Book Review: ‘Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs’ by Michael T. Osterholm PhD MPH, Mark Olshaker

For what this is, it’s pretty invaluable.

I first heard of Michael T. Osterholm when he appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast to talk about the COVID-19 pandemic and gave his very informed and personal take on what’s going on. In fact, I’d implore people to watch that episode, just to have a better grasp on fact vs. fiction in a time when there is a lot of misinformation and fear floating around.

You can actually watch the episode on YouTube and I’ll link it at the end of the review.

This book goes through the history of Osterholm’s work in this field, as he breaks down how they scientifically figured out a lot of viral mysteries over the last few decades.

This also talks about how pandemics can be prevented and what needs to happen for the world to take these things more seriously and learn how to protect itself. In fact, the writing has been on the wall for awhile and things could have been done to manage the spread of deadly germs and viruses.

Deadliest Enemy is superbly written and frankly, everyone should read it, especially now. There needs to be a collected effort from as many people as possible to push our governments towards taking these threats more seriously. Plus, it would be in everyone’s benefit to understand this stuff on a factual level, as opposed to emotionally reacting to sensationalist headlines and social media rumors.

If it’s hard to find a physical copy of this book, which I imagine is probably true now that the COVID thing has hit us this hard, you can download the Kindle version (see here), which I did.

Rating: 9.5/10

Book Review: ‘Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling’ by Jim Ross, Paul O’Brien, Scott E. Williams

Man, this was just a damn good read, through and through.

Good Ol’ JR tells us his life story from his youth, to his first gig in the wrestling business and through all the companies he worked for from the ’70s and up until the ’00s.

What makes this so good is that it is very much just Jim Ross talking in his own words. While there are co-authors on the book, these are Ross’ personal stories and they are told with that certain panache that is very much JR. Fans of the man’s work over the years probably understand what I mean by that.

While this is about his own personal journey through life and the wrestling business, it actually gets more intimate and more personal than I was expecting and as a longtime admirer of Jim Ross, it’s really neat getting this close to the guy, as he’s been front and center in my family’s living room for decades.

Everything in this book is interesting, as he had a full life and never seemed to live a dull chapter. But the fact of the matter is, Jim Ross came up with hard work and a burning desire to be a part of the business he fell in love with as a kid. He hustled and shoved his foot through the door with a certain youthful moxie that says a lot about his character and his drive. And ultimately, it paid off for Ross, as he has now spent decades in front of the camera and behind the scenes for massive companies.

I really liked the early sections of the book that dealt with how he eventually won over Cowboy Bill Watts and got to be an important part of Watts’ Mid-South empire. But honestly, the whole book is engaging as hell and sucks you in.

I really took my time with this book, more so than I normally do, as it hooked me early and kept my attention throughout. There isn’t really a low point and it just made me like and respect the man even more.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: JR’s upcoming book Under the Black Hat, as well as other wrestling biographies and books about the business side of things.

Book Review: ‘Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishirō Honda’ by Peter H. Brothers

Not all books on kaiju motion pictures are considered equal. There are some good and some bad. This one, specifically focusing on the work of Ishirō Honda, is in the upper echelon, however.

I really enjoyed this, as it is well researched, covers a lot more ground with a lot more detail than I thought possible and it still finds room to include a lot of great photos.

For those unaware, Honda is the director of the original Godzilla film, as well as many of its sequels. He would also go on to be the number one tokusatsu (Japanese sci-fi) director at Toho, who were the top studio for those style of films.

This book covers Honda’s life and the bulk of his filmmaking career, looking at his kaiju films, as well as other sci-fi and horror pictures he did.

The book’s title is in reference to the atomic age that birthed kaiju cinema, as well as the mushroom men that starred in one of his greatest and most bonkers films, Matango a.k.a. Attack of the Mushroom People.

If you’re into Honda’s work or even just the genre he was the godfather of, this is certainly a worthwhile read.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: other books on Toho Co. Ltd., Godzilla and kaiju film in general.

Book Review: ‘Death of the Territories: Expansion, Betrayal and the War That Changed Pro Wrestling Forever’ by Tim Hornbaker

There have been countless books that have talked about wrestling territories and their collapse due to the emerging monster that was Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation. However, none of the books I’ve ever read were as good and comprehensive as this one.

I think the main reason this is the best book I’ve read on the subject is because it’s not told from one perspective or about one promotion and its own woes against the WWF juggernaut. This book just lays out the facts, tells its tales and covers every territory under the sun.

This looks into every territory, from all angles and gives a ton of info and history while moving through the late ’70s and the entire ’80s. It’s comprehensive as hell and doesn’t seem to have any bias one way or the other. It helps set this apart from the wrestling book pack, as many are written with an axe to grind or with just one version of a story.

