January 2, 2020
[web] href.cool: Links of the 2010s … a roundup of the offbeat web sites from the 2010s.
January 2, 2020
[web] href.cool: Links of the 2010s … a roundup of the offbeat web sites from the 2010s.
January 3, 2020
[blog] Go click: Jamie Zawinsky’s 50 most popular blog posts from 2019 … Zawinsky’s blog is reliably funny, offbeat and relevant to my interests.
[politics] Who said it: Dominic Cummings or Nathan Barley? … ‘We need some true wild cards, artists … weirdos from William Gibson novels like that girl hired by Bigend as a brand ‘diviner’ who feels sick at the sight of Tommy Hilfiger or that Chinese-Cuban free runner from a crime family hired by the KGB.’
January 4, 2020
[comics] The Tempest by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill – it’s been a blast … Reviewing the final major comics work from Moore and O’Neill. ‘Power is often a sham in The Tempest, and many of its superheroes are amateur copies of American originals, who themselves are built on a lie; those behind the scenes are not to be trusted. Moore and O’Neill, of course, are also using the creations of others. But they make something new from them. For all the silliness, there’s a reverence here, and a giddiness to these grumpy old men that spills from The Tempest’s pages in joyful hat-tips and preposterous set pieces. As a reader, you feel like a visitor at a party with a bewildering guest list, two hosts who won’t shut up and a new wonder around every corner.’
January 6, 2020
[movies] “The monster is always to blame—what a convenient stereotype. Everything’s the monster’s fault” [via] …
January 7, 2020
[tech] How the Death of iTunes Explains the 2010s … Some thoughts on how tech trends in the 2010s turned us all into digital hoarders. ‘A friend compared looking at a smartphone home screen to looking at the messiest closet in someone’s house. “I would never ask to see either of them,” she said. But trying to organize your phone (or computer) is like trying to organize a closet that can always get larger. Now there’s essentially no hard limit on what you can store on a personal device, be it phone or computer—since 2010, the cost of a gigabyte of hard-drive space has fallen from 10 cents to 1 cent. Why spend your one wild and precious life organizing app icons on a home screen? Why throw out books when you can always buy a new bookshelf?’
January 8, 2020
[crime] Who Really Killed Jimmy Hoffa? … Errol Morris examines who really killed Jimmy Hoffa. ‘What happens next is a matter of conjecture, of inference—a collision between unimpeachable data such as phone calls, the unreliability of witness testimony, and fish-delivery times. We do know several things for certain: there’s a real world out there, a real asphalt parking lot, a real phone booth, and a real Machus Red Fox (now called Andiamo). And Jimmy Hoffa was there, left, and never came back.’
January 9, 2020
[comics] Sandman to Hark! A Vagrant: the best comics of the decade … another comics roundup of the past decade this time from the Guardian. ‘Providence by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows (2015-17) – The capstone to Moore’s remarkable career in comics, Providence is a horror narrative of staggering depth and detail. The book works as a complex meditation on identity and morality, but it’s also a huge addition to the body of narrative gamesmanship surrounding HP Lovecraft, who lived and worked in the city that gives the story its name. Providence (the comic) at first appears to be a collection of oblique, linked short stories and then resolves into a gigantic vision of inevitable – providential – destruction, wrought by countless tiny, familiar failures.’
January 13, 2020
[crime] Do It For State Snaps: How a Feud Over a URL Ended in a Bloody Shootout … an astonishing true crime story about how an internet domain name led to a violent dispute.
The gunman wore a baseball cap, had pantyhose pulled over his face, and sunglasses covered his eyes.
January 14, 2020
[moore] A Handwritten Alan Moore Interview from 1987 … ‘Q: If Jim Shooter and Dick Giordano wrestled, who would win? Alan: The mud.’
January 15, 2020
[memes] Distracted Quantum State Boyfriend …
January 16, 2020
[books] William Gibson: ‘I was losing a sense of how weird the real world was’ … Another interview with William Gibson. ‘One character suffers something we’ll all recognise – a “momentary pang of phonelessness”. And, hilariously, Agency prominently features a kickass combat drone – like a sort of R2D2-size Swiss Army deathknife, but the heroes have to spend the whole time lugging its battery pack and charger around after it. “That’s a part of my kit as well,” says Gibson, patting the smartphone resting on a spare battery pack by his coffee. “I don’t want people to forget about the charger. You’re lugging it around. You’d be lost without it.”’
January 17, 2020
[comics] Captain America by Ed Brubaker Reading Order … I’ve been bingeing on a lot of Ed Brubaker comics recently and this reading order was a great help. ‘It’s the most celebrated run on the Captain America modern series.’
January 20, 2020
[comics] “I Feel Like Comics Needs Its Own Thing” … Daniel Clowes interview from 2014. ‘I’m doing The Complete Eightball right now, and I’m doing all these new images for it, for the covers and the slipcase and all that. And I’m trying to draw all these old characters for the first time since I originally drew them, some of them 20 or more years ago. And it’s funny, some of the ones that have this kind of real angular stiffness, I literally can’t draw it as stiffly as they originally looked, even though I’m trying to. I’m trying to recapture that feeling, and it’s just impossible. I’m much more relaxed and confident, and you can’t, like, summon a lack of confidence like that. I’ve been really trying to, like, listen to the same kind of music I used to listen to and really get in the same “headspace” as they would say, but it’s very difficult.’
January 21, 2020
[life] My (36F) husband (41M) has some disturbing requests for after he’s passed away. … ‘My husband wants me to have his skull taken from his body and cleaned. Then he wants that skull put on the mantelpiece in the living room. The rest of his body he wants sent to one of those places that makes the gems out of bodies and made into two blue diamonds. He then wants those gems to be put in the eye socket of the skull to look like eyes. Then he can “watch the family home” and “be passed down through the generations”.’
January 22, 2020
[web] Tiny Helpers … Huge collection of useful single-purpose websites handling tasks from web designers.
