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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Disney did know what ‘Tonto’ meant in Spanish after all

Months fly by. Apparently Silver does too — albeit onto collapsing houses and mine shafts, not to mention moving railway cars.

Original artwork from Phantacea Five, drawing by Vince Marchesano et al, 1980

Original artwork from Phantacea Five, drawing by Vince Marchesano et al, 1980

Kirby Sattler's Raven on Head, image taken from web

Design by Kirby Sattler used by Johnny Depp as model for his version of Tonto

Might she be a psychopomp? If so, they don’t outright say so in the Lone Ranger movie.

Don’t tell you what ‘tonto‘ means, either; not explicitly. But at least they did refer to it, albeit not till the end.

========

Made mention of the Lone Ranger movie a few months ago on Serendipity and Phantacea (http://www.phantacea.info/seren.htm#manOya). Did a ditto on pHantaBlog. Have now seen it.

Recall at the time virtually every reviewer I read said it was unadulterated crap. Beg to differ. It isn’t unadulterated, as in ‘ Not mingled or diluted with extraneous matter; pure’.

Not sure it’s adulterated crap either: ‘To make impure by adding extraneous, improper, or inferior ingredients.’ The filmmakers knew exactly what they were doing and it wasn’t crap.

Drawing ascribed to Lakota Sioux chief Black Hawk of Wakinya Thunder Beings, c 1880; scanned in from August 2015 issue of Fortean Times

Drawing ascribed to Lakota Sioux chief Black Hawk of Wakinya Thunder Beings, c 1880; scanned in from August 2015 issue of Fortean Times

At least, though it is Disney, they didn’t intend to make it crap. Did intend to make it rollicking good fun along the lines of that other Johnny Depp franchise they produce. The one where he plays Keith Richards as a buccaneer.

Movie ends with a question: “Do you know what Tonto means in Spanish.” Have wondered about this for decades, as it happened. And I knew what it meant.

Kirby Sattler's design side by side with Johnny Depp's Tonto in Lone Ranger movie released by Disney Studios

The two Tontos, images taken from Web after reading an article on Lightning Beings in Fortean Times, August 2015

Straight out of the Serendipity article cited in above ditto link, here’s a different take on subject:

“Guess now I’m going to have to assume the creators of the Lone Ranger weren’t really racist twits when they named him thusly. They meant that Tonto was a highly respected tribal heyoka — a Thunder Cloud Clown.”

Collage prepared by JIm McPherson, 2014, utilizing artwork by Verne Andru and Ricardo Sandoval

Collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2015, made up of Ricardo Sandoval space backdrop and female sphinx from the cover of “Helios on the Moon”, plus Verne Andru’s Freespirit Nihila, 2012, and old King Cold, 1980

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Stevo gets graphic — Belatedly noted recommendation for “The Damnation Brigade”

Seems Stevo recommended “The Damnation Brigade” graphic novel way back in December 2013. Seems also pHantaJim, Blogmeister didn’t find out about it until today:

Covers for Phantacea Revisited 1: The Damnation Brigade

Graphic novel compiles the complete Damnation Brigade story sequence from pH 1-5 as well as pHz1 #s 1 & 2; for more on the Phantacea comics hit here: http://www.phantacea.com/one2six1.htm#logo


Stevo’s Monthly Picks (Read-Only Folder)  –  December Book Recommendations (182 views): http://forums.delphiforums.com/stevo1/messages?msg=189.1

Phantacea Revisited Volume One: The Damnation Brigade by Jim McPherson, et al. (Phantacea Publications, $12.95

This graphic novel is a compilation of the complete Damnation Brigade story sequence from Phantacea 1-5 (1977-1980), Phantacea Phase One #1 (1987) and #2 (unpublished). The cover is by Ian Bateson, 2012, with some additional contributions by Chris Chuckry on the front cover.

Artists include Dave Sim, from just before Cerebus the Aardvark, Ian Bateson, Verne Andru (420, Captain Canuck), George Freeman (Captain Canuck) and Vince Marchesano (Orb).

Jim McPherson wrote the War of the Apocalyptics, a full-length Phantacea Mythos novel based on these stories.


Stevo also recommended “Goddess Gambit” but pHantaJIm heard about that not all that after when it came out.

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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SereNipHity Nihila

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

Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, is seeing faces again. He’s not alone either. The folks behind Fortean Times are, too:. Except they cheat on the cover of FT 327: http://pics.gjovaag.com/FT/large/FT327.jpg

The Queen of England is secretly a lizard according to Fortean Times in 1999

Slightly altered cover from Fortean Times #129; more covers are here: http://www.theguardian.com/media/gallery/2013/nov/11/fortean-times-covers#img-7

Webmeister Oz has turned Borealis Brolly  (aka Auroral Nihila) into a background image whereas McPherson himself has contributed a new entry to the Serendipity page. It’s called sereNipHity (serendipity + Nihila + pHantacea + nifty).

