messier object


normally i am not wild about TED

but still, I gotta post this:

Continue reading



somebody’s going to emergency
2010, June 17, 12:39 am
Filed under: comics | Tags: , , , ,

You know, I realize I’m stunningly late to the party, but: wouldn’t the map make more sense if you, y’know, erased those parts of Asia that belonged to Russia and China?  Like, ah, the northern parts?  I realize this is Obviously Part Of The Joke Randall (Thinks He) Is Making but I mean come on people let’s be reasonable about cartography here I mean

Ok I’m glad I’m turning this into a video blog where I post youtubes



hello, i’m a robot!

Not only is Hello, I’m a Robot! an adorable, adorable title for an East-Bloc children’s book, the drawings themselves are excellent.  The first one, the robo-duck, and the walking foot all especially remind me of the illustrations for Stanisław Lem’s Cyberiad (supposedly, according to Amazon, by Daniel Mruz, on whom I can find no other information except that he has an entry in a comics encyclopedia somewhere) or Theo Ellsworth’s brilliant Sleeper Car.  And what’s more, it’s (it seems) supposed to be a serious book about how robots work for kids.  Poor Soviet kids, thinking robots have abacuses in their brains and terrifying metal claws to cuddle with.

the evolution of the brain, according to "hello, i'm a robot!"

(via the excellent journey round my skull)



old news, apparently

Image comics presents: the Soviet Syd Mead!

But there’s a Soviet SF manga?  As bizarre as it seems to me to create socialist-inflected science fiction in this day and age*, it’s certainly interesting both as an aesthetic (ushankas for everyone!) and as a stylistic experiment.   I think the fact that it’s comics makes it even more fun, potentially, in the former – there’s certainly enough neatlooking abandoned Soviet futuristic hardware. But I don’t know how far it actually is going to go as a style experiment.  In Subversive Imaginations: Fantastic Prose and the End of Soviet Literature, 1970s-1990s, Nadya Peterson wrote that (and I think I agree) “the Stalinist novel and Soviet science fiction are both formulaic structures whose protagonists ‘know or discover the laws governing their social existence, and the ultimate outcome of those laws in a Great Society of the future.’ Which, if you’re writing a Soviet-style science fiction history of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, leaves you with a pretty depressing Marxist world-system – something that could be cool, but might not be attractive for most authors.  So will it live up to the maxim**?  I dunno, but I just ordered the first volume, so we’ll see.

*and, yes, I’m not counting China Miéville here.

**so, so hard to avoid a Mac Sim/Strugatskys pun.



Jan’s Atomic Heart (АТОМНОЕ СЕРДЦЕ ЯНА)

Jan’s Atomic Heart (АТОМНОЕ СЕРДЦЕ ЯНА)
by Simon Roy
New Reliable Press, 2009

Frankfurt.
Some time in the far-ish future.

For a science fiction graphic novel set in the distant future, the world of Jan’s Atomic Heart seems surprisingly like our own: the moon may be colonized and people may telecommute as robots, but they still jog, go to egg restaurants, and drink lukewarm coffee.  While it obviously takes design cues from classic cyberpunk sequential art like Ghost in the Shell, the world Roy imagines is different from the Gibsonian dystopias of infinite darkness and a neon light flashing in a human face, forever.  It’s not steampunk, or biopunk, or magickpunk, it’s… normalpunk. (Please, kill me now.)  For all technology has changed, it doesn’t seem to have changed Jan, the titular human waiting for a new body after a car crash teleprojecting into an old android, his mysterious friend, Anders, or the society they find themselves living in. Continue reading



am i high, 1940s?

Membership [in Mister Mind’s Monster Society of Evil]:

  • Mr. Mind
  • Archibald, a satyr
  • An army of termites and worms
  • Artificial bodies Mr. Mind could mentally inhabit, consisting of:
    • A Goat-Man, half-man, half-goat
    • A robot, seemingly indestructible
    • An octopus with a human face, constantly grinning
    • A circus strongman, with strength rivalling that of Captain Marvel himself
  • Bonzo, fanged hunchback with large eyes
  • Captain Nazi, superstrong Aryan warrior
  • Crocodile-Men, a race of humanoids from the planetoid Punkus
  • Dobbin, Mr. Mind’s seahorse steed
  • Dome attendants who tend to Mr. Mind’s undersea base, consisting of:
    • A pig-man
    • A goblin
    • A werewolf
    • An ogre
    • A midget submarine captain, the last of Mr. Mind’s minions to leave him
  • Dr. Smashi, short Japanese scientist and one of Mr. Mind’s three lieutenants
  • Dr. Hashi, spiky-haired Japanese scientist
  • Dr. Peeyu, tall Japanese scientist
  • Dr. Sivana, the “world’s wickedest scientist”
  • Evil Eye, monster with the ability to hypnotize
  • Herkimer, Crocodile-Man and Mr. Mind’s second-in-command
  • Herr Phoul, bald Nazi scientist with a monocle and one of Mr. Mind’s three lieutenants
  • Adolf Hitler and all the resources of Nazi Germany
  • Hydra, head-regenerating monster created by Mr. Mind
  • IBAC, criminal who sold his soul for superstrength and durability
  • Jeepers, last of a race of bat-monsters
  • Jorrk, greatest scientist of the Crocodile-Men and one of Mr. Mind’s three lieutenants
  • Marmaduke, criminal with big ears and a fat face
  • Monster Brigade, undersea monsters under Mr. Mind’s command, consisting of:
    • A sperm whale
    • A giant octopus
    • A hammerhead shark
    • A huge sea-serpent
  • Monster Professors, teachers at Mr. Mind’s Monster School, consisting of:
    • A human,
    • A Crocodile-Man,
    • A fanged monster,
    • A humanoid with the head of a hippopotamus
  • Monster Students, pupils at the Monster School, consisting of:
    • Human tough guys
    • Crocodile-Men
    • A black, horned demon
  • Mr. Banjo, criminal and leaker of secrets via coded music from his banjo, played on a popular radio show
  • Benito Mussolini and all the resources of Fascist Italy
  • Nippo, master swordsman and spy for the Japanese
  • Sylvester, Crocodile-Man and one of Mr. Mind’s preferred gunners
  • Synthetic animals created by Mr. Mind, consisting of:
    • Oscar, a giant lobster
    • Oliver, a giant octopus with human hands
    • Ophelius, a huge ram
    • Oliphant, a dragon
  • Hideki Tojo and all the resources of Imperial Japan
  • Tough guys, generic human enforcers of Mr. Mind’s wishes, notable ones include:
    • A tommy-gun wielder
    • A cloaked swordsman
    • A beret-wearer
    • A stereotypical “Goomba”
    • A Gatsby cap-wearer

Keep in mind, of course, that Mister Mind is a two-inch-tall caterpillar.