Happy Xmas – Top of the Solstice Season

It being 8 December 2016, must be time to recall the tragedy of 36 years ago. Around here that generally means pulling out one of my three favourite seasonal songs. It’s called ‘Happy Xmas (War is over)’.

It also must be time to start prefacing my greetings with ‘Top of the Solstice Season’. Which of course might also be Merry Mithramas.

Solstice Season celebrations, image found on web, 2016

Image found on web re various Solstice Season celebrations

John Lennon’s song actually is called Happy Xmas. Which, in turn, bring to mind the attached graphic and this comment, as made on pHantacea on pHacebook a couple of days ago:

“To which might be added: You don’t need to be a Xuthrodite to like swimming on Xmas Day in warmer climes. (Xuthros Hor = the Biblical Noah in the Phantacea Mythos. He looks Japanese and rides a Raven’s Head according to cover of “Forever & Forty Days — the Genesis of Phantacea” — wraparound cover double-clicks there

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Good Cover, Bad Cover, Final Cover(s)

Final cover collage for the print edition of “Decimation Damnation”

Final cover for print edition of "Decimation Damnation", collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2016

Final cover for print edition of “Decimation Damnation”

Made mention of cover controversy surrounding the various collages prepared for “Decimation Damnation — Wilderwitch’s Babies 1” a number of times out here in Cyberia. (See also here and here.)

Lately it’s got so bad I’ve had to eject an entire row from the graphics section on the Witch Babs page.

It had to go somewhere so …

Source of Viennese Photo Montage

Front cover picture of Sharbat Gula as it appeared on National Geographic cover in June 1985

Though shot in 2010 at a public gallery in Vienna, Austria, it turns out that the otherwise unidentified photo montage used in the cover collage in this row began as a photo taken for the National Geographic’s June 1984 issue and as such can’t be pHanta-used as is.

The subject’s name is Sharbat Gula, at the time (1984) age 12. More on pH-Webworld‘s Summer 2016 entry of Serendipity and …

Rejected full cover for "Decimation Damnation" mini-novel

Full tentative cover for Decimation Damnation mini-novel, prepared by Jim McPherson, 2016

Background image is a sunset taken at Jericho Beach in Vancouver, July 2015; Easter Island Moai taken from the Web then solarized

Rejected front cover for DecDam

Main shot taken in Vienna, Austria, gallery, uncredited art, photo by Jim McPherson, 2010; used on tentative front cover for 2016 mini-novel, prepared by Jim McPherson

Wilderwitch representative spotted and shot in a Vienna, Austria, city gallery in 2010; Moai used to represent between-space stone gnomes reputed to exist in the Weirdom of Cabalarkon

Did manage to retain the darker version of the cover for use on one or the other of the mini-novel’s digital editions (PDF or e-pub). So hardly a wasted effort.

Tentative full cover for "Decimation Damnation"

Took out the face, save for the hair and eyes, of the Afghan Girl and filled in space with Daemonic Desperation graphics. Like result a lot … but may not use it for print to blackness issues. Should be okay for digital editions, though.

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These greens aren’t edible; hopefully, they’re editable

It’s happened again. Caught it in time, this time, but still …

Artwork by Ricardo Sandoval, 2014

Helios on Moon tested at 300%. Note lack of green. That means it passed 2014 Acrobat test.

Artwork by Ricardo Sandoval, 2014

Helios on Moon cover tested at 240%. Note the green. That means it failed. Yet it’s still available from same POD printer. Go figure.

In case you were wondering why “Decimation Damnation” didn’t come out on or about Midsummer’s Day 2016, check this out.

<<==  A year and a half ago Ricardo Sandoval produced a print cover for Helios on the Moon. It passed the 300% overall coverage test on Acrobat.

==>> Times change. It wouldn’t today because the POD company I use now requires covers must first pass a 240% overall coverage test.

Collage by Jim McPherson, 2016

Note the green. First choice cover tested at 240% failed.

Cover collage by Jim McPherson, 2016

Again, note the green. Would have failed in 2014, so back to square one.

Cover collage Jim McPherson, 2016

Cover collage initially prepared for second entry in Wilderwitch’s Babies saga “Destination Damnation”

As per here, I had to abandon my first choice print cover for DecDam. Then my craftily reworked second choice <<== did not pass the Acrobat test at 240% total overall coverage.

