Pixel Scroll 4/29/18 First Step On Our New Homeworld. That’s One Small Pixel For A Fan, One Giant Scroll For Fankind

(1) AVENGERS KEEP THE REGISTER RINGING. The Hollywood Reporter has the numbers: “Box Office: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Passes ‘Star Wars: Force Awakens’ With Record $250M U.S. Bow”

Disney and Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War kicked off the summer box office in high style over the weekend, opening to a record-setting $250 million in North America and $380 million overseas for a global total of $630 million, the top worldwide debut of all time. The superhero mashup accomplished the feat without China, where it doesn’t unfurl until May 11.

(2) HAPPY CUSTOMER. Doc at Sci-Fi Storm praises the new MCU film: “Avengers: Infinity War breaks records, looks at $250M opening; Non-Review”.

There is very little I can say about the movie that isn’t a spoiler, so I’ll limit myself to what little there is that isn’t. This movie is practically non-stop, with powerful action sequences and emotional points throughout. There are so many characters we know I’m amazed they were given the amount of time that they could!

(3) END OF A LUCKY STREAK. Abigail Nussbaum tells Asking the Wrong Question readers why Avengers: Infinity War” doesn’t work for her.

…So even though I wouldn’t say that I walked into Avengers: Infinity War with high hopes, I had certain expectations from it.  I’m not a great fan of any of the MCU’s team-up movies–I think Avengers is more impressive for being attempted than for its limited success; I get more annoyed with Age of Ultron whenever I think about it; and though I praised Civil War when I first watched it, it has aged very poorly for me, and I now remember mainly its risible politics and the fact that it has made me dislike Steve Rogers.  But for all that, I still believed that the question aroused by the Infinity War concept–how can Marvel rope together dozens of characters from multiple storylines into a battle against a single universe-destroying villain, and make a successful and entertaining movie out of it?–would be answered with the same definitive success as previous ones.  I didn’t expect to love Infinity War, but I expected it to work.

Instead, it is barely even a movie.  The answer to “how can you give each of these lovingly crafted characters the space and attention they deserve” turns out to be “you can’t”….

(4) KERMODE ON AVENGERS. Mark Kermode’s review for the BBC is spoiler free. But IanP notes: “However as he is not a dyed in the wool comic fan he didn’t manage to fully engage emotionally with the film, while fully understanding while fans will. Overall I think he admired what they’d managed to do without it actually working for him.”

(5) ALONG FOR THE RIDE. A Blue Origin New Shepard space vehicle was launched Sunday on a suborbital hop carrying a dummy astronaut. His name?  Mannequin Skywalker. Cnet has the story: “Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin launch used rocket, and fleas, to space”.

After a number of delays Sunday morning, a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket blasted off from the west Texas desert just after noon Central Daylight Time, sending a crew capsule carrying a dummy named “Mannequin Skywalker” on a brief trip to space.

For the eighth time, Jeff Bezos’ commercial space company successfully tested the system it hopes to use to send paying passengers on suborbital flights in the coming months.

The spacecraft reached an altitude of 350,000 feet (106,680 meters), or about 5 percent higher than previous New Shepard test flights. That height sent the rocket beyond the internationally accepted boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space, called the Karman Line.

(6) SATURN TESTS. In 1963, Galactic Journey’s Gideon Marcus wonders why it’s taking so long to get to the moon. Who knew we’d be asking that question again in 2018. “[Apr. 29, 1963] When a malfunction isn’t (the flight of Saturn I #4 and other space tidbits)”.

Enter the two-stage Saturn I, whose first stage has eight engines, like the Nova, but they are much smaller.  Still, altogether, they produce 1.5 million pounds of thrust — that’s six times more than the Atlas that will put Gordo Cooper’s Mercury into orbit next month.  The Saturn I’s second stage will likely also be the third stage on the Saturn V.

