Pixel Scroll 9/24/20 Doo-Be-Doo-Be-Dune!

(1) GET READY TO REFLECT. A new free SF/F e-zine is launching in October, Departure Mirror Quarterly. Editor Art Tracy says –

Our first issue features stories by Kyle Aisteach, Cécile Cristofari, and Evergreen Lee.  Readers will be able to pop by the website to download .PDF issues (and hopefully .MOBI and .EPUB, but we don’t have that workflow completely nailed down yet), and we’ve got an e-mail list that can send people the links as each new issue comes out.  

(2) THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE. Mark Evanier maintains ”A List of Things I’ve Learned About The Comic Book Industry Since I Got Into It In 1970, Many But Not All Of Which Still Apply” at News From Me. It boasts 125 items. Here are four examples:

30. It is impossible to make a decent living in comics if you don’t love what you do.

49. Colorists often have to make up for the fact that the artist has not bothered to think about the source(s) of light in the panels.

103. If you work in comics for an extended period, look over the books published by the company or companies that buy your work and ask yourself, “What comic am I totally unqualified and ill-suited to work on?” Then prepare for the call where they say, “We discussed it here in the office a lot and decided you’re the perfect person for this job!” It will be that comic.

117. If the hero in the comic you’re writing has a secret identity, you should not do a story in which that secret is threatened or apparently revealed less than twelve years after the previous story in which that hero’s secret identity was threatened or apparently revealed. Fifteen is better.

(3) WHO’S NUMBER ONE? Didn’t someone say there’s no such thing as bad publicity? The Guardian’s Alison Flood reports “JK Rowling’s new thriller takes No 1 spot amid transphobia row”. [Free registration required.]

JK Rowling’s new Robert Galbraith thriller Troubled Blood sold almost 65,000 copies in just five days last week, amid widespread criticism of the author’s decision to include a serial killer who dresses in women’s clothing in the novel….

(4) HERE’S NUMBER TWO. In the series of Uber Eats commercials with Mark Hamill and Patrick Stewart.

And a bonus.

(5) MYERS OBIT. [Item by Steven H Silver.] John J. Myers (b. July 26, 1941), the former archbishop of Newark, died on September 24.  Myers was a childhood friend of author Gary K. Wolf and in 2006 they collaborated on the short story “The Unhardy Boys in Outer Space” with Myers adopting the pseudonym Jehane Baptiste because he was worried about how the Vatican would respond to an archbishop writing science fiction.  In 2008, they collaborated again on the novel Space Vulture on which his byline was Archbishop John J. Myers.


