Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews of movies, toys, comics, collectibles, and anything else I can get my grubby hands on!

“Doctor Who FAQ” Book Review

Later this year, the British science-fiction epic “Doctor Who” will celebrate its momentous fiftieth anniversary. 50 years of the Doctor, his companions, new alien worlds and all sorts of multi-dimensional craziness. As part of this huge milestone, Applause Books has released the “Doctor Who FAQ”. Written by Dave Thompson, who has written over 100 books about music and pop culture, this 330+ page tome holds all the secrets of the TARDIS and those who have ventured in it.

The subtitle of the book is “All that’s left to know about the most famous time lord in the universe”, and that could not be any more true. We get the entire history of the creation of the Doctor, his famous theme song, a rundown of all of the doctor’s, his companions, enemies, and much, much more. There are extensive sections on famous episodes, villains, the lost episodes, and even how the Doctor has affected pop-culture, with parts on merchandise and even appearances in modern music. You have no idea how many songs there are about the Doctor that are actually meant to be serious (unlike “Doctorin’ the Tardis”).

This is not a reference book about every single episode, with detailed synopses of each. There is a chapter that is a checklist of all the episodes, but to run down every show would take a whole book unto itself, and I believe it already exists anyway. The “Doctor Who FAQ” is really a deep and meticulous examination of all things Who-related, put into bite-sized morsels that are packed full of info that even the most hardcore Who fan may not know. I consider myself a casual fan of the show, so much of the stories were new to me, but even older fans will enjoy the behind-the-scenes information as well on the parts about the merchandise and contextual chapters that discuss its impact during each era.

The book is one part history lesson, one part sourcebook, and one part opinion. Thompson does not shy away from showing a bias to certain things he likes or dislikes, something that I did not like at first. Again, understanding that the author comes from the world of “Rolling Stone”, where the authors opinion is just as important as facts (if not moreso), makes this much more palatable. Frankly, I found it annoying and I disagreed with the author on several things, but I must give him credit for his research and knowledge on the subject matter, so I can let him get away with his biases.

Overall, it’s a very fun FAQ, partly because of Thompson’s distinct snarky voice, and also because of how it adds depth to what has often been a very campy sci-fi show. Even if I found him grating at times, I would much prefer Thompson’s sense of humor and language over a stuffy author that took this show far too seriously. Let’s get serious, folks, it’s a show about a guy in a time-traveling phone booth – if you can’t have some fun with that, then you are a lost cause (and possibly also a brony).

You can order Doctor Who FAQ: All Thats Left to Know About the Most Famous Time Lord in the Universe from Amazon.com for around $15, and is worth if it you are a true Whovian who wants to get even more serious about this sci-fi classic. It’s even better for a newer fan who is afraid to get into the enormous world of Who. Why spend over $4,000 on all of the DVD’s (Thompson did the math and figured it out) when you can grab this book and get a grasp on a very large universe that is decades in the making, and then jump in knowing exactly what you need (and then some) about the Doctor.

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Comic Review: House of Fun

Multiple Eisner Award winner, Evan Dorkin, shares his sense of humor in the one shot, House of Fun. Published by Dark Horse Comics, this compilation includes stories from Dark Horse Presents issues 10 through 12 along with multiple pages of Fun gag strips, the return of The Eltingville Comic Book, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Role-Playing Club, new Milk and Cheese strips, and a new Murder Family episode.

Dorkin has shown to be a diverse writer over the decades his career has spanned, but he’s definitely known for his comedy in both comics and in television; Milk and Cheese being one of his most notable works.  The series is based on characters Dorkin used to draw on napkins in clubs based on an inside joke between he and his friends. The two characters, Milk and Cheese, an anthropomorphic wedge of cheese and carton of milk, seem to have a general hatred and/or disregard for human life and really enjoy their alcohol. Understandably so, this sort of behavior puts them in the middle of disorienting and gratuitously violent situations they’ve instigated or started, themselves.

In the name of humor, that’s pretty dark. They actually laugh and sing as they slaughter people with baseball bats and broken bottles. If you find that funny, then you should have no problem with a little girl dressed like Charlie Brown stabbing her father’s secretary in the throat mid-interrogation. Those are the kind of antics you can expect from The Murder Family; a family sit-com sort of comic centered on a family of sociopaths that carry on as though the family that slays together, stays together.

