This comic is a series of 4-10 page shorts, re-telling Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen fairytales with disturbing guro violence. I was surprised to learn which side of the Sea of Japan it comes from. China has never been known for grotesque horror and transgression – their art normally seeks edification and austerity.
I haven’t read the full thing and I probably never will, because the group scanlating this thing abandoned it. But I’ve seen enough to know what it’s like, and I highly recommend it to environmentalists on the grounds that 99% of it is recycled. Junji Ito’s one-shot manga get copied a lot. “Christmas Special” features dead bodies hanging from Christmas trees, like in “Army of One”. “Golden Girl” repeats “Glyceride’s” pus-squeezing gross-out. “Doll’s Funeral” abandons any attempt at skirting plagiarism and just redraws “Hell Doll’s Funeral” panel for panel.
Shintaro Kago is another obvious “influence”, particularly his fussy art style and slapstick black comedy. Pretty sure having your body becoming filled with insects is a central idea to one of his comics but I couldn’t give you a name. Dare I say it, but there’s some Suehiro Maruo in this series too, especially the outrageous tearjerker “Waiting”, which takes Bambi-esque emotional manipulation and all but makes it into a science.
DaShu Jiang uses the artistic five finger discount more than she should, but the comic isn’t bad. She seems to have a Ito/Ballard-esque talent for turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse, and making the familiar seem striking and new. Some of the art in the stories is really good, and often the ideas are good enough to match. “Growing Old” features a baby growing to adulthood then dotage…and then beyond. A fine example of how to tell a quirky and interesting story in eight pages.
It’s not straight horror like Ito, and the camp factor is pretty high (“Little Red Riding Hood” features the little girl slashing the wolf’s stomach open to get her grandmother back, and then selling the wolf’s fur coat). The comic is sprinkled with lots of anime cheese, and the result is odd and pleasant – violent kawaii?
It’s hard to go wrong with this sort of thing. The comics are so short and so satisfying that it isn’t hard to read another one, then another, and then you’re fifty pages in. The formula is obvious, but the comics still pack an effective shock – strangely, predictability doesn’t really hurt Collapse. You get to enjoy the buildup to the final panel, even though you often have a fair idea of what’s coming. Someone once said that limericks are not funny because they end with a dirty word but because they cannot end with anything but a dirty word, and the same principle holds true here.
As far as I know this series is still going on. It’s odd, and doesn’t fit really well into a category, but it’s worth checking out if you like Ito and so forth. Or you can check out the half that’s been translated, at least. The world may be collapsing but one thing will never change: scanlation groups will continue to be run by unstable lunatics.
In 2012 I read Will Self for the first time – a free online story called “The Rock of Crack As Big as the Ritz”. This “free” story ended up costing me $10.95AUD, as I had to get the full collection immediately to find out how it ended.
It was a taut, exciting story about a black ex-serviceman who is trying to stay straight and instead spirals into a life of crime like a spider down a plughole. It was impossible and surreal but gritty and naturalistic. It broke all sorts of rules about showing-and-not-telling, but that only helped accelerate the story’s pace. The main character, Danny, is unlikeable, and yet I like him – no contradiction there. “Rock of Crack” is an a pulse-pounding page-turner, a non-stop thrill-ride, an [insert gratuitously hyphenated compound words here], and its sequel in this collection, “The Nonce Prize”, is nearly as good.
The other stories are more diverting than fascinating, although I liked “Flytopia”, which is about a man who can communicate with insects in his house. Very much like a Paul Jennings story for grown-ups, with the surreal, pillowy quality of a dream five minutes before the alarm rings. The others are one-idea jokes – entertaining, but they don’t stay with you. “A Story for Europe” brings back the 80s fad of body-swap stories, but in a realistic and semi-serious way. “Design Faults in the Volvo 760 Turbo” is an amusing take on car fetishism.
Some of the stories don’t work – “Dave Too” is dull and obscurantist, for example. Will Self is a talented writer but I think he makes the common mistake of thinking that uninteresting stories will magically become interesting because he’s the one writing them. Not so. It’s the jokes that get the laughs, not the comedian.
“The Nonce Prize” brings back Danny and friends – sort of. The central conceit of “Rock of Crack” is missing (Self offhandedly writes it out of the story in a few sentences), and the characters’ personalities seem to have changed. But it does give Danny a shot at redemption, as he is framed for a brutal crime by a Yardie drug lord and railroaded to prison.
