Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Occult Activity Book

Coloring books for adults are all the rage right now, but if you're of a somewhat darker bent you might be feeling left out of all the fun. Well, witch-friends, the answer to your prayers to the Gods of Dark Laughter have been answered with the arrival of The Occult Activity Book. I contributed some eldritch Mad Libs to the book, which sit nicely alongside the Elizabeth Bathory paper dress-up doll, diabolic "spot the difference" games, fiendish crosswords, and more.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, but when I do set one I like to keep the bar nice and low. This year's resolution is to re-read the original run of the Sandman comics. I'm pretty sure I never read every single issue as they came out in the 90s, and I'm also fairly sure that I didn't read it in a strict order at the time.

The Sandman was the first comic series that I at least read semi-religiously; prior to that, I read a comic here and a comic there, but was never really devoted to picking up every issue as they came out. Will Sandman hold up to my amber-colored memories of being engrossed in it? Let's find out.

Aesthetically, I love the way the early sequences in which Morpheus is held captive by Roderick and Alex Burgess adopt the style and look of DC's horror comics from the 70s, and then effectively segues into Morpheus encountering Cain, Abel, Destiny, and the hosts of The Witching Hour

That those cameos are inserted in such an interesting and clever way rubs uncomfortably against the avalanche of cameos that follow. Some of these cameos work well (Doctor Destiny is especially well-appropriated as a villain--his occupation of the diner is easily one of the darker turns in the Sandman series) but others (John Constantine, Etrigan, fucking Martian Manhunter) feels a bit too much like fanservice and inclusions that exist just to let you know that you're in the DC Universe. My memory tells me that as the series progresses it becomes a bit more deft at reinventing DC characters and mixing them with characters of its own inventions, but we'll have to see how that plays out.

One thing I hadn't counted on before starting this re-read was how heavily the specter of AIDS/HIV would loom in the background of the narrative. It's easy to forget it now, but at the time Sandman was coming out the disease was a predominant, era-defining anxiety. I'd hazard to guess that the Death Talks About Life mini-comic taught a lot of people about AIDS awareness and how to put on a condom because that specter was always in the shadows.

Speaking of Death, Preludes & Nocturnes concludes with "The Sound of Her Wings," which was the first bit of Sandman I got hold of. In retrospect, it's a weird place to start: it's a bridge between the just-concluded arc of Morpheus regaining his tools and the next arc about Morpheus chasing down errant dreams. Still, reading it again makes it clear why it inspired me to go back and read what I had missed; "The Sound of Her Wings" was like a revelation that comics could be so much more than how we usually imagine them within the strata of pop culture.

Friday, February 5, 2016

An Unholy Misc

Aos sent this along to me and, who knows, it might prove useful for you too:

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Trey sent along this great Gothic & Gorey cartoon. Definitely worth your time!

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An important gif:

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Kylie Minogue reads Nick Cave's letter to the MTV Awards. Words to live by.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Ones Left Behind

Pale hands reaching out of a swirling cloud of shadow and ethereal luminescence--they are the remnants of a cosmic being, shattered by contact with the madness of mortal men, and left behind by their fellow travelers of the universal void.

Each hand frantically signals a single word in sign language. Driven mad by a desire to be understood--and destined to never be fully comprehended--the Ones Left Behind are plunged into a despair that quickly turns to rage. Rage leads inexorably to the hands pronouncing doom on those who cannot, or refuse, to understand them. Each hand is also capable of creating a baleful magical effect. 

Stats as beholder; exchange eye stalks for hands, etc.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Carcosa, The Urantia Book, Herbal Tea, Racism [???]

Is the Urantia Book the ultimate supplement for Carcosa games? Well, it does have multi-colored people in a horrific sci-fi/mystical/alien backdrop:

“The earlier races are somewhat superior to the later; the red man stands far above the indigo — black — race,” says Paper 51 of The Urantia Book, and “each succeeding evolutionary manifestation of a distinct group of mortals represents variation at the expense of the original endowment.” Furthermore, “The yellow race usually enslaves the green, while the blue man [which corresponds to Caucasians] subdues the indigo [black].”

Friday, January 29, 2016


The Uncaring
Chelsea Wolfe - Maw † My Dying Bride - The Whore, the Cook and the Mother † Sabbath Assembly - Risen From Below † Huntress - Four Blood Moons † The Black Dahlia Murder - Vlad, Son of the Dragon † Myrkur - Skadi † Paradise Lost - Forging Sympathy † Ahab - Red Foam

The Death of Needless Aspirations
My Dying Bride - Vast Choirs † Anathema - Sleep in Sanity † Paradise Lost - Rapture † Katatonia - Murder † Tiamat - Scent of Incense † Lychgate - Truimphalism † Burzum - Naar Himmelen Klarner † Emperor - The Ancient Queen

Remember mixtapes? These are mine.

This one isn't mine, but it's also great and worth your time:

The Sexuality of Your Shadow

Wednesday, January 27, 2016