Ikea vs Superfans: how paranoid trademark lawyers make everything suck

In 2014, IKEA, the Swedish-based global furniture company, sent a cease-and-desist letter to a blogger by the name of Jules Yap. Yap ran the extremely popular website IKEAhackers.net, which helped people “hack” IKEA furniture into new, creative, and unexpected designs. The site was already almost a decade old when IKEA’s lawyers demanded that Yap hand over the URL. What follows is a case study from Superfandom: How Our Obsessions are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are.

JOHN WILCOCK: Andy Warhol's First Meeting with The Velvet Underground (and other events of 1965)

A book of John Wilcock comics is now available

A variety of Warhol Moments of 1965, including the filming of Poor Little Rich Girl and Beauty #2 with Edie Sedgwick, Nam June Paik's video delay prank, and the first meeting of The Velvet Underground with Andy Warhol, which John witnessed in person, during the band's stay at Rick Allmen's Cafe Bizarre. From John Wilcock, New York Years. Read the rest

The Offworld Collection available to order

The Offworld Collection, presenting the very best features and essays from Offworld, is finally available to buy directly from Campo Santo for $40. I had the pleasure of designing and illustrating this splendid 250-page hardcover volume, but it's the excellent writing, edited by Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson, that makes it an essential buy. You get the ebook immediately upon purchase. Read the rest

New York 2140: Kim Stanley Robinson dreams vivid about weathering climate crisis

In 2012, Kim Stanley Robinson published 2312, imagining how the world and its neighbors might look in 300 years, loosely coupled with the seminal Red Mars books, a futuristically pastoral novel about the way that technology can celebrate the glories of nature; in 2015, Robinson followed it up with Aurora, the best book I read that year, which used 2312's futures to demolish the idea that we can treat space colonization (and other muscular technological projects) as Plan B for climate change -- a belief that is very comforting to those who don't or can't imagine transforming capitalism into a political system that doesn't demolish the planet. Now, with New York 2140, Robinson starts to connect the dots between these different futures with a bold, exhilarating story of life in a permanent climate crisis, where most people come together in adversity, but where a small rump of greedy, powerful people get in their way.

When Jack Chick offered to help the FBI fight Commies

Fundamentalist cartoonist Jack Chick wrote to J. Edgar Hoover in 1971 seeking the FBI's help with his bizarre religious comics. Today we publish that correspondence in its entirety for the first time, after obtaining it through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Testing products for data privacy and security

It’s an exciting and treacherous time to be a consumer. The benefits of new digital products and services are well documented, but the new risks they introduce are not. Basic security precautions are ignored to hasten time to market. Biased algorithms govern access to fair pricing. And four of the five most valuable companies in the world earn their revenue through products that mine vast quantities of consumer data, creating an unprecedented concentration of corporate power. A recent survey at Consumer Reports showed that 65% of Americans lack confidence their data is private or secure, with most consumers feeling powerless to do anything about it.

Queen Bees and Wannabes: a parents' up-to-date guide to the perils of "girl-world"

It's been fifteen years since the first edition of educator Rosalind Wiseman's Queen Bees and Wannabes was published; now in its third edition -- updated with current, timely material about social media and other fast-moving subjects, as well as reflections from girls who were raised on the techniques in the previous editions -- the book is a compassionate, aware, and intensely practical guide to navigating the toxic, gendered lives of young girls in a diverse, politicized world.

Terms and Conditions: the bloviating cruft of the iTunes EULA combined with extraordinary comic book mashups

Back in 2015, cartoonist Robert Sikoryak started publishing single pages from his upcoming graphic novel Terms and Conditions, in which he would recount every word of the current Apple iTunes Terms and Conditions as a series of mashup pages from various comics old and new, in which Steve Jobsean characters stalked across the panels, declaiming the weird, stilted legalese that "everyone agrees to and no one reads."

The Free: unflinching YA novel about juvie, desperation and empathy

Lauren McLaughlin is no stranger to hard-hitting, unflinching young adult novels: her debut, Cycler (and its sequel, Re-Cycler) was about a teenaged girl who turned into a boy for four days every month; Scored was a class-conscious surveillance dystopia; now, in The Free, McLaughlin sheds any fantastic or futuristic elements and mainlines a pure, angry, relentless and stripped-down story about a kid whose desperate circumstances become almost unbearable when he takes a fall for a car-theft and goes to juvenile prison.