Away from drugs, and trying to avoid the usual fate of paedophiles behind bars, Danny takes a creative writing class and discovers that he has talent at something other than cutting crack. When he learns of a intraprison writing contest, he decides to enter. People looking for an uplifting Hollywood ending should keep looking, but the ending has a ray of hope for Danny, and is even inspirational after a fashion. A man stuck in mud has often won just by not allowing himself to be pulled down any further.
Toys/Boys should be viewed as either a good but inconsistent collection, or a very good two-part novella with some bonus stories. “Rock of Crack” and “The Nonce Prize” are both excellent (especially the former), but the others don’t measure up. Lightning might strike twice, but striking three times is a bit much to ask where Will Self is concerned.
It’s not as notorious as “Having Fun with Elvis on Stage” but it’s probably the most famous Elvis bootleg to actually contain music. Released on the “Dog Vomit Sux” label (a subsidiary of “Dead Obese Guy Enterprises”), Elvis’s Greatest Shit kifes shitty b-sides and soundtrack songs and presents them in a lovingly disrespectful package. The goal, apparently, was to remind people that Elvis was human.
Honestly, it compares favourably to Roy Orbison’s efforts at making disco, or Brian Wilson’s rapping, or the more ghoulish Beatles songs such as “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” Greatest Shit isn’t as musically intolerable as you might think or hope. The main reason? It has Elvis singing on it.
As a performer, he’s too good, and he keeps making these bad songs sound better than they have a right to be. “Old McDonald Had A Farm” made me laugh at the start, but then Elvis’s timeless baritone got me under its spell. The songwriting is consistently dreadful, but that doesn’t mean the songs are also consistently dreadful. The end result is often like a skilled poker player winning the river on a bad hand.
Elvis came from the period when albums existed to promote singles. Stab down a turntable needle at random on nearly any late 50s to early 60s LP and you’ll likely hear impaled bad music bleeding and writhing through your speakers. Elvis was no exception – even his some of his supposed classics sound boring and uninspired to me. I don’t believe “Now or Never” have been a hit without the push of the Elvis name behind it.
A lot of these songs come from soundtracks – specifically, films from his flower-necklace-and-hawaiian-guitar days, and obviously they sound odd with no context. And a lot of them are gag songs, with comical lyrics – “(There’s) No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car” takes a courageous stand against dancing inside moving vehicles, and “US Male” (often considered the album’s classic) is full of funny chauvinism.
The packaging’s a hoot, too. The back cover contains images of nonexistent Elvis LPs “Dead on Stage in Las Vegas, Aug 20th 1977″ and a vocal duet with Richard Nixon. The front cover contains the iconic picture of Elvis lying in his coffin – ultimate proof that Elvis was human.
Ballard was either a genius or a near genius, and possessed an incredible imagination. Reading him gets uncomfortable, because my weaker imagination suffers feelings of inadequacy. I feel like a Commodore 64 downloading data from a CRAY supercomputer.
SF has historically come in two branches. The first deals in speculation, the second in reflection. The first deals in “what if” scenarios and whimsies of the imagination, the second deals with apocalypses and dystopias and the real-world consequences of those whimsies. Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke are masters of the first type, Harlan Ellison and John Christopher masters of the second, but JG Ballard did both styles really well. He writes mind-candy that’s also a poison pill – even his unabashed SF efforts are shot through with unease and disquiet, if not outright horror.
The first two stories are pleasant, then we get to “Concentration City” – a stark tale about a man trying to escape a claustrophobic urban jungle that seems to extend to infinity in every direction. Similar themes appear in a later story called “The Enormous Space”, which is about the discovery of a strange space station, about five hundred meters across. Astronauts land on it, and start exploring. The more the station is examined, the bigger it seems to be, until eventually it seems to enclose the entire universe.
And so on. Not all the stories are great, but even the mediocre ones have imagination, inventiveness, and the frisson of discovery. The 98 stories are in roughly chronological order, which breaks up the flow of the original collections but allows the opportunity to watch his style evolve, from his nostalgic golden age SF stories to his surreal, post-modern phase. His best stories contain elements of both periods. Ballard was an ideas man, but also something of a literary bridge-builder.
