The Curator of Schlock #330: Autopsy

The Curator of Schlock #330 by Jeff Shuster

Autopsy

Mimsy Farmer twice in one year? How did that happen?

Jervis showed up to the mansion with three hippie hitchhikers he picked up on his way back from “taking care of his sick mother.” The new house guests are named Indigo, Saffron, and Celestial. I haven’t had a chance to bring up the coffin I saw in the basement because the beardy boy named Saffron won’t knock it off with the tambourine playing! Celestial seems cool enough. She keeps asking me what my sign is, but Indigo, the intellectual, keeps wanting to talk about late stage capitalism. Saffron reeks of patchouli oil. I’m not liking this one bit.

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Tonight’s giallo feature is 1975’s Autopsy from director Armando Crispino. The movie begins with scenes of different people committing suicide. One is an old guy tying a plastic bag around his head before throwing himself into a river. Another has a driver lighting a match and setting himself and the car on fire. The third suicide is a father machine gunning himself to death and murdering his two young daughters. Okay. So this is a little dark.

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Next we get to see a bustling Italian mortuary filled with doctors and corpses. Not my idea of a dream job. We’re introduced to Dr. Simona Sana (Mimsy Farmer), a brilliant young woman who also has waking nightmares. She sees the corpses of the mortuary get up and walk around. Some of the corpses even make love to each. I’m not sure what Sigmund Freud’s diagnosis would be be, but I think she’s whacko. Oh, did I mention Simona has visions of screaming corpses every time she tries getting intimate with her boyfriend, Edgar (Ray Lovelock)?

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Anyway, we learn that Betty is only half American. The other half is Italian. Her mother was American. Her father is Italian. Her mother is dead. Her father is planning to remarry. Did you get all that? He’s planning to marry again. I think it’s to a young, vivacious red head named Betty Lenox (Gaby Wagner) whose body ends up being found a couple of days later. Betty supposedly shot a bullet through her head and it knocked one of her eyes out, but one of the lecherous coroners was able to pop it back in.

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Betty’s brother, Paul Lenox (Barry Primus), shows up to identify the body, but he refuses to accept that she committed suicide. You see, Betty had confessed her sins to her priest before she died and was happy to move on with her life. Oh, and the priest is the aforementioned brother, Father Paul Lenox, who used to be a race car driver before he caused a major accident at Le Mans that killed six people. Father Lenox is also prone to fits of rage. I seem to remember a scene of him shaking poor Simona demanding that she “respect him.”

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You know, it wouldn’t be the first time a priest turned out to be the murderer in one of these movies, but that would be too easy. Father Lenox has his problems, but that doesn’t make him a murder. Unless you count those six people he killed a Le Mans. But that was before he became a priest. There’s more weirdness that awaits, but you kind of need to see it for yourself. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Autopsy was scored by the late, great Ennio Morricone. Also, you get to see Mimsy Farmer in the buff, but you didn’t hear that from me.


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Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #82: Shut Up, I Don’t Have an Ulcer

Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #82 by Drew Barth

Shut Up, I Don’t Have an Ulcer

Anytime I hear anything about corporate shake-ups from publisher-owning conglomerates, I get that pit in my stomach. Comics are a tenuous business—one that most of the time depends on a larger company mostly forgetting about them so they can go about their normal operations. And yet that doesn’t stop the inevitable. While the information is coming out at a small trickle, it’s been confirmed from multiple sources that much of DC Comics’ senior editorial staff—including Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras, editors Mark Doyle and Andy Khouri (the pair in charge of DC’s Black Label imprint), VP of Marketing & Creative Services Jonah Weiland, as well as a host of others—have been let go.

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Many of these people have been in comics for decades and have helped to put wonderful work out into the world. It’s heartbreaking to see so many people go. When AT&T executives met with DC executives after their acquisition of TimeWarner, AT&T were surprised that comics were still being published at all. The worry I’ve been seeing online these past couple days is that DC is going to be treated more as an IP farm than an actual publisher—a branch that exists solely to create content for films, television, and streaming. And while that is pessimistic, the DC Universe service I had written about last year is already being folded into HBO Max for its movies and series. To say the least, things feel tenuous.

