Category Archives: ebook Publishing & Review

The ebook Publishing & Review Blog is an occasional foray in to the modern literature of 1s and 0s that is putting libraries and bookstores out of business.

Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder ~ The Complete Guide To Little Annie Fanny


Kurtzmand & Elder at the Playboy Club
Kurtzmand & Elder clowning  at the Playboy Club

Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder came to fame as the founding writer, editor and artists of Mad Comics and Mad Magazine in the 1950s. In the 1960s they created the ongoing comic strip Little Annie Fanny, a parody of Little Orphan Annie, for Hugh Hefner in Playboy Magazine. Though Annie may be snubbed as lowbrow sex humor by many, it represented the last and longest running work by these two graphic artist geniuses. Here, for the first time, is the complete listing of every installment of Little Annie Fanny ever published. The entire run was available in trade paperback published by Dark Horse, but it has since gone out of print with used copies going for as much as $100 apiece.

Kurtzman’s satire involving a naive young man named Goodman in his Help! Magazine of the early sixties was the inspiration for the characters.Goodman_Goes_Playboy_page_2_panel_3

From Wikipedia: Each episode of the comic strip was designed and written by Kurtzman and rendered in oil, tempera, and watercolor by Elder. Hefner edited each episode, often requiring detailed changes to ensure that the series remained true to the magazine’s editorial style. Critical reaction was mixed, with most praising the elaborate, fully painted comic, but some dismissing it as falling short of Kurtzman’s full potential.

Art agent and publisher Denis Kitchen, who handles Kurtzman and Eisner’s estates, said that “most Kurtzman devotees would not consider Little Annie Fanny genius work … [and] some would argue the opposite: that it was genius diluted or degraded”. Kitchen placed the onus on Kurtzman’s employer Hefner, who “was often a punctilious taskmaster with a heavy red pen who often had very different ideas about what was funny or satiric” and insisted that each strip “had to include Annie disrobing

Kurtzman worked with several different artists over the years in order to make deadlines, including Jack Davis and John Severin, but Elder produced the lion’s share of the pages. In total, Kurtzman turned out 109 episodes totaling 393 pages from 1962 to 1988, the majority of them in the 1960s. Playboy, which owned the strip, rebooted it in 1998, ten years after Kurtzman’s last installment. It ran only 7 time over three years before Annie was permanently retired.


Amnie 02Annie 01 Annie 03 Annie 04

The Country-Rock Bible – Desperados by John Einarson

DesperadosBoth a beginner’s guide and detailed enough for the connoisseur, John Einarson’s Desperados: The Roots Of Country Rock is a great read. Published in 2001, you can still get it in paperback and now available on Kindle.

Check out Einarson’s other books. He’s one of the best Rock and Roll historians out there. Exceptionally readable.


Brett Favre – Hall Of Fame A Game By Game Chronicle Of A Green Bay Packers Legend

Amazon CoverIn honor of Brett Favre’s election to the NFL Hall Of Fame, this is the first book to cover his entire career, chronicling his record breaking rise to the top of the National Football League. Every one of the 277 games Favre played as a Packer is here in statistical detail, set in a fast paced narrative that takes you back to the rise of the Packers from worst in the league to Super Bowl Champions. Included are all the epic games, from the first come from behind victory versus the Bengals in 1992, through Super Bowls 31 and 32, the Irvin Favre Game, the 2003 playoffs Fourth and 26 and the final overtime battle to the finish against the New York Giants on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in January 2008.
If you love the down and dirty numbers of football, this is your book. A fantasy football fanatic’s bible, covering more than 300 games, the complete statistical guide to Brett Favre’s amazing career.
Stanton Greene, popular sportswriter and author of The Green Bay Packers The Dan Devine Years 1971-1974, is back with another book on his favorite subject, the Green Bay Packers. Brett Favre – Hall Of Fame A Game By Game Chronicle Of A Green Bay Packers Legend is a must read for pro football fans.

Buy It At Amazon Kindle

Writing In The Present Tense ~ Twitter Literature

The Mystic Hedgehog grumbles

Welcome to the newest writing fad, present tense. Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games and Hillary Mantel’s Wolf Hall are two prime examples and both were acclaimed best sellers. To my mind it’s Twitter in novel form, books for the attention deficit, a gimmick for a generation of readers who’ve lost the ability to concentrate. It comes across as writing for children; See Jane ran.  See Spot run. I did this in first grade. It takes on a quality of stream of consciousness as well, which can really be annoying. In first person form, such as Miller’s, I admit it can be effective in appealing to young readers, but in third person form such as Mantel’s, it sounds ludicrous, like stilted medieval language, which may have been her intent. Here are some other thoughts on the subject.

This from Writer’s Digest contributor Brian Klems:
Recently, I asked one of my talented undergraduate students why she wrote all of her stories in the present tense. “Isn’t that the way fiction’s supposed to be written now?” she said, then added, “The past tense makes a story seem kind of ‘19th-century,’ don’t you think?” Why, I wondered, did a tense that has served authors since the very inception of fiction suddenly lose favor? What made the past tense passé? And why was the present tense now omnipresent? Read More

The statement from Klem’s student is extremely sad. In a way, it’s a young writer’s version of Leon Trotsky’s admonition to those who weren’t ready to boldly follow him into the Worker’s Paradise of Soviet Russia: “You are pitiful isolated individuals; you are bankrupts; your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on — into the dustbin of history!”