January 23, 2020
[movies] 10 great stressful films … ‘Funny Games: Sadistic in its simplicity, Michael Haneke’s razor-edged slice of cinematic brutalism follows a nice, middle-class German family out to their lakeside summer cottage, then watches with clinical detachment as they’re tied up, tortured and massacred by a pair of nice, middle-class young men. Nowhere near as violent as its reputation suggests, Haneke’s film has much loftier ideals than simple shock, asking its audience some of the very same questions posed in our intro above – why do we, as viewers, subject ourselves to this horror? What do we expect to gain from it? And are we truly passive in our response, or is the film giving us something we’re actively asking for? Filmed in agonising long takes and never shying away from the physical and emotional consequences of abuse, Funny Games is a profoundly moral, darkly comic endurance test.’
January 24, 2020
[life] How DISGUSTING Are You ? 🤢 quiz… So, it turns out I am more dusgusting than I thought.
January 27, 2020
[movies] Studio Notes to a Test Screening of Blade Runner, January 21, 1981 … ‘This movie gets worse every screening.’
January 28, 2020
[comics] The Forbidden Planet Blog Archive … Good to see the an archive of Forbidden Planet’s blog appear – There is a huge collection of interviews, art, reviews and more. Go click: Brendan McCarthy, Kevin O’Neill and Alan Moore.
January 29, 2020
[socialmedia] The strange case of Paul Zimmer, the influencer who came back as a different person… Always love a story about influencers behaving badly. ‘On 14 October 2019, Paul Zimmer posted a side-by-side image of himself (sporting a barely-grown-out beard) next to another image of what appeared to be himself, albeit clean-shaven. “This actor @TroyBeckerIG kid literally looks like a younger sexier version of me,” Zimmer wrote. “I don’t even use social media anymore but had to post this hahah…” Clicking on Troy Becker’s Instagram led to an almost unpopulated account, with only 11 posts uploaded before Zimmer’s side-by-side post. For a Gen-Z actor, this would amount to an unusually sparse social media presence.It’s hard to track the fan response to this post because comments on Zimmer’s Instagram are disabled. But almost two months later, on December 10, another “Troy Becker” post was made, addressing those who had responded that Becker was in fact Zimmer by saying: “IM TELLING YOU HE IS MY YOUNGER BRO [crying laughing emoji]”).’
January 30, 2020
[wtf?] 32 Minutes of Soothing, Relaxing, Meditating Vietnam War Sounds for Studying and Thinking … War as relaxing white noise. You can also try: WW1 and WW2.
January 31, 2020
[truecrime] The girl in the box: the mysterious crime that shocked Germany … Go read this truly bizarre German True Crime story. ‘It appeared that the kidnappers had planned to keep Ursula alive. The box, 1.40m deep, was fitted with a shelf and a seat that doubled as a toilet. It was stocked with three bottles of water, 12 cans of Fanta, six large chocolate bars, four packets of biscuits and two packs of chewing gum. It also contained a small, bizarre library of 21 books, from Donald Duck comics to westerns, romance novels and thrillers with titles such as The Horror Lurks Everywhere. There was a light and a portable radio tuned to Bayern 3, the same station that broadcast the traffic jingle. To enable Ursula to breathe, the box had a ventilation system made from plastic plumbing pipes, which extended to ground level. But whoever designed it had failed to realise that without a machine to circulate the air, the oxygen would quickly run out. The police believed they were hunting more than one kidnapper, because of the size and weight of the box. At 60kg, it would probably have needed at least two people to carry it into the woods…’
February 1, 2020
[comics] 100 of the Best Horror Comics of All Time … ‘Gyo: An undercurrent of black humor runs throughout much of Junji Ito’s work, and nowhere does he play with that contrast as fruitfully as in Gyo. Subtitled The Death-Stench Creeps, Gyo commits dozens of pages to bloated, infected humans essentially farting themselves to death, but any hint of a laugh is dashed when the full scope of Gyo sets in. These gasbags are trapped in mechanical carapaces drudged up from the ocean floor, remnants of some long-ago war effort returned to haunt the living. What at first seems like “only” an invasion of land-bound sea creatures (including the most chilling shark scene to ever take place out of the water) soon turns into an Apocalyptic vision of body horror as only Ito can conjure.’
February 2, 2020
February 3, 2020
[web] “Link In Bio” is a slow knife … Anil Dash on Instagram’s war on web links. ‘The ultimate triumph of being anti-web is to make links scarce. The smallest possible number of links a platform could allow is zero, so Instagram gets as close to that theoretical limit as possible, and gives you… one. You can have one link. Aren’t you grateful? One!’
February 4, 2020
[doom] OK Doomer … A great look at playing Doom in 2020. ‘ Doom’s “2.5D” graphics, though primitive by modern standards, help it pull off things that are far more difficult to do with today’s software tooling. You experience the game as 3D, but the game’s level design and movement patterns are more or less reflective of 2D arcade shooters like Robotron, Geometry Wars, Commando, or Smash TV. You move incredibly fast (50 scale miles per hour!) through non-linear explorable levels that are designed to optimize play rather than look realistic. You fight diverse hordes of slow-moving enemies (compared to you at least!) that are individually weak but collectively quite dangerous. At the higher difficulty levels (Ultraviolence is really the best way to play), your only hope of survival is raw speed and cunning. The stylized abstraction of the game makes it feel like a strange, nightmarish vision you are hallucinating, which gets progressively more terrifying as the early infested techbase levels transition into hell itself.’
February 5, 2020
[life] Today I Learned That Not Everyone Has An Internal Monologue And It Has Ruined My Day … ‘All my life, I could hear my voice in my head and speak in full sentences as if I was talking out loud. I thought everyone experienced this, so I did not believe that it could be true at that time. Literally the first person I asked was a classmate of mine who said that she can not “hear” her voice in her mind. I asked her if she could have a conversation with herself in her head and she looked at me funny like I was the weird one in this situation…’
February 6, 2020
[comics] Image Comics Free First Issues … Huge collection of taster comics. I recommend: Criminal #1, Die #1, Kill, or be Killed #1 and The Fade Out #1.