Marie Javins, the current Executive Editor of Global Publishing Initiatives and Digital Strategy, and Michelle Wells, the Executive Editor of DC’s Children’s and Young Adult lines, will now be taking over as publishers and will report directly to Chief Creative Officer, and former publisher, Jim Lee. And that might actually be DC’s saving grace in this current bloodbath. One of the larger recent pushes in DC has been for their young adult graphic novels—works like Mira: Tidebreaker, Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed, and many others. If they want to continue, their focus should be in this area since Scholastic makes up 40% of all graphic novels sold last year. And while that would be a massive change in DC as a publisher and creator of works we’ve become attached to, this could be how they survive.

There is no telling what DC’s future is going to be. And as this is just one part of a larger series of lay-offs across all of WarnerMedia, it might not seem completely world-shattering. But then this is comics, a medium that has always struggled with being rather small and a relative afterthought to larger businesses. I don’t know exactly how things are going to be by this time next year, but this is the kind of event that’s going to ripple across the industry. We can only hope for the best.


drew barthDrew Barth (Episode 331) is a writer residing in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.

Episode 432: Kyle Eagle!

Episode 432 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on Apple podcasts, stitcher, spotify, or click here to stream (right click to download, if that’s your thing).

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This week, I talk to podcaster Kyle Eagle about music and everything.

TEXTS DISCUSSED

Wynton Marsalis The Midnight Blues

Dizzy Gillespie Groovin HighCachao

NOTES

This episode is sponsored by the excellent people at Scribophile.

Scribophile

TDO Listeners can get 20% of a premium subscription to Scribophile. After using the above link to register for a basic account, go here while still logged in to upgrade the account with the discount.

Check out Kyle’s jazz podcast, The Major Scale.

Check out my literary adventure novel, Guy Psycho and the Ziggurat of Shame.


Episode 432 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on Apple podcasts, stitcher, spotify, or click here to stream (right click to download, if that’s your thing).

The Curator of Schlock #329: Tenebrae

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The Curator of Schlock #329 by Jeff Shuster

Tenebrae

Also known as Tenebre. Someone needs to learn how to spell.

I tried mentioning the coffin filled with ashes to Jervis, but he flew the coop before I could say anything. He left a note behind, something about a sick grandmother. Jervis prepped a rack of lamb in the fridge with instructions on reheating. He even included mint jelly. Mmmmm. Mint jelly. Still, I don’t like being in this mansion all by myself. I hear funny noises at night.

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We’re kicking off another Giallo Month and it’s not like I need an excuse to enjoy these macabre Italian thrillers in the heat of August. Tonight’s movie is 1982’s Tenebrae from director Dario Argento. I have to say if you wanted to get into Giallo movies, Tenebrae would be a great place to start. The man who kicked off the genre returned in 1982 to direct what is one his best films. Also at the helm on the soundtrack side are former members of Goblin: Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli, and Massimo Morante. If that isn’t enough to sell you on Tenebrae, this movie made it on Great Britain’s list of video nasties. You couldn’t even buy a copy of Tenebrae over there until 1999.

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The movie begins with an American writer, Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa), taking a trip to Rome, Italy to promote his latest thriller, Tenebrae. He’s greeted in Rome by his assistant, Anna (Daria Nicolodi), and his literary agent, Bullmer (John Saxon). Bulmer is excited that Tenebrae has remained on the bestseller list for twelve weeks straight and is even more excited about the new fedora he purchased. Seriously, this Bullmer guy is truly obsessed with his hat. This is 1982! Were men wearing fedoras back then? Not that I can remember. Maybe in Europe?

