A big thank you to all the new visitors to jplinde.com. It’s a amazing what a little Lee Marvin will do for viewership. Stay tuned. Our special guest is just around the corner. I’ll be announcing the identity very soon so stay right where you are and don’t do anything. I have also enjoyed all the comments regarding my Showtime appearances of 1988. So far, the winner and champion appears to be “You look just like David Coulier (Joey) from “Full House.” Ah, the eighties, right? The runner up was just as good, “You don’t sound like that.” No, that is actually the voice from David Coulier. I fooled all of you. Keep those e-cards and emails coming.
In honor of Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” a quick look back at what some consider the best, worst spy film series of all time! High praise indeed. So, hang onto your slicked back, black oily hair. Here are the top five Dean Martin Matt Helms movies. BTW, they are the only Matt Helm movies and, as for top five... there are only four.
“The Silencers.” 1966. Directed by Phil Karlson. A top film of 1966 with 50 year old Dino clearing more money than Sean Connery did for “Thunderball.”
“Talk about a booby trap. That's a crazy holster.”
“Murderers Row.” 1966. Henry Levin. Made the same year as Silencers, this follow-up co-stars Karl Malden as the super villain (ho hum), Ann Margaret as the scientist’s swinging daughter and Dino, Desi and Billy as themselves. (Guess which scene I borrowed for "Son of Ravage").
“What a way to finish. For a guy that drank booze all his life to end up like a milkshake.”
The Ambushers.” 1967. Henry Levin. The last appearance of James Gregory as McDonald. Thank goodness he moved onto television and “Barney Miller.” This movie has everything, including a flying saucer and a magnetic gun that is perfect for unzipping. Filmed in location in Mexico.
“I believe the expression is, eh, 'Silence, Yankee dog', eh?”
The Wrecking Crew.” Notable for being the last film of Sharon Tate and fight scenes choreographed by Bruce Lee. One final Matt Helm film, “The Ravagers” was announced at the end credits. However, Dino declined in favor of 18 holes of golf. Coincidentally, the making of one of these films takes roughly the same amount of time.
“I know what you're after, and... I like the way you're going about it.”
Of course, it's skoal. There's ice in it."
Another week, another blog post. For all of those interested in blackmailing me, videos of my 1988 performance on “Comedy Club Network” have just become available on Amazon Prime. Originally part of Showtime, each show features comedians such as Adam Sandler, Rosie O’ Donnell, Tim Allen, and, of course, me. Most performers went on to greater things. Some of us remained behind to sweep up. I appeared in Season 2, Episode 7 and 8. I believe there is one more episode, but I have not found it yet. The episodes are free if you have Amazon Prime or .99 cents per. You can also purchase a whole season for a song. Spoiler: There is a chicken McNuggets joke. What can I say, the classics never grow old.
We still have some “Son of Ravage” Tanktop tees available for sale. Supplies are limited so leave a note if you are interested. The cost is $20.00.
I have decided it was high time to rank my five favorite Lee Marvin films of all time. Sounds random, right? Not really. We have a very special guest coming very soon to jplinde.com and I want to be ready. Besides, I think it is high-time we give this under-appreciated actor his due.
For a little history, Marvin was one of the top action stars of the sixties, cutting his teeth in early television and films as either a sadistic killer or hard-boiled cop. Among his early television roles are Dragnet with Jack Webb, Wagon Train and his own show, “M Squad.” Moving to film, he made quite an impression in “The Big Heat,” “The Comancheros” and John Ford’s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance.” Marvin was a decorated marine serving with distinction in the Pacific Theatre in World War II and one of my favorite action stars of all time.
Cat Ballou. 1965. Directed by Elliot Silverstein.
My first Lee Marvin film at ten years old. The gusto of his comedic performance of Kid Shelleen is something to behold. Marvin won an Academy Award for this performance and it is well deserved. I can’t think of a better way to be introduced to an actor with such a broad range of talent.
Yeah, it's all over in Dodge, Tombstone, too, Cheyenne, Deadwood, all gone, all dead and gone. Why, the last time I came through Tombstone, the big excitement there was about the new rollerskate rink that they had laid out over the O.K. Corral. I'll tell you something else, I used to work for the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show and a Congress of Rough Riders. And I rescued many stagecoach passengers from road agents and drunkard injuns... in the nick of time! Twice a day, three times on Saturday.