Small conciliation, it would not have passed the 2014 test either. ==>>

<<== So I tried out the cover I initially intended for the follow-up entry in the as yet open-ended saga of Wilderwitch’s Babies.

Cover collage originally prepared for "Destination Damnation" by Jim McPherson, 2016

Even at 300% the DestDam cover was only a borderline pass.

(Likely title, in case you were wondering, “Destination Damnation”)

It was only marginally better. ==>>

Here’s the requirement:

“When the Output Preview window is open you can move your cursor over the PDF and view the CMYK values in your file.

“This is a good time to verify that the barcode used is 100% black only and that your cover does not have large areas of color that exceed 240% Total Area Coverage.

“If concerned about excessive color density you can select the box at the bottom of the window labeled “Total Area Coverage”, select a maximum limit and all offending areas will be highlighted.”

Concerned I was; concerned I still am. But I’m submitting Revision 4 anyhow. Stay tuned. If gasket blows, well, at least I’ve got comparatively affordable medical insurance.

Cover collage prepared by Jim McPherson, July 2016

The fourth revision of the cover collage for “Decimation Damnation”. Collage prepared by Jim McPherson, July 2016

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Hacienda Morelos does its best to keep town a secret

Psst .. Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, put the finishing touches on both 2013’s “Nuclear Dragons” and 2014’s “Helios on the Moon” in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.

He’d didn’t bruit this about on any of the Phantacea websites because he mistakenly thought he was keeping the town a private delight. Guess what? It didn’t work. So much so that by the time he decided to return there this year it was packed.

He ended up staying — index fingers crossed in a warding gesture of just that, a cross — at the Hacienda Morelos. Here’s his report, as first published on the booking.com website earlier this week:

Business card used by Jim McPherson when in Phantacea mode

Business card used by Jim McPherson when in Phantacea mode; the Pharaoh’s head is actually a parking shot on Giza Plateau as shot by Egyptian air force circa 1929/30; Sedon’s Head by Jim McPherson and Tim Hammell, ca 1978

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“Gorgeous setting about only good thing about Hacienda Morelos”

Situated right on a ledge above a nearly endless, soft sand, Caribbean beach that’s kept fairly clean. (Trash cans could do with more frequent dumping and the sargassum sea weed, while not as bad as last year, needs more aggressive attention.) Gorgeous view of diving and fishing boats and tenders, with the port, hence Puerto Morelos, in distance.

View from the terrace of the Hacienda Morelos after a rain storm, photo by Jim McPherson, 2016

View from the terrace of the Hacienda Morelos after a rain storm

A short walk to town square (zocala), a selection of good restaurants and a decent coffee house. One place even serves Austro-Hungarian goulash while a couple have outrageously pricey lamb. Lots of music in the bars and restaurants, though nothing at hotel, fortunately, which was quiet at night. I say fortunately because much of my stay was unfortunate.

Had to ask for towels as none were supplied at first. When I complained about the lack of hot water in shower, the desk clerk suggested I didn’t get up early enough; that everyone showers between 7 and 9 a.m., and that water containers can only heat so much.

Beach shot of Hacienda Morelos, taken by Jim McPherson, 2016

Looking up at the Hacienda Morelos as shot from the beach in February 2016 by Jim McPherson

Besides, she added, it’s usually hot, so guests don’t mind tepid shower water. (It did rain a few times and the wind was nearly constant, so not the best weather. But I was there to write and the town was down the street, so didn’t mind too much.)

Kitchen ran out of black tea after two days and never replaced stock for remaining five days. (Couldn’t find any in the local store but never checked Oxxo, the omnipresent Mexican equivalent of 7-Eleven.) The continental breakfast consisted of stale white toast, dubious pineapple marmalade, juice and either coffee or tea, read Nescafe and caffeine-free Manzanilla Chamomile. Everything else is extra.

I asked for plain yogurt and granola but they never had any granola, so they didn’t charge me. Once they substituted pink lemonade for juice and another time powdered Tang or some such. So don’t jump at offer of a free breakfast likr . Or the advertised notion that WiFi is available throughout hotel. It isn’t.

Rainbow taken at Hacienda Morelos by Jim McPherson, 2016

Shot of a rainbow taken from Hacienda Morelos terrace, image flipped horizontally.

