Now I feel I must read part 2, because I have no memory as to how the tale ends. I will order the book, as I did this one, from
A wonderful introduction to the classic myths for students and an easy way to meet the Iliad/Odyssey. My students were familiar with most of the characters since they know all the Percy Jackson stories. They were on the edge of their seats as the Cyclops ate Odysseus's men!
This two book series was amazing! I was able to use it to teach my resource students the entire story of the Odyssey, whereas the general education students were only able to read bits and pieces because of the "epic" length of the poem. I taught the poem to my resource English class, and they thoroughly enjoyed it! We projected the text onto our whiteboard, and we were able to read the story together. They were able to enjoy this far more than trying to read the myriad translations available out there that try to remain true to the original text. This took the essence ot the text, and broke it down to understandable pieces that were useful and entertaining! Thank you!
You can't get better than a book that can hold a 9 year old boys attention, who really isn't fond of sitting and reading. In the first day he read 30 pages. That's unheard of for him. He just doesn't usually enjoy sitting and reading. He'd rather be riding his bike or t with this book. From the moment he picked it up, the action involved kept and held his attention from start to finish. We purchased Part 2 and he was so excited that there was more to is book (Part 1) is a compilation of several books together and Part 2 offers the rest of them. So much easier than hunting down each individual ank you Mary Pope Osborne for being being such a wonderful children's author and congratulations on another job well done.
This is the second book in the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn. This book picks up where the first left off. Takeo leaves Kaede for training under the mysterious Tribe; whose supernatural abilities Takeo has inherited from his father. As his training concludes, and he is asked to take out certain missions, he must ask himself if his loyalties will lie with the Tribe or with the Otori? Kaede meanwhile is left on her own to return home and see what state her family is in. Kaede struggles to consolidate her power and claim the inheritance she was left in a world that is run by is was a fitting second book for this series. It moved along at the steady, descriptive pace of the second book. Although for some reason I found myself getting bored while reading this book. The lush descriptions, while detailed, didn't bring the book to life in the way I hoped they would. I had a little trouble understanding some of the stupid decisions made by Kaede and Takeo along the way. Despite these misgivings, if you liked the first book you must read the second book. It is very much in the same style of the first book and continues the story of Kaede and Takeo. This book definitely builds to a climax preparing you for the war and conflict of the third novel.
Grass for His Pillow is the continuation of the Tales of the Otori series about young Takeo. This book resumes where Book One, Across the Nightingale Floor ends. Thankfully, the story continues. The vivid descriptions, the mental portrayal of the scenery in which young Takeo & the heroine, Lady Kaede Shirakawa, find themselves, is vibrant and real. Lian Hearn takes a known world (Japan) and crafts another world just like it in which to set his story. There are many wonderful moments in this story and to tell them here would only lessen the experience. If you love detailed, well worded and unique character portrayal, please enjoy this title today!
I love the author and have read the entire Otori series. Fantastic, I can actually feel I'm in that time period and smelling the cherry blossoms. Excellent writer. Lian Hearn actually pushed me to write my own book and [email protected]#$%!. Thanks Lian!
This second book starts slow, like breathing in preparation for meditation but it abruptly ends. It left me yearning for more of Hearn's beautiful and tragic narration of love lost and found. I couldn't help but think that the amazing and most terrible moments of Kaede and Takeo's journey are all packed in book three.
Rating System:1 star = abysmal; some books deserve to be forgotten2 star = poor; a total waste of time3 star = good; worth the effort4 star = very good; what writing should be5 star = fantastic; must own it and share it with othersSTORY: From back cover: "Takeo has now been claimed by the Tribe; held by them against his will, he is condemned to work as an assassin. Meanwhile, Shirakawa Kaede must try to unify the domain she has inherited, while fighting off would-be suitors and hoping that Takeo will return to her."MY FEEDBACK:1) You don't really need to read the first book to understand this story because the author does enough reflection and backstory to get a reader up to speed. BUT...it is so much better if you do read Across the Nightingale Floor first.2) The characters of Takeo and Kaede are explored more and we as readers continue our bond and love for them. Kaede plays a much larger role in this book than the first.3) This second/middle book doesn't seem to suffer from middle-book syndrome but continues with the same strength as the first. The first book resolved enough without having to read this book, but this book definitely sets the stage for interesting events to happen in the 3rd ry little is resolved in this book. This book was truly the rising action of the series making you feel that the climax is just around the corner and me as a reader anxious to get there.4) The same actors come back to this book to do the voices in this unabridged representation of the book. The acting is very well done and enjoyable throughout.OVERALL: Fantastic continuation. I can't wait till the end of the trilogy!