The Dirty Dozen 1967 Robert Aldrich
This film is unlucky as it is placed near the bottom because the other films in the list are so damn good. A great war film, if not a bit overlong. The great softcore king Russ Meyer always insisted in interviews that the idea for the film did not come from the author of the book of the same name. But that it came from him and a story he heard while serving in WW II.
The Professionals 1966 Richard Brooks.
This is one of my top action films of all time. Who needs a dozen soldiers when you can get it all done with four. A brilliant film and one of the top box office pictures of the year. All of the actors in this film give top-notch performances and it never gets old.
Yes sir. In my case an accident of birth. But you, you're a self-made man.
Point Blank 1967 John Boorman
This could have been the winner if not for the film below. Point Blank is eerie, moody, violent, dream-like and the performance of Marvin is stellar as a criminal hell-bent for revenge. This is one of Boorman’s finest films and I return to it regularly for the other worldly atmosphere. An incredible support cast featuring Angie Dickenson, John Vernon and Carroll O’ Conner.
Monte Walsh 1969 William A, Fraker
Yep, Number One is a film most people do not even know about. Funny, subtle, and bittersweet are not attributes one commonly associates to a Lee Marvin film. This western concerns the end of the cowboy life and Marvin is extraordinary in the title role of Monte Walsh. Jack Palance, Marvin’s co-star in “The Professionals” is outstanding as Walsh's long- time friend. This film is a must-see for Marvin fans.
Monte Walsh : Cowboys don't get married, unless they stop being cowboys.
That was fun and be sure and stay tuned for more concerning Lee Marvin!
Welcome back to the site that never sleeps, the show that never ends, the blog that keeps on going and going, and going. We have some terrific guests coming by the site in the next few weeks. I wish I could give you a head’s up but why spoil the fun. Let’s just say, one is from series television, cutting his writing/producing and directing teeth on a very popular SciFi Network and Netflix show. The other is an award-winning writer, having created one of the most celebrated and seminal biographies of the last decade. Okay, got your interest? I thought I might. Then by all means, tell all of your friends to stop by for a visit. We ain’t going anywhere.
I must admit, as a middle-aged guy going through Marvel Universe menopause, I thoroughly enjoyed Captain Marvel. What really resonated with me was the relationship between Fury and Carol. The banter was fresh, the relationship between the two one of substance. The twists and turns in the film were worth the wait and the whole film, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck took the whole woman superhero genre to a new level. And, special kudos to the cat. Outstanding performance by a feline.
Speaking of taking things to the new level. I thoroughly loved the third season of “Stranger Things” on Netflix. Great job by the Duffer Brothers. The season never gets old, or stale and manages to take the story to a whole new level. The performance by Millie Bobby Brown is of the usual high standard and Dacre Montgomery is outstanding as Billy, the human mouthpiece to an unspeakable evil. Another superb entry in a series.
I haven’t forgot my promise for a breakdown on the ultimate financial disaster that was “Disney’s John Carter.” Yeesh, I will be honest, I’m still sorting through it. Hopefully, I will have something for you by the end of the summer. I am currently midway through the second viewing and have some definite opinions about what went wrong. I can tell you this, it is not the production values. The film looks great.
Time for some plugs. The DC series “Swamp Thing” is wrapping up. Do yourself a favor and check out the excellent work of producer/writer Mark Verheiden, the entire production staff, cast and crew as they bring one of the most popular characters of comic book fiction to your television screen. It’s not too late to join in on all the fun.
And Tadd Galusha’s phenomenal work of storytelling, “Cretaceous,” is available at all book and comic stores. Show Tadd some love and pick up his graphic novel. Better yet, leave a review.
And speaking of reviews, we have had some stellar reviews for “Son of Ravage” on Amazon, but we need more. A few well-chosen words on GoodReads wouldn’t hurt either. If you have the time, and haven’t yet, drop on by and leave an opinion. It will be very much appreciated.
Well, that’s it for now. See you all next week!
Welcome back, Ravagers. As always, your presence is what continues to make this the little website that could. Thank you for your continued support! Some of you may already be at Comic-Con. If you are, have a great time. By the way, you score bonus points (maybe even a teeshirt), if you spot a copy of “Son of Ravage.”