In fact, it’s only available in the lobby or on the terrace and even then you need two separate sign-ins. Fortunately (again) I was assigned a terrace room, which was actually on the pool deck. Scuba lessons started at 8 a.m. but were usually done by 10. The doors had no screens and the room had no overhead fans. The air conditioning was so loud I shut it off. Something of a blessing, the windows that opened did have screens.

Perhaps worst of all were the pillows. They were so stuffed with foam they had no give. Instead of cushioning your head they more like bruised it. I asked for down pillows but they didn’t have any. Gave me a couple of pillows with some of the foam removed, which was better. Except one of them hadn’t been sewn up properly and I ended up with foam all over the bed, floor and me, until I noticed it. Rather than replacing it they doubled up the pillow casing.

Won’t be returning to Hacienda Morelos anytime soon. Even without the to me shocking add-on of 19% tax, it’s an overpriced shell of what once, twenty or thirty years ago, might have been a fabulous place to stay.

Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wooden Carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014

Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wood carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014; taken to represent the Dual Entities during happy times

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Too bad the non-illusory side effect went walking 35 years ago

Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, generally confines his rants to his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pHantaJim). Not at all coincidentally pHantaJim is also the name of this page’s blog-meister. Funny that.

He likes Doonesbury, even the repeats, and when this came up on today’s date (http://doonesbury.washingtonpost.com/), this did too:

Unfortunately John Lennon did not use ‘Intensity’ when he went for walks

Doonesbury from 1986 reprinted on December 8, 2015

Duke runs Baby Doc Medical School. This week (in 1985) he’s holding a designer drug clinic on his Haitian campus dedicated to ‘Intensity’.

Phantacea is the Greek word for ‘imagination’. John Lennon wrote ‘Imagine’. Thirty-five years ago today his illusory ‘side effect’ did not go out for a walk.

As detailed throughout “Goddess Gambit“, Book Three of The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories fantasy epic, and the ultimately related Launch 1980 story cycle, plenty was going on thirty-five years ago in the Phantacea Mythos.

Promo prepared for upcoming release of Helios on the Moon by Jim McPherson, 2014

Double-click to enlarge; the better to read if you do. Artwork is from the two Phantacea Revisited graphic novels.

Goddess Gambit: On Dustmound, Smiler, now possessing Molorchus, insists Vetala bears and has his azuras; when she refuses he reveals to her the truth of the VAM Entity, the amalgamate abom­ination (Mithras, Varuna & Ahriman were Thrygragos Sedon’s firstborn, not as per here the Thanatoids of Lathakra plus brood brother Phantast), and the consequential fact that her actual father was Sedon, not Mit­ravaruna;

Nuclear Dragons: In NYC, someone kills John Lennon; hearing of it on Centauri Island Hiyati Samarand (homunculus possessed by Bodiless Byron’s Dragon) has a heart attack; by now most of Sentalli’s Untouch­ables, most of whom turned out to be homunculi, aka homun beings, have died;

Goddess Gambit: Final battle for Dustmound begins; Trigregos Titan (Vetala’s Soldier) caked by tellurian material in the form of demons projected by Molorchus-Smiler (who’d established a pipeline to hell itself);

Helios on the Moon: Indescribable Mr No Name brings the cosmicompani­ons out of the computer while Smythe brings devic eyes to UNES Lib­erty; Strife takes over Mnemosy­ne Machine (unoccupied aspect of the Female Entity, that of memory); claims she has ejected the future Erebe-Night (actually Demon Queen Lilith, Smiler-Daemonicus’s Gomorrah) into a black hole after Starrus-Yajur;

Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wooden Carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014

Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wood carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014; taken to represent the Dual Entities during happy times

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“Infantilize”, “infantilized” and “infantilizing” are words, apparently

How do I know that? From the National Post, Canada’s argument against freedom of the press. See, to put its title succintly: “Infantilized” nature of genre fiction

I looked up “infantilize” on the Free Dictionary and got this:

in·fan·til·ize

(ĭn′fən-tl-īz′, ĭn-făn′-)

tr.v. in·fan·til·ized, in·fan·til·iz·ing, in·fan·til·iz·es

1. To treat or condescend to as if still a young child: The Victorian physician infantilized his patient” (Judith Moore).
2. To reduce to an infantile state or condition: “It creates a crisis that infantilizes them—causes grown men to squabble like kids about trivial things” (New Yorker).

in·fan′til·i·za′tion (-ĭ-zā′shən) n.
Logo reads Phantacea Anheroic Fantasy Illustrated

Anheroic Fantasy Illustrated – Phantacea logo

The article that inspired such simply scintillating research is actually, if awkwardly, entitled:

Simon Pegg is right, geeky genre fiction usually IS childish, even when it’s also something more

While I’ll admit to having heard his name before, I’d have to resort to Google to find out what movies Pegg’s appeared in. Can’t say I’ve ever heard of the article’s author, Daniel Kaszor, though.

