The Pigman’s Legacy Review

This is the first time in a long while that I have thrown a book in disgust. The last book I did this to was The Fault in Our Stars but for a different reason. This time the book is The Pigman’s Legacy, the sequel to one of my new favorite books The Pigman. While The Pigman is a heartwarming story about two teenagers who felt sorry for tricking an old man and befriended him, this one is an insult to that book.

Four months after the first book, John and Lorraine are feeling guilty about the death of the Pigman.  While passing by his house they notice that somebody is in there. They discover another old man living in the Pigman’s house and they take it as the Pigman coming back to them.

This sequel reads like a fan fiction sequel and not written by Zindel himself. This new old man, who we don’t find out his name until halfway through the book (Gus) is a cranky old man who is mean and acts like he belongs in a home. Not to mention the circumstances of what happens later are a bore. However, one scene truly makes the book seem like it wasn’t written by Zindel: John gambling all the money Gus won in Atlantic City. This does not seem like John. Granted, he is basically a delinquent, but the John from the first book would never do anything like this. Not to mention the old Lorraine would have dragged John out of there.

The writing has taken a huge hit here. Once again, the book is written in the first person with John and Lorraine tag teaming the chapters. What they have to say here isn’t as interesting as in the first book. While, yes, it was funny seeing Gus run out of the hospital with a hospital gown and John driving out of there like a bandit.

Now, you may be asking, “why did you through this book in disgust if it’s just dull?” It’s the ending. They do this whole cliche of John and Lorrain stopping on the floor where the nursery is in a “life ends and begins” bullshit and then this line, “our legacy was love.” Add to the fact that throughout the book there were “secret” paragraphs of each character admitting they love each other in the most gag-worthy way and this book found itself in the air.

This book should not have been written. It’s obvious this was written to cash in on the popularity of The Pigman and Zindel juts phoned it in.  Just pretend this book doesn’t exist and read the first book. You’ll thank me later.

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My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness Review

Get your perverted heads out of the gutter, people. This is a serious comic and not some cheap porno.

Now that that’s out of the way, Nagata Kabi has written a manga called My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness which is the true story of how she spent a good amount of time feeling lonely and decided the best way to go about it was to hire a lesbian escort. Again, shut up.

I’m no shrink, but her entire depression/anxiety stems from wanting to just be loved by a motherly figure. Yes, that is what she says. Why the escort? She kinda wants to fuck her mom. It’s weird in a way because she also has this issue of wanting to please her mom by getting a salaried position just to make her proud but she is constantly failing at that.

The overall manga is pretty interesting, to say the least. Kabi writes in a way that makes you feel her anxiety in everything she does, even eating. She even had an eating disorder where she didn’t eat anything and then she was super hungry a few weeks later. Again, I’m no shrink but you don’t need to be one to understand and enjoy this manga.

What about the experience itself? Well, without spoiling anything, it’s awkward in all the right ways. It isn’t arousing or pornographic in any way. Again, you feel her emotions in every panel and it feels like you’re on a roller coaster.

This is helped by the art. The artwork is different but it does have that manga feel to it. Hell, it actually goes beyond the typical manga by making it feel like an original style. One way is that Kabi adds pink to the black and white. It may sound weird, but it works in a charming way. The best bits are the main lead’s facial expressions. Take the typical manga expressions and make them go to eleven. This is a woman who’s suffering and these reactions are warranted.

Would I recommend this manga? Hell yes. I knew going into it I was going to enjoy it and it didn’t disappoint. Hell, I remember going through the emotions Kabi went through but I dealt with them differently. There should be more stories like this as long as they’re written in such an emotionally charged way.  I applaud you, Kabi san. I applaud you, madam.

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The Pigman Review

I’m a weird person. As much as my parents may hate it, I like weird things. So when I saw a book called The Pigman by Paul Zindel and read the back blurb I had to read it. It was nothing like what I was expecting. In fact, it was a lot more normal, but still an enjoyable book.

John and Lorraine are about as different as possible but are somehow friends. One day while doing their usual prank calls they stumbled upon Angelo Pignati who they felt sorry for and decided to spend time with him. They call him the Pigman because of his name and he had a ton of collectible pig statues from across the world.

This is an interesting book. It has two kids who started out playing a prank on a lonely old man and then they became friends with him. That’s basically the entire book.