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Anyway, Peter Neal’s arrival in Rome coincides with murder, murder, murder! Yes, there’s a psycho serial killer on the loose. The first murder is a shoplifter named Elsa. The killer tears pages out of Tenebrae and shoves them down Elsa’s throat before slitting said throat with a razor blade. The next murder is that of a young feminist critic of Peter Neal that labeled Tenebrae “a sexist novel.” She also gets her throat slit.

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One segment of this film is real nightmare fuel for those of you out there with dog phobias. A teenage girl named Maria walks home after a date gone wrong and is alarmed by a barking doberman pinscher behind a gate. She tries scaring him off with a stick to no avail and smartly steps away only to be alarmed when the canine jumps the gate and dashes down the street after her. After running through a park and fending off the beast, she sneaks into the garage of the closest house only to discover it to be the home of the serial killer. Yeah, things aren’t going to work out well for Maria.

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Naturally, Peter Neal gets involved in trying to solve who the murderer is since the Italian police department is dumbfounded as it usually is in these movies. I won’t spoil the rest of the movie, but things are not as they seem. Tenebrae is one of Argento’s better movies. I’d put it in his top five.


JOHN SAXON

1936-2020

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John Saxon is a favorite of this blog for movies such as Battle Beyond the StarsCannibal Apocalypse, and Black Christmas. He may be gone from this world, but he will never be gone from The Museum of Schlock. I expect to encounter him in several more unearthed cinematic gems. Rest in peace, John Saxon.


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Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #82: Energized and Anthologized

Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #82 by Drew Barth

Energized and Anthologized

A good anthology is hard to find sometimes. Luckily, Peow released the first volume of their Kickstarter-funded anthology series, Ex.Mag, this past month. Their original campaign promised three volumes centering on three sub-genres: cyberpunk, paranormal romance, and dark fantasy. We’ll be seeing the second and third volumes later in the year, but for now, we’re focusing on their first cyberpunk offering The first volume of Ex.Mag, Full Metal Dreamland, is also a look into how Peow can create one of the best anthologies of the year with only a theme and some of the strongest creators working right now.

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What’s actually in this thing? For the most part, almost anything you could want from a comic anthology centered in cyberpunk. Sophia Foster-Dimino brings us a story on the alienation of augmented reality-assisted online dating and the ways in which sculpting a living space is more important than any other way we present ourselves to the world in “On Show Now.” A fierce and silent kinetic energy runs through “Personal Companion” as Freddy Carrasco illustrates a cyborg being torn to pieces as it sprints toward a target. “Polygon Bird” by Giannis Milonogiannis shows us two AI that only want their program signature to continue in the freest form they know—a human baby. And video game character creation takes on a deeper existential meaning in Kelly K’s “Assembled by You.” This is a cross-section of everything good happening in comics right now as every creator has an interpretation of “cyberpunk” and what that can constitute. And that’s not even half the book.

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Many of these stories deal with identity and how we express ourselves within the confines of technology. We’re treated to brain-linking, AIs, smartphones as tiny beings, cyborgs, an endless stream of wires, and that sense of dystopia that comes with all of the above. And these stories do what all good cyberpunk does: critiques the current age we live in through a lens of the perceived future. What we have here are ten different lenses—from short stories to generational narratives to work that pushes up against the idea of what can be comics—with each one showing us some splinter of a future. These creator’s lenses take that long look at what we have in our world right now and contort it into something simultaneously familiar and alien. Even if surroundings change, even if technology becomes incomprehensible to us now, there is still the core of a human character that maintains throughout.

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As this is an anthology that looks into the future, I can’t help but feel optimistic about the work that will be coming from Peow’s anthologies soon. A strong anthology can only mean more great things for comics as a whole. While some of these artists have been long-established—I’ve even written about Milonogiannis multiple times now—a good anthology shows what is coming next. How many of these creators will show us work that reorients the way we think about the medium? The answer is always more than you think.

Get excited. Get anthologized.