I’d like to dedicate this week’s blog to three heroes who got started in the game late, (they were all in their sixties in fact), but never the less were skilled enough to battle Hercules, romantic enough to cozy up to Snow White, brave enough launch themselves into outer space, and resilient enough to conquer Martians and travel around the world in a daze. Quite an impressive resume. Even the likes of Rock Ravage would be jealous. But, whoever could these daring heroes be? Give up” (Drum roll)
Larry, Moe and Curly Joe, the funniest, craziest guys I know. During the very late fifties and early sixties, The Three Stooges, boosted by the success of their theatrical shorts playing endlessly on television, made a series of five, feature-length films. And believe it or not, all of them, had one toe firmly into the genre of fantasy/adventure.
In this humble post, I will endeavor to rank these Three Stooges films from worst to best. Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk. Let’s get started.
The Three Stooges go around the World in a Daze 1963 (One and one half nyuk).
Loosely based on the Jules Verne classic. I can honestly say that I have never sat through this entire movie.
Moe: We’re official bodyguards. Also double as man Friday.
Larry: And Saturday.
“Snow White and the Three Stooges.” 1960 (Two nyuks)
It was a clever idea, spoiled by the gimmick of featuring several ice-skating sequences. This is the Stooges only feature film to be in technicolor. Worth seeing. A bit artsy, (yeah, I know) for a Stooges flick and a sure-fire miss. Memorable line:
Moe hawking the medicine Nyuk. “Become the envy of your friends. Surprise your wife. You, lady, grow a beard and surprise your husband!”
The world’s introduction to the sweet, moronic, Curly Joe who became a kinder, gentler foe to Moe. I don’t care what people say, I liked him and always had the feeling that he was a good sport and quite the trooper. Be sure and check out Joe DeRita’s interview on the future of comedy. The infirm, toothless and only remaining stooge talks about the nature of comedy. But I digress. While this move does have some funny moments, it is kind of all over the place, even featuring the Stooges, a Unicorn and a song.
There really are no memorable lines but here we go:
Larry: (after a beautiful French girl walks away) Why didn’t I learn French instead of Latin? (Spies a Hispanic girl) Oh, a Latin!
“The Outlaws IS Coming.” 1965 (Two and a half nyuks)
Batman Adam West in his first feature roll and Emil Sitka’s final film appearance with the Stooges. Features a few cringe-worthy racist moments; particularly Curly Joe dressed as an Indian maiden.
Moe: “Your names will live forever. You may even get into TV.”
No, the moment you've all be waiting for. One the winner and runner up were both made in the same year and in my humble opinion are the best in the lot.
“Three Stooges in Orbit.” 1962 (Three nyuks)
Or Three Stooges vs the Martians, or Three Stooges do the Twist, or Three Stooges save Disneyland. This one also happens to be all over the place but as a kid, I loved it. The Stooges are kicked out of their apartment for cooking and move into a haunted house. And that’s just the first 10 minutes.
Moe” What do you normally do when somebody mails you a bomb?
Curly-Joe: I mail it back.
“Three Stooges Meet Hercules” 1962 (Four solid nyuks)
The most popular and successful of the theatrical feature Stooge films. The plot and structure are pretty tight, and the jokes aren’t half bad. Amazingly, the line dialogue below can’t be found in any of the online quote sites. However, it remains one of my favorites.
Curly Joe: “Can’t tell one head of the Hydra from another without a program.
And that, as they say is that! Hoped you all enjoyed that little stroll down Numbskull lane. Stay tuned next week when we get in depth with The Bowery Boys. Just kidding. Have a great week!
We have another special guest just around the corner in August. He’s a writer, producer and director with a new show debuting very soon on Netflix. You will learn more about that in the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, here is some summer praise for “Son of Ravage.”
I saved the end of Son of Ravage for our Sunriver vacation. It was difficult to wait, but this is exactly the kind of book I love to read on vacation - action, colorful characters, plot twists - evil villains including nazis!!! (during work it’s always finance/ business /motivation stuff) . I Just finished the book and it was worth the wait. Really appreciated the character development and especially liked their commitment to each other (could really feel how much they care)
Can’t wait for the next adventure in the series. I usually take my vacations in July- please start working on the sequel soon so I don’t have to delay my trip waiting for you to publish!
Thanks for writing!!!
Here’s a summer riddle for you. What’s red and black and lurid all over?
That’s right, Ravagers! I’m talking about the always colorful and imaginative art that graced the covers of the tallest tales and most adventurous stories of the 20thCentury.
