Monday, September 15, 2014

Music: Isaac Baranoff - None More Black PRE-ORDER

The new album by Isaac Baranoff features music rooted in traditional melody arrangements, plus the 37-minute avant-garde piece "None More Black".

NOTE: This item is a digital preorder. Two songs will be emailed to you upon purchase, and the complete album will be made available on its release date, September 15, 2014.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Paperbax: A Claw Full of Blood

An American Giallo, with werewolves. Hardboiled private detective Nicky gets gunned down by a gangster and his sons and is left for dead - only to be saved when he is turned into a werewolf. Things get hairy when Nicky seeks bloody revenge on those that wanted him dead.

A Claw Full Of Blood is the third book in Isaac Baranoff's "Spaghetti Trilogy", which began with A Boot Full of Blood and A Fistful of Molotov!

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Blog: "Forced Entry" Review

The pornographic film, usually deemed as a form with no artistic merit, produced a series of artistically interesting films in the 1970s. While “Forced Entry” is one of these, its execution is unfortunately flawed. The 1973 film stars Harry Reems (“The Devil in Miss Jones”, “Deep Throat”) as a disturbed Vietnam veteran who, feeling gipped over his treatment in the war, decides to take his anger out on the rich, beautiful women who frequent his gas station.

The film is a crossover between the slasher horror genre and the pornographic film, but although the film features some interesting editing techniques and a killer ending (which I won’t spoil here), it is far too flawed, and, ultimately, one of the lesser art-porn films of the ‘70s.

The first rape/murder scene is shocking, but when the same scene is repeated with a different actress, it is far less effective as it essentially reuses the same dialogue and there’s very little variance in the actions. A little variance occurs when Reems’ character forces one of his victims into anal sex and then angerly scowls, “You got my prick all full of shit!” – which is one of the worst lines of dialogue ever written.

Most of the film’s detracting qualities are the very poor cinematography, where the explicit sex is often out of focus and there’s several shots that could have been edited out in favor of reaction shots or the frequently-appearing Vietnam stock footage. The most interesting part of the film occurs when a pair of hippie women drop LSD and have sex with each other, which leads up to a GREAT twist ending that almost elevates the film, except it has too many flaws to be a good film.

The film’s many flaws are unfortunate, as it does contain some interesting moments, such as the frequent montages of Vietnam stock footage intercut into the film, and the sequence in which the line “Dirty hippies!” is looped repeatedly on the soundtrack. But the frequent looping of dialogue can be annoying elsewhere in the film.

Overall, while “Forced Entry” has a disarming atmosphere reminiscent of films like “Taxi Driver”, it is badly made and not one of the better attempts at mixing storytelling with pornography. Actor Harry Reems has stated that this film is the only film he regrets making. It was remade as a R-rated horror film in 1975, without the hardcore sex scenes.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Blog: Isaac Baranoff's Top 5 Favorite Mike Hammer Novels

Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels were critically assaulted in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s for their violence and sex, but over the years have been reassessed and a dedicated fanbase has been influenced by them; Mike Hammer provided the template for many of the most popular tough guy heroes over the years, including James Bond, John Shaft, Dirty Harry and Jack Reacher. The heroine of Max Allan Collins’ comic book series “Ms. Tree” was inspired by both Hammer and his secretary, Velda.

Spillane’s hardboiled narratives have influenced my writing style, and, whether I’m writing Spaghetti Westerns set in Soviet Russia or acid noir featuring werewolf private detectives, Spillane’s novels are often in the back of my mind when I’m looking for inspiration, so I decided to put together a list of my favorite Mike Hammer novels.

This one starts off with Mike’s old friend being murdered, then he finds himself racing against time to find out how to stop a biological weapon which could wipe out the entire planet, encountering potheads, hippies, hookers, gangsters, the elite rich, crony politicians and two-timing femme fatales. This is the craziest Mike Hammer novel ever, which makes it my favorite.