However, a couple of his lines struck me as apropos considering some past pHantaBlog posts, notably here, here and here.

Flyer prepared for April 2014 launch of "Cataclysm Catalyst", the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

Flyer prepared for April 2014 launch of “Cataclysm Catalyst”, the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

One that stuck out, since it seems to apply directly to the National Post’s living saint, the Tar Party’s Chief Blue Nasty, is as follows:

“… in the superhero genre … characters are very explicitly given almost god-like powers. It’s a very simple fantasy to want to just be able to punch the world better.”
Which isn’t to say the article’s about Canada’s current and, sadly, stunningly long-serving Prime Minister. It’s (nominally) about the fantasy genre, if not explicitly the grimdark aspect of it.
covers for Damnation Brigade graphic novel

Front and back covers for the upcoming Damnation Brigade graphic novel; artwork by Ian Bateson, 2012; touch-up by Chris Chuckry, 2012; prepared by Jim McPherson, 2013

And that derives almost entirely from the celebrity celery pandered to by today’s mainstream media, genre television, video games and society’s seemingly resultant need for instant gratification to go along with a severely reduced attention span.

Here’s the Pegg quote that tops the article:
“I’m very much a self-confessed fan of science-fiction and genre cinema. But part of me looks at society as it is now and thinks we’ve been infantilized by our own taste.” — Simon Pegg
And here’s the writer’s gravy atop the article’s meat and potatoes:

“… more modern fans of genre fiction want to read … “realistic” heroes through a childish mindset.

“And that’s part of what Simon Pegg was griping about — even when presented in an adult manner, genre has a way of being pre-chewed and regurgitated back in such a way that renders much of the nuance moot — signifiers such as brutal violence and grey morals reinterpreted as being cool instead of troubling — making the end product even more childish than the sanitized basic version.”

Poster to accompany Helios on the Moon press release; utilizes cover from both Phantacea Revisited graphic novels and the three full-length novels making up the Launch 1980 story cycle, prepared by Jim McPherson, 2014

Poster to accompany Helios on the Moon press release; utilizes cover from both Phantacea Revisited graphic novels and the three full-length novels making up the Launch 1980 story cycle

Which echoes Point #4 in the pre-Mithramas Mistletoe Miscellanea posting, the reference being to two of the Gun Porn TV shows made in Vancouver that have since been renewed:

“As to using arrows as implements of torture, using arrows for anything except killing and target practise, there are such things as arteries. Pierce a Captain Boomerang where Arrow hit him, evidently just because he deserved it, and, sorry Flash, it’s not a joking matter.”

So, go to any of the lynx highlighted in blue above and spend some quiet, unhurried, but satisfying time having a read or re-read.

Ian Bateson's full colour, wraparound cover for The War of the Apocalyptics, 2009

Ian Bateson’s full colour, wraparound cover for The War of the Apocalyptics, 2009

Just don’t doubt for a minute that Jim McPherson is above infantilizing his characters, if hopefully not his readers:

In the midst of the mad, the dead, and the dying squatted Mars Bellona. His mentality reduced to that of a low-grade simpleton, the presumption of immortality manifestly did not preclude the onset of insanity. The once tremendously powerful Apocalyptic was playing toy samurai with an even more demented Lord Tornado.
“So sorry, Bellona‑sama. I killed your man first.”
“Seppuku-fie yourself, Tornado-san. I killed you before you killed me.”

… from “The War of the Apocalyptics“, 2009

Welcoming portal for pH-Webworld as of Spring 2015

Entry port for pH-Webworld, first appeared in the 2015 Spring update

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PVR Perversions — Grimdark Supercreeps

pHantaBlog NOTE: Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, doesn’t do confessionals. He does McPhersonals. Sometimes they’re rants. Fortunately those are few and far between. That said, here’s another one.