That’s a good thing, because although Ballard’s imagination was superhuman, as a writer he was merely adequate. Among other things, Ballard’s prose has a lot of disconnected metaphors – odd, confusing similes that are unrelatable to the object in the sentence. Stephen King gave a funny example in On Writing – “He sat stolidly beside the corpse, waiting for the medical examiner as patiently as a man waiting for a ham sandwich” – and Ballard is nearly as bad sometimes. A few paragraphs into “Prima Belladonna” and I was hit with “When I went up I found them grinning happily like two dogs who had just discovered an interesting tree”…what does that mean? Did they need to use the bathroom? In “The Time Tombs” a character says “after five minutes he drains me like a skull.” Out of all the drainable things in the world – sieves, basins, what have you, why a skull? What’s the illuminating connection there? Ballard’s writing is often good, but it often has a careless, smashed-out-at-120-words-a-minute quality, as if the ideas were too hot to stay inside Ballard’s brain and had to be put on the page as soon as possible.
Given the strength of some of these stories, I can’t blame him. But he’s the kind of writer where you have to ignore the trees and look at the forest – his ideas and imaginings are better than his sentences and his paragraphs. But when Ballard is on point, his ideas and imaginings are better than nearly everyone else. This is an amazing collection and should be sought out ahead of any of his novels.
Rhapsody of Fire recorded together for nearly twenty years, and seemed like they’d last forever. But, as Hewlett-Packard Lovecraft said, even death may die. The band schismed in 2011, with guitarist Luca Turilli and keyboardist Alex Starapoli forming separate versions of Rhapsody. Dark Wings of Steel is the first Luca-less album. Call it a “friendly split”, whatever. We all know there’s a shocking story involving a haddock, a pressurized pump, and the bassist’s mother in there somewhere.
Looks like Nuclear Blast made the right call by going with Turilli’s Rhapsody, because this album is chintzy, cheap-sounding, and unworthy of the Rhapsody of Fire name. The band literally comes up short of Triumph and Agony (rightly regarded as their worst album up to this point). Where to begin? It’s Situation Abnormal, All Fucked Up.
The production is not dense and layered, as in past albums. The symphonics aren’t “real orchestra” so much as “real VST samples on Starapoli’s computer.” Dark Wings has a fake, synthetic quality that I dislike immensely. And what’s with the crappy brutal guitar tone? Rhapsody was never famous for its guitar sound, but at least Turilli’s tone fit with the massive orchestral and symphonic backdrops. New guitarist Roby De Micheli has a dry, midscooped sound reminiscent of a Crate practice amp – annoying and inappropriate. Add in weak-as-fvck drumming that couldn’t knock the froth off a double-latte, and you have the new Rhapsody – an album that’s sure to have elderly neighbours banging on your door, demanding that you turn it up to help facilitate their afternoon nap.
Two good songs – that’s it. Not three, four, or five. Two. The first is “A Tale of Magic”, which has an excellent chorus. The second is “Dark Wings of Steel”, with fast zigzagging rhythms and interesting contrapuntal ideas.
The other songs are like quarantined hospital patients dying of various diseases. Some are poorly written and forgettable, with no catchy parts or good hooks. Others try far too hard to be Rhapsody and provoke laughter – “Silver Lake of Tears” is particularly horrible. Rhapsody’s music is almost parodic already, taking the joke any further is crass. Fabio Leone’s vocals are still powerful, but he’s an overrated singer and he’s really exposed in this new stripped-back format. The shitbox production kills any atmopshere.
Last year Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody released Ascending to Infinity, which got right everything this new Rhapsodomy album gets wrong. It has lush, organic production, great songs, excellent playing, and a cohesive musical style. Ascending didn’t quite match Rhapsody’s best work, but it utterly embarasses Starapoli on this new release.
Are you a fan? Go listen to whatever Luca Turilli is working on, because HE is Rhapsody of Fire. Everyone else was dead weight, and this album proves it.
The good news: Megadeth and Black Sabbath both have new albums out, so this isn’t quite the disappointment of the year
In 2006, Chris and his virtual band of hedgehogs set the world on fire. Now, they’re ready to do it all again – and no troll, no jerk, no pair of DIRTY, CRAPPED BRIEFS will get in their way.
While the first album had Chris singing karaoke-style over Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys songs, Chris’s tastes have broadened (like his physique) and now includes artists like Madonna, Meatloaf, and Bruce Springsteen. “Trollsta’s Paradise”, is sung over “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio, and is a blistering attack on the trolls and 4channers who have made his life a misery. Chris might hate black people, but that doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate gangsta rap, just as hating gay people has never stopped him from putting objects up his ass on occasion. You have to be open-minded about some things.
