Tag Archives: Overdue Books

Okay boys, this time it’s girl’s choice only…

For this week’s Awesomely Overdue Books column I thought I’d continue on with some more Find Your Fate books from my collection, in particular some of the more girl-centric volumes.  First up are three volumes of the Jem FYF series, titled Jewels in the Dark (written by Rusty Hallock), The Video Caper (written by Jean Waricha) and The Secret of Rainbow Island (written by Judith Bauer Stamper) respectively.  There were three published Jem Find Your Fate books, though there are an additional three rumored unpublished volumes.

Though not quite as action packed as other shows animated by Sunbow back in the 80s (like G.I. Joe, the Transformers, and the Visionaries), Jem was still exciting, filled with intrigue and had its fair share of science-fiction elements, so much so that I never felt weird watching it after school.   In fact it shared a lot of the aspects that made She-Ra feel more like a cross demographic show, and not just another girl’s cartoon.  When I first cracked the cover on the Video Caper I was curious if these books would have the same bad choice pitfalls that he Transformers books featured. I was curious if you could end up getting Jem or one of the Holograms (her fashionable band-mates) killed by choosing too hastily.  I couldn’t help myself and I broke one of the cardinal rules of CYOA-style books, I flipped forward to find some of the ending pages, and sure enough, there is a death scene.  I still find this really disconcerting considering these are branded properties and kids can get really invested in the characters, even if they could make different choices next time and have Jem save the day.

Anyway, another concern I had when cracking open these books are just how well the authors handled the material.   Were they “written down” to a kid’s level?  Were they just sort of knocked-out considering the format, or did they try and put a little more effort into them?  With the Video Caper I can honestly say that Ms. Waricha dropped the ball a bit.  One of the first lines in the book is so hackneyed it’s laughable, “Before you leave , you can’t help but notice yourself in the mirror and think how truly outrageous you look…“  ‘Cause you know that Jem is truly outrageous right?  Truly, truly, truly outrageous.

Along these lines, the choices, or more accurately the paths that you take after making choices, are poorly handled as well.  The initial choice forked in two directions, and if you pick path A, lit leads to path B anyway without advancing the story or adding anything.  It’s almost as if there really is no choice.  Also there are only a handful of choices to make with each ensuing path, with most of the pages instructing to turn to a specific page with no decision-making needed.  Actually, in the Secrets of Rainbow Island there are only four choices in the entire book.  Heck the plot even gets left behind in a number of the paths.  In the Video Caper the build up to the story involves a couple of speed-bumps that are completely left out of the second half of the story including the fact that Jem and her alter ego Jerrica are expected to tour London together with Jerrica’s more-or-less boyfriend Rio (and unless Synergy projects a hologram version of one or the other, this ain’t happening.)  Also a princess is abducted in the first half of the story and in the second half this plot point is forgotten in some of the paths.

I was also surprised to see that the books were written in the second person, so the reader is not only a character in the story, but takes on the role of Jem. The Transformers books, a couple of which were also written by Judith Bauer Stamper, were in a more comfortable 3rd person narrative where the reader was urged to make choices for the Autobot and human characters.  So not only can a path end with Jem’s death, in essence the reader dies along with her.  Again, for kids I would think this could be heady stuff.  All in all I’d have to say that these Jem Find Your Fate books are pretty much at the bottom of the CYOA-style book barrel.  Not only are they painful to read, they’re also not illustrated, so there isn’t even fun stuff to look at.  These were a total cash grab by Ballantine who must have done the math and figured anything with the Jem logo would turn a profit regardless of who badly written they were.  It’s a shame too because the cartoon was pretty good and I’d hate to think there were any girls turned off to the series because of the books.

The other book I wanted to mention is titled Morgan Swift and the Kidnapped Goddess (written by Sara Hughes in 1986.)  From what I can gather the main character Swift, was created by Random House/Ballentine as an answer to Indiana Jones for girls.   Swift is a high school science teacher with a keen fashion sense and a penchant for exploring jungles and pyramids in her off time.  There are two Swift Find Your Fate books (including M.S. and the Treasure of Crocodile Key), as well as a few prose books also published by Ballantine/Random House in 1985-6.  The two Swift FYF books are actually part of a larger series of Find Your Fate books that also includes a series of Indiana Jones and James Bond (all based on A View to a Kill) books.  I suppose this was considered their action/adventure line of Find Your Fate books, though all of the books really fall into that category.