Of course, the term “the journey is better than the destination” rings true here. The Pigman takes John and Lorraine shopping, to the zoo and they spend a ton of time at his house. You can say it’s like these kids giving a lonely old man company because he seems like a lost puppy. It actually is pretty heartwarming once you take John into consideration. John drinks, smokes, gets into trouble (he used to blow up school toilets) and his parents wish he did something with his life.  Lorraine, on the other hand, tries to be a good girl and sees the consequences of her actions.

That piece is important since this book is written in a sort of tag team narrative between the two. Lorraine’s parts are drier, more sympathetic and caring. John’s parts are more harsh, to the point and feel like getting kicked in the balls when you read them. This is a brilliant literary device that is rarely used nowadays. It keeps the story fresh, gives us different perspectives on the same topic and it doesn’t bog down the writing.

Keep in mind that the characters flat out say at the beginning that the Pigman is dead and that they killed him. That gives the reader reason to find out why and when you do, you yell “it was an accident.” Of course, on the other hand, they do feel guilty about so you can’t really blame them.

While it wasn’t what I was expecting, The Pigman is still a great short book to read. In fact, it’s one of the better books I’ve read in a long while. I highly recommend it and if Zindel’s other books are like, he’s got a new fan.

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The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun Review

If there is one thing you should know about JRR Tolkien is that this guy loved mythology. Hell, this guy not only taught it, he created his own which has a ton of crap. Because of this, he created some mythology before he wrote The Lord of the Rings. One of these was a poem called The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun.

the story is about tow wealthy Britons, Aotrou and Itroun, who don’t have any children. Aotrou seeks to remedy that by asking a fairy to give them children. She does by giving them a potion that bears them twins, but when she comes back to get her fee, Aotrou must make a choice between his marriage and his life.

Plotwise, it’s the typical plot you hear in mythologies that basically say “don’t make deals with magical bearings unless you’re willing to face the consequences.”  Despite that, it’s an OK story told in the ABAB style poem. The rhyming is fine, you do get into the rhythm after a while and the poem does flow.

The two “Corrigan” poems that lead up to it are much better. They basically give a sort of background to each of these characters. They are written in the same ABAB style, but they seem to come off as more personal to the reader. They’re something that seems to ring true to readers.


The edition I have (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) does have scans of the original hand-written copies which is always a nice touch for any fan’scholar. There is also a fair copy manuscript version of the poem included which basically is the same except for some minor changes. The only reason to read it is to see what changed.

While this review may sound like it’s bashing this poem, I do feel that it is worth reading for mainly academic reasons and, of course, if you’re a huge Tolkien fan. This can also be an inspiration for anyone thinking of going into mythology because this poem is a great resource that shows people how stuff like this is written.


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Vampyr (1932) Review

When you hear early vampire movies the first ones people will mention are either Nosferatu or Dracula with Bela Lugosi. There were others, but those are either unknown, most of the film is damaged or gone completely. One of the least known ones is the 1932 German movie Vampyr by Carl Theodor Dreyer. On the surface, it looks like a generic vampire movie, but upon further inspection, it’s actually one of the better vampire movies to come out during this time.

One thing that needs to said before I proceed, there is no English language print of this movie since all were destroyed. You can only watch it in German with English subtitles.

With that, Allan Grey stumbles upon an inn where a man who breaks into his room one night leaves a package with the words “to opened upon my death.” That man dies, the package is a book about vampires and, curiously, his daughter is becoming a vampire.

While not a groundbreaking plot by today’s standards, it’s still pretty entertaining to see how the plot plays out. We see early on that the village doctor is in cahoots with the vampire know what? Let’s talk about him. He looks absolutely creepy with that hair, mustache and glasses just make him look like the typical 1920s villain. Every time he’s on screen, you can’t help but feel disturbed by his presence.

In fact, what makes this movie worth watching is how well shot and creepy it is. For a movie that came out in 1932, some of these techniques are amazing. One of the best ones is when Allan is in a coffin and we have a bird’s eye view of what he sees. While something like this is easy to pull off today, back then this was a huge pain in the ass.

There are some things that do drag down the movie a bit. One of the most glaring examples is that entire scene when Allan is in a coffin. While the camerawork is excellent, why he’s in there and the circumstances are a bit confusing.

Vampyr is a great movie that’s creepy and has a ton of great filming techniques. If you can find, give it a try and enjoy this forgotten gem.

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Something Wicked This Way Comes (comic) Review

Time to sound like a broken record: I tried to like this. Yes, I tried to read the novel, failed and now I read the comic and even failed at that. Let’s just get on with it.

Two friends, Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade, decide to go to an amusement park that has just arrived in their town. This amusement park is operated by Cooger and Dark, two figures who, as our leads find out, are much scarier and have some grim ideas for their park.