The next song is a remake of “Like a Virgin”, a topic Chris can speak on with some authority. Chris’s dulcet tones are hard to hear on this one, Madonna’s voice is about twice as loud as his mic volume. There’s one song that has Chris singing without any musical accompaniment – a creepy cover of Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You” where he sounds like Herbert from Family Guy. Doesn’t Herbert have a crush on a character called Chris? There you go, then.
This album comes from the period when he was dating a
girl troll called Ivy, and his new amorata finds her way into many of the modified lyrics. “I’m Sexy For My Ivy” is sung over Justin Timberlake’s “Sexyback”, which was a hit song merely three years prior to this “album” being made – remarkably early to the party by Chris’s standards. He has some trouble remembering his own lyrics and staying on the beat. I blame young love.
Ivy apparently owns a pair of hermit crabs called Crass and Champ, and Chris really took a liking to them. Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” gets redone into a song about the crabs making love at the beach. I don’t know if Ivy ever got around to telling Chris that Crass and Champ are both male.
The album is curious in that it could be interpreted as Chris finally starting to grow up. Hardly any of the songs are about videogames or pokemon or Sonichu. The only time Chris’s fictional characters get to strut their stuff is in the final song, “Punchy and Layla’s Dance In The Dark,” where they do a lot more than strutting. The final lyrics are “I’ll throw my best punches!
Hwah! Hwah!” Can someone get Layla to a battered woman’s shelter?
Surely no recommendation is needed, but suffice to say that the Hedgehog Boys have done it again. Get this album now, and please don’t put it up your ass.
The quality takes a bit of a hit on this one, mostly because of what HR departments call a “talent problem.” No Ballard. No Gira. Moore doesn’t contribute any prose. Coulthart doesn’t contribute any art. No Campbell or Burroughs. Whitechapel is MIA. At least James Havoc’s girlfriend doesn’t contribute a story, thank fuck for that.
Instead, the stories are written by creepy goombas from Creation and Savoy (Havoc, Britton, Mitchell…), authors that don’t exist according to Google, and Japanese cyberpunk writers. The results are uneven. Kenji Siratori doesn’t write a story so much as drop a bomb into the book, reducing clean virgin paper into a 5-page blast radius of sheer stupidity. Then there’s “visual art” by some guy called Wakamatsu Yukio. I personally fail to see how photos of Japanese women covered in dead goldfish could be considered Lovecraft-inspired, but maybe you go for that sort of thing.
Black Wurm Gism has a talent problem, and also a value problem. Even with all the stupidity and filler, the book barely makes it to the 180 page mark. The Starry Wisdom was nearly forty pages longer, and had a healthier content/filler ratio. Many of the stories are fairly interesting, but many of them can scarcely be considered stories.
The Starry Wisdom was dominated by conventional horror fiction, with a few experiments. Here the experiments dominate, with conventional horror fiction only briefly appearing like snatches of music emerging out of the atonal mess of an orchestra tuning up. DM Mitchell states that his intention was to steer Black Wurm Gism away from being a horror collection. He certainly succeeded – or failed, depending on your tastes. Personally, I would rather read JG Ballard than Kenji Siratori.
I liked the strange parts of Starry Wisdom, but Black Wurm Gism is obsessed with not making sense, and it leaves me cold. Why must everything be experimental and bizarre? Couldn’t they have included more than a few actual stories? If it’s an issue of content, what about William Hope Hodgeson…his work is now in the public domain now, isn’t it?
David Britton contributes a story from the Lord Horror universe. James Havoc co-writes a piece with “Herzan Chimera” (apparently comic artist Mike Philbin)…it’s funny seeing his prose straightjacketed into conventional style, like ape in a three piece suit. Otherwise it’s a steady trudge of obscurantist nobodies. Once the aforementioned fish-porn piece ends, we get the wonderfully titled but nearly unreadable “Machines Are Digging” by Reza Negarestani, a name I keep seeing in these kinds of books. He writes in a new genre called “theory fiction”, and it’s fairly clear why it’s a new genre.
