Thing Of The Week – Tilapia

It is the holiday week before thingy so this week we are cutting down to an average of two posts per day since most of the writers will be busy and so we can build up a backlog. Of news. Before it happens.

Of course the holiday that we will be occupied with in Tilapia, the Festival of Bonefish, a traditional (as of now) North American festival celebrating the rebranding of the bonefish as Tilapia. We celebrate by listening to Fishbone, the aware winning album by Ghostface Waits, the mashup between Ghostface Killer and Tom Waits. Also we buy foods that we then make popular to drive up their prices – last year we did waffles but made them gourmet. This year – frozen dog poop. Look out for it America!

Thing Of The Week: Surprise Stash

Coming up this week (starting with the first article from today) we have a series of test articles that you the reader will get to vote on (most of them were found in an article stash). Those with the most votes will become new series to replace some of the least popular ones!
Check back Friday for the poll and thanks for reading!

Thing Of The Week: Avengers: EMH Prisons

I’m a fan of cartoons and if they are on Netflix Instant I’ll sure as hell watch them especially as I do work around the house. Currently I’ve started rewatching Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with my sister and I love that every character more or less has their own role to play, each episode tells a fun story and that it is a pretty politically mixed show – just look at the prisons.
If you look at the politics of prisons in the very first non-origin episode we see the three main public prisons of the universe – The Cube, The Big House and The Vault as well as the secret prison – the Raft each with their own ideal and reason.
The Cube stands as the prison for the gamma created and powered villains and is secretly this lab for reverse engineering the gamma villains (as well as the Hulk to create more) as part of the military industrial complex.
The Big House run by my favorite character Hank Pym is the reform prison where Pym shrinks down villains to keep them at a lower cost and to make them less dangerous. Also he totally has tiny Ultrons guarding the prison but it is nice to see Pym attempting to reform the criminals even though they are motivated by greed and generally aren’t the types of criminals who would respond though Pym is undeterred.
The Vault is the generic prison housing the bad guys who the public can know about, who aren’t major threats. It’s the standard government run prison with no ulterior methods to it.
And then you have the Raft which is the super secret Gitmo prison holding Alan Moore Graviton and because it was a secret it causes massive amounts of damage when you hold the most dangerous villain drugged inside New York City.
What is ultimately pointed out though is that privately run prisons and prisons that don’t attempt to reform in the correct ways fail.
Well, that’s not completely right but it is interesting seeing this variety of ideals in a show directed at children.

Thing Of The Week: Seperation

One of the things that happens in real life is separation – this can happen with physical objects, relationships and even spiritual disconnection. I moved around a decent amount from city to city growing up – not too far that I couldn’t see friends but enough that an effort (1.5 hours of driving each way) had to be made.
This comes to mind because as I look for work and update contacts, I’m already seeing this disconnection from things around me.
The week after I finished college I found myself back at home with Facebook as my only connection to the people I’d spent three years or so with. The people who I’d soon see blending into my background of Facebook people online, people who I really didn’t care for – who I wouldn’t keep up with.
Use this week to just reconnect with someone you lost contact with be it an actual person, a series you enjoyed or even a project you dropped.

Thing Of The Week – Looking Back

The thing of the week really has no set rhyme or reason so it is pretty much an open topic for bullfrippery or in this week’s article, reflectiveness. I like to think where I was a year ago so I can reflect on changes in my life and damn there have been a good deal.
A year ago I was still in college, I was working in a comic shop and for the first time I was actually able to save up money and look for the future (part of the benefit of being paid $8 as opposed to $7.15 at McDonalds).
A month earlier I’d started at the comic shop and I didn’t know the territory, I was still learning about customers and I didn’t know that if we were to be open on Halloween, nobody would come in. Apparently Sundays in downtown Pittsburgh aren’t popular. Also the city didn’t advertise any event which was sad.
I’d convinced my manager though to get candy, I’d go in costume (hipster Rorshach) and if anyone came in, I’d give them candy. After 2 hours of nobody I cranked up the Blackwolf I was listening to and was like “Shit, I’m going to be 21 in a month. I want to do something badass”.
It was about this time that Adam WarRock was planning his comic shop tours and the managers had nixed the plans here at our shop so that Halloween I called up a venue and I was like “Hey, I’d like to book a show for my artist.” Euge was not (and still is not) my artist and at the time we’d only had a few conversations. Despite my lack of knowledge though, I booked Euge a show and even got Blackwolf to come down and Joe Hunter did the posters. Also I booked the show on my birthday – my plan was post show to get blazed with Adam WarRock (by which I mean drunk).
The show date came up, Euge visited and sat in all of my chairs (I had about 8 different types and get some BBQ before the show. This was also before I listened to War Rocket Ajax and knew about Euge’s BBQ preferences.
So we got to the show, I’d done poster campaigns in the comic shops and a few record places. The thing was the venue manager never saw my email sending him the poster and he’d prebooked the show aaaaand it was the weekend before Thanksgiving so despite the other band being indie musicians The Russian Futurists, we had about 14 people there. (We’d needed 20 people’s tickets to pay for the venue :|).
Still the manager was nice, he got money and everyone sold some MERCH and it was a fun show.
Blackwolf who also preformed (since I was and still do kind of work for him) invited us out to drink. Euge and I were both pretty tired though, declined, got lost on the way back and then headed home.
It was a pretty wonderful birthday all things considered and it was brought by taking a chances, faking what I didn’t know and it let to another show (Mother’s Day weekend with no bigger headliner), an internship with LBFA and even scoring free tickets to a few shows at other places.
My point is this, live a life where you are in a different state than you were a year ago better or worse. Variety of life brings important experiences to you that are vital to not rutting around. “Go ahead, make mistakes and get messy” to paraphrase the Frizz and remember – life is goddamn crazy and wonderful.