The humor in Hose of Fun isn’t all death and darkness. If you’re into mean spirited jokes poked at just about everyone, then you’ll definitely find something here to your liking. There’s about twenty five strips chock full of parodies, poop jokes, and stiff jabs made at the comic industry. Mean spirited aside, they don’t feel malicious, and Dorkin doesn’t even exempt himself from the subject matter, which is pretty spread out; its all it good fun. Its just not for children, but with that said, its not all vulgar nor filled with just a bunch of uncreative toilet humor. I’d say roughly a third would be considered toilet humor.

Still, its funny, which is what really matters. Paired with Dorkin’s playful artwork (and the assist from Sarah Dyer), House of Fun makes for an entertaining read. You get about thirty gag strips, four Milk and Cheese shorts, an episode of The Murder Family, and a pretty big Eltingville Comic Book, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Role-Playing Club episode. That makes for a whole lot of reading within those twenty eight pages, and that’s twenty eight pages from the person Frank Miller considers to be the funniest man in comics.

You may or may not be sure on whether or not this comic is worth your three dollars and fifty cents. So, as yourself: do you enjoy Space Ghost: Coast to Coast or Shin Chan? If you’re a bit older, have you ever checked out Instant Piano? Are into Mad Magazine? Yes, maybe? Then seeing how Dorkin lent his humorous writing skills to all the above, you’ll enjoy House of Fun which is available today at your local comic book shop, or you can always check out the Dark Horse Comics website and buy it there.

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Comic Review: Hellboy in Hell

Creator, writer and artist, Mike Mignola, brings you the new ongoing story titled Hellboy in Hell. Published by Dark Horse comics, this will mark Mignola’s visually artistic return to Hellboy since Conqueror Worm way back in 2001, to which he intends to reveal an array of Hellboy’s secrets in a way only Mignola can.

It is fitting, after all, that Mignola would continue the series here with both writing and illustration. He told the first Hellboy story through his own artwork, so it’s only right he tells the story after his apparent end. If you haven’t been keeping up with what’s been going on with Hellboy, he’s dead.

Hellboy died fighting a dragon, which wasn’t very far after learning he was a direct descendant of King Arthur, making Hellboy the rightful king of all of Britain. The comic starts right where Hellboy get’s his heart plucked from his chest, dies and makes his plunge into hell. Since giving away spoilers in reviews is frowned upon, that information is about all I can tell you. All that can be really said from there is Hellboy meets up with an adversary from his past amidst a unique take on hell through Mignola’s artistic imagery.

Despite the total lack of new information given before picking this title up, if you’ve kept up with the series, you’ll definitely want to keep on it at this point. If you haven’t kept up with the series, or never read a Hellboy comic but maybe enjoyed the movie or a cameo Hellboy made in another title, this is a good place to start.

If that’s not enough to sell you, keep in mind this is a franchise that’s been nominated and won well over a dozen awards, including the Eisner Award for “Best Limited Series,” the Eagle Award for “Favourite American Colour Comic book “and the Project Fan boy Award for “Best Indie Hero.” At the very least, its proof Mignola is capable of producing an acceptable story that’s able to keep your attention from beginning to end, which this first issue does with ease. His pleasantly decrepit (at times) expressionistic drawing style really compliments it; focusing more on the story telling than the fact Hellboy is in hell without missing the point.

Hellboy in Hell is a good read for folks both familiar and the unfamiliar to the franchise who would like to get into it. If you’re into action/adventure cape comics but are curious into branching out into more indie titles, this would be a good starting point as well. Hellboy in Hell is set for release for December 5th and can be found at your local comic book shop or on Dark Horse’s website.

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“The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: Heroes & Icons” Book Review

I don’t care who you are – all of us grew up with pro wrestling. The majority of us watched it and became enamored with the personalities and the action, and of course, the drama. These wrestlers helped shape our formative years, and many of them grew outside of the squared circle, leaving an impact on mainstream audiences who would tune in to just see that one person that was too big for the ring. In “The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: Heroes & Icons”, we take a look at who these people were and are, and see how they made it to the top and what they did to change the industry and reach such a massive audience.

“Heroes & Icons” is the fourth in the series of Hall of Fame books by these authors, the other team being the Canadians, the tag teams, and the heels. Written by Greg Oliver, who operates the Slam! Wrestling website, and Steven Johnson, long-time contributor to various pro wrestling magazines and sites, these two men have compiled a comprehensive who’s who list of wrestlers from every era, reaching as far back as the early 1900’s with men like Jim Londos and Pet Brown, and going all the way up to modern times with the likes of The Rock and Sting.