If you liked the first book and want another fix, Songs of the Black Wurm Gism is what you’re looking for. But be warned: this time the china white has been cut with sawdust. It’s an inferior product, and I wish Mitchell had thrown Siratori and Negarestani and all the rest of these dickfucks away, kept the good stories, and released them in an updated version of Starry Wisdom. Horror collections live and die on the strength of their stories. Ten pages of naked women covered in fish is not a substitute.
I don’t like what HP Lovecraft has become. Read most modern Lovecraft-inspired books, and coinage like “literary strip mining” comes to mind – people insist on demystifying his mysteries, classifying what’s meant to be unclassifiable, and ruining or ignoring what was great about his stories. The Cthulhu Mythos (ew) is now a parody: as dull and overfamiliar as a Marvel comic book character roster. What everyone needs to do to Lovecraft is leave him alone, and stop scribbling graffiti over his tombstone. There’s something about being able to buy Cthulhu plush toys that makes him not seem cool any more.
With that said, The Starry Wisdom is a strong collection of stories. It doesn’t take itself seriously, and it doesn’t treat Lovecraft as some kind of holy canon. It contains a lot of tones and moods, a lot of experimentation, and a lot of subject matter that Lovecraft would have been appalled by.
JG Ballard’s “Prisoner of the Coral Deep”, Ramsey Campbell’s “Potential” and John Beal’s “Beyond Reflection” are fairly conservative, but most of the others are full of graphic sex and violence. Some authors take shock value to ludicrous extremes, packing in the sickness and depravity until the stories resemble nasty little transgression piñatas?. Others throw narrative away altogether, and instead try to evoke a strange mood.
Alan Moore contributes three stories – I’m not used to reading him unaccompanied by comic book art. As a stylist he resembles Clive Barker, with a lot of florid, overheated imagery. “The Courtyard” is the best of the three. Michael Gira’s “The Consumer” is a blistering missive written in all caps, reading it feels like being gripped in an enormous fist and shaken. Simon Whitechapel’s “Walpurgisnachtmusik” is intense and strangely synaesthesic – one of the few written stories that I can hear as well as read.
There’s some comix, too. James Havoc contributes “Teenage Timberwolves”, with artist Daniele Sierra backing him up from the shotgun position. Like all of Havoc’s work it manages to be stupid, outrageous, and entertaining. John Coulthart’s famed interpretation of “The Call of Cthulhu” is featured here, but I fear he indulges in some of what I mentioned before, like over-literalisation of Lovecraft’s work. When we actually see Cthulhu, the result is anticlimactic. Someone like Junji Ito would probably have fared better. To be fair, the book is too small to do justice to Coulthart’s art – lines and words pack the pages like sardines in a tin. Creation were many things, but purveyors of impeccable artisanship is not one of them. I seem to recall a certain Suehiro Maruo “artbook” consisting of low-res jpegs copied off the internet…
Some stories hit, other stories miss, there’s a story called “Hypothetical Materfamilias” that misses so hard that it just about circles the world and strikes the target from the other side. Adele Olivia Gladwell was apparently Havoc’s girlfriend, and I hope he got lots of anal in return for this because it’s retarded and annoying and resembles something Burroughs would write if he was twelve years old and in SPED class. Speak of the devil: Burroughs has a story in this book too. When I read his work I always feel like I’m missing a trick – like I’m the mark in some joke or con and he’s laughing at me from the other side of the page. I didn’t understand Naked Lunch and I don’t understand this one, either.
But there are so many stories by so many authors that you’d be hard pressed not to find something you like. Don’t even think of it as being Lovecraft-inspired – the connection is vague and best, and Starry Wisdom is better seen as a collection of extreme/transgressive literature. Lovecraft would have spat venom upon this book, but it works for me.
The Masterplan name, by the way, was suggested by a Brazilian fan in 2002 who was delighted that so many master musicians were planning together. They were a nearly a definitive heavy metal supergroup, made up of cast-offs from Helloween, Iron Savior, and Ark. Roland Grapow’s modern and progressive riffing style plus Uli Kusch’s dizzying technical drumbeats plus Jorn Lande’s continent-filling vocals equaled very, very good music.
Unfortunately, problems started setting in after their second album: slackening record sales, a feud between Uli and Roland, and worst of all, a singer who just didn’t care that much. Since then the band has been like a drowning man being pulled downstream and clutching at eddying pieces of driftwood. New singers, new drummers, new styles. After the dry, Scorpions-inspired Time to Be King, Novum Initium finds the band playing power metal, this time with Rick Altzi on vocals and an incredibly powerful new drummer called Martin Skaroupka. If Kusch was Les Binks then Skaroupka is Scott Travis – relentless double-bass flurries and lightning fast snare fills, amplified by a production job so dense and heavy that Novum Initium borders on sounding ridiculous.
