“Sometimes, interacting on the Internet can cause a kind of “Social PTSD.” Things feel faster, and negative stuff hits quicker and in greater number. This can be an anxious place. The Internet can be a watercooler for fun chatter, but it can also be a watercooler filled with urine surrounded by bitey goblins.”—
Back in 2011, I reviewed Dan Goldman’s excellent indie comic Red Light Properties, which has now been picked up for mass publication by the good folks at IDW. Here’s what I wrote then:
Dan Goldman’s Red Light Properties is a serial webcomic about a Florida real-estate brokerage that specializes in exorcising haunted houses and then listing them for cheap. Goldman (who created the fantastic 08 graphic novel) takes a somewhat lighthearted premise and uses it as contrast to make the fundamental spookiness of his stories stand out in stark relief. Goldman’s ghost stories made the hairs on the back of my neck prickle, while the bawdy slapstick interludes served only to lure me into dropping my guard for the next scare. Highly recommended.
Goldman’s earlier work includes 08: A Graphic Diary of the Campaign Trail, a gorgeous and engrossing history of the 2008 elections, and Shooting War, a trenchant commentary on war photography in the Internet age. As with Red Light Properties, both books blend photography, xerography, computer graphics and illustration in a style that’s reminiscent of Dave Gibbons and Cameron Stewart and really jumps off the page.
Goldman is touring with Red Light Properties, and we have his tour schedule (which finishes with a stop at Mumbai Comic-Con!) as well as the first 28 pages of the new book after the jump.
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”—
I love this quote. A common question for writers seems to be “how” are they “good?” One, “good” is a matter of interpretation. Two, they write. Over and over.
This is probably an abuse of the term “Looper” — from 2012′s movie about time traveling versions of yourself messing with yourself — but it’s also a completely made-up term, so I can make it mean whatever I want. In the pantheon of bad habits, I have two major…
Review: The Cormorant / Author: Chuck Wendig / Publisher: Angry Robot Books / Release Date: Out Now
“Those familiar with the series will know that the central protagonist is literally fated to end up in a big ball of trouble, and this happens early on. She saves some people and as a consequence winds up heading across to Florida to shake hands with a rich man who simply wants to know how he will die. Alas, the dark forces that are woven into her very being are at play yet again, and the reader finds themselves on the supernatural and emotional roller coaster that is her life. The Cormorant sees the main character whittled down to her very core, exhausted in every possible way but still standing, still screaming and still doing her best to turn the tables on the darkness that makes the world spin.
Chuck Wendig’s understanding of the rot that lies within the heart of everyday life in America is at the core of this series, and with The Cormorant many of the underlying themes of the series are stripped bare. This is a book about screaming into the darkness to carry a single bead of light, even though the cost is always more than anyone could ever pay. Though marketed as urban fantasy, this is really a horror adventure thriller blended with the best of all things uniquely American and Gothic. The narrative flows quickly and laconically, shifting into cinematic action for the gorier and more graphic scenes before dipping back into a free-flowing storytelling style that makes the main character all the more engaging. Wendig makes the reader want to hug his protagonist and give her some words of encouragement, whilst at the same time being utterly terrified of going anywhere near her.”
The scariest story I’ve ever heard was a true ghost story.
There were eight or nine of us at a restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina, and we were telling ghost stories. The friend of a friend said, ‘When I was a girl living in Texas, I had a recurring dream. In this dream, I was walking down the street of my hometown, and a man would walk toward me. Sometimes he was older and sometimes he was younger. He didn’t always have the same face, but I always knew it was the same man. He would get closer and closer, and I would know that something bad was going to happen, but I would wake up each time before he reached me. I would be terrified.
One night, in my dream, we finally got face to face and I spoke to him. I said, “What is your name?” He said, “My name is Sammy.” And then I woke up, and I was so afraid that I couldn’t go back to sleep. I went to my sister’s room and said, “Can I get in bed with you? I’ve just had a really bad dream.” My sister said, “Was it Sammy?” I said, “What did you say? How do you know Sammy?” And my sister said, “I don’t. But you just brought him in the room with you.” I turned on the lights and I saw that my sister was asleep.
“Two senior members of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration warned a New Jersey mayor earlier this year that her town would be starved of hurricane relief money unless she approved a lucrative redevelopment plan favored by the governor, according to the mayor and emails and personal notes she shared with msnbc.
The mayor, Dawn Zimmer, hasn’t approved the project, but she did request $127 million in hurricane relief for her city of Hoboken – 80% of which was underwater after Sandy hit in October 2012. What she got was $142,000 to defray the cost of a single back-up generator plus an additional $200,000 in recovery grants.
In this account – supported by email, public records and Zimmer’s own diary entries – Christie’s inner circle was willing to cut off devastated constituents, muscle a friendly mayor and arrange public funds to finance a study for a project the governor supported.In a news conference last week, Christie rejected the notion that his administration engages in retribution or seeks political payback. Zimmer’s account paints a different portrait.
Zimmer claims they leaned on her twice to get their way. By the second encounter, Zimmer said – this time with Constable – the 45-year-old mayor and mother of two young children was despondent, according to her own notes.
“I was emotional about governor Christie,” she wrote in a diary entry she provided that is dated May 17, 2013. “I thought he was honest. I thought he was moral. I thought he was something very different. This week I found out he’s cut from the same corrupt cloth that I have been fighting for the last four years.””—
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
― Albert Einstein
“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
― G.K. Chesterton
“Fear isn’t so difficult to understand. After all, weren’t we all frightened as children? Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf. What frightens us today is exactly the same sort of thing that frightened us yesterday. It’s just a different wolf.”
