Book Review: Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

meddling_kidsI was pleasantly surprised when I was contacted by Michael Goldsmith of DoubleDay Books requesting a book review of a new Lovecraftian fiction book by author, Edgar Cantero. Oh, I’ve written a few comic book reviews in the past and a book review for International Justice Mission, but that was the extent of my reviewing creds, and, as I said, it was several years ago.  In the end I decided that, hey, why not? I love to read, and I count Lovecraft as one of my biggest writing influences. So much so that I co-wrote the young Howard Lovecraft Trilogy with my good buddy, Bruce Brown, and I have an original Lovecraftian mini-series in the works with brilliant artist, Dave Youkovich.  Not to mention a few Lovecraftian short stories, an adaptation of Lovecraft’s HE for SelfMadeHero, and several unsuccessful pitches I’ve written over the years.

So it was decided.

In the years since Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s life, Lovecraftian fiction has become a popular horror subgenre which stresses cosmic, unknowable terrors and mankind’s hopelessness and helplessness to combat–or even fully comprehend–them. At the core, it is the fear of the unknown that drives the stories in this subgenre, and that is something we can all relate to, whether we are fans of science-fiction, or horror, or neither. It is from this commonality that brilliant screenwriter, Rod Serling (also a big influence on my work), penned some of his most poignant and terrifying episodes of The Twilight Zone. And Serling is only one in a long line of authors who have played upon this instantly relatable theme.

But I digress.

Imagine, if you will, the Scooby-Doo Gang in a Lovecraftian universe. As young people, the gang solved mysteries and unmasked bad guys–they were the heroes–but, during the course of their final caper they inadvertently brushed paths with unspeakable cosmic horror. It is an oppressive evil that haunts their dreams, poisons their lives, and they ultimately became scared, irreparably (?) damaged adults. Ultimately, these fractured adults decide to team up one last time and face the horror head on. This is Meddling Kids.

Does this sound similar to the synopsis of Stephen King‘s It to you? Indeed. Cantero isn’t breaking any new ground here, but what he does is tell an entertaining story that will have you furiously turning pages until you reach the bitter end. And he does so with great panache and skill. Cantero is obviously a master wordsmith who tips his hand every now and then, but never comes off as an exhibitionist. Snappy dialogue, vivid descriptions, quirky characters, and the building sense of dread will keep you enthralled and leave you wanting more. And for fans of Lovecraft’s work, you will find just enough that is familiar, but not so much that it feels overstated or cliché. As I said, this Cantero fellow knows what he is doing.

If this sounds like a fun story to you, you may be a Lovecraft fan. Or, maybe not. I believe that any reader who is merely looking for an entertaining, creepy summer read will find it quite enjoyable as well. Who knows…it may even compel some readers to check out H.P. Lovecraft’s work, and that would be awesome, indeed.

-Dwight

 

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SIDEWISE Commentary Page 46 (Thursday, June 24th)

Welcome Back

As promised, here is the weekly commentary page.

It’s been a crazy week–again. Lots of cool projects on the horizon. One of them involves video game designer American McGee. Yes, as in American McGee’s Alice.

More information to come very soon. It’s exciting news, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

SIDEWISE Videos

Check out these amazing stage-by-stage videos created by SIDEWISE artist Igor Noronha.

SIDEWISE Page 46

Sidewise banner

Looks like Conrad and part of Tesla’s team are in a heap of trouble. Will Tesla arrive too late?

Stay tuned, Lords and Ladies. You do not want to miss the sensational final act of SIDEWISE Season 1.

Back to Work in 3, 2…

I need to get back to work, but I appreciate you stopping by. Please continue to spread the word about SIDEWISE as we prepare to pitch Season 2. We need your help to ensure that we get to continue the story.

Until next week…

SIDEWISE Commentary Page 45 (Thursday, June 17th)

Salutations, Lords and Ladies!

This has been an extremely busy week. So much good stuff going on, it’s a pity I can’t share any of it yet.

But I will spill the beans very, very soon.

Sidewise Logo

SIDEWISE Page 45

Gascoine would make a great host for the Inquisition–don’t you think? “My name is Gascoine. I’ll be your torturer today.”

Sadly, the storm will bring much more than a Tesla-powered dirigible.

Until Next Week…

Sorry for the short entry, but I have a lot of exciting projects to get to work on (including a second novel).

Oh, and thank you for supporting SIDEWISE! I appreciate each and every one of you.

