Ben Carson's hogwash stories of a violent youth

Dr. Ben Carson

It seems obvious that the presidential candidate's stories of youthful violence are fables, but why? It's not just because he keeps changing the events to account for inconsistencies and incredibilities—it's because no-one can find the people he describes.

But nine friends, classmates and neighbors who grew up with Carson told CNN they have no memory of the anger or violence the candidate has described. That person is unrecognizable to those whom CNN interviewed, who knew him during those formative years.

All of the people interviewed expressed surprise about the incidents Carson has described. No one challenged the stories directly. Some of those interviewed expressed skepticism, but noted that they could not know what had happened behind closed doors. CNN was unable to independently confirm any of the incidents, which Carson said occurred when he was a juvenile.

I keep imagining Ben Carson at the lectern, calmly and blandly insisting that he was the driver of the headlights-off car that brutally murdered someone who flashed them.

But that Mittyesque character doesn't really exist, does it? He just overdid the self-mythology in an early autobiography, and didn't have a plan for squaring it with the scrutiny that running for president would bring decades later. The irony, the entertainment value, comes from realizing that he's still a habitual bullshitter who can't take advice.

I think the day is won, though, by Gabrielle Bluestone, who offers a great line on the mangled absurdity of this candidate's boasts: "If Ben Carson didn’t attack his own mother with a hammer, what else isn’t he capable of?"

(Previously! Read the rest

Fable Comics: anthology of great comics artists telling fables from around the world

Firstsecond's new Fable Comics is the third knockout anthology in which amazing, hugely varied comics creators recreate some of the world's best loved stories. As with Nursery Rhyme Comics and Fairy Tale Comics, Fable Comics draws from diverse source material and presents it in varied, fresh ways that have something for everyone.

Scary Swedish bedtime stories for awful children

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The creators of the game Year Walk have prepared a special treat for us: a free e-book of Swedish scary stories to tell in the dark.

This American Indian Dungeons and Dragons lets you weave powerful stories

Ehdrigor, a game created by a black, American Indian game designer, gently reflects the Native experience, and how that approach to storytelling differs from Western narratives.

I've been texting with an astronaut

How a surprising iPhone and Apple Watch bestseller is pushing the boundaries of fiction

Artist creates Instagrams for Disney characters

In her series “Selfie Fables,” Italian artist Simona Bonafini imagines what it would be like if Disney’s fairy tale heroes joined Instagram. Read the rest

The Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature

Imagine Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer told in Family Circus comic strip style, Alice in Wonderland’s Alice as a rude fat brat with a Valley-girl accent, Little Red Riding Hood as a young woman who climbs into bed with the Wolf, or Harry Potter told as a comic without words, except for some exclamations and sound affects. Although these mega-popular “children’s” stories have already been recreated by illustrators, artists and filmmakers throughout the years, Graphic Canon presents them and 46 others with a fresh and twisted take by contemporary artists such as Dame Darcy, Lucy Knisely, Roberta Gregory, and World War 3’s Peter Kuper. From Aesop fables and Brothers Grimm tales to The Little Mermaid, Mark Twain’s “Advice to Little Girls,” The Oz series and Watership Down, this fourth volume of Graphic Canon brings us household children’s literature as we’ve never seen it before. This book of children’s literature might not be suitable for children! I would rate it PG-13.

See sample pages from this book at Wink. Read the rest

Coffin Hill: horror comic that mixes HP Lovecraft with black eyeliner

Coffin Hill is a horror story in graphic novel form that's somewhere between HP Lovecraft and Bauhaus: a genuinely scary and brilliantly told tale that's not afraid to show us its black eyeliner and ill-advised teenaged hair. Cory Doctorow reviews the first Coffin Hill collection.

Sorrow in the Balkans

Jasmina Tesanovic on the recent floods drowning the Balkan region, in which, it seems the sorrow never stops.

Charlie Stross's Snowball's Chance read aloud

Gary writes, "Episode 5 of the podcast Far-Fetched Fables features a great reading by Kenny Park of the short story 'Snowball's Chance' by Charles Stross. Far-Fetched Fables is the recent addition to the District of Wonders podcast network, which includes Tony C. Smith's long-running StarShip Sofa." Read the rest

Fantasy comics, ranked

Fables, Elfquest, Marvel's Conan and Neil Gaiman's Sandman are the best fantasy comics of all time, according to Comic Book Resources, whose list is bullshit without Groo. Read the rest

Friendly darkness in the palace of utopian fantasy

In Wendy and Richard Pini's ElfQuest saga are the echoes of an old thread of utopian fantasy, removed from epic homily to intimate fable.

The fable that helped me find the others

Fables are portals to other worlds, writes Heather Johanssen—and to new places in this one.

Nerval's Lobster: Is walking a crustacean any more ridiculous than a dog?

Before Rimbaud, before the Surrealists, there was Nerval (1808 - 1855), living his life as if it were a lucid dream. Of course, it didn't hurt that his mental skies flickered with the chain lightning of madness—bouts of insanity that condemned him to periodic stays in asylums and, ultimately, self-murder.

Fables: Cubs in Toyland

Bill Willingham's amazing graphic novel series Fables is one of those unbelievably, game-changingly epic series, one where I'm just as excited to get a peek at the edges of the world and the backstory of the characters as I am to see how the grand sweep of the plot turns out. The last one of these I can remember is Stephen King's Gunslinger books, where the sidewise discursions were as exciting as the forward movement.

Volume 18 of the Fables was published last week, and it's definitely more sidewide than forwards. Cubs in Toyland is a blood-freezingly scary episode exploring the ancient parent's nightmare of a child spirited away, one that combines the inherent creepiness of anthropomorphic toys (Chucky, anyone?) with the mythic resonances of the Fisher King.

By the time it was over, I was wrung out, but not exhausted. For all that my emotions had been taken through the gamut of wonderment, fear, disgust, suspense and triumph, I wanted more. Specifically, more about the future of the Fables, and the place where they will all go when the tale has run its course. In other words, this is yet another volume where Willingham hits it out of the park; it's reason enough for you to start reading the series, or to keep up with it.

Fables, Vol. 18: Cubs in Toyland Read the rest

Gift Guide 2012

Welcome to this year's Boing Boing Gift Guide, a piling-high of our most loved stuff from 2012 and beyond. There are books, comics, games, gadgets and much else besides: click the categories at the top to filter what you're most interested in—and add your suggestions and links in the comments.

Fairest: the women of Willingham's Fables stories get their own comic

Fairest centers around the lives of many of the great women of fabledom: Briar Rose, Sleeping Beauty's fairy godmothers and the frost queen, merging their stories with the tale of Ali Baba (albeit a different Ali Baba than the one you may have encountered in legends).

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