Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Image du Jour

I am way behind on my images. So I'm posting three to slightly atone for my slackness. Above is Ronnie James Dio, from his first stint (of three) in Black Sabbath. Ronnie has been my favorite vocalist and, for lack of a better term, a hero to me since 1982. It was recently reported that Ronnie is in the early stages of stomach cancer. Not being a religious person, I'm not exactly praying for Ronnie, but sending him all the positive energy I can muster (which praying is a ritualistic variation of anyway in my opinion). If anyone reading is in any way a fan, please do the same.

Next: more Octobriana (though I can never get enough personally)!

... And finally, one of several covers of Philip Jose Farmer's (as the cover says) "shocking underground classic of blood and lust", A Feast Unknown, which I highly recommend seeking out - though certain scenes may rattle some folks' cages a bit too much for them to appreciate it.
HC 93

Friday, November 27, 2009

Image du Jour

Vintage poster for Jean Cocteau's classic Orpheus (aka Orphee; 1950).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Image du Jour

A pretty cool Japanese poster for The Omega Man.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Image du Jour

A vary rare variant poster for Lucio Fulci's 1966 spaghetti western Massacre Time (Tempo di Massacro aka The Brute and the Beast), starring the great Franco Nero (Django, Keoma, Companeros, many more).

This title and image pretty much have nothing to do with Fulci's film, just in case you go into the film expecting a town without a sheriff.

HC 93

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Image du Jour

Sarah and I were discussing reincarnation and her favourite DC heroines this evening, so I thought this image of Hawkgirl that evoked one of her past lives might be appropos. For you, Sarah (as Carter Hall said to Kendra), My Once and Future Love...

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Image du Jour

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Image du Jour

Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Chessmen of Mars is the fifth of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars novels, and one of my favourites. I own the edition with this phantasmagoric cover by Gino D'Achille. John Carter is not center stage in this book, which has to be the weirdest entry in the series; certainly ERB outdid himself with his descriptions of the titular "Chessmen" creatures. D'Achille's cover certainly made me shudder when my uncle gave me a copy for my 12th birthday. But I loved it just as the other ERB Mars novels, and it's still a fantastic read.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Image du Jour

My mother bought this comic for me when I was a wee tot. I liked H.G. Wells, and I thought the hero, Killraven, looked cool, but the lampreys were scary. I didn't understand the story. I could make no sense of it. I decided to give it another try another time. By the time I did, Amazing Adventures was defunct.
In the 1980s I rather cheaply amassed a complete run of the Amazing Adventures issues featuring the War of the Worlds strip. It's now one of my favourite Marvel series ever. And this Jim Starlin cover image (aided by the H.G. Wells imprimatur) is what first roused my curiosity. What a classic 70s Marvel cover!
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Image du Jour

Monday, November 16, 2009

Image du Jour

Frigga in a contemplative moment before slaughtering a few dozen more pimps, thugs, and anyone else in her way.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Image du Jour

Swamp Thing and Abby by John Totleben, one of the most underrated artists in the history of comics. This is for Sarah.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Image du Jour

Stunning original Japanese poster art for Female Prisoner Scorpion # 701: Grudge Song (1973), directed by Yasuharu Hasebe (Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter) and starring the amazing Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Image du Jour

A rare Czech poster for the original Planet of the Apes (1968).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Image du Jour

A 1968 Japanese one-sheet poster for Jean-Luc Godard's brilliant Alphaville (1965).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Image du Jour

Morded by John Eric Holmes is the 1980 sequel to the 1928 novel Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan, which was the basis for the Buck Rogers comic strip (also created and originally written by Nowlan), which of course spawned movies, comix, toys, a television series, etc. Mordred is a fantastic book that answers many questions about the future world postulated by Nowlan, and about Rogers himself. This book has been out of print for years. Thankfully I still have my first edition mass market. Mordred's gorgeous cover is my Image du Jour for today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Image du Jour

If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, my good friend Win Scott Eckert should begin feeling very flattered, starting today. He posts a Pic o' the Day on his site, and you never know what to expect except that they're always searingly eye-catching. Much of the time he posts covers of obscure (and not-so-obscure) pulp novels (of all genres), but he also tosses in plenty of recent fare as well.

