Cover Designs

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Books

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Drax has compiled an altogether engaging novel for a broad audience. His finely-tuned command of first-person narrative, mixed with chapters of intricate prose and adept foreshadowing deliver well-spent hours with this self-published work. Admirable in all respects, if you’ve enjoyed Stephen King’s Gunslinger series you should pick up a copy of this religion-biting, futuristic portrait– for an amusing and insightful depiction of the underworld and the present state of affairs.

A Very Fast Descent Into Hell

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And far below…

in the dark roaring depths

in the splintering metal shell of the submarine, Gloriana’s heart boomed like a war drum in her chest, steady and insistent and refusing to yield, a battle cry pulsing in her blood, surging through her, calling her name—as if her name were a secret, a sound she’d never known. It was the voice of her father and yet it was not; it was the hammer of her heart and yet something else. Gloriana. A circle of flame and she was the center. All was lost, she realized. She was free. The world she’d known crumbled, fell away. She gave herself over to the wild foreign rhythm within.

DOOMTROOPERS

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The Last Star in the Sky

And as proof of her newfound convictions, proof to herself if no one else, she began to accelerate. Faster and faster she went, plunging like a hellborn ball of flame through the cold vault of space, till at last she came bursting from the void and careened into the center of a minor solar system. Uncaring, she cut through the paths of the system’s inner planets.

The result was catastrophic.

Worlds were ripped from their wheel about their mother sun and sent spinning into freezing merciless black. The unsuspecting and innocent sun barely had time to scream Why?! before her rogue sister’s gravitational shockwave came crashing and the poor sun was torn to shreds, split to spewing gushes of fire and hydrogen.

The black of space bloomed red.

The star continued on her bitter path.

That will show them, she thought.

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HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR BLUE-EYED BOY?

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I defy Barry Graham to write a first-person novel told from the perspective of a total wimp.

His heroes are always mega masculine, usually emerging from nightmarish childhood abuse to stand up in adulthood as paragons of self-reliance and defiance against all enemies, willing and eager to resist and fight against what seems to the casual reader unimaginable evil.

Graham does not fail to deliver in HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR BLUE-EYED BOY? His protagonist, Andy, has emerged from a long stint in the military, endured homelessness, friendlessness, skirted despair and PTSD. Yet he lands on his feet, secures work as a handyman, writes for the local independent paper, grudgingly plays in a “punk” band, meditates each morning and night before his zen altar, teaches a brutal self defense class—”It is easier than you might think to suck an opponent’s eye from his skull”—yet somehow keeps his wits about him as bodies of his friends fall like cactus needles in the brutal heat of Phoenix AZ America. There’s a killer coming ever closer. And Andy, his blood-colored piss sitting like in the toilet bowl, won’t surrender.

Graham is easily one of the “earthiest” writers who has ever caused me to grimace while reading his sentences, His descriptions of violence put Cormac McCarthy to shame. His sex scenes nearly cross the Rubicon of the pornographic. Yet he never takes the easy path into the realm of cheap sensation. His sentential events are clipped and spare and exact, his plots are irresistible.  HOW DO YOU LIKE YOU BLUE-EYED BOY? is a great fucking read. “Highly recommended!”

BOOKS BY BARRY GRAHAM. Several are free.

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Aubrey Morris, High Priest, RIP

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Morris always left an unconventional stamp on even the smallest, and seemingly conventional, roles. Small and rotund, with gleaming eyes, and occasionally wearing round spectacles, he could convey obsessions and monstrosity at odds with his corporeality. His visual characteristics included a wide smile, which displayed a prominent upper row of teeth, and a sly, sideways glance. With his distinctive, precise speech pattern, he could draw out vowel sounds amusingly, or unnervingly. — The Guardian

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Yes, Aubrey Morris (1926—2015) played so many excellent little and unforgettable roles: the crazy grave digger in Wicker Man, Mister Deltoid in Clockwork and hundreds of others. But I must admit that my flat out favorite crazy character he came up with is none other than…

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PETROS, HIGH PRIEST OF THE SURVIVORS OF LEVEL 7!