This volume is also written in the second person, which is a format very common to CYOA-style writing and one that grates on my nerves.  Probably the lest used in the history of fiction, the second person narrative is by design an affront to the reader’s sensibilities, forcing them to agree with statements of character and desire.  For instance, in the Morgan Swift book there’s a passage that reads:

“She’s your science teacher, only the coolest thing to grace the halls of Coolidge High.  She’s wearing a dark purple jumpsuit and her red leather cowboy boots.  She never looks like anybody else, and she always looks great.”

Now I can get onboard with the idea of the author using the second person perspective to force one idea on the reader, say that we think Ms. Swift is the coolest thing on two feet.  But to further suggest that the eye-piercing matchup of a dark red jumpsuit and red leather boots looks great is just too much for me.  At that moment I’m ripped from the story and all good faith from the author’s words are gone.  My suspension of disbelief is shattered, and yes I realize that this is just a kid’s book, but it shouldn’t matter.  I never feel this way reading Judy Blume or James Howe, both of which hold up to adult scrutiny.   Again, the second person is just a very difficult perspective to sell to the reader.  You have to REALLY be able to target the intended audience, and people, as much as we might believe can be completely predictable, are usually too varied to target in such a manner.

Similarly there’s an issue with prior knowledge that is in my opinion impossible to pull off without some sort of amazing familiarity to back it up.  Another line in the book reads, “It’s on the tip of your tongue to ask, ‘Is that when you were in the monastery?’”  Before this reference we literally know nothing about Ms. Swift except that she’s qualified to teach high school science, has horrible fashion sense and has spent at least a day in Southeast Asia.   So the author is forcing the reader to have instant background knowledge of Swift, and it’s very jarring.  This is where second person leads and it’s a very perilous and annoying road.  At least after this reveal the reader is informed of a slew of other rumors about Ms. Swift (she used to date Sting!), so later on this sort of trick will work better as we actually have prior knowledge.  Anyway, even though the book is written in the second person, this time you play the sidekick, a student, Shortround to Morgan Swift’s Indiana Jones.

When it comes to decision making time this raises another unfortunate issue as Swift is the main protagonist and it’s laughable that when the chips are down she’ll rely on you to lead the way.  The first choice is presented after it’s revealed that your town has a traveling art exhibit from Meronga.  After bumping into Ms. Swift at the museum she explains a little bit about a priceless wooden statue, when all of a sudden three masked men burst in and steal the artifact.  Without thinking or hesitation you follow Swift outside to her car and speed after the thieves when you’re presented with a choice of two paths.  Honestly at this point Swift is in control so why is the reader prompted to decide?

Anyway, even for these pitfalls the book reads much better than the Jem volumes.  The Swift character is strange, a mix between Indiana Jones, MacGyver and a witch.  The book does have some great illustrations by Ann Meisel as well.

In future installments of Awesomely Overdue Books I’ll get to at least one other “mostly for girls” series, a handful of Dungeons & Dragons branded romance CYOA-style books.

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What would Optimus Prime do? You Decide!

Recently a couple of blogs that I frequent celebrated their four-year anniversaries (Old Man Musings and Cavalcade of Awesome), and it got me thinking about Branded’s upcoming 4-year (which hits this coming Wednesday the 17th), but not necessarily about any jubilation. Though I’m glad to have stuck it out this long and I’ve met all sorts of great people since starting this site, what I really started thinking about was the fact that I have all kinds of stuff that I’ve accumulated over the years, specifically to write about, which has been pushed to the side. On a side note, my wife and I have been watching an inordinate amount of episodes of Clean House recently and though we’re no where near as clutter intensive than any of those families, we’ve been asking ourselves what we would do in their situation (where they’re encouraged to donate or sell the majority of their stuff for the good of an organized clean house.) The wife had even commented on my ever growing collection of Choose Your Own Adventure style books the other day, wondering when I was ever going to get around to reading them and I mentally put myself in the Clean House mode and tried to imagine getting rid of them.

All I could think of was Hell No. But I have to admit that they’ve been sitting for over two years unread (in fact, here’s where I first mentioned getting bitten by the CYOA collecting bug almost exactly two years ago), and I began to wonder when I’d have the time to tackle them. Well, now is as good a time as any I guess. I decided to start with my run of Transformers Find Your Fate books.