February 7, 2020
[tv] ‘Did we work through hangovers? Most definitely!’ The stars of This Life on their era-defining show … Remembering This Life. ‘Jack Davenport: With Miles, I realised that the more I leaned into his essential twatness, the better things would be.’
February 10, 2020
[dredd] The Best Comics of the Decade (Are All Judge Dredd) … Some interesting analysis of the last ten years of Judge Dredd comics. ‘With seven pages per chapter there is never much time to overthink things. 2000AD remained the pinnacle of to-the-point presentation – never more than necessary, never less than what you want. These are procedural comics taken to its zenith. Henry Flint, John McCrea, Colin MacNeil, P.J. Holden and (of course) Carlos Ezquerra have all brought their own little touches to the world of the strip, always in service of the story. But, the reason Judge Dredd is the best comics of decade is more than that. It’s more than any single story or creator. It’s not about what it does, it’s about what it is. To me at least, Judge Dredd in the 2010’s is zeitgeist. It’s a story about one of the biggest moral questions in the West – can you be a good man in a bad system?’
February 11, 2020
[life] The Octopus: An Alien Among Us … Are Octopuses Conscious? ‘The octopus has a central brain and also an independent, smaller processor in each arm, giving it a unique mixture of centralized and distributed command. The octopus also probably has self models—rich, constantly updated bundles of information to monitor its body and behavior. From an engineering perspective, it would need self models to function effectively. For example, it might have some form of a body schema that keeps track of the shape and structure of its body in order to coordinate movement. (Perhaps each arm has its own arm schema.) In that sense, you could say that an octopus knows about itself. It possesses information about itself and about the outside world, and that information results in complex behavior. But all of these truly wonderful traits do not mean that an octopus is conscious…’
February 12, 2020
[apollo] Apollo 11 vs USB-C Chargers … Comparing the CPU of the Apollo 11 Guidance Computer vs. USB-C wall chargers. ‘I claim that we would only need the compute power of 4 Anker PowerPort Atom PD 2 USB-C chargers to get to the moon…’
February 13, 2020
[life] Was Jeanne Calment the Oldest Person Who Ever Lived—or a Fraud? … A deep dive into the world of Gerontology and the mystery of Jeanne Calment. ‘The passage of time often quells controversy, but, in the Calment case, it only unsettled the dust. As the world’s population continued to grow, the cohort of people living to the age of a hundred and twenty-two did not. More than two decades after Calment’s death, her record still stood, making her a more conspicuous outlier with every year that went by. Either she had lived longer than any human being ever or she had executed an audacious fraud. As one observer wrote, “Both are highly unlikely life stories but one is true.”’
February 14, 2020
[comics] Young Alan Partridge Adventures #1 … ‘Issue 1 – The Poachers of Swaffham Wood!’
February 17, 2020
[books] Literary Alternatives to “Ghosting” at Parties … ‘EDGAR ALLAN POE-ING – Die in a gutter before the party starts, probably from consumption (with a hint of alcohol poisoning).’
February 18, 2020
[weird] The Russian Conspiracy Theory That Won’t Die … Interesting summary of the Dyatlov Pass incident. ‘The group began moving toward the slope of Peak 1079, known among the region’s indigenous people as “Dead Mountain.” A photograph showed the lead skiers disappearing into sheets of whipping snow as the weather worsened. Later that night, the nine experienced trekkers burst out of their tent half-dressed and fled to their deaths in a blizzard. Some of their corpses were found with broken bones; one was missing her tongue. For decades, few people beyond the group’s friends and family were aware of the event. It only became known to the wider public in 1990, when a retired official’s account ignited a curiosity that soon metastasized.’
February 19, 2020
[comics] The horror comic that wasn’t: Alan Moore and Bryan Talbot’s Nightjar … Pages from one of Moore’s lost comics.
February 20, 2020
[web] How to Deal with Running Out of iCloud, Google, and Dropbox Space … Useful guide to saving space and money with Cloud apps.
February 24, 2020
[movies] 10 great Lovecraftian horror films … The Thing: ‘In Carpenter’s film, what they encounter when investigating the wreck of a Norwegian exploration base is an otherworldly creature that can assimilate and take the form of any other living organism. The effects, done by pioneer special effects artist Rob Bottin, play a huge part in getting the audience to experience the same abject horror of seeing creatures that defy natural laws, that shouldn’t exist in a physical space. The creature, although seen, is not a single thing; it mutates and adapts. It, and its intentions, are unknowable.’
February 25, 2020
[movies] Cultural Details You Missed in “Parasite” … Interesting, but spoiler filled. ‘I’m sure most picked up on how food showed the Kims’ class progression, starting with a bag of white bread. Then the Drivers’ Cafeteria (기사식당), which I personally like. They’re cheap but good buffets. Then they’re eating proper rice, egg, and kimchi at home. Then grilling L.A. Beef Galbi at home. When the family is sitting around and drinking the first time in the film, they’re sharing a bag of chips opened like a bowl as “anju” (pub grub). They’re also drinking FiLite, which is the cheapest malt beverage on the market. It’s nasty. When we return to that same get together as the Kims are moving up in income, everyone but the mom has switched to Sapporo, which is considered an expensive import.’
February 26, 2020
[movies] How Bong Joon Ho Built the Houses in Parasite … Fascinating, spoiler filled look at the construction of the sets for Parasite. “The trash can cost like $2,300! It was German,” says Bong. “Me and my crew members were like, What the fuck? What kind of idiot would buy a trash can that’s going to smell anyway?” Still, they picked that trash can not only for its brand value, but because it was telegenic: Bong wanted one with a cinematic lid. “When you step on it to open it, it would open really smoothly, and then when you released your foot, it would quietly close like some sort of computer graphic,” he says.’
February 27, 2020
February 28, 2020
[food] British Food Generator … ‘Ploughman’s Egg Eaten at breakfast time black pudding recipes vary from place to place, some common choices include fried eggs, sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, bread, tomatoes; options include kippers, baked beans.’
March 2, 2020
[death] 17th Century Death Roulette ☠️ … How would you have died in the 17th Century? ‘In the week of September 12th, 1665 you died from Canker.’
