Witches of Echo Park

If you’re like me, you’re a fan of Amber Benson because you loved the character Tara from the television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Once the show went off the air, she kind of fell off my radar. Well unbeknownst to me, while I’ve been sitting around letting my butt get wide Benson has been building an artistic empire. An empire I tell you!

She’s written, directed, and produced a few independent films. She has her own production company, Benson Productions. Not the most exciting name, but still. She worked on the Tara and Willow comics that were done for the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” comic book series. With Christopher Golden she straight created a fantasy franchise, “Ghosts of Albion”, that started as a BBC online movie that now has a couple of books with it, an anthology, and a roleplaying game based on the setting. Bam! And now I also learn that she’s written a bunch of other books besides those! It’s one of those books that brings us together today.

Once again, the good folks at Audible.com have brought an interesting book to my attention, “The Witches of Echo Park”. As their summary is nice enough to explain:

Unbeknownst to most of humankind, a powerful network of witches thrives within the shadows of society, using their magic to keep the world in balance. But they are being eliminated – and we will all pay if their power falls… When Elyse MacAllister’s great-aunt Eleanora, the woman who raised her, becomes deathly ill, Lyse puts her comfortable life in Georgia on hold to rush back to Los Angeles. And once she returns to Echo Park, Lyse discovers her great-aunt has been keeping secrets – extraordinary secrets – from her. Not only is Lyse heir to Eleanora’s Victorian estate; she is also expected to take her great-aunt’s place in the Echo Park coven of witches. But to accept her destiny means to place herself in deadly peril – for the world of magic is under siege, and the battle the witches now fight may be their last…

And who, oh who, would narrate this book? Duh, of course Amber Benson. Here’s a taste of what that’s like:

To learn more about this title, visit Audible.com.
To see just some of the stuff Amber Benson has been up to, check out her Wikipedia page.

A Boy and His Comics

Ugh, my right hand and wrist are killing me. I just spent hours scrolling through Amazon.com’s comic and graphic novel sale and then their selection of DC comic graphic novels. My faux nephew Jacob’s birthday is at the end of the month and along with the stuff I know he wants, Nerf guns and/or Pokemon cards, I have my mind (or probably more accurately my heart) set on getting him a graphic novel. For those of you who don’t know, a graphic novel is a collection of comics bound together into a book. It usually covers a story arc.

Now the sticky wicket of course is that Jacob is still young and most of the comics I read are definitely adults only. It’s on days like this that I miss my old comic book store. Both owners were insanely knowledgeable and I have no doubt they could have taken my taste in comics and cross referenced it with Jacob’s age and the next thing I know there would be several graphic novels on order. With them out of business, I’m left reading online reviews and making judgments based on cover art. If you have a good local comic book store, support them!

There I am, scrolling through the DC comic category of the comics and graphic novels of Amazon.com. So many memories surface scanning through the titles. The first comic I read was the graphic novel “Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes” and it’s still available and came up in the search. “Watchmen”, which was the book Jim gave me to read while we were dating. I saw the first Batman graphics that I read. “Preacher: Gone to Texas” and “V for Vendetta” that a customer loaned to me when I worked in retail. The list goes on. I was surprised by how many emotions just remembering the books evoked.

But perhaps not this Batman for the boy.

But perhaps not this Batman for the boy.

And eventually those are the feelings I want for Jacob. The DC universe is often criticized for being relentlessly dark. Sadly, in many ways, that is the real world that my faux nephew is growing up into. People are right, the DC universe is populated with crumbling utopias, corrupted paradises, and realities coming apart at the seams. Often the heroes in these worlds are mentally unstable billionaires, fallen angels, humans that court demons, animated vegetable matter, stage magicians, orphaned aliens, and fairy book characters on the run.

Yet despite how messed up the world is, and how screwed up they are, they always find something worth saving in the world, and something worth saving in each other. There’s a beauty in that. It’s that kind of shit that helps a boy become a man.