In the 1975 episode of SPACE: 1999, Mission of the Darians, Morris is an eerie judge and executioner of radiation scarred mutants on a massive 900 year old ruined space ark, and man, he’s creepy, especially when he screams…

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“MUUUU-TAAAAANT!”

The poor “mutant” is locked into a disintegration chamber that glows hellishly white with a high pitched mechanized scream. And as the unfortunate mutant’s flesh melts away, Morris looks on, calm and serene.

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Brrrr. It’s a standout episode all on its own, made that much greater by the unforgettable inclusion of Aubrey Morris, who will be missed and remembered by many fans across the planet tonight. Yes, Morris gave us so many memorable characters. But this one’s my favorite.

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Pluto

“None of us alive today will see a new planet up close for the first time again.”

— Dennis Overbye, The New York Times

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Pluto, Ruler of the Underworld

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Pluto and Mighty Moon Charon

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The face of “The Last World” revealed.

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VideoScope #95 is in the house! SUMMER MADNESS!

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It’s the usual trove of great shit and then some! Available now at better bookstores everywhere, and visit The Phantom @ videoscopemag.com!

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CROWNED by Mary Soon Lee

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Rhysling Award winner Mary Soon Lee has created a fantastic world that is marvelous in scope. Drawing upon elements from Asian and Celtic culture while incorporating dragons, bloody wars, horsemanship, kingship and other tropes of the genre, she never ignores the human cost of heroism. Gorgeous black-and-white illustrations by M. Wayne Miller complete this first book of The Sign of the Dragon , an epic fantasy in verse.

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Available from Dark Renaissance Books.

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It Was Not to Be: The Cancelled Issue of HEXES

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The ideas and arguments are bigger than my puny brain, but this is the very short version of what I wanted to say.

Many of us ally ourselves with a symbol because we feel small, because the symbol is both macrocosm and religion, bigger and wider and purer than ourselves. Whether it is the cross or the swastika, the peace symbol or the confederate flag, the symbol becomes absolution. There is great discord in our consciousness, there is great disconnect between our heads and hearts and hands. The symbol solves all of that (seemingly) because it is at once abstract and simple yet all-encompassing, and there resides the symbol’s power: it becomes potent for both believers and non-believers, as if the symbol itself is a living force, an idea and presence beyond humanity. Which is of course total bullshit. Humankind scrawled all these symbols, all of them, every one. Someone somewhere possessed the graphical genius to come up with and differentiate between MEN’S ROOM and WOMEN’S ROOM, someone somewhere designed flags for countries, symbols for computers, brands for corporations. People made these symbols, not the other way around; symbols do not dictate our thoughts and actions.

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This is beyond obvious, but it needs to be said: the confederate flag didn’t inspire Dylan Storm Roof AKA sociopathic asshole to walk into a church and blow away 9 people during a fucking prayer meeting. If he didn’t have the confederate flag to identify with, why, he would have found another symbol: maybe a burning cross, or a severed goat’s head, or some bullshit drawing he scrawled on his napkin. It doesn’t matter. The hate started in his heart, not in a flag. Any flag. Any symbol. Any word.

Taking down the confederate flag on Friday morning will accomplish absolute zilch, save fuel the fires of mind-cracked racists who will breathe deep and check their ammo.

I’m something of an optimist. I still want to believe that human beings are capable of looking beyond the simple scrawl of a symbol and look instead to their own hearts—even their own hate. The biggest racist asshole in the world is still worth more to me than a graphic I could redesign in thirty seconds. They, us, WE are worth so much more than a fucking symbol.

Because we should be capable of clicking past a symbol, a flag, and move on.

†  †  †

RECENT FILMS: Next time.

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In Honor of EIJI TSUBURAYA’S 114TH BIRTHDAY: MOTHRA METAL!

Also, Google’s in on it, too…

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Antonin Dvorak – New World Symphony 4th Movement

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