The Top 50 Black Gate Posts in May

Sunday, June 29th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

GodzillaMillenniumIt was all about the king of monsters at the Black Gate blog last month.

Ryan Harvey’s Godzilla review was our top article in May. His mammoth 5-part history of the Big Guy was also picked up by Boing-Boing, among other places, exposing the series to thousands of new readers; the final installment came in at #3 for the month. If you visited the site last month and read nothing but Godzilla articles, you weren’t the only one.

My analysis of John C. Wright’s conservative manifesto “Heinlein, Hugos, and Hogwash,” and the frequently hilarious response in the blogosphere, was our second most read article last month. Garrett Calcaterra’s well-researched “Can SF Save the World From Climate Change?” came in at #4.

Rounding out the Top Five was Fletcher Vredenburgh’s warm appreciation of Keith Taylor’s sword & sorcery classic, Bard.

The complete Top 50 Black Gate posts in May were:

  1. Godzilla (2014) Is a True Godzilla Film and a Unique Blockbuster
  2. A Ride Along with the Thought Police: John C. Wright, Foz Meadows, and Rachel Aaron
  3. A History of Godzilla on Film, Part 5: The Travesty and the Millennium Era (1996–2004)
  4. Can SF Save the World From Climate Change?
  5. A Perfect Artifact from the Glory Days of 1970s Swords & Sorcery: Keith Taylor’s Bard
  6. Read More »


Goth Chick News: Comic Aficionados, Prepare to Have Your Minds Blown

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Shifter graphic novel-smallWhen attending an event as gi-normous as Chicago’s C2E2, if you come upon a booth with a crowd so large you can’t get close enough to see what is going on, it can only mean one of two things.

Either the girls from Gorilla Tango Burlesque are promoting their Star Wars: A Nude Hope girlie show again or someone is demonstrating something truly amazing.  And though Black Gate photog Chris Z was hoping for the former, in this case it was the latter.

Comic fangirls and boys, allow me to introduce “augmented reality” comics.

To start with augmented reality, or “AR,” is defined by the Mashable tech site as:

A direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory inputs.  As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.  Unlike virtual reality which replaces the real world with a simulated one, augmented reality is in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) information about the surrounding real (or in this case “comic”) world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulate-able. Artificial information about the environment and its objects is overlaid on the “real” world.

Translated, this means by downloading a free companion app and pointing your tablet or smartphone’s camera at pages in an AR comic, you can literally watch the art get up off the page and interact with you.

And this is what drew the insane crowd to the Anomaly Productions booth at C2E2.

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Goth Chick News: Lovecraft Fans, It’s Time for a Road Trip

Thursday, May 8th, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Atlas on your phone

The Atlas on your phone

In last week’s coverage of C2E2, I promised to share two of the coolest products from the show in upcoming posts – and I am about to do just that.

Though my buddy and Lovecraft devotee, comic artist Dirk Manning, was hoping for Cthulhu footy pajamas, I believe what I am about to serve up is (almost) as exciting.

Allow me to introduce you to Chris Karr and his Pnakotic Atlas.

Karr was first struck with the idea for the Pnakotic Atlas when driving through Maine. As a fan of Stephen King, Kerr became curious as to the actual locations of some of King’s more famous tales and thought it would be cool if there was a way to easily find some of them. Karr is an app developer by trade and an avid fan of H.P. Lovecraft (in addition to King). He decided to tackle the idea of an atlas that documented Lovecraft locations: a less potentially litigious option, as Lovecraft’s works are in the public domain.

The inspiration for the name Pnakotic Atlas, as all of you Lovecraftians know, comes from The Pnakotic Manuscripts, which are fictional manuscripts created by Lovecraft that first appeared in his short story “Polaris” (1918). They appear again in several other Lovecraft stories, including At the Mountains of Madness (1936), “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath” (1926), “The Other Gods” (1933), and “The Shadow Out of Time” (1936).

The fictional library city of Pnakotus is where the Manuscripts are housed and where they, and Karr’s app, get their moniker.