“Tilly marched past a collection of framed magazine covers. The displays were colorful pulp art from a bygone era, authored by names sadly remembered by only a few. “Mad Science,” “Amazing Stories,” and “Astounding Science Fiction” were the featured titles and each glass encased cover teased a simple but entertaining read. A voluptuous and scantily clad female, cowering in the right-hand corner of each work, had obviously been tossed in as a bonus for the intended young, male audience.” Son of Ravage
These artists were not only talented but were able to churn out hundreds of these fantastic covers in the course of a year. And, most of the artists crossed genres and styles easily. One week a western, the next a detective thriller, followed by a bug-eyed monster from outer space. Some of these immensely talented individuals were immigrants, making their first American paycheck from the art they created. Some were women. As readers, and fans of pulp, we owe a debt of gratitude to all of them. Here are just a few.
Virgil Finlay is…” one of the foremost contributors of original and imaginative art work for the most memorable science fiction and fantasy publications of our time." What it lacks in the detail, it more than makes up for in imagination.
Matt Fox illustrated covers for the horror pulp magazine Weird Tales from 1943 to 1951. His specialty seemed to be covers like this. Hence, the ‘Weird” in the title.
Jack Binder was a Golden Age Comic artist and creator of the original Daredevil (Lev Gleason Publications of the 30s and 40s). What science fiction adventure is complete without an alien sidekick and marauding natives? Dig those crazy bug eyes
Whoops. How did that get in here? This, of course, is Brett Vail's wonderful work.
Prolific artist whose work crossed genre lines, working in magazines, paperbacks, comics and trading cards. How can you not love a square jawed space hero punching out a lime-aid Donald Trump alien while a scantily clad female nervously awaits her rescue. 4
And, of course, George Rosen featuring the ominous crime fighter the iconic, Shadow. “Who knows…”
This is my favorite cover of all time by artist Modest Stein. Stein did several of the Doc Savage covers but this takes the prize! I think the cover speaks for itself, don’t you? I’m going to guess and say this was created sometime during the war.
This had been just a small sample of some of the great art of the period. Special Thanks to FIELD GUIDE TO WILD AMERICAN PULP ARTISTS for the use of their art and information. You can visit them and see an alphabetical list of all the great artists of the period at pulpartists.com
500 visits last week!
I want to start out by thanking Mark Verheiden for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions last week. And, while I’m at it, some very special love to all of Mark’s fans who stopped by. Like Denny’s, jplinde.com is always open and have better coffee. We’ll have other guest writers dropping so you’re not going to want to miss what they have to say.
Happy 4thof July weekend. I hope you are all had a safe and sane holiday. Pleased to announce that the Linde’s got through it with all our fingers and toes intact. In a show of strength to our neighbors, we parked Tanktop all week long in the driveway
Not that summer reading, can’t be dangerous. I’m spending a few weeks diving into Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars series (specifically in relation as to why the movie adaptation tanked so phenomenally). I do have one or two ideas and will share my theory on the subject in the next few weeks. I know this is Pulp 101, but if you haven’t read any of the books in the series, do yourself a favor. I hear Barsoom is lovely this time of year.
Historical footage of the legendary Spruce Goose crashing into a McMinnville Oregon cornfield.
Another shout-out to Scott Ranalli for his five-star review of “Son of Ravage” on Amazon. Scott is a true pulp fan and I am truly grateful for his support.
I thoroughly enjoyed this over-the-top romp. The action is non-stop and throughout we are treated to mythical creatures, Bond-like set-pieces, explosions galore, and of course a guy with a tank turret on his head!! The love for the "good old stuff" of the pulps is apparent, as are a love of more modern entertainment like movies and TV --- references are dropped all over the place.
Despite the worst intentions of slacker Barry Levitt, he is drawn further and further into a crazy cluster$#!& of circumstances. Along for the ride are his four misfit friends. The best part of the book is the bond and love of these friends and how that can overcome one's typical need for self-preservation. It's really cool to watch the hook get set (in Barry AND his friends) for what would become "the love of adventure" that Lester Dent often spoke of in his pulp books.
I did not care for the "25 Years Later" epilogue. It took me out on a downer note. I wish I hadn't seen into that future. You may consider stopping at the final story chapter before that. But other than that, I really love this book, and had so much fun reading it and look forward to further adventures of Barry and his gang!!
