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GRAPHIC READING: Summer 2014 HORROR REVIEW

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From the flat circle of Louisiana, where the psychosphere tastes of ash and aluminum, where we fight back against invisible phantoms, armless chairs and biological sanctity, this is the crooked yellow claw of Screen Door Revolution for the 1st of July, 2014. Today we’ll be taking a look at a trio of recent horror releases, including a couple of potentially ground-breaking titles, plus a returning U.K. indie favorite, and we’ll finish things off with a cross-country killing spree. Please join us, mes petits…
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BY CHANCE OR PROVIDENCE
bychanceStories By Becky Cloonan

Collecting three of the creepiest indie comics of the last four years, By Chance Or Providence brings together the trio of WOLVES, THE MIRE, and DEMETER (which we ranked as 2013’s best comic book a few months back). This is a slick little volume of fantasy terror tales as written and illustrated by Becky Cloonan in hardcover format for the first time. While there certainly are ghouls going bump in the night, wolves on the loose, swamp ghouls, and the like, By Chance or Providence eschews singularity through eloquent narrative, alluring composition, and gut-wrenching plot twists. You’ll want to digest Cloonan’s collection one third at a time, as each of the three tales commands the inevitably gut-punched reader to retrace the steps which led them to the dreadful conclusion. The twists are incredible.

The first edition of By Chance or Providence was released as a limited pre-order in May. As of this writing, a few copies can still be had on eBay for cover price. For my U.K. readers, Gosh! has a limited bookplate edition (the key word being “limited,” of course). Get one if you can, you won’t regret it. This is a gorgeous, heart-breaking volume of head-spinning terror tales and perhaps one of the finest comic collections ever self-published.

5 out of 5 stars
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La Belle Dame Sans Merci #2LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI #2 (of 4)

P.M. Buchan and Karen Yumi Lusted

Full disclosure: Issue Two of La Belle Dame Sans Merci features one of my pull quotes on the back cover in the “praise for Issue One” section from our March 2013 review.

Issue two continues with non-stop nihilistic demonic mayhem from cover to cover, as P.M. Buchan’s femme fatale unravels like a cackling witch and readers are taken along for a psychotic ride with a ritualistic child killer. Picking up from the horrific chain of events of the first chapter, La Belle Dame Sans Merci #2 deals with a number of bleak themes which demand the reader to immerse themselves in some fairly dark territory. Karen Yumi Lusted’s visuals keep things moving at a breezy pace, bringing a sense of minimalist precision to every panel.

Issue 3 promises to bring further Hellish mayhem to earth, but it’s not due out until early 2015, so new readers certainly have a chance to catch up on Buchan’s morality-bending psychodrama in the meantime. Start with Issue one, which is  still in print or available for download here.

4 out of 5 stars
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Read more from P.M. Buchan in the pages of Starburst Magazine.

 

THROUGH THE WOODS
Stories by Emily Carroll

Years in the making, July finally sees the release of Through the Woods, the long-awaited debut collection from creator Emily Carroll. Carroll has been around on the web for years, but she’s only made a handful of appearances on the printed page (notably in the pages of Creepy Comics #9, published by Dark Horse Comics two summers ago). 2013 saw the debut of Out of Skin, which we named as one of last year’s best graphic reads. To date, Carroll’s print appearances have been scarce, in part because of the web-centric nature of work. Most of Carroll’s best web comics – including His Face All Red and particularly Margot’s Room – contain interactive layout elements that render them somewhat untranslatable to the traditional printed page and thus may remain as web-exclusive creations forever. Carroll knocks down those barriers with Through The Woods, which includes one of the most haunting renditions of “Little Red Riding Hood” ever composed. Take a look at the preview art (pictured below). It’s absolutely the stuff of nightmares. Through The Woods: Stories by Emily Carroll goes on sale in the U.S. the week of July 14th. Forbidden Planet UK has an extended look right here.
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throughthewoods

 

robinsonsacoustic-
Meanwhile, in New Orleans….

Nola-Nashville acoustic punk transient serial killer Mike Patton is coming home and the body count is on the rise!

Perhaps best known in New Orleans for his years spent in The Robinsons and the Sally Stitches, Patton is also the co-creator of Body Count, a horror podcast and ‘zine, as well as the author of the slasher novella, The Horror Movie Society (2013).

