• Dark Horse announces anniversary edition of Mike Mignola's The Amazing Screw-On Head

    Dark Horse Comics will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Mike Mignola (Hellboy) and Dave Stewart's (Hellboy, Conan, The Goon) seminal Eisner Award-winning graphic novel The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects with the publication of a new, expanded hardcover edition. The edition will feature forty new pages of material, including nineteen pages of the never completed, never-before-published Axorr, Slayer of Demons story, written and drawn by Mignola. Mike writes:

    "As proud as I am of the Hellboy stuff, the stories that make up the Screw-On Head collection are actually my favorite things I've done. They are the most ME, they are as close as you're going to get to looking inside my head and seeing the stuff that runs around in there. A while back I started work on another of my odd non-Hellboy things, Axorr, Slayer of Demons. Eventually I hit a snag and never finished it, but was really happy with the nineteen pages I did finish, and I'm super happy that they are finding a home here in the new expanded 20th anniversary edition of this book. This is where they belong. If there is just one true 'Mignola' book to have, I think this is it."

    In The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects, Emperor Zombie is trying to take over the world once again. The Amazing Screw-On Head has been enlisted by President Lincoln to stop the evil emperor, with the help of his faithful partner Mr. Groin and his trusty canine companion Mr. Dog. Screw-On Head will have to brave ancient tombs and defeat demons from a dimension inside a turnip, just one of the strange and mischievous tales in this beloved collection.

    Dark Horse will also be releasing the one-shot Sir Edward Grey: Acheron, written and drawn entirely by Mike Mignola, on December 1st. The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects is available for pre-order now on Amazon and will be released in June 2022.

    Images: Photo by Alan Amato, exclusive cover reveal, Dark Horse Comics

  • New Reno 911! special coming in December: "The Hunt for QAnon"

    Everyone's favorite improve-driven cop show mocumentary, Reno 911!, is back. A Reno 911! special, premiering on December 23, 2021 on Paramount+, will star the full main cast, including Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, and Kerri Kenney-Silver. The subject? Everyone's favorite improve-driven conspiracy cult, QAnon.

    On a mission to track down the one and only Q, the one behind all QAnon conspiracies… the deputies from the Reno Sheriff's Department get stuck at a QAnon convention at sea, ultimately escaping only to discover that they've landed at Jeffrey Epstein's old island.

    Let the bad taste, hi-jinx, and hilarity ensue!

    Image: Screengrab

  • Jeff VanderMeer talks climate crisis and activism with Brian Eno

    In this interview on Port, acclaimed sci-fi author, Jeff VanderMeer (Annihilation, Borne, Hummingbird Salamander) talks with legendary "non-musician" Brian Eno about the climate crisis, environmental activism, and ClientEarth, the environmental law charity that he's involved with.

    Why do you stress the importance of biodiversity and interconnectivity with regards to the climate crisis?

    Through my teenage interest in cybernetics, from a young age I began thinking about how the processes of life are densely interwoven; it seemed apparent to me that things were embedded in systems, and their behaviour was a product of that system. I thought that was true of all sorts of things, not just the natural world but creativity too. When discussing art, people often talk about geniuses, but as soon as you start looking closely at how things come into being, you find that there are always contexts and systems informing that individual.

    ***

    How did the environmental charity ClientEarth come to be your main form of activism? It seems to be a very systems-oriented organisation, which understands the level at which you need to fight things.

    About 12 years ago, I became its first joint trustee. I'd previously been involved in a number of activist groups, and there were two things that troubled me: One was leverage and the other was follow through. I want to be putting my energy where it will make the most difference. I'd much rather be further back down the line, changing the direction of the train before it crashes. So often, friends of mine had put a lot of time and money into causes with high hopes and the best of intentions, but the maintenance had been bad; there hadn't been follow up. There's a feeling that if you get everybody out on the streets – big demos, some newspaper space – that that's an achievement. But it isn't really: That's the beginning. When I first heard about ClientEarth, I thought 'Lawyers! They're good at follow through – they love it!'

    ***

    How do you view failure and compromise in this sphere?

    I believe hypocrisy is unavoidable. You simply can't live in this world without sometimes crossing lines, like taking a plane. It's difficult to live a pure life in an impure situation. Try to avoid hypocrisy, but it's not the worst sin. Compromise is unavoidable, and in fact, should be encouraged. There's a lot of purism and hair-shirt wearing in the environmental movement that we have to forego. If we can't work with everybody and anybody, then we have failed.

    Read the rest here.

