or, The Year in Review
I originally wanted to do a list of my top ten fiction books of the year, but then I realized almost all of the fiction I read was either published (or will be published) by Eraserhead Press or one of its imprints. Working as an editor and writer leaves me very little free time for reading. What free reading I have done this year was mostly comic books, nonfiction, and books from previous years. So I thought I’d take a different approach to the list.
Here are the top ten books published by Eraserhead Press (or one of its imprints) that made an impact on me. This isn’t what I think were the best books written this year. These are just the books that meant the most to me. 2010 was an insane year for Eraserhead Press. Forty-three releases and three new imprints. This list acts as my personal year in review.
The books are in order of release:
Super Giant Monster Time! by Jeff Burk – The first release in 2010 by Eraserhead Press was also my second book. It’s meant to be a tribute to those old choose your own adventure books that I would read when I was a kid – just with all the hardcore violence that I wished was in them. This was a special project to me because I got to work with long-time friend and bizarro artist Chrissy Horchheimer. When we first met six years ago in college, I never imaged she would be illustrating my second book. Fun Fact: We are working on a new book together, Dinosaurs Attack!, look for it sometime in 2011.
A Hundred Horrible Sorrows of Ogner Stump by Andrew Goldfarb – Andrew Goldfarb is an amazing renaissance man. He plays in an one-man band, writes novels, and writes/draws his own comic series. When hunting for creators for Shark VS Badger, Eraserhead Press’ comic book imprint, Goldfarb was the first on everyone’s list. His work is fantastically imaginative and combines David Lynch, Tim Burton, and voodoo within the comic book medium. Fantastic and sadly overlooked in the bizarro scene.
Brain Cheese Buffet by Edward Lee – 2010 saw me becoming Head Editor of Deadite Press, Eraserhead Press’ cult horror fiction imprint. The first release I oversaw was this collection of Edward Lee’s most extreme stories – most of which had been out of print for years. Lee is one of my all time favorite authors. Nobody delivers obscene sex and violence like him. He was also very supportive of me at the very beginning of my writing career. To now be in the position of publishing his work and making his hardcore stuff available to a wider audience is a dream come true.
The Kobold Wizard’s Dildo of Enlightenment +2 by Carlton Mellick III – In addition to reading splatterpunk collections, my High School years were spent playing Call of Cthulhu, Magic: the Gathering, and, of course, Dungeons and Dragons. Apparently, Carlton wasn’t that different than me. This is an amazing tribute to all those caffeine fueled RPG binges from when you were fourteen. Carlton even went as far to create maps, notes, illustrations, and more to really create that class AD&D feel.
Night of the Assholes by Kevin L. Donihe – After Carlton Mellick, Kevin Donihe was the next bizarro author that I first got into. Every one of his books is amazing, weird, and beautiful. His newest novel is a parody of “Night of the Living Dead” (also one of my all-time favorite movies). This is easily Donihe’s funniest book and, for the Donihe newcomer, the book of his I would recommend the most.
Zombies and Shit by Carlton Mellick III – Getting to work with Carlton Mellick everyday has been one of my favorite perks of being on the Eraserhead Press team. You never know when it’s time for spontaneous drinking, video game marathons, or J-Pop dance parties. While he wrote Zombies and Shit, I had the privilege of reading the book as he wrote the chapters and give feedback. It’s a really amazing experience to be able to see one of your favorite writers create a book and to see their process. From brain-storming, all the way to drinking and celebrating the printed novel.
The Flappy Parts by Kevin L. Donihe – It’s no secret that I love the work of Kevin L. Donihe. One of his books is already on this list and I have published him several time in the Magazine of Bizarro Fiction. I was first exposed to his poetry in issue 5 of Bust Down the Door and Eat all the Chickens. At that point I had only read The Greatest Fucking Moment in Sports from the orange Starter Kit. The poems really spoke to me much more so than any other poetry I have read. Finally, Lazy Fascist Press has released a collection featuring a large chunk of Donihe’s poetry output.
The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction #4 guest edited by John Skipp – When I was in High School, Skipp’s Book of the Dead anthology series made a major impact on me. They were my first exposure to modern hardcore horror fiction. Skipp was also the first editor I became a fan of. His name on a book became an immediate seal of quality. Words can’t describe how thrilled I was when he asked to guest edit an issue of The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction. The issue upholds Skipp’s reputation as an awesome editor. He managed to gather some of the top names in bizarro and horror fiction and get them deliver some of the weirdest and best stories you will ever read.
Whargoul by Dave Brockie – When Deadite Press started taking off, we knew we needed some more authors and books. Carlton suggested I try getting Dave Brockie (most famously known as the lead singer of GWAR). About ten years ago, he was supposed to release Whargoul via Eraserhead Press but the project fell through. I looked it up and it turned out the book still had not come out. After a few emails, I got the manuscript and now, this December, you can finally read this amazing novel of war crimes and demons.
The Bizarro Starter Kit (purple) – The first two Bizarro Starter Kits where my introductions into the bizarro scene. I’m proud to say many of the authors from them are now my coworkers, friends, and family. I’m even prouder to say that I was one of the ten authors selected to contribute to the third volume of the series. When I first started getting serious about writing I would, for my own egotistical indulgence, imagine what my profile in a starter kit would look like. This year, I got to stop dreaming and actually write up that profile.
Christmas on Crack edited by Carlton Mellick III – I really hate Christmas. The holiday, and the celebrations that go with it, strike me as gaudy and crassly consumerist. When Carlton told me he wanted to do a Christmas anthology, I jumped at it. I called dibbs on doing a Frosty the Snowman story. I had no idea what I wanted to do to him, I just knew he needed to go through Hell. I’m really happy with my finished story, “Frosty and the Full Monty,” and I think Frosty got what he deserves. Fun Fact: my mother is obsessed with Christmas. She doesn’t know this story exists. She would not be amused. Shhhhhhhh, nobody tell her.