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Drew Barth (Episode 331) is a writer residing in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.

Episode 431: TDO After Hours #1, with Vanessa Blakeslee

Episode 431 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on Apple podcasts, stitcher, spotify, or click here to stream (right click to download, if that’s your thing).

Episode 431.2 Ad

In this week’s show, Vanessa Blakeslee and I discuss two online pieces on the subject of sex writing, and the conversation roves from there.

TEXTS DISCUSSED

Lorin Stein’s “Why Write About Sex?” in The Paris Review.

J.T. Ellison’s “Don’t Be Shy: How to Write Effective Sex Scenes.”

Vanessa Blakeslee’s “The Fetish” in The Paris Review.

“Another Saturday Night with Mr. Fun” can be found in this anthology.

Condoms & Hot Tubs

NOTES

This episode is sponsored by the excellent people at Scribophile.

Scribophile

TDO Listeners can get 20% of a premium subscription to Scribophile. After using the above link to register for a basic account, go here while still logged in to upgrade the account with the discount.

Visit Vanessa’s website to learn more about her work.

Check out my literary adventure novel, Guy Psycho and the Ziggurat of Shame.


Episode 431 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on Apple podcasts, stitcher, spotify, or click here to stream (right click to download, if that’s your thing).

The Diaries of a Sozzled Scribbler #14

The Diaries of a Sozzled Scribbler #14

Transcribed by DMETRI KAKMI

1 August 2020

Guess who I stumbled on while prowling in Melbourne’s Fitzroy Gardens? None other than Charles Baudelaire.

‘Charlie, my dear fellow,’ I cried. ‘I thought you were dead.’

‘I am,’ quoth he. ‘That’s why I’m here.’

‘Well said,’ was my jolly rejoinder. ‘Only those who’ve turned their backs on life reside in Melbourne.’

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We laughed. Charles delivered a hearty slap to my back, and I almost plummeted into a hydrangea bush, from which four men emerged, pulling up their pants.

‘Regardez, Charlie,’ I said. ‘Ta fleurs du mal.’

‘They are anges de debauche in their natural habitat,’ pronounced my friend. ‘What are you doing here, old booze bus?’

‘I’m waiting for Olivia De Havilland,’ I admitted, ‘She died and I’m interviewing her about life on the Other Side.’

‘What fun. Mind if I keep you company?’

‘Not at all, dear chap. Let us take a seat and await the august lady.’

We sat on a bench and waited. It was a grey day. Hardly anyone was out. The chill winds that prowled the park’s avenues were an inhalation from Hades’ mouth. Charlie caused a bottle of white rum to materialise out of his pocket and we passed it between us—to keep warm, you understand.

Charlie spake thus.

‘Whom do you prefer, your mother, your father, your sister or your brother?’

He was in one of those moods. One could only play along.

‘I have no father, nor mother, nor sister, nor brother,’ said I, getting into the spirit. ‘A hatchling am I from Quetzalcoatl’s egg—the flying serpent from whom all nature’s rejects claim descent.’

‘Your friends?’

‘Frauds, felons, fiends and faggots all! I abhor the very word.’

‘Your country?’

‘I know not under which lassitude it resides—the land of the Lotus-eaters!’

‘Beauty?’

‘What is beauty but a crapulous inebriate looking for the moon in the gutter?’

‘So, what do you love, oh hammered stranger?’

‘I love Methylenedioxymethamphetamine…MDMA, ecstasy, molly, call it what you will…tis rapture, tis bliss… les merveilleux etoiles!’

We cackled and gazed fondly at each other. Perhaps I ought to state at this juncture that Charlie and I go back a long way. We were born round about the same time and even went to the same school. He in Paris, 1821, and I in Athens, the same year. We became fast friends at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, he studying law, of all things, and me idleness. He rather carelessly took up permanent residence at the Cimetiere du Montparnasse not fifty years later, while I persist.

