MAGA 2020 & Beyond Part 1: Walls, Revolutions and Zombie Voters

maga2020Back in 2017 a right-wing science fiction publisher by the name of Superversive Press put out a book entitled MAGA 2020 & Beyond. The volume offered a set of short stories by various authors imagining the rosy future to be brought about by the newly-minted President Trump.

The book has a tangled history. It started life at British publisher Horrified Press, which had previously released the anti-Trump anthology Trumpocalypse and intended to follow it up with a companion volume called Trumptopia. Publisher and authors had different visions for this project: while at last some of the writers were sincere in their affection for 45, editorial appear to have envisioned something more ironic and tongue-in-cheek – not to mention a bit twisted (Horrified Press does, after all, specialise in horror).

The breaking point came when Horrified Press unveiled the cover, which showed Trump admiring the severed heads of Kim Jong-Un and Fidel Castro. A number of contributors objected to this macabre vision of the POTUS’ interior décor (you can read an account by one author here) so they migrated from Horrified to Superversive. House artist Dawn Witzke slapped on a new cover, curiously showing a brick wall being built between Trump and the US flag, and MAGA 2020 & Beyond was born.

Since then, it’s aged like the finest mayonnaise.

Continue readingMAGA 2020 & Beyond Part 1: Walls, Revolutions and Zombie Voters”

Werewolf Wednesday: More Porno

Well, for the second time, my Killer Horror Critic column on the history of werewolf films has led to me reviewing a half-century-year-old porno. This time it’s a film from ’69 (insert joke here) called Dracula the Dirty Old Man

Past instalments:

Daphne Byrne in Review

My latest post for WWAC is a review of Daphne Byrne:

In Daphne Byrne, writer Laura Marks and artist Kelley Jones take us on a tour through the iconography of late nineteenth-century Gothic. The comic depicts place in a New York where séances reach out to the hereafter, crumbling graveyards provide places of refuge, dusty libraries hold forbidden secrets, occult societies practice unhallowed rites, and the emotions repressed by polite society are prone to bursting forth in the guise of warped visions.

Midnight Widows Arrive in 2021

widows_illustration-crop

As we enter 2021 I felt it was time for an update on the progress of Midnight Widows, the comic I’m writing. The colouring on issue 2 is nearly complete: I expect it to be finished in a matter of weeks. That will just leave the cover artwork and lettering, after which issue 2 will be available as a digital copy.

If you would like to bag your copy in advance, then please donate to my Patreon or Ko-Fi. Any donations made this year will be rewarded with digital copies of issue 1 and, when it becomes available, issue 2. So, if you haven’t yet met Edith, Gabriela and Kateryna, now would be a good time.

When the Count was slain, his brides were freed…

Top Posts of 2020

With the new year started, I couldn’t resist taking a look at my stats to see which were the most-viewed posts from 2020…

The Continued Weaponisation of Marion Zimmer Bradley: An assessment of how certain right-wingers in the SF/F world were cynically using a child molestation scandal to win points in online arguments.

The History of the Dullahan in Irish Folklore: I noticed that online sources on this folkloric creature were poor quality, so I decided to conduct some research of my own. Pleased to see that people apparently enjoyed reading my findings.

What is the Horror Canon? At the time, there was a debate going on about the science fiction canon. I decided to shift genres.

More on the Dullahan in Irish Folklore: A follow-up to my earlier post on this folkloric beastie.

“Dune Song” by Suyi Davies Okungbowa (Ignyte Award review): I’m not sure why, out of all the Ignyte Award-nominated stories I reviewed, this one made it into the year’s top 15 posts. Possibly something to do with buzz surrounding the author’s other works.

Various States of Decay by Matt Hayward (Splatterpunk Award review): My coverage of the Splatterpunk Awards is well-represented in the top 15. This one appears to received the most hits for the regrettable reason that the author was outed as a harasser at around the same time I posted the review.