This is the second book in the superb 4 book series, Tales of the Otori. The whole series is completely engaging, with complex characters set in a slightly magical medieval Japan. Takeo Otori has to come to terms with his triple heritage, as a child raised by the Hidden, a Christian-like sect; a member of the tribe , a sinister ninja-like group specializing in intrigue and assassination; and as the adopted heir to the Otori, lords and warriors. The only other author who does this kind of thing as well is Guy Gavriel Kay with books like the Sarantine Mozaic (set in Byzantium) or Under Heaven (set in Tang dynasty China).
For a very long time the trees of a small town had not bared fruit, as a result two whole generations had not tasted or seen them and their existence had become nothing but a story that the residents passed on from one to another. That is until one day the trees start bearing fruit again and the people of Berrie-on-the-Wyn rejoiced because they had the chance to taste that which they had only heard in stories. Unfortunately though, the fruit had all kinds of side effects to those who ate them for they were made with faerie magic and it didn’t take long until the world of Faerie and the people of Berrie-on-the-Wyn started mixing is was a unique kind of story. It didn’t follow the usual pattern of a fantasy book where there is one hero fighting endless battles against evil. This might not be an action-packed story but still it was very interesting, instead of one hero, we have a full cast of characters. They are the residents of Berrie-on-the-Wyn and we follow their journey as they try to make sense of all the strange things that are happening and help in any way they can. They might not be the ultimate saviors, but that doesn’t stop them from working together in order to improve their is book also doesn’t lean on having a story about people who spend the entire book trying to be with the person they have fallen in love, just to keep things interesting. In this story most of the townspeople have already found love, but this doesn’t mean that there isn’t any romance in it. From the couple who found each other and fell in love in a much later time of their lives than the rest, to a husband who lived for a long time under one side of a bridge in the Faerie world, because he couldn’t cross to the other side and go home to his wife. This story was full of emotions.“Such a vision he could not resists: his own love, undeniably changed but by no means lessened by her taste of faerie fruit, entreating him to join her with such irresistible sweetness.”The only thing i wanted to see more of, was character development. There was a case where someone was breaking off their character and the faerie folk, including their king, didn’t seem developed enough to me.I voluntarily reviewed the free copy that i received via Reading Alley
This is a very good book! I enjoyed it immensely, and sort of [email protected]#$%! wasn't over yet. Between the mortal world and faerie there have been an awful lot of problems. The sun isn't shining, the moon is missing, folks are sickening. What has happened to the two worlds? Read it and see!!!
Caster's Spell reminds me a lot of Harry Potter. The protagonist is a kid who is bullied by others because of his background (in this case, as a Warlock as opposed to Wiccan or Sorcerer) and still finds a path to success in the school of magic that he attends. The story moves at a good pace and offers a fair amount of depth in terms of the world and the magic system. There is a bit of intrigue and conspiracy tossed in but nothing outlandish like being the "destined one" expected to achieve greatness. Caster's Spell is essentially a story about perseverance and finding a way to achieve one's e book does have some violent scenes and therefore not suitable for very young readers (think 12 and under). Older teens and fans of Harry Potter will thoroughly enjoy Caster's Spell.
The story proceeded quickly, there was almost no filler or back story. If you like a good book with a decent amount of action and a main character that starts out weak, and overcomes adversity then this is the book for you. Sure hope the follow up comes quick.