    Image: How We Get To Next, CC by 3.0.

  • The sounds of Denis Villeneuve's Dune

    There were many things that immediately impressed me about Denis Villeneuve's Dune. One of these was the amazing music and sound design. In this 28-minute featurette, Denis and his sound team discuss their approach to the sound design of the film and how they came up with sounds for the sandworms, spice-tripping, ornithopters, the Bene Gesserit "voice," and the sound of Arrakis itself. Inspiring stuff.

    Image: Screengrab

  • Painting up actual nuns with guns

    Anyone familiar with the tabletop sci-fi miniatures game, Warhammer 40,000, knows about the Sisters of Battle, sadly the only female army in the game (and frankly, some of the few females in the game, period). The nickname for these Joan of Arc-like religious fanatics is "nuns with guns."

    In this Midwinter Minis video, Guy stumbles upon a set of actual nuns with guns miniatures and decides to paint up a squad. As he points out, these are "not zombie nuns, not sexy nuns, not power-armoured super-solider nuns… just nuns. NUNS WITH GUNS!"

    The video is also a great tutorial on how to effectively paint black and white fabrics to look more realistic.

    Image: Screengrab

  • Johnny Marr performs The Smiths' classic "How Soon is Now?"

    I can still vividly remember the first time I ever heard and saw the video for The Smiths' "How Soon is Now?" It was in early Spring of 1984 and I was at a punk/new wave club in Washington, DC. The video came on Rock America on monitors scattered throughout the club. I was on the dance floor flailing away, but I soon stopped in my tracks and just stared, dumbstruck, at the monitors. That Johnny Marr guitar riff worked its holy magic on me then and still does today.

    Above is Johnny and his band performing the classic track live at the Crazy Face Factory. Johnny very competently handles the singing, too. The Smiths, now with 100% less Morrissey.

    Bonus track:

    Image: Screengrab

  • The Rolling Stones' Brian Jones reacts to the singles of March 1965

    If you needed any more evidence of Brian Jones' impressive mastery of popular music of the 1960s, give a listen to this recited 1965 Melody Maker "Blind Date" piece ("Where top popsters review the top pops").

    Jones, who had apparently just rolled out of bed, reacts to the latest singles from The Beach Boys, Stan Getz, The Temptations, Peter & Gordon, and others. He not only immediately recognizes most of the artists, but also identifies producers, labels, guest musicians, and makes very insightful critical comments on the music and the business surrounding it.

    Image: Screengrab

  • Who's actually playing bass on The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"?

    The Beatles' "Why My Guitar Gently Weeps" was a milestone song for many reasons. One of the band's most beloved recordings, it is arguably the first song where George Harrison proved himself to be a songwriter on par with Lennon and McCartney. It also has the distinction of being the first and only song with a guest guitarist (an uncredited Eric Clapton). And, it's the first song the band ever recorded using eight track recording technology.

    But one persistent mystery about the track is who's actually playing bass on it? It isn't likely Paul, claim many. In this You Can't Unhear This episode, Raymond Schillinger looks at the origins of the tune, the recording process, the isolated bass parts, and the different theories about who's playing what on the track.

    Image: Screengrab

  • Review: Horrified: American Monsters

    Two years ago, I reviewed the cooperative board game Horrified: Universal Studios Monsters here on Boing Boing. I loved it. Still do. So, I was excited when Ravensburger contacted me about their follow-up game, Horrified: American Monsters.

    On Halloween night, we got a chance to play. Horrified: American Monsters is a faithful re-skin of the first game. Where the original featured monsters from Universal Studios films (Dracula, Frankenstein monster and bride, Wolfman, Mummy, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Invisible Man), American Monsters pits players against all your favorite American cryptids: Mothman, Chupacabra, the Jersey Devil, the Banshee of the Badlands, the Ozark Howler, and Bigfoot.

    Everything about this new game is essentially the same as the first. The monsters have changed but they work the same way. The town depicted on the game board map is obviously different to reflect the new theme (from European Gothic village to vintage small town America). The Citizens you are tasked to protect are different (e.g. Nora from the diner instead of Malvena the shopkeeper), as are the Heroes you can play (e.g. the Journalist and Cryptozoologist instead of the Professor and the Archeologist). Like the original, the art is lovely, the components are high-quality, and the miniatures are fun.