The Saturn I has had the most successful testing program of any rocket that I know of.  It’s also one of the most maddeningly slow testing programs (I’m not really complaining — methodical is good, and it’s not as if Apollo’s ready to fly, anyway).

(7) NEW VORKOSIVERSE NOVELLA ON THE WAY. Lois McMaster Bujold read part of this story on her last tour says ULTRAGOTHA – “The Flowers of Vashnoi bloom in May”.

I am pleased and somewhat surprised to report that a new Vorkosiverse novella is upcoming, probably in late May.

Title is “The Flowers of Vashnoi”, cover label is going to be “an Ekaterin Vorkosigan novella”, and the length is about 22,400 words, roughly the same as “Winterfair Gifts”.

As usual, no pre-order will be set up; you can just buy it when it goes live, at our usual three online vendors Kindle, iTunes, and Nook. I will certainly post the news when that occurs.

Final revisions are almost complete – it’s down to the stage where I spend all morning adding two sentences and all afternoon taking them back out, which is generally a sign to stop. The other part to be nailed down is the e-cover, still in development, so no sneak peek yet.

Possibly my shortest novella, this one has, oddly, taken the longest of anything to complete. My computer files claim I started the first draft back in November, 2011. (I could not even remember.) It ran along well for a while, then hit a brick wall and died on impact, I thought. I believed it was buried forever, but apparently it was just cryofrozen, because it came back to life a couple of months ago when I was trying and failing to boot up a new adventure for Penric and Desdemona. When my backbrain hands me a gift like that, I’ve found it’s better not to refuse it.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY MOGUL

  • Born April 29, 1923  — Irvin Kershner. The Force was with him.

(9) MYTHIC CHOW. Atlas Obscura’s Anne Ewbank ponders “Why Do Fantasy Novels Have So Much Food?”.

Food in fantasy dates back to early myths and legends, which are full of symbolic, often menacing fare. The Greek goddess Persephone ate six pomegranate seeds in the underworld, consigning her to spend six months of the year with Hades, the god of death. European tales and poems abound with mystical fairies or elves using food to lure humans. In the poem “La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” written in 1819 by Romantic poet John Keats, a knight falls in love with a fairy girl, who feeds him “roots of relish sweet, And honey wild, and manna-dew.” But one day, the knight wakes up to find himself abandoned and half-mad for what he lost. In 1859, poet Christina Rossetti wrote “Goblin Market,” about eerie, otherworldly creatures that sell fruit that, once tasted, drive people crazy for more.

The trope of dangerous fairy food still exists in modern fantasy, says Dr. Robert Maslen. Maslen is a senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow, where he founded one of the world’s first master’s degrees in fantasy literature. He gives two modern examples: the film Pan’s Labyrinth and Ellen Kushner’s novel Thomas the Rhymer. When food comes with consequences, it’s a sign that “we’re in a world where the rules are very different.”

(10) TAFF REPORT. Now you can pick up Jim Mowatt’s 2013 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund trip report – Where I Lay My Hat. Let Jim tell you about it —

After years of desperate procrastination the Taff report of my 2013 Taff trip to North America is now complete. It tells the tale of my visits to Toronto, Abingdon, Seattle, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Antonio (Worldcon) and New Orleans. It features art from (in order of appearance) Alan White, Al Sirois, Stu Shiffman, Carrie Mowatt, D. West, Taral Wayne, Brad Foster, Allison Hershey, Ulf Skei, Valeri Purcell, Julie McMurray and Anne Stokes. There are many fine full colour photos of frolicking fans and I’ve even shoved a few words in there. I’m recommending a donation to Taff of about 20 pounds (28 or 29 dollars) and you can donate using the Taff donations buttons at taff.org.uk. Email me,  jim (at) umor.co.uk or John Purcell at 2017taff2019 (at) gmail.com and we’ll post out a copy.