The Find Your Fate books published by Ballantine were potentially the biggest single competitor of Bantam’s Choose Your Own Adventure series bringing all sorts of brand-name properties to this style of children’s book entertainment. With such branded luminaries as Indiana Jones, James Bond, Dr. Who, G.I. Joe, Jem, Tales From the Crypt, Thundercats, the Three Investigators, Golden Girl and Transformers, Ballantine was betting on character familiarity to win out over the originality and popularity of the CYOA series. Ultimately Ballentine published sixty seven books under the FYF heading and they ended the series in 1987 (trying unsuccessfully to revive the franchise in 1995 with a single volume of Find Your Unfortunate Fate Tales From the Crypt), bowing out to the CYOA empire (which ran until 1998 initially and had over two hundred entries published.) Though these two publishing houses clashed throughout the 80s on the CYOA-style adventure book front, the ultimate irony is that both companies are now divisions of Random House.

Anyway, as far as the Find Your Fate series is considered, for a nostalgia buff like me, these books are all gems because of their branded nature. Though I didn’t have any Find Your Fate books while growing up, I can imagine how awesome it must have been to more or less get a chance to control the actions of some of your favorite cartoon and movie characters while reading about their adventures. To me it seems like one step closer in getting into that character’s head than just playing with a toy, and much more involving than any of the branded Atari games of the period (for all of their generic boring adventures, e.g. E.T.) So what were the Transformers books like? First off they were part of the Junior subset of FYF books, so they only clock in at around 75 pages, and they’re slightly larger in format, sort of like a pre-chapter book.

    

There were nine books in the series, the first six of which were released between December 1985 and April 1986 and were concerned (more or less) with pre-Transformers the Movie events in the timeline, while the last three books were published in September 1986, a month after the movie hit theaters and they involved the post movie characters. Here’s the list:

#1, The Dinobots Strike Back (written by Casey Todd)

#2, Battle Drive (written by Barbara & Scott Siegel)

#3, Attack of the Insecticons (written by Lynn Beach)

#4, Earthquake (written by Ann Matthews)

#5, Desert Flight (written by Jim Razzi)

#6, Decepticon Poison (written by Judith Bauer Stamper)

#7, Autobot Alert! (written by Judith Bauer Stamper)

#8, Project Brain Drain (written by Barbara & Scott Siegel)

#9, The Invisibility Factor (written by Josepha Sherman)

    

    

William Schmidt handled the artwork on all nine of the books, and was responsible for executing one of the more interesting aspects of this series of books, namely the choice to use the toy designs for the characters rather than the cartoon incarnations. This was sort of a running theme with a lot of the Transformers merchandising, in particular the early Marvel comics and a bunch of stickers and lunchboxes (which heavily used repurposed toy-packaging art.) Though a lot of toys resembled their cartoon counterparts pretty closely, there are some glaring exceptions like Ironhide and Bummblebee who look quite different, and in Ironhide’s case not at all like a robot. Also fans of the toys will surely mock Megatron’s, um, manly stature as the design of the action figure ended up with an unfortunate placement of his gun-mode’s trigger. So to see these weird designs pop up in the artwork of the books can be kind of comical at times. Also, it’s kind of weird to see Schmidt re-draw some of the characters from their exact pose on the toy packaging artwork, again something that longtime fans will notice immediately. My favorite contribution by Schmidt though involves his use of reference material for some of the background elements in the ninth book, The Invisibility Factor…

The design of a scientist’s spaceship is a direct rip of the Millennium Falcon and later on in the story the Autobots are flying through an asteroid field in a ship that is unmistakably one of the Imperial Shuttles from Return of the Jedi. I sure hope those Autobots have the proper code clearance to get by the Star Destroyers and to continue on to Endor…

Schmidt also worked on a series of Star Wars novels in the 80s, the Lando Calrissien books, so my guess is that he had some SW reference material lying around and decided, “Why not?”

Along with the choice to use the character designs from the toys as opposed to the cartoon, the writers were also given notes that appear to have come from the Marvel comics instead of the Sunbow show. The most obvious example of this is the inclusion of the human character Buster Witwicky in place of the more common character Spike from the cartoon. In both the comics and the cartoons (and the new movies as well, though Shia Labeof is playing a variation named Sam) the Autobots are aided by the Witwicky family, namely Spike (in the cartoons), Buster (in the comics), and their father Sparkplug (comics and cartoons.) Whereas Buster was initially the same character as Spike for the comic book continuity, he was eventually retroactively turned into Spike Brother when Spike was introduced into the comic series as the Headmaster counterpart to Fortress Maximus (as he was also on the toy.) Anyway, the books feature Buster, which leads me to believe that the authors were probably given a series bible that related to the comics, as well as character designs from the actual toys. My guess is that this was a little bit confusing to kids who didn’t read the comics and were just fans of the cartoon.