Yes, this is the origin of all those scary amusement park stories that ever came out. Hell, this is a brilliant set up and a lot can happen. The only problem is this book is boring. Ray Bradbury was a talented writer and was able to write some excellent books. This is, sadly one of his stinkers. Both the book and the comic bored me because not much of interest happens. Yes, there are some moments and some truly disturbing imagery, but most of the book is about Will and his dad. While there’s nothing wrong with that sort of story, the main point of this story is that there’s an evil park run by evil dudes and I want to be scared dammit.

As far as scared, the only scary bits are what the characters look like and act. They don’t really do anything scary.  It may be more of a psychological terror, but even that doesn’t work.

The idea of an evil carnival/amusement park is scary because this is something many kids look forward to when summer comes. If there is some kind of danger, such as “you’re literally going to die,” it will scare kids and is something some parents have a fear of. People have died on rides, you know. Hell, freak shows scare some people because they’re afraid of the acts attacking them. Bradbury had that chance here, and while he did something with it, all came across as weak.

Ron Wimberly did the art for the comic adaptation. It does bring out the creepiness of the situation and the black and white works a lot better than if it were in color. The character designs, on the other hand, aren’t anything spectacular. They look like an average Saturday morning cartoon, making this look more like a Goosebumps comic than something Bradbury would write.

Something Wicked This Way Comes has a great setup and is the originator of said setup, but the overall story is dull and not scary in the least. The art in the comic version has some nice things but also doesn’t quite mesh well.

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Parasyte (Manga and Anime) Review

While I am an anime/manga fan, I admit I’m more of a casual fan than anything else. I will find series that are not mainstream from time to time and like them. One of these is Parasyte by Hitoshi Iwaaki which I only found out through Anime America (who are awesome by the way. Check them out.) The only reason I decided to look for this series is that the idea of an alien parasite taking control of humans interests me. So I bought the first volume and then the last seven volumes and now I have a few things to say.

The story is a group of alien parasites come to Earth and take control of humans by crawling into their noses to their brains. One of them tries to do that to our lead, Shinichi Izumi, fails and ends up in his right hand. This causes the parasite to, basically, befriend Shinichi and now Shinichi must live a “normal” life and protect himself from other parasites. This does, however, have a huge impact on his personal life, especially with his girlfriend, Satomi Murano.

While this does sound like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, it doesn’t escalate into the level. Of course, this series does bring up some tough questions about humans and animals. The main one is Shinichi is constantly calling the parasites monsters, but Migi (the parasite in his right hand)  tells him that they only kill to survive and humans do the same thing. Migi even brings up how humans kill animals for food and humans are OK with that while parasites killing humans for food which makes them monsters. It’s the same thing. Also, murder is brought up a lot and, again, Migi uses the whole (we do that to defend ourselves) thing.

Now, some people will read that and think it’s trying to sound more important than it actually is, but that’s really up to all in who reads it. Also, the manga doesn’t get preachy about it which is one of its strengths. Another strong suit is the writing. These are excellent characters that are well developed, even Satomi. Hell, Satomi’s reason for being in the story is to basically bring into question Shinichi’s personality. He becomes less human over time to the point where he no longer shows emotion over the deaths of people close to him (on top of having superhuman strength, speed and agility.)  Hell, near the end of the series you cry for a character you thought you wouldn’t.

The art may be 80s (this came out in 1988 and ended 1990,) but it’s so well done that it doesn’t look generic. Hell, even normal, everyday occurrences are drawn so well. This has to be one of the better-looking series to come out of that decade.

Then there’s the anime. While it does follow the manga 95% of the time, it is different. SOme characters were taken out, scenes shortened (the scene where Reiko Tamura is running around with part of her head missing is done a LOT better in the manga.) Also, there’s the whole updated thing. The art style and even year have had a major update. There are cell phones and tablets, for crying out loud. While it is understandable as to why they did this (probably to get more people to watch,) it’s not 100% as good as the manga. The artwork just doesn’t work.  The manga has this scary, gritty look to it that made it scarier. The anime is just too colorful. Plus, it’s not as gory as the manga.

While I still say the manga is better, the anime is still worth a watch because of how awesome the series is and for everyone to see how it looks as an anime. I do recommend both but, just be warned that the manga has an edge over the anime.

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The Marvels Review

I first found out about Brian Selznick from, like a lot of people, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. That was one of the most creative books I’ve ever read in that it has pencil images that tell a story combined with traditional novel writing. It was also an excellent story. He followed it up with Wonderstruck that was not as good as Hugo but was still interesting. His most recent book in that style is The Marvels and it doesn’t live up to the previous two books.