  • September 1984 — Thirty six years ago this month, Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood was first published in Britain by Gollancz. It would win both the BSFA Award for Best Novel and the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. (He never made the final nomination list for any Hugo Award.) It was the first novel in what became the Ryhope Wood series with four more novels (LavondyssThe HollowingGate of Ivory, Gate of Horn and Avilion, plus “The Bone Forest” novella. Merlin’s Wood is sort of connected to this series, as is The Merlin Codex.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born September 24, 1922 Bert Gordon, 98. Film director most remembered for such SF and horror films as The Amazing Colossal ManVillage of the Giants and The Food of the Gods (based of course on the H.G. Wells’ novel The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth).  His nickname “Mister B.I.G.” was a reference both to his initials and to his preference for directing movies featuring super-sized creatures. (CE) 
  • Born September 24, 1929 – Barbara Ker Wilson, 91.  Five dozen short stories in Stories from ScotlandTales Told to Kabbarli, aboriginal legends collected by Daisy Bates & retold by BKWRussian Fairy Tales (with Jacqueline Athram).  Also The Lost Years of Jane AustenJA in Australia.  Dromkeen Medal.  [JH]
  • Born September 24, 1930 – Jack Gaughan.  So active as both fan and pro artist that he won both Hugos in 1967; for years afterward, Hugo rules provided that no one could be on the ballot in both categories. Art editor for Galaxy doing all the interiors and many covers.  Battle of the Titans is his cartoon duel with Vaughn Bodé.  Here is his cover for the Lunacon 24 Program Book (see this appreciation by Vincent Di Fate).  Here is the Jul 62 Galaxy.  Here is Skylark Three.  Here is the Sep 86 SF Chronicle.  Artbook, Outermost.  Five Hugos, as both pro and fan.  Skylark Award.  SF Hall of Fame.  NESFA (New England SF Ass’n) named an award for him.  (Died 1985) [JH]
  • Born September 24, 1934 John Brunner. My favorite works by him? The Shockwave Rider, the Hugo Award winning Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up. That was easy. What’re your favorite works by him? (Died 1995.) (CE)
  • Born September 24, 1936 Jim Henson. As much as I love The Muppet Show, I think The Storyteller is his best work. That’s not to overlook Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal which are also excellent. (Died 1990.) (CE) 
  • Born September 24, 1945 –David Drake, 75.  Phi Beta Kappa from Univ. Iowa (history and Latin); Duke law school.  Hawkeye Distinguished Veteran award. Motorcyclist.  Famous for military SF e.g “Hammer’s Slammers”, Republic of Cinnabar Navy (yes, military is from Latin and really means army).  Five dozen novels, not counting a score with co-authors where he says the co-author did the real writing; as many shorter stories.  See his Website for essays, interviews, newsletters, photos, comments about Mandy Wade Wellman and Kipling, translations of Ovid (“the classics permeate my life; it’s inevitable that they should permeate my work”).  [JH]
  • Born September 24, 1948 – Elaine Kowalsky.  Printmaker; campaigner for artists’ rights.  Chaired Design & Artists Copyright Society, their London gallery named for her.  Collections, Larger Than LifeHearts and Vessels.  After her death her Diary of an Aging Art Slut at n.paradoxa (see here – PDF) was released from anonymity.  Here is Letters from Home.  (Died 2005) [JH]
  • Born September 24, 1950 – John Kessel, Ph.D., 70.  Five novels, seventy shorter stories; reviews in Delap’sF&SF; essays in NY Rev of SFSF Eye; interviewed in ClarkesworldLightspeedLocusStarShipSofaStrange Horizons.  Two Nebulas (26 years between them the longest in Nebula history), a Shirley Jackson, a Sturgeon, a Tiptree.  Paul Green Playwrights prize.  [JH]
  • Born September 24, 1951 David Banks, 69. During the Eighties, he was the Cyberleader on Doctor Who in all the stories featuring the Cybermen — Earthshock (Fifth Doctor story), The Five DoctorsAttack of the Cybermen (Sixth Doctor story), and Silver Nemesis (Seventh Doctor story). In 1989, he played the part of Karl the Mercenary in the Doctor Who: The Ultimate Adventure stage play. There were two performances where he appeared as The Doctor as he replaced Jon Pertwee who had fallen ill. (CE) 
  • Born September 24, 1957 Brad Bird, 63. Animator, director, screenwriter, producer, and occasionally even a voice actor whom I’m going to praise for directing The Iron GiantThe Incredibles (winner of Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form at Interaction), Incredibles 2 and  Tomorrowland. He’s the voice of Edna Mode in both the Incredibles films. (CE) 
  • Born September 24, 1960 – Pete Young, 60.  Our man in Thailand, with Big SkyThe White NotebooksZoo Nation; co-edited four issues of Journey Planet.  Reviews in FoundationStrange HorizonsVector.  Three Nova Awards, three FAAn (Fan Activity Achievement) Awards.  [JH]
  • Born September 24, 1962 – Bruce Jensen, 58.  Two hundred covers, a dozen interiors.  Here is Bug Jack Barron.  Here is the mid-Dec 95 Analog.  Here is Goblin Moon.  Here is Lord of Light.  Here is Her Smoke Rose Up Forever.  Jack Gaughan Award.  [JH]
  • Born September 24, 1965 Richard K. Morgan, 55. The Takeshi Kovacs novels are an awesome series  which is why I haven’t watch the video series. His fantasy series, A Land Fit For Heroes, is on my TBR, well my To Be Listened To pile now. I’ll will admit that The Thirteenth Man was repugnant enough in its sexism and other stereotypes that I gave up on it. And yes, I read Thin Air, the sequel first and it’s quite excellent. (CE) 


  • The Far Side records an astonishing paleontological discovery.
  • Bliss hints at how those green eggs and ham get scrambled.
  • Bizarro depicts a bestseller’s school days.
  • Incidental Comics’ Grant Snider needs a title.

(9) BE SEATED. Minneapolis’ DreamHaven bookstore has installed a new Captain Marvel bench.

For many years Batman has stood guard outside DreamHaven offering a pleasant place to sit and rest for many local residents of Minneapolis. After enduring inclement weather and normal wear and tear, Batman protected the store during the recent civil unrest and was heavily damaged and broken. Batman has been retired to a well-earned rest.