Mike finds himself surrounded by police with the body of an old friend nearby, who committed suicide with Mike's gun, after a night of drinking. But Mike doesn't think it was actually a suicide, and seeks the truth. This novel has my favorite twist ending ever. I named one of my experimental rock demos after this book.

Co-written by Max Allan Collins and Spillane (who died in 2006). Mike faces off with drug dealers, and gets spiked with LSD. Definitely check this one out!

Mike’s debut, which caused all manner of moral panic at the time of its 1947 release, this novel sets up Spillane’s hardboiled narrative style and pushed the era’s boundaries of noir violence and sex. Mike seeks revenge after an old World War II buddy is murdered. This is a must-read!

This one has another one of my favorite twist endings. It sees Mike as father figure to a brilliant, but troubled genius child, but as people die around them, Mike finds out that things aren’t as they seem. One of Spillane’s best, check this one out!

UPDATE (09/16): Thanks to Max Allan Collins for posting a link to Horndog Studios on his site's news section and for correcting my earlier mistake about the authorship of "The Big Bang".

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Blog: An American giallo with werewolves

When Enzio Corbucci opened the door, I put a bullet through his neck. 

Enzio Corbucci looked like a warthog in heat… he had trough manners, body odor and the intellect of a savage… he looked like one of those Elvis impersonators, that is, fat Elvis, not good looking Elvis…he had the sideburns, and he was eating a piece of fried chicken, with peanut butter, banana and bread crumbs still on his face from the last meal. 

I could hear his hooves thudding on the floorboards of his apartment as he moved towards the door after I knocked on it and he asked “What the fuck do you want at this hour of night” and I disguised my voice and said, “You mean, you didn’t order a pizza?” 

He finally opened the door and I shot him in the neck. He fell to the ground, gasping for air as I stepped into his apartment, the blood leaking out onto his shag carpet. 

“I bet you thought you would never see me again, did you, Enzio, when you left me for dead, bleeding like a stuck pig, much like you are now… you thought I was a dead dog, didn’t you, Enzio, well so did I, Enzio, only… I didn’t know how far off I was from the truth, you see, I’ve changed quite a bit since you last saw me, and, as you can see, your death is going to come quicker, and a whole lot more painful than you realize.”
As I was talking, my eye color had changed from green to bright yellow, my face started to look like I’d been run over by a Mack truck, and it was getting real hairy.
When I finished talking, Enzio was face to face with a hungry wolf and the last thing he saw was the gnashing teeth going into his face. 
What you've just read is an excerpt from my new novel. I’d describe “A ClawFull Of Blood” as my giallo novel. “Giallo” is the Italian word for “yellow”, and, in terms of literary significance, it refers to Italian pulp fiction (giallo being the color of the paper, because cheap, pulp paper is yellow). In cinematic terms, giallo films are mysteries which often involve serial killers and murder. One of my favorite giallo films is Dario Argento’s “Deep Red”, which is often considered to be a horror film, but is more of a murder mystery. I don’t consider “Deep Red” to be a horror film at all. Some giallo films, like Mario Bava’s “A Bay of Blood” paved the way for the American slasher film, pushing the extremes of the mystery genre’s violence into horror territory.

“A Claw Full Of Blood” is also the third in my “Spaghetti Trilogy” which began with “A Boot Full Of Blood”, a revenge tale set in the Old West and involving vampires, and continuing with “AFistful of Molotov”, a revisionist revenge fantasy set in Soviet Russia. These novels each draw from the Spaghetti Western genre, as does my new novel, in which I return to the genre in which I had first written novels in: the hardboiled detective genre, but this time around, pulp mystery is combined with elements of both Spaghetti Westerns and giallo films.

