THIS SICKNESS 8 from Bottomless Studio, featuring John Linton Roberson, Emily Kaplan, Chad Parenteau, Charles Alverson, Gianna Ratto, Chris DeWildt and a cover by Molly Kiely. 100 pages! Available in print & Kindle at Amazon!
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30 June 2011
  Look, Ma, I'm an "Author": Roberson's Amazon Page

So now, I got me one of them fancy Amazon Author pages, and, of course, you can and will find it right here!

And of course you will share a link to everybody you know in the entire universe. Because you're awesome like that.

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29 June 2011
  Ramblings About Magic and Belief and Yadda Yadda

Reading the Invisibles again recently got me thinking about magic again for the first time in a while. Not as something to practice, just something to think about. Like the way I am with religion.

Grant Morrison's views on magic always appealed to me. Grant believes magic is pretty much just a way to trick your mind into doing things it can, but you don't know how to do, and that if it takes a ritual to convince your brain, you do that but it has no inherent power, because it's all you.

I can see the wisdom of using a crutch when it is in fact a useful tool. The trick is remembering they're all tools, and being able to make it work anyway. Temporary belief.

I myself don't know if magic is real or not but have had friends who did, like my Brazilian friend Angel, who was a serious believer, of some kind of Santeria-like Catholic strain of healing magic. We argued about it a lot, which I regret now, not because I believe differently, exactly, but that I was so inconsiderate, knowing everything before I'd experienced anything. I wince. Does everyone?

I was more of a rationalist absolutist back then, and she left me with a lot of doubt on the issue, which reading Grant Morrison (whom she liked, along with Ennis' Hellblazer--particularly the First of the Fallen) strengthened. Not so much my otherwise guru Alan Moore, because...well, I always had an interest in it, but the arcana, frankly, is really corny. Do NOT show me Crowley. That was something I almost didn't forgive Moore in Promethea, which I otherwise enjoyed--especially the walk through the Kabbalah, because the superhero stuff that others love to rave about so much, apart from the excellent J.H. Williams art, wasn't my thing. But.... CROWLEY? You've got the much more interesting Austin Osman Spare in there too, but you barely show us him, but on every level you focus on that walking cliche Crowley? Arrrgh.

I mean, if the process of art is magic, as both men like to say, and that's my favorite way of looking at it--something greater than the sum of its parts with no apparent reason for being and yet, there it is, something from nothing? A better model for that kind of sorcerer image is William S. Burroughs, I'd think. Who Moore actually introduced me to, via one page in Watchmen I read in 1987.

The thing is, if magic is of any use, it's not against rationality, because it wouldn't work if on some level it did not make sense. What YOU (or I) know and can understand is not the same as rationality. It may not make sense, but how many other things you deal with each day don't actually make sense to you?

You don't know what you don't know.

If it works (if, and in no way am I saying, apart from art, that it does) then it makes sense on some level that you're not on. It's just that it deals with things we perhaps don't know how to describe rationally yet. But the limits of our knowledge doesn't change that if something works, it is rational, only what can happen does happen, and if something does not work there is no sense believing in it. The only real irrationality here would be blind denial calling itself(but what is not) faith.

Always remember, in art or anything: You owe your tools nothing.

Myself, I don't know if I believe, because I'm not so arrogant. I don't know what I don't know. But I do not fuck with it because I am not in full cognizance of what's brewing in my subconscious. I suspect something self-defeating lurks down there. I once tried to perform a sigil in the manner Grant once defined (famously in a letter column in the Invisibles, in an attempt to increase sales), and quite poetically got THE EXACT OPPOSITE, point for point, of what I'd wanted.

Incidentally, I met Grant once in 1996 in San Francisco, at Comix Experience, as mentioned previously here. I didn't say what I spoke about though. I told him of my plight when I tried his method, and asked him what one does then, if your own subconscious were acting against you: how would you know? He said something in very quiet Glaswegian, and as mentioned before, I was polite and pretended I understood.

Oh, and Mindless Ones have a new podcast interview with him, partly about his new book Supergods. Understand him if you can.
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27 June 2011
  Michele Bachmann Has That John Wayne Gacy Spirit

Michele Bachmann, as everyone knows now, recently got John Wayne confused with John Wayne Gacy on Fox.
She said that like the famous rugged cowboy star, John Wayne, she too was from Waterloo which was why she was picking the small town to announce her candidacy.
"Well what I want them to know is just like John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too," Bachmann told a Fox News reporter.
One small detail: John Wayne Gacy, the infamous mass murderer is from Waterloo. The Duke, although his parents met in Waterloo, is from Iowa, but from Winterset, nearly three hours away by car.
I don't know. I mean, do we know that she got confused? I hear about these 23 foster children of hers. I don't see them though.