Taking his place is a new Golden-Age Captain Marvel (Shazam) bench. Both benches were designed and constructed by our good friend, Joe Musich, who has been a comics fan and a very-much appreciated DreamHaven customer for many years. Joe is a retired high-school teacher who attends Comic Con most every year. We salute Joe and his love of Captain Marvel and are honored to have The Big Red Cheese standing guard over our store.

(10) WELCOME TO THE ISLAND OF TSUNDOKU. [Item by Olav Rokne.] A resort in the Maldives is looking for someone who loves books to run a book shop on the island. I can’t imagine that there’s a Filer that wants such an onerous gig. The Guardian reports: “‘Barefoot bookseller’ sought to run island bookshop in Maldives”.

… When the position of “barefoot bookseller” was previously advertised, Blackwell received thousands of applications from people desperate to escape the grind of daily life.

“Last time we had everybody from the White House press corps to film directors, lawyers, IT managers, beach poets, retired librarians,” said Blackwell, who is a member of the British bookselling family that sold their chain in 2006. “What works best is somebody with bookselling experience. They’ve got to love people and selling books, and they’ve got to know about books. They’ve also got to be adventurous because this is not for somebody to sit in a bookshop eight hours a day, this is for people to get out there, engage with guests and help people on their reading journey, because reading for pleasure is a muscle that, like any other muscle in the body, is traditionally under-used until people go on holiday.”

(11) THE KING. Nikkolas Smith posted a photo on Instagram of a new mural he did at Downtown Disney honoring Chadwick Boseman.

(12) WHAT CAN BE SAID AT ALL CAN BE SAID CLEARLY, “The Philosopher And The Detectives: Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Enduring Passion For Hardboiled Fiction” at CrimeReads.

The scene is London; the year, 1941. Ludwig Wittgenstein, likely the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century, has taken a hiatus from his Cambridge professorship to do “war work” in a menial position at Guy’s Hospital. By the time he arrives there, in September, the worst of the Blitz is over, but there’s no way of knowing that—the bombing could begin again any night. Wittgenstein serves as a dispensary porter, meaning he pushes a big cart from ward to ward, delivering medicine to patients. He’s 52 years old, small and thin, not to say frail. He writes in a letter that sometimes after work he can “hardly move.”

To John Ryle, brother of Oxford philosopher Gilbert Ryle, Wittgenstein explains his reason for volunteering in London: “I feel I will die slowly if I stay there [in Cambridge]. I would rather take the chance of dying quickly.”

Wittgenstein’s time at Guy’s Hospital is an especially lonely period in a lonely life. Socially awkward in the extreme, he does not endear himself to his coworkers. Although it soon gets out, he initially hopes to conceal that he’s a professor in regular life, hating the prospect of being treated differently. But he is different. His attempts to hide in plain sight must strike everyone as yet another eccentricity.

Nevertheless, he makes at least one friend at the hospital, a fellow staffer named Roy Fouracre. After some time, Fouracre is permitted to visit Wittgenstein in his room, a rare privilege with the reclusive philosopher. Crossing the threshold into Wittgenstein’s private quarters, Fouracre must expect to find books everywhere, hefty, awe-inspiring tomes by Aristotle and Kant and the like. Nothing of the sort. The only reading material in evidence is “neat piles of detective magazines.”

… When American pulps became scarce in the U.K. during and after World War II, Wittgenstein relied on American philosopher Norman Malcolm to send them in care packages from the States. “Thanks a lot for the detective mags,” he wrote Malcolm in 1948. “I had, before they arrived, been reading a detective story by Dorothy Sayers, & it was so bl[oody] foul that it depressed me. Then when I opened one of your mags it was like getting out of a stuffy room into the fresh air.” Wittgenstein’s favorite “mag” was Street & Smith’s Detective Story Magazine, which he preferred—simply out of habit, it seems—to the similar and now more widely remembered Black Mask.

(13) HONEST, FOLKS. Fandom Games’ Honest Game Trailer on Marvel’s Avengers dropped two days ago.

[Thanks to JJ, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, Mike Kennedy, John Hertz, John King Tarpinian, Steven H Silver, Olav Rokne, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributig editor of the day Daniel “The Chairman of the Board” Dern.]

40 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/24/20 Doo-Be-Doo-Be-Dune!

  1. (2) THE VOICE OF EXPEIENCE. (spell-check has a hard time with all-caps?)

    (6) I loved Mythago Wood! None of the sequels quite grabbed me the way the first one did.