    One of the coolest things about the original and this follow-up is that each monster has their own defeat conditions, tracked on their own Monster Mat. You can play against two to four monsters in a game, allowing you to dial up game length and complexity as you desire. To defeat Chupacabra, for example, you have to deny it the food it craves: goats. After the players have collected 6 goats, they have a chance to fight and defeat Chupacabra. The Banshee of the Badlands has a skeletal violinist sidekick whose playing drives people crazy. The Banshee's Monster Mat has a musical staff on it and each player is represented by a colored violin. As players win encounters with the banshee, they get to move toward the Treble Cleft (save zone). If a player's violin reaches the skeleton at the end of the staff, they are driven crazy and defeated. If the players' violins all end up on the Treble Cleft, they have a chance to attack and defeat the monster.

    Like Horrified: Universal Studios Monsters, one of the principle tasks of the Heroes is escorting the Citizens to their home bases on the map. Like the original, this is one of my favorite parts of American Monsters. I love everyone talking through our next moves and and how to best get the townspeople to safety.

    I really liked the original Horrified and like American Monsters almost as much. My only criticism is that because it's exactly the same game, there's not much of a need to own American Monsters if you already have Horrified. I guess fans of cryptozoology might want to pick this one up too or buy it over the original. Personally, I prefer the Euro-Gothic setting of Horrified: Universal Studios Monsters and its classic monsters, but your mileage may vary. I wonder, given this first reskin of such a successful game with a solid mechanic, if Ravensburger has plans for future versions.

    Horrified: American Monsters is currently only sold at stores like Target. You can pick up Horrified: Universal Studio Monsters on Amazon.

  • Simone Giertz combines a plant and a lamp and creates a "plamp"

    Simone Giertz, the Internet's beloved comedic maker, didn't like the lamp in her living room ("It's not bright enough to justify turning it on very often […] like my ex."). She also had an enthusiastically-growing plant she didn't want to cut. She decided to combine the need for a new light and a better home for her plant. The solution was obvious: a plamp.

    As with many of Simone's video, the journey is more entertaining than the results are revelatory, but there are some very funny moments here. And she shares a great tip, too. Throughout the video, she's calling the first iteration of her plamp a prototype, but then she admits that at some point during the build, she knew it had become the final piece. She says that by telling herself a project is a prototype, it removes some of the pressure of getting everything perfect on the first go — a bit like writer Anne Lamott's idea of "shitty first drafts" applied to making.

    Image: Screengrab

  • The 1981 punk rock Halloween riot on SNL

    In 1981, Lorne Michaels and John Belushi wanted to get some authentic punks to appear on SNL as audience members for the Halloween episode's musical guest, LA punk band Fear. They called Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat/Fugazi) in DC. They were looking for about 15 people to travel up to NYC and appear on the show. More like 80 punks would descended on 30 Rock.

    During the performance, the audience slammed, got into fist fights, and created more mayhem than SNL producers had bargained for. When DC punk rock superfan, Bill MacKenzie, came from backstage wielding a gigantic pumpkin, SNL went to dead air before the pumpkin was unceremoniously smashed over a guy's head.


    To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this incident, on Punk and Tomatoes, this legendary performance is told with video clips, photos, and interviews (now and then) by documentary filmmaker, Jeff Krulik (Heavy Metal Parking Lot). Cynthia Connolly (of Dischord Records/Banned in DC fame) and Bill MacKenzie make appearances.

    [H/t Cynthia Connolly]

    Image: Screengrab

  • Unboxing a Gorkamorka game from 1997

    This might be a very narrow niche post, but I'm sure many Boing Boing readers have a "grail game" or two (i.e. a rare game that you covet but can no longer find or afford). Like Guy from Midwinter Minis, one of those games for me is Games Workshop's 1997 title, Gorkamorka, designed by the great Andy Chambers).

    In this video, Guy unboxes a still-in-shrinkwrap copy of the 1997 Mad Max-inspired Ork on Ork battle action and scavenging game (that he paid over $400 for). The vid has fascinating info on Gorkamorka and its era and also includes a new interview with Chambers, talking about this beloved and sought-after game and game design in general.

    So, what are some of your grail games?

    Image: Screengrab

  • NYPD transit cops muscle guy from subway for pointing out they're maskless

    [H/t Mark Dery]

  • "Bill Making Stuff" shares ideas on how to be creative

    In this video, Bill Mullaney of the YouTube crafting channel, Bill Making Stuff, offers up some useful tips on what he does when he wants to spark and sustain his creativity. He talks about taking things apart, keeping a sketchbook, going shopping in a dollar store (or elsewhere) to get ideas, and more. While these ideas apply mainly to the type of kit- and trashbash modeling that he does, they can also apply more widely.