Sorry, about the ending, Scott. I promise I’ll do better next time. Speaking of reviews. Spread the word. If you’ve read it, write it. Goodreads and Amazon are dying to hear what you thought of the 1stbook in the Son of Ravage Series. All reviews are welcome. And don’t forget to tell your friends that “Son of Ravage” is the read of the summer. Dawn from Los Angeles put her two cents in:
Is is a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a guy with a tank-cannon turret on his head? Like a kid in a toy store who can play with anything he wants, author J.P. Linde gleefully takes the tropes and conventions of this ‘epic’ adventure genre and zooms around the room with them. He takes ideas to their absurdly hilarious edge, yet never loses control of his narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Thank you, Dawn
Historical footage of a Nazi with a jetpack
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @jplinde and on J.P. Linde Author on Facebook.
In closing, there are some exciting things coming to the blog in the coming weeks. I just wish I knew what they were! See you next week!
Mark Verheiden is where he is today because of talent and a Who’s Who of Hollywood can’t wait to work with him. From comic books to screenplays, his work is original, intelligent, funny, and inherently relatable. Mark’s the esteemed creator/writer of such Dark Horse classics as “The American,” and the comic adaptations of “Aliens,” and “The Predator.” He’s the screenwriter of the blockbusters “Mask,” “Timecop,” and “My Name is Bruce.” Mark’s excellence soon transitioned him to Executive Producer/Showrunner and the challenges of the writer’s room. Mark never looked back. He’s worked on “Smallville,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Caprica,” “Daredevil,” “Falling Skies,” “Ash vs Evil Dead,” and “Swamp Thing” to name only seven. He is a mentor and a friend and was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mark Verheiden!
I’m curious as to your beginnings and what comic books or books inspired you to become a writer?
MV: I loved Marvel comics as a kid, and they were a big inspiration. And I was totally inspired by the horror films of my childhood, especially Universal and Hammer. But looking back, I think I was most inspired by my father, who was an electrical engineer for the power company (PGE) in Portland Oregon. He enjoyed his work, but his proudest work-related achievement was getting dozens of articles published in various engineering professional magazines. I think that somehow imprinted on my grade school mind.
And your first writing assignment/job?
MV: My first professional “sale” was an article for the late, great Cinefantastique magazine, where I profiled Portland filmmakers Will Vinton and Bob Gardiner, who had won an Academy Award for their animated short “Closed Mondays.” My first produced screenplay sale was the very non-union “Terror Squad”, which was totally rewritten by someone else but actually produced. And my first comic book assignment, per se, was “The American” for Dark Horse Comics.
What made you decide to pack-up and move down south?
MV: I moved to L.A. on January 1983… Oregon was in a recession and the only way to pursue my dream was to get to la-la land. Fortunately, I had supportive parents and a landing pad with my pal Paul Chadwick, creator of the comic character “Concrete”, who let me crash on his couch for far too long until I found a day job.
Did you always plan to transition to screenwriting?
MV: I actually moved to L.A. to do screenwriting, and I optioned a couple scripts before my friends at Dark Horse invited me to try something in comics. So I actually transitioned from film to comics and then back, doing both for awhile…
What was your first produced screenplay and how did you get the job?
MV: The aforementioned “Terror Squad”… I got it because my Oregon friend Matt Harrison had also moved to L.A. and was doing editorial work with a producer/director named Peter Maris. Maris was looking for scripts and Matt suggested me. Long story short, I “sold” Peter an original script called “Stalker” for $500, and he liked that enough to hire me for “Terror Squad,” which I did for the princely sum of $3K.
Let’s talk about your relationship with Dark Horse. How did you become involved with them?
MV: I was part of Oregon comics fandom in the 70’s, as well as the ”Central Mailer” for an Amateur Press Alliance called Apa-Five, a fan publishing group I started in 1971 when I was 14 (!). Through that I met the aforementioned Paul Chadwick, as well as Frank Miller (yes, that Frank Miller), and a little later Randy Stradley and Mike Richardson, the founders of Dark Horse. So, of course I pitched them something (“The American”) and happily they published it!
How does writing for Dark Horse differ from the larger companies?
MV: When I was writing comics for Dark Horse, there was a tremendous freedom, not only on a creator owned book like “The American”, but also when I did “Aliens” and “Predator.” It was a really great time to be doing comics. Books were selling hundreds of thousands of copies and royalties were great. I remember thinking at the time that this couldn’t possibly last… and I was right! I also did a lot of work for DC later on, writing both Superman and Superman/Batman, and while I enjoyed those experiences over all, there was a lot more editorial oversight.
It seemed in no time at all, you were producing. Describe that transition?