The subject matter here is fascinating, whether one is a wrestling fan or they just like to read about businesses and industries during times of major change.

Death of the Territories was superb, well researched, well presented and honestly, it makes me wish someone would make a documentary on all of this and do it the same justice.

Rating: 8.5/10
Pairs well with: other books on wrestling history. In fact, there are a lot of really good ones that have come out in recent years.

Book Review: ‘Comic Book CPR: How to Clean and Press Comic Books’ by Michael Frederik Sorensen

Since I’ve been collecting much older and more prestigious comic books lately, I’ve been more concerned with the overall value and condition of the marquee things in my collection. So I picked up this book, after a recommendation, so that I could learn more about restoration options and the processes involved.

Overall, if this is something that interests you, this book is an invaluable resource. It has a lot more information than I realized even existed and it’s pretty thorough as it describes the how and why of each process.

It’s well organized and everything is stated pretty clearly with decent photos for reference.

Honestly, it’s all a bit overwhelming. Not the book but all the processes and ways to do different types of restoration. And all of it requires practice and the development of specific skills.

But it’s all interesting and even if I never do any of these things, myself, I have a much better understanding and appreciation for the craftsmanship and time that goes into comic book restoration.

Some of the stuff I don’t have the equipment for but for the stuff that I can do, I guess I should go to my local comic shop, raid the dollar bins for worthless pulp and start practicing.

My only complaint about the book is its size. It’s as big as a magazine and I wish they made a version that was more compact, so that I could fit it in my pocket and pull it out for reference or study when I’ve got a bit of time to kill in a waiting room, a long line or a diner.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: other books on comic book collecting and maintenance.

Book Review: ’12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos’ by Jordan B. Peterson

I don’t usually read books like this but it was given to me by a friend. I then realized that Jordan Peterson was the guy that was supremely hated and protested by all the college kids that want the entire world to be a “safe zone”.

After reading this, I’m not sure why all the weirdos of college campuses hate the guy. I guess it’s because he’s trying to show you how to succeed at life and make something out of yourself instead of being a leech baby sucking society’s chaffed tits while crying that everything is unfair, racist, sexist, hard, tough and too dependent on intelligence and good work ethic.

Overall, this is a pretty good book. It took me a long time to get through it, as I don’t usually read stuff like this.

It also features some art by Ethan Van Sciver, even though they spelled his name wrong on the credits page. For those that don’t know, he’s another guy that crybaby pussies hate because he calls them out on their bullshit.

This is a pretty shitty book review. But the book isn’t shitty.

Far from it.

These things just typically bore me to tears but that’s because I have little time to read books and when I do, I want them to be about something I want to learn.

I pretty much already know how not to suck at life. So here are my “13 Rules for Life” because I prefer baker’s dozens.

1. Don’t be a little bitch about everything.
2. Treat people with respect.
3. Don’t surround yourself with fucking shitheads.
4. Eat some damn fruit and vegetables once in a while.
5. Fuck stuff, especially attractive stuff.
6. Don’t make excuses or blame the universe when you suck.
7. Don’t worry about “likes” on social media, it’s not 2008 anymore, grow up.
8. Maybe exercise a bit more.
9. Don’t walk around town like a sad, frumpy asshole.
10. Don’t start shit you won’t finish.
11. Be fucking charitable, not a selfish twat.
12. Be the rock for others in the way you hope they’ll be the rock for you.
13. Learn what words like “loyalty” and “gratitude” actually mean and understand them.

See, it’s simple stuff.

The end. And bitch… you’re welcome!

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: other motivational, self-help, positive thinking, go get’em books.

Book Review: ‘The Art of Vampirella – The Dynamite Years’ by Various

Like all the other large format art books put out by Dynamite Entertainment, this one if full of spectacular pieces from my favorite artistic medium: comic books.

Plus, it also features one of my favorite indie comics characters of all-time: Vampirella.

While the Warren Years Vampirella art book blew my f’n mind, this one doesn’t quite hit the mark for me in the same way.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still a great book to own for fans of the character and comic art. However, I’m a much bigger fan of the ’60s and ’70s classical art style of the other book. That era was full of work by great fantasy painters from Spain and Italy and it had a totally different vibe.

This collection features modern comic book art. I do like most of it but it doesn’t blow my socks off like the old school stuff.

If these are the sort of books you like to collect, this one shouldn’t disappoint. The art styles have changed over the decades since the original Vampirella stories but there are still great pieces to enjoy here.

Rating: 8.5/10
Pairs well with: other art books put out by Dynamite Entertainment that features the history of the characters they publish.