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Grimdark – NRA-approved Fantasy Genre

Some months ago (November 2014), I prepared a piece for pHantaBlog entitled “All-American Gun Porn – Shot in Vancouver”. (Revisited late last December in Mistletoe Miscellanea.)

In the original I mostly raged on about three ‘superhero’ or ‘fantastical’, albeit not particularly fantastic, TV shows filmed in Vancouver: “Arrow”, “The Flash” and “The 100”.

I’m only moderately surprised to note they’ve been renewed for another season. (Have to say that, given the grimdark death toll in the last specious specimen in particular, it might have to be renamed “The 20”.)

Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wooden Carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014

Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wood carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014; taken to represent the Dual Entities during happy times

Also renewed, according to the Web, are two others I mentioned in the same essay: “Gotham” and “Grimm”. They’re gun porn, too. Except their ‘heroes’ are, for the most part, policemen.

The police, in Canada and the USA anyhow, are allowed to carry guns as well as use them; television-typically with deadly force. Unless of course the recipient of said riveting attention might be needed for subsequent episodes.

Or, in the TV-titular case of both Arrow and Flash, who seem to get shot or otherwise incapacitated a lot, albeit without much in the way of repercussions, they’re either immune to lead poisoning or supranormally gifted with a Wolverine-like knack for extremely quick recoveries.

In that regard, without recourse to the Resurrection Pit Arrow even survived Ra’s al Ghul driving a sword though his chest, and out the other side, missing both heart and spine, since the last time I wrote about the show. The explanation, besides ratings, seems to have something to do with cold air and frozen ground.

Good thing al Ghul had the common courtesy to pull out the sword before dropping him onto a cliff’s edge only a few dozen feet down from where he ‘killed’ him. (Dropped him undamaged any more than he already was, I should add. No cracking bones or snapping neck for our hero; not even a mild concussion.)

Whereupon Ra’s left him exposed to kindly elements and Himalayan vultures; ones that turned out to be human good Samaritans who just happened to be in the vicinity. (One of whom had also been thousands of miles away in Vancouver, er Starling City, in the previous scene.)

Be that as it may, back to Grimm and Gotham. According to the lazy logic of television fantasies, cops not only can get away with killing, the shows are set up such that their be-badged protagonists can do just that, get away with what amounts to murder in sensible conversations.

Killing is part of their job description, don’t you know. And, as mentioned in the previous article(s), super — not to mention invariably supercilious — villains in television are best dealt with both deservedly and biblically. (With the same proviso re subsequent episodes.)

Poster to accompany Helios on the Moon press release; utilizes cover from both Phantacea Revisited graphic novels and the three full-length novels making up the Launch 1980 story cycle, prepared by Jim McPherson, 2014

Poster to accompany Helios on the Moon press release; utilizes cover from both Phantacea Revisited graphic novels and the three full-length novels making up the Launch 1980 story cycle

I was prepared to let “Gotham” escape the dreaded (or not), NRA-approved, gun-porn denigration if only because I reckoned there was a lot of Chester Gould’s quirky “Dick Tracy” about it. After all, Tracy got shot a lot too, albeit usually in the left shoulder.

(As recorded in a Wikipedia article, Mad Magazine once counted up 47 times that Gould’s Dick Tracy had been shot in that very same, supposedly non-lethal place.

(In a similar vein, ha, ha, Al Capp famously ventilated Fearless Fosdick, his parody of Tracy in the Li’l Abner strip, much more, um, holistically – as in holey – on a regular basis.)

Rather, Gotham started out that way. Nowadays it seems more about lesser, as in secondary, characters and a few others invented solely for the series (as opposed to those taken from the comics).

Which is understandable given the likes of Jim Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth, Harvey thus-far-only-One-Face Dent, Detective also-Harvey Bullock, Selena Kyle, Penguin, Riddler, Poison Ivy, et al, have to live long enough to meet Batman once he gets all brave and bold big enough to don the cape and cowl.

Still, they’re a dull lot. Wouldn’t have made the DC Universe in the first place. Or wouldn’t have lasted long if they had.

BTW, Bruce Wayne appears to be 12 or 13 whereas Selena, the future Catwoman, and Ivy look to be in their slightly later teens, albeit no more than 14 or 15. The expectations, therefore, are obviously for a long series.