The Serendipity entry is here: http://www.phantacea.info/seren.htm#iceNihil, whereas the background makes it first appearance here: http://www.phantacea.info/devils-described.htm#harmy. There’s even a new banner that should show up once in a while on pHantaBlog.

Photograph by Tom Mackie in Iceland, 2014, scanned in from the May 2015 issue of Fortean Times; Nihila artwork by Verne Andru, 2012; banner prepared by Jim McPherson, 2015

Photograph by Tom Mackie in Iceland, 2014, scanned in from the May 2015 issue of Fortean Times; Nihila artwork by Verne Andru, 2012; banner prepared by Jim McPherson, 2015

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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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Mollycoddling Millennials

Herewith carrying on from previous pHantaBlog submission(s) by Jim McPherson, creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos.

Don’t call him cynical; he’s just sensitive about the unimaginative deterioration of his chosen genre. Perhaps if he played video games or went to the movies more often he might sound more approving.

As a public service, the Free Dictionary defines millennial as “a member of the generation born from the early 1980s to late 1990s, especially in the United States and Canada; a member of Generation Y.”

And if you’re wondering who or what Generation X is, well, from the same source comes this very disturbing definition:

1. (Sociology) members of the generation of people born between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s who are highly educated and underemployed, reject consumer culture, and have little hope for the future


The Free Dictionary has no definition for grimdark but ‘Know your meme’ does (too bad it doesn’t say what ‘meme’ means):

Grimdark is an adjective used to describe a setting or situation in a fictional work that is considered dark, depressive, violent or edgy”


http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Grimdark presents a lengthy entry on ‘grimdark’ whereas Wikipedia’s entry is only slightly shorter.  One of the definitions found therein brings to mind Freespirit Nihila and the pHanta-pHavourite term ‘anheroic‘.

“Liz Bourke considered grimdark’s defining characteristic to be “a retreat … into a kind of nihilism that portrays right action (…) as either impossible or futile”. This … has the effect of absolving the protagonists as well as the reader from moral responsibility.”

All in all, very discouraging. At least, as a kind of happy news counterweight, Queen Elizabeth just turned 89.

Too bad, since clearly she’s actually a lizard, Lizzy’s ever so appropriately named.

The Queen of England is secretly a lizard according to Fortean Times in 1999

Slightly altered cover from Fortean Times #129; more covers are here: http://www.theguardian.com/media/gallery/2013/nov/11/fortean-times-covers#img-7

========

Millennial Checklist for Super Grimdark Fantasy TV

  1. OMG variations: minimum 3 times per episode;
  2. Hugs: minimum twice per episode, preferably more; always after a massacre;
  3. Smiles: guys only smile to appear goofy; gals only smile when they greet their guys;

    3 comic book covers incorporated in ad for Phantacea Publications

    Covers for pH-2 (Gordon Parker), pH-3 (Richard Sandoval), and 4-Ever&40 (Ian Fry, Ian Bateson), all of which figure in “Helios on the Moon”

  4. Embrace the stereotype; series can be cancelled at any time so why waste authorial brain cells seeking to rise above the tried and true;
  5. Recall consequential importance of cookie-cutter characters; gals who look good in tight dresses should be interchangeable between action series;
  6. Since scolds are mandatory in suchlike invariably deadly serious affairs, scowls and frowns must be practised endlessly in mirrors; it’s called acting because, OMG knows, the only other thing that counts besides good looks is an ability to give good grunts;
  7. Shirts off: buff men once an episode, fit women as often as possible; bras uplifting, cleavage-enhancing, coloured, but opaque, and reinforced (presumably with Kevlar, given short lifespan of girlfriends in most series), the better for nipple-suppression; suck in those abs, guys, flex them biceps; emphasize the tattoos, the brighter the better;
  8. Heart-to-heart talks essential, at least twice an episode; that’s what motherly and fatherly characters are for, but only if they’re hot; recall, they’re likely to be killed earlier rather than later for purposes melodramatic, as well as budgetary, so make the most of them while you’ve got them;

    Black and white promo ad for The War of the Apocalyptics as part one of the Launch 1980 story cycle

    Black and white promo ad for “The War of the Apocalyptics” as the opening entry in the Launch 1980 story cycle