Where are they, I now wonder?

Maybe she meant it exactly how it sounded. Personally, I think we should assume a fundamentalist means exactly what they're saying at all times.
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  Redefining Treason: Eric Cantor Will Benefit Financially From US Debt Default

It seems that the fox is not only in charge of the henhouse, he also has cooking oil ready. Eric Cantor, the chief negotiator on the debt issue, is invested in a fund called ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury EFT. This fund specializes in shorting Treasury securities. Cantor is still invested in it and will make a killing if default happens.

I wonder how many other Republicans in Congress are looking forward to benefiting in bucks from betraying the American people and sending our economy into Hell.
"If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, investors would start fleeing U.S. Treasuries," said Matt Koppenheffer, who writes for the investment website the Motley Fool. "Yields would rise, prices would fall, and the Proshares ETF should do very well. It would spike."
The fund hasn't significantly spiked yet because many investors believe Congress will eventually raise the debt ceiling. However, since Cantor abruptly called off debt ceiling negotiations last Thursday, the fund is up 3.3 percent.
It's about, as with everything, nothing but some pigs wanting to glut themselves.

Cantor really should face some ethics questions over this, if Weiner's dick was enough to trigger them. I'd love to hear his whining, pusillanimous voice as he tries to explain why he wants to make money from destroying America.

Of course, my belief is that the GOP wants America to simply fall apart. It makes it possible for them to get everything they want, because they only win when everyone's brains are short-circuited by fear. They don't have a terrorist attack to take advantage of, but making people suffer financially, and training Obama to help them(and mission accomplished on that score; he is their good and faithful servant and no liberal/progressive/whatever the hell you want to call it now should listen to a thing that Judas Goat says). They want to make money off the closedown, that's all. If America became a Third World country, that only makes the position of the wealthy better, as in any Third World country.

Everything must go! Especially you and I.

Not that I'm saying that Cantor and other Republicans don't love America. Sure they do!...

"...Like a glutton loves his lunch."
The Lion in Winter
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26 June 2011
  Wisconsin: Justice Prosser Tries to Strangle Justice Bradley?

That's not a joke. Right now, it's being reported that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's pet judge, highly-conservative Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, got into an argument with fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley and tried to throttle her. "Grabbed her neck." During arguments over the anti-union bill, as it happens. So she is alleging.

Justice David Prosser. A reasonable man, and so are they all, reasonable men.

This judge, you may recall, Walker really wanted on the court badly because it was he that would provide the final nail in the coffin of Wisconsin's public sector unions. So badly that they may have fabricated a Waukesha's worth of votes for Prosser in the last election. You may recall I called the official who may have done this a fucking liar here a little while back.

Well, it turns out this judge is also apparently a ragey psycho, who thinks it proper to be violent to women to make a point. Potentially homicidally violent. I wish I could say it surprises me. But not even a little bit. It's not like it hadn't already been reported he's a vile, reactionary man with a history of acting like this toward female justices, like in 2010 calling Chief Justice (and first female SCWI justice) Shirley Abrahamson a "bitch" and threatening to "destroy" her.

And everything that's been done so far by the conservatives in Wisconsin has been notably obnoxious, bullying and brutal in every other way till now.

Such are our times, and such, often, are today's conservatives, for that matter. I look forward to Scott Adams' defense of the judge as a fellow man, and to tell us how men sometimes just can't quiet that instinct to strangle a woman.

I look forward to seeing whether it's true, and if it is, what happens to him.
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25 June 2011
  Michael Kupperman on Film Piracy

Hollywood is cleverly fighting movie piracy by making sure all their films suck.
Michael Kupperman, the mad genius behind Snake n' Bacon & Tales Designed to Thrizzle


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  People Without Pants on the Streets of Seattle

Today's installment of Why Downtown Creeps Me Out Here. So Friday morning, I have a freelance gig I'm going to. I'm walking down the hill on James Avenue, right? From the bus stop near the court building. And ahead of me is some guy in a red hoodie. Well, that's nothing stra--

He wasn't wearing pants.