MV: Writers in television are mostly de facto producers as well. As I’ve forged on in TV, I’ve found myself rising to the position of “showrunner”, which means I deal with all aspects of making the show (budget, hiring, casting, editing) while also writing and directing the creative direction of the show. The difficult part for me is that all those other duties can pull you away from the writing. But if you really want to make “your” show, you gotta take it all on.
How did you become involved in the reboot of Battlestar Galactica?
MV: I joined BSG early in season two after getting a call from executive producers David Eick and Ron Moore. David has worked with me on a Darkman direct-to-video movie in the early 90’s and remembered me, and I was just coming off Smallville. At the time I didn’t even know BSG had been rebooted, but I binged the entire first season over a weekend and it blew me away. Working on Battlestar was an incredible experience, one that will be very difficult to replicate (though I keep trying!)
You have a long relationship with Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi. What is it that keeps drawing you back to working with them?
MV: Basically, the movie “Evil Dead 2” is partially responsible for my career. It’s one of my all- time favorite films, and Bruce is one of my favorite actors. My obsession with ED2 led circuitously to Raimi and Rob Tapert producing my first studio feature, “Timecop”, and in the 2000s I wrote “My Name Is Bruce” specifically for Bruce. Needless to say, showrunning season three of “Ash VS Evil Dead” ticked another entry off my bucket list, which was to write the Ash Williams character. I’m a lucky guy,
Which un-produced project would you want to revisit someday? (Besides Beer Run?)
MV: Besides “Beer Run”, of course, I have an original science fiction pilot that didn’t get set up a few years ago, but I hope may find a home one of these days. I don’t actually have that many dust bunny scripts. I have a lot of unproduced features, but I was paid for them and don’t own them.
Let’s plug Swamp Thing. It’s getting great press and reviews. What drew you to the project?
MV: Let’s see. First, it’s Swamp Thing, one of the best comics of the 80’s or ever. Then it was a chance to work with James Wan and Gary Dauberman (writer of “It”). I wanted to do a horror show that hewed closer to the tone of the original series, and I think we did that.
I really love Original Art Friday on Facebook. What inspired you to post and write about your favorite art.
MV: I realized I’d amassed a pretty big collection over many years of buying at comic book conventions, too much to display but too cool it just let sit in portfolios. So O.A.F. gives me a chance to revisit some of the pieces and share them with interested others. Plus, I love love, love original comic book art…
Tha shows and we all enjoy seeing it as well. Will you ever return to your weekly blog, “Famous Mark Verheiden’s of Filmland?” There are a lot of us who miss it.
MV: Maybe… I dunno… after writing all day sometimes the last thing I want to do is write some more. But maybe that’ll change!
Finally, any advice to any writers out there?
MV: My advice to new writers (specific to TV or screenplays): write samples. Be in Los Angeles. Network. And while it may seem like an impossible climb, always remember that if you give up, it’ll never happen.
Thank you, Mark!
Okay, Ravagers, thanks for stopping by and see you next week!
Welcome back, Ravagers!
Another week gone and we are left with nothing save another outstanding review for “Son of Ravage.” This is from Reader’s Favorite here’s what they have to say:
“Son of Ravage is a work of amusing action and adventure fiction written by author J. P. Linde. In a story set in 1980, a seemingly deadbeat nobody is about to discover the epic legacy of his bloodline, and perhaps the hero that he should have become all along. Protagonist Barry Levitt lives an unfulfilling suburban life until the grey comes shattering down all around him and the surreal and brutal world of his illegitimate father, The Ravager, is revealed. So begins a bizarre journey filled with evil villains, pulp heroes, witty banter and plenty of adventure, all with our unwitting hero at its center.
Author J. P. Linde writes with both love and humor to convey this retro reinvention of the pulp fiction genre and its many bizarre characters and plot twists. Fans of the genre are certain to pick up on so many stylistic details and references from American pop culture over the last sixty years or so, all of which is held together by the glue of a central team of characters somewhere between the A-Team and the Goonies. Laughs abound on their weird journey, facing colorful enemies from comic books and spy novels alike, and the use of dialogue is particularly effective in moving the plot along and cutting up large action sequences with pithy remarks and plenty of pathos. Overall, Son of Ravage is a delightful departure from the boring world of the standard narrative, bringing back retro, surreal adventure with both style and artistic flair.”