Good luck with that. Unless its producers, show-runners and, especially, its writers come up with some much better, as in far more original and intriguingly villainous, cannon fodder, it’ll be gone by Christmas.

The colour side of a postcard Jim McPherson prepared in 2012 as a handout; artwork taken from cover of "Goddess Gambit"; artwork by Verne Andru

The colour side of a postcard Jim McPherson prepared in 2012 as a handout; artwork taken from cover of “Goddess Gambit”; artwork by Verne Andru

(That they made 14 or 15-year old Selena a wanton killer in a recent episode should mean its renewal is cancelled with immediate effect. Should also mean, as a consequence, that its producers are put in jail for deliberate child abuse via role model perversion.

(Too bad neither is very likely to happen. Where’s the Comic Code guy – Fredric Wertham – when we need him?)

In addition to gun porn, these series sadly share what strikes me as a distinct lack of inspired storytelling. When bullets solve everything, that’s to be expected.

Cops are as craven as they are corrupt. (In both Arrow and Gotham lunatic jerks swagger imperiously into cop-shops, pull out their penile pistols, shoot the place up and simply walk away unscathed.) Except when they’re tenacious, that is.

The same batch of boys in blue who cower underneath tables when the really bad guys are popping off, bullets-wise, suddenly gain cojones in Arrow once the overarching plot demands they go after our grimdark hero for being an, um, lawless vigilante. This for the second time in the series.

(And, talk about unimaginative, in a recent Flash chest-zapping CPR is applied not once but twice in the same 40-odd minute episode. Same producer, same stories, I guess. Not hiring creative talent does save on the overhead.)

Overarching plot is Grimm’s saving grace; that, plus some genuinely interesting characters, ones who don’t just use their guns to kill monsters, though they do that too, once in a while. Grimm also has some decent makeup, this despite not much in the way of a special effects budget. Which, in its own way, is a saving grace.

Launch 1980 promo for "Helios on the Moon", artwork by Ricardo Sandoval, 2014

Promo using the cover for the print version of “Helios on the Moon” as digitally tweaked by Jim McPherson, 2014; artwork by Ricardo Sandoval, 2014; based on front cover for pH-3; that’s All of Incain (Ginny the Gynosphinx) beside Helios and Lord Order sneaking up on him from behind;

Contrast that with another superhero-type series I PVR: “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD”. It does have a decent budget, apparently, and it’s Marvel-inspired, not DC, which should make for more imaginative fare.

And for the most part it does. Plus, Joss Whedon, the guy behind Buffy, is behind SHIELD as well as the related Avengers’ movies. Yet it hasn’t been renewed for some reason.

Not enough guns and guts (spilled) perhaps? Or maybe it hasn’t got the NRA’s stamp (or stomp) of approval.

Shall have more to say re the relatively recently proclaimed Grimdark Fantasy genre in a future instalment of pHantaBlog.

In the meantime, in terms of my very own Phantacea Mythos anyhow, it doesn’t get much grimmer and darker than “Goddess Gambit”, where it could be (and has been, albeit not by me) argued that the impression’s left no one survives. (Until “Helios on the Moon“, that is.).

Doubt it’d get a stomp of approval, let alone a 21-gun salute. from gun owners, though. That’s due to the pHanta-pHact they’re given the treatment they deserve.

Which is mostly mockery.

8 collages against the back drop of the Louvre's Dual Entities

The Dual Entities are two thousand years old. The ‘Launch 1980’ collages were prepared in 2014.

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Je Suis not Spartacus

I am Charlie declaration taken from Web

In sympathy with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre of 7 January 2015,  this declaration is being broadcast, and worn, all over Europe and Canada. It might even be happening in the land of Freedom Fries, this despite its thought-inappropriate language

Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, has long lambasted conservatives. Mockery is, after all, the best medicine, albeit not so much for what ails you as what galls you.

In his generosity he has, for example, made the term Tar Party (as opposed to the American Tea Party) freely available to anyone wishing to accurately pillory Tories.

He does, however, refrain from calling them Tarries, leaving that for the more extremist inclined amongst the less genially generous, general public. That would be those understandably many who would prefer to tar-and-feather the blighters, before booting their butts back to Walmart or, um, wherever.

While he agrees we’ve tar aplenty, and, yes, it might be a better use of the crud than trying to export it, he’s concerned about the feathers, preferring them in his pillow rather than sprinkled on political hacks and quacks of the non-feathery variety.