THEFT: A History of Music

It's been seven years since we previewed Theft: A History of Music, a comic book that explains the complicated history of music, borrowing, control and copyright, created by a dynamic duo of witty copyright law professors from Duke University as a followup to the greatest law-comic ever published: the book was due out years ago, but the untimely and tragic death of illustrator Keith Aoki delayed it -- until today.

JOHN WILCOCK: Meeting Edie Sedgwick

Returning from a trip abroad, John returns to Andy Warhol's Factory to meet a young, fragile, and beautiful Edie Sedgwick.

Federal courts resist transparency, but the Free Law Project fights back

In the age of Internet, discussions about the federal government and its functions are informed by and rely on our unprecedented access to federal documents. Anyone can freely view public records online, such as proposed Congressional legislation and presidential executive orders. Accessing public court documents, however, is a bit trickier. As Katherine Mangu-Ward wrote for the Wall Street Journal in 2011, "no aspect of government remains more locked down than the secretive, hierarchical judicial branch."

Get yourself thrown out of this show, if you can

In & Of Itself is the fantastic brainchild of three-time Academy of Magical Arts Award winner Derek DelGuadio. Though it stopped running in Los Angeles a few months ago, the lucky folks in New York will have 10 weeks to catch it at Union Square's Daryl Roth Theatre from April 5 - June 18.  A few months ago a good friend took me and the next block of 48 hours was filled with surges of amazement, fear, pride and relief - and I guarantee that my experience was different from the other attendees. Read the rest

Italy unveils a legal proposal to regulate government hacking

Internet traffic nowadays is mostly encrypted (“HTTPS”). Thus, for a few years now, Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) have been facing far more challenges at gathering data through the interception of connections than they used to.

Decelerate Blue: YA graphic novel about the kids who refuse to keep pace with totalitarian, high-speed consumerism

Decelerate Blue is a new dystopian science fiction YA graphic novel from Adam Rapp and Mike Cavallaro that tells the story of Angela Swiff, a teen who refuses to go along with the "Guarantee," a totalitarian philosophy that demands that everyone work, play and (especially) shop as quickly as is humanly possible.

Gifts for Lovers in the Death Throes of The American Republic

Gifts for Lovers in the Death Throes of The American Republic

Share a final candle-flicker of joy before the annihilation begins: Twitter / Facebook.

Silver heart pill container pendant / $100

Compartment will fit 6 small antipsychotic pills comfortably.

Jasmine Absolute Essential Oil / $55

An uplifting, hopeful, and romantic scent. Beautiful as a pick me up, or an aphrodisiac. — Xeni

Personalized End Grain Chopping Block / $190

This personally engraved chopping block is to die for! As you shall, in the brutal civil war portended by the election of Donald Trump. — Rob

Square, lightweight plastic flask from Stanley / $15

Sturdy, multicolored flasks that go around the world with you, perfect for a sneaky V-day cocktail with your sweetie (Previously) — Cory

The Womanizer: comes with a "100% orgasm guarantee"

It's not a vibrator. It's a gadget that suckles the clitoris. Vanessa Marin, a licensed psychotherapist specializing in sex therapy, said it "induces powerful orgasms in a shockingly short amount of time." — Mark

Barry White: All-Time Greatest Hits / $4

Want to set the mood? Here's the soundtrack your evening needs. — Jason

Defenders Mushroom Extract Blend / $35

Say it with shrooms! This is a high-quality Asian medicinal mushroom extract tonic, an exotic blend with purported adaptogenic properties. It may brighten up your brain and help you cope with stress. Chaga, Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake and Turkey Tail. — Xeni

Key Knife / $12

A blade cleverly hidden in a key-shaped handle, which many report having successfully taken through TSA checkpoints — Cory

Flashing LED Heart Kit / $10

Solder up a special something for your loved one or, better yet, have a romantic maker date and do it yourselves. Read the rest

Exclusive: excerpt from Jason Shiga's Demon 2

The OSS is after Jimmy, and they're planning on using his daughter to catch him. But Jimmy will tear the world apart to keep his daughter safe. Literally. This morally bankrupt immortal freak of nature has absolutely no concern for the wellbeing of any human being besides himself and his Sweetpea. It'd be adorable if it weren't so scary.

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