Reviewed by K.C. Finn
Thanks K.C.! Your official Tanktop tee-shirt is in the mail. Speaking of collector’s items, the henchman apparel is beginning to make the rounds. Rumor as it, the nefarious tee was spotted at the Alameda County Fair in the livestock ring. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
Speaking of the Tanktop tee-shirt contest. You can’t win without filling out the comment form on this here website. And, if you don’t have the patience to wait all summer, stay tuned for a very special announcement.
And now here’s your second clue regarding our very special guest next week on jplinde.com. Mark Verheiden! What? Oh-no. Well, too late now. Yep, the esteemed writer of such Dark Horse Comic classics as “The American,” “Aliens,” and “The Predator” will be joining us right here in the next blog. Mark was the screenwriter of “Mask,” “Timecop, and “My Name is Bruce.” He was Executive Producer and Writer for “Smallville,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Caprica,” “Daredevil,” “Falling Skies,” and, most recently, “Swamp Thing.” Mark will be answering some questions about his long career and on writing and general. He’s one of the nicest and most talented man in show business and I can’t wait to hear what he has to say.
Until next week!
First things first: A special shout-out to Albert and Danny of Outer Planes Comics & Games for making the reading and book signing of “Son of Ravage” a huge success. We sold a lot of books and ran out entirely of our exclusive line of Tanktop tee-shits. To all of my family and friends who showed up to offer moral support, my heartfelt love and appreciation. I couldn’t have done it without you. Now, as Aaron Montes is so fond of saying, "onto the next one!" Stay tuned!
A few more reviews of “Son of Ravage” are straggling in.
“You know that feeling when your strapped into the front seat of a rollercoaster about to go over the edge? That’s how Son of Ravage begins. A thrill ride that doesn’t hold back… Full of laughs, references, and cliffhangers - this crazy and witty story was hard to put down.”
“From page one I was hooked! It's just a great read and I hope there are more!”
“I loved the book so much! I've been a Doc Savage fan for 45 years and this is the best pastiche I've read. The pure Pulp Mayhem of the plotline was something to behold!”
Keep spreading the word. “Son of Ravage” is the comedy/adventure read of the summer.
Speaking of special reads, a very grateful thank you to Pacia Linde and her guest blog last week. It received lot of great comments and I can’t wait to see what she’s planning for us next.
Good news, Ravagers! Another run of Tanktop tee-shirts are on their way! The cost is $20.00 plus shipping and handling. As soon as I have them available, I will get the information up. I do want to stress, supplies, as well as sizes, will be extremely limited. Shirts are available in Small, Med, Large and X Large only. Hang in there, I will keep you posted.
We need to start getting our little comic/adventure opus in libraries. The process is easy. Just visit your local library website and click on “suggest a title.” Most websites have this feature. Usually, there is a short form to fill out. It’s as easy as that. Once you’ve accomplished this monumental feat, send me a note and I’ll post our victory for all to see!
Another great way to order “Son of Ravage” is from your neighborhood, independent bookstore. Not sure who and where it is? Allow me. Go to indiebound.org and type in “Son of Ravage”. The book will appear and to the right will be a box for your zip code. Type in those five little magical numbers and a list of close, discerning bookstores will appear. Click on the store and fill your cart with our delightful little opus. Why should Amazon have all the fun? Right?
But if you want a collector’s Tanktop tee-shirt, you’ll still have to go through me. And speaking of awesome tees, the summer Tanktop tee-shirt extravaganza giveaway is up and running. You’ll need to fill out a comment on this here website. The contest runs all summer so what are you waiting for? What happens on jplinde.com, stays on jplinde.com. Good luck!
A VERY SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT. In the coming weeks, I will be announcing a very special guest interview to jplinde.com. Don’t want to give too much away, so I will drop a hint:
“When I'm in office it's going to be just like the 80's. The top 10% will get richer and the other 90% can immigrate to Mexico where they can get a better life.”
Got it? Some of you just might. For the others, I will drop another clue next week. Stay tuned!
Finally, Happy Father’s Day to Rock Ravage and all of the fathers, fictional or otherwise. I hope you are having a great day with friends and family. It’s a little late now, but “Son of Ravage” would have made a great gift. Oh well, there is always next year.
Alright. I’ll admit it. I love Riverdale. And I don’t mean that I love Riverdalein an “oh, this is fun. I’ll watch one episode with a healthy restraint” kind of way, either. I love it in a devouring, hilariously incongruent for a woman nearing thirty who is fully aware that she is not part of the target demographic kind of way; an obsessive, binge-watching, spoiler-avoiding, merchandise-buying, deeply invested in a deeply flawed storytelling kind of way. I discuss it in the overly serious and reverential tones that people usually reserve solely for prestige television. I am a woman unironically obsessed with the Southside Serpents, in all their ripped flannel glory, looking like extras from Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders.