I liked the start of this story, the basic idea of the tale, a hangman searching for the truth. I enjoy historical novels. I enjoy mysteries. The start of this story was interesting and well thought out. My main problem with this novel? What does the hangman's daughter have to do with this story? Sure, the hangman has a daughter. She's in this story as a minor character. The title of this story suggests this daughter has a major role, but quite frankly she doesn't. In fact, the hangman's daughter is such a minor character, she could be removed completely from the story and the novel would be virtually the same. The daughter could be replaced with a potted plant without much is book isn't about the hangman's daughter, it's a mystery novel starring a hangman and a young doctor sidekick, both male characters. So what's the deal with naming this story The Hangman's Daughter? Since she's thrown in almost as an afterthought, I can only guess she's there so women will buy this book. She has a scene towards the end of the book where she's captured as a hostage, but it's so forced and unnecessary, it's more like a "women in refrigerators" moment. In fact, ALL of the minor female characters are put in danger. Why? So they can be rescued? In the meantime, if you're a minor character living in this historical world, it seems like your only purpose is to be to chased, tortured, threatened with rape, or face being burnt alive as a witch. Yes, the hangman's daughter manages to escape, but the scene adds nothing to the novel. In fact, if the scene were removed, the writing would have been tighter. The core of the story is a murder mystery. Who is killing the orphans of the village and why? There's already one woman, falsely accused and in danger, held in the prison. Why torture another woman? The second woman, the hangman's daughter, captured and threatened, was an unnecessary cliché. Negative one star for false advertising. If you're going to label a book, The Hangman's Daughter, then let the book be about the hangman's e ending of this story was sloppy and confusing. The last third of the book had tangents that didn't go along with the core of the story. Did something get lost during editing? Instead of tying up loose ends, there's more drama, then everything is miraculously solved behind the scenes. The end. I'm not going to lie, considering the quality of the writing, I was disappointed that the ending wasn't better. The author had a great idea. It's obvious he's a talented writer. He just couldn't seem to pull it all together. Too much "pantsing," not enough plotting at the end of the book. The characters reacted in a realistic way in the beginning, not so much by the end of the novel. I reluctantly removed another is isn't a bad book, it's just misleading. Title it The Hangman or something else, and I'd like it better. I wouldn't have been looking for the story that wasn't there. Clarify the ending a little more and this would be a five star book. I'd say this book is written for adults. The female characters could be replaced with potted plants, so I can't see myself recommending it to any of the women in my life. Guys might like it more. The main character was interesting and fun. I wanted to like this book more than I did.
This is a perfect book to read if you want chills! Was she a witch? Why were the children being murdered? Was the devil really walking through this 17th century town in Bavaria? Learn how the hangman, his daughter, and the young physician battle with evil, greed, and hysteria while trying to find the answers. It was one of the strangest books I have ever read!
In 17th-century Bavaria, Jakob Kuisl, a well-read, pipe-smoking executioner with more common sense and morals than his entire village combined, feels obligated to investigate the killings and disappearances of several children after the local midwife is wrongly accused of witchcraft and murder. He is joined by Simon Fronwieser, the young, coffee-loving medic with advanced views about medicine, and Magdalena, the hangman's own daughter, a beautiful and resilient young woman who has inherited her father's herbal knowledge and rational thinking.I liked this book and enjoyed reading it - it's a story that sticks with you after it's over (thank goodness there are sequels!). I love historical fiction and historical murder/mystery/detective (think Mistress of the Art of Death or Brother Cadfael), so this was right up my alley. It makes it so much more interesting, too, that this is based upon the author's ancestors. I second what others have written concerning the translation into English - odd words and phrases crop up periodically that are unfitting for the story's setting, so obviously some of the meaning was "lost in translation" or just translated improperly...really not a big deal. The story does lag in parts - about ½ to ¾ of the way through I thought it should have been winding down. There is some repetitiveness in descriptions, concepts, and character dialogue. I did skim a bit...wouldn't exactly call it "fast-paced". Also, I can't figure out why the title is The Hangman's Daughter and not just The Hangman...If you are unfamiliar with this era and/or region, be prepared for irrational and idiotic ideas and beliefs where religion, witchcraft, medicine, and general way of life are concerned. Keep in mind this is the 17th century - the Middle Ages had