Why OJ Is Just Like Lizzie Borden
(This Stripped column originally appeared in the December 11-17, 1997, Long Island Voice. Click on the artwork for a larger image.)
by Beth Hannan Rimmels
As I was saying: If your Aunt Martha is anything like my Aunt Ev, it’s easy to assume you won’t find a present for her in a comic book store. You’d assume wrong. If like Aunt Ev, if you know people who devour People magazine, E!, Hard Copy, etc., just buy them The Big Book of Scandals by DC Comic’s Paradox Press ($14.95). In addition to well-known, recent scandals like the O.J. trial ("Cirque du O.J."), Woody and Mia, and Heidi Fleiss, it also contains older but still steamy scandals like Errol Flynn’s off-screen activities ("In Like Flynn"), proof that politics can make some truly strange bedfellows ("Pants-Free Presidents" and "X-Rated Congress"), and, of course, the royals.
Written by Jonathan Vankin, the book has a sense of humor about the topics without being totally tacky and a complete bibliography in case a topic particularly captures the reader’s interest. Art is provided by more than 50 talented pencilers including Sergio Aragones (Groo), Colleen Doran (A Distant Soil), Bryan Talbot (The Tale of One Bad Rat), Ty Templeton (Batman & Robin Adventures), Joe Orlando (the original House of Secrets) and tons more. If this one tickles their fancy, you can always give them The Big Book of Hoaxes, Conspiracies, Freak, Weirdos, Little Criminals or Thugs to name a few.
If a giftee’s taste runs more toward real-life crime than pure scandal, consider The Borden Tragedy, a graphic novel by Rick Geary released by NBM Publishing ($8.95). While Geary researched the Lizzie Borden case carefully, part of the information comes from the unpublished memoirs of an unknown woman who was supposedly a friend of the Bordens. The information was discovered in 1990 in a trunk at an estate sale and has been authenticated to a large degree, though no writer can be conclusively identified. On the back cover, Geary points out the many similarities to the Simpson case and the parallels are intriguing as you read the story. Geary has also written A Treasury of Victorian Murder ($8.95) and Jack the Ripper ($15.95).
Know someone who adores Star Wars, devours every novel and is counting the days until the next film? If they don’t read comics, you’ve got it easy. Dark Horse has had the license for Star Wars graphic novels and miniseries for a few years and Lucas is so happy with their work, the contract has been extended. Options range from "classic" Star Wars, such as Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye to adaptations of the novels like Shadows of the Empire and Heir to the Empire to totally original stories dealing with future Jedi Knight recruits. Unlike that other series with "Star" in its name, these stories, like the novels, are one hundred percent canon so you don’t have to worry about contradictions or inconsistencies. My favorites are Dark Empire and Dark Empire II by Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy because Han, Luke and Leia ring especially true. Check out the Dark Horse Comics Web site for a complete list of Star Wars graphic novels.
Also from Dark Horse are the perfect gifts for anyone who loves film noir and hard-boiled characters. Frank Miller’s Sin City miniseries have it all: greed, corruption, sex, murder — all the things that make great stories. The miniseries have been compiled into the trade paperbacks Sin City, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Sin City: Family Values, Sin City: That Yellow Bastard and Sin City: A Big, Fat Kill. Anyone with a taste for tough characters and an open mind will fall for these stories hard.
For crime with a lighter touch, pick up Innovation’s recently released Maze Agency: Book 1 ($10.95) containing four early Maze Agency stories by Mike Barr with art by Adam Hughes and Rick Magyar. Maze Agency debuted while Moonlighting was on TV and unlike Maddie and David, Gabe and Jennifer showed how to keep a story interesting after the characters have sex. The mysteries play fair and the characters are smart, sexy and lot of fun to spend time with.
Column © 1997 Long Island Voice. Big Book of Scandal artwork © 1997 Paradox Press. The Borden Tragedy artwork © 1997 NBM. Star Wars: Dark Empire artwork © 1997 Dark Horse Comics. Maze Agency Book 1 artwork © 1997 Innovation.