The book weighs in at a very hefty 546 pages long and could easily be used as a foreign object in a no-rules match. It features tons of black and white photos to help illustrate the tales, as well as a very small color section in the middle of the book. This book truly features so many men that have shaped the sport of pro wrestling, including such illustrious names as Billy Robinson, Lou Thesz, Dusty Rhodes, Billy Robinson, Bruno Sammartino, The Brisco Brothers, and, of course, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (as what books on icons would be complete with those guys?). I am fighting the urge to list every single major wrestler in this review, but trust me, all the greats are here, and even some of the more recent ones, such as CM Punk (who graces the cover of this book).

Along with biographies of each wrestler are stories on the road or in the ring about these men, often from their own mouths. To me, that is the big selling point, getting up close and personal. The stories about them also put their respective era’s into the limelight and put them into perspective in the history of things. I enjoyed reading about the super heavyweights like the Maguire brothers and Haystacks Calhoun, since growing up, the biggest heel when I was a kid (literally) was Yokozuna, so reading about the roots of this gimmick was interesting to me. It’s hard to believe, but 540 pages seems short compared to how much bigger this book could be, but then again, this is the fourth volume in a series – and who knows how many more!

I was honestly not sure what to expect when I got this book, but I was pleasantly shocked with what I received. While I initially thought this would be a book about the big boom of the wrestling world in the 80’s and into contemporary times, but instead, I got a very comprehensive book that stretched further back than I ever anticipated. I had never heard of so many of these prolific wrestlers, and I doubt you have unless you have been digging through old magazines or been hitting Youtube like a pro wrestling fiend. Men like Ruffy Silverstein, Tiger Conway Sr., Abe Jacobs, Blimp Levy, Enrique Torres, Chief Little Wolf, and so many others. This is a serious compilation for die-hard’s and a great educational resource for fans who are seriously into the sport and are ready to take their knowledge to a new level.

You can order The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: Heroes & Icons (Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame series) from Amazon.com for under $16, and is worth the price if you are a hardcore pro wrestling fan. I used to think I was pretty serious about my wrestling, but when I had a hard time recognizing so many of these old-timers, I think I have some real research to do. That is a good thing, though, as this book has expanded my horizons and interest in the past of pro wrestling, and made me very excited to see what happens to the future of the industry. When my only complaint is that I wish the book was longer, you know you have a winner!

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DVD Review- Nitro Circus: The Movie

Nitro Circus: The Movie is a DVD released today and something that is very difficult to explain. Anyone who is in touch with the Xtreme Sports culture, dating back to the 90’s when “extreme” began with an X, is probably already familiar with the Nitro Circus. The contemporary stunt show is populated with well known Xtreme athletes, including X-games household name and Nitro Circus poster boy Travis Pastrana. Nitro Circus also had a TV show that people familiar with this niche type of entertainment have no doubt seen before.

For people unfamiliar with the kind of things done in Nitro Circus: The Movie, no words are going to impart a full understanding. The members of Nitro Circus use objects with wheels and/or motors to do very dangerous things. The type of entertainment is very spiritually close to Jackass, except that the Nitro Circus team have the requisite skills to make the stunts work, sometimes. In fact, many of the Jackass cast and crew make some kind of appearance in the film, including an interview with Jackass front man Johnny Knoxville about the Nitro Circus.

The frame story of Nitro Circus: The Movie that’s supposed to separate it from any other video that the team records is that it plays itself up to be a documentary, following the Nitro Circus on its way to its first live show in Vegas. This documentary structure is thin and the movie seems to care about it even less than the audience will. After a brief introduction this movie is nothing but a solid hour or so of stunts with 15 second blocks of bad acting to set up each new feat.

The stunts featured range from grinding a rail with a car to being pulled down a giant slip in slide ramp by a motorcycle mounted on a boat. Long jumps are made between skyscrapers on a modified big wheel. There is a lot of flipping cars, property damage and severe injury. If it involves wheels and stupidity, it’s featured.

Continue reading DVD Review- Nitro Circus: The Movie

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DVD Review- Outpost: Black Sun

Outpost: Black Sun is a European horror movie recently released on DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack in the US. The movie is about a young woman Nazi hunter named Lena who, in pursuit of the last of a group of aging war criminals, is reunited with a theoretical physicist friend Wallace in Eastern Europe. Together they discover a group of former SS members who’ve turned themselves into immortal monsters using the power of electromagnets.

No part of the above paragraph is made up nor embellished for comedic purposes.