Patton’s most recent record, The Robinsons’ Party at Nebulon II, was released in June via Chicago’s Mooster Records and is available for FREE at this link (select BUY NOW and enter ‘0’ at checkout).

Brian Wilson or Joey Ramone? Whose ghastly skinmask will Patton don next? Come to these shows and find out…

July 1st. 2014. at Java Werks in Hattiesburg, MS. Showtime is 6:30pm. This is an ALL AGES show.

July 3rd. 2014. at Counter Culture in Slidell, LA with 35PSI, Chris Billiot, and The Parish Takes Over. Showtime is 5pm. This is an ALL AGES show.

July 5th. 2014. at the Circle Bar in New Orleans with Richard Bates. Showtime is 8pm.

July 6th. 2014 at Buffa’s in New Orleans with Richard Bates. Showtime is 8pm.

Click here to view a full-size/ high-res tour flyer.

For more info on these and other events happening around the greater New Orleans area, be sure to check out the event calendar over at NOLA-DIY.org.

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Next time on Screen Door Revolution: SDR is taking a short break. Think of it as of an artistic sabbatical!

I’ve taken on a highly-involved project that will dominate most of my free time for the rest of the summer and likely through September. I’ve spent a lot of time writing about other people’s art for the last couple of years, so I’m looking forward to getting back to creating some of my own. I wish that I could say more, but I can’t just yet. More to come in a few months…
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- B.rett.

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Life In A Jar – Notes From New Orleans, June 2014.

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And so it came to be that Brett returned to New Orleans and went to live in a large jar near the marketplace.

He declared himself to be a cosmopolitan and took to the debasement of currency!

“Fools!” he shouted to the northern night sky, straight on towards the opulent shores of Mandeville. “Your money is inconsequential, do you hear me? IN-CON-SE-QUEN-TIAL!”

He knew they could hear him, from behind the fences of their private gated communities, beyond the soft, sanitary hum of their liposuction spas, dreaming their dreams of killing the poor with their unethical Lexuses.

He begged for a living and made a virtue of his poverty!

He lived doggedly and was known for his great and bizarre philosophical stunts. He was often seen carrying a lantern during the daytime and claimed to be searching for an honest person, of which none could be found!

And lo, he found himself tormented by troubadours, day after mortifying day!

O such was the curse of his years to have lived at a time of hipsters!
(SEE: Waterhouse illustration, right).

He decreed that, when the day arrived that he would die, that he should be taken outside of the city’s levees and fed to wild animals, to the wolves and alligators, to the terrible marmosets and skunk apes, to the swamp children!

And so he was torn limb from limb upon his grizzly final resting place by vicious wolves and unwashed swamp children, all gnawing and chomping upon his last vestiges!

But in that moment, he did not care, for in death, there is no awareness, and lacking awareness, he knew he was free forevermore from the vapid torment of the troubadours, circus clowns, and mimes of all terrible shapes and sizes. In the slumber of eternal rest, there are no invisible prisons.
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Elsewhere in the Impossible Colossal Phantasmosphere…
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PEARSPEARS, whom we last visited in March, are preparing for the release of their debut recording, Pears Go To Prison. It’s a timeless tale of redemption that begins within the walls of Shawshank State Penitentiary and ends on the crystal blue shores of Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Will Pears drummer John Bougeois find redemption for a crime which he did not commit? Or will prison life leave him run down and broken, like an old,  worn out rock hammer?

Pears Go To Prison is due out June 24th, 2014, with the official release show set for Siberia, located at 2227 St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans, with orgcore legends A Wilhelm Scream and Red City Radio headlining. New Orleans hardcore band Wishful Thinking is also slated to perform. Tickets are $10 in advance/ $12 day of show. Full details and ticket pre-purchase info can be found right here.
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ALSO!

silentgameflyerNew Orleans’ indie-punks THE SILENT GAME, now a decade into their existence, have been hard at work on their latest full length effort, with the album currently in the mixing stages according to The Silent Game’s Brad Duvernet.

No release date for the new album has yet been confirmed, but The Silent Game have an all ages show coming up this week.