    

Similarly some of the Tranformers characters are miscast in the last three books of the Find Your Fate series, in particular Hot Rod who hadn’t turned into Rodimus Prime even though the books feature Galvatron, so the stories are definitely post-movie in continuity. Maybe the writers were working from a bible that didn’t reveal the ending of the movie? Also there are a handful of characters that pop up in these last three books which were killed off in the movie, namely Prowl.

All in all, as CYOA-style books go, these Transformers Find Your Fate Junior books are sort of on the annoying side in that they read as if there is only one true path through the story. Though I’m not steeped in the CYOA community (if there even is one, and I’m sure there is), my guess would be that there is a fundamental rift between fans as to how the books read in terms of decision-making. The are two camps as I see it, one in which the decision trees give the impression that there is a right and wrong choice, and by continuing to make the “right” decision leads to the some sort of prize (be it a longer more satisfying read or the “best” ending), and a second in which the decision-making is less about winning the adventure and more about crafting the story as you go.

As a kid I fell into the former camp, but as an adult reader I’m way more interested in the latter concept, that this style of writing is to make the adventures more involving by giving the reader a chance to participate. This also strengthens the idea that you could read these books numerous times choosing differently each time to get a completely different, yet satisfying experience. The thing is that not all CYOA-style books are written so that you can feel satisfied in making whatever choice you desire, in particular these Transformers volumes. In a lot of cases the choices are clearly right and wrong, and by choosing the “wrong” option you’re directed to a bitter end for the characters involved. This in essence punishes the reader for making a hasty, in most cases violent or greedy, choice and promotes the idea that there is only one correct path through the story and the trick is to find it. In most of these Transformers books there is one point that a choice leads to a character’s grisly death. I actually find this kind of disturbing as it really puts this outcome in the reader’s hands, and for some kids this must have been heart wrenching. Heck watching Optimus die in the ’86 movie was bad enough without me having to feel responsible on top! Little Bobby is so excited about the prospect of defeating Galvatron one and for all that he decides to have Hot Rod and Kup take an invisibility device away from it’s designer, only to have Hot Rod disintegrated by a booby trapped self-destruct option on the device.

On the other hand, maybe this is the sort of tactic that really hammers home moral responsibility, much more so than the famous PSAs at the end of so many of 80s cartoons. Taking the horror movie route and illustrating that bad behavior results in death.

I do have to say that the stories end up mirroring the three act structure of the cartoon episodes pretty well, and the overall concepts are relatively fun. The various writers do a pretty good job of sticking to the overall character traits as well, so these are a fun way to expand on the universe of the cartoons and comics if you’re a fan of the Transformers. Oh and for all you kids out there, if we are going to treat these books as if they’re a game to win, don’t cheat by writing in the book…

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Fee, Fi, Fo Fom, this Rodeo is really Dumb!

During this past Halloween season the wife and I were browsing around some of the outlet stores in North Georgia and I had another one of those lightening strike nostalgic moments while in an antique shop.  Sitting on top of a stack of old records was a copy of Scooby Doo and the Mystery of the Rider Without a Head record and storybook issued by Peter Pan records back in 1977.  I’ve mentioned this feeling before, but it’s my favorite sort of nostalgia moment, the kind when I can’t believe I forget whatever it is that made me slap myself upside the head with disbelief.  There are plenty of these bits of pop culture flotsam and jetsam that I come across that will put a smile on my face or make me stop for a second and say “Huh”, but it’s really a great an rare feeling when I feel like a part of me has been lost and is there sitting in front of me again.

This particular book must have been a hand-me-down from my sister as I was born the same year it was released and probably wouldn’t have used or appreciated it until I was five or six.  I’m also not sure how often I actually listened to the record as I didn’t recall much when I listened to it recently…

(You can listen to the record at the great read-along site, the Secret Cavern of Read-Along Treasures.) What really grabbed me when I found this in the antique shop, and what I really remember pouring over as a kid is the interior artwork.  Unfortunately the artist on this particular book wasn’t credited, and I have a feeling it’s because it was more of a quickie in-house art department rush job as opposed to shopping the work out to freelance talent.