The plot of Outpost: Black Sun makes exactly no sense, as the above synopsis would indicate. The film is actually a sequel to the 2008 horror Outpost, which also makes no sense. I had actually seen Outpost previously, but the plot of both movies in the franchise are so disjoint and random that I did not mentally connect that they were part of the same story, in spite of the fact that they share very memorable Nazi-monsters. The indecipherable plot of the original turns out not to be a problem because Outpost: Black Sun assumes early on that no one watching could possible piece these movies together.

Within the first 15 minutes of the film, Lena is reintroduced to Wallace and the physicist explains the entire back story of the first movie using information he could not possibly know and footage he could not possibly have access to. Wallace makes no effort to explain how a Nazi hunter and a theoretical physicist became friends or accidentally ran into each other so often during the course of their world travels, but at least he brings the audience up to speed on all the crazy baggage from the last movie.

After the recap, however, the Outpost universe turns around and again drives off the insanity cliff with no hope of returning. As is expected in this kind of film, the plucky scientist/hunter of war criminals duo run into a rag-tag group of soldiers tasked with shutting down and securing the Nazi magnet machine that makes the SS soldiers immortal. Continue reading DVD Review- Outpost: Black Sun

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“Super History” Book Review

In the less than eight decades since Superman’s debut in 1938, comic book superheroes have become an indispensable part of American society and the nation’s dominant mythology. They represent America’s hopes, dreams, fears, and needs. As a form of popular literature, superhero narratives have closely mirrored trends and events in the nation. Today, we are reviewing “Super History”, a book that takes American history from 1938 to 2010 through the lens of comic books, revealing the spandex-clad guardians to be not only fictional characters but barometers of the place and time in which they reside.

Written by Jeffrey K. Johnson, a World War II historian for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Honolulu who also wrote a book on American Advertising in Poland (an odd jump in topics from that book to this one), “Super History” is one of my favorite comic-related books that I have reviewed from McFarland Publishing so far. With the perfect balance of images to text, and easily accessible text at that for readers of any level, this book is a whirlwind tour of America and it’s relation to the world and current events with sequential art being the narrative that moves it.

Comics have always been a mirror of the real world, and “Super History” spells it out in bite-sized portions with informative explanations that not only discuss socio-political topics, but also how the comic industry itself changed and modernized with what America wanted. When I say bite-sized, I mean that, as each chapter is broken up into very tiny sub-chapters that could be a page or two long, breaking the book up in a pleasant way that reminds me of panels in a comic book, a very fitting parallel to the subject matter.

I would say just about every fan of comics grasps the basic historical aspects of their reading material, and “Super History” is a concise examination of the repeated rise and fall of comics, it’s evolution, and how the world has evolved with it. While the book is not as detailed as “War, Politics and Superheroes”, I found it loaded with info and historical tidbits that whet my appetite to dive deeper into the past. Growing up in the ’80’s and ’90’s, the section on that era was one of my favorites, since it was a time of growth and maturity in comics, and essentially the end of innocence for the genre as a whole. Reaganomics, Frank Miller, The Cold War, and The X-men, to name a few, changed the way people looked at the world in more ways than one, and this book details how each one seamlessly played into our fictional and real worlds.

You can order Super-history: Comic Book Superheroes and American Society, 1938 to the Present from Amazon.com for $40. Like most of the books from this publisher, it’s meant for use as a textbook for college-level students. However, this book is still fine for non-students and I give it a high recommendation to read. It’s an easy read and one that opens up the readers to delve further into the past to see how art can truly shape the world, and how sometimes reality begins to mirror fiction. Pick it up today and get a good look at how America and sequential art has evolved from it’s conception to modern times.

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“Teaching Comics and Graphic Narratives” Book Review

Despite going to an art school for illustration, there was never a course on the history of comics. Sure, there was a sequential art class that I took repeatedly and my brilliant professor, who I long remember as one of my best teachers there, went into history here and there when it was applicable. I was forced to take art history and illustration history courses through my time in college, but never once did I see a class that taught the importance of comics as an art-form and storytelling medium. Some universities out there have that luxury, and for those that do, chances are you have seen the book we are reviewing today, “Teaching Comics and Graphic Narratives”.

Written by Lan Dong, an associate professor of English at the University of Illinois and author and editor for a number of journals and books on Asian American lit., children’s lit., and popular culture, has broken the teaching of comics down to six essential sections. They are American studies, Ethnic studies, Women’s studies, Cultural studies, Genre studies and lastly, the trio of composition, rhetoric and communication. The book references many comics throughout time, both old and new, to make it’s point, ranging from well-established sequential art masters such as Winsor McKay and Bob Kane, to modern indy book creators like Gene Luen Yang, Aaron McGruder, and Alison Bechdel, and tons more (way too many to list).