Look for The Silent Game to perform in New Orleans on Thursday, June 12th at The Beatnik, located at 1638 Clio Street, along with You Blew It! and Phargo.

Door time is 7pm. Showtime is 7:30. Admission is $10. More info is available right here.
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antigrav10yearAND FINALLY!

For those of you within reasonable proximity to Orleans and Jefferson Parishes, Antigravity Magazine‘s 10th Anniversary issue is hitting the streets right now.

I previously wrote for Antigravity from 2008-2010, and they were kind enough to invite me back to participate in their anniversary feature, so I have penned a brief writ of retrospect, as told from the gritty perspective of a broken down scumbag journalist-turned grizzled, unhinged drifter. It’s a chronicle of nihilistic dreams that you’ll want to share with your whole family!

Pick up a free copy of Antigravity Magazine around Orleans or Jefferson Parishes. Look for it where you find The Gambit (PJ’s Coffee, Guitar Center, Molly’s At The Market, Dragon’s Den, Hi-Ho, One Eyed Jack’s, Crescent City Comics, BSI Comics, Peaches Records, The Mushroom, Juan’s Flying Burrito, and on, and on, and on). 

For those of you outside of New Orleans area, a PDF version of the print edition is available via this link.
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- B.rett.

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Next time on Screen Door Revolution: Something terrible is happening…

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We Are All Failed Pioneers.

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Journey to the End of the Night

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“Maybe our colonel knew why they were shooting, maybe the Germans knew, but I, so help me, hadn’t the vaguest idea. As far back as I could search my memory, I hadn’t done a thing to the Germans, I’d always treated them friendly and polite. I knew the Germans pretty well, I’d even gone to school in their country when I was little, near Hanover. I’d spoken their language. A bunch of loudmouthed little halfwits, that’s what they were, with pale, furtive eyes like wolves; we’d go out to the woods together after school to feel the girls up, or we’d fire popguns or pistols you could buy for four marks. And we drank sugary beer together. But from that to shooting at us right in the middle of the road, without so much as a word of introduction, was a long way, a very long way. If you asked me, they were going too far. This war, in fact, made no sense at all. It couldn’t go on. Had something weird got into these people? Something I didn’t feel at all? I suppose I hadn’t noticed it.” – Bardamu enters The Great War, from Journey to the End of the Night (Céline). 5 out of 5 stars.

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Since last we shpoke, we have pulled anchor and turned wagons east, forded the mighty Snake River (twice) and followed the Rockies across the Martian landscape of Utah, into the wasteland, into the dreadful dust bowl, into days of horror crossing the desolate Texas borderlands. I said goodbye to moldy old Portland and to my life of adventure in the Columbia River Gorge, and drove all the way back to the sinking city of New Orleans, where I was relieved to find the water remains as brown and toxic as it was when I left so many months ago. I went down the bayou and found the meanest old witch I knew, who was into some strange, freaky voodoo. I can’t scarcely mention what I had to do, but she took me to a crossroads in the swamp where we made an offering to some ugly ghouls in exchange for a horrible hex upon my enemies. The full and terrible cost may never be tallied. Afterwards, I went out for a malt, just to lighten things up.

We have returned to be embedded in the piney forests of southeast Louisiana, from Mandeville, blessed be thy eternal road construction, with your bountiful wealth of plastic surgery and cornucopia of fast food options, to Covington, home of the world’s largest Ronald Reagan statue. In my absence, a new Taco Bell has been erected. Possibly in my honor. Very possibly. The home-schooled neighbor children were called indoors at the sight of my presence. “Why has the drunken philosopher returned?” were their cries as their mother hurried them away as my shadow approached. I cackled haughtily and filled their mailbox with my own unwanted junk mail.

This is just the beginning…

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- Brett.
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Unchained Melody, Everlasting Love: The Story of PEARS

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From Northeast Portland and back to New Orleans again, this is Screen Door Revolution for Monday, Lundi Gras, March 3rd. 2014.

Punk Rock Mardi Gras 2014

Right: Off With Their Heads headline Siberia’s Punk Rock Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 04. 2014. Featuring Minneapolis’ The Slow Death, New Orleans’ I’m Fine, and the debut of PEARS.