SIDEWISE Commentary Page 44 (Thursday, June 10th)

TA-DA!

As promised, here is your weekly SIDEWISE commentary page. I will continue to post commentary each Thursday as we conclude the third act of Season 1.

Unless I’m trapped in a parallel universe (again)… in which case, my lovely wife Rebecca will publish an updated blog post.


SIDEWISE illustration by the super-talented writer/artist Andrew Drilon

SIDEWISE Page 44

Wait a tick. Did Adam just say “that none of us would survive?!”

Indeed. No one is safe in SIDEWISE.

No one.

Which is not to say that Adam will die, but it does make you think–doesn’t it?

Parting Shot

As you have no doubt surmised by now, SIDEWISE is a long-form story.

In order to continue into Season 2, I need your help.

The simplest way to assist us is to read SIDEWISE each week and leave a comment. Believe it or not, this will help us quite a bit. Zuda wants to see that people are reading. Why would they possibly continue a story no one cares about?

If you wish to do more to help, you can also post about SIDEWISE on your blog, link to SIDEWISE on your Facebook page, tweet about it–help spread the word. If you would like to post SIDEWISE banners on your blog, please contact me at lordnikolatesla@gmail.com and I’ll send them post haste.

We can’t do it without you, so please help us spread the word.

Special thanks to those who have supported us from the beginning, and thanks to those who will join the cause after reading this post.

I truly appreciate your assistance!

All right, I need to get back to work, so I’ll see you next week, Lords and Ladies.

Smallville and SIDEWISE Commentary

Good Morning, Good Afternoon and Goodnight

No matter where you are in the world, I’ve got you covered.

Anyway, I wanted to write a blog combining the Smallville news and the newest SIDEWISE commentary page. SIDEWISE Page 25 was posted on our Zuda Comics page shortly after 10:30 AM EST.

Have you read it yet?

Okay… moving right along.

Liberty Movement on Smallville

Back in 2005, I was approached by my friend–and Dead Men Tell No Tales colorist–Michael DeVito about writing a 12-page story for his soon-to-be-published science-fiction anthology Space Doubles. Michael had decided to go into publishing for himself (WHAT WAS HE THINKING?!), and was putting together the staff to make it happen. He had already created a site and a name for the company: Th3rdworld Studios, and his Business Director, Scott Closter, had talked Michael into publishing a sci-fi flip-book with retro-styled stories and art.

Needless to say, I immediately agreed to write a story. I’m all about the retro sci-fi (in case you didn’t notice).

The result was an action-packed tale titled “The Liberty Movement” that took place in a world where the Nazis won World War 2 and subjugated the globe.

But I digress.

When Michael asked me to get a cover, my first choice was UK superstar artist Andie Tong. I was a big fan of Andie’s work on the CrossGen/MVCreations Masters of the Universe books, so I decided to contact him.

Andie is such a cool guy. He immediately agreed to illustrate a cover for the book.

Sadly, Space Doubles #4 never happened, and Andie’s cover never graced the racks of comic shops as it should have.

I’ll admit… I wasn’t happy about it.

Happily (there’s gotta be a happy ending, right?), it does appear–along with the “Liberty Movement” story–in the Space Doubles trade paperback, along with stories written by my friends Leah Moore and John Reppion, or, as I like to refer to them: “England’s Dynamic Duo of Comic Books,” the super-imaginative Mark Andrew Smith, and… well, I’m digressing again, aren’t I? Why don’t you check out the Space Doubles page for a listing of the many talented writers and artists who contributed to the book.

Here. Here is the stunning cover by Andie Tong…

Liberty Movement!

And here is a spoilerrific image from the February 12th episode of Smallville (Check it: Zatanna totally wants to buy my book)…


View Larger Image Here!

So be sure to watch Smallville on February 12th so you can see the cover and say “Hey, that was a cover for Dwight MacPherson’s Liberty Movement. And Land o’ Goshen, Andie Tong’s cover is finally getting its due! ROCK ON!”

I would encourage you to rock out on air guitar as you say this.

Do it for Andie.

SIDEWISE Commentary Page 25

The last time we saw young Master Graham, it appeared Doctor Tesla was frying his brain. We learn here, however, that Adam has been allowed to see all (?) of Tesla’s memories using the cerebral goggle device doohickey.

And he didn’t like what he saw. Not one bit.

