Barry’s Reviews: Mike Baron’s Helmet Head

Baron Helmut HeadI’ve been a Mike Baron fan for a long time. My first introduction to his work was Nexus, though I soon followed him over to The Badger & DC’s The Flash. I’ve often found his writing to be character-based with a rather wry sense of humor. So when I heard that he was moving into prose and that his first release was going to be the oddly named Helmet Head, I took notice.

This is pure Grindhouse and I mean that in the best possible way. When I was a child, I would go to the local drive-in and be exposed to a whole series of films that psychologists everywhere would advise against showing to a boy of my young age — and now you know why I turned out like this. I’ve always loved grade-b horror, as a result, with all the over-the-top blood and sex that accompanies those kinds of things. Helmet Head fits in perfectly with that, telling the story of a good copy named Fagan who ends up involved with not only a gang of tough outlaw bikers but with an urban legend involving a motorcycle-riding, katana-wielding undead Nazi with a penchant for beheading people.


The story moves at a brisk pace and is very well told. The characters are easily understandable, with the possible exception of Helmet Head himself – his back story is doled out slowly through most of the book.

If I had a criticism, it would be that some of the Helmet Head stuff felt almost like a “everything but the kitchen sink” kind of thing. I don’t want to give away too much but the presence of Nazi magic & super-science, a possibly magical sword, resurrections and brain transplants, plus all the usual sex & violence made my head spin at times.

If you like the sleazy feel of 1970s exploitation films, then you should really pick this up. I read it on my Kindle in about four days and at the end, I couldn’t look away from the screen. An action-packed tour-de-force that really makes me want to read more from Mike Baron in prose.

Highly recommended.

The Devil’s Paymaster

Howard Chaykin's The Shadow
Howard Chaykin’s The Shadow

Episode 15 of The Shadow Fan Podcast is now live! This time around, I review another episode of the classic radio series and then dive into a spirited talk about “The Devil’s Paymaster” and its impact on the epic Prince of Evil series. It’s definitely one of the high points of The Shadow’s history so if you’re unfamiliar with the Prince of Evil stuff that was written by Theodore Tinsley, I encourage you to find the stories & then enjoy my discussion of them. You can find reprints n the Sanctum reprints, volumes 60-63 and I talk about the various novels in Episodes 3, 7, 12 & 15.

Still loving the work I’m doing on Lazarus Gray Volume Four. I’m now over 44,000 words into the book and I think it will be another great entry into the series. I really love Lazarus & his allies — so many great story possibilities and I can see many more down the line. That’s when I know something is really good — when just thinking about the characters, entire novel ideas spring forth. I know I’ll never get to them all so there’s obviously something special there.

I tweeted last night that I’m not sure which I’m more excited about you seeing in print — Gravedigger of Lazarus Gray Volume 3. That’s true. Both are the best things I’ve written so far and both feature incredible work by artist George Sellas, with Will Meugniot also chipping in with some gorgeous interior work on Gravedigger. They’re going to look fantastic and I think you’ll enjoy the stories, too.

Currently reading Helmet Head by Mike Baron. I’m really enjoying it, as it feels very “grindhouse.” I’ve liked Mike’s work in comics quite a bit (especially Nexus & The Flash) so I fully expected to enjoy this prose story and I have. I’ll post a full review when I’m finished.

Tuesday Tidings

mila kunisSo I have a few things to talk about today — first off, Episode 41 of Ubergeeks is now live. In this one, Cari & I talk about the Five Scariest Movies and a whole lot more. It’s a fun way to spend an hour, I think!

I’m working on a short 5,000 word backup for Liberty Girl: The Return and then I’ll be finished with that project. Pro Se did their big press release a few weeks back but I haven’t heard a peep of promotion out of Heroic Publishing, which is a bit surprising and disappointing. Hopefully, they’ll at least mention it in their PR at some point — it’s hard to successfully cross-brand characters when one half of the union isn’t saying anything. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed the project and hope that the result is a big hit for both companies.

I have a copy of the new Sentinels book by Van Plexico sitting on my desk and I hope to get to that soon. I also plan to read Helmet Head by Mike Baron soon. And Timothy Zahn’s Scoundrels novel. Ack! My to-read list is piling up again.

Once I’m officially finished with Liberty Girl, I have several things I need to work on — my next Rook story, Lazarus Gray volume 4, etc. I also wouldn’t mind getting back to Gravedigger at some point.

And, to make it all worse, I’ve been feeling an itch to do something new, too. That would really gum up the works! LOL I have too much on my plate already.

The photograph accompanying this post is the lovely Mila Kunis. When I spotted it, I immediately pictured her climbing around some ancient Egyptian tomb, in a great pulpy-style adventure. Enjoy!