Honestly, looking back at this stuff so many years later I have to say that I’m a bit underwhelmed at the quality.  Actually it’s pretty sloppy in a lot of places, smacking of a bad tracing job.  The line work is very stiff with almost no grace or variance to the line width and weight, but even for all of this, I still love it.  It makes me feel like I’m six years old again…

My favorite bit in the book is the Rider Without a Head, not only because of the monster-esque subject matter, but because the character is rendered with the most detail and attention throughout.  In fact, the stiff art style paired with the watercolor in the book reminded me of the work of one of my favorite artists, Quinton Hoover.  When I started playing the Magic: the Gathering collectable card game back in the mid 90s, Hoover artwork was the one that really stood out and spoke to me.  I’m a big fan of the exacting lines and the colored pencil & watercolor work in the color.  It’s the essence of comic book art, minus the thick black shadowing.  There’s something in this type of clean line work that makes me think of cartoons or the type of simple effective illustration used in product packaging.

Even though the artwork in the Scooby Doo book isn’t nearly as elegant as Quniton Hoover’s work (example of which you can see here and here), it makes me wonder if spending hours pouring over the book helped to predispose me to enjoying this sort of clean style (though obviously there were the hundreds of hours of cartoon watching and comic book reading that didn’t hurt.)  Looking at the pieces above and below, I really do see a close connection to Hoover’s style, so much so that I would have to say that there is some sort of connection (as tenuous as it seems.)  At the end of the day it’s another piece of the puzzle at least.

On a side note, I thought it was interesting how on-model the above image of Scooby is compared to the art in the rest of the book.  You see this exact same pose repeated in the final image in the book, again leading me to think that a good bit of the artwork was traced from other existing Scooby Doo work.

 

 

Though I had a handful of other read-along storybook and record sets (namely Gremlins, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and the various weird Star Wars exopanded universe books like Planet of the Hoojibs), I don’t remember if I had any others released by Peter Pan Records.  I seem to remember the company character icon pretty well though.  I wonder if it was from pouring over this Scooby Doo book so many times?

I am going to choose my OWN adventure…

I thought I’d take a moment and talk about my current nostalgia obsession. I’ve been spending the last three or four months scouring my local used bookstores for all the Choose You Own Adventure style books that I can find. I only had a handful growing up, most of which were books from the actual Choose Your Own Adventure series, but there were a couple others that I read and re-read a few times including a Marvel Super Heroes Gamebook featuring Wolverine, and one of the Which Way series of books starring Batman. Though I loved both of these latter books because of the characters, I always sort of thought of them as CYOA knock offs because they didn’t have that branding.

Well, when I first started buying up all of the CYOA books I could find I was getting a little discouraged because I wasn’t finding all that many. In fact, without resorting to eBay I only managed to find about 20 (there were something like a hundred and fifty or so I think), and another 5 that my friend has had since he was a kid. One of the reasons that I wanted to track these books down was to get some more material for the site as I’m getting towards the end of my sticker collection (I have a good 6 months worth of material left, but I’ve sort of tapped that reservoir), and 25 books just isn’t going to cut it. Then I remembered the Batman and Wolverine books and it got me thinking about what other CYOA style paperbacks were available in the 80s. Let me go on record as saying that there were a ton, and I’ve been buying them left and right. I was sort of blown away when I started taking stock of the books that are stacking up on my shelves. I’ve found no less than 20 different series that range in branding from generic/original (like CYOA, Find Your Fate, Which Way, Your Amazing Adventures, and Wizards, Warriors and You) to a ton of popular 80s properties (including Marvel, DC, D&D, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thundercats, Jem, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Star Trek, and even Blackstone the magician.) I’ve even discovered the world of paperback gamebooks (including stuff like Lone Wolf, Fighting Fantasy, and Sagard), which are basically one player role playing games that act a lot like CYOA style books except you use dice and make decisions based on what weapons and spells your character has amassed.

