Memoirs from the Dark Age

I’ve often described my new novel CRITERION as a ‘Grimdark superhero’ story. I did not set out to chase a certain tone or style, it merely followed from the concept – ‘When a super hero is murdered, what happens to his sidekicks?”

If I had to dissect the influences that lead me to the idea, the bloody trail would probably lead back to the comic book explosion of the 1990s. Funny book weren’t just for kids anymore. They became brooding, dark and edgy, and thus irresistible to a teenage mind (plus a metric ton of vampire novels, but I digress).

It was a great and terrible time of crossover events, special collector’s edition foil stamped variant covers (I still have my glow-in-the-dark Ghost Riders) and a plague of unnecessary FIRST! issues. This bloat and excess eventually collapsed like bloated things do, with the ‘tryhard’ edge-lord comics devolving into self-parody.

edgelord 2

Okay, maybe not this bad

Still, my unholy appetite was whetted and I eventually found my way to masterpieces like Alan Moore’s WATCHMEN and Frank Miller’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. I’ll always love Spidey, but I like my fiction like my coffee and chocolate: DARK.

Over the next few days I’m going to review some noteworthy influences to celebrate the release of my new book CRITERION.

Marvel delivered some entertaining stuff, like the rebooted Ghost Rider, Thanos’ quest for the Infinity Gauntlet and the demonic crossover event ‘Inferno’.

The arc with the most impact for me, personally, was ‘Kraven’s Last Hunt’. It was a real shock to see my favorite hero Spidey get out-smarted and outgunned by a minor villain with a rifle and a flair for leopard skin vests. The hero and villain were both rendered as flawed human beings, struggling with their own mortality and identity.

Kraven's_Last_Hunt

by J.M. DeMatteis, Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod

How dark? Contents include: gorging on spiders, live burial, drug induced mania and suicide.

kraven chomp

He’s Kraven some spiders.

Have a favorite dark comic book you think people should know about? Drop a comment and let me know.

CRITERION is available now from Crossroad Press in print and digital

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

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iTunes

P.S. : Liefeld is in on the joke now. pouchWe love you Rob, keep rockin’ those pre-ripped, acid washed 501 jeans.

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Meet me at the Crossroads

I am proud to announce that I have signed a deal with Crossroad Press. In addition to my upcoming ‘Grimdark-Superhero’ novel, Criterion, they publish a variety of genres from authors including some of my lifelong favorites such as Brian Lumley, Robert McCammon, Joe R. Lansdale and Clive Barker.

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You can check out my book here and  subscribe to their newsletter here.

 

 

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A Splotch, A blotch: 13 Songs about THE BLOB

Most years, I hunt down spooky tunes for my annual play list. This year, the spooky tune crept and leapt across the floor, slid and glided (glid?) under my door, and all around my wall. This year, the theme is the Blob!

blob

I heard the unmistakable refrains of The Blob theme song, by Burt Bacharach and the Five blobs, on a Spanish language radio station. You can hear more about my descent into madness here.

I could not find a comprehensive list of songs about the Blob, so I knew that I must build my own. Unfortunately it seemed that every electronica band, by law, must label one song on each album ‘the blob’. Many hundreds of songs later, here is my handpicked list of 13 tunes you can and should play at your Halloween party.

 

The Blob Theme Song by Burt Bacharach and the Five Blobs – We begin with the original and mutate wildly from here.

 

La Burbuja by Liberacion – Here is the Spanish version that will make you shake your ‘burbuja’.

 

La Burbuja by Manuel ‘Loco’ Valdes – A very strange version by a Mexican comedian that has a lot to say about love, heart ache and banishing people to Japan.

 

Wolfman Jack sings The Blob (with The Jaggerz) – Now we have Wolfman Jack singing a song about The Blob SONG, in which he compares the theme itself to a monster that infests your brain.

The Blob by Sleaford Mods – This is a relatively new song by a british punk duo and it is delightful.

 

The Blob That Ate Everyone by Smashy Claw – A very literal approach to the subject that mixes melancholy strains with indy rock.

 

Green Slime by Richard Delveccio – This 70’s acid rock song is about a slimy monster from outer space, so I’m including it on the blob list. This jam will scream across your mind!

 

The Blob by Groovy Ghoulies – This punk song compares a selfish lover to the Blob

 

Les blobs attaquent la plage by Ludwig von 88 – This French punk song’s title translates as ‘The Blobs Attack the Beach’.

 

Can’t Stop the Blob by Far Flowers/Jordan Dittus – No Halloween playlist would be complete without some surf rock!

listen here on bandcamp

Fight the Blob by Class of 3000 – a funk song by Andre 3000

 

The Blob by Love & Respect – this rap demo is simple, effective and goes to an unexpected place that cracks me up.

listen on bandcamp

Here Comes the Blob by The Electric Company – This song and video really freak me out.

This list is now trapped in arctic ice, but teeming masses of sloppy music await you on this bonus alternative playlist.

For my other Halloween playlists, click hereherehereherehere and here.

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Ear Candy – a list of fine podcasts

I don’t just make a podcast, The Six Demon Bag, I eat, sleep, and yes, even listen to podcasts. I’ve been collecting and refining my library for years. Here is a partial list of some mainstream shows and a few hidden gems for you to try.

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Comedy

Harmontown – Dan Harmon, writer of Community, Rick and Morty, Channel 101 and friends plan to colonize the moon.

Dumb People Town – The Sklar Brothers and Daniel Van Kirk bring in a comedian each week to riff on weird crime stories.

