"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An Occasional Diversion Off the Chicano Literature Path: Graphic Novels and Jane Austen's Zombies




Here's an occasional vear off the Chicano(a) Literature path. In celebration of a Post-Apocalyptic genre finally portraying Chicanos (AMC's "Walking Dead," Episode 4: Vatos), here are some undead delights for you Thanksgiving break.

Regency England sees rife for a zombie story and if Jane Austen had a good editor, he probably would not have let these titles go to market. Austen, Bronte, Allcott, have all been target of this recent genre of gore classics. The lost first draft of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women before her editor got to it. Huck Finn relationship with his dead father. Lincoln saving a divided nation from vampire civil war. Queen Victoria making sure the sun never sets on the British Empire by fighting demons.

Paperback Quirk Books; Later Printing edition 2009
ISBN-10: 1594743347
Jane Austen (Author), Seth Grahame-Smith

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. 

What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read. 

According to the author, the original text of the novel was well-suited for use as a zombie horror story:
You have this fiercely independent heroine, you have this dashing heroic gentleman, you have a militia camped out for seemingly no reason whatsoever nearby, and people are always walking here and there and taking carriage rides here and there . . . It was just ripe for gore and senseless violence. From my perspective anyway. READ MOREhttp://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-03-31/monsters-vs-jane-austen/2/





Paperback Quirk Books March 23, 2010
ISBN-10: 1594744548
Steve Hockensmith

Journey Back to Regency England—Land of the Undead!

Readers will witness the birth of a heroine in Dawn of the Dreadfuls a thrilling prequel set four years before the horrific events of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. As our story opens, the Bennet sisters are enjoying a peaceful life in the English country side. They idle away the days reading, gardening, and daydreaming about future husbands until a funeral at the local parish goes strangely and horribly awry.

Suddenly corpses are springing from the soft earth and only one family can stop them. As the bodies pile up, we watch Elizabeth Bennet evolve from a naive young teenager into a savage slayer of the undead. Along the way, two men vie for her affections: Master Hawksworth is a powerful warrior who trains her to kill, while thoughtful Dr. Keckilpenny seeks to conquer the walking dead using science instead of strength. 

Will either man win the prize of Elizabeth's heart? Or will their hearts be feasted upon by hordes of marauding zombies? Complete with romance, action, comedy, and an army of shambling corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls will have Jane Austen rolling in her grave and just might inspire her to crawl out of it!




[Paperback]
Quirk Books; Original edition 2009)
ISBN-10: 1594744424
Jane Austen (Author), Ben H. Winters

From the publisher of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes a new tale of romance, heartbreak, and tentacled mayhem.

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters expands the original text of the beloved Jane Austen novel with all-new scenes of giant lobsters, rampaging octopi, two-headed sea serpents, and other biological monstrosities. 

As our story opens, the Dashwood sisters are evicted from their childhood home and sent to live on a mysterious island full of savage creatures and dark secrets. 

While sensible Elinor falls in love with Edward Ferrars, her romantic sister Marianne is courted by both the handsome Willoughby and the hideous man-monster Colonel Brandon. 

Can the Dashwood sisters triumph over meddlesome matriarchs and unscrupulous rogues to find true love? Or will they fall prey to the tentacles that are forever snapping at their heels? 

This masterful portrait of Regency England blends Jane Austen’s biting social commentary with ultraviolent depictions of sea monsters biting. It’s survival of the fittest — and only the swiftest swimmers will find true love!



(Quirk Classic) Paperback Quirk Books (June 8, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1594744602
Ben H. Winters (Author), Leo Tolstoy (Author)

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters co-author Ben H. Winters is back with an all-new collaborator, legendary Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, and the result is Android Karenina an enhanced edition of the classic love story set in a dystopian world of robots, cyborgs, and interstellar space travel.

As in the original novel, our story follows two relationships: the tragic adulterous romance of Anna Karenina and Count Alexei Vronsky, and the much more hopeful marriage of Konstantin Levin and Kitty Shcherbatskaya.These four, yearning for true love, live in a steampunk-inspired 19th century of mechanical butlers, extraterrestrial-worshiping cults, and airborne debutante balls. 

Their passions alone would be enough to consume them-but when a secret cabal of radical scientific revolutionaries launches an attack on Russian high society's high-tech lifestyle, our heroes must fight back with all their courage, all their gadgets, and all the power of a sleek new cyborg model like nothing the world has ever seen."