  9. Best friends can be boy and girl – really (super TV is Fantasyland after all); as such they’re allowed to heart-to-heart, usually after one says to other: “Want to Talk about It?” (hopefully not while texting);
  10. No matter how frequent, heart-to-hearts must be kept short — or not, dependent on budget (despite how lousy they sometimes look, SFX are expensive);
  11. Heart-to-hearts act as important breathers between action sequences, allow opportunity to maintain hugs quota and either aren’t readily available in video games or else get in the way of the next kill-for-points moment; be sure to end with: “I’m always here for you”;
  12. Humour not allowed in actioneers; if attempted, make sure it’s American-style, which by definition isn’t funny anymore (and probably hasn’t been since before Reagan, whoever that was);
  13. Laughter frowned upon, literally — see above point re practising in mirrors; laughing not cool, though occasional chortle permissible; almost always attempts at making jokes must be dismissively deemed as “Lame”;
  14. Kill, yes; best with NRA-approved weaponry; but don’t gloat — only villains gloat (when they’re not sneering, snorting or, OMG-forbid, scorning the good guys guff-awfully); unless it’s after a keyboard-battle, that is, see next point;

    Collage and covers indicative of action recounted in "Nuclear Dragons"

    Mr No Name collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2014; pH-7 cover, incomplete, by Ian Bateson, 1980; pHz1 #1 cover, the Mighty Eye-Mouth in the Sky by Ian Bateson, 1985

  15. Cell phones, yes; tablets, yes; computers, of course, but concentrate on how fast fingers flash across keyboards; never show what’s on screen because numbers are boring;
  16. Hacking’s dead easy – but any yob can hack, N Korea proved that, so don’t overdo it;
  17. When fighting by electronic proxy, ball fists and pump often; say “Yes” & “Gotcha” a lot; when win, stand up, point trigger finger at screen and spout “You lose, dirt bag!” like big macho bully you are when it comes to ’puters;
  18. Use sparingly, though, as even ad-target Millennials find keyboard battles, when filmed, tedious; never forget: in real world keyboards are meant to be played; they’re not shot, let alone used to write anything (men and, occasionally, women of action never write anything anyhow; don’t read, either, unless it’s about “celebrity celery”);
  19. Sex, good; pregnancy, impossible; condoms, who needs ’em? – hence why “dirt bag” always preferred to “scum bag”; bare backs, sexy; only for Millennials, though; over thirties having sex is yucky, over forties positively obscene, cause for cancellation;
  20. Ridiculousness never ridiculed, given whole situation is likely ridiculous to start;

    Covers and/or splash panels reflecting action recounted in "Helios on the Moon"

    Front covers for pH-2 and pH- 4Ever&40 graphic novel bracketing splash panel from pH3; artwork by Gordon Parker, 1978; Peter Lynde, 1978; and the two Ians, Fry and Bateson, 1990

  21. “America!”, must be said with pride, chest-thumping optional, once or twice an episode (lest anyone think show’s filmed anywhere else, even if it is); never the US or the States; only use USA lightly, as in “good old U S of A”;
  22. Never acknowledge Canada or Mexico, implicitly they’re part of America!; when not entry points for drug dealers, super villains or terrorists, that is;
  23. Secondary characters are cannon fodder; don’t get too attached to them; minorities die first, that’s what they’re there for; blacks get done away with straightaway but don’t single them out overly much, plenty of Hispanics and Asians available; native Indians not allowed, except as supplemental bad guys;
  24. Heroes never real heroes until after first kill; always make a big deal about not wanting to kill but, you know, sometimes it can’t be avoided since heroes never walk away from a fight for fear of having their series cancelled too quickly;
  25. For heroes, killing should appear to be in self-defence, me or them, didn’t have a choice — but that’s mostly so you don’t have to agonize about it for too many minutes, let alone episodes, afterwards;
  26. Heroes can never be brought to justice because they are just that, Justice; anyone can get away with murder so long as they’re recurring characters; villains should always be referred to not as evil (too religious?), but by that truly offensive Americanism ‘the bad guys’;
  27. Just to be doubly confirmatory, make sure that’s how they’re depicted: as unequivocally, over-the-top, irredeemable;
  28. Recall, the only time the US wins a war on anything is on TV, in the movies or in the occasional book (which Millennials don’t read anyhow, perhaps due to writers using too many syllables), so don’t disappoint.

    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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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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Auroral lights no Borealis Brolly

Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, recently returned from his late winter, early spring brain break.

Front cover for Nuclear Dragons, artwork by Ian Bateson, 2013; banner at top added by Jim McPherson, 2014, for digital versions of the novel

Crystallion leads Hell’s Horsemen against Centauri Island, artwork by Ian Bateson taken from the front cover of “Nuclear Dragons”, 2013

A brain break for him of course means a new book is on the horizon for Phantacea Publications and pHanta-pHans everywhere. At least it has in the recent past, witness “Nuclear Dragons” and “Helios on the Moon“, the long-awaited concluding entries in the Launch 1980 epic trilogy.