There’s still a bit more midtempo material than is really needed, but Novum Initium regains the ground lost by Time to be King, and introduces.
“The Game” is ferociously fast, with many different sections. “Black Night of Magic” is a bit like “Kind Hearted Light” on the debut, except with the riffs stealing market share from the keyboards instead of the other way around. “Pray on My Soul” is an adequate midtempo unit-shifter. The ballad “Through Your Eyes” is musically well done, although the production is too heavy and compressed to work for this sort of song. It’s like the band is performing open heart surgery with a sledgehammer.
“Betrayal” features prominent sitar sections and an agitated chorus, but the best song is “Return to Avalon”, a simple tribute to Helloween that does not do a single thing wrong. It’s catchy enough to be memorised after your first listen, but it has enough contrapuntal intrigue and complexity for that not to be your last listen. The chord changes backing the final repetition of the chorus are brilliant.
The final song is the 10:17 title track. I had high expectations, and they were kind of met. It’s an impressive musical achievement, with Roland bashing out lots of low-end riffs and keyboardist Axel Mackenrott laying down atmosphere like a bastard. But it lacks the flying speed and majesty of “Black in the Burn” and feels like too little bread spread over too much butter (or whatever hobbits say). Still, that final chorus is a thing of beauty. I think it would have been better if they’d shaved two or three minutes off – I’m not picky where.
Masterplan is not down and they’re not out. They don’t match their first three albums, and they probably never will, again, but they’re still a massive threat. If nothing else, it beats the latest Helloween album, and that’s kind of the whole reason this band exists.
Something pro-choice people talk about is that pro-life billboards often don’t show the mother’s face, which apparently makes her into an object, or some sort of baby factory. That might be true, but the baby’s face is even less visible. In fact, you can’t see the baby at all. It’s hidden.
Once, art was like that. You only got to see the end result – the laborious and painful creation process was hidden from public view. A project was announced, and then you’d have no idea of how it was going. Maybe the creator was having the time of his life, or was reaching for the shotgun, or was farming the project off on to an unpaid and uncredited assistant. You didn’t know.
The internet in general and the webcomic in particular changed that. People would upload comics sequentially, page by page. If a update was late, you might get an apology and an explanation why. A bit destructive to the artist’s mystique, but it was interesting. Like if pregnant women had transparent stomachs and you could see the fetus twist and writhe and struggle.
The Blackblood Alliance was a webcomic I liked when my age was less than it is now (tautology). It was a story about talking wolves, with lots of action, and art heavily inspired by The Lion King and Balto. It was familiar and safe, but good for what it was. The creator, Kay Fedewa, would upload pages and talk about them and redraw them as her skills became better.
Unfortunately, not all pregnancies result in a birth. This one ended in a miscarriage. The first issue was completed, and then updates became less frequent, and then stopped altogether. From time to time Kay would announce on DeviantArt that she had turned a corner, was resuming work on the comic, was more inspired than ever, etc. Nothing happened. I heard rumors of personal trouble: the death of a mother. Either way, it was clear that Kay was no longer capable of finishing The Blackblood Alliance.
Maybe she aimed too high. She had big plans for the Blackblood Alliance, such as an MMORPG and a cartoon series. Maybe when those things failed, they took the comic down with them. I don’t know. I got to see part of the comic’s creation, but the really crucial parts remained close to me. Eventually she admitted defeat and handed the comic over to partner Erin Siegel, who has done a whole lot of nothing with it. I wonder if both Kay and Erin regard The Blackblood Alliance as something they did when they were kids – what excites you now won’t excite you forever. Mario Puzo actually wanted to write another book instead of the Godfather. When questioned about it years later, he said “subject matter rots like everything else.”
The fragmentary first issue of The Blackblood Alliance still exists online. Has the rest of it rotted in Kay’s head? Maybe. But that to me makes it really special – probably more special than if the comic had been completed. It’s forever a question mark, forever a mystery. The story is stuck in limbo: it hasn’t ended, and it never will. The internet was the way Kay chose to distribute the comic, but ultimately all it did was show readers exactly how a comic can wither and die on the vine.