‘How do you do it?’ Charles said, turning upon me a tearstained face of angelic beatitude. Always gets maudlin after a few drinks.

‘How do I do what?’

‘Stay alive.’

‘Sold my soul to Beelzebub.’

‘Ah, you went ahead with that deal.’

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘A soul just gets in the way of a good time.’

‘True,’ muttered my friend, chugging rum. ‘If only I had been as wise.’

We were interrupted by feminine dulcet tones. It was Olivia De Havilland, the last screen gem. The elegant lady sauntered across the great lawn, looking like Springs seraph incarnate.

‘Yoo-hoo, there you are, you naughty boy!’

‘Livvy, darling,’ I said, rising and taking the preferred dainty digit. ‘You look fabulous for someone who is a corpse.’

Her radiant smile lit up the world. I placed a kerchief on the bench and Livvy lowered her cultivated posterior on it; I will be sure to sell it on eBay. (The kerchief, not her bum.) The seraph who organised the interview told me the dead enjoy ten to fifteen minutes among the living. I had to make it quick. After introducing Livvy to Charlie, I got down to business.

‘Livvy,’ I said. ‘Your adoring fans are waiting to find out what it’s like on the other side.’

Livvy crossed one stockinged leg over the other, pulled her Balenciaga mink snugly around her, and lifted the veil on a question that has baffled philosophers and necromancers over the centuries.

‘Why, it’s like a great big hotel.’

‘A hotel?’ Charlie and I cried, horrified.

‘Yes. A combination of The Ritz Paris and the Chelsea in New York. The higher up you go the more grand it becomes. The lower down, the more scungy, to use an Australian idiom.’

She must have observed our expressions of disappointment for she added: ‘It’s really very pleasant and very well maintained. Surely you’ve seen it, Charles?’

Charlie shook his head, more despondent than ever.

‘The crimson dawn has blotted out the spiritual skies pour moi, ma chere madame. I must wander with wide-open eyes in Elysian Fields, phantom-like, closed out from the immortal sun, a lucid, pure, being whose only mission is to record the le voyage des damnes.’

Livvy and I looked piteously at him.

‘No God?’ I said to her.

‘Not that I’ve seen. Though I do think my maid is a goddess.’

‘No heaven or hell?’

Livvy contemplated the piercing question.

‘You know,’ she said in good time, ‘I believe there might be a demarcation of some sort. I, for instance, must dwell in a kind of heaven because my dear friend Bette Davis has a suite on the same floor, and Errol Flynn is across the hall.’

‘Ah!’ I cried, pointing a revelatory finger to the skies.

‘And…’ Livvy went on, ‘my goody-two-shoes sister Joan Fontaine is seven floors below with James Stewart and Ethel Merman. That must surely constitute hell.’

Our laughed rose to the heavens because, quite suddenly, Livvy proclaimed it was time to go.

‘One more question,’ I said.

‘Make it quick.’

‘Is it true about Errol Flynn?’

‘Is what true, darling?’

‘That he has…you know… a big…’

Livvy’s face lit up like a thousand radiant suns.

‘I’m not one to tell tales out of school,’ she said, sotto voce, ‘but let me say that today’s women lack one thing.’

‘What’s that?’

‘An appreciation of a big hard cock.’

With that, Livvy shot to her feet. It was time to return to the great big Ritz Hotel in the sky. Coming along the avenue was a giant stork with a man’s shadow at his feet. It picked up Livvy with its beak and vanished in the clouds.

‘Come home,’ I said to Charlie. ‘I’ll make you an Old Fashioned.’

‘So long as you keep your hands to yourself,’ he mumbled, rising unsteadily to his feet.

‘As if I’d touch you, syphilitic old boot.’

Until next we meet. Cheerio!


people-2570596_1920 SozzledThe Sozzled Scribbler was born in the shadow of the Erechtheion in Athens, Greece, to an Egyptian street walker (his father) and a Greek bear wrestler (his mother). He has lived in Istanbul, Rome, London, New Orleans and is currently stateless. He partakes of four bottles of Bombay gin and nine packets of Gauloises cigarettes a day.

