Book Review: ‘Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide’ by Jim Luceno, Laura Gilbert

I remember this oversized hardcover coffee table book coming out around the same time as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull back in the late ’00s. I wanted it but didn’t buy it back then, as it was a bit pricey and I was pretty damn poor then.

Recently, a copy popped up on an eBay search and I bought it, as it was really cheap and still in great quality.

While “encyclopedias” like this aren’t all that necessary in modern times with Wikipedia and lots of fan-made very specific Wikias, the larger than life presentation of this book and all of its great pictures, art and images, makes me yearn for a time when books like this were more common.

It’s one small part of the book but the thing I really liked most about this was how it provided three-dimensional maps of many of the tombs, temples and secret caves that Indiana Jones visited throughout the film franchise.

This book delves into a little bit of everything, though.

This doesn’t only cover the films but it covers The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles television show, the novels, the video games and even looks at the comics.

Additionally, it covers all of these things in as much detail as you can in the limited space of a book chock full of imagery.

For diehard Indiana Jones fans, I’d say that this is a really cool book to ad to your library. Especially, if you can find a good, affordable copy online.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: other reference books and guides from other Lucasfilm blockbusters.

Book Review: ‘Florida Mat Wars 1977’ by Robert D. VanKavelaar & Scott Teal

At this point, many of you know that I grew up in Florida and witnessed Championship Wrestling From Florida live and in-person, as a kid in the ’80s. My earliest and some of my fondest wrestling memories came from this great promotion.

That being said, I like to read every book that has ties or stories to the company. Since I wasn’t alive in 1977, I found this one particularly interesting, as it chronicles a full year in the company before I was born.

However, 1977 was also an incredible year where CWF was packed full of immense prime time level talent.

This book is a collection of photos, newspaper articles and promotional advertisements of every event the company held in the State of Florida that year.

By looking through this, the year takes shape as you see rivalries form, feuds ignite and what came next for the wrestlers involved. Also, I liked seeing where all these events took place, as I could pinpoint ones that I knew my father and my uncles would have gone to live.

This is just a really cool book to own and to thumb through if you’re a fan of the promotion and wrestling history in general.

Rating: 8.25/10
Pairs well with: other books on the history of the old school territory wrestling business, as well as biographies on the personalities who lived it.

Book Review: ‘Rags, Paper and Pins: The Merchandising of Memphis Wrestling’ by Jim Cornette & Mark James

This is a sort of sequel to Jim Cornette and Mark James’ other book about Memphis Wrestling. However, this one covers the merchandising and marketing side of that legendary wrestling promotion.

Rags, Paper and Pins covers a lot of ground and it’s chock full of images on nearly every page, showing you all the great things Memphis did to market their events and wrestlers.

For fans of the old school Memphis territory, this is a solid read and it’s a hell of a lot of fun just to flip through. It’s a literary time machine and for me, it channeled strong feelings of nostalgia for an era in the wrestling business that I truly miss.

Cornette and James have already covered a lot of territory in their multiple books about Memphis but it was such a cool promotion with such a rich history that I’d pick up just about anything that they’d put out on the subject.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other books on the history of territory wrestling. Primarily those by either Mark James or Scott Teal.

Book Review: ‘Memphis Wrestling History Presents: 1957-1989 Clippings’ by Mark James

This is another historical wrestling reference book by Mark James.

By it’s title you can probably gather that it focuses on the Memphis territory. While it has an introduction written by James, the rest of the book is just pages of newspaper clippings about each Monday night wrestling show held in Memphis from 1957 through 1989.

While it is fantastic that it gives the entire history of Memphis’ Monday night cards, I kind of wish that there was more information given throughout the book.

This is definitely something worth looking at, though, if you’re a fan of wrestling history, especially Memphis.

This lets you see, from week-to-week, which wrestlers were featured, who came into the territory and where they fit on the card.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other books on Memphis wrestling, as well as books by Mark James.

Comic Review: Pro Wrestling’s True Facts

Published: 1993
Written by: Tom Burke, Dan Pettiglio
Art by: Dan Pettiglio

36 Pages

Review:

I kind of just came across this randomly on eBay. I’m always looking for unique comics, as well as wrestling memorabilia. This actually checks both boxes and I thought it was a neat concept worth checking out.

This is about the history of professional wrestling told in comic book form. It puts a lot of emphasis on the old school era of the wrestling business and it’s just cool as hell for those who love that stuff, as well as history in general.

The likenesses of the wrestlers are fantastic and every page is incredible to look at and a lot of fun to read.

