Archive for January, 2015
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
As I read the Johnstone Clan’s The Last Mountain Man series from the start to this third in the series it becomes very apparent that the crafter of the tales is a far better storyteller than those handling the other parts of the series I’ve read so far. These three are all complex with interwoven threads that bind to make a solid story.
However, this one is not as well written as the first two. Specifically the first few chapters that are a mish-mosh of trying to retell the two previous books and start telling this one. One reason for this may be that this book came out the same year as the last and the one previous to it came out only months earlier. Chug-a-lugging these books seems to have strained production values.
The bulk of the book is still good, lacking the depth of the first two. The characters are especially well explained. Excellent work is done with a secondary character that is law enforcement that, over the course of the book, realizes what is really going on.
Despite the poorly written first chapters –
Bottom line: I recommend this book 7 of 10
Here’s another Perelman strip I did back in the 1990s. All explained in the previous post.
This was tough involving getting photos of South Street in Orlando with cards in places where I could then place the pumpkin in various spots. Today, using Adobe Photoshop, it would be far easier than it was 20+ years ago. I remember I went to Police Headquarters to get the photo of the police car. To get the broken up pumpkin I believe I actually smashed a pumpkin and took photos of it.
This is #3 of 3 of the 5 day Facebook Art Challenge as asked of me by my pal Pam Treadwell.
Back in the 1990s I produced a cartoon strip in conjunction with the City of Orlando and the Orlando Sentinel. The feature was about a law office, Benchley & Associates, and a hapless paralegal, Perelman. It appeared monthly in a Sentinel publican Downtown Orlando Monthly.
I decided to try something different at the time. All the characters were cartoons and all everything else was real. The cartoon stuff was easy. Taking hundreds of photographs and manipulating them with Adobe Photoshop was tough! Remember: it was the mid-90s and computers and Photos shop is not what it is today. The head of out department was a computer guru who liked to push computers beyond what was thought they could do. This strip fir that perfectly. I was constantly jamming the state of the art computer with this project.
To better explain what each strip required is to take a look at the art below. The room everyone is in is the City Clerk’s office on the 2nd floor. The copier I photographed on the 4th floor. The coffee maker on the 8th floor. Even the paper Mr. Benchley is holding is a real copy I made of my tie. It was a LOT of work.
The strips characters are all named after my favorite humor writers of the early 1900s, members of the famed Algonquin Round Table in New York City. Perelman is named after my very favorite S. J. Perelman.
The strip ran until the publication ended due to issues between the City and the Sentinel.
I’ll post another soon. This is #2 of 3 for today for the Facebook Art Challenge that I was tagged for by Pam Treadwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This may be the best of all of the Johnstone Clan books I’ve read. It’s a very complex story with various threads that go in all kinds of directions and pulls in elements of the book before it. This was a heck of an accomplishment just to get the book out, but especially in light, for me, of the couple dozen I’ve read of the Johnstone Clan that never get to this point. This ghostwriter obviously wrote the first book in the series and this one, the second. Wonder if the writer wrote the third?
There is far extra care taken to develop characters. The dialogue of so many is very well handled. the settings are also well literally illustrated. Clearly the writer was well researched involving many subjects. One that especially stands out is a knowledge of trains that places the reader in a train and what happens on it. Outstanding work there.
Both the first in the series and this one also do something else out of the ordinary in a Johnstone Clan book: Include a number of newspaper stories, notes, letters, etc. This really ads to the legitimacy of the story.
One complaint would be the horrible cover. Seems the person in the photograph on the cover is to be the main character, Matt Jensen. But this photo is of a fellow in a costume and coonskin cap that Jensen never wears in the books. There are plenty of illustrators out there that could a dynamite job providing a powerful selling cover. Wish the Johnstone Clan would consider different covers.
Bottom line: i recommend this book. 9/10
Here’s something else I did while at the City of Orlando, though i did a bunch of this with my own time. It was for the puppet theater the City used to have at the City Community Centers.
Each of the characters shown was also a puppet. I remember going out to get photos for this.
This for Facebook Art Challenge #3 of 3. Pam Treadwell
Side note: My pal Pam Treadwell asked if I would post three bits of work I’m doing or have done for five days within my Facebook page. This is #2 of 3 for today.
Back in my old Orlando City Hall days I produced a comic strip for the magazine City Hallways. It was called Romer, the Recycling Squirrel. I started the recycling strip in 1988 when the City’s recycling program started with a lady named Pat Bortz. I was one of the first to work with her and the strip was an outgrowth of that. The program and those in charge of it changed many times over the next two decades, but I was still involved. I produced Romer until the magazine ended in the early 2000s.
I was a nut about recycling at City Hall as most anyone there could tell you. I still am. It just doesn’t make sense to me that we spend so much of taxpayer money buying land to dumb garbage, contaminate the land and then spend more taxpayer money to clean up the land and our water supply.
If done correctly much of the garbage can be recycled and the government can make money from it. Unfortunately most governments have tossed garbage pickup to private companies that cost taxpayers far more money and lose the opportunity to control garbage dump sites and recycling. Garbage companies don’t like recycling. They make more money if they have something to pick up.
Romer was originally in black and white. This was one of the early strips from about 25 years ago. I’ll post a few more that are in color.
Side note: My pal Pam Treadwell asked if I would post three bits of work I’m doing or have done for five days within my Facebook page. This is #1 of 3 for today.
My pal Pam Pam Treadwell wants me to post 3 pictures here I drew. Well, I’ve been hunkered down again in the past few hours reworking a Swampy project. Got 18 pages penciled and inked. So, here’s them and three close ups.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As I have found the first books in a Johnstone Clan series are dynamite and this is one, too. A thoroughly satisfying western with a great underlying story with typical protagonists, lots of action and a very good ending.
Before this I read a book by L’Amour. The difference between the two writers, to me, that L’Amour was a literary writer and the Johnstone Clan tell simpler stories with a knack to craft characters the readers can care about. I’ve found myself not caring much about L’Amour characters. The Johnstone characters I usually want to know more about which pulls me into more novels in the in numerous series.
Bottom line: I recommend this book. 7 of 10.
(side note: I happened to find this book during my travels and started it the same day. that has almost never happened. Hundreds of books writing to be read and I prop open a novel the same day I buy it. This happens to be a first of a series I’ve wanted to start, I hadn’t ready a Johnstone this month and I just finished a book and needed to start one all got me to read this immediately.)
A great tale wrapped in all that L’Amour knows how to unwind. This is far simpler than many of his tales and shows how able he was at assembling a book that has the reader fully involved even in a shorter story. The core of the story is predictable. Other parts are laid out to satisfy the predictability.
The writing is very good and the characters well crafted. Though the bad guys are a bit less detailed than in other books. Though that means the characters have far more definition than most books.
Bottom line: I recommend this book. 7 of 10.
Here’s one of the Valentine’s Day cards I produced today. This is for her skin diving husband who looks for sea life of the octopus variety when he isn’t otherwise collecting guns. Nothing worse to encounter undersea than a well armed octopus. Should have had him say, “You kids keep off my lawn!”