MonthDecember 2011

Our Increasingly Ballardian World

“Even Ballard didn’t go as far as describing consumer riots over 2$ waffle makers at Wal-Mart” – Ashley Benigno

This most recent Thanksgiving weekend was violent even by Black Friday standards, including at least once incident of one shopper using pepper spray on fellow consumers. As Ashley points out, that’s a grimly Ballardian reality. This weekend I’ve come across some other WTF moments that seem like they were lifted directly from a Ballard novel:

 Yongsan Dream Hub New Twin Towers

South Korean Twin Towers Design

DJ crushed in bed in hotel room by taxi cab

Corporate executives gone wild chew threw restraints on airplane

Alan Moore and Will Contribute to Occupy Comics Anthology

Godkiller Occupy Comics Black Flag

Wired reports:

Nearly 30 years after publishing V for Vendetta, writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd are throwing their support behind the global Occupy movement that’s drawn inspiration from their comic’s anti-totalitarian philosophy and iconography.

Moore will contribute a long-form prose piece, possibly with illustrations, to the Occupy Comics project. His writing work will explore the Occupy movement’s principles, corporate control of the comics industry and the superhero paradigm itself.

Lloyd signed onto the growing Occupy Comics project last week, as did Madman’s Mike Allred and American Splendor’s Dean Haspiel. Occupy Comics will eventually sell single-issue comic books and a hardcover compilation, but an innovative arrangement with Kickstarter means that funds raised through pledges of support can be channeled directly to Occupy Wall Street’s populist ranks now.

Wired: V for Vendetta’s Alan Moore, David Lloyd Join Occupy Comics

You can check out the Occupy Comics website and the project’s Kickstarter for more details including a full list of contributors.

See also:

Moore’s takedown of Frank Miller regarding Occupy

Alan Moore on the use of the Guy Fawkes mask in Occupy protests

Invisible Babies = Codename: Kids Next Door

Codename Kids Next Door = The Invisibles

Danny Chaoflux on the similarities between The Invisibles by Grant Morrison and the Cartoon Network show Codename: Kids Next Door.

1: The leader, bald, wears shades, really into spy stuff.

2: Inventor/Shaman, always cracks jokes, “the weird one”, overweight [ie: Future Fanny].

3: Shes nuts.

4: Street thug with thick accent and hoodie.

5: Cool headed, laid back tomboy, specialty is stealth and investigation.

Theme : Worldwide loose knit cells operate in secret to protect and encourage freedom from tyranny.

The Antagonists : ‘The Old Gods’ and their lesser manifestations.

This has been brought up a number of places on the internet, but I wanted to shop an image to go along with it paired with a breakdown.

Sure you could say its a blatant rip off, but I think its more interesting to think of it as a starter set of key memes.

Stop Making Sense: Invisible Babies = Codename: Kids Next Door

Official Codename: Kids Next Door website.

Creators Are Caught in the Cross-Fire Between Publishers and Comic Shops

Demo by Brian Wood

Brian Wood, of Channel Zero and DMZ fame:

Everyone I know loves comic shops. Everyone I know who makes comics, especially creator-owned comics, is hurting, financially. EVERYONE is bleeding, its a bad time. So to what extent does digital as a publishing format represent an additional revenue stream, one on top of print sales through shops, one that can ease some of the suffering? […]

Over the last few days Dark Horse was compelled to clarify what their digital plan was, in terms of pricing, correcting the perception that their comics would be sold digitally at 1.99, much less than the print versions. I have access to the CBIA, a retailers forum, and the pushback was intense, and included overt threats of drastically lowered orders and even total boycotts of the line. Did I mention everyone is bleeding? I get the frustration. […]

Not sure if this plan is scrapped or not, but I am not the boogeyman here, and when I see these boycott threats, still being issued even after Dark Horse clarified their plans… well, its hard not to feel like an innocent bystander, a bit of collateral damage. My new books at risk even before they launch. Christ, I’m just trying to make it all work out for everyone.

Brian Wood: The digital question mark

Alejandro Jodorowsky Leads Group Psychomagic Ritual for Casualties of the War on Drugs

Psychomagic

Alejandro Jodorowsky made a rare public appearance in Mexico City to lead a group psychomagic ritual with over 3,000 participants:

It was billed as “the first act of collective psycho-magic in Mexico.”

The call made by the cult mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky said the event would seek to “heal” the country of the cosmic weight of so many dead in the drug war, by gathering for something he called the March of the Skulls.

On Sunday, on a wet and frigid morning in this mountain capital, hundreds of Jodorowsky fans answered the open convocation (video link in Spanish).

They donned black top hats and black shawls, and carried canes and Mexican flags colored in black. They wore calavera face paint or masks to give themselves the look of stylish skeletons gathered in this often-surreal city in the name of Mexico’s tens of thousands of sometimes nameless drug war dead.

LA Times Blog: Cult mystic holds ‘march of skulls’ for Mexico’s drug war dead

Update: You can find a collection of links to more pictures here.

(Thanks Trevor!)

Astronomers Find Earth-like Planet 600 Light Years Away

The BBC reports:

The planet lies about 15% closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun
Astronomers have confirmed the existence of an Earth-like planet in the “habitable zone” around a star not unlike our own.

The planet, Kepler 22-b, lies about 600 light-years away and is about 2.4 times the size of Earth, and has a temperature of about 22C.

It is the closest confirmed planet yet to one like ours – an “Earth 2.0”.

However, the team does not yet know if Kepler 22-b is made mostly of rock, gas or liquid.

BBC: Kepler 22-b: Earth-like planet confirmed

Peter Jackson, Damien Echols Complete New West Memphis Three Documentary

West Memphis Three

Lord of the Rings and Bad Taste director Peter Jackson has completed a documentary on the West Memphis Three with several collaborators:

Longtime West Memphis Three supporter Peter Jackson has announced the completion of a new documentary, “West of Memphis,” about the fight to prevent the trio from being executed by the state of Arkansas.

Collaborating with Jackson and his partner, Fran Walsh, were Damien Echols and his wife, Lorri Davis, as producers. The documentary was directed by Amy Berg (“Deliver Us From Evil”). The executive producer is Jackson’s longtime manager, Ken Kamins, who is repping the film’s sales.

Indie Wire: Memphis Three Doc, Produced by Damien Echols

Some Newer Art by Joel-Peter Witkin

Here’s a gallery of work by Joel Peter Witkin, including a lot relatively new (many pieces from the 00s) that I had not seen before:

Face of a Woman (2004) Joel-Peter Witkin

Edelman Gallery: Joel-Peter Witkin (NSFW)

(Thanks Ashley)

See also: Joel-Peter Witkin: Tribute to a Genius

If Witkin’s work looks familiar, it’s because it served as the inspiration for the video for Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer.” Here’s a comparison of some of the elements from the NIN video and photos by Witkin (also NSFW):

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