November 10, 2010
This is a panel from the beginning of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2 by Grant Morrison (art by Frazer Irving). This mini-series, the final issue of which came out today, follows a time-displaced Bruce Wayne as he claws his way back to the present day, experiencing various time periods along the way. This Lovcraftin mass of incandescent tentacles is a (the?) Hyper-Fauna, an interdimensional beastie that appears to be connected to the Ancestor Box, an alien device used by Darkseid (a major supervillain, basically the god of evil) to send Batman back in time, rewrite his continuity, and turn him into a living weapon that will destroy the universe on his return…or something like that?
Honestly, that’s where I get kind of hazy on the whole thing. The Return of Bruce Wayne is the culmination of Morrison’s epic run on various Batman titles, a sprawling web of stories that are densely packed with layers upon layers of references to the Caped Crusader’s entire 71 year history. So, as you might imagine, it’s a tad hard to follow at times. That being said, it’s totally worth the extra effort needed to drill down into it all. For anyone willing to take the plunge, I recommend checking out these annotations. And these.
August 21, 2010
Yesterday marked the 120th anniversary of the birth of H.P. Lovecraft, creator of the Cthulhu Mythos. I’ve been working my way through the collected stories of Lovecraft all summer, and you can hear some of my thoughts about them on the Random Signal Droidcast, Episode 004: Lovin’ Lovecraft. Also, in case you missed it, be sure to check out last year’s Cthulhu Week.
July 21, 2010
“In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”
-H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
This is Jacen Burrows’ wrap cover for Neonomicon #1. Written by Alan Moore and published by Avatar Press, this tale of modern Lovecraftian horror is the sequel to Moore’s earlier series The Courtyard. I think this book came out today, but I haven’t been getting out the comic shop as regularly as usual these days, so I could be wrong. Despite the amazing Cthulhu-licious cover, I didn’t pick it up today because I had a crap load of back issues waiting for me in my subscription folder. I’ll keep my eye out for the trade paperback compilation of the series, however.
Avatar Press is an independent American comics company that was, for many years, best known for publishing so-called “Bad Girl” comics. However, they’ve currently expanded their scope to include creator-owned titles by some of the biggest names in the field: Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Frank Miller, and, of course, Alan Moore. Find out more at AvatarPress.com.
Seriously, Alan Moore and Cthulhu..what else could you ask for in a comic?
Now for something completely different…
Also sighted today at Chapel Hill Comics, this giant plush octopus! I didn’t see a price or manufacturer on it, but it was at least two feet across and ridiculously soft. I’d like to imagine that Alan Moore snuggles up to one just like it when he’s writing his squelchy tales of cosmic horror.
June 16, 2010
Speaking of podcasts…the newest episode of Skeptic Magazine’s Monster Talk podcast is out, and it’s all about the mythos and monsters of H.P. Lovecraft. In the show, Lovecraft scholar Robert M. Price discusses the life, works, and cultural impact of the master of cosmic horror. Additionally, biologist PZ Myers (of the Pharyngula blog) talks about the biology of cephalopods and how they served as the inspiration for Lovecraft’s most famous creation. (Spoiler Alert: it’s Cthulhu.)
The episode is a little over 1 hour long, and I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet. Of course, I have quite a bit of extra time on my hands these days (in theory at least), so I’m sure I can block out some time for one of my favorite topics!
You can download the episode (June 16, show 019) and read the show notes here.
Monster Talk is a skeptical look at the creatures of cryptozoology and folklore. Hosts Blake Smith, Ben Radford, and Dr. Karen Stollznow interview scientists and other experts about the science (or lack thereof) behind the word’s legendary beats.
You can subscribe to Monster Talk for free via RSS or iTunes.
June 15, 2010
I first heard about The Kraken™ Black Spiced Rum this past October, and, as you may recall, I shared a trio of viral marketing videos which expounded the mystery and awesomeness of both the booze and its tentacled namesake. Kraken Rum hasn’t made its way to North Carolina liquor stores (yet), but my friends Mur (yes, this Mur) and Jim brought me back a bottle from her recent trip to Maryland!
I really like the the old-fashioned style of the bottle and the cool woodcut-esque label illustrations that look like they could have come out of some old book of maritime legends. (Cthulhu also approves!)
Here are some detail shots of the bottle art work:
We all know that the cephalopd depicted on the bottle is NOT Architheuthis dux, right? OK then, moving on.
So, how does it taste? Pretty damn good, if you ask me. Ryn and I recorded our initial tasting, and thoughts thereon, as part of the newest episode of the Random Signal podcast. You will obviously want to listen to the entire show (hint, hint), but, if you are really short on time, we discuss the rum pretty much right at the half-way point.
Does anyone have any suggestions for clever names/recipes for mixed drinks that include Kraken Rum? So far, we’ve come up with the “Kraken Libre” (= rum + Coke) and the “Stormy Kraken” (= rum + ginger ale), but there have got to be some better ideas out there! Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
If you want to find out more about The Kraken Black Spiced Rum, visit them online at www.krakenrum.com.
December 29, 2009
We had a marvelous Christmas here at ISK headquarters, and if you celebrate I hope you did too! This year was Kid Indie Squid Kid’s first Christmas, and even though he is a little too young to know what was going on, it was still very exciting. Family came to us, so we didn’t have to worry about traveling with the baby, and that turned out to be ideal, because I seem to have the virus and/or secondary bacterial infection that WILL NOT DIE.
It will come as little surprise that there were a number of cephalopods underneath our Christmas tree. Here’s a rundown of all the loot…
- Imaginext 3-Headed Sea Dragon Gift Set
- Imaginext Ocean Squid
- Arkham Horror: Innsmouth Horror Expansion (by Fantasy Flight Games)
- orange googly-eyed plush octopus
- Young Mad Scientist Alphabet Blocks (by Xylocopa from ThinkGeek)
- polymer clay tentacle pendent/ornament (by bunny X productions)
Well, I think that’s it for now. I’ve been unplugged for a week so I got to ease back into things, you know?
December 22, 2009
Today is Cephalopodmas, but there’s too much to do for that other Capital C holiday that’s just around the corner to post much this week.
Have a squelchy Squidmas and a tentacular New Year!
December 9, 2009
North 40 is a mini-series published by Wildstorm (an imprint of DC Comcis) and written by Aaron Williams with art by Fiona Staples. It debuted earlier this year, and the sixth and final issue hit the comic shop shelves last week. I’ll have to admit that I haven’t read this series yet, but I am in love with Fiona Staples’ covers. I definitely intend to pick up the trade paperback once it comes out. (Although at this time no publication date for this has been announced.)
Set in fictitious Conover County, somewhere in the American Midwest, North 40 brings Lovcraftian horror to the heartland. Given that I plan to read the series eventually, I have deliberately avoided reading very many details about the story, but what little I know intrigues me—mysterious characters, terrifying monsters, and, of course, tentacles.
December 7, 2009
Last night’s new episode of The Venture Bros. featured a mystic brawl between The Order of the Triad and great Cthulhu himself.
The Venture Bros. is one of my favorite shows currently on TV. It is part of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim Sunday night line up, and you can more watch clips and (for a limited time, I think) the entire episode, “The Better Man,” over at AdultSwim.com.