I don't mean, he was wearing shorts, or--as far as I could tell--he was wearing his underwear.

No, I mean he was wearing the hoodie aaaand...that was it.

It's one of those moments where you don't want to look, but you cannot believe you're actually seeing this so you cannot help it.

Maybe in Seattle, this is casual day for homeless people?

And he's ahead of me THE WHOLE WALK DOWNHILL. Including right past a COP, for pete's sake. Stumbling from side to side, obviously gone out of his mind on something. I mean, I'm assuming he would HAVE to be homeless, because I don't think there are Seattleites that absent-minded. Also, the shade of red he was wearing is the kind of thing one would ONLY wear because they had nothing else. Think the dwarf in DON'T LOOK NOW.

This afternoon when I left, at 5 pm, and walked uphill to the same 355 bus stop? Mr. Literally Bare-Ass is still wandering about on James Avenue. Still without pants. On a street that's between a courthouse and a police station, down the hill on Yesler. This is a city where being homeless not only means perhaps not having even pants, but nobody, in any respect, giving a crap. I wondered if I was the only person who could see this. I wondered just how desensitized Seattleites are. It's not jadedness. I've lived in places that are jaded, and it's usually because things happen in those places. If Seattleites are jaded, it's more in the sense of a child who not only doesn't want broccoli, but has decided it does not exist. And if they reacted to this person, perhaps that might mean having to take some civic responsibility for someone who, whether you find his pantslessness offensive, amusing, or sad, is obviously not someone in a good place.

See, that's the thing: it's not permissiveness that makes them not notice Mr. Bare-Ass. It's that they can't be bothered to be concerned about anyone.

Gotta tell ya, never even saw anything like that in truly jaded, cosmopolitan places Chicago, or in San Francisco, the kind of places you would think you might. The strangest thing I ever saw on the street in the San Francisco Bay Area back in the late 1990s--besides Maxon Crumb, but that's another story for another day--was this guy who looked a bit like Gibby Haynes, had no shirt, and walked around downtown Berkeley upside down, on his hands. I was told I should be happy about that because when he flipped onto his feet, he would kick people in the head. Altamont, it seems, had been interesting times for him. But in Berkeley, the homeless have an easier time than many places. Up here, not so. They can freeze. And they do.

At another bus stop on my way home, around 130th and Aurora, a homeless man who's usually there on that corner begging from the cars passing, with a friend, first has his backpack stolen by a third hobo, then gets it back, and then just as the bus comes, he suffers a massive seizure on the sidewalk. His friend begs the bus driver to call 911. (there are no other phones on the streets here, and I don't have a cell phone so I could not. I can't account for the others on the bus) The bus driver goes "Uhhh, okay," and it turned out he did put the call through on the radio, but he waited two stops.

So I am left with little to say about all this but...

WHAT THE HELL IS WITH THIS CITY.

That is all. Thank you for your time.

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23 June 2011
  Scott Adams on Rape: "You Can't Both Be Winners"

What.

What the hell.

"If a man you barely know wants to have sex with you, and you'd rather not, you can't both be winners."--Scott Adams
WELL.

Good to know he's as intricate a thinker as he is a draftsman.

Anyone who wants to even start to justify his helplessness against his instincts by an intellectual argument has already lost by definition.

But anyone who even wants to think of finding any ghost of a justification for rape, much like anyone who does so with Holocaust denial--which Adams has also flirted with--is not someone to be debated. It's someone to be backed slowly and carefully away from.

I wonder about guys that think so much about this kind of thing. You see them especially when anything on women is posted on Salon.

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  Why DO We Want Comics To Be Movies (or TV Shows)?

Something you see pop up on Craigslist is guys who have this idea for a comic. Maybe they've even written a bit of it. And for no pay whatsoever, they want you to do all the work of drawing it, for perhaps exposure, or money on the back end when, glory be, it gets made a movie. Oh yes, this person knows people who will do that. And I'm sure some young cartoonists fall for this crap, and waste valuable time on such projects.

Because these days, from the big two(where it's really just about the corporate synergy) on down, it seems everyone aspires to make a movie from their comic, or to have one made of their favorite comics.

The reason people want comics on film or TV--besides those that make the $ from it, and that's totally understandable--is that they feel validated. "SEE! My habit's at the multiplex!" Because that gives it such class. And I suppose if you think respectability is a function of how much money is made, and the scale thereof, sure. It's a number you can point to. Definitely.

