WORKS OF FICTION: TOP 10 PERSONAL FAVORITES

Works of fiction, and personal favorites at that, naturally vary from person to person. Facebook recently offered a challenge of 10 days of favorite films and then 10 days of music albums. I took up the challenge and nominated others. Not many friends took up the challenge which was a disappointment. So, since this is my blog, and I’ve always been an avid reader, I had the idea of creating my own one day list of personal favorite works of fiction, followed soon by a list of personal favorite works of non-fiction.

As the author of Lee Marvin Point Blank, I can tell you that non-fiction is a much more preferred genre. So, coming up with this list of fiction was no easy task. I added no comments to each title other than just the book cover image itself. I certainly could give details and anecdotes to each one but I think it best to simply let the titles speaks for themselves.

   Anyway, the only prerequisite I made for myself is that it has to be something I’ve read more than once for my own enjoyment and consequently has stood the test of time. Since I still own most of these titles, the scans below are almost all from my own often read personal collection. So, without further ado, my list, in order of preference….
– Dwayne Epstein

10. THE DIRTY DOZEN by E.M. Nathanson.

 

9. SHEILA LEVINE IS DEAD AND LIVING IN NEW YORK by Gail Parent.

 

 

8. THE WATCHMEN by Alan Moore (writer) & Dave Gibbons (artist).

7. THE COMEDY OF NEIL SIMON (collected plays & essay).

6. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

5. GREAT SHORT WORKS OF JACK LONDON

4. THE WANDERERS by Richard Price.

3. DOG SOLDIERS by Robert Stone

2. GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW (issues #76-89) by Denny O’Neill (writer) & Neal Adams (artist).

1. JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN by Dalton Trumbo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“HIS NAME IS SAVAGE!” RETURNS FROM OBSCURITY

“His Name is Savage!” is a 1968 graphic novel not remembered by many but it is indeed memorable and coming back to life in a new incarnation. Pioneering comic book legend Gil Kane put his body & soul into the project but it never really went beyond the first issue. Why is this even being mentioned in this blog?

The cover of Gil Kane’s “His Name is…SAVAGE!”

Title page explains it all.

The answer to that can be seen in the cover of the first and only issue painted by artist Robert Foster. I didn’t mention the project in Lee Marvin Point Blank simply because other than the likeness, there’s really no connection to Lee Marvin in the story at all. There is however many other references to Marvin’s plethora of cultural references in the book. Just saying.
Anyway, the return of “His Name is Savage!” is the subject of a recent online article I read in which a new media company has decided to resurrect the story (minus the Lee Marvin likeness) and attempt to possibly bring to the screen as well. The article tells the whole story here.

I wish them luck in their endeavors but it would have been nice had it been attempted when Gil Kane was still alive. Might have been nice to bring it back when Marvin was alive, too. It would have helped to dispel a long held rumor that the actor was the the reason the series stopped after one issue since he sued Kane for using his likeness. According to Kane in a 1996 interview, “We never had any trouble from Lee Marvin — obviously he never saw the goddamn thing. We never had any trouble from anybody”.

Gil Kane (1926-2000), legendary comic book artist responsible for “His Name Is…Savage!”

I grew up as a comic book fan and Gil Kane was always one of my favorites, especially his revamping of Green Lantern in the 1960s. Artist Neal Adams would later use that revamp to create an even greater series of stories! I was kind of disappointed to find out how much Kane had wanted the “His Name Is Savage!” project to succeed only to never see that happen. Naturally, I’m glad these young upstarts are remembering the project and are reviving and revamping it. Maybe even a movie in these days of comic book crazy cinema. Of course, if you want to make a movie inspired by the likeness of Lee Marvin, might I suggest another source? Seriously. I can be contacted right here.
– Dwayne Epstein

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STAR WARS ARTIST GREG HILDEBRANDT: FILMFAX INTERVIEW

With the news Star Wars film saturating the media these days, I thought it a good time to post my own EXTREMELY slight connection to the franchise. In 2009 I was contacted by Filmfax magazine publisher Mike Stein about interviewing graphic artist, Greg Hildebrandt. Together with his identical twin brother, Tim, the two of them covered the landscape of iconic pop culture imagery.
I greatly appreciated the assignment but wondered to myself, ‘Why me?” My mainstay was film as I continued researching Lee Marvin: Point Blank in hopes of publication. I discovered that the fact that I had interviewed comic book artist and childhood hero Neal Adams for the magazine, proved to be the catalyst for Mike Stein’s decision. It didn’t change the fact that I knew close to nothing about the commercial art world, let alone the Brothers Hildebrandt. The closest I ever got to familiarity with that existence was having a best friend who graduated from the Califonia Institute of the Arts. Well, the gauntlet put before me, I grabbed at it with both hands and dove into researching the work and art of the men who gained fame in the 70s with their Lord of the Rings calendars, children’s book illustrations, pin-ups and, most famously of all, the original Star Wars poster — a story by the way that’s it the next issue, which is an amazing tale in its own right!
I met with Greg in Santa Monica’s now defunct gallery/store known as Every Picture Tells a Story, with co-owner Lee Cohen in attendance. I have no idea why it no longer exists but it’s a damn shame as it housed original artwork from everybody’s favorite childhood illustrators. Focusing on the interview was difficult at best surrounded by such visual splendor. Making it worse was the fact that in the midst of the interview, actor Elliot Gould ambled into the store. That’s right, quirky 70s film icon and the original Trapper John, himself! My professionalism was sorely tested as he is, was, and remains one of my personal favorite film stars. Lee  Cohen later told me that he comes in all the time looking for artwork for his grandson.
I gritted my teeth at a missed opportunity and proceeded to interview Mr. Hildebrandt. Glad I did, too, as it turned out to be a truly wonderful experience. He’s a good guy with a great story to tell. Read it for yourself and stay tuned for Part 2 when the Star Wars connection comes into full focus. In the mean time, have you ever wondered why the likeness to the Clash of the Titans poster and Star Wars poster is strong? Read below and find out why…

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1 cover

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1 cover.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 1.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 1.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 2

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 2.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 3.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 3.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 4.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 4.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 5.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 5.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 6.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 6.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 7.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 7.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 8.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 8.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 9.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 9.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 10.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 10.

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