Filled with the same blend of romance, drama, and fantasy that made the first two Quirk Classics New York Times best sellers, Android Karenina brings this celebrated series into the exciting world of science fiction.



Paperback Gallery; Original edition April 13, 2010
ISBN-10: 1439191182
Charlotte Bronte (Author), Sherri Browning Erwin

" READER, I BURIED HIM . "
A timeless tale of love,  devotion . . . and the undead.

 Jane Slayre, our plucky demon-slaying heroine, a courageous orphan who spurns the detestable vampyre kin who raised her, sets out on the advice of her ghostly uncle to hone her skills as the fearless slayer she's meant to be. 
When she takes a job as a governess at a country estate, she falls head-over-heels for her new master, Mr. Rochester, only to discover he's hiding a violent werewolf in the attic--in the form of his first wife. Can a menagerie of bloodthirsty, flesh-eating, savage creatures-of-the-night keep a swashbuckling nineteenth-century lady from the gentleman she intends to marry? Vampyres, zombies, and werewolves transform Charlotte Brontë's unforgettable masterpiece into an eerie paranormal adventure that will delight and terrify.
*Featuring a Gallery Books Readers Guide


Paperback HarperTeen; 1 edition May 4, 2010
ISBN-10: 0061976253
Louisa May Alcott (Author), Lynn Messina(Author)

"Christmas wont be Christmas without any corpses." 

The dear, sweet March sisters are back, and Marmee has told them to be good little women. Good little vampire women, that is. That's right: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy have grown up since you last read their tale, and now they have (much) longer lives and (much) more ravenous appetites.

Marmee has taught them well, and so they live by an unprecedented moral code of abstinence...from human blood. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy must learn to get along with one another, help make society a better place, and avoid the vampire hunters who pose a constant threat to their existence. Plus, Laurie is dying to become a part of the March family, at any cost. 

Some things never change.

This horrifying — and hilarious — retelling of a timeless American classic will leave readers craving the bloodthirsty drama on each and every page.


Paperback Del Rey May 4, 2010
ISBN-10: 0345522605
Louisa May Alcott (Author), Porter Grand (Author)

A literary landmark — the original, suppressed draft of the classic novel!

Little Women is a timeless classic. But Louisa May Alcott’s first draft — before her editor sunk his teeth into it — was even better. Now the original text has at last been exhumed. In this uncensored version, the March girls learn some biting lessons, transforming from wild girls into little women — just as their friends and neighbors transform into vicious, bloodthirsty werewolves!

Here are tomboy Jo, quiet Beth, ladylike Amy, and good-hearted Meg, plus lovable neighbor Laurie Laurence, now doomed to prowl the night on all fours, maiming and devouring the locals. As the Civil War rages, the girls learn the value of being kind, the merits of patience and grace, and the benefits of knowing a werewolf who can disembowel your teacher.

By turns heartwarming and blood-curdling, this rejuvenated classic will be cherished and treasured by those who love a lesson in virtue almost as much as they enjoy a good old-fashioned dismemberment.

Includes the original letter from Alcott’s editor, telling her not to even think about it!


Paperback Eos; 1 edition January 26, 2010
ISBN-10: 0061976016
A. E. Moorat (Author)

There were many staff at Kensington Palace, fulfilling many roles; a man who was employed to catch rats, another whose job it was to sweep the chimneys. That there was someone expected to hunt demons did not shock the new Queen; that it was to be her was something of a surprise.

London, 1838. Queen Victoria is crowned; she receives the orb, the scepter, and an arsenal of bloodstained weaponry. If Britain is about to become the greatest power of the age, there’s the small matter of the undead to take care of first. Demons stalk the crown, and political ambitions have unleashed ravening hordes of zombies even within the nobility itself.
But rather than dreams of demon hunting, Queen Victoria’s thoughts are occupied by Prince Albert. Can she dedicate her life to saving her country when her heart belongs elsewhere? With lashings of glistening entrails, decapitations, zombies, and foul demons, this masterly new portrait will give a fresh understanding of a remarkable woman, a legendary monarch, and quite possibly the best demon hunter the world has ever seen.

In another incarnation as a more serious (though still satirical) author, A. E. MOORAT has won critical acclaim and been shortlisted for awards. Here, however, he was chained in the dungeon, fed tea and ghost stories, and kept busy writing the adventures of Queen Victoria, Demon Hunter.