What’s kind of crazy is that I’m currently about a hundred or so paperbacks in to a collection that I think might just be gargantuan. The good news is that I should have plenty to talk about when I finally tackle how I want to approach these books. The bad news is that since there are so darned many of them I’m not sure where to start. I guess there are worse problems to have though. Anyway, I thought I’d share a few cover scans to give an idea of the kinds of books I’ve found and what’s going to come up eventually on Branded…

First up we have an entry in the Twist-a-Plot series (I don’t have the date handy as I type this.)  I was completely unaware of these books growing up and though I’ve been scouring the kids section of used bookstores for years I never paid any attention to these because they’re kind of light on the page count. I have a couple that are around the CYOA standard (which is around 110 pages), but most seem to be around 50 to 60.

Next we have book one in the Lazer Tag series published by TSR (again, don’t have the book in front of me so the date escapes me.) TSR, the publishers of the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game system, seems to be the second largest publisher of CYOA style books (next to Bantam who were responsible for CYOA, the Time Machine series, as well as the Be An Interplanetary Spy series.) Not only did they publish about 50 novels in their D&D branded CYOA series called Endless Quest, they were also responsible for a series of Marvel Super Hero books and the above Lazer Tag books.

Last up today is one the rarer series (well at least in suburban Georgia), the Heart Quest books, which were also published by TSR and took place in the D&D universe. These were aimed at girls and I believe are more in the vein of romances (which ought to be a trip to read.) They even have die-cut covers, so that when you open the book you get a full version of the picture on the cover. Classy. Anyway, I thought I’d throw these up on the site since I haven’t made an update in awhile. Hopefully I’ll get back on schedule with more Peel Here columns next week.

Crestwood Monster Series

So lately I’ve been wondering about how my love for all things monsters and horror began. I know there were a lot of contributing factors such as Garbage Pail Kids stickers, which featured some disturbing and gross horror related artwork, and Halloween in general, but I know that there has to be more to it than that. There were some movies, Monster Squad, Gremlins, and Poltergeist in particular, that definitely added fuel to the monster fire as well as the original Universal Monster movies that I know my parents sat me down to watch at some point.

Being the 80’s of course, it was hard to not be aware of stuff like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but I didn’t see those flicks until almost the end of the decade. Let’s see, there was some TV that influenced me, namely Tales From the Darkside, Monsters, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone and the occasional scary episode of Amazing Stories. Michael Jackson’s Thriller video didn’t hurt either staying on regular rotation on both MTV and my cassette player. I suppose the monster theme of the He-Man rogues gallery was an influence as well.

Of course there were also the books that I’ve talked about on the blog before, Samantha Slade, Bunnicula, and a few others that had monster theme-ing that I can’t remember the titles to.

Well I recently stumbled upon a series of books that I used to check out of my elementary school library on almost a daily basis, the Crestwood House Monster Series. I saw some pictures of the books on Neato Coolville’s Flickr account, and immediately flashed back on the third grade and our school library. We only had a few of the books in the series in our library, but I read and reread them a million times. Here’s a list of the books in the series:

I’m pretty sure we had Dracula, Godzilla, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. Well after seeing these books for the first time in 20 years, I had to have one and I whisked over to Ebay with hopes that there was a bristling business in old out of print horror related school library edition books. Guess what? There was, and I picked up a couple, one that I definitely remember reading, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, and one that I just want for myself, Frankenstein. The Franky Meets the Wolfman arrive last week in horrible condition (there was no picture on the auction, but the price was right) but I still love it to pieces. Here’s a scan of the cover:

These books were a huge push in the horror direction for me because of the hours I spent pouring over the large crisp black and white photos and just the idea that there were so many other books in the series that I might one day stumble upon. I received the Frankenstein book in the mail yesterday and I was relieved that this one was in much better condition, yet after flipping through it I was sort of bummed, not because the content was bad, but exactly the opposite. This is the best kids book on Frankenstein that I’ve ever seen. Between its two worn covers lie a plethora of information on many of the various incarnations of Franky in the past 70 years, and if I had read it when I was a kid I might not have waited so long to watch the Hammer version, Curse of Frankenstein, until so late as there were a few really good photos of the Christopher Lee Monster.

Anyway, I am so glad that I stumbled upon these and can’t thank Neato Coolville enough for posting them on his Flickr account for the world to rediscover. Now if I could only find cover scans or copies of the series of hardbound school library editions of the Marvel Super Heros orgin books. There were four that I remember, the Avengers, Spiderman, the Hulk, and the Fantastic Four. Each book had the first two or three issues of the comic and a little introduction about the series. I guess that’ll just have to wait until another day…

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