This is an extremely important exchange because it calls Tesla’s character into question. Is he England’s future savior, or has he been party to the rise of the police state created by the Queen’s brain?

And is the revered Nikola Tesla actually a murderer?!

Read on, dear friends. All will be revealed.

Good day, Goodnight, Th-Th-Th-That’s All, Folks

I sincerely appreciate each and every one of you who has taken the time to read my long and rambling blog post.

But, hey… that’s what you’ve come to expect. Right?

SIDEWISE Commentary Page 24 (Thursday, January 21st)

Greetings, Salutations and How Do You Do

Welcome to the weekly commentary update. I’m assuming you’ve already read Page 24, so let’s get to it, shall we?

Her Immortal Majesty

PAGE 24

This page further establishes the Queen’s relationship with Nikola Tesla. But, most importantly, it is also significant because Victoria’s Brain has given Minister Moriarty the authority to seek Adam out, thus endangering Lord Tesla. Moriarty obviously knows something the Queen doesn’t.

Or does he?

Keep reading, dear friends. The payoff is well worth the wait as I establish the characters and their world.

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye

Thank you for reading. And, if you enjoy what you’ve read, please pass a link along to your friends and loved ones. After all, everyone loves Steampunk–right?

See you next week with a brand new SIDEWISE page and commentary!

Sidewise Commentary Wrap-Up or Better Late Than Never

Yes, I fell behind, but I intend to get caught up and post a new SIDEWISE commentary page Thursday (TOMORROW!) when Page 23 goes live on Zuda’s site.

Thank you for bearing with me.

PAGE 11

Major Wilson is a fun character to write. Tempestuous, volitile and forthright, he always lets others know exactly what he thinks. Whether they want to hear it or not.

As we learn on this page, the Queen reluctantly decides that Tesla should be questioned because of the Tesla building’s close proximity to the incident. Why is she reluctant? Well, Panel 4 is a whopping hint.

PAGE 12

Minister Moriarty’s castle. This is a particularly important set-up, but I won’t say why. You’ll just have to keep reading.

Aw, come on. You’ll thank me later.

PAGE 13

Igor really nailed this page. As you can see, Minister Moriarty is involved in the occult. Given the fact that he has the ability to teleport, this calls his very being into question from the onset.

Oh, and the “DOOM!” sound-effect was artist Igor Noronha‘s idea. Brilliant, isn’t it?

PAGE 14

Adam’s quite bright–don’t you think? Of course, this exchange was essential to establish Adam as an intellectual. After all, he did help his parents create a time device.

Tesla’s not going to be able to pull a fast one on Adam Graham.

Or is he?

PAGE 15

“Intellectual pugilism.” What other webcomic uses such witty metaphors? Okay, you can probably name a few. Still, a wonderful exchange between Lord Tesla and Adam.

PAGE 16

Oh, my! This can’t be good!

Or can it?

(Yes, I’m full of rhetorical questions today.)

PAGE 17

This is another excellent page, and a wonderful glimpse of the other members of Tesla’s band of exo-suited soldiers: Fawkes, Raleigh and Boudica.

“For Food!” Is actually the MacPherson Clan’s war cry.

As you can see, Tesla is occupied and does not hear their transmission. This will be important later.

PAGE 18

Ah, Scotland. Land of my ancestors.

I’m told that roast boar doesn’t actually fall from the sky in Scotland, but wouldn’t that work miracles for tourism? “Come to Scotland, where roast boar falls from the sky!” I can picture a burly man with mutton chops, kilt and… okay, I’ll stop.

PAGE 19

Yes, these men are exiles from England. The reason for their expatriation will be explained as the story progresses. We know who deported the men, but we don’t know why.

And who is this mysterious “Mr. Conrad?” Hmm.

PAGE 20

“Shoot their weapons?! Why in the world…”

You’ll find out shortly.

PAGE 21

I love the reaction of the Knight of Hanover. Of course, our mate Major Wilson is the only one insulted by the Minister’s sleight. The others want to stay as far away from him as possible. And for good reason!

PAGE 22

Was that fire…?!

Again, questioning the being of Minister Moriarty. Is he human–or something else?

Read on, my friends. Read on.

You Make the Steampunk World Go ‘Round

Thank you for reading and supporting SIDEWISE. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate each and every one of you who has taken the time to read, comment, or pass along a link to the webcomic. If we keep this up, we will definitely see a Season 2. The power’s in your hands.

See you tomorrow with another update!