(11) CONTASTROPHE. Aja Romano’s “Great Con Disasters Of The Past: A Thread” begins here:

(12) DON’T BLOW YOUR CHANCE. Atlas Obscura shares “The Uncanny Delights of the World Balloon Convention”.

…This year’s WBC was held in mid-March, in San Diego, California. According to the official website, close to 900 people attended, from 52 countries. The best of the best participated in the Convention’s nine separate competitions, battling to take home titles in everything from “Large Sculpture” to “Balloon Hat.”

The competitors are incredibly skilled. (Most are “Certified Balloon Artists,” which means they have passed a qualifying exam.) Several categories require creating entire landscapes out of gas and latex. Incredible details are achieved with a limited palette of shapes. Sometimes the juxtapositions are funny: The winner of the “Fashion & Costume” category has reimagined a lightsaber as a long, floppy balloon. In the “Large Sculpture” winner, a tiger sports armor that, if you zoom in, looks like sausage links….

(13) APRIL SUMMATIONS BRING MAY FEATURES: Jason has summed Summation: April 2018 over at Featured Futures.

Ten of this month’s eleven noted stories (five recommended) come from the 50 (of just over 200,000 words) that I’ve read with a publication date between April 1 and April 28. Nature and Terraform had a good month with a recommended story and an honorable mention each. Some venues appeared for just the first or second time this year (Grievous Angel, On Spec (reviewed for Tangent), and Strange Horizons (with an especially strong story)), though some of the usual suspects (BCS, Clarkesworld, and Lightspeed) also pitched in. Aside from unusual venues, this month’s wombat is a relatively large number of SF (and no fantasy) honorable mentions.

The eleventh noted story is another first-time appearance. It comes from Slate’s “Future Tense Fiction” department and coverage of that is one of three changes in Featured Futures to report. The latest “Weekly Webzine Wrap-Up” caught up on the stories already released this year and future stories will be continue to be covered there.

Meanwhile, Lightspeed and Nightmare have been covered in the “Wrap-Ups” but will be covered as monthly issues beginning in May.

Lastly, Featured Futures is going to the final frontier: coverage of  short fiction in books. So far, there are a couple of collections and maybe an anthology I’ll see about covering in May.

(14) SHARKTICLE. Another Shadow Clarke juror tells what they will be reading: “Negotiating Cartography by Samira Nadkarni”.

 …As a small cross-section: I started reading Sami Schalk’s Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)Ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction—whose introduction discusses Jasbir Puar whose work I’m following for another project on queerness and warfare— while waiting for Janelle Monàe’s Dirty Computer to drop. Monàe’s vehemently queer 44-minute emotion picture will locate itself around a technocratic society in which citizens are termed “computers,” a section of whom are now on the run from an authoritarian government. Based on what we’ve seen of the three tracks dropped so far, the project is also fiercely Black, and strongly rooted in the political. It’s impossible not to think back to Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures: The Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race (followed by a film of the same name starring Monàe, Taraji P. Henson, and Octavia Spencer) which made evident the links between women (Black women in particular) and the history of computers. Knowing that early production units were called “kilo-girls” to denote the number of hours worked and that these women were called “computers,” Monàe’s choice of a return to “computers” as words for people in videos peopled almost exclusively by Black people, and heavily peopled by Black women in this futuristic melding of technology, activism, and talking back to an authoritarian regime feels poignant and part of an evolving expression of futurity located in historicity.

… All of this was with me when I sat down to make this shortlist. I’m hoping the explanation helps contextualise my interest in books that not only talk about power, but also may talk about the complications of power that may come even with resistance and reclamation.

(15) RON HOWARD EXPLAINS IT ALL. …In a new Solo: A Star Wars Story “Becoming Solo Featurette.”

[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, ULTRAGOTHA, Mark Hepworth, Steve Bartlett, Jim Mowatt, Carl Slaughter, Jason, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Mister Dalliard.]