    (7) You’ve picked my favorite Brunner works, though I’m also fond of the shorter work The Infinitive of Go (and the grim Total Eclipse)

  2. Andrew (not Werdna) says I loved Mythago Wood! None of the sequels quite grabbed me the way the first one did.

    It think it has a tale told better than the other novels do. Lavondyss fascinates me but it’s a difficult read as the tale is anything but what it appears to be. I think they’d make great audioworks with the right narrator for them as they’re somewhat oral in language.

  3. Andrew (not Werdna): I don’t know what spellcheck said about this — I didn’t look! blush

  4. 12) By the 1940s it appears that Black Mask was in a decline. Hammett and Chandler were no longer publishing stories there. Perhaps Detective Story Magazine was actually better at the time.

  5. Rob Thornton says I loved Lavondyss. What a headtrip! It was my favorite in the series.

    I just downloaded it from iBooks so I could read it on my next in-hospital stay in October. It should keep be distracted from just having had yet another knee surgery quite nicely. It’s striking I think that it feels so much richer both in language and in story than the rest of the Ryhope Wood series do.

    Now playing: Jefferson Starship’s “Hyperdrive”

  6. @ Cat Eldridge

    It’s odd that [Lavondyss feels] much richer language wise and story wise than the rest of the Ryhope Wood novels do.

    Absolutely. Some of the Merlin books come close to this level of weird but Lavondyss may be Holdstock’s Ulysses.

    Now Playing: 4’ 33” by John Cage

  7. Rob Thornton follows up: Absolutely. Some of the Merlin books come close to this level of weird but Lavondyss may be Holdstock’s Ulysses.

    There’s are entire chapters there that rival Joyce in density. It’s a joy to read so long as you keep in mind that it’s not a quick read at any sense what-so-ever. And yes the Celtika series comes close to its narrative form.

    The Ryhope Wood series should’ve have nominated for a Best Series Hugo. It probably wouldn’t have won but it deserves that honor.

    Now playing: Pogues’ “Turkish Song of the Damned”

  8. (7) Although I’m also a fan of The Sheep Look Up, the Brunner that I like to reread every few years is an odd one: Players at the Game of People (1980). I also enjoyed Brunner’s introduction to The Best of Philip K. Dick (Ballantine/Del Rey, 1977), an extremely well-chosen selection with entertaining endnotes by the author.

  9. 6) I read Mythago Wood and Lavondyss (in SFBC hardcovers) many, many years ago and should probably add them to the stack to revisit.

    7) It’s quite possible that the only Brunner I’ve actually read is The Compleat Traveller in Black, which is excellent. And his Thieves’ World story. I should dig deeper into his catalog as well.

  10. (7) I will put in a rec for “The Stone That Never Came Down” by Brunner. Otherwise, of course, “Stand on Zanzibar” which took me several readings to fully grok, and “Shockwave Rider”.

  11. I need to re-read Stand on Zanzibar one of these days. It and the other two mentioned are excellent books. But my favorite is The Traveller in Black, in which Brunner displays a deft and logical hand at portraying a wish-granting entity.

  12. “ for years afterward, Hugo rules provided that no one could be on the ballot in both categories” (fan and pro artist)

    Did they? Any idea when and why it was changed? That certainly isn’t the rule now.

  13. 7) I’m quite fond of The Crucible of Time – even if I still have no bloody idea what the aliens look like.

    @PhilRM: I was listening to a Brian Eno CD once and eventually noticed that I had been listening to it for far, far longer than it was possible for a CD to be. Only then did I realize that the disc was skipping.

  14. 12) “bloody foul” seems like a curious description for a story by Sayers, who I think of as a smidgen prim [admittedly by late-20th-century standards]! Any speculation as to what he might have been reading?

  15. 6) Another big fan of Lavondyss here
    – for all its difficulty and occasional longueurs. (I could have done with a bit less of the middle section that borrows Tig and his people from an earlier story.) Hence the avatar, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I enjoyed Mythago Wood abd tried some of Holdstock’s other books but Lavondyss is the only one I re-read.

    7) Stand on Zanzibar made a deep impression on me when I was a teenager and The Shockwave Rider was a pleasant wish-fulfilment fantasy, but as time passes and I learn more about which pop sociologists het was drawing on I think The Traveller in Black is my favourite Brunner. I’d give an honourable mention to Times Without Number too.

  16. @ PhilRM

    How can you tell?