Off With Their Heads are making their way back to the Crescent City just in time for Mardi Gras, the scummiest holiday of all, where success is measured in raw tons of raw garbage, sewage and humanity. OWTH scored big with 2013’s Home, which I’d rank unofficially as the year’s best pop punk album and the band’s best since 2006’s Hospitals. If you’ve never seen Off With Their Heads, they arrive heavily recommended. No one in punk rock right now writes better snarly sad bastard songs than Ryan Young. Prepare to laugh and cry while you thrash.

And I see they’ve brought The Slow Death with them, owners of one of 2011’s best releases, Born Ugly Got Worse. The Slow Death starred in their own Mitch Clem comic, which qualifies them with +1000 scene points.

New Orleans I’m Fine, featuring remnants of Further Reasoning and Killin’ Werewolves, returns after a short break. They sound more like The Lawerence Arms than Hot Water Music. Don’t believe the hype.

Debuting at Siberia’s decadent punk rock shindig are PEARS, a rejigged version of Zach Quinn’s Lollies, now featuring John Bourgeois of Fatter Than Albert fame on drums.

We spoke with Bourgeois last week, who had this to say about PEARS’ imminent debut:

“It’s definitely the hardest and most-kick drum demanding punk rock I’ve played since The Critics/Fatter Than Albert days. We have about six tunes finalized with about three more we are working on… Might I add that it’s some of the most intricate and well-written punk rock I’ve ever been a part of.”

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Bourgeois currently splits his drumming time between PEARS and The Breton Sound.

PEARS recently released their first video, featuring the song “Forever Sad.”

Content Advisory: “Forever Sad” opens with some explicit language from Brian Pretus (he of such groups as The Rooks and also The Breton Sound). Following that initial barrage of F- and S-bombs, there’s a pretty exceptional punk song featuring some of the most notable New Orleans-grown punk performers of the last ten years.

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PEARS also produced this terrifying video flyer for the event. Better than “Thriller,” but not quite as good as LEGO Thriller.

Showtime is 4pm, after the final child molester truck parades have rolled.

Bring 8 bucks or pass out on the sidewalk.

Follow PEARS on Facebook right here.
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- B.rett.
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Next time on Screen Door Revolution: Midnight to six, for the last time from Portland.
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-Nex

There’s a War Outside Still Raging, You Say It Ain’t Ours Anymore to Win

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From slippery Northeast Portland, where it is our solemn duty to banish grime to the land of wind and ghosts with  awesome cleaning power, this is Screen Door Revolution for the 21st of February 2014. Breathe deeply, dear reader. There’s plenty of ammonia to go around…
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Above
: The English-dub trailer for what may be director Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, The Wind Rises. The film opens in limited U.S. release on February 21, with a wider release scheduled for February 28. 2014.

With Miyazaki’s alleged final film hitting U.S. theaters this week, everyone from NPR to The New Yorker to Variety, The L.A. Times, Paste, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The Village Voice, and on and on are lining up to shower praise on the venerable Japanese director in light of his recent retirement from animation. I say “alleged” because the 73-year-old Miyazaki-  whose works include My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Princess Mononoke (1997), and Spirited Away (2001) – has announced his “retirement” on several occasions dating back to the 1990s. For Miyazaki, retired life in 2014 means cantankerously complaining about young people, smoking endless cigarettes, and drawing infinite samurai manga until death. And he seems well-suited to do just that. Just before turning 60, Miyazaki personally worked on something like 80,000 individual animation cells for Spirited Away until he was satisfied. That’ll show those whippersnappers in the animation sweat shop how to put in a good day’s work. Eighty-thousand!

The Wind Rises is a heavily-embellished historical fantasy which follows the life of Jiro Horikoshi. As a young man, Horikoshi dreams of becoming an aviator, but is unable to realize his goal due to poor eye-sight. Instead, Horikoshi grows up to become an industrial engineer, eventually helping to develop the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, the “zero fighter,” Imperial Japan’s infamous World War II-era kamikaze fighter planes.

The Wind Rises (2013)The original story upon which The Wind Rises is based deals mostly with a young woman confined to a tuberculosis sanitorium who uses art as a means to deal with her ailments. The same character appears in the film, as Horikoshi’s ailing love, but is no longer the central focus of the story. Instead, Miyazaki’s long-standing interest in aviation takes center stage, which isn’t such a surprise, I suppose. Some of the director’s earlier aviation-themed works include the fighter-pilot drama Porco Rosso (1992), as well as various futuristic flight innovations depicted in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984).