44 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/29/18 First Step On Our New Homeworld. That’s One Small Pixel For A Fan, One Giant Scroll For Fankind

  1. 7) Hurrah! Sign me up!

    1)-4) Saw the movie this evening. Liked some things, didn’t like others. All I have to say is, Avengers 4 had better be GREAT or I’m going to be very angry — and they wouldn’t like me when I’m angry!

  2. Yay title credit! (I felt sure that must have been done before. I posted it as comment on the new ISP rather than a title suggestion.)

    Also: Fifth!

  3. More Vorkosigan is always fine by me.

    In book recs, I’m strongly recommending Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller. A lovely first novel that defies my attempts to describe it accurately. Think steampunk gender-flipping alternate history, written well with humor and empathy.

    It’s on my list for now.

  4. Mister Dalliard: Yay title credit! (I felt sure that must have been done before…)

    We know it hasn’t been done at this location….

  5. Thanks to a post at the Webcomic Library‘s “A Lesbian Main Webcomic Masterpost” (part 1 of 2; link to part 2 at the end of the post) – a Tumblr I’ve never heard of – I’ve discovered a few new-to-me ongoing webcomics I like, yay! (There were a ton listed, but the story, art, or first few pages didn’t grab me for most of them.)

    I’m here to recommend “But I’m a Cat Person”, which I’ve spent far too much time today and yesterday reading. It started like 7 or 8 years ago, methinks, and is still going strong, apparently. The tagline is “Two ordinary graduates accidentally adopt a magical shapeshifting battle monster,” but that sells it short! Anyway, check it out. Warning: it is long and I haven’t even caught up yet! The FAQ page is huge. Anyway, it’s interesting, good characters, genre references (they go to an anime con at one point), and the world is interesting. It’s an alternate earth where there are a handful of shapeshifters, bound by magical contracts to humans, who can do fantasy battles of sorts, as well as shift between a particular animal or type of animal, human, and in-between stages.

    Also yay for a new Pixel Scroll! The Pixel has landed, etc. 🙂

  6. Meredith Moment: Shadow & Claw, the omnibus edition of the first two volumes of Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun, is currently $2.99.

  7. More Meredithing: Tales of the Dying Earth (omnibus of all four Vance volumes) and Asimov’s Pebble in the Sky, amongst others.

  8. I don’t recall if this Meredith Moment was mentioned, so just in case… Tor is selling its Nebula-nominated books for $2.99 at the usual places (Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks, Barnes and Noble). Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly, Autonomous by Annalee Newitz and Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren are on sale, but the sale expires today, 4/30.

    (I’ve not read any of them, but, hey, Nebula nominees so they’re probably good…)

  9. @Cassy B those are all excellent books! In particular, Weave a Circle Round was on my YA ballot (and I’m pretty surprised it isn’t a Worldcon YA finalist), and Amberlough was high up my novel longlist.
    ——–
    Inspired by* the File move, I’m about to undertake a permanent-ish cross continental relocation of my own, back to the UK. The moving stress is very real but on the plus side I will soon get to experience my first spring in 5 years…

    *By which I mean “technically planned months ago” but we have a time machine here, right?

  10. Also, all three of Jane Yolen’s Great Alta books (Sister Light, Sister Dark; White Jenna; One-Armed Queen) are $1.99 or $2.99 each.

    Or, if you’re really bad at math, you can buy a combined edition for $19.99.

  11. A Nora Moment: An ebook version of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s “Christianity and Evolution” is on sale for $2.99 at the usual suspects.

    Since I have seen Teilhard de Chardin’s name scattered throughout many science fiction novels over the years (he coined the word “noosphere”), I thought Filers might be interested.

  12. (7) Yay!

    I don’t know whether to consider this a Meredith Moment, but a certain piece of crap from the head rabid puppy appears to be an Amazon UK deal of the day for £0.99. I wonder how they picked it out of all the authors willing to put their books on sale?