But think about that--Because somehow once something's a film, that validates it as a non-geeky grownup cultural object? Is that what you're aspiring to? I don't want to watch a comic on film. Comics do comics much better. I want to see a FILM on film. I love both media too much to, except in a few cases, enjoy the halfway bastard thing that usually results from trying to split the difference between the two.

Get your mind off the movie project and just MAKE BETTER COMICS.

And I'm relieved that to this day the long-in-production PREACHER adaptation is still vaporware. May it remain so, forever.

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22 June 2011
  Forgot All About This: Bottomless Studio TV- YouTube Channel‬‏ Forgot almost that this existed, but anyway. Not much at all as far as uploads. Mostly it's playlists(film & music, much of it) but one of them is me performing a short story by James Snowden, "Koba's Bad Cut".

All playlists you've seen posted here are there.It's now updated and you can watch here. 
21 June 2011
  Newt Gingrich's Campaign Runs Away

Republican candidate and obscene word for a rash Newt Gingrich recently lost his campaign team all on the same day because he felt going on a sea cruise was more important than campaigning. They realized they were just pawns in a scam by Newt to build up sales of his merch on the idea he might run. Just one of many shysters pulling the same thing in the GOP, like Sarah Palin who's made a whole profession of pretending to run. They know they won't win, because they're not serious, but they do know there's money to be made off the pretense.

And that GOP voters are the most gullible, spendthrift marks in the business, having already been primed for decades by televangelists to waste money on conmen. Fox and Glenn Beck have made it a whole business model. Just label something conservative and watch the little red staters throw their money away, then rinse and repeat.

And today, he has lost his finance team. Because he's not viable, he's not serious, and frankly he's a terrible candidate, regardless of your side.

They say it takes an elephant a long time to fall over and realize it's dead when shot. But probably not when all four legs are suddenly chopped off under it.

Wake up and go, Newt. We all hate you. Everyone. Right and left alike. And we don't care about your sad fevered ego needing one last jolt of juice.

And did I mention that most people alive who wouldn't be likely to hate you(because they remember you), don't hate you because they don't even know who you are, and to them you're just some fat old man with a huge Sorry Tab for his third wife at Tiffany's?

Give it up, Newt, and wait for the day Ken Burns makes you a talking head in a documentary.

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18 June 2011
  DC Comics Buggers Jack Cole's Plastic Man Raw: No, This Isn't Tasteless or Poorly Drawn at All

No, no DC. This wasn't a bad idea to do with Jack Cole's Plastic Man--even an alternate-universe one--at all. Not at all. It doesn't feel a bit like someone defecated in my brain, DC. Carry on.

Then again, it's a character DC has rarely done well by. Martin Pasko & Joe Staton, Kyle Baker recently, and (I think?) Bob Rozakis & Ramona Fradon, come to mind of the better moments, but two of those were the late 70s, and they cancelled Baker's. In fact, their character Ralph Dibny--a bit of lightheartedness that DC snuffed out some time ago--only exists because they didn't realize that they owned the rights to Plastic Man.

By the way, to the artist, who I will not name here out of mercy and the idea they're still young and can improve: there's this thing called "perspective." It really, really helps. Look into it.

My old boss Gary Groth on NuDC's ridiculous relaunch:

"...do you have any advice for the people at DC as far as what they should expect from renumbering?

Gary Groth:[Laughs] I don't think I do. Good fucking luck. I'm not even sure what that's supposed to accomplish. It seems like a pitiful attempt to con more people into buying the same old shit."

BINGO. But then, what are all their Events and Crises of the past ten years? The same. And: The longest and most costly state of denial in the history of publishing. DC is all about "events" now, not story. Outside of Grant Morrison or Paul Levitz, or a few things here & there by Geoff Johns since 2009, I'm trying to remember the last time DC gave me an actual story.

Then again, for a long time I was Vertigo-only. But with their cancellation of NORTHLANDERS and bringing John Constantine into the DCU, it appears Vertigo is also for the chop. Because they can't have anything unstained by their editor-controlled superhero sludge.

Seriously, read indie comics instead, owned by their creators. We don't screw you over like this.

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15 June 2011
  Vladrushka Sketch: Standing (1)


(click to enlarge)

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"Eternity with Beelzebub, and all his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me and this pencil." - E. Blackadder, 1791
JLRoberson Self-Portrait 2005.
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