Hap and Leonard Books in Order: How to read Joe R. Lansdale’s series?

Like with Quarry, I recently discovered Hap and Leonard via the television series. I watched it because I really like the work of Jim Mickle and Nick Damici, the two men behind the TV show. In fact, their last movie – Cold in July – was also the adaptation of a Joe R. Lansdale book. There’s a season 2 of the show this year, but before that, there still are the books.

What is Hap and Leonard?

So, it’s a creation of Lansdale filled with fun, violence, great dialogues and characters. The story takes place in the ’80s, in the fictional town of LaBorde, East Texas. We follow Hap Collins, a white working class laborer who spent time in federal prison for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War, and his best friend, Leonard Pine, a gay, black Vietnam vet with anger issues. They are as different as they are friends. The two of them regularly end up in a lot of troubles doing some amateur investigating in order to solve various crimes.

The first book was published in 1990 and the series is still alive and kicking after all theses years. We can find Hap and Leonard in novels, novellas, collections of short stories and soon in comic books.

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How to read The Clone Conspiracy, a Spidey event ?

  • Fabien 

When Marvel announced Civil War II, I was afraid because the first one didn’t really help Spider-man. On the contrary, pardon my French, but the post-Civil War was a shit show for Spidey. One More Day anyone ??? Fortunately, our friendly neighborhood Spider-man was untouched. In fact, Carol Danvers is the real victim this time around, the one I am seeing for now. Maybe not the only one. I mean, Rhodey, Banner, Stark, even Hawkeye (but we get a solo Kate Bishop in return, not a bad deal), they all pay a stupid price.

Meanwhile, Peter Parker was preparing for The Clone Conspiracy, his own event. Maybe I should have started with the Civil War II reading guide, but I prefer talking about less enraging thing today.

What is The Clone Conspiracy?

As I was saying, it’s the actual Spidey Event. The full name of the storyline is Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy. It’s been written by Dan Slott, with Christos Gage. Jim Cheung is the artist.

If there is “clone” in the title, of course the Jackal is back. Weirdly, this time he took the form of a mysterious man in a red suit with an Anubis mask. He visits Spider-Man’s enemies and offers them a deal: he will revive their lost loved ones if they follow his orders. Peter’s family is touched by a tragedy and his enemies allied against him, then dead people come back to life… of course, that’s only the beginning and there are a lot of twists and turns.

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Quarry Books in Order: How to Read Max Allan Collins’s series?

I discovered Quarry quite recently with the Cinemax series. I like the style of the show and the characters, but they were not developed in a satisfactory way, in my opinion. Mainly, we just learn to understand Quarry, from where he was coming to where he is going, but it’s not the same with the other important figures in his life. I suppose that the idea is to keep some stuff for the second season. That said, I’m pretty sure the show will never cover all of the books, mainly because I’m not even sure there will be more episodes. So, the best way to explore the world of Quarry is to jump right into the Max Allan Collins’ books.

What is Quarry about?

Quarry is a pulp fiction about an US Marine sniper returning from the Vietnam War. He finds his wife in bed with another man and, after dropping a car on her lover, he finds himself unemployable. His proficiency at killing interests a middleman known as the Broker, who runs a murder-for-hire operation. After an assignment, Quarry gets back to the place he was using as a lookout where he found out his partner is dead – and the money they were paid was also stolen. Quarry got himself a new mission, he must learn who hired him, and makes him pay.

That’s only the beginning of the first book. Maybe it’s a spoiler, but Quarry survives and lives on to kill more people. Quarry uses the Broker’s list of targets to reimagine the business: Quarry will alert the intended victims of their situation and offer to guard them.

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The Boys Reading Order: How to read Garth Ennis’ satirical comics ?

If there was only one Garth Ennis to read, it wouldn’t be The Boys, because nothing is better than Preacher. That said, in my opinion, The Boys is quite fun, especially if you are a superhero comics fan.

What is The Boys about?

Illustrated by Darick Robertson, The Boys follows Billy Butcher and his team. They work for the CIA in order to keep an eye on the superhero community. Of course, because Ennis wrote this, the “heroes” are mostly fuck ups. Everything starts when Wee Hughie – based on Simon Pegg – watched his girlfriend being killed in front of him by a superhero who didn’t care about the collateral damages. Butcher invites him to join his team in the US and teaches him all he needs to know about the birth of superheroes and how they are just propaganda material for a failed military consortium.

The Boys is full of Marvel and DC references, there’s although an Animal House storyline and a lot of really dark and disturbing things, you know, like in a Garth Ennis comics. I really like the idea that the heroes are just for show and the comics industry told “their” stories which is basically a tool to criticize the real industry. It’s satirical, but it’s not the main point. The evolution of Hughie and Butcher is the heart of the story. Overall, The Boys is pure Ennis with a lot of rage, a lot of dark and twisted humor, a lot of violence, really good characters and a healthy dose of emotions.

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How to read Criminal, a comic by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips ?

  • Fabien 

As I said in my first message, even if the main point of this website is to provide the best reading order guide I can produce, I also want to write about some great comics that don’t require a lot of guidance.

I’m starting with a modern classic, Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. This is for those of you who love crime stories with all the clichés and violence that you can think of, but those are still greats.

What is Criminal?

In short, Criminal is kind of a crime anthology. Each arc follows a different character. They all live in the same universe though, and some are connected, but the stories work independently from one another.

To this day, there are 7 stories, the last ones were published a few months ago after a four years break. I personally hope there will be more.

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Dirk Gently books in Order: How to read Douglas Adams’s series?

  • Fabien 

By the author of The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy.

Who’s Dirk Gently?

Douglas Adams was not the most skilled writer of his generation, by far. Nevertheless, his talent was to build incredible and highly entertaining stories that were smart, really funny and imaginative. The way he structured his stories were brilliant, in particular with the Dirk Gently series. Not as popular as The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy, the adventures of this insufferable holistic detective are just a delight for those who love a bit of absurdity with a spark of intelligence.

So, this is the story of Svlad Cjelli also known as Dirk Gently, a detective, a holistic detective to be accurate. He uses the fundamental interconnectedness of all things to solve mysteries. Even if he doesn’t want to believe in such things, Gently is a psychic.

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