I started with the basic idea of a werewolf detective, and built from there. I kept the idea of a man transforming into a wolf and that silver bullets would kill him, but came up with my own approach rather than following a specific mythology closely, because there are many, and all are inconsistent. I liked the idea from Joe Dante’s “The Howling” of having werewolves being able to transform any time they want, rather than just at the full moon (as in John Landis’ “An American Werewolf in London”, and in “The Wolf Man”, starring Lon Chaney Junior). Since a talking werewolf would appear extremely silly, I had the wolves communicate to each other through telepathy.

I decided to elaborate on the “silver bullets kill werewolves” idea by suggesting that silver bullets are the ONLY way to kill a werewolf, and that werewolves are otherwise immortal, because it made things more interesting to me. Also, I decided that you could become a werewolf by drinking the blood of one as you die, alluding to vampire mythology.

While writing the book, I remembered Anton LaVey’s “The Satanic Bible” and thought that I could use LaVey’s philosophy as the basis for the philosophy of werewolves in my literary universe, which necessitated that they could not murder innocent people, and only kill in revenge or self-defense, which is why the main character is turned into a werewolf as a result of benevolence and not assault. (I think LaVey would approve, considering his admiration for “Dracula” and “The Wolf Man”.) I must strongly remind my fans that I am not a Satanist and never have been, so the elements of Satanism in this novel are the beliefs of my characters and reflect nothing having anything to do with me. (I watched the documentary “Inside the Church of Satan” and found the ritual so boring that I had to fast-forward through it, but the people seemed likable enough.)

It should also be noted that characters from “A Fistful of Molotov” and “A Boot Full Of Blood” make appearances in this novel. I’d originally intended “A Fistful of Molotov” to include references to “A Boot Full of Blood”, but ultimately I decided to make that novel a stand-alone work in hopes that it would be a national best-seller, divorced from the context of a more cult, non-mainstream horror novel. I still have no idea why I thought “A Fistful of Molotov” could have had any mainstream success, considering that it contains narration like this:

He’d passed a dead horse that had been shot in the head and left in the middle of the snow being eaten by maggots and flies, its horse brains exposed as flying insects circled them. The animal’s long horse tongue that once spent many nights happily lodged in the assholes of submissive fillies, was now hanging out of the horse’s mouth, nearly entirely chewed away by the things that flew around it.”

I was CERTAIN that this would be a mainstream hit. THIS. A brief remark about horses rimming each other probably wouldn’t have raised too many eyebrows among Horndogs, but it’s not the stuff that mainstream novels are made out of, even though the theme of “A Fistful of Molotov” tested really well – the same kind of audience that would enjoy watching Quentin Tarantino’s Jewish soldiers in “Inglourious Basterds” killing Nazis surely would embrace a similar fantasy about Jews and an American capitalist killing Communists, but somehow “A Fistful of Molotov” didn’t do as well as I thought it would.

So, “A Claw Full of Blood” is going to be another cult novel. In general, this  new novel is pretty out there. I combined giallo, werewolves, the Yakuza, the Mafia, Spaghetti Westerns, Satanism and kung-fu into one novel. I decided I’d write as outlandishly as I wanted. Which included writing the most explicit sex scene I’d ever written in my life, which I ultimately decided to tone down when I felt I’d passed the acceptability of what most readers can take. The original reference for the scene was the orgy sequence in “Caligula” – but I realized that writing an orgy was boring as hell because of the mechanical nature of mass group sex, so I decided to bring down the number of participants to one man and three women because it made the scene a lot less impersonal.

Aside from giallo, Spaghetti Westerns and “The Satanic Bible”, the other major influence on the novel was Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels. I was reading Spillane’s “The Body Lovers” while writing “A Claw Full of Blood” and an attempted assassination in Spillane’s novel struck me as being kind of Spaghetti Western-esque, so I decided that I’d adapt the scene to change its setting from a claustrophobic stairway to a snowy street. In fact, a lot of the Spaghetti Western-esque scenes in this new novel are in the snow, possibly inspired by the great film “Cut-Throats Nine”, a Spanish Western which is currently being remade with Harvey Keitel in the cast and funding from guitarist Slash. I still say that Slash should have gotten Violent J from Insane Clown Posse to play one of the roles in the remake.