Examining specific works from a wide spectrum of artists, an equally vast amount of topics is discussed within those six main sections, jumping from how races are viewed and discussed, to sexuality, socio-economic statuses, and even the creation of a comic itself and it’s design and approach. It’s truly a fascinating way to look at sequential art, and is an excellent text book that is easily accessible to newcomers to the art form, as well as longtime readers.

I found the sections on teaching ethnic graphic narratives very interesting, especially in how it there are so many creators that have dealt with this issue in a variety of ways, some serious, some funny, and some a cross of both. As I have heard Will Eisner say in other interviews, and he is quoted in this book as well, “the stereotype is a fact of life in the comics medium. It is an accursed necessity – a tool of communication that is an inescapable ingredient in most cartoons”. Yet, in a video I saw of Sergio Aragones from the 90’s that Marvel Comics put out, the author of “Groo” stated that while he works with these cliched looks to successful achieve his story telling, it is only because society can not accept a different look for other characters, and it is up to society to make those stereotypes go away so he and others can draw how they please. While I am getting slightly off topic, I found this entire section to be one of the most engrossing, since I think everyone has at one time either stereotyped someone or been on the receiving end of it.

“Teaching Comics and Graphic Narratives” is a perfect entry point to comics for readers both young and old, and makes for a fine reference as well for critical-writing authors who use comics in their essays. Best of all, for those who are involved in more critical analysis, each chapter has a massive works cited page to help you dig deeper into higher thinking in comics, and it proves that time old adage we comic fans go by – that comics open up readers to a joy of reading they never knew they had.

You can order Teaching Comics and Graphic Narratives: Essays on Theory, Strategy and Practice from Amazon.com for around $40-45. Much like the other books from McFarland Publishing, they are meant as text books, so the price is higher than your average paperback book. As a textbook, it’s great (and includes some nice little homework assignments for you to do after you wrap up each chapter), and as a casual reading book, it works equally well. I could have used some more visual aids, but I just like looking at pictures and that can’t be helped. You will definitely learn about many comics you never heard of before and will want to read, so for that alone, it succeeds, but it excels more at teaching students about why the art form of comics is important and should be taken just as seriously as the so-called “high-art” world.

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“War, Politics and Superheroes” Book Review

It took decades after the creation of comics and cartoons for people to begin to take them as a serious art form, and a few decades more for casual viewers to realize that there were deeper messages within those funny pictures. Visionaries like Will Eisner, Frank Miller, and even Sergio Aragones were some of the more notable artists in their time that drew more attention to sequential art as a serious form of story telling, but those messages can be dated as far back as the turn of the 20th century. In “War, Politics and Superheroes” from McFarland Publishing, we take a trip through heroes and history to learn about how comic books truly are a mirror image of real life, and how sometimes, those comics can even change political views in our real world.

Written by Marc DiPaolo, an assistant professor of English and Film at Oklahoma City University, has broached a broad variety of socio-political topics and brought them into an accessible world for both comic fans and poly-sci students. Rather than running through things chronologically, the author instead chooses a character or series to discuss their real world implications and how their fictional actions affect the real world. A quick rundown of the chapters show some interesting parallels; Wonder Woman and the rise of feminism and how the view of women has changed over the course of several decades and how she started as a symbol for women to rally behind in WW II, the Punisher as a reflection of ultra-conservatism, how Superman is meant as an FDR-style figure with roots in Judaism, and much more.

I found this book extremely fascinating and taking some surprising twists and turns in how I would think about certain characters. Some characters you would think are more obvious than others, but DiPaolo throws a monkey wrench at you and feeds you thoughts that would have never crossed your mind before. For example, according to the author, Batman is a feudal prince living in a democratic society who seeks to protect people with his old way of thinking, and the Christopher Nolan movies especially deal with Batman as a means of fighting terrorism (a theme that is seen in essentially all three of those Nolan movies). On the other end of that spectrum is Spiderman, a “class warrior” who constantly struggles with everyday problems and was not born a hero but became one, and how his actions in Marvel’s Civil War storyline meant more than just that company’s take on The Patriot Act.