Well, now that I've pretty much endorsed Win's cool site, which everyone should check out (http://woldnewton.blogspot.com), I'm copping to ripping off his idea, and my 'Images du Jour' will be from any media - comics, books, films, and so on - covers, posters, and any other groovy image that I come upon and want to share. I've learned from Win that it's good to keep a steady feed going with one's blog, and have at least something up every day. I am still woefully behind on promoting Dark Discoveries, Slam-Bang Comics, and With Honor. But I'll also be posting some older film reviews (revised and updated) from my days in the late 90s as a columnist, reviewer, and feature writer for magazines and newspapers that are sadly defunct (and with no web presence anymore either). I want to preserve and share my work from that period since copies of those publications are now so scarce.

Enjoy my first Image du Jour, perched atop this screed. Personally I find it breathtaking...

HC 93

Friday, October 30, 2009

Entropie Frograt & the Apocalypse Flowers - LOLITA 93 [HQ] - Musick Video by Henry Zeo Covert

At long last, a video - or an image really - to accompany my song "LOLITA 93" . This was performed in June of 1993 by the first iteration of my occasional musickal side project, Entropie Frograt & the Apocalypse Flowers. The tune was written and arranged by keyboardist Silver Oak and myself, and features drummer Michael Lillard; the three of us were all former members of North Carolina cult band Chiaroscuro, founded in 1986 by Jason V Brock.

My then-fiancee Anais played electric violin, and trading guitar and sundry doodads with me is Elisa Faires, who sings lead on the last portion of the track. Elisa is now a highly respected veteran performer and teacher of avant-garde musick based in Asheville NC. My old friend Duane Cochran, a veteran of the Wilmington NC film scene, assisted me in EQ-ing and remastering an album's worth of Frograt material onto CD. What resulted was a collection of very noisy but (hopefully) highly listenable lo-fi tracks which comprise the album 1231, completed in June of 2000.

1231 went viral in 2007 with the assistance of brilliant NC musician Richard Lizard, and this video was created on August 30, 2009. An alternate video was also created - with actual moving images! - the same week, but Windows Movie Maker conversion issues have prevented me from publishing it as of yet.

Special thanx to Jason V Brock, musical mentor to most of the Flowers on this track; and to 'S'.

Entropie Frograt essentially = Henry Zeo Covert. The Apocalypse Flowers on the final cut of "LOLITA 93":

Silver Oak (aka Jeremy Horne)
Michael Lillard
Elisa Faires
Anais (aka Ann Roberts)
Cockring (aka Duane Cochran)
Richard Lizard (aka Richard Jacob)

Copyright 2009, 2010 George Henry Smathers Jr. A Horne/ Smathers Composition.

COVEN - 'Lady O' for Jinx [HQ] by Henry Zeo Covert

My first video: an offering of thanx, for many years of beautiful sounds, to my friend Jinx Dawson. This is "Lady O", by Jinx's groundbreaking occult rock band Coven. I strung together key images of Jinx and Coven and their iconography to weave the story of "Lady O"... whoever she may be. This song by rights should have been a huge hit. It appears on Coven's classic 1974 album, Blood on the Snow.

Created August 6, 2009.
Special thanx to James Barnes, Jay Velez, William Jannusch, Derek Jones, Rachel Kadushin, and of course Jinx Dawson.

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Jinx Dawson and COVEN online:

Jinx Dawson on Facebook:

JINX of The COVEN Official Facebook Group:

Coven Music Vault YouTube Channel:

Official Coven MySpace Number 1:

Official Coven MySpace Number 2:

Jinx Dawson's Personal Lair on MySpace:

The Official Underground Coven Vault - A Cafe Press Shoppe:

'Lady O' Written by and Copyright 2009, 2010 Jinx Dawson. 'Lady O' for Jinx video Copyright 2009, 2010 George Henry Smathers Jr.

Friday, February 13, 2009


So I'm laboring away at a short story I'm writing and illustrating for the upcoming music-themed issue of Fan-Atic Press' Slam-Bang Comics, published by underground comix vet Allen Freeman. The story I'm doing is entitled "A Child of the Sea" and is an autobiographical cartoon sharing my nearly life-long obsession with Black Sabbath.

So I'm rushing to hit this deadline, and talk about woodshedding. Not only am I immersing myself in all things Sabbath (which is a daily ritual of mine anyway, thankfully for the story), but I'm striving for likenesses of the various Sabbath members portrayed in the story. Expect a much more cartoonish than photo-realistic look, which not only eases my burden but better serves a story inspired by the great underground comix by Harvey Pekar and R. Crumb that have dealt with their own musical fetishes.