(It goes without saying that birds prefer them on their back but, hey, they don’t vote. Which, come to think about it, not enough like-minded McPhersonals do either. Which makes them birdbrains, no disrespect to actual birds.)

Very non-conservatively considerately of him, he did back off calling Canada’s self-proclaimed Conservative Party the Nasties, once someone pointed out that they weren’t Nazis. (He never said they were but sounds-like, to some of the more selectively hearing, so fair fairy fair enough.)

In deference to the indefensible Yellow Submarine, he now refers to them as Ottawa’s Blue Nasties. Plus, magnanimous sort that he is, he was also one of the first to congratulate them on dropping the word ‘Progressive’ from their name.

There’s certainly nothing progressive about them anymore and besides, even when they were the PCs, there was nothing politically correct about them either.

In the same spirit of contrarian camaraderie, he refers to the (British Columbia) Provincial Liberal Party as the Drooling Bibs (as opposed to the Ruling Libs) and the obstructionists hypocrites below the 49th Parallel as the Repellent Reps; that is, when he’s feeling in a restrained mood.

Then a mere four days after he posted a pHacebook link and comment re this plea for more funning of conservatives, the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris on the 7th of January 2015 brought reality crushing down on frivolity.

Clearly, since they got away, the mass murderous perpetrators were professional mercenaries, not (necessarily) religious fanatics. Which begs the question of who paid them in the here and now first place.

As per usual when something like this happens, the writer regrets that whoever sells guns doesn’t lather them with ketchup and mustard instead of oil (not tar). It would make shotgun sandwiches much more palatable for buyers to swallow, and fire, preferably before they leave the gun store.

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Mistletoe Miscellanea

  1. Further to the recent McPhersonal rant re Gun Porn, here’s a link to a startling website on Facebook. Apparently it’s quite controversial and might not stay up for long. Evidently the same folks are working on an actual Gun Violence Archive website. It’s here.
  2. Re Arrow, also in the Gun Porn rant, it seems the titular character acquired a knack for torture in his past. One wonders if the disreputable fellow quoted here acts as an adviser for the TV show.
  3. Further to Arrow no longer killing (with arrows), the mid-season finale seems to be hinting the titular character will be reborn in the New Year, presumably bathed clean of his sins.
  4. As to using arrows as implements of torture, using arrows for anything except killing and target practise, there are such things as arteries. Pierce a Captain Boomerang where Arrow hit him, evidently just because he deserved it, and, sorry Flash, it’s not a joking matter.
  5. Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, notes that in 1962 Columbia Records released an album entitled “The Boys Won’t Leave the Girls Alone”. It’s by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and contains a song called “McPherson’s Lament”.
    Decades later (2010), Ray Cooper, formerly of Oysterband, released a CD entitled “Tales of Love, War, and Death by Hanging”. It contains a song called “McPherson’s Rant”. They’re essentially the same song and, yes, the McPherson nominally singing it does meet the stipulated fate, although not until he finishes the song. Otherwise it might have been called “McPherson Goes Gack!”
    Shades of Jordan “The Legendarian” Tethys from, most recently, “Helios on the Moon“. Except Jordy can’t sing worth a darn — with or without using arrows as darning needles.

    Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wooden Carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014

    Phantacea Publications logo utilizing a Sun-Moon wood carving spotted and shot by Jim McPherson, 2014; taken to represent the Dual Entities during happy times

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All-American Gun Porn – Shot in Vancouver

pHantaBlog NOTE: Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, doesn’t do confessionals. He does McPhersonals. Sometimes they’re rants. Fortunately those are few and far between.
That said, here’s another:

 

 Screen Psychos Purportedly of the Superhero Persuasion

Have to admit that, with the exception of a few Green Lantern collections, it’s going on a quarter century since I last bought a superhero comic book. Sooth additionally said, though I’ve produced a couple of my own latterly, albeit of the anheroic variety and not always supranormally populated, I’ve purchased only a couple of dozen, if that, graphic novels in that time and them mostly to give away as presents.

I still love the comic book medium, do most of my shows at comicons, and spend most of my fiction-reading time immersed in the fantasy genre. However, like most folks, I get the majority of my superhero fix watching television. And most of that is on what we in Canada know as the CW network, a couple of which also show up on MuchMusic, SPACE and Showcase.