As a big fan of The Punisher, I greatly enjoyed the chapter on Frank Castle as a socially castigated Vietnam War veteran who, much like Rambo, can simply “not turn it off” and is not just after street thugs, but is also attempting to clean up the corrupted officials that work the system from within for their gain. For me to condense any chapters into a short sentence or two would not be giving justice to the work that the author put into this book. Chapters seven, eight and nine bring us closest into modern times, discussing the variety of ways the X-Men represent a modern America and their thoughts on civil rights, gay rights, and dealing with prejudice, how the tortured anti-hero has become more popular, and what the political landscape looks like in Obama’s America.

This book holds no bias to one political party or the other, and treats all the topics with an equal eye and opinion. Just the facts, no slant towards one side or the other, and I commend the author for keeping it neutral (for the most part anyway, once we get into the chapter on Obama, it does become more left-oriented). The sheer amount of characters discussed from both comics and TV ensures that everyone’s favorites will be discussed in some way, and is a great way for people who would normally not care for comics to become interested.

You can order War, Politics and Superheroes: Ethics and Propaganda in Comics and Film from Amazon.com for about $40-45 new. Keep in mind, it is meant as a textbook, and since college kids are loaded with cash, the price is slightly higher. Well, that’s not much of an excuse for the high price, but that is the intent of this product so I would say pick it up, but see if you can get it used so it will be slightly cheaper. I recommend picking this book up if you are a person who is into history or politics, and even if you are simply a fan of good comics, you will still get a lot out of this purchase. While you may have thought fleetingly about the deeper implications of certain stories, “War, Politics and Superheroes” gives you the tools you need to examine comics in a different way and will certainly change how you read those books and watch TV in a surprising way.

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“Death of WCW” Book Review

From 1988 to 2001, World Championship Wrestling was one of the top professional wrestling organizations in the world, constantly teetering between first place and second against it’s biggest rival, Vince McMahon’s WWF/ WWE. The two companies went back and forth for over a decade, always trying to one up each other to become the main show for wrestling on TV and pay-per-view. Needless to say, most fans know now who won the Monday Night Wars, with WWE still around while WCW is a relic of pro wrestling past. The question is, how come WCW, which had all the cards for a long time, wither and die in the pathetic and often embarrassing way they did? R.D. Reynolds of wrestlecrap.com and Bryan Alvarez of Figure Four Weekly asked that same question, and “The Death of WCW” is the book that answers it.

Reynolds and Alvarez meticulously researched the history of not only WCW, but the companies that it existed as before Ted Turner transformed it into WCW, as well as other very important regional promotions that helped build WCW or tried to compete against it, and a history of WWF, the two companies that fought to be the biggest show in pro wrestling. While many remember the Monday Night War’s as the big battle between WCW and WWF, the battle really began when Ted Turner bought WCW and began pumping tons of money into it. Vince Jr., after buying WWF from his father, was also trying to do a similar plan of attack, but it would take years of work and a ton of mistakes from WCW for Vince to claim top spot.

The book details the rise and fall of many men behind the scenes who helped build WCW, as well as set it back, like Jim Herd, Bill Watts, Vince Russo, and Eric Bischoff. Beyond that, we have the tales of the wrestlers, who were often just as involved as the higher-up’s to book matches and have creative input, including Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and plenty of others. Hearing the inside scoop on their plans and their many follies is great, and written in a humorous and often-sarcastic tone of voice that is sure to please wrestling fans.

There is plenty of non-backstage and business talk too, with explanations and backstory about all manner of WCW matches, like the “fingerpoke of Doom” and the epic fail that was the WCW debut of the Ultimate Warrior, and his consecutive headlining matches against Hogan on pay-per-view that were very underwhelming. Reading all of these stories made me jump right to Youtube to try and dig up some of these matches, although sadly Youtube has not caught up with every moment from the book so I have yet to see the fake belt Lex Luger wore when he won his first title from Barry Windham (because Flair took the actual belt with him to WWF in that era and had not yet returned it). More than the matches are the promos, and finally hearing explanations as to why some of these bizarre and over-funded video packages existed to begin with (hint: Ted Turner is very rich).

I would highly recommend this book to pro wrestling fans, both casual and hardcore. While it is about the death of a company, it’s not too negative on WCW and is pretty fair (although there is an obvious snarky bias against some of the stupidity that happened with the company, but there are plenty of high spots too). If you never thought WCW was a big deal and that WWF was always #1, you need to read this book to truly understand what a phenomenon WCW was, and how depressing it was to see them crumble the way they did.

You can order “The Death of WCW” from Amazon.com for under $13, which is a great deal for a great book on a critical time period in pro wrestling history. Grab it today and relive the good times, the bad times, and the just plain bizarre times!

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