Paperback Curiosities 2009
ISBN-10: 1607620472
Jane Austen (Author), Vera Nazarian


 Spinsterhood or Mummification!


Ancient Egypt infiltrates Regency England in this elegant, hilarious, witty, insane, and unexpectedly romantic monster parody of Jane Austen's classic novel.

Our gentle yet indomitable heroine Fanny Price must hold steadfast not only against the seductive charms of Henry Crawford but also an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh!

Meanwhile, the indubitably handsome and kind hero Edmund attempts Exorcisms... Miss Crawford vamps out... Aunt Norris channels her inner werewolf... The Mummy-mesmerized Lady Bertram collects Egyptian artifacts...
There can be no doubt that Mansfield Park has become a battleground for the forces of Ancient Evil and Regency True Love!

Gentle Reader -- this Delightful Edition includes Scholarly Footnotes and Appendices.


Illustrated Hardcover Grand Central Publishing; 1st edition March 2, 2010
ISBN-10: 0446563080
Seth Grahame-Smith

Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation..


Paperback Kensington September 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0758254083
Sarah Gray (Author)

When a young orphan named Heathcliff is brought to Wuthering Heights by the manor's owner, Mr. Earnshaw, rumors abound. 

Yet the truth is more complicated than anyone could guess. Heathcliff's mother was a member of a gypsy band that roamed the English countryside, slaying vampires to keep citizens safe. But his father was a vampire. 
Now, even as Heathcliff gallantly fights the monsters who roam the moors in order to protect beautiful, spirited Catherine Earnshaw, he is torn by compassion for his victims - and by his own dark thirst. Though Catherine loves Heathcliff, she fears the vampire in him, and is tempted by the privileged lifestyle their neighbors, the Lintons, enjoy. 

Forced to choose between wealthy, refined Edgar Linton and the brooding, increasingly dangerous Heathcliff, she makes a fateful decision. And soon Heathcliff, too, must choose - between his hunger, and the woman he will love for all eternity...


Paperback Coscom Entertainment 2009
ISBN-10: 1926712099
Jane Austen (Author), Adam Rann (Author) 

Beware the howls in the darkness and the light of the full moon. As the ever headstrong Ms. Emma Woodhouse schemes and plots as matchmaker, a dark and deadly terror descends upon Highbury. 

A series of bestial murders fills the residents with fear as the ever mysterious Mr. Knightley leads a secret life, unknown to all, combating evils not of this Earth. Carnage and destruction reign throughout the land, and though the residents of Highbury try to attend to day-to-day matters as civilly as possible, each cannot help but wonder what lurks in the shadows and if it'll be coming for them next.


Paperback Coscom Entertainment 2009
ISBN-10: 1926712234 
Paul A. Freeman (Author)

Medieval civilization was under threat from the undead. When lion-hearted Richard ruled the roost Of England, he decided that to boost His regal reputation he should mount A war to wrest from Turkish men the fount Of Christendom; yet in that desert land A zombie plague emerged from ’midst the sand. 

A necromancer’s alchemistic spell Reanimated corpses bound for Hell (And even bound for Heaven’s pearly gate). Soon after ’twas apparent that the fate Of all on Earth -- the evil and the good -- Was in the hands of Robin of the Hood Whose outlaw men, along with Friar Tuck, Against rampaging hordes of zombies struck. They fought to save the likes of you and I, Not caring that one slip might make them die. Their tale lies here, within this humble book-- I pray you’ll spare the time to take a look.


Paperback Coscom Entertainment 2009
ISBN-10: 192671217X
L. Frank Baum (Author), Ryan C. Thomas

One day, on a peaceful farm in Kansas, a tornado appeared. The storm raged and ripped the house from the ground. Inside sat a little girl named Dorothy and her dog Toto. The house spun. The winds roared. The tornado showed no mercy, until . . . The house landed in a strange and magical land called Oz. 

But that's where the fairytale ends and the nightmare begins. The Wicked Witch of the West has cast a spell on the Land of Oz, a spell that brings the dead back to life. Only the Great Wizard in the Emerald City can stop this curse, but he has never been seen. 

It's up to Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Woodman to journey through this dangerous land of hungry undead and savage monsters and find him in the hopes of bringing life back to Oz. Come join hands with them as they travel down the Yellow Brick Road and see if you can make it to the Emerald City . . . alive.