March 3, 2020
[disease] The sounds of Covid-19 … the DNA sequence of Coronavirus converted to music notes by Shardcore.
March 4, 2020
[quote] LMG is 20 years old: The Inevitable Alan Moore Quote … ‘Anything of any value in our lives, whether that be a career, a work of art, a relationship, will always start with such a leap. And in order to be able to make it, you have to put aside the fear of failing and the DESIRE of SUCCEEDING. You have to do these things completely purely, without fear, without desire. Because things that we do without lust of result are the purest actions that we shall ever take.’
[lmg] Twenty Years of LinkMachineGo – “I DID IT!”
March 5, 2020
[quote] LMG @ Twenty – The Inevitable Hunter S. Thompson Quote:
On page 39 of California Living magazine I found a hand-lettered ad from the McDonald’s Hamburger Corporation, one of Nixon’s big contributors in the ’72 presidential campaign: PRESS ON, it said. NOTHING IN THE WORLD CAN TAKE THE PLACE OF PERSISTENCE. TALENT WILL NOT: NOTHING IS MORE COMMON THAN UNSUCCESSFUL MEN WITH TALENT. GENIUS WILL NOT: UNREWARDED GENIUS IS ALMOST A PROVERB. EDUCATION ALONE WILL NOT: THE WORLD IS FULL OF EDUCATED DERELICTS. PERSISTENCE AND DETERMINATION ALONE ARE OMNIPOTENT. I read it several times before I grasped the full meaning.
March 9, 2020
[disease] Fever dreams: did author Dean Koontz really predict coronavirus? … The Guardian has a look at fictional pandemics. ‘[Dean Koontz’s] novel The Eyes of Darkness made reference to a killer virus called “Wuhan-400” – eerily predicting the Chinese city where Covid-19 would emerge. But the similarities end there: Wuhan-400 is described as having a “kill‑rate” of 100%, developed in labs outside the city as the “perfect” biological weapon. An account with more similarities, also credited by some as predicting coronavirus, is found in the 2011 film Contagion, about a global pandemic that jumps from animals to humans and spreads arbitrarily around the globe. But when it comes to our suffering, we want something more than arbitrariness. We want it to mean something. This is evident in our stories about illness and disease…’
March 10, 2020
[crime] A Brutal Murder, a Wearable Witness, and an Unlikely Suspect … Fascinating true-crime story about using a heartbeat tracking smartwatch as evidence in a murder case. ‘As Karen’s body was unzipped from the body bag and laid out at the morgue, the coroner took note of a black band still encircling her left wrist: a Fitbit Alta HR—a smartwatch that tracks heartbeat and movement. A judge signed a warrant to extract its data, which seemed to tell the story Karen couldn’t: On Saturday, September 8, five days before she was found, Karen’s heart rate had spiked and then plummeted. By 3:28 in the afternoon, the Fitbit wasn’t registering a heartbeat.’
March 11, 2020
[comics] Hand Painted Colour Guides for the Death of Gwen Stacy Issue of Spider-Man from 1973 … Some historic comics process art spotted the Bristol Board tumblr.
March 12, 2020
[blogs] Things not do in April 2020 … Diamond Geezer’s April round-up post in the age of Coronavirus. ‘April 10 – Flight from Heathrow: Join the crowds heading off for a long-promised Easter break, hopefully to a country that’s still mostly virus-free, praying that they don’t introduce an emergency quarantine lockdown while you’re over there trapping you in a hotel room you can’t fly home from. …or, when cancelled, stay at home and check the small print of your cancellation policy.’
March 13, 2020
[coronavirus] Top U.S. Health Experts: ‘Hold On To Your Fucking Seats Because This Bitch Hasn’t Even Thought About Starting Yet’ … The Onion on the CoronaVirus.
“We’ve been getting a lot of questions surrounding Covid-19, and, well, you all better buckle the fuck up, because this shit is about to kick into high gear,” said Stanford professor of health research and policy Richard Mason, throwing all his papers in the air and warning the nation that they better strap in tight, because this motherfucker will knock you on your goddamn ass.
March 16, 2020
[comics] A jam comic cover from Mick McMahon, Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons and Kevin O’Neill … Created for a 1979 Society of Strip Illustration (SSI) newsletter.
March 17, 2020
[tv] Beyond Bargain Hunt: your definitive guide to ‘the wonderland’ of daytime TV … An extremely useful guide if you are new to WFH. ‘The BBC One daytime schedule exists to pummel two messages into viewers. One: your house is full of valuable things that should be sold to the highest bidder; two: the world is cruel and full of people determined to rip you off.’
March 19, 2020
[tv] Making the Most of the Streaming Services … Useful tips from Feeling Listless. ‘Plenty of us are subscribed to one or two streaming services and I’ve been wondering just how widespread some of the “hacks” I’ve picked up over the years are. So I thought I’d put them up here just in case. Note the following is with the UK in mind but there tend to be versions of these things abroad too…’
March 23, 2020
[trump] Teen models, powerful men and private dinners: when Trump hosted Look of the Year … Engrossing look at the time Donald Trump judged the world’s biggest modelling competition. ‘Downstairs, a party was in flow. Scores of teenage girls in evening dresses and miniskirts, some as young as 14, danced under disco lights. It could have been a high school prom, were it not for the crowd of older men surrounding them. As the evening wore on, some of the men – many old enough to be the girls’ fathers, or even grandfathers – joined them on the dancefloor, pressing themselves against the girls. One balding man in a suit wrapped his arms around two young models, leering into a film camera that was documenting the evening: “Can you get some beautiful women around me, please?” The party aboard the Spirit of New York was one of several events that Donald Trump, then 45, attended with a group of 58 aspiring young models that September…’
March 24, 2020
[herzog] Werner Herzog Has Never Thought a Dog Was Cute … Wide-ranging, recent Werner Herzog interview… ‘Q: How do you derive meaning from life if life is indifferent? Herzog: Life is not indifferent. The universe is indifferent. But just trying, itself, is something I should do.’
March 25, 2020
[comics] Frank Miller’s “Famous Detective Pin-Up” portfolio … a gallery of Frank Miller art about classic pulp detectives.