given way to the Renaissance a few hundred years earlier, but in an isolated community like Schongau, people still held firm to beliefs that seem more than ridiculous today. I have read my fair share of books set in this time and I still had trouble controlling my eye-rolling, tsking, occasional angry outbursts, and general exasperation at the medieval attitudes and actions. Mob mentality is scary, especially when it rules during a time when "old wives' tales" were the gospel truth and a wrong look or word (heck, even a birthmark!) was enough to get you hanged or burned at the stake. Mass hysteria, lack of good sense, and barbaric mentality are a dangerous threesome...Also, if you are unfamiliar with what a hangman was, his position in society was that of official executioner (hangman, headsman). This meant he was sanctioned to death-deal and torture with no repercussions (i.e., he couldn't be charged with murder). It meant he and his family were shunned and relegated to life on the outskirts of society, along with butchers, tanners, and others unworthy of rubbing shoulders with proper citizens. Thanks to the religious views of this time, it also meant he and his family couldn't be baptized or buried in consecrated ground, and thus weren't bound for Heaven (according to those who decided this sort of thing). He and his family were considered bad luck, even evil, and were avoided at all costs - except, of course, when one needed a healing remedy, the streets cleaned, torture applied, or killing done. Executioners are still around today, but the same stigma is not attached.
I stayed up all night to finish this book, despite a very early morning the next day. The story is captivating, and I could not stop turning the pages until I knew how it all turned out! Interesting characters populate this novel, which presents a realistic and interesting portrait of 17th century small town Germany. The insight into the lives of hangmen, the madness of a witch hunt, the horrors of what was, at the time, "modern medicine," and the day to day life of everyday people at the time was certainly interesting. The twists and turns of the story, as well as the many different perspectives to which the reader is introduced, all help to make The Hangman's Daughter one of those books you just can't put down!I only had two complaints. One is that I found the final guilty party to be a bit predictable, which wasn't a significant problem since everything else is so well done. The other problem is that I'm not sure how well translated this novel is. It reads just fine, but I think that some of the nature of the text was lost in translation. The sections that I have read in German are far more complex and carry greater depth with each word than the translated version. I am not sure if this is simply my understanding of the German text, or if maybe there is some element that doesn't carry over. Just something to think about. If my German were really good, I would probably try to read the original, just to see. If your German is excellent, I recommend trying it out!All in all, I recommend this highly to people who enjoy historical fiction, thrillers and whodunnits, and anyone who enjoys a good, quick, page-turning read!
This book won the vote for our book club's October selection and it made for a delightfully gory and season-appropriate book. I enjoyed reading it and certainly found it to be entertaining. Unfortunately, I just couldn't bring myself to love it due to what seems to be the quality (or lack thereof) of the translation. The simple writing style, and constant repetition of words and phrases became exhausting to read and the constant use of passive verb tenses drained the energy right out of the more action-filled scenes. Other words stuck out and seemed completely anachronistic for the historical setting - words like "cronies" and "bigwigs" seemed at such odds with the detail and atmosphere created. The author obviously carefully researched his book, especially since he himself is a descendant of a hangman. With research so dear to his heart, it seems tragic irresponsibility that the translator selected words that jarred with the period.Other than the irksome language, what bothered me the most was the under-developed villain. While I loved many of his horrific physical descriptions (his prosthetic hand, especially), Potzsch never offered sufficient detail into making him into a full character. Another alarming (and constantly used description) was that each time Simon, the young doctor, and later the hangman's daughter, started running the taste of blood would fill their mouths (sometimes it was just metallic), but either way it was disturbing that running caused their mouths to bleed with no other provocation!The role of the hangman and his varied talents in their community - not only in the hangman/torture aspect, but also in healing and garbage collection was quite interesting. Despite the title, the hangman himself is more featured in this novel than his daughter. She is certainly a fascinating woman (who also seems to be a bit at odds with the time period) but the hangman and the doctor play much larger roles. Some may find the title to be a bit misleading in this way. But the hangman himself is a fascinating character. This is a series in Germany, and I do hope that (with a different translator) the books are released in English soon.