CW combines the first letters of CBS and Warner in its logo; they’re the network’s corporate backers. I gather it targets a mostly male audience, though its predecessors, WB and UPN, did manage to produce Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek: Voyager, which weren’t just for nerdy men IMHO.

I first came across CW because it showed Smallville and Supernatural. Since both series were made in and around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, I got an extra visceral kick out of identifying the locales of various scenes. I gave up on Supernatural once it got religion a number of years ago, but have often started watching a series just because it shot locally.

Some didn’t last, mostly because they weren’t very good. (No names please, we’re Canadian.) Then again some did last despite the fact they weren’t very good. (Ditto.) To my mind a few successes or semi-successes that came and went include the aforementioned Smallville, Battlestar Galactica, Sanctuary, Continuum and the various Stargate incarnations.

Three that are with us today are Arrow, The Flash and The 100. Ask me, each and every one of these last are gun porn.

So the Arrow has turned over a new leaf. He’s not going to kill anymore. Rather, he’s not going to kill anyone anymore with arrows. Send him to some Caribbean hot spot — more opportunities for even more skin — and he’ll happily kill with a gun, though, and by the dozen.

He jokes(?) about it: “I never said I couldn’t use guns, just that I didn’t.” Then, since today’s heroes have to be NRA-approved killers at heart, there are flashback sequences wherein he’s some sort of assassin working for the Suicide Squad’s head honcho, unless it’s honchess.

Over in The Flash, Weather Wizard and Multiple Man get shot dead, both casualties of lazy writing. How else can you end a TV show featuring superheroes except biblically? Can’t put them in jail on account of they’re so awfully powerful they’ll just escape and that would never do.

And I do mean awfully, as in awful. Captain Cold is a heartless, mass murderous, career criminal. He seemingly uses regular guns, as well as a gadget gun, for no other reason that super-villains in the USA have to be, you know, irredeemably evil in order to qualify for our hero’s invariably reluctant attention.

Heat-Wave, or whatever his name is going to be, is no doubt on the way. Maybe he won’t use a gun but, boy, I bet you can CGI some truly gruesome burns these days. My only hope is he melts bullets so the producers will have to come up with a better way to dispose of him.

A flash flood, perhaps, ha-ha. Make that a tsunami. Should provide a super-spectacular, season (if maybe not series) ending finale. Look out, Downtown Vancouver. You may have survived the end of Arrow’s first season – or was that Chinatown? – but The Flash promises to fix you up good and proper this time.

Hopefully it’ll cost him a couple of his (not so) terrific team members. But, hey, that’s what’s bound to happen to loyal, howsoever good-looking, not to mention goody-two-shoes, cannon fodder. There’s always more where they came from; ones cut from the same mould, too, from the looks of them.

Got to find work for a few visible minorities in this enlightened day and age don’t you know.

Speaking of a second Great Flood, how about The 100? True, its ending was nuclear, not watery; rather, its beginning was nuclear. But its setting is post Apocalypse. So is that of Falling Skies, which is also shot in Vancouver: post-apocalyptic, though its end-beginning is/was alien invasion.

Their characters – if that isn’t a misnomer – aren’t superheroes per se, at least not yet, but their antics are definitely intended to be super-heroic. Plus, there’s a superfluity of gun porn common to both … and gratuitous torture … and untrustworthy adults, baby baby-boomers for the most part … and beautifully buff, young people who wear tatters very stylishly.

Over-wear tatters, put better, since their underwear always appears very well, um, maintained; not to mention uplifting, designed to flatter. Very impressive in the mud and blood, tats and persistent scarring departments, too. Quality makeup, if nothing else.

Which is also what they are character-wise — nothing else, least of all interesting. Or, to be less dismissive, how about wooden, humourless, and oh, ever so sincere. Which means they hug a lot, either before of after they go on a killing spree, fancy weaponry blazing loud and rapidly.

Good thing there’s no more shortage of ammunition in post-apocalyptic times than there is of supportive smalls, to use a strange George RR Martin word I’d never come across before Game of Thrones. Must make the NRA as happy as End-of-Days Evangelicals.

No time to get going on Hellraiser or Dominion or Gotham or Grimm, though the latter two are still on my PVR list. They’re not shot in Vancouver but that won’t stop me from rave, rage, ranting about them at some other time should the urge hit.

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