Karr combed through Lovecraft’s works, pulling out any detail he could find about locations (the ones on Earth, anyway), and was able to document approximately 400 potential sites.  Then using the stories as guides, he went about meticulously locating each place on Google Earth.

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Goth Chick News: The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (That’s C2E2 For You Cool Kids)

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 | Posted by Sue Granquist

c2e2 logoThis year’s C2E2 event, held the weekend of April 26th, was reportedly the largest Chicago has seen so far.  And judging from the amount of trench coats and spandex Black Gate photog Chris Z and I observed during our annual pilgrimage, I have no doubt this was true.

Trench coats and spandex, you ask?

Considering this is primarily a comic convention where about one attendee in every four was parading their cosplay best, the spandex is probably self-explanatory, but it might interest you to know that the definition of sexy at this year’s event was none other than the Time Lord himself, Doctor Who.

Attendance was estimated at 70K, which meant even though Chicago is now hosting the show in the same exhibition hall as the Auto Show, the space still seems packed in, which can be somewhat awkward when spandex is involved.

The over 400 exhibitors consisted of comic sellers of course, but also every category of related paraphernalia you can possibly imagine — including costume accessories, figurines and the most amazing collection of genre artists you’ll find under one roof. And that doesn’t even include the celebrities there to meet and greet, as well as participate in panel discussions.

With that much material, it’s downright difficult to decide what to tell you about, but here are a few morsels that caught our attention.

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Goth Chick News: Hanging with Head Smash Creator Vlad Yudin

Thursday, May 30th, 2013 | Posted by Sue Granquist

image008At this year’s Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (“C2E2”), you couldn’t spit a piece of gum without hitting a promotional plug for Head Smash.

To be honest, you couldn’t spit a piece of gum without hitting a lot of unusual things at the May event, but Black Gate photog Chris Z and I couldn’t help but notice that the sheer quantity of Head Smash promotion was on par with the visual assault launched by Marvel for its own upcoming releases.

We had to admit, the curiosity factor was being driven off the scale for a graphic novel that hadn’t yet been released — not to mention an indy film adaptation barely into pre-production.

I had read that Yudin was creating Head Smash (penned by Erik Hendrix and illustrated by Dwayne Harris) for Arcana Comics, as well as writing the film adaptation of the story.  He is also producing and adapting the film’s screenplay with The Twilight Saga producers Mark Morgan and Michael Beckor.

So thanks partially to our nosiness–  but mostly to the tenacity of the PR company handling Head Smash and its creator – Chris and I got an early morning exclusive chat with the Russian-born-US-raised writer, director and producer Vlad Yudin.

And yes, I admit it, there’s no way I’m not going to talk to a guy named “Vlad…”

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Goth Chick News: Blade Slays Again…

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 | Posted by Sue Granquist

tomb of dracula 10 1976I might be one of the few fans of the Marvel comic Blade to actually admit to liking the screen adaptations staring Wesley Snipes.

New Line Cinema released the trilogy of Blade movies between 1998 and 2004. They were based on the half-breed vampire slayer character created for Marvel Comics by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan debuting in 1973′s The Tomb of Dracula #10.

Granted, not all three movies were created equal, but I thought the first one was solid and though by the third installment, Blade Trinity, fans of the comic might not have recognized much, the snappy dialog written for Ryan Reynolds and the overall eye-candy made it at least entertaining, if not wildly successful.

In fact, at this year’s C2E2 I overheard an interesting bit of Blade Trinity trivia which maybe helps explain why.

Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt — who played weapons expert Hedges in the third Blade movie – was signing autographs.  He told a fan that all those Ryan Reynolds’ sophomoric one-liners followed by Wesley Snipes’ dead pan stares were largely the result of Snipes not speaking to screenwriter / director David Goyer.

Apparently Snipes would only communicate to Goyer via post-it notes and generally refused to cooperate during the production, causing the rest of the cast to take up the uncomfortable slack in an attempt to save the film. Oswalt explained:

We would all just think of things for him (Reynolds) to say and then cut to Wesley’s face not doing anything because that’s all we could get from him (Snipes).  That was an example of a very troubled shoot that we made fun. You have to find a way to make it fun.