Miyazaki is widely regarded as “Japan’s Walt Disney” and I tend to agree that he has made some of the best animated features since Walt Disney’s death. If The Wind Rises truly is Miyazaki’s final directorial effort, this is your last chance to experience a first-run Miyazaki film in its intended full visual glory on the big screen. So far, Portland theater-goers may have to trek outside PDX city limits towards Tigard or Vancouver (Wa.) to catch a first-run showing of The Wind Rises. However, since this is Portland, where the dream of the 90s is alive, there’s a good chance that The Wind Rises will eventually find its way to one of East Portland’s many venerable beer theaters. Life in the promised land, it is so beautiful.

The Wind Rises
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Newbian Miyazaki fans should look into Spirited Away, which is largely regarded as the director’s finest work. It’s a bit like Alice in Wonderland and absolutely weirder than anything Walt Disney ever imagined on film. Spirited Away is generally considered appropriate for all ages, but viewers seeking something that skews slightly older should check out Princess Mononoke, which is heavy on action and remarkably post-feminist. Also from the larger Studio Ghibli catalog, there’s 1995’s Whisper of The Heart, the only film directed by the late Yoshifumi Kondo, who was revered as “the next Miyazaki” before he worked himself into an early grave. Scripted by Miyazaki, the film was never released theatrically, but bears mentioning as perhaps the greatest after-school special ever created.

Stuido Ghibli’s next planned animated feature is Memories of Marnie (alternately: “When Marnie Was There”) due out in Japan this summer, with plans for a worldwide release yet to be announced.

- B.rett.
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Winter in the Soot and Grime District

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From deep underground in the cold, cold ground of Portland, to the chilly streets of New Orleans where love (and possibly wolves) will tear you apart, this is Screen Door Revolution for the amorous Friday the 14th of February 2014. Let’s share a whole human heart, dipped in rich, unethical milk chocolate.

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Above
: In our never-ending quest to bring uncanny performance art from across the world to you, dear reader, we return to New Orleans yet again…  Yes, Ma’am perform “The Weight of the World” on Royal Street in New Orleans, January 29. 2014. They have kind of an old-timey rock n’roll meets gypsy street urchin vibe going on. They travel with wolves, washboards, and neon fiddlesticks. The second clip (below) features the band performing on what appears to be either Royal (or possibly Frenchmen Street) on Halloween, October 31. 2013.  I’ve been away from New Orleans for too long, I think. My olde eyes can’t tell the difference between Royal and Frenchmen anymore. Download Yes, Ma’am’s 2012 release, Stirrin’ da Mudd, on Bandcamp. Follow Yes, Ma’am on Facebook right here.
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Incidentally, Frenchmen Street has long been the heart of the New Orleans soot and grime district, where crusted snowbirds flock to the warmer climes of the Isle of Orleans, often finding work as coal-covered chimney sweeps, or worse, horrid troubadours, mimes, and jugglers of all sorts. If you’ve got a song in your heart and a knife in your pocket, the French Quarter offers many gutters in which to gracefully rest your weary head while choking down/ coughing up one last PBR.

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Elsewhere in The Big Smoothie

Vernon Smith at Wizard World NOLA 2014

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Above
: Hide! and Dexter Breakfast creator Vernon Smith commandeers the Media Underground Comics booth at last week’s Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con. We spoke with Vernon back in late 2012 when Hide! was just Kickstarting. Smith is currently in the early stages of illustrating a children’s book. Check out one of the highlights from Smith’s select Wizard World prints, featuring Princess Leia and Captain Kirk. I really like the one where he reads the Constitution after ending all the fighting in the future revolution. William. Shatner.

- B.rett.
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NEXT TIME on Screen Door Revolution: The plague of migrant troubadours continues. Is there no end to the maddening jingle-jangling of their tiny ankle bells?!
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Written by b.rett.

February 14, 2014 at 7:03 am

Alcoholic Clown Seeks Suicidal Ballerina

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From snow-covered Portland, where we find ourselves barricaded underground with a furious space-heater and the morose warmth of NPR, this is Screen Door Revolution for the frigid 7th of February, 2014.