March 26, 2020
[movies] I’ve never seen… The Shining … On watching the Shining the first time. ‘It was bad. Good, in a “cinematic appreciation” way, but bad in a sitting at home alone during a nationwide quarantine way. No one had mentioned the music to me before; the score undulating from fluttering strings to thundering synths and that shrill whistle tone making those long tracking shots especially heart-palpitating. In fact, Kubrick’s penchant for lengthy, silent takes makes perfect sense now, elongating observation into its own sense of anticipatory fear. And this gels so well with the evolution of Nicholson’s face throughout; morphing from smug and clean-shaven to craggy and wide-eyed, broken only by his terrifying rictus grin – a perfect foil to Shelley Duvall’s incredulity.’
March 27, 2020
[c19] A letter to the UK from Italy: this is what we know about your future … ‘You will not understand if witnessing the birth of a new world is more a grandiose or a miserable affair.’
March 30, 2020
[life] Humblebrags: Self-Isolation Edition … ‘UPDATE: We are now on lockdown here in the Marquesas Islands, a remote archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean described as “heaven on Earth” by the New York Times. So hard to be hundreds of miles from family.’
March 31, 2020
[comics] Bryan Talbot Offers Free Comics Compilation Download … With comics written by Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Nick Cave and others. Download: PDF / CBR.
April 3, 2020
[comics] 5 Tips for would-be comics writers from Alan Moore … ‘This is by no means the most glamorous profession. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.’
April 7, 2020
[comics] Tom King’s 12 Comics to Read While You’re Sheltered in Place … interesting list of comics.‘DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore – Alan Moore is the master of modern comics and this is my favorite work of his. It collects the one-shots and short stories he did for DC in the ‘80s, including his work on Superman, which in my opinion are the best superhero comics of all time. Writers and artists have been mining these few comics for inspiration for decades and will continue to do so for decades more. Many of the secrets of modern comics are found in these pages. Please don’t tell.’
April 9, 2020
[books] Stephen King Is Sorry You Feel Like You’re Stuck In A Stephen King Novel … Stephen King on the COVID-19. ‘He gets it when fans say experiencing the COVID-19 outbreak feels like stepping into one of his horror stories. “I keep having people say, ‘Gee, it’s like we’re living in a Stephen King story,’ ” he says. “And my only response to that is, ‘I’m sorry.’ “A pandemic like COVID-19 was “bound to happen,” King says. “There was never any question that in our society, where travel is a staple of daily life, that sooner or later, there was going to be a virus that was going to communicate to the public at large.”‘
April 13, 2020
[comics] Biffo the Bear in Lockdown …
April 14, 2020
[comic] Free Viz Comic … Free download from the great British humour comic. ‘Under the powers vested in us by the Fulchester Town Council Emergency Powers Act 2020, here is your third FREE Viz download to keep you safely out of trouble for the next bit of the hoo-ha.’
April 15, 2020
[covid-19] Coronavirus Recovery Isn’t So Quick or Simple … A powerful look at the long road of recovery from Covid-19. ‘… an otherwise healthy 31-year-old in our support group, shared that on Day 21 of symptoms, while her breathing had not felt strained enough to require medical attention, she was still coughing up blood, and her fever was breaking only to come back days later “like clockwork.” Another member of our group, Charlie, 24, described his case as “relatively mild,” but said that more than 23 days into the illness, he’s still experiencing a fever, cough and shortness of breath.’
April 16, 2020
[lockdown] Andrew O’Neill’s Lockdown Achievements …
April 20, 2020
[comics] Graphic Content: At the Intersection of Comics and Crime With Howard Chaykin … Recent interview with Chaykin on crime comics. ‘Although EC’s CRIME SUSPENSTORIES was hardly a crime comic book—rather, it was a stream of variations on bad marriages where divorce was never considered as an option while murder was the obvious choice—still, the look of this material, in particular the brilliance of Johnny Craig, is deeply informed by the fatalism and nihilism of the novelists I’ve mentioned, as well as the sort of movies reflecting his outlook. His stuff owes an unacknowledged debt to Cornell Woolrich. And Wallace Wood’s rotting urban disturbia in SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES completely informs my mind’s eye view and understanding of Jim Thompson and David Goodis. In terms of more recent crime comics, I loved the first few arcs of 100 BULLETS. I’m very fond of the CRIMINAL series, as well.’
April 21, 2020
[comics] Brian Michael Bendis’ Stuck at Home Comic Book Reading List … Another good list of comics to read while stuck at home. ‘Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo- On a list like this including Akira is like saying you like the Beatles or Nirvana. Way to go out on a limb! But soooo many people say to me, “Oh, I always meant to read that.” Well, there is no better comic book binge-reading meal than Akira. It is completely fulfilling.’
April 22, 2020
[lockdown] Crazed, Quarantined Mental Health Experts Recommend Scrawling ‘Everything Will Be Okay’ In Feces On Wall … ‘While it might not be for everyone, many of my patients find it extremely helpful to walk around their homes and see several giant hearts and cute smiley faces drawn on the wall with nothing but their own vomit. For me, personally, I like to wake up each morning with all 32 of my teeth hammered into the ceiling, arranged to spell ‘you are enough’—it really keeps me grounded.’
April 24, 2020
[comics] A Holy Grail in the Library of Congress: Visiting Steve Ditko’s Amazing Fantasy #15 Original Artwork … A look at the original art for the first Spider-man comic. ‘The pages look like they were drawn yesterday. The ink is dark, the pages are crisp and you can still read the phantoms of Stan Lee’s erased pencil notes to artist Steve Ditko (“Steve, remove spider—change position of hand.”). You can also see, very clearly, when Ditko ignores Lee’s edits in Spider-Man’s origin story.’
April 27, 2020
[lockdown] Saint Ripley by Genevieve Kent-Bethley. ‘Listen to me, if we break quarantine, we could all die.’