    Whenever I want to listen to 4’ 33”, I sit on a piano bench that is specifically reserved for that purpose. 🙂

  17. @6
    I was disappointed by Mythago Wood. My fault for weighing it down with expectations. I never bothered to continue the series; sounds like I erred. I’ll have to give Lavondyss a try, at least.

    Ooh, a bumper crop of birthdays!

    Bert I Gordon is probably why there is a Mystery Science Theater. He certainly is the filmmaker I most associate with the show. You can’t beat Earth vs the Spider.

    I don’t have a favorite Brunner, but of works not yet mentioned, I would most recommend Jagged Orbit. His work remains imperfect but interesting.

    I can’t imagine what my life would be like without jim Henson’s work. Sesame Street is one of those important things so important you forget it wasn’t always there. The Muppet Show was one of my introductions to “old-fashioned” Vaudeville-esque comedy. A spiritual father.

    John Kessel’s work is delightful. I recommend Corrupting Dr Nice, especially if you enjoy Preston Sturges, Howard Hawkes, or Billy Wilder comedies. His short fiction is varied and various. Buddha Nostril Bird is a favorite.

    Speaking of birds, Brad Bird! He directed my favorite Mission Impossible movie.

    This makes me want to read that Wittgenstein biography a friend tried to convince me to read years, years ago. He loved old Wittie.

  18. Sophie Jane says Another big fan of Lavondyss here
    – for all its difficulty and occasional longueurs. (I could have done with a bit less of the middle section that borrows Tig and his people from an earlier story.) Hence the avatar, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I enjoyed Mythago Wood abd tried some of Holdstock’s other books but Lavondyss is the only one I re-read.

    Yes I’ve noticed your avatar. Nicely done. The Celktika series which very loosely ties into the Ryhope Wood series is worth reading.

    Ow playing: Frifot’s “Oxen och Magen” as it is Autumn after all.

  19. @Rob Thornton: Whenever I want to listen to 4’ 33”, I sit on a piano bench that is specifically reserved for that purpose.
    Well played.

  20. Last year, I saw the trailer for the remake of Stephen King’s Pet Semetary and the visuals made me realize that what I really want is a quality film adaptation of Mythago Wood and Lavondyss.

  21. Forgot to remark on Kessel’s birthday- I’ve read a lot of his stuff. “A Clean Escape” even got a decent TV adaptation.

  22. @Cat Eldridge The Celtika series… is worth reading.

    I started The Iron Grail a few years ago but I found I bogged down quite fast. Not an easy read, as you say, and I have a definite if irrational aversion to Arthurian stuff. It does linger in my memory though, and the writing was impressive. Perhaps I’ll give it another go.

    …and now I search, I find part of the problem was that I hadn’t realised The Iron Grail is the second book of the series. Which explains why it was sometimes hard to follow. Okay, definitely worth another try then.

    Also… The Ragthorn is slight but fun (for particular values of both) and seems to be available as a short ebook now.

  23. @ Nicholas Whyte

    The rule, colloquially called the Gaughan Rule, was dropped by an amendment (“Gaughan Gone”) passed at Nippon 2007 the 65th Worldcon, ratified at Denvention III the 66th.

    I’d guess that you being electronic would have access to the Business Meeting minutes in that form and would find it convenient.

  24. Bert I Gordon is probably why there is a Mystery Science Theater. He certainly is the filmmaker I most associate with the show. You can’t beat Earth vs the Spider.

    The crew of the SoL endured an astonishing 8 films from the Notorious B.I.G., edging out Roger Corman for most films from a particular director.

    It makes sense since while Gordon’s films could be, and were, quite cheesy they were also in of themselves a lot of fun. They weren’t loaded with hurt like the oeuvre of Coleman Francis or filled with fail like, say, the works of Greydon Clark.

  25. (8) One title I always liked (but only works in the UK) is “That book they are serialising on Radio Four this week”.

    (I think the Pet Shop Boys once considered calling an album “The New One” so that people could just ask for “The New One by the Pet Shop Boys” to save time.)

  26. Sophie Janes notes Also… The Ragthorn is slight but fun (for particular values of both) and seems to be available as a short ebook now.

    It’s indeed available from all of the usual digital suspects and well worth reading. There’s a lot of genre service therein.

    Now playing: Steeleye Span’s “The Elf-Knight”

  27. Michael J. Lowrey on September 25, 2020 at 12:14 am said:

    12) “bloody foul” seems like a curious description for a story by Sayers, who I think of as a smidgen prim [admittedly by late-20th-century standards]! Any speculation as to what he might have been reading?