The Unexplained Revisited: Kirlian Photography: Hmm, that reminds me – I should really get back todoing my Unexplained Revisited series…

June 2020: A Month in Horror: This was the only one of my monthly genre round-ups to make the top 15 posts, presumably because I covered some particularly controversial events (including, again, the Matt Hayward affair)

The New Flesh (Splatterpunk Award review)
Congratulations to the 2020 Splatterpunk Award Winners!
Reception by Kenzie Jennings (Splatterpunk Award review): Three posts confirming that my Splatterpunk Awards coverage constitutes the most widely-read series on my blog in 2020. Won’t be long before I’m covering the 2021 Splats…

Folklore Studies Gone Wrong: S. A. Swaffington’s The Supernatural World of the Anglo-Saxons: Oh yeah, this. The book was so horrible I couldn’t resist tearing it to bits.

Monsterville: Universal Monsters do Town Management Simulation: A review of a game I bought second hand in the brief pre-pandemic period of 2020. Guess the game has fans.

The First of the Cartoon Vampires? This was a post where I looked into a very niche (but nonetheless intriguing, to myself at least) topic. Looks like a few other people found it interesting.

Chick Tracts vs Transgender: Yeah, well, there’s always an audience for a Chick tract take-down.

How I Spent December 2020

This was a month in which I took a step back from the Internet and focused on my larger projects. Plus the usual Christmassy stuff, too – or at least as much as “usual Christmassy stuff” could ever apply to 2020. I hope to have an update on how my projects are coming along soon; but for now, I’ll be brief and wish everyone a new year that improves on its predecessor.

Articles of mine published elsewhere this month:

Article topics for January and beyond:

December 2020: A Month in Horror

Were this an ordinary year, I would be marking its close with a fond look back at what came before. Alas, this was not an ordinary year, so I’ll keep things brief.

“What came before” has already been ably handled by other bloggers. For one, we have the annual round-up of “year’s best horror films” posts, which are handy if you’d like to catch up on titles you missed.Vulture, Rotten Tomatoes, Den of Geek and Rolling Stone (to name a few) have all chipped in. If you would like a list highlighting lesser-known films, then perhaps you might enjoy Killer Horror Critic’s feature on the 20 best horror films from 2020 that you might have missed or Bloody Disgusting’s take on the 10 best international horror films of 2020. Articles on the year’s top horror novels are a harder to come by, although The Lineup has one.

Continue reading “December 2020: A Month in Horror”

Werewolf Wednesday: Meet the Jackalman

My weekly Killer Horror Critic column on werewolf films has reached one of the oddest lycanthropes in genre history: the Jackalman, who debuted in an obscure number called The Mummy and the Curse of the Jackals...

Past instalments:

Charlee Jacob’s Season of the Witch

The penultimate post in my retrospective of Charlee Jacob’s extreme horror fiction is now live at WWAC:

Season of the Witch was nearly the last Charlee Jacob novel to be published (only one more, Containment, was to follow), yet it was the first that she wrote. She penned it in the ’80s, after which it remained a “trunk novel” until 2016. Jacob evidently revised the manuscript to some extent prior to its publication, as shown by its references to such post-eighties cultural phenomena as Internet porn, Scream, and the Black Eyed Peas, but it nonetheless has the feel of a throwback about it. In many ways Season of the Witch is closer to Jacob’s 1997 debut novel This Symbiotic Fascination than to anything she published since then.

Read on…

Tranny Potter and the Contentious Tweets

Despite being transgender myself, I tend not to write a great deal about trans-related topics. That’ll change soon, as I could hardly let 2020 end without some sort of commentary on what must surely be the year’s most widely-read essay on transgender matters: the 3670-word blog post formally entitled “J. K. Rowling writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues” but more widely known as the “TERF Wars” essay, after a phrase Rowling used when linking to it on Twitter.

Much has already been written about this essay since Rowling published it back in June, and given that the post recently won its author a Russell Prize for Best Writing, I doubt that debate will be ebbing any time soon. But while I can’t promise I’ll be saying anything exactly groundbreaking about the piece, I can at least attempt to discuss it in as much depth as I can.

My plan is to run a series of blog posts – lasting into 2021 – that use J. K. Rowling’s TERF Wars essay as a gateway to the Augean stable that is mainstream transgender discourse (particularly mainstream British transgender discourse). Each post in the series will examine a different aspect of the essay, with one question above all others in my mind: how did we end up here?

Continue reading “Tranny Potter and the Contentious Tweets”