So, to recap: “A Claw Full Of Blood” contains:

Giallo-esque death scenes
Snowy, Western-esque shoot-outs
Satanic Sex

Sound like something you want to read? Good. Then buy the new novel. You’ll love it. And it’s out just in time for Halloween, too.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blog: "The Wellkeeper" #1 Review

There’s been some whisperings of whether I’d produce any more episodes of my web video series, “Comix from the Underground”, in which I played a sarcastic comic book reviewer called the Comix Scrutinizer, and, let me state for the record, the answer is, “I don’t know.” It’s not that I don’t want to. Quite the opposite, in fact, I do. But I don’t have the proper editing and filming facilities at the moment, and my time is currently wrapped up with trying to write a werewolf detective novel called “A Claw Full Of Blood”,  due to the fact that I cannot draw any comics of my own at the moment, due to the fact that I no longer have a scanner, which makes it impossible for me to upload any new content either for web viewing or for publication purposes, so, at the moment, I’m sticking to publishing other people’s comics and writing hardboiled pulp fiction novels, rather than trying to draw anything.

But since there seems to be a legitimate interest in seeing more comic book reviews from me, despite the fact that the Comix Scrutinizer videos were never real reviews but satires of comic book reviewers, I’ve decided to start posting some out of character reviews in which I highlight any comic books I’ve read recently, which will both highlight hidden gems in independent comic books, and even mainstream comics I’ve enjoyed. The difference between these upcoming reviews, such as the one you are about to read is that I’m not going to mock the comics, and these are going to be my own opinions, instead of sarcasm. Hopefully, if you hadn’t understood before, these reviews should show the difference between what I think, and what the Comix Scrutinizer, as a character thinks.

The debut issue of Derrick Fish’s “The Wellkeeper” is well designed and drawn, in a style that keeps a fine line between its playful elements and the grand adventure story it presents. Fish draws you in from the introduction of its heroine, Zoe, as she is being chased a fiery, demonic-looking dog, and soon finds herself caught between two different forms of danger – the dog who is pushing its way through the fence, and the oncoming train. Arriving in a new town, she develops a friend in pizza delivery boy Sebastian, and Fish leaves you on a cliffhanger to eagerly await the next chapter of the story.

The black and white artwork is highly detailed, with fine shading, drawing from both comic book and animated film influences (the raccoon), with the little things making Fish’s characters stand out even more, such as the intentional decision to draw 14-year-old Zoe plus-sized and wearing glasses, a contrast from most other heroines, young or old.

Whether its potential plot elements, like Zoe’s earring, which is too large for her head, meaning that it was intended for someone much older, or little nods like Sebastian’s family having a copy of the Chuck Jones biography “Chuck Amuck”, as a tribute to one of Fish’s influences, it is these details that enhance the sweeping story, which is definitely in the vein of classical comic book storytelling, but with much originality exclusive to Fish’s sensibility, making this one well worth a look.

I know this is probably not what you expected me to be reading or reviewing, considering the fact that most of what I usually review is of an adult nature, and “The Wellkeeper” is family friendly (that’s not a bad thing), with nothing violent, obscene or profane, unlike what I’ve reviewed on my web series, or quite frankly, what I publish (including my own comics and novels), but I’d definitely recommend checking out “The Wellkeeper” – this was a nice change of pace for me and I think you’d feel the same.  It’s set in New Jersey, and if you like the story-based form of comics like Jeff Smith’s “Bone”, this is worth looking into.