Thus a new generation of writers are consigning Frank Herbert, Irwin Shaw, Ernest Hemingway, Leo Tolstoy and every writer of value to the dustbin of history for sounding “kind of 19th-century.”

Thoughts from a Writer’s Forum:
Problem is, first person present tense can feel like someone is doing a running commentary on everything they do, which can feel pretty artificial and actually undermine the immediacy one wants to achieve with present tense, reason being that commenting already involves a certain level of detachment of the commenter and a certain regard towards an audience. You are either caught up in the moment or commenting on it. There’s a natural gulf between narrating I and experiencing I, at least if the experience is properly engaging. Using past tense acknowledges that and can actually feel more natural. Read More

This trendy trend is rapidly taking over popular fiction. In 2009 present tense was addressed in the Precise Edit’s Blog for its shortcomings and the reasons for its limited usage. How times have changed in only six years:
Most fiction authors write in the past tense. They tell readers what happened. This is as if the author says, “I see the events in my mind, and I’m writing about what I saw.” Very few fictional books are written in the present tense. One reason for this is that writing in the present tense provides serious challenges to the author: maintaining perspective, introducing prior events, and filtering the stream of consciousness. Read More

And finally:
When the literary historians of the year 3000 write about the fiction of our time, I believe they will consider our use of the present tense to be its most distinctive—and, perhaps, problematic—feature. Whereas present-tense narration was once rare, it is now so common as to be commonplace. In 1987, Robie Macauley and George Lanning dubbed it “the most frequent cliché of technique in the new fiction,” and since then, it’s appeared with even greater frequency. Although there are signs that its use is diminishing among established writers, it’s becoming the default choice for many younger writers. Read More

So that’s about it. I’m just a grumpy old hedgehog. Nothing more need be said.

The Green Bay Packers The Dan Devine Years 1971-1974 Kindle Edition

Volumes have been written about the Green Bay Packers detailing virtually every aspect of their storied history except one, the two decades of folly that lay between the legendary reign of Vince Lombardi and their resurgence in the 1990s under Mike Holmgren and Ron Wolf. The most pivotal of those years were the four presided over by college football Hall Of Fame Coach Dan Devine. During those years, the Packers won what would be their only division title between 1968 and 1994. Their decline from that pinnacle was so inexplicable and precipitous that it has defied pundits for four decades, engendering a mythology in Green Bay that has defamed a brilliant coach.
In his time, Dan Devine was a lightning rod for opinion, generating either intense loyalty or extreme loathing. Some have called him the worst coach in Packer history, but his record belies that. He turned around one of the sorriest teams in professional football in a single season, earning NFC Coach Of The Year honors in 1972. But by the end of 1974, Devine had so polarized the Packers that a group of players had mutinied and threatened to try and forfeit the season closer. Even legendary quarterback Bart Starr had gotten in on the intrigue as he maneuvered to take over the Packers.
Devine also pulled the trigger on perhaps the worst trade in NFL history, giving up five top draft choices to the Los Angeles Rams for a sore armed 34 year old quarterback. Little remembered is his equally brilliant dealing which brought NFL Hall Of Fame linebacker Ted Hendricks to the Packers that same year.
Using contemporary sources, the author has pulled together a never before told tale of glory, ineptitude and intrigue that will shed new light on Devine’s tumultuous years in Green Bay. Plus a myriad of facts, trivia and statistics. A must read for Packer fans.

The Blavatsky School For Unusual Children: A Collection Of Short Stories Of The Fantastic

Blavatsky School

Free Download @Amazon Kindle Saturday, September 5, 2015

How did a school named for a Russian mystic pop up in the middle of Iowa during the height of the Cold War? It’s an intriguing tale that involves dematerializing Nazi soldiers, giant ravens, Uncle Bob and the Benevolent Order Of Hedgehogs. Five fantastic tales guaranteed to amuse and boggle the mind. The first in a series of short stories, from the author of The Magical Bear Child. A humorous and intelligent collection that recalls the power of television over young minds in the 1960s. An American Harry Potter for grownups. In the vein of The Twilight Zone. Rated PG-13 for language.

Book One – Five stories with classic television themes and a mythic tale from the Canadian north woods.
Combat! – After Quinn, Rusty and Daniel watch an episode of the popular Vic Morrow TV series, The Madame Blavatsky School is invaded by two time traveling Nazi soldiers, inspiring Principal Brown to unplanned feats of heroics.
Lost In Space – Rusty promises that his Uncle Bob will build a robot just like the one on Lost In Space. But when the boys get to his workshop, they discover the robot and much more with unforeseen consequences.
Twelve O’Clock High – When the guys go kite flying, their idyll is disturbed by their classmate Ali, who duels them in the aerial arts. But in the midst of their fun, a giant raven kidnaps her and Quinn.
The Wild Wild West – Quinn recalls a family trip to California in which he met Bulgakov The Hedgehog and other odd characters amidst the exotic vistas of San Francisco and Chinatown.
Rainbow Country – A bizarre, humorous tale from Canada’s great north as Mietro’s pet bear turns out to have extraordinary powers.