April 28, 2020
[lockdown] Man Not Sure Why He Thought Most Psychologically Taxing Situation Of His Life Would Be The Thing To Make Him Productive … ‘Ayers […] added that he had no idea what he was thinking when he told himself that being furloughed from his job and enduring a sustained period of emotional isolation would be just what he needed to start eating better, acquaint himself with world cinema, and get a jumpstart on the novel he had always wanted write.’
April 29, 2020
[covid-19] The Rise of COVID-19 Influencers and Armchair Epidemiologists … David Dunning on Covid-19 and the Dunning-Kruger effect. ‘The genius of the human brain — which is usually a good thing — is that we’re very good at coming up with ways of addressing new situations. So from our past knowledge, we know how to MacGyver, if you will, a response. The problem is that some people can take things they know and misapply it to this new situation. A lot of people think, “Oh, this is a flu,” so they use what is common knowledge of the flu to guide them. But this virus is not the flu. Knowledge is a good thing, but they don’t realize it’s a misapplication.’
April 30, 2020
[comics] You are so fucked! … By Evan Dorkin.
May 1, 2020
[movies] I’m Taking Six Months to Rewatch ‘Heat,’ the Holy Grail of Guy Movies … ‘Aside from the sheer force of the marquee names, you’ve got an impressive and often surprising ensemble of committed weirdos — Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight and even Hank Azaria, plus cult favorites Danny Trejo, Henry Rollins and Tom Noonan. The film elevates the classic cop-and-robbers dynamic into rich and atmospheric opera, achieving the polished legitimacy of “serious” art. There’s pulse-pounding action, but also great attention paid to how men abandon or fail the women in their lives because of an obsessive approach to work and personal masculine ethic. It’s based on a real-life burglar and detective; its mood is immersive, lush, almost dreamy. Heat captures the city of Los Angeles in unforgettable frames, for an epic runtime of 170 minutes.’
May 4, 2020
[movies] Mother of all sci-fi: which is the best Alien movie? … There is only one answer to this question. :) ‘I’m placing Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien Resurrection (1997) next. It’s a flawed movie in terms of its inception (would a clone Ripley retain the personality and memories of her “parent”?) but Sigourney Weaver delivers an eye-poppingly nutty performance as the part-human, part xenomorph Ripley 8, and there are some enjoyably sickly moments to compete with anything in the previous three movies. The scene when Ripley meets earlier failed versions of herself that have been pickled for posterity, and Brad Dourif’s fondness for the murderous extra-terrestrials, even as he is about to become a vehicle for their reproduction process, particularly stick in the memory.’
May 5, 2020
[advice] 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice … Some condensed wisdom from Kevin Kelly. ‘I’m positive that in 100 years much of what I take to be true today will be proved to be wrong, maybe even embarrassingly wrong, and I try really hard to identify what it is that I am wrong about today.’
May 6, 2020
[covid-19] Not the Onion: World Will Be Same But Worse After ‘Banal’ Virus, Says Houellebecq … ‘He described COVID-19 as a “banal virus” with “no redeeming qualities… It’s not even sexually transmitted.”‘
May 7, 2020
[fun] This Website Will Self-destruct … A website that will delete itself unless you send it a message. ‘I’m a website. I’ll be gone soon, and that’s okay.’
May 8, 2020
[covid-19] Sure, the Velociraptors Are Still On the Loose, But That’s No Reason Not to Reopen Jurassic Park … ‘The fact of the matter is, velociraptors are intelligent, shifty creatures that are not going to be contained any time soon, so we might as well just start getting used to them killing a few people every now and then. Some might argue that we should follow the example of other parks that have successfully dealt with velociraptor escapes. But here at Jurassic Park, we’ve never been ones to listen to the recommendations of scientists, or safety experts, or bioethicists, so why would we start now?’
May 11, 2020
May 12, 2020
[comics] ‘Morning Of The Magician’: Swamp Thing meets Jesus Christ – The Lost Swamp Thing … Full script and pencils for Rick Veitch’s unpublished Swamp Thing #88. ‘In his first major storyline, Veitch had Swamp Thing going backwards in time, meeting up with historical DC characters, and historical characters in history. The storyline had been mapped out in advance, and editors had been notified, and there was some concern as Veitch wanted to end the story with Swamp Thing meeting none other than Jesus Christ…’
May 13, 2020
[books] Best 250 Adventures of the 20th Century … Great list of Adventure books and comics. ‘Neil Gaiman’s occult fantasy comic The Sandman (1989–1996) …As he searches for his lost objects of power, Morpheus genre-hops — from myth to pulp fiction, and everywhere in-between. Also, Gaiman inserts pop culture and literary references and jokes into nearly every panel. It’s a dazzling display of high-lowbrow literary fandom… one leaving even the most well-read fan wishing for extensive, Chester Brown-esque footnotes… which, thankfully, are now available via annotated editions. Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, and others contributed appropriately eerie and amusing art, with lettering by Todd Klein and covers by Dave McKean.’
May 14, 2020
[comics] An Interview with Rick Veitch… Dicussing his run on Swamp Thing. ‘My involvement was really a secondary career, I had a really great thing going at Marvel, writing and drawing a creator owned series at Epic. So I didn’t think of it as my money-making career, I really wanted to learn more about this… magic… Alan was conjuring. In the process I got to know the editor, Karen Berger, so it seemed natural that when Steve and John left, that I would become the regular penciller on the book.’
May 18, 2020
[books] BusinessTown … Richard Scarry’s BusyTown updated for the 2020s.
May 20, 2020
[movies] Michael Mann’s Quarantine Diary: What’s Next for Directors? … Director Michael Mann on his L.A. quarantine. ‘No matter how things go back together, life is not going to be the same. When was the last time the entire globe was living spontaneously? Where everybody was conscious of the circumstances affecting everybody on the planet, more or less at the same time? The answer is never. The closest you get is 1968, with the massive upheavals going on — whether they were in Prague, or Mexico City, Chicago at the Democratic Convention, Paris in May and June, London on October 27 outside the U.S. Embassy — because of global politics, the youth revolution, the anti-war movement. There was a sense of unified awareness. The difference right now is that it’s all happening in real time. It’s like a science-fiction movie, you know, where there’s a threat to the Planet Vega! You get to Planet Vega, and everybody there is all tuned in to the same channel simultaneously. Well, that’s us now; we’re all on the same channel simultaneously.’