Blog: Dickhead Studios

"Sorry, Horndog has too much intelligence
and originality for my tastes. Do you have
a bootleg version of the comic that I can
easily digest because I am an utter moron?"
I think I have a pretty good business model: If I want to work with you and you agree, then we agree to it. If you don’t want to work with me, no skin off my back, please get out of my way. I find it baffling, then, when some people insist that consent is not required for a business transaction. Really? Because I’m pretty sure that I can’t run out and photocopy an issue of “Batman” and sell it without first paying varying degrees of money to the estate of that comic’s creator (only because Bob Kane is not alive, otherwise the money would go directly to him), to the company which publishes “Batman”, to the artist that drew the issue, and to the writer that wrote the issue. Thereby, why is my consent not taken into account when collaboration is demanded of me?

My consent, for some reason, is not required for an artist to have his work published by the company that I own. A putz with nothing to write about goes on Twitter and says, erroneously, that I’d refused to publish him “because of [his] political views”. I’d never offered to publish that guy’s work and I don’t know what his political views are, so I don’t know why, then, it is claimed that I’d refused him publication, when nothing was submitted for my judgment? The actual exchange, in reality, consisted of me telling this putz that he was an asshole. I’m pretty sure that if you haven’t submitted anything to me, I can’t have offered to work with you, and with no offer put on the table, there was no refusal of publication, and being an asshole is not a political view. Everyone has an asshole, and anyone can be an asshole, and if you are convinced that you do not have an asshole, because your religion tells you otherwise, don’t fool yourself, because demanding that I publish your work, and then condemning me when I don’t cooperate with your demands, as if my choice is not required, sounds an awful lot like Communism to me.

Similarly, my participation is not required for the creation of a comic, even, because there’s this guy  who has a profoundly awful, unfunny webcomic whose main characters are expys of my own creations, Bob the Dog and Charlene Kat,  from the comic ‘Horndog’ except he changed the species and ethnic backgrounds of the two characters so that these animals are no longer a dog and a cat but…uh…vaguely indiscernible animal-things, one of which might be some kind of rat. And the male one works in a porno store. Oh, gee, thanks, if all you got out of my comic was ‘sex-obsessed main character’, then you haven’t paid too close attention. One of the ideas I was trying to analyze in ‘Horndog’ was ‘Do open relationships work?’ And another was how to exchange a value (in this instance, love), without infringing upon another person’s rights, and the basic idea being that the best exchanges involve mutual consent of the two people involved. With this as the theme of ‘Horndog’, it’s EXTREMELY FUCKING IRONIC that someone decided that MY CONSENT IS NOT REQUIRED TO USE MY CHARACTERS.
If your characters look like Sonichu and
Rocko's Modern Life had a baby and peed
on it, and you can't write characters,
just steal their personalities from
Isaac Baranoff's "Horndog"!
The very definition of plagiarism is taking a creation that does not belong to you, changing it slightly, and then passing it off as your own work. I created ‘Horndog’ in 2003 and it ran in underground publications before a web edition started appearing in 2009. The very next year, the plagiarized comic, which is so bad that I refuse to advertise it, and will instead refer to it as “Mangy, Pugly, Fake and Ferocious”, appeared, with the author operating under a pseudonym which I will also not promote, so I’ll simply refer to him as ‘The Teabilly’. The Teabilly decided to make sure that he got my attention by creating numerous fake accounts on an art website which I irregularly promote my work on, because he somehow thinks it makes himself feel better to have 2,000 fake accounts backing up his work, with the only friend of his being a complete racist who attempted to provoke me with racial slurs.

