Hello, its been a while. I could check the date on here and tell you when it was last time I wrote on here was, but it was a long time ago. I started to write something that was basically a treatise on the Nihilistic modern technology and the ghostly personality imprints we leave on the internet. I still have it as a draft, and its huge. I don’t know if I should serialize it in four parts, seeing as it took shape in four separate chapters, or if I should it it out of the way and dump it on you in its humongous majesty. Got an opinion, put it my way.

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Still got a few copies of the ORIGINAL print run of 50Signal left, and if you’re adverse to buying it from the Internet you can still get it from Traveling Man Leeds and Inter-Comics in Huddersfield. I know for a fact that one or two of the ones in Inter-comics are defaced. I got bored and wrote in the back. Buy a comic and a secret message in one go!

And if you want to wait a while you can get a copy from me in Person at either Thought Bubble Sequential arts festival (Leeds) or Nottingham Comic Convention (erm… Nottingham) as they are my two con appearances this year. Already booking for next year. Next year I’m taking this shit on the road.

CLICK HERE TO SEE A THING BECAUSE INSTAGRAM EMBED IS A PIECE OF SHIT

There is the first look at my new title Funk Soul Samurai. Its got an… 18 page comic in it from me and some pin-ups from the likes of The PXD, Vince Hunt, Matty Brown and Darkthes. It as going to be available for Nottingham, but due to a printing fuck up its been delayed until Thought Bubble. I am proud of it, and if you want to review it or have me on your podcasts or interview or whatever it is you people do, email me at nickgonzo@outlook.com. In fact if you want anything email me at Nickgonzo@outlook.com

WARNING: If you have me on your podcast, I will talk about the representation of women in comics, philosophy, magic and possibly beard growth. If that incites you, fire away.

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I’m going to stumble through this because I have some form of viral head-worms burrowed into my mind-meat. I went to the doctors and they suspect I have a sinus infection (due to my snot, my shortness of breath, my CRIPPLING migraines) and its leaking things into my lungs. I don’t like having things in my lungs. So I am ill and playing Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater in short bursts as moving objects are causing my psyche to disintegrate. Metal Gear Solid 3, is weird. Its in essence a really good game, when you get into it, its got the mechanics and the set pieces, it fixes the camera of Metal Gear Solid 2 and the camouflage/ self healing things are really cool, but it falls down with the curse all Metal Gear Solid games have (Bar the Phantom Pain which I haven’t played yet) which is that its trying to tell the story of a game using the language of a movie. (I’m going to talk about the mechanics of comic books, so if you hate my rambles, please skip this bit)

Hideo Kojima’s parents made him watch movies as a kid and it shows through his work. All story happens through cut scenes, all the most memorable parts of the game happen through cut scenes, the video game psychologist and Musical smoke machine Chris Moore said of MSG3 that the game doesn’t seem to trust you enough to do the cool bits of it. (Incidentally you can buy his bands EP through iTunes, not that I know how to do it, so please just like them on Facebook instead). Towards the beginning of the game you just seem to walk from cut scene to cut scene, with barely anything to interact with. Whenever anyone talks to you, you do it through a videomatic instead of to your face. Look to things like Half Life (which has no cut scenes) Assassin’s Creed (which have loads but you barely notice) and one of my favorite ever games Amnesia (preferably Machine For Pigs) which all tell stories in different ways but use the language of games to do it and that makes them engaging.

Movies are such a prevalent shadow that falls across all elements of our culture that it has effected them all. Cinema has effected Art, and Computer games and Comics too; especially with the Marvel Cinematic Universe attracting so many people to the world of comics. The other thing is that these people are looking to MAKE comics and that is fantastic. I want more comics, if anything. But I read a few comics, and read scripts and get the feeling that people are making them to be MOVIES not COMICS. I did a blog post a bit back about panel layouts and the things you can ONLY do in comics, so I’m not going to do that again, instead I’m going to talk about the unique language of comics, and the things you can do in them. First up I have to talk about a comic called Nowhere Men, which is a fantastic series about super science being the major crux of the 20th century’s development in the stead of Music. It tells the story in a non-chronological format moving throughout time and space, mirroring the plot and its theme in its structure, but as it is also telling the story of popular culture, it uses the tools of popular culture alongside the traditional format of a comic. It includes interviews, adverts and articles that add to the depth and lore of the surrounding world. Instead of just having the comic tell you of the impact these characters have had on the universe at large, it shows you through the way they’re impacted themselves into the world; Magazine covers and film posters (my favorite one being a film poster for a Stanley Kubrick movie starring Michael Caine about one of the main characters that is presented in such a way I’d believe if it existed) all show you the impact they’ve had on the world without actually showing you the world. The characters are all removed and isolated so we spend very little time on ground level, we don’t go into the cities and houses of the people they’ve changed, but we feel the effects they’ve had in the world. Comics can’t talk in the language of films in the same way a, you know, film can, but it can talk in the language of other printed mediums. Another comic that tells stories in a uniquely comic book way is Transmetropolitan. There is the issue where its main character (pro-ant-protagonist Spider Jerusalem the foul mouth Gonzo journalist this city deserves) just watches television all day, we whilst that would make a crap movie (or a great episode of Rick and Morty (though that did have an underlying plot throughout)) it makes for a great comic because the passage of time, the focus of what the reader/viewer is looking for is totally different. Transmet does a few things though, another great issue is one where the plot is furthered through nothing but interviews with strangers on the streets of THE CITY it takes place in and it does “Postcard episodes” which are just illustrations with words over the top that tell a story viewed together, a trick Ellis reused in his cop procedural cum haunted city story Fell. Warren Ellis is of course the hero of telling a grand story through small stories, as he did in Trees, a huge science fiction thesis told through the sociopolitical effects aliens have on Earth. A film has a set time to reach a point, comics don’t, not really and especially when you’re doing it on your own terms. As long as you’re holding the audience, you can take as much time as you like. I’ve had people us the word “pan” and “zoom” in comics scripts which is ludicrous because its a series of fixed images, and its a series of fixed images on one page that will make up a whole page of images, if you see what I mean. Whilst a panel tells a story a panel makes up a page and that page can tell its own story.

If you look to a title like The Wicked +The Divine the team of Gillen and McKelvie know without a doubt that panels make up a page and their comics always take into account what it is you’re seeing when you look at a whole object. Each panel has an intimate relationship with the others and the use of space and imagery, pace and direction can tell a story in and of itself. I mean look at this:

Look at the use of colour. Drab grey immediately moving into the bright day-glo that just screams Hollywood glitz, melting down into a morbid palette of blue and black, and then into the pastoral brightness in the last two panels. As a whole page it has clear divisions, sets a pace for itself and shows this through the switches of tone and focus. The car cutting straight into