Joseph Jervis has run away from his boarding school to stay with his uncle Albert Nightingale in London during Christmas. It’s here that Joseph discovers The Marvels, a family of stage actors who started in 1766 but it all ended in the early 1900s. Now Joseph thinks these were his ancestors and is trying to find out the truth from his uncle.

The thing that made the previous two books great was that Selznick knew what the perfect balance of drawings and writing was. Here, we get almost four hundred pages of drawing and then nothing but text for two hundred pages and then fifty pages of drawings. Yes, I admit that this was done deliberately as explained by the ending, but it kills the pacing of the book.

Not to mention that Joseph isn’t really that interesting of a character, nor is his story. Hugo had a kid trying to not get arrested and Wonderstruck had a kid finding his dad my going to the Museum of Natural History. This is just boring.

The Marvels themselves are an interesting family as is their story, Joseph’s just doesn’t cut it. In fact, all the characters here aren’t that interesting. It’s a shame since Selznick does have talent.

The drawings are still amazing, so that’s something. Selznick has the talent to use drawings to tell a compelling story that doesn’t need words to describe what’s going on. I may go so far as to say that Selznick is a better story teller using art than with words.

I’d still read any further Selznick books. I do enjoy his imagination and artwork. It’s just that this book was a letdown when compared to Hugo and Wonderstruck.



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The War of the Worlds (book) Review

Ah, The War of the Worlds. This is the defining invasion from Mars novel that sparked a whole bunch of them in the forties fifties. Since it is the first, it must be the best, right?

For those of you who have never heard of this book, it’s a Londoner’s account of an invasion by aliens from Mars and its aftermath. That’s pretty much it. The story is basically the narrator going from one place to the next while the Martians decimate everything.

This style of writing is why there has been a ton of adaptations for screen, TV, comics and radio. It’s just non-stop carnage and then the narrator hiding from the aliens. That’s why it’s not that great of a book. Yes, it is influential in that it spawned an entire genre and was one of the reasons why space travel exists, but it’s more along the lines of popcorn summer blockbuster movie.

While there has been some debate about the philosophical meanings in the book, it all boils down to the strong will destroy the weak. This may have been scary and shocking for people back in 1898, today we’ve already seen a ton of these types of stories. Hell, the movie Mars Attacks makes fun of this idea. We as a people have stopped being scared of Martians attack that we’re making fun of it.

That’s not to say the book is crap, oh no. It’s well written and an interesting read. Wells does a fine job of putting us into the head of the narrator and we do feel whatever emotion he’s going through. When he’s scared we feel it. When he’s pining for his wife, we feel that too. This all gets buried in a plot that, to modern readers, is something that’s been done to death.

Does that mean that nobody should read The War of the Worlds? Of course not. The impact it’s had is too high to dismiss it as something that should be forgotten from a bygone era. Just don’t expect to be blown away by it.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review

Do you remember many years ago reading the first Harry Potter book? Do you also remember one of Harry’s textbooks was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? Do you also remember buying the actual book along with Griditch Through the Ages? Well, there’s a movie called just that. Now, the problem is, how do you make a movie out of a book that’s nothing but 70 pages of magical creature information? Simple: make it a prequel about the author, Newt Scamander, researching the book.

Newt Scamander has found his way to New York City with a magical case filled with magical beasts. While there, something is causing destruction to New York and the American version of the Ministry of Magic (Magical Congress of the United States of America or MACUSA) is investigating it.

All of this I had to look up because the movie is pretty forgettable. Most of the movie is just Newt and other forgettable characters screwing around New York looking for his escaped creatures. Oh, and then there’s this one magical evil that’s basically a kid creating evil magic from sheer will or something going on. It really goes nowhere until the third act where we get a huge battle scene taking place in the subway.

The best part is I also read the script for this movie which you can buy in all bookstores. Even after reading that I still can’t remember much from this movie.

At least the acting and creature designs were great. Eddie Redmayne is great as Newt. He pulls off the awkward person with some kind of weird hobby character nicely. Although props have to go to Don Fogler as Kowalski. He does everything he can to put on a great performance even with all the stuff hey have him do. The creatures do look nice and the CGI is spot on. The only downfall if that one creature that looks like a rhinoceros. It was boring beyond anything and the scene dragged on too long.

So, yeah, only watch this if you’re a Harry Potter fan who wants everything Harry Potter. Just don’t expect anything too memorable to come out of this movie.

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