  13. Is it just me, or is F770 loading much more slowly under the new regime? At present it seems to take seven or eight seconds of “Connecting / Waiting for file770.com …” for each page update here — not a problem I’m seeing with more resource-hungry sites like Facebook.

  14. David Langford on April 30, 2018 at 8:48 am said:

    I’ve noticed that also, but it’s variable. (Sometimes it’s faster, sometimes it’s slower.)

  15. @11: what a fascinating (?) collection of dumpster fires! Some of the descriptions of anime and furry conventions (from the reddit thread) are worse than what I’ve heard of the early days of SF fandom — although not as bad as the underage sports/dance/… participants whose chaperones hide in the bar, and I should note that one of the comments says a big convention in Indianapolis is universally loved. (I wonder if what they do right is exportable?) I’d guess it’s an indication of our graying that such events seem rare at SF conventions, but I don’t remember anything at that level even in the 1970’s, when fandom seemed mostly teens and 20’s. A lot of the other disasters sound like one convinced charismatic gathering want-to-believes around them; experiences turned my skepticism up to 11 a very long time ago, but I suspect we’ll never run out of people who must follow something.

  16. (3) What she said. Also, I realised about an hour before the end that not only I wasn’t enjoying myself, I was having to grind my teeth and endure the loud bangs and blurry motions and frankly pants soundtrack. As I was sitting through the endless slog of the credits to get to the obligatory post-credit scene I thought “Really, Marvel? Can we have the whole movie in one go for once?”

    Lots of people I know have mentioned developing a headache, including me. I had been nursing one for a week so it’s not wholly IW’s fault, but it did manage to bring it roaring back, and added to my sense of having invested money, time and emotional energy for negative results.

  17. After removing the spoilers, my Avengers review isn’t too long:

    Definitely worth seeing, but like everyone else in the theater, I sat in stunned silence while the credits rolled. I was hoping for an optimistic moment in the post-credits scene, but it was pretty much more of the same.

    In re potential spoilers from the fact that Marvel has two more movies coming out before Avengers 4 – both of them occur before the events in Infinity War. Ant Man will be a few months prior to Infinity War, and Captain Marvel is supposedly set in the 90s. So you can’t take any clues from them and Avengers 4.

  18. (3) A friend generously surprised me with tickets for the local premiere, and was surprised and a little miffed when I explained that this was a movie that I should not see unless my doctor prescribed a panic attack for some medically necessary reason.

  19. Maaaaaan, the partner in credential-care and I were looking forward to Infinity Wars, and had convinced a “don’t care about superhero movies” friend of ours that we should all go, based on some early positive comments on social media. Now I’m worried, as several Filers seem less than enthused.

    In reading land, I’ve embarked upon my Hugo reading. Basically devoured Six Wakes. I had some issues with it – from very minor in my opinion (gur pybar fpvrapr fghss frrzrq n ovg unaq-jnirl, ohg V’z ab ovbybtvfg, naq V rawbl n jvqr inevrgl bs FS, jvgu zbfg bs vg abg snyyvat vagb gur uneq pngrtbel) to slightly grating (gur punenpgref’ fcrrpu bsgra frrzrq fgvygrq gb zr, erzvaqvat zr fbzrjung bs fbzr bs gur Wncnarfr navzngvba V jngpurq nf n xvq, vs gung znxrf frafr), but wow, I had a hard time putting it down.

    Read Children of Thorns, Children of Water. This seems a strange entry for Best Novelette. Coming in the middle of an ongoing series, it does not work well as a stand-alone. I’m not sure I can rank this above No Award.

    Just started The Raven Stratagem, but had to almost immediately put it down and take care of outside world-related things. Two pages in, I can’t say a durned thing about it other than that I recognize some of the names from the previous novel.

  20. @Kathodus —

    Now I’m worried, as several Filers seem less than enthused.