Fables #140
Above: Nimit Malavia‘s wonderful cover art for Fables #140 (DC/Vertigo). Click here for a look at the full illustration.
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Hello again, dear reader. We’re writing to you today from six feet under with an additional 4+ inches of snowfall and counting. The streets of Portland, now virtually-impassible by foot, have fallen to the law of roving bands of wolves and hipsters with enough trust fund padding to afford urban ski equipment. We’ve already gone a day without pizza and I can’t imagine conditions improving as the weekend looms. It’s time to talk seriously about eating people.

Since last time
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Calvin & HobbesCALVIN & HOBBES CREATOR BILL WATTERSON has been awarded Angouleme‘s Grand Prix, one of the comic strip world’s highest honors. According to Heidi MacDonald at The Comics Beat, Universal Press Syndicate (Watterson’s publisher) will try to persuade the reclusive artist to attend Angouleme 2015, where he would serve as president and grand high warlock of festivities. Watterson is best known for creating Calvin & Hobbes, whose ten year run from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s stands as one of the last great daily comic strip runs of the 20th century. Watterson quit in 1996 and has not created any new comics since then, nor has he ever allowed his creations to be heavily merchandised beyond mass market print collections. Notoriously reclusive, Watterson has in the past refused to be photographed and refuses to sign autographs for fans, and now he’s been roped into potentially hosting the world’s second-largest comic con. As of this writing, five days since the Grand Prix announcement, Watterson has not publicly responded.
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LimelightCHARLIE CHAPLIN has a novel coming out. Yes, from beyond the grave. Before Chaplin produced and starred in the 1952 film Limelight, he first composed the film’s plot in the form of a novella. Footlights, which Chaplin never completed and was pieced together from several drafts in the years since his death, is the story of an alcoholic clown who falls in love with a suicidal ballerina. The Guardian notes that Limelight, which co-starred Claire Bloom, was the last time Chaplin appeared in American film, as he was branded a Communist during the Red Scare and lived abroad until his death in 1977. He must have never considered Portland…
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Alone ForeverLIZ PRINCE wants to be your belated, awkward Valentine. ALONE FOREVER: The Singles Collection arrives on February 18th, four days too late to ever know the meaning of true love. At least you still have your cats. With an eye on eros, self-loathing and alienation, Alone Forever promises cold comedic comfort for jaded romantic hearts in an era of empty hook-up culture and OkCupid. Fans of similarly punk rock-minded indie creators Mitch Clem and Ben Snakepit should seek out a copy. Judging by the preview pages alone, Alone Forever looks to be Prince’s best work to date and a shoe-in to be one of February’s best funny books. Human contact is so over-rated. [Top Shelf Productions/ 104 pgs]
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RYAN KELLY sketches out my favorite spy film. And a mayonnaise jar, here, following last week’s Life Cereal pin-up. Life Cereal and I dated once, as I recall. It didn’t go well. She was a bowl of flakes and I’ve been alone forever ever since. Go figure. We recently selected Kelly’s web series, Cocotte, as one of our favorite graphic reads of 2013. For more from Ryan Kelly, get all the fun right here.
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Propagandhi

HELLGATE INDUSTRIES debuted the official poster for  Propagandhi‘s upcoming winter tour (pictured: right), which begins on February 19th in Seattle. The tour finds the legendary Manitoba anarcho thrash punks stopping in Portland on Thursday, February 20th at the Hawthorne Theater, one night before the venue is slated to host the Lawrence Arms. Too bad I spent all my trust fund money on ironic skis. At least there are still people out there to eat.

And finally…
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FROM THE WIDE AND ROTTEN WORLD OF SPORTS…  Much has been made of the alleged conditions in Sochi, Russia, where heating units install you, or whatever. Leave it to Canada to remind us spoiled Americans (most of all, our rotten, whining  press corps) that it was the U.S., not Russia, who staged the first-ever nightmare Winter Olympics from Hell. The year was 1980. Lake Placid was not yet infested with man-eating reptiles. It was a simpler, yet by-no-means less cruel time. Read the full retrospective here, via Canada.

- B.rett.

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