I blocked the Teabilly and his racist friend, but I’ve found it difficult to escape this psychopath, because the stupid motherfucker continues to follow me around with alternate accounts, begging me to ‘add’ the ‘NOT TEABILLY’ account to my watch list, just so he can annoy me with “fan art” of the characters he stole from me. And these fake accounts have fake alternate accounts for the imaginary peoples’ pornographic drawings (presumably done for the Teabilly’s own amusement, since no one with half a brain would pay any money for this idiot’s drawings, porn or not), whose REAL PURPOSE FOR EXISTENCE, is, after I’ve told this motherfucker to go fuck himself and stop trying to get me to ‘add’ his sockpuppets, to leave comments like this:
That's right, nobody gives a fuck about "Horndog". Which is
why you plagiarized its main characters, because you don't
care about the comic you very clearly ripped off.
You're fucking retarded.
Really, asshole? "Hiding behind an account block"? I blocked you because you were harassing me by begging me to watch your sockpuppet accounts. I blocked your master account because you plagiarized my work. I blocked your podcast account because you were harassing me even more. I blocked your sockpuppet accounts because they serve no purpose other than to create a fake fanbase for your crappy comics. I blocked the pornographic alternate accounts for your sockpuppets because they serve no purpose other than to harass me and hold your wank material, which no one wants to see. And you're accusing me of "hiding"? I make my views of you very public. It is you who is the coward, you fucking mongoloid.

This mongoloid really doesn’t get that COOPERATION REQUIRES CONSENT. If you cannot create your own characters, don’t steal other people’s work. In order for you to collaborate with me, I have to agree to collaborate with you. If someone wants to draw comics using my ideas, they have to, first, pay me, and I have to agree to the collaboration. This is called ‘voluntary exchange’ – value exchanged for value. If you have nothing of value to offer to me, and I don’t want to work with you, or I have no idea that you even exist, what you don’t do is attempt to get my attention by plagiarizing my work, following me around like a lost, retarded puppy in an aimless stupor and then publicly attack me because of something that YOU DID, and then when I block you, to come at me with another account to scream at me some more and calling my actions ‘block evasion’ because I won’t consent to be abused by a mooching plagiarist who cannot create anything of their own, so they steal the characters of others. FUCK YOU AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON! Here is this person’s Twitter account. Look at the number of followers:
A total of 310 followers, which means that Twitter
wouldn't allow him to create more
than 309 Twitter sockpuppets.
Now here is my personal Facebook account. Look at the number of “friends”:
What's this? ACTUAL FOLLOWERS? You're right,
NO ONE CARES ABOUT HORNDOG! Which is why over a
thousand people are following me on Facebook, because
And here is my political Facebook account. Pay close attention to the number of “likes”:
What's this? MORE ACTUAL FOLLOWERS? That's right,
Even the average person can see that I am doing better than this schmuck. If you want to claim popularity with a straight face, try not starting thousands of accounts to boost your non-existent popularity, to declare yourself to be more popular than someone like me, with AN ACTUAL FOLLOWING. What is this plagiarist trying to prove – and to whom? I don’t care about popularity. My activity is not motivated by beating others, only by personal satisfaction. Is this guy trying to prove something to himself? Well, sorry, but inventing your own reality and trying to manufacture success where none exists is not actually having success, and plagiarism is not only not creation, but it is not a collaboration, which requires consent. Hell, I don’t really mind rip-offs if they’re done well and the creator isn’t a complete douchebag. A lot of the ‘70s exploitation movies I watch are rip-offs, some of them better than the things they ripped off.

However, this person who plagiarized my comics is not only harassing me by following me around with his alternate accounts, begging me for unearned love, and then, when I realize that it’s him and refuse to give him the love that he has not earned, he does things like draw insulting renditions of my characters, the most recent of which is a drawing of the character of Bob with a pair of erect penises as ears and the caption ‘Dickhead Studios’. And no, I can’t show it to you, because I earn Adsense revenue on this site and I don’t want to lose it, because I like making money. But if you were a person who plagiarized my comic strip ‘Horndog’, then followed me around begging me for my admiration to you, which is a value that has to be earned, not demanded, and then attack and abuse me when I do not voluntarily consent to appraise someone whose work consists of plagiarizing my own, which was entirely based on my own ideas and no one else’s, if you steal my ideas, and then harass me in this manner, it is you who is the dickhead, and not me.