    Could just have been an idiomatic way of saying he really didn’t like it.

  28. Scroll on Pixelbar?
    The Scrollwave Pixel?
    Scrollers At The Game of Pixel?

    “As you scroll, so pixel it” – the Pixeler in Scroll

  29. Re: James Nicoll’s recent essay on reading book series out of order–I read and loved Mythago Wood in about 1992 or 1993 but then was somehow convinced that The Hollowing was its immediate sequel. The Hollowing felt flat–as though something was missing–probably because I hadn’t read Lavondyss, and I didn’t feel compelled to search out any subsequent Ryhope books. It was only relatively recently that I realized Lavondyss exists, and I still haven’t read it. Based on Sophie Jane’s comments, it definitely goes on the TBR list.

  30. The Ryhope Wood series Is a difficult one as one novel is not intrinsically linked to another. Even when the same characters re-appear later on, their stories are different than when they appeared earlier. Sonmetimes I’m not quite sure it was the same character. Holdstock was very much into playing with the idea of story snd how it could be told, sometimes to the point of frustration.

    Now playing: Old Blind Dogs’“The Battle of Harlaw”

  31. (2) Evanier’s item #71 made me scratch my head:

    If in a comic you use the phrase, “Trapped in a world he never made,” you need to explain (a) what world he is trapped in, (b) what world he did make and would prefer to be in, and most importantly, (c) how many worlds has this character made and how is it that he or she has the ability to make worlds?

    At the risk of being that guy who’s like “But that’s the joke— here, I’ll explain it”… but that’s the joke! Here, I’ll explain it. “Trapped in a world he never made!” was not a commonly used melodramatic comic-book phrase; it was specifically the tagline for Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck. It’s a reference to A.E. Housman’s “The Laws of God, The Laws of Man” in which it conveys, as it does for Howard, the general idea that we’re all required to deal with a bunch of arbitrary things about the world that were established before we came along. Using it as a comic-book subtitle with bombastic phrasing was a well-chosen synecdoche for that comic itself, since it sounds at first like a familiar pulp trope but isn’t quite; Howard was constantly running into weird supervillian scenarios, but his actual issues were more about the absurdity of life in general. Maybe some other writers quoted this phrase later without the context and that’s what Evanier is complaining about, but it’s really odd that he brings this up without mentioning Howard the Duck at all, given that he knew Steve Gerber quite well.

  32. Also from (2), Evanier’s #49 about colorists is a polite understatement, or at least it is these days when colorists can do so much with digital tools. I had a teacher who’s a very prolific colorist for tons of superhero comics, and he would sometimes walk us through some of his current work to explain the process. The degree to which some of the people doing the line art felt free to gloss over not just lighting decisions, but huge chunks of rendering and design and background detail, on the assumption that the colorist could take care of it— either by obfuscating that part of the art with a visual effect so it matters less what’s there, or by pasting in some heavily-processed-so-as-to-be-unrecognizable photo reference, or just painting in a lot of extra art in the color layer, was way beyond what I had imagined.

  33. I don’t think Evanier was using “Trapped in a world he never made” to refer to Howard the Duck, so much as he was referring to comics that came after it. Yes, Gerber was making reference to Houseman. But hack writers since then used the tagline to invest their own work with some of that sensibility of HtD, and often the work doesn’t deserve that, or at least the hack writer is taking a shortcut instead earning the right to claim that space. I read #71 as “show, don’t tell”.

  34. @bill: What I mean is that, since Evanier was presumably well aware that it was Gerber’s line, I don’t know why he wouldn’t just say something like “That’s a line from Howard the Duck, it’s a joke, it doesn’t make sense if you try to use it for ordinary melodramatic effect” – rather than picking it apart as bad writing. Wouldn’t he at least want to credit Gerber? And I’m not sure it is actually true that it became a cliché used by other writers— that was my attempt to imagine what Evanier could have had in mind, but I don’t see a single Google result that isn’t referencing HtD (usually in the context of “What does that weird tagline from HtD mean?”, which people wouldn’t do if they thought of it as ordinary comic-speak). Also, I don’t understand how “show, don’t tell” could possibly apply to this. Frankly the more I think about it, the more I suspect that this was an attempt at humor based on the premise that readers would know that Evanier knew Gerber and was sort of ribbing his ghost in a deliberately obtuse way.

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