Over the last few months I've become more and more fascinated by investigator and author Walter Bosley and his 'Empire of the Wheel' series which focuses on the high weirdness of California's so-called Inland Empire.
I happen to have been born in the area and spent time in several of the locales he concentrates on, including San Bernardino and Riverside. Other topics he touches on happen to relate to me personally as well, or are just topics I have an abiding interest in, so his books have kept my Kindle app warm on a regular basis.
The mysteries he outlines across several tomes encompass subjects such as ley lines, the Goddess Hekate, witchcraft, murder, Harry Houdini, the Spiritualist movement, international espionage, Nikola Tesla, the sinking of the Lusitania, Aleister Crowley, H.P. Lovecraft, voodoo, pre-Columbian Phoenician settlements in America, Riverside's Mission Inn, the Zodiac killer, Disneyland, the ever ubiquitous Kights Templar, and a whole lot more. Like I said, high weirdness, and he ties it all into the landscape of Southern California specifically and the United States as a whole.
You can get all that and more on your Kindle, and at some extremely friendly introductory prices, thanks to Amazon who have most of his e-books on sale until January 1st!
Not too long ago a neighborhood non-profit hosted a Comic Con, the 2nd Annual Bing Con, literally a block away from my apartment. While I had been a regular attendee of cons in my youth, I hadn't attended a con in a decade or more, so I was super-psyched for this.
It proved to be a well attended event and featured a plethora of local and regional comics talent plying their wares. I made the rounds several times trying to get a feel for items I might want to purchase and lamenting the fact that I had a very limited budget. I kept coming back to a large sign that read HEAD LOPPER but was blocked every time by crowds surrounding the table preventing me from potentially dropping my ducats on reading material.
Eventually the crowd parted and I was finally able to inspect what the artist, Andrew Maclean, had for sale. I asked "so, what's this Head Lopper all about?" and was intrigued enough by the Salem, Massachusetts-based artist's quick synopsis describing it as a book about a barbarian who carries around a disembodied head in his wanderings that I immediately picked up both issues he had available for sale in addition to a couple of other items which I may get around to reviewing in the future.
The books, 'Head Lopper Part One: The Island', and 'Head Lopper 2: The Wolves of Barra', proved well worth the price of purchase. They introduce readers to a tale of magic and intrigue with the titular character, barbarian Norgal, known far and wide as the Head Lopper, and his traveling companion, the shit-talking head of Agatha the Blue Witch, being pulled deeper and deeper into matters he'd otherwise prefer to avoid entanglement in, resulting in piles of dead mythical monsters and other enchanted creatures left in his wake.
Maclean's storytelling is brisk, and his art style (which is loose and inky) reminiscent of Mike Mignola, Jim Lawson, and the great Jack Kirby, with a focus on dynamic action and large scale battles. It helps that he's also got a sense of humor, which roots Head Lopper firmly in the grand tradition of indie comics pioneered by the likes of Cerebus and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back in the day. By the end of the longer (43 pages!) and meatier second issue I was really hungry for more, and I still hope Maclean is able to continue Norgal's adventures sooner rather than later.
Please, visit Andrew's website and drop him some coin so he can make more books and I can find out what happens to the Head Lopper!