From what I can tell, this is a pretty rare comic as I couldn’t finds much outside info on it but it’s certainly worth adding to your collection if you’re into this sort of stuff or if you just like picking up odd and unknown comics.

The seller may still throw them on eBay every now and again but I’m assuming it had a really low print run and it won’t be the easiest comic to find as more time passes.

Rating: 7.5/10

Book Review: ‘Wrestling Record Book: Florida 1977-1985’ by Mark James

If you’ve read any of the stuff I’ve written about wrestling on Talking Pulp, you might be aware that I’m a Floridian and that I grew up attending Championship From Florida shows fairly regularly. I’ve also had a pretty deep love of the once great promotion that has only grown over the years due to the ever-powerful nostalgia bug and the fact that modern wrestling just isn’t my thing.

So when I was looking for wrestling history books on Amazon, I came across this record book for CWF. Being that it was written and compiled by Mark James, a great wrestling historian who I’ve been reading for awhile, made buying this a no-brainer.

What this primarily is, is a list of wrestling cards organized in chronological order. While that may sound boring to the layman, it allows you to see who was wrestling when and where, as well as being able to follow trends from guys getting pushed to the top of the card, to main eventing, as well as all the marquee feuds and how they played out from 1977 to 1985.

I liked the fact that I could go through it and find the cards that I saw in person. Additionally, there were cards that my dad or my uncle told me about that I could look up, see the date, the venue and who was there. I actually found several cards I was at, as well as the first card my dad took my stepmom to before they were married.

For fans of this specific promotion and wrestling from this era, it’s a pretty invaluable resource not unlike Mark James’ other similar books from other territories.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: other historical wrestling books written and compiled by Mark James.

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: ‘Silken Swords: An Informal Guide to the Women in the Fiction of Robert E. Howard’ by Fred Blosser

This is a pretty cool book to have around for those who like Robert E. Howard’s work.

It’s all about the female badasses from his stories whether they appeared in the tales of Conan, Solomon Kane, Kull or their own stories.

This is basically a reference book that is organized and reads like an encyclopedia. Because of that, it’s really valuable if you like specific characters and want to know more about them and where they appear.

It still reads well if you delve into it from cover to cover and in doing that, it introduced me to a lot of characters that I hadn’t yet known about.

The only thing that I think could improve it would be to also include information about their comic book counterparts as many of these characters have found life alongside Conan, Kull and Solomon Kane since Marvel started publishing those characters in the ’70s.

For those of you that have a sword and sorcery section in your personal library, this would be a handy edition to it.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: the Barbarian Life books by Roy Thomas.

Book Review: ‘The A-Z of Marvel Monsters’ by Various

I came across this encyclopedia of Marvel monsters on Amazon and though that it’d be cool to add to my collection, as I like old school Marvel monster stories, especially with Jack Kirby art.

This was somewhat disappointing though, as it just gives one monster per letter in the alphabet and some of the choices were odd.

This is a pretty thin hardcover and it somewhat serves as an art book as much as it is a reference book. However, the monster encyclopedia entries only take up about half of the book and their info is pretty minimal.

The second half is stuffed full of old reprints of stories featuring some of these creatures.

Honestly, it’d be really cool if Marvel made a monster encyclopedia that was more comprehensive, covered a much larger lot of creatures and gave us a lot more meat to chew on.

This is really more of a kids book and what’s weird about that is I don’t know how many kids in the 2010s will really give a shit about comic book monsters from 60 years ago. I wish that wasn’t the reality we live in but it is and Marvel should realize that but then again, most of what they put out in 2019 shows how out of touch and politically insane they’ve become.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: other Marvel art books and reference books.

Book Review: ‘The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains: Oddball Criminals from Comic Book History’ by Jon Morris

I wanted something lighthearted and fun to read in regards to comic book history. Well, this was exactly that.

This is a good collection of info on a lot of the lowest tier villains throughout comic book history. This goes all the way back to the golden age and works forward through time.

This was a nice, amusing read with a lot of entries featuring dozens of weird baddies. However, my only real complaint is that I wish it had more info on a lot of these characters.

Granted, I understand that many of these were one-off, failed villains, but as you get to the more modern ones, several villains there have had longer, richer histories and it would’ve been cool to have seen more on that.

This isn’t a must own, as almost all of this info exists for free online and these chapters read more like quick Wikipedia articles but for just a few bucks on Kindle, I certainly felt like I got my money’s worth.

There are also other installments that focus on lame heroes and goofy sidekicks.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: the other books in this series. There’s one about heroes and one about sidekicks.