May 22, 2020
[moore] This Is For When… Alan Moore’s poem for the 1981 Bauhaus album Masks. ‘This is for all the mathematicians who got mixed up in the dream gang.’
May 26, 2020
[politics] Has Dominic Cummings Resigned Yet? … ‘No.’
May 27, 2020
[politics] Rasputin Goes To Barnard Castle … Comparing Dominic Cummings and Rasputin. ‘Both Cummings and Rasputin are weird finger sniffing outcasts who turned up in the middle of an outdated corrupt regime and made the elite feel better about themselves while completely taking the piss and not giving even the slightest of fucks about the uproar they caused. Rasputin wandered about the palace wearing ill-fitting stinking old rags telling everyone to fuck off, so does Cummings. Rasputin had a massive cock, Cummings is a massive cock.’
May 28, 2020
[qanon] The Prophecies of Q … Understanding QAnon. ‘The power of the internet was understood early on, but the full nature of that power—its ability to shatter any semblance of shared reality, undermining civil society and democratic governance in the process—was not. The internet also enabled unknown individuals to reach masses of people, at a scale Marshall McLuhan never dreamed of. The warping of shared reality leads a man with an AR-15 rifle to invade a pizza shop. It brings online forums into being where people colorfully imagine the assassination of a former secretary of state. It offers the promise of a Great Awakening, in which the elites will be routed and the truth will be revealed. It causes chat sites to come alive with commentary speculating that the coronavirus pandemic may be the moment QAnon has been waiting for. None of this could have been imagined as recently as the turn of the century.’
June 1, 2020
[movies] The Rolling Stone Interview: Stanley Kubrick in 1987 … Interviewed by Tim Cahill – a two-hour recording of the interview is on YouTube.
Cahill: People always look at directors, and you in particular, in the context of a body of work. I couldn’t help but notice some resonance with Paths of Glory at the end of Full Metal Jacket: a woman surrounded by enemy soldiers, the odd, ambiguous gesture that ties these people together…
June 2, 2020
[movies] How We Made: Airplane! … The Zucker Brothers and Robert Hays on making Airplane! ‘The film is not about a particular time. It’s a satire on a style of acting and that makes it timeless. Robert Stack, who played Captain Rex Kramer, used to say: “I get it – we’re the joke!”’
June 3, 2020
[truecrime] Murder in the Aquarian Age … Engrossing, early true crime story from tech reporter Steven Levy. ‘Chitwood put on the clear rubber gloves and went back to the open trunk. On top were some newspapers, dated in the late summer of 1977. Underneath was a layer of packing material and compressed plastic bags from Sears. Chitwood began scooping the Styrofoam aside. After three scoops, he saw something. At first he could not make out what it was, because it was so wrinkled and tough. But then he saw the shape of it—wrist, palm, and five fingers, curled and frozen. It was a human hand, and now there was no doubt in Chitwood’s mind about the contents of this trunk. He dug just a little deeper, following the shriveled, rawhidelike hand down the wrist. He saw an arm, still clothed in a plaid flannel shirt. He had seen enough. He turned to Einhorn, who was maintaining his studied nonchalance. “We found the body. It looks like Holly’s body,” he said. “You found what you found,” said the Unicorn.’
June 4, 2020
[comics] Why I Hate Christians. … I love a rant from Dan Clowes – here’s a complete set of original art pages from Eighball #11.
June 5, 2020
[books] H.P Lovecraft on 1918’s pandemic – Spanish Flu … Some interesting snippets on Lovecraft’s view on the big pandemic of his time. ‘H. P. Lovecraft to Lillian D. Clark, 2 December 1925 – Influenza has not yet struck the east this winter, though it probably will before long. With freely accessible railways, one can’t segregate maladies of this sort nowadays. It’s odd, but despite all the repeated epidemics of the past decade, I’ve never had influenza. No doubt the gods are saving a deal of picturesque suffering for my very last days!’
June 8, 2020
[tv] Forget Friends! The 25 greatest overlooked sitcoms – from Lovesick to Younger … List compiled by Stuart Heritage. ‘Loudermilk – In some ways, Loudermilk is the archetypal comedy of the decade, in that it’s a) a sad and vaguely redemptive show about an alcoholic and b) maybe a fraction of 1% of people have heard of it. However, it was created by Peter Farrelly and features a brilliant central performance by Ron Livingston, so while it isn’t going to make you fall out of your chair laughing, it is at least capable of being compelling.’
June 9, 2020
[comics] Alan Moore’s Big Numbers Outline Chart… The script outline for AM’s unfinished comic Big Numbers typed out and handily converted to an HTML page with annotations.
June 11, 2020
[bignumbers] The Meaning of Big Numbers … Some interesting analysis of Big Numbers plot and what it might have meant. ‘If there’s mathematical order in the apparently chaos of these divinely beautiful fractal images, and we buy the theory that there must then be mathematical order and divine beauty to life, too, just an order too grand for us to comprehend (sure enough, the chaotic soup of unconnected human interactions in this story seem to end up giving the good people what they want, and punishing the bad people)… then perhaps letting a numerical system take over our life isn’t so different to our present existence. Perhaps there’s a divine beauty in that that’s beyond our comprehension, too. Perhaps the story is an optimistic one.’
June 15, 2020
[movies] My favourite film aged 12: Aliens … I think we can all agree that Aliens is a great film whatever age you are. ‘Rewatching it over the years I’ve only come to appreciate Aliens more. It remains a masterclass in building tension: we don’t actually see an alien until the hour mark, and when we finally do it’s in a bewildering frenzy of bodycam panic. The scene with Ripley and Newt (the girl Ripley finds living feral on a base long since overrun by aliens) trapped in a laboratory with a scuttling face-hugger is still a bum-clenching ordeal. Paul Reiser’s smarmy, flop-sweat-slick company man, Burke, has become ever more punchable with every passing year. And Ripley overcoming her prejudices to accept the android Bishop as a friend is more touching now than it ever was.’