    If your “don’t care” friend hasn’t seen previous Avengers movies, I personally would say leave that person at home. They will simply be lost, and they’ll miss a good bit of the humor and interpersonal dynamics. OTOH, if you have seen at least some Avengerverse movies, I think it’s worth seeing. A casual watcher may not understand every detail of everything going on (I’m sure I didn’t), but that’s not really what superhero movies are about, anyway. There was plenty of good emotional manipulation going on, some good humor, and some outstanding effects, and that made the movie worthwhile for me. But Avengers 4 is gonna have to be really outstanding to make up for the ending!

  21. (2,3) Well, I liked it a lot, even though it ends with a giant cliffhanger. Everyone got to do something. Usually I have to wear earplugs but not this time — apparently my local theater has learned. No headache either! Though I’d never watch it in 3D or IMAX.

    (7) Unexpected bonus!

    (12) Just thinking about the squeaky noises makes my teeth hurt.

    @John W: Love is real!

    I just do not get the love for “Six Wakes”. I read it through just fine the week it came out, but a month later I realized I’d forgotten everything but the basic premise. I’d even forgotten whodunnit! Read it again and it might as well have been the first time. Now I don’t recall it and I may have also forgotten whodunnit. There was a conspiracy, maybe? Normally I love Lafferty, but this was a complete dud for me. Below NA.

  22. I very much enjoyed Infinity War, though dear Lord, that was an awful lot of credits to sit through for the final reveal.

  23. 11) My favourite is tweet 13 where they link to a reddit thread, discussing what type of conventions that are the worst to handle at a hotel. The answer was kind of surprising!

    “I am the banquet captain of a hotel, so I have to host all dining aspects of these conventions. Upon reading this question, I instantly, without a doubt, knew the answer: The National Button Society. It consists of extremely elderly shirt button collectors and enthuiasts from all over the country (mostly Midwesterners). They demand we don’t clean the tables or vacuum the floors until a week after they leave in case some old ass leaves behind a $5,000 dollar button or something like that. They didn’t fuck around when it came to button auctioneering. These old people demanded things from the hotel restaurant when they were closed, and then come to the banquet hall angrily looking for a free hot meal. They very rarely tip above 10% to the restaurant servers too I’ve heard. They’re just the dumbest, most inconsiderate, least self-aware motherfuckers on the planet.”

  24. It’s not really a cliffhanger, it’s a dishonest ending. It tries to eat its cake and have it, so to speak. The emotional payoff only works if you buy the ending as it is, but nobody who is not an utter idiot can, so you end up not really caring. It’s eaten its cake, it’s even burped a bit to convince you it’s gone, and at the same time it’s winking and looking smug, and you know that in a year and change the cake will come back… and will it be cake or vomit? Not sure I want to pay to find out…

  25. @Anna —

    The emotional payoff only works if you buy the ending as it is, but nobody who is not an utter idiot can, so you end up not really caring.

    Yeah, that’s my biggest beef with comic books in general. The constant retcons, new universes, and so on mean that nothing really means anything — because writers can erase anything that’s too unpleasant or simply inconvenient. There is no real risk, no real loss — and therefore, for me, no real engagement.

    I stopped reading comic books many years ago, right about the time that I read the Spider-Man issue in which Gwen Stacy died.

  26. David Langford and P J Evans both noted:
    > Is it just me, or is F770 loading much more slowly under the new regime?
    Yes, i’m getting a case of the ‘slows’ as well.

    SlowStalk?
    JeffW.

  27. And Gwen Stacy’s death is still one of the most consistent in comic book history (even if they had some cloning business to try to bring her back).

    Myself, I quit at the Mephisto-retcon of Spider-Man. It was too much.

  28. @Hampus —

    And Gwen Stacy’s death is still one of the most consistent in comic book history (even if they had some cloning business to try to bring her back).