― Alfred Hitchcock
“Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life.”
― Friedrich von Schiller
I think what a lot of people fail to realize is that fairy tales are about emotional truths. No one reads a fairy tale and thinks that they may literally have to slay an ogre, or steal the golden goose, or wear out seven pairs of iron shoes and dress in a thousand furs to find the prince, but some people criticize them, saying this is unrealistic, this is all there is to the tale. Put a little thought into it. In your life, you may not have to climb mountains to find the home of the north wind, but you might have to ask someone intimidating for help. You may never have to trick the wicked prince into looking into the glass-filled barrel, or the witch into peering into the oven, but you might have to sacrifice someone else’s comfort for your own wellbeing. Your mother might not be wicked, but sometimes you’ll be angry with her. You might not be turned into a Beast, but sometimes it feels like there’s nothing about you worth loving. Fairy tales remind you of that. They remind you that there are troubles and trials, and that this is normal. It is the way of things, and you’ll come through it. (via agreyeyedgirl)
Before the advent of the Internet and widespread existence of a coordinated “hacking” culture, a strange and eerie incident occurred during a November 22, 1987 broadcast on WTTW-11 Chicago of Dr. Who, when a still-unidentified hacker took over the station’s broadcast replacing a brief section of the evening’s program with a creepy montage of a masked Max Headroom figure spouting bizarre, and often unintelligible, statements at the camera. To date, how the perpetrators hijacked the television station’s broadcast is unknown and the culprit(s) have never been found or identified. All that remains is an inexplicable video recording of the event and a mystery that has lingered for more than two decades.
I think I’ve posted about this before, but this article from last week (!) has some details about the identities of the signal jackers that I hadn’t seen before.
This, to me, was always some kind of ultimate goal… to have a pirate signal so strong that you can knock a licensed broadcast off the air. Weird to think that because of the way the internet has gone, everyone can broadcast. Constantly and with relatively little governance.
If I had been born 20 years later, would I have been obsessed with getting hella viral video views instead? Or is it even weirder that now my livelihood more or less relies upon making stuff that people want to watch?
Eh. There’s no bigger moral here, I guess. I just think it’s a cool story.
“For me, it’s always been a process of trying to convince myself that what I’m doing in a first draft isn’t important. One way you get through the wall is by convincing yourself that it doesn’t matter. No one is ever going to see your first draft. Nobody cares about your first draft. And that’s the thing that you may be agonizing over, but honestly, whatever you’re doing can be fixed.”—NEIL GAIMAN (via kadrey)
“For years, I opened my 11th-grade U.S. history classes by asking students, “What’s the name of that guy they say discovered America?” A few students might object to the word “discover,” but they all knew the fellow I was talking about. “Christopher Columbus!” several called out in unison.
“Right. So who did he find when he came here?” I asked. Usually, a few students would say, “Indians,” but I asked them to be specific: “Which nationality? What are their names?”
In more than 30 years of teaching U.S. history and guest-teaching in others’ classes, I’ve never had a single student say, “Taínos.” How do we explain that? We all know the name of the man who came here from Europe, but none of us knows the name of the people who were here first—and there were hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of them. Why haven’t you heard of them?
This ignorance is an artifact of historical silencing—rendering invisible the lives and stories of entire peoples.
[…] In an interview with Barbara Miner, included in Rethinking Columbus, Suzan Shown Harjo of the Morning Star Institute, who is Creek and Cheyenne, said: “As Native American peoples in this red quarter of Mother Earth, we have no reason to celebrate an invasion that caused the demise of so many of our people, and is still causing destruction today.” After all, Columbus did not merely “discover,” he took over. He kidnapped Taínos, enslaved them—“Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold,” Columbus wrote—and “punished” them by ordering that their hands be cut off or that they be chased down by vicious attack dogs, if they failed to deliver the quota of gold that Columbus demanded. One eyewitness accompanying Columbus wrote that it “did them great damage, for a dog is the equal of 10 men against the Indians.”
Corporate textbooks and children’s biographies of Columbus included none of this and were filled with misinformation and distortion. But the deeper problem was the subtext of the Columbus story: it’s OK for big nations to bully small nations, for white people to dominate people of color, to celebrate the colonialists with no attention paid to the perspectives of the colonized, to view history solely from the standpoint of the winners.”—
In January of this year, district officials came into Tucson’s high schools, confiscated the offending books, put them in boxes, and carted them away. These books were taken while classes were in session, so that the teachers and students wouldn’t miss the point.
What’s even more terrifying is that their actions were in compliance with an Arizona state law.
HB 2281 has terminated Tucson’s Mexican American Studies program, a virtually one of a kind social studies and humanities high school program that seeks to close the “achievement gap” by encouraging Tucson students (of whom at least 60% are Latino) to look at American history critically in regards to race, gender, and ethnicity.
But Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal will have none of it, and threatened to withdraw 14 million dollars in state funding to the Tucson Unified School District if it failed to comply with the law, which criminalizes, among other things, “any courses or classes that…advocate ethnic solidarity…”
And so hundreds of students have had their curriculum literally snatched away from them at mid-year; their teachers are now required by law to assign them more “traditional” reading material that ignores the racial, gender, and class biases that have so tragically shaped our country.
Another gentle reminder that there are *ahem* various places I could be arrested for teaching this to you in school.