Comixology

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Here’s some stuff I’ve harvested from around the web of late:

The Nerdist Podcast put out a couple of interesting/fun interviews that caught my ear: Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy, talking about the comics and the movies; David J. Peterson, language guy, talking about inventing languages (including for Game of Thrones) and various real-language stuff.

Rio 2 has been all over cinema screens around the world lately. Here’s the real parrot it’s based on, Spix’s macaw:

Very pretty, no? Really quite beautiful in fact, if you ask me. But not as widespread as Rio 2, that parrot. In fact, it’s extinct in the wild as far as anyone can tell. Has been for some time. Good job, humanity. (And yes, I know the whole extinct in the wild thing is kind of a central plot point in the movies, but I still find the whole ‘let’s make fun movies and a bajillion dollars based on this’ thing a bit weird, even if it’s sort of well-intentioned.)

Amazon took over Comixology, the biggest purveyor of digital comics, to absolutely nobody’s surprise. I can’t begin to tell you how despondent the big river’s acquisition avalanche makes me. They’re a fine and clever company, I know; I use their excellent services now and again. But it’s in precisely no-one‘s long-term interest (except their own, of course) the way they’re hoovering up competitors and add-ons that incrementally turn them into a leviathan of truly leviathanic proportions. If you want to buy books online, take a look at Wordery. Good prices, good service, free delivery worldwide.

Talking of comics, I thought I’d take a moment to point out my favourite comic produced by IDW Publishing, the good folks who put out the Rogue Trooper comic what I have been writting. Locke & Key is an inspired, beautifully crafted and beautifully illustrated dark fantasy/horror comic from Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. Complex and intriguing, it’s loaded with terrific character writing, clever world-building and eye-popping set-piece action. Give it a try (at Wordery, of course).

And here’s one of my favourite blogs, which I don’t believe I’ve mentioned here before: Abandoned Scotland. An exploration of ruined, forgotten, derelict Scotland that’s kind of hynoptically fascinating if you ask me. Stuff that’s hidden in plain sight, overlooked and disregarded, comes alive when you pay close attention to it. Investigate it. The most grungy and crumbly places and buildings become kind of beautiful. The Abandoned Scotland YouTube channel is a goldmine of strange discoveries. Don’t suppose this is exactly how the Scottish Tourist Board wants the world to see Scotland, but as a resident it’s all simultaneously familiar and surprising. Great stuff.

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A round-up of comics-related stuff that’s on my ‘should mention on blog’ list.

First up, for those of you with the kit/inclination to read comics digitally, there’s a stupendously good sale on (for another couple of days) at Comixology, where a whole heap of stuff from the publisher Top Shelf is at up to 60% off.  Top Shelf is a high quality publisher of diverse, smart comics, with not a superhero in sight (except as parody, I suspect).

Me, I snagged myself digital copies of Infinite Kung Fu and The Underwater Welder.  You, if you were so inclined and have not yet sampled their delights, could try From Hell, Far Arden, Essex County, SuperSpy (all better than good imho) or any of the other great books too numerous to mention lurking in the sale listing.

Second up, quite a while back now, top comics blog The Beat ran a 24hrs of webcomics thing, churning out links to heaps of comics that are just a click of a mouse away from your eyeballs.  There’s a whole load of great stuff in there, worth having a browse through when you’ve got a few minutes (hours?) to kill.

Third up, I am still doing some comics talk over at SF Signal, in my Words and Pictures column there.  Since last mentioning it here, I think I’ve talked about:

Prophet, the most wonderfullest, crazy, 70s-ish sf comic you ever saw, anywhere.  Probably.

Daredevil, in three different incarnations; my favourite superhero, I confess, and one who’s been blessed with some very good writers and artists over the years.

Revival and The New Deadwardians, two recent ‘zombie’ comics that do interesting and entertaining things with a rather over-exploited sub-genre, and manage to come up with something fresh.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, the original manga not the movie, which is a fascinating, multi-layered sf epic loaded with ambition and imagination (and cool aircraft dog-fighting with one another).

And fourth and last up, I’ll just mention again, for anyone who missed it last time around, that Forbidden Planet International were kind enough to inflict their Desert Island Comics feature upon me, and I duly came up with a selection of eight comics (plus one luxury) that I’d take with me to a desert island.

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