How I Spent April 2019

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Winter is finally fading away as we approach the final British springtime of the decade, and fittingly, April was a month of transition for me: I spent a good chunk of it getting ready for things that’ll be happening in May.

For a start, my book on The Mummy is scheduled to be published at the end of May, so that’s something for me to look forward to. I’m still gearing up for the Midnight Widows crowdfunding campaign, and May is still looking to be a viable date. I’ve also had a short story accepted for an anthology, but I won’t be able to go into detail until the formal announcement in — yes — May.

So, I’m pretty eager to see May roll around. As for April, well, I got a few things done…

Articles of mine published elsewhere this month:

Article topics for May and beyond:

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On Amazing Stories issue 25

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The latest post in my Amazing Stories retrospective is now live; this time I’m looking at the April 1928 issue, which includes a rather marvellous story called “The Yeast Men” (a fitting alternate title would be… DOUGHLEMS).

This issue marks the magazine’s second anniversary; I’ve now covered two whole years of this pioneering publication, and two thirds of Hugo Gernsback’s run as editor. Bit of a milestone…

The Demonologist and the Thief

A few times now I’ve butted heads with a chap named Brian Niemeier, a hard-right indie sci-fi author who believes that demons are turning people into Marxists. I’ve seem Niemeier turning up as a topic in the blogosphere again lately; these discussions have focused mainly on his religio-political views, but I’d like to take the opportunity to talk about something a little different. I want to point out how Brian Niemeier has made a grave ethical lapse as an author by lending support to a known plagiarist.

Now, this isn’t exactly news. I mentioned the subject in passing back in 2017, but I didn’t go into detail. With this post, I hope to make the case clearer.

First, let me introduce the plagiarist who Niemeier supports. His name is Douglas S. Taylor and he runs a one-man publishing company called DarcWorX. Taylor has committed literally dozens of acts of plagiarism by using copyrighted artwork without permission on book covers, publicity material and merchandise. I’ve already written in detail about my experiences with Taylor, but if you don’t have time to read that, here are a few samples of Taylor’s theft:

Continue reading “The Demonologist and the Thief”

The Grimms at their Grimmest?

A lot’s been said about how the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm are sometimes darker and more twisted than the sanitised versions consumed by today’s children. We all know about the mutilations that happen in the Grimms’ version of Cinderella, and some of us have dug deeper and found such oddities as Hans-My-Hedgehog or The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage. And yes, we’ve all made thunderingly obvious puns involving “Grimm” and “grim”. Myself included, in the title of this very post, because I’m that lazy.

But there’s one story in particular I’d like to bring up; one I’ve never heard anyone talk about in the context of freaky fairy tales. That surprises me as it contains what must surely be the single most twisted moment in the entire Grimm canon. It’s called Cherry, or the Frog Bride.

Continue reading “The Grimms at their Grimmest?”

Midnight Widows: Progress Report, April 2019

widows_illustration-cropTime for another update on the status of my upcoming comic, Midnight Widows

I had previously had April pencilled in as the launch month for the Midnight Widows crowdfunding campaign. Well, it looks unlikely to happen quite so soon — but I’m pleased to confirm that the campaign is getting closer bit by bit.

In my previous update, I mentioned that I had a to-do list of seven details that needed clearing up before I could give the green light. Well, since then, that list has dropped from seven to five. And I’m currently working on one of the five remaining, while Marcela — the lead artist on the comic — is working on another.

It’ll probably be safest if I move the scheduled campaign start from April to May. But either way, the campaign will be happening, and I aim to make 2019 the year of the Midnight Widows.

The House of Eddas: Journey Into Mystery #89-90

JourneyMystery89As I continue my series looking at how Marvel’s Thor comics stack up against Norse mythology, I’m going to have to face the elephant in the room: at this point in their existence, these comics have very little to do with Norse mythology. Our hero’s bumped into a number of bad guys, but so far, only one has been mythological in origin.

Let’s take a look at how Thor’s gallery of rogues has been shaping up so far. Up until this point, we’ve seen five villains, or villainous groups: Loki, the only recurring antagonist and the only one drawn from mythology; the sci-fi villains, represented by the Stone Men of Saturn and the time-travelling inventor Zarrko; and the Red Menace embodied by the Executioner and various generic Soviets. Now it’s time to meet two more additions to the league of evil dudes — and again, if you showed them to Snorri Sturluson, he’d be scratching his head.

First we have Journey Into Mystery #89 with “The Thunder God and the Thug!” After another adventure, Thor heads back to his medical practice – but is spotted by some patients. To distract them while he changes back to his secret identity, he rigs up a manikin to look like himself and chucks it out a window. (Thor’s been getting quite a bit of mileage out of dummies lately, having used one to foil Loki the previous month).

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Continue reading “The House of Eddas: Journey Into Mystery #89-90″