Artwork from front cover of "Helios on the Moon" by Ricardo Sandoval; promo prepared by Jim McPherson, 2014

Helios, with his ‘holocaster’, and the She-Sphinx (All of Incain) , with Thunder and Lightning Lord Yajur (Lord Order) sneaking up on them; artwork by Ricardo Sandoval taken from front cover of print version of Helios on the Moon, 2014

Maybe not this time; at least not in terms of ‘new’ so much as recombined.

More on that as the year progresses, though you might find a couple of mysterious additions to the Earthlings’ row in the ‘Devils by Tribal Affiliation webpage that appeared last January instructive.

For now he’s happy to report some serendipitous readings in the January 2015 edition of Fortean Times (FT 323).


Here’s something I didn’t know. According to ‘Blasts from the Past’, a column by Theo Paijmans in FT 323 (p 32; “#55: The Cities of Lost Children”), an American writer, none other than Charles Fort himself, coined the term ‘teleportation’. (Wikipedia seems to confirm that he did just that — in 1931, to be absolutely precise — here.)

This would be the same Charles Fort (1874-1932), who inspired the delightful oddballs behind Fortean Times to launch, as long ago as 1973, what’s now a regular dweller in my bin of bathroom readings. (In the same issue, Arthur C Clarke is quoted as considering forteans “… ignorant and opinionated science-bashers.”)

Nearer to the beginning of the same issue (pp 6-7), we read about something else — better make that somebody else — I’d never heard of: namely, another American, a stage-managing ‘visionary pictographer’ as much as portrait photographer by the name of William Mortensen (1897-1965).

Talk about Peculiar Perspectives, I’d provide a link re this ‘master of American Grotesque’ but don’t want to get pHantaBlog into trouble. Don’t mind getting the US edition of Huffington Post in trouble, though. So have a boo, literally.

Will say that I googled him, which was where I learned of his relationship to Cecil B DeMIlle and Fay Wray, not to mention King Kong and the Mad Hatter. Also recognized his fabulous photographic imaging of Belphegor, Hell’s perceived Prince of Sloth, among other things, including invention.

(Which begs for an entry on Phantacea and that I’ll pass on to Webmeister Oz after I’m done passing this onto  pHantaJim, Blogmeister.*)

E-book cover for Goddess Gambit, artwork by Verne Andru

E-book cover for “Goddess Gambit” — ISBN 978-0-9878683-3-6

Header point being yet another article in FT 323: “I Sing the Mind Electric” by Marinus van der Sluijs (pp 40-43). As a preface, recall this from “Goddess Gambit“:

“Fisherwoman wasn’t there either. Not yet. Then she was, in a way. She was bigger than life, much bigger than Diminished Dustmound … She did look good in a glowingly golden, chain-mail hauberk; no question of that. And there was nothing better against incoming missiles, no matter what they were tipped with, than teleportive Brainrock chains.”

Or this, from the aforementioned:

Young Death, as he was best known below the larger Dome, didn’t blame the Diver. He reckoned – probably correctly – that Freespirit Nihila, whom he still regarded as Fisherwoman, must be taking it [teleportive Brainrock-Gypsium] all into herself; her Borealis brolly, put better.

Or this from a few pages later:

She [Fish-Nihila] twirled it, simultaneously raising it as if a Kevlar umbrella; impermeable not just over her, but over most of Diminished Dustmound. She thus rendered it akin to a roiling, Aurora Borealis sunshade; a whirling dervish’s flaring skirts, equally so.

So, not only am I and every other writer in books, for Star Trek, and many another elsewhere, indebted to Charles Fort for the word ‘teleportation’, it seems I’m personally indebted to the magazine he inspired for this quote from van der Sluijs’s article:

“… auroral emissions also occur at ultraviolet, infrared and other wavelengths. Enunciations of a dazzling geometry of dynamic shapes are common to both near-death experiences and eye-witness accounts of aurorae. And, bizarre as it admittedly sounds, there appears to be an uncanny logic to the impression that the auroral lights contain myriad units of incorporeal consciousness exchanging information.”

There’s also this caption under a pretty picture of the Northern Lights:

“… the Aurora Borealis [is] traditionally identified as the abode of posthumous souls.”

All of which makes for quite a stunning example of serendipitous reading, especially when you consider how my recently completed brain-break-writings concluded in terms of the as yet unresolved task of “Annuling Nihila“.

The Serendipity entry’s here. And just in case you need another dose of serendipitous same, on the day Oz prepared it, the CBC Online provided some stunning shots of, well, not Fisherwoman/Nihila’s Borealis Brolly per se, but close. They’re here.

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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