    Yeah, ironically, what disgusted me at the time about Gwen Stacy’s death in particular was not the retconning to come (or not come), but the claim by the bad guy that it was the “shock” of falling that distance that killed her. Given that even at that age I knew perfectly well that people like parachutists routinely fall much greater distances with no harm, that was several bridges too far for me. I’ve remembered that idiocy ever since.

    (Yes, I looked up a wiki article about her death last night. Yes, I know NOW that the writers later made it clear that it was actually a broken neck from Spider-Man’s sudden catch that killed her. But I didn’t know that then.)

  29. I started reading Spider-Man in sixth grade, so, 1968. I collected the series back to issue five, and bought all the reprints I could before that. I remember the exact moment I stopped buying it for good. (There was an earlier period when I couldn’t hack Gerry Conway’s “Kill ’em, Clone ’em, and Make ’em Crazy” period of burning up the entire supporting cast, but I started buying again and may have even filled in the issues I didn’t pick up at the time.)

    It was in the early 80s, and I had gone to Bender’s to buy comics. Amazing Spider-Man (I didn’t go in for spinoffs) was having some foofaraw about The Hobgoblin (“He’s NOT the GREEN one!”), and the cover fulsomely promised something like, “In THIS issue—the SENSES-SHATTERING SECRET of the Hobgoblin REVEALED in stark, uncompromising and unambiguous words and pictures that will leave ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTION in your mind!!!!” (ps: !!!!!).) I may have already skipped some issues by that time, as the title was getting too diddly to bother myself over, but this come-on interested me enough that I picked it up and leafed through.

    Leaf, leaf, leaf, diddly, diddly, diddly. I was guessing he was Flash Thompson, as Flash was about the only old cast member they hadn’t used up yet, and he seemed to have some issues. More diddly. Then a chase. Ooh! They’re running! They ran into the sewer, and presumably splashed and squelched rapidly through the stink. It was getting foggy with what Freakazoid would call “poo gas” as we started running out of pages for that revelation. It was a real page turner. I wasn’t reading, just looking for that incredible reveal.

    Finally, I reached the last page. Spidey chased Hobby (not Gobby!) as the gassy mist made it possible for the artist to draw less and less. Nearing the last panel, Spidey did his duty by reaching out and making a prodigious GRABB!!! which netted him… “A m-mask!” Our hero, his enemy’s mask in hand, stopped running and stood there taking stock of this mind-blowing discovery as the sound of squelching footsteps presumably receded into the smelly dark. “THE HOBGOBLIN IS SOME GUY WEARING A MASK!!!”

    My senses were shattered. I put the comic down softly, though I should have carried it decorously by one corner, like a rotting fish, and dropped it into an appropriate receptacle and paid for the privilege. That was pretty much it for me. I think I bought one thing that was tangentially about Spider-Man within the next couple of years, and enjoyed it just about as much. The only other new Marvel comic I bought within the next three to five was the Starlin-Wrightson team-up of the Thing and the Hulk.

    Thirty years on, and I’ve gone to reprint books and occasional graphic novels. I look at newer comics and my old-fashioned top to bottom, left to right scanning style doesn’t work any more. The price tag on any individual issue keeps me from purchasing anything. Who knew, in 1968, I’d be saying this?

  30. @Kip —

    LOL. Maybe it’s a good thing I stopped when I did!

    Though I *still* want to read Constantine and the Sandman one of these days….

  31. /ComicStalk!

    P.S. “Sandman” was great and really, it’s just/mostly DC & Marvel who do all this continuity/etc. wackiness.

  32. @NickPheas: “dear Lord, that was an awful lot of credits to sit through for the final reveal.”

    I did comment to my seat-neighbor that I wished the credits had been reduced by a random 50%.

  33. Rev. Bob on May 2, 2018 at 12:46 am said:
    @NickPheas: “dear Lord, that was an awful lot of credits to sit through for the final reveal.”

    I did comment to my seat-neighbor that I wished the credits had been reduced by a random 50%.

    Applause.

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