How I Spent November 2018

DorisNovember 182018 continues trundling towards its end. The penultimate month is almost done. How did I spend it?

Well, I’m too English to celebrate Thanksgiving, but I have to say: when I see all the Americans on my Twitter feed offer thanks for the good things in their lives, I find the feeling infectious. 2018 has given me a lot to be thankful for. My short story debut is next month. I’ve finished the manuscript for a book, which’ll be out next year. A couple of awesome projects came my way over the past few months, and I’m looking forward to the day I can announce them publicly. And to top things off, I finally got to spend time with an old friend – my oldest friend, in fact – who I haven’t been able to hang out with for seven years.

Okay, things haven’t been perfect. The demise of Belladonna magazine was sad, and I’ve had to delay the crowdfunding campaign for Midnight Widows – the comic I’m writing, which I was planning to launch this year – until next spring. But for me, the positives have been outweighing the negatives.

The festive season is upon us, and as I type these words from a public PC, someone not far away is tunefully advising me to have myself a merry little Christmas. Perhaps I should get started…

Articles published elsewhere this month:

Article topics for December and beyond:



Stylistic Strife, from Celda to Squirrel Girl

Does anyone out there remember how, back in the early 2000s when the GameCube was new, the first footage from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker started an online row that tore Zelda fandom in half? A while back I was speaking to some friends a few years younger than myself who, despite being avid gamers, had no idea that this epic fan-scuffle had taken place; but as someone who was busily misspending my teenage years at video game forums at the time, I can remember it with the clarity of crystal.

For the uninitiated, Zelda: The Wind Waker (or “Celda” as we all nicknamed it at the time) marked a stylistic shift in the series. The previous two Zelda games, on the Nintendo 64, each used a quasi-realistic anime style along the lines of (to pick an obvious comparison point) Princess Mononoke. But the GameCube Zelda went with something drastically different: a cel-shaded aesthetic based on the heavy stylisation of early Toei anime like The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon.

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The House of Eddas: Loki Debuts with Journey Into Mystery #85

Journey_into_Mystery_Vol_1_85The first and second Mighty Thor stories were essentially generic superhero yarns starring a character who happened to be loosely patterned after the Norse thunder god. With Journey into Mystery #85, meanwhile, the series started making a stronger effort to engage with mythology. The title of this issue’s story says it all: “Trapped by Loki, the God of Mischief!”

What do the myths have to say about Loki? Well, the Prose Edda introduces Loki as “fair and beautiful of face, but evil in disposition, and very fickle-minded” before providing several narratives in which he plays a significant part. Across these, Loki emerges as a strikingly ambiguous figure. The first of these stories (second, if we count an earlier narrative that discusses Loki in relation to his family tree) casts him not as a villain as such, but as a member of the Aesir who gives the others bad advice which nearly results in the sun, moon and goddess Freya falling into the hands of the giants. Whether he does so as an honest mistake or in for the purposes of mischief is unclear. In the next narrative he is not a troublemaker at all, and simply Thor’s companion in Utgard; although intriguingly, the story includes a separate character named Utgard-Loki who does serve as a trickster.

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Watching Digitiser the Show

DigitiserYesterday evening I felt like a twelve-year-old again, and I owe it to Mr. Biffo.

I was one of the backers to Biffo’s crowdfunded YouTube series Digitiser the Show, and having seen the first episode, I’d say I got my money’s worth.  It took me back to my childhood days watching GamesMaster and Bad Influence, only without any of the trying-to-be-cool malarkey that tended to come with shows of that ilk. Instead, I was treated to the sight of a bunch of grown adults unapologetically immersing themselves in the very best playground japery, all in the name of gaming nostalgia.

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Elsagate Meets Creepypasta


Well, I’ve written about the bizarre phenomenon of Elsagate, and I’ve written about creepypasta, so it’s probably about time I wrote about the point where Elsagate and creepypasta merge. This is all centuries old in Internet time, but hey—as far as I can tell it hasn’t sparked much coverage outside of card-carrying conspiracy believers, so hopefully it’ll still be fresh to my readers…

In December 2017, a Reddit user called TheColdPeople posted a story to the creepypasta subreddit NoSleep which drew inspiration from the Elsagate videos. Two months later TheColdPeople posted at the Elsagate subreddit, crediting the story with getting Elsagate videos banned across China.

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Gillian Lacey’s Up


A while back I wrote an article about animator Gillian Lacey, where I mentioned her early short Up but wasn’t able to go into detail for the simple reason that I hadn’t been able to see it. Well, thanks to the BFI’s animation collection, the film can now be seen online. It’s an extremely short piece based on the symbolic image of people trying to climb heavenward while being accosted by flies, and a striking specimen of early-1970s arthouse animtion. Enjoy!