Paperback Ballantine Books; Original edition 2009
ISBN-10: 0345513657
Michael Thomas Ford

Ford's (Last Summer) fang-tastic satire of the Jane Austen craze catches up with Elizabeth Jane Fairfax, the undead 233-year-old author and owner of an upstate New York book store.
She's disgusted by the Pride and Prejudice knockoffs that fly out of her store (poor Jane hasn't seen a royalty check in almost 200 years), and her last manuscript's been rejected by 116 publishers.

Things start to look up when she finally gets a deal for the book, but two problems arise as she's promoting Constance: Lord Byron, who turned Jane, wants her back; and Violet Grey, a vitriolic Brontë blogger, accuses Jane of stealing Charlotte Brontë's last unsold manuscript. Ford's Jane is a very fun and funny heroine to root for as she endures the indignities of publishing and bookselling, fends off danger and (perhaps) finds love. Her hilarious smack downs with Violet hint of more madness to come in this first of a series. (Jan.)


Paperback Coscom Entertainment July 10, 2009
ISBN-10: 1897217978 
Mark Twain (Author), W. Bill Czolgosz 

Free at last! Free at last! This ain't your grandfather's Huckleberry Finn. It's nineteenth century America and a mutant strain of tuberculosis is bringing its victims back from the dead. Sometimes they come back docile, and other times vicious. 

The vicious ones are sent back to Hell, but the docile ones are put to work as servants and laborers. With so many zombies on the market, the slave trade is nonexistant. The black man is at liberty, and human bondage is no more. 

Young Huckleberry Finn has grown up in a world that shuns the N-word, with its scornful eye set on a new class of shambling, putrid sub-humans: The Baggers. 
When his abusive father comes back into his life, Huck flees down the river with Bagger Jim, seeking a life of perfect freedom. When the pox mutates once again, causing even the tamest of baggers to become bloodthirsty monsters, the boy Finn is forced to question his relationship with his dearest, deadest friend. 

In this revised take on history and classic literature, the modern age is ending before it ever begins. Huckleberry Finn will inherit a world of horror and death, and he knows the mighty Mississippi might be the only way out...


Paperback Coscom Entertainment 2009
ISBN-10: 1926712293
Lewis Carroll (Author), Nickolas Cook (Author)

Can Alice escape Zombieland before the Dead Red Queen catches up to her? When little Alice falls asleep, she finds herself in an undead nightmare of rotting flesh and insanity. Following a talking rat, she ventures further into this land of zombies and monsters. 
There's also something else troubling poor Alice: her skin is rotting and her hair is falling out. She's cold and there's the haunting feeling that if she remains in Zombieland any longer, she might never leave and forever be caught between life and death. Have a seat at the table for the Tea Party of your life and explore the wondrous adventure that is Zombieland. 







Graphic Novels for Literary Buffs and Portrayals of Jews in Tolkein and Dickens


I recently tackled the Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkein, one of the many book edited by his son on manuscripts left behind by his father. I'd say one of Tolkien's best stories of dragons, elves, youthful rebellion, incest, and more. 

As I was reading about the dwarf character Mim, I was reminded of some literary criticism on Tolkein in how he model his dwarves after the stereotypical qualities of Europen Jews, sometimes, a Shylockian portrayal dwarves.
"The dwarves of course are quite obviously, wouldn't you say that in many ways they remind you of the Jews?" says J.R.R. Tolkein in BBC interview in 1971, "Their words are Semitic, obviously, constructed to be Semitic." Now, I don't want to take the interview out of context, as Tolkien was a linguist and based his dwarvish language on some Semitic aspects. 

Furthermore, according to some scholars, his portrayal of dwarves changed over time, and by the time The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were published, you have a positive portrayals. But stereotypical aspect of greed, secretiveness, among other aspect persist. Tolkien also admits basing dwarves on other aspect of Jewish culture including the diaspora, dispossession of homeland and, non-assimilation, and even, somewhat, the Jewish calender.

As Shylock has gained more sympathetic portrayals by actors over the centuries, Charles Dicken's Fagin (Oliver Twist) has been re-visioned, not only by the author himself in subsequent revision of Oliver Twist, and after Dicken's became friends with a Jewish family, but also by graphic novelist Will Eisner.


Doubleday; 1 edition 2003
ISBN-10: 0385510098 Paperback
Will Eisner

From his early newspaper comics to the sophisticated graphic novels he produces today, Will Eisner has been a pioneering force in comics for more than sixty years. Ron Goulart, writing in Book World, declared, “A shrewd, thoughtful man, Eisner has always had a knack for deftly combining dialogue and images to tell his story,” and fellow graphic novelist Alan Moore simply said, “Eisner is the single person most responsible for giving comics its BRAINS.” 