    In the course of the video, he also offers up a little "hack" for making your own inks using isopropyl alcohol and cut-up cheap markers and how to doodle with physical objects.

    Image: Screengrab

  • "Ghost" footprints in New Mexico turn out to be 23,000 years old

    A set of fossilized footprints in White Sands National Park, New Mexico have been dated to around 23,000 years ago and offer the oldest firm evidence of humans in the Americas, appearing to show that people arrived here before the last Ice Age.

    David Bustos heard about the "ghost tracks" when he first went to White Sands National Park in New Mexico to work as a wildlife scientist in 2005. When the ground was wet enough at certain times of the year, the ghostly footprints would appear on the otherwise blank earth, only to disappear again when it dried out.

    It wasn't until over 10 years later, in 2016, that scientists confirmed that the ghost tracks had been made by real people — and it's only now that some of the ancient footprints at White Sands have been dated as the earliest in North America.

    The tracks at one location have been revealed as both the earliest known footprints and the oldest firm evidence of humans anywhere in the Americas, showing that people lived there 21,000 to 23,000 years ago — several thousand years earlier than scientists once believed.

    "It's the earliest unequivocal evidence for humans in the Americas," said the lead author of the study, Matthew Bennett, a professor of environmental and geographic sciences at Bournemouth University in the U.K.

    Read more.

    Image: NPS, USGS, and Bournemouth University

  • The true history of Ivermectin

    This 11-minute video looks at the history of the horse dewormer Ivermectin and how an unpublished, fraudulent paper (which was later retracted) became the basis of the current Covidiot cure.

    Trigger warning: Contains lines like "Could it be that their intestinal lining is sloughing off because they're taking concentrated doses of horse dewormer?"

    Image: Screengrab

  • A look inside the Codex Seraphinianus

    We here at Boing Boing have long been fans of the Codex Seraphinianus, a mysterious surrealist cypher manuscript that first appeared in print in the early 1980s. We first covered it in The Happy Mutant Handbook and have been marveling at it ever since.

    The book is a faux cypher manuscript modeled after works like the Voynich manuscript. It was created by Italian artist, architect, and designer Luigi Serafini over thirty months, from 1976 to 1978.

    As the above video explains, like the Voynich, the Codex was meant to look like an encyclopedia of flora and fauna, in this case, from some surreal alternate dimension where Earth-like plants, animals, and machinery blend into one another. The just over 5 minute video does a good job of explaining the organization of the book, its origins, and some of the more bizarre pages within it.

    Personal pinch-me aside: Years ago, I almost had an opportunity to work on an art collaboration for an Italy art museum with Patch Adams, Ralph Steadman, and Luigi Serafini. Being such a huge fan of the Codex Seraphinianus, Serafini was the person I was most excited about meeting and getting to work with. Alas, the project never materialized.

  • Exact replica of original 9:30 Club to be built in DC

    The legendary DC nightclub, the 9:30 Club, was originally located at 930 F Street NW. It opened in 1980 and quickly became the epicenter of DC's punk and new wave scenes. It was a beloved hell hole, cramped, stanky, a strange maze of odd-shaped rooms, hallways, and a crooked stage. I once described it in Mondo 2000 as "post-apocalypse on a budget." For all of those reasons, and its modest 199 person capacity, in 1996, it moved to its current digs, the former WUST Radio Music Hall at 815 V Street NW.

    But apparently the old 9:30 Club is rising from the dead. At last night's surprise Foo Fighters show at the current venue, area-native and 9:30 Club super fan, Dave Grohl, made a surprise announcement — that an exact replica of the original club is going to be built right next door.

    "Now, guess what — they're going to open up a place that's an exact replica of the old 9:30, right next door," to the current club, Grohl said. "Nobody knows that, because I'm the first one to tell you right now."

    IMP communications director Audrey Fix Schaefer told WTOP the club will be right behind the current 9:30 Club, where the Satellite Room used to be, at 2047 9th St. NW. She said more information about the new venue is expected to be released Friday.

    "If it's the same vibe as the old 9:30 Club, you're gonna see some real magic," said Grohl.

    Read more at WTOP.

    Dave didn't offer further details, but it's fun and exciting to think about being able to walk those dank black halls and once again pee in those creepy basement toilets. I hope someone saved the graffiti-covered baseball bat from the basement dressing room that was used to chase away rats.

    Here's a CBS news piece, from 2017, about the history of the club.

    Image: Brian Liu/ToolboxDC