June 16, 2020
[alien] The Horrifying Adventures of Xeno-Morph …
June 18, 2020
[chernobyl] The Age of Forever Crises … This analysis of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl seems somehow relevant during Covid-19. ‘Chernobyl, in this sense, is a crisis that has never stopped unfolding, or as Brown puts it, it is a calamity “with no perceptible end.” It is just as much an environmental disaster as a crisis of information; Cold War politics prevented the free exchange of scientific knowledge, making a bad situation infinitely worse. Brown explains how, in 1986, Russian scientists asked UN officials for “precise information” about how the “Life Span Study” of Japanese survivors of the nuclear bomb was carried out; they were instead presented with data about a chemical explosion in Italy.’
June 19, 2020
[comics] 10 Questions: Chip Zdarsky Interviews Annie Nocenti … Fascinating discussion about Daredevil between the current and former writer of the comic.
June 22, 2020
[mcsweeneys] Just Because They’ve Turned Against Humanity Doesn’t Mean We Should Defund the Terminator Program … ‘Meanwhile, members of the Resistance are gathering support for extreme measures like disbanding the entire Terminator program and then restructuring it so that only Terminators that have been re-programmed to protect rather than harm people are brought back online. But what exactly are we supposed to do in the meantime? Who will keep our country safe if not these beefy robotic soldiers trained in killology (Cyberdyne’s patented split-second decision making murder algorithm) who, admittedly, do sometimes turn against civilians and go on unstoppable rampages of human carnage?’
June 23, 2020
[hertzog] Werner Herzog: ‘I’m fascinated by trash TV. The poet must not avert his eyes’ … Herzog interviewed during lockdown in Los Angeles. ‘The director sits bolt upright inside his book-lined study. His glasses are perched on the bridge of his nose. His fleece is zipped to his chin. “Your face has stuck,” he announces with disgust. “You will have to hang up and dial the number again.”’
June 24, 2020
[comics] JAKA’S STORY: What It Was in 1988, and What Cerebus Used to Mean … A melancholy look at Cerebus and the fall of Dave Sim. ‘MELMOTH was spent talking about the illness and slow death of Oscar Wilde, at a time people were still dying regularly from AIDS and little was even being tried to stop it. It was deeply sensitive and empathetic. And I still see nothing insincere in Dave’s empathy and affinity to Oscar Wilde, both in the more fictionalized version of Oscar here, who is never not entertaining, but also MELMOTH where it’s virtually the real man himself. That’s what makes later on so baffling.’
June 26, 2020
[space] Happy Little Crater on Mercury … Somewhere else in the solar system for Dr. Manhattan to visit.
June 30, 2020
[comics] Milton Glaser and the DC Bullet … Todd Klein analyses the symbol designer Milton Klein created for DC Comics in the 1970s. ‘DC was still using letterpress printing for all their comics. Glaser’s design, with it’s thin lines and thin white spaces, looked great at a larger size, but comics printing wasn’t really up to making it work well at the small size used on covers. In the 1980s DC began gradually transitioning away from letterpress to offset printing with much better and more accurate presses, and then the original DC bullet would have worked fine.’
July 1, 2020
[books] We Can’t Ignore H.P. Lovecraft’s White Supremacy … Powerful look at Lovecraft’s racial bigotry, comparing with racism today. ‘But the need to “save” a man dubbed the “horror story’s dark and baroque prince” by Stephen King is itself questionable. His legacy is firmly planted. His cosmology sprawls from popular culture to niche corners of scholasticism. Complaints of a potentially tarnished reputation are more concerned with bolstering the illusion of Lovecraft as a sacrosanct figure. Even further, to divorce his racism from his literary creations would be a pyrrhic victory; what results is a whitewashed portrait of a profound writer. And from a criticism standpoint, what’s lost is any meaningful grappling with the connection between Lovecraft’s racism and the cosmic anti-humanism that defined his horror.’
July 2, 2020
[comics] Grant Morrison Batman Reading Order … I’ve been trying to work out the reading order of Grant Morrison run on Batman and Final Crisis – It’s complicated.
July 3, 2020
[comics] Alan Moore’s Supermen…
July 6, 2020
[comics] The Wreckage Part One | Part Two … Engrossing long read on Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol. ‘So I guess I’m talking around the problem, said problem being – these comics don’t sit as easily as they might once have, for a number of reasons. They don’t seem so radical, for one thing, now that all their best moves have been copied by subsequent generations. It seems like these book have a lot of something that was very, very cool in 1990 and thereabouts, but which really isn’t quite the same thing precisely as “cool” in 2019. And it’s not like it’s uncool exactly, but nether is it the rather deathless 1960s Batman show, the virtues of which seem more and more enduring with every passing year, as we see that camp silliness was never really something anyone hated but self-righteous nerds. Stuff that purposefully eschews any attempt to be cool often ages better…’
July 7, 2020
[scarfolk] Scarfolk Council: Beer Mats of the 1970s … Beer Mats from Scarfolk pubs as they reopen.
July 9, 2020
[covid] The Coronavirus and Our Future … Kim Stanley Robinson on the Coronavirus. ‘I’ve spent my life writing science-fiction novels that try to convey some of the strangeness of the future. But I was still shocked by how much had changed, and how quickly. Schools and borders had closed; the governor of California, like governors elsewhere, had asked residents to begin staying at home. But the change that struck me seemed more abstract and internal. It was a change in the way we were looking at things, and it is still ongoing. The virus is rewriting our imaginations. What felt impossible has become thinkable. We’re getting a different sense of our place in history. We know we’re entering a new world, a new era. We seem to be learning our way into a new structure of feeling.’
July 10, 2020
[fun] This Meme Does Not Exist… Memes generated by A.I. almost work. Almost.
July 13, 2020
[comics] An oral history of Carol Kalish: the most important comic book figure you’ve never heard of … Remembering the influential marketing exec at Marvel. ‘What she did was just bring sensible business practices to an industry that, when she started, largely worked out of cigar boxes. She modernized the comics industry in a lot of ways.’