Dmetri Kakmi, is a writer and editor. His first book Mother Land was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premiers Literary Awards in Australia, and his new book The Door will be released in September 2020.

The Curator of Schlock #328: Fantasy Island

The Curator of Schlock #328 by Jeff Shuster

Fantasy Island

Bad, Blumhouse! Bad!

Jervis is a liar! I pick the lock on the basement door (as I am a master of unlocking) and slowly creep down there during the wee hours of the night while Jervis is fast asleep. What do I find in the basement? Ain’t no canned peaches down there. Instead, I find a red velvet lined oak coffin filled with something like ashes. Hanging from the ceiling is a meat hook. I don’t what this is all about. I’m going to get to the bottom of this.

Tonight’s movie is 2020’s Fantasy Island from director Jeff Wadlow. This is a Blumhouse production, a studio known for cranking out budget horror movies that make big bucks. Fantasy Island reportedly cost about 7 million to make, but drew in over 47 million during its box office run. Not a bad take. Still, Fantasy Island was critically panned upon release. Perhaps, this was due to the fact that they took a kitschy 70s television series and turned it into a horror movie!

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I have to admit that I was never a big Fantasy Island fan. I was way too young when it was on, but would catch snippets of it on occasion, fascinated by the debonaire Ricardo Montalbán, who’d I’d only known as the terrifying villain from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Fantasy Island wasn’t for me. Too romantic and sentimental for a boy wanting to see starships shooting at each other. But now that I’m a bit more seasoned and while Fantasy Island still isn’t for me, I don’t begrudge its fans or their enjoyment of the show. Is there a Fantasy Island equivalent to Trekkies? I don’t know. If there is, they must be flipping their shit right about now.

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So the premise of the movie is that guests arrive at Fantasy Island after filling out a questionnaire detailing their deepest desire. The owner of the island, Mr. Roarke (Michael Peña), will make the fantasies of each guest come true. For Gwen Olsen (Maggie Q), it means saying yes to a marriage proposal she regrets turning down. For step brothers Brax Weaver (Jimmy O. Yang) and J. D. Weaver (Ryan Hansen), it’s a wild party filled with sex, drugs, and dubstep. For Patrick Sullivan (Austin Sowell), it’s getting the chance to be a soldier and prove to himself that he’s not a coward. And for Melanie Cole (Lucy Hale), it’s getting revenge of her middle school bully, a woman named Sloane Madison (Portia Doubleday).

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Melanie’s fantasy is the most interesting. She goes down the hotel elevator to a hidden basement room. Behind a one-way mirror is none other than Sloane, strapped to a chair. Sloane can’t see Melanie, but Melanie can see Sloane. At Melanie’s disposal is a console with all sorts of buttons and switches. Melanie delights in electrocuting Sloane and pouring toilet water over Sloane’s head. Another button posts a video to social media of Sloane cheating on her husband. It’s all in good fun. After all, that isn’t really Sloane behind the mirror. It’s all holograms and other visual trickery. That’s what Melanie thinks until she realizes from one of the videos shows Sloane being on Fantasy Island and that is indeed her in that torture chamber.

I don’t know who this movie is for. So far it’s playing out like a light version of a Saw movie. The other fantasies progress. Gwen now has a husband and four-year-old daughter and Patrick gets to meet his long deceased father. But little do they know that they are actually a part of someone else’s dark fantasy. There’s a twist. One of the guests is not what they seem. Blah. Blah. Blah. I’m only glad Ricardo Montalbán didn’t live to see this. I wonder if if there will be a Fantasy Island II.