CoolGames Inc – Griffin and Nick improvise new videogames

Who Charted? – Kulap and Howard and a guest break down the music, movie and tv charts each week

My Brother, My Brother and Me – An advice show for the modren era

How Did This Get Made? – Jason, Paul and June explore movies so bad they’re good (but sometimes just so bad)

Role Playing

Acquisitions Inc – The Penny Arcade team explore and exploit the cut throat world of Dungeons & Dragons

Acquisitions Inc: The C Team – A franchise of Acquisitions Inc

Drunks and Dragons – A small but funny team muddle through a fantasy realm

Crit Juice – Always inventive, always funny, often very loud.

The Adventure Zone – The McElroy Brothers (and father) play hilarious and poignant D&D

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff – Two writers, game designers and polymaths expound on stuff

Science!

Weird Things – Hosts Andrew Mayne, Brian Brushwood and Justin Robert Young share strange news, space industry gossip and comedy

The Infinite Monkey Cage – Physicist Brian Cox and a panel pick a new topic each episode.

Oh No Ross and Carrie – Skeptic investigators explore pseudoscience and religious groups firsthand

MonsterTalk – the science and lore of monsters

Probably Science – Comedians discuss the science news of the week

Stuff to Blow Your Mind – A rich variety of topics from science and mythology are researched and explored in a pop culture infused, interdisciplinary show

Radiolab – A mix of art, science and journalism

Art

The HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast – Readings and reviews of HP Lovecraft’s work and his contemporaries (subscription podcast, with one free show each month)

The No Proscenium Podcast – the latest interviews and reviews of the Immersive Theater scene

My Haunt Life – Everything you need to know about Haunted Houses, amusement parks, alternate reality games, immersive theater and more.

After Things – The Weird Things crew reveal the triumphs and failures of life as a content creator

Lore – Spooky tales from myth and history

Voices of VR Podcast – All the latest news and behind the scenes interviews from the world of Virtual Reality

Writing Excuses – Four professional writers offer succinct advice about their craft

Interviews

Waking Up – with Sam Harris – Politics, science and controversy

You Made It Weird – with Pete Holmes – hours of comedy and soul searching

The Nerdist – Chris Hardwick interviews everyone from everything

The Joe Rogan Experience – at night…all day!

The Tim Ferris Show – Optimal minimalism, life hacks, etc

The Dana Gould Hour – funny, informative, damned dirty apes

Enjoy!

khan gif

 

 

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I am feet, hear me roar

To celebrate season 3 of Voltron on Netflix (and to make my pal Dave Wein happy) I am cracking open the old webcomic vault. Enjoy this vintage edition of Robot! VS Ninja!

R VS N 35

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The Six Demon Bag Podcast

I’ve neglected to mention that I have a new podcast!

pod people

Soon we will all be pod-people

It’s called The Six Demon Bag, and if you get that reference you’ll dig our show. If you don’t get the reference, we’ll surely win you over with our healthy recipes  flirty fashions  political discourse grab bag of topics guaranteed to include things like science, writing, movies, comics, games, anime, true tales, ponderables…all that kind of thing!

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Subscribe and Rate at iTunes and Stitcher

Throw a topic in the bag!

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Season of the Witch: 13 Songs for Halloween

The Season of the Witch is upon us, and once again I have conjured songs for your Halloween party. The theme for this year is Witches. There are too many great weird songs to choose from, so I used arcane magicks to pick my lucky 13.

witchdance

Turn on any classic rock station and you’re bound to hear Love Potion No.9, I Put a Spell on You, Black Magic Woman, Witchy Woman or a ditty by Fleetwood Mac. This list is not meant to be comprehensive. I’m scooping down deeper into the cauldron and tossing back any tune you can’t dance to.

Come, have a sip of strange brew and listen for a spell.

Season of the Witch by Donovan (This isn’t No. 1, it’s the introduction)

Devil Woman by Cliff Richard (The 60s and 70s- the golden age of witch songs)

Swamp Witch by Jim Stafford (I love these southern fried stories full of creepy bayou atmosphere. “Snakes hang thick from the Cyprus trees, like sausage on a smokehouse wall.”)

marie-laveau-painting

Marie Laveau by Bobby Bare (This is a novelty song, but it harkens back to the time when everyone knew about the Witch Queen of New Orleans.)

Marie Laveau by Dr. John (This song does the Witch Queen more reverence.)

Voodoo by The Neville Brothers (Voodoo songs are often songs about love)

Voodoo Woman by Curtis Knight (or love lost)

Voodoo Woman by Koko Taylor (The next chapter in Curtis’ story?)

One Eyed Witch by The 7th Court (The manic energy of the electric organ just sounds like Halloween)

Abracadabra by Steve Miller Band (The cheesy fx of this music video had me spellbound as a kid.)

She’s My Witch by Kip Tyler (Let’s down tune for some Rockabilly and a few rippin’ guitar songs)

Brujo by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Screamin’ Jay is Halloween royalty, and he’s representing the Man-witches)

Wicked Old Witch by John Fogerty

19 Witches by Monster Magnet

 

The Witch by The Cult

Witchfinder General by Carl Douglas (It’s not all love songs. Pimps up, Witches down.)

The Salem Witch Trial by Kiriae Crucible (Dark days in Salem. But on the bright side: electric organ!)

It’s only right to give the last word on witches to the ladies who have been so persecuted and maligned. And who better than Yoko?)

Yes, I’m a Witch by Yoko Ono (the 1974 original is smoother, but this version brings the madness home)

Bonus: I Want to be Evil by Eartha Kitt

For five more curated lists, check out my other Halloween mixes here, here, here, here and here.

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