Thing Of The Week – Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming up in a little over a week for most American families. I am not sure if other countries have weird thanksgivings but they aren’t as politically loving to the U.S. of A. as we are in America.
Due to weird family things though (my brother leaves to go teaching) this weekend so we celebrated Thanksgiving early. It’s a weird thing being in as non-consumerist location as I am in right now as well. The place I live is in a real salt of the earth place and most families aren’t interested in early Black Friday shopping, no signs of Christmas ads and so having Thanksgiving before Thanksgiving episodes of TV come on it is weird to step back and see how our holiday spirit is manufactured a lot by what we see and do creating this fake spirit.
That said with early Thanksgiving, help from the worst webcomic LBFA’s Chris Haley and Dylan Todd Ping-o-Ween and even more family time, I can say that I’ve been feeling a truer holiday spirit this year.
No jokes, just some truth.
Look forward to your holiday, cut back on the consumerism and spend time with your family – those people you love.

Thing Of The Week: Ghosts In Comics

Ghosts have been an integral part of comics ever since the first appearance of a vigilante murderer named Casper the Ghost in the early 20’s. Due to a retcon and a more famous reboot brought on by the purchase of the title though, Casper is generally seen as a children’s character but stands as the launching point for ghosts in comics.
Many modern heroes follow in the path of Casper the Ghost such as The Deadmens, Jonah Hex, The Specter, and Susan Storm.
The Deadmens was started by Johannes Malkemus, a Russian immigrant who grew up on a dairy farm in South Carolina. Often beset with the vapors, Malkemus wrote and illustrated stories about the Boston Deadmens, a former circus trapeze artist who was killed for getting too close to the truth. With his ability to possess the living and the dead, he fought criminals and the power of the government as Malkemus was a heavily conservative person with little trust in the government. After 2 years of publishing the comic which was sold in a local gas station, Detective Comics purchased the character rights and reinvented the character as Boston Brand, the Deadman. Malkemus went on to drink the $100 he was paid for his character rights in one afternoon and died two days later of alcohol poisoning.
Jonah Hex was created originally as a ghost cowboy during World War 2 when a young man named Stan Ditko began drawing stories of a ghost cowboy who cared so much about justice that he could not allow himself to sleep. Ditko’s stories about Jonah Hex mostly focused on Hex floating through prison walls and punching out criminals who were trying to escape. When Ditko grew bored after 3 issues he packed the books away and left them at home where his parents sold them to Neal Adams who brought the character to the attention of DC offices and established Jonah Hex in All-Star Western.
The Specter is like Deadmans but with more blacksploitation. Literally reread the Deadmens article but with stock characters and you get the idea of the Spectre.
Susan Storm was sort of a ghost. What am I, wikipedia? I don’t know. Wikipedia stuff. Listen, if you don’t know who Susan Storm is, I can’t help you. Gosh.

Thing Of The Week: History Of Nerdcenaries

Louis Rouals who started Nerdcenaries.

Now not many of you readers would be aware of this fact but Nerdcenaries was originally a periodical back in the 19th century. It was created by a man named Louis Rouals. The periodical entitled “Nerdcenaries: A Confastion Of Gapping Maws And The Abysses” never really took off but was none the less continued for about 30 years ending in 1846 after Rouals was consumed by a bear and as a result lost his entire readership.

Thanks to obsessive collectors, family trees and other such ephemera though, the hansom and single (ladies…) heir to the Nerdcenaries fortune, Augustus Crosk was able to collect all of the remaining prior issues of the series and then secure a copyright and trademark for the name Nerdcenaries once more.

The original periodical focused primarily on the delusional rantings of Rouals who at the time had become highly schizophrenic but due to his vast (for the area) fortune and the fact that he owned the local lumber mill, he was viewed as eccentric instead. He wrote commonly of giant black portals that lay within the souls of people which made them do “darke deeds” or evil and that those who succumbed to the portals would become creators of more evil. Rouals was so convinced that these portals existed that he would personally examine every potential employee for these portals before they would be allowed to work for him.

Eventually Rouals began accepting writing contributions including “wrytengs ef the sexeul nayturh” and off-color anti-Spaniard humor. The disturbing part of this was the fact that Rouals himself continued to be the only contributor to the periodical despite there being a staff of 18 contributors. As it turns out he had started writing under vastly different identities including Hakim the Muslym, Bao-Que the Yellow Mayn and Alberto Vincente the Gayme Reviewer, all of whom had different writing styles and opinions. Hakim for example was militantly against the existence of any female life be it human or otherwise while 4 other identities were incredibly militant feminists.

As previously mentioned, Rouals was killed by a bear in 1846 and was found to have not “just gone wandering to find the Indians” as the local paper had reported. According to the paper, Rouals was attempting to subscribe more readers to the paper and thought the bear was educated enough to appreciate his paper. It was not.

With the death of Rouals, the papers were collected first as a curiosity and then was worshiped as a religious artifact by a group of Spanish priests who saw it as a guide of how to live and shape the world. The priests who called themselves members of the Rouals Cross treated the collection as the Ultimate Testament. Under the ownership of the Spaniards, 2 dozen copies of the daily paper were printed and distributed. Unfortunately all completed collections of the paper were lost as the priests were meanwhile excommunicated and killed for heresy.

What we now know about the paper is all purely fiction as is the life and existence of Rouals as well as his descendent Crosk. We just like screwing with you.

But now that the past of the magazine has been explained we are invited to look into the future, to gaze into the new abyss and face the beast that lies within while carrying a screwdriver and a sense of humor.


– Luke Herr

Chief Editor, Nerdcenaires 2011