Interesting.

Even more so when you consider that the entire franchise might be getting a chance at a Snipes-free redemption.

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Goth Chick News Meets The Resurrectionist

Thursday, May 9th, 2013 | Posted by Sue Granquist

image006

“If they knew what horrible things were available to them they would take comfort in their own suffering.”
                                                                        -Dr. Spencer Black

I have been sitting here for long moments and I am still not sure where to start telling you about this.

It is art and science and masterful storytelling packaged and tied with a blood splattered ribbon. It is at once indescribably beautiful and nightmarishly horrifying. It is my latest obsession and my signed copy caused me to remove everything else from my coffee table to ensure no other object would detract from it.

It is The Resurrectionist, by EB Hudspeth.

Hudspeth is one of the people I couldn’t wait to introduce you to, whom I met at this year’s C2E2 event in Chicago.  When Nicole at Quirk Books got in touch, she described EB (he said we could all call him Eric) as “author, artist and creator of ‘Frankenstein meets Gray’s Anatomy.’”

Couple this with Quirk’s charter of publishing only 25 strikingly unconventional books every year, and this amounted to an opportunity there was no way I was going to miss.

Eric Hudspeth came in out of the rain (literally) to sit down and talk about The Resurrectionist during his visit to Chicago – the 1893 version of which figures prominently in his tale.

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Goth Chick News: The 2013 Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 | Posted by Sue Granquist

image004Last week the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2 for you cool kids) rolled into town with its usual juggernaut of the innovative, the unusual and the spandex’d.

Though this is my fourth year covering the show for Black Gate, I must say it is by far the worst place to send someone like me who has a problem with staring; especially when doing so is likely to seriously annoy a very big person in a very small costume.

But never let it be said that I shirked my obligation to a long-suffering readership. Therefore I bribed Black Gate photographer Chris Z to once again wade into a precarious situation with me, this time with the promise he could meet all the crew of the Black Pearl from Pirates of the Caribbean who were listed as special guests.

Plus, Chris would be a good deterrent if I did indeed seriously annoy someone; like Batman or Chewbacca.

Almost immediately I realized Chris Z was probably in as much trouble as I was.

The first indication was a sign instructing us to text a number if we saw anything “suspicious.” At which point Chris and I looked at each other and said in unison, “Define suspicious.”

When everywhere you look are adults dressed as super heroes, Star Wars characters and video game icons, determining exactly what constitutes “suspicious” is darn near impossible. Which makes you wonder what would cause someone to text the number as instructed.

Still, Chris and I did our very best to put on the mental blinders and run through a full-day lineup of interviews, meet-and-greets and 100 aisles of merchandise.

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Goth Chick News: Fear, Nudity and More Seasonal Fun…

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 | Posted by Sue Granquist

image006Now that the seasonal Halloween fun is in full swing and the Goth Chick News interns have gone mad on Red Bull and candy corn, it’s down to me to sample the best-of-the-best of the “holiday” offerings and hand them over to you to fill up your two remaining October weekends.

Oh, and if you are under 16, I’m going to need to ask you to leave. All of the events I’m about to describe have a non-negotiable age limit.

The last thing we want is lawsuits to claim reimbursement for PTSD therapy sessions.

Youngsters firmly in front of Sesame Street? Pencils ready?

Then let’s break this down by location…

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Goth Chick News: Once Upon a Midnight Dreary is Friday (again)

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 | Posted by Sue Granquist

image0022

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

You’ve got to go a long way to adequately capture the creepiness that is the poetry of Edger Allen Poe.

And Hollywood has tried… a lot.

There have been 44 films to date dealing directly with Poe material, not to mention all the films with Poe “inspired” material, from the first Batman movie in 1966 to Saw V in 2008.

It started in 1909 when D.W. Griffith created the first Poe bio-pic in the form of a six-minute, one-reeler entitled Edgar Allen Poe commemorating the 50th anniversary of Poe’s passing. Even with all the wonders the turn of the century brought, including moving pictures, Edgar Allen Poe stood out as a mystery.

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