And Amazon.com, which called him "the Elvis of comics," said, "It's fair to say that Eisner invented modern comic art."

In Fagin the Jews, Eisner proves himself to be not only a master of comic storytelling, but also an incisive literary and social critic. This project was first conceived as an introduction to a pictorial adaptation of Oliver Twist, but as he learned more about the history of Dickens-era Jewish life in London, Eisner uncovered intriguing material that led him to create this new work. 

In the course of his research, Eisner came to believe that Dickens had not intended to defame Jews in his famous depiction. By referring to Fagin as “the Jew” throughout the book, however, he had perpetuated the common prejudice; his fictional creation imbedded itself in the public’s imagination as the classic profile of a Jew. 

In his award-winning style, Eisner recasts the notorious villain as a complex and troubled antihero and gives him the opportunity to tell his tale in his own words. 

Depicting Fagin’s choices and actions within a historical context, Eisner captures the details of life in London’s Ashkenazi community and brilliantly re-creates the social milieu of Dickensian England.

Eisner's fresh, compelling look at prejudice, poverty, and anti-Semitism lends an extraordinary richness to his artwork, ever evocative and complex. Like the modern classics Maus and The Jew of New York, FAGIN THE JEW blends image and prose in an unforgettable exploration of history. 

 
Paperback
Will Eisner (Author), Umberto Eco (Introduction)

A work more disturbing than fiction from "the father of graphic novels" (New York Times). "The ultimate illustration of how absurdly comical and cancerous The Protocols has been to mankind."—Thane Rosenbaum, Los Angeles Times Book Review

The Plot, which examines the astonishing conspiracy and the fabrication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, has become a worldwide phenomenon since its hardcover publication, taught in classrooms around the globe.


Purported to be the actual blueprints by Jewish leaders to take over the world, the Protocols, first published in 1902, have become gospel truth to international millions. Presenting a pageant of historical figures from nineteenth-century Russia to today's ideologues, including Tsar Nicholas II, Henry Ford, and Adolf Hitler, Will Eisner unravels and dispels one of the most devastating hoaxes of the twentieth century.
Will Eisner 


Publisher: America's Best Comics; 1st edition 2002
ISBN-10: 1563898586
Alan Moore

Now, a stunning coup de grace is delivered with this masterful pairing of Victorian adventure fiction's greatest characters and the old war-horse of the super-group. With the stunning The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, it would be no exaggeration to say that Alan Moore has produced a near-perfect piece of adventure fiction that is clever, literate, rich with excitement and hard to put down.
It's 1898 and at the behest of M, the mysterious head of the secret Service, Campion Bond is dispatched to procure the services of Miss Mina Murray (nee Harker), adventurer Allan Quartermain, "Science-Pirate" Captain Nemo, Henry Jekyll (and his monstrous alter ego) and Hawley Griffin (a.k.a. the Invisible Man).

Together, they must combat an insidious threat that will decide supremacy of the London skies, but their success may unleash a far greater threat. With no shortage of action, Moore and O' Neill sustain a high level of suspense, intrigue, mystery and terrific wit that all contribute to an indispensable read. O'Neill's art, so memorable in Marshal Law, produces a London filled with vivid, magnificent architecture and a malevolent atmosphere ripe with thrills and danger. An unmitigated triumph--pure and simple. --Danny Graydon


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Cabin for Rent in Ruidoso New Mexico - Perfect for Family Vacations or Writer Seclusion

Cabin for Rent near Ruidoso in the beautiful Sacramento Mountains of Southern New Mexico. Perfect for family gathering, writers retreats, writer seclusion, and ski/snow trips.

Sleeps ten comfortably. Kitchen. Dinning room. Living room. Loft. Three outside decks. Easy access when snowed. 10min from town. 20 from Ski Apache. 20 min from Inn of the Mountain Gods Inn and Casino.

Estimated Driving Time:
El Paso: 2 1/2, TX
Las Cruces, NM: 2 hrs from
Albuquerque: 3 hrs
Lubbock, TX 4 hr 20 min
Odessa, TX: 4 1/2 hrs

Weekly and monthly discounted rates; weekend; and holiday rates available. For holidays (New Years, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mem Day, MLK, Labor Day), a reservation of 6 mo in advance recommended.

Info. and reservations (915) 591-4108