Archie comic books have been published since 1941, a staple of quaint mid-century Americana, and have basically followed the same formula for much of that time. I remember reading the comics for a brief time as a child and the stories usually fell along the same lines; that of Archie and his unresolved love triangle, Jughead and his unresolved hunger, and Betty and Veronica and their dueling animosity and friendship. The show, however, takes a decidedly different route. Riverdaleoperates from the basic premise that every moment must shock. Everything else, with the exception of aesthetics, is irrelevant. Basic cause and effect and linear narrative is abandoned, but in the most glamourous and endearing way possible. What is often left are a series of shocking moments and carefully curated pop culture references all set amidst a backdrop of perpetually misty landscapes and a world of lurid neon that would make Douglas Sirk jealous.
Riverdale includes copious references to themes or characters developed within the comics, including Jughead’s insatiable love of food and his dog, aptly named Hot Dog. These are sprinkled liberally throughout the show as an homage to the source material while also leaning the show towards the mid-century aesthetic of the comic books. Many scenes in the show serve to further assert this. Think, a traditional neon-lit diner, a Rebel Without a Cause-style drag race, and a performance of “Jailhouse Rock” by the high school cheerleaders. But there the similarities end. The sensibility of this iteration is more indebted to Twin Peaksin that an investigation into an ostensibly innocent, all-American town exposes the depravity existing just under the surface. Aesthetically, it’s a mishmash of glaring neon, noirishly complimented by excessive fog and Jughead’s somber narration, highlighted by gothic grandmothers reminiscent of some kind of deranged Tennessee Williams matriarch. The show’s writers pick its pop culture references with as much or more care than it’s plotlines, where a constellation of references serve as a shorthand for the relative hipness of a character in a deeply superficial universe. For example, a thing, such as “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by the Verve is referred to as “the song from Cruel Intentions” in order to insert the show into a long history of campy, overwrought teenage cultural touchstones as well as offering the character, in this case Veronica, a kind of cultural cachet, a fashionable pseudo-awareness of the world that is equally hilarious and thrillingly relatable to the audience. The writers strive to infuse each moment with these seemingly endless cultural references, including all the songs the characters sing, the books they read, the episode titles themselves, which all have significance to the characters and their development. One striking example exists in an episode entitled Bizzarodale. Cheryl Blossom, an out lesbian dating a young woman named Toni Topaz, talks eagerly of going to Highsmith College after high school, a place clearly named for the suspense pulp writer, Patricia Highsmith, also a lesbian. Throughout the episode, characters casually mention the titles of her more famous novels, namely The Talented Mr. Ripleyand, more importantly, The Price of Salt, a lesbian pulp novel notable for its positive depiction of a lesbian relationship that ends happily (contrary to other lesbian pulp of the era, generally more exploitative and, ultimately, moralistic in tone). Additionally, characters in this episode can also be seen carrying Valerie Taylor pulp novels, The Girls in 3-Band A World Without Men, which are important for much the same reason as Highsmith’s Price of Salt. These are not insignificant or flippant references, they bolster the characters, give them depth, and clearly appeal to nerds like me.
I am aware, as a self-proclaimed connoisseur of the teen drama genre, that here is something totally unique and truly bizarre. A world where teenagers run speakeasies, go to war with mob bosses, and form masked vigilante groups in an effort to expose serial killers. A world where all disbelief must be more than suspended, must be boxed up and hidden on the shelf to gather dust for the duration of the series. In a way rare to any form of narrative storytelling that I have so far encountered, Riverdale’s faults seem to also serve as it’s strengths: storylines that are dropped when they become an inconvenience, plot points with increasing levels of absurdity and irreverence, manic pacing, all of which somehow contribute to the sheer joy of watching this show.
In 1981, J.P. Linde co-wrote and appeared in a one-man comedy show titled “Casually Insane.” Shortly after, he joined the ranks of stand-up comedy and performed in clubs and colleges throughout the United States and Canada. In 1989, he made his national television debut on “Showtime’s Comedy Club Network.” He wrote the libretto for the musical comedy “Wild Space A Go Go” and co-wrote and co-produced the feature motion picture, “Axe to Grind.” “Son of Ravage” is his second novel.