Here is a small preview:

Below is a study I worked up of Ian Gillan, Sabbath's vocalist on the classic Born Again album and tour; and a quick sketch I did of Sabbath main man Tony Iommi, .

More to come,

Postscript/ Update (April 2009): I was not able to complete the 8 page "A Child of the Sea" for Slam-Bang Comics Vol. III # 4 after all due to time constraints, but editor Allen Freeman has chosen to run my text and photo collage piece "Jazz Deaths" instead so that I can still be included in the issue. "Jazz Deaths" originally appeared in 1997 in issue # 10 of a zine I used to write for called Terminal Brain Rot, edited by Cleveland-based psychotronic zinester/ muso Michael Huegen, who had a profound influence on me in my early days as a published writer, back when Michael's home base was the City Where Evil Dwells, Charlotte NC. Thanx Michael and thanx so much Allen!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Some Thoughts on DAWN OF THE DEAD (The Only Version That Matters)

Due to popular demand (OK, like three people), I'm presenting this brief, far-from-comprehensive scattershot review (that originally appeared on Flixster and on my MySpace blog) of one of my all-time favourite films.

George A Romero's seminal horror picture DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) is a film that (with its predecessor, Romero's 1968 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) has spawned an entire subgenre of horror and a teeming cottage industry of works that, with very few exceptions, in no way approach the brilliance of Romero's. No doubt I'll, um, cannibalize this capsule rant when I cover DAWN at more length for a future piece on my all-time favourite flicks.

Some Thoughts on DAWN OF THE DEAD
(The Only Version That Matters)
by Henry Covert

Romero's epic of survival in a world overrun by the living dead could be the most ambitious - and successful - attempt at using the horror film genre as powerful and multi-leveled social critique. Our quartet of hapless protaganists sequester themselves in a massive shopping mall, all the consumerist needs of their past lives fulfilled, despite one of them slowly dying from zombie bites, and the two in a relationship (one pregnant) finding it as impossible to get along in this manufactured world as in their previous lives.

It falls to SWAT officer Peter Washington (an Oscar-level turn by Ken Foree - as if Oscars really held much credibility to me), one of the great heroes of horror or action cinema, to keep his cool and keep thinking, even when faced with his friend's zombification, and the zombies ultimately breaching the mall due to a renegade army of looting bikers. Peter almost manages to deal with it all and get out alive with pregnant Fran (Gaylen Ross), but there's a final twist - but one that makes Peter's struggles worthwhile.
If you have yet to see this, see it now! Much imitated, never equalled, with brilliant performances, a tight (and highly quotable) script that shows Romero thought out every angle of his premise. And the interesting thing is, no one ever learns exactly why the dead walk - it's just happening, and they have to deal with it. I could write on and on about the meanings and subtext at play here, but I leave that to the individual viewer. For the gorehounds (who no doubt have, uh, devoured this flick numerous times, but just in case), the intestine-ripping, gut-munching splatter is on hand in copious amounts. As with its premise and approach, this movie broke ground to become the benchmark for gore films from here on, largely due to Tom Savini's savagely realistic makeup effects.
Finally, if you've seen neither version of the film (not counting the several cuts of Romero's original), please, I beg you, eschew Zack Snyder's pointless DOTD remake. Watch the real one first. I don't hate the remake, but for the most part it's imminently forgettable and misses most of the points Romero was making. So much for "re-imaginings".

"When the dead walk, we must stop the killing... or lose the war".

Henry Covert

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Astonishing Adventures # 5 On Sale At Last

The current issue of Astonishing Adventures Magazine is finally on sale as a hard copy magazine. This issue features the final installment of my column "The Many Worlds of Wold Newton" with AAM. I have another possible venue for it, but it's way too soon to confirm anything. Astonishing Adventures # 5 can be ordered on Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/Astonishing-Adventures-Magazine-Issue-5/dp/1441451404/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1

AAM # 4, featuring my first Wold Newton column, is still on sale as well here:
Thanx again to Katherine Thomlinson for her unflagging editorial support and encouragement during my time with AAM.

Appropos quote of the week, from one of my very favourite films :

"It's not so much what we do... it's having a choice... being able to decide what it is I want... not just to be forced into a thing because that's the way it is. I'm gonna buy me some time, baby... some time that isn't all fucked up with things we gotta do. Just to be free."

- Youngblood Priest (Ron O'Neal), Superfly