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Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #81: Pros of Cons

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Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #81 by Drew Barth

Pros of Cons

Due to the steady spike in COVID cases across the country and the villainous ineptitude at the federal level, our lives are still rather sporadic. While many services and businesses are forced to open unnecessarily, conventions have been canceled or delayed for safety reasons. And this includes the biggest gathering of pop culture in North America: San Diego Comic-Con. The convention, however, was not completely canceled. Instead, SDCC pivoted to digital with its Comic-Con@Home. A digital convention brings a whole host of positives and negatives and although I haven’t been to SDCC myself in the past, it’s interesting to see just how they’ve been able to translate the feeling of a convention to a digital space.

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  1. Location

Pros: The biggest plus to any convention that goes digital is that it’s now a convention in your house on your time. There isn’t the issue of spending thousands getting to and from San Diego, finding a place to stay, feeding yourself, and so on. There also isn’t the risk of being around thousands of people as they’re all crammed together to get into Hall H or threatening your life for a Funko Pop.

Cons: Conventions are the lifeblood for many artists and creators. They’ll begin ordering prints, stickers, pins, zines, comics, anything that can be sold on the show floor months in advance in anticipation of making that money back once con season begins. And although many creators are still selling their work online—many times at discounts to help recoup losses—their missing the Artist Alleys and foot-traffic that would account for most of their business. I’m looking at eight prints on my wall right now from artists I didn’t know about that I discovered walking through an Artist Alley and that isn’t happening this year at all.

  1. Access

Pros: Everyone has access to panels right now in a way that hasn’t been done before. A convention schedule was the kind of thing a con-goer would toil over to figure out what can and can’t be missed this day, but could be skipped that day, but maybe could be a filler for this day. That doesn’t happen now. All of the panels exist online in a YouTube video and are able to be more widely seen throughout the world. One of the panels I watched, Comics in the Classroom Ask Me Anything, would normally have been in a room of maybe two hundred people now has more than 1900 participants counted and over 14000 views online. Anyone can watch these panels now and they absolutely have done so. It’s knowledge for everyone without the constraints of the physical convention space.

Cons: I don’t know, you’re not the first person to see costume concept art for the unannounced Stilt-Man spin-off webseries exclusive to the Nokia N-Gage. IGN is going to have the story ten minutes after the panel anyway, so who cares?

  1. Safety

Pros: Two things are synonymous with convention season: con crud and Bar Con. The former is the sickness that just comes from too many people, not enough showers, and not enough personal space. The latter is where the “deals” are made in hotel bars and where many powerful men in comics would prey on women. For the most part, these things don’t exist in a virtual convention. But still: wash your hands and don’t abuse women, that shit should have been obvious.

Cons: Are there any? Maybe being at home you don’t notice that you’ve shotgunned two sleeves of Oreos while watching multiple panels in a row.

With everything else going on, writing about comic conventions feels like critiquing the Hindenburg’s lunch menu. But it’s also finding some kernel of familiarity and comfort in a world we’re watching burn down. Sometimes we need these little moments that feel normal to just breathe and laugh with and enjoy before diving back down into everything else.

Get excited. Get virtual.


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Drew Barth (Episode 331) is a writer residing in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.

Episode 430: Jared Silvia!

Episode 430 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on Apple podcasts, stitcher, spotify, or click here to stream (right click to download, if that’s your thing).

Jared Silvia and Gear

In this week’s show, I talk to writer, musician, and producer Jared Silvia about the connections between music and writing, the history of synth-pop, and the role of randomness and patterns to experience.

 NOTES

This episode is sponsored by the excellent people at Scribophile.

Scribophile

TDO Listeners can get 20% of a premium subscription to Scribophile. After using the above link to register for a basic account, go here while still logged in to upgrade the account with the discount.

Check out Jared’s label Circuit Church over at Band Camp.

Jared’s King-of-the-Hill-inspired fiction appeared on episode 167.

Michael Iceberg brought some strange hardware to play at Disneyland and Walt Disney World in the late 70s and early 80s.


Episode 430 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on Apple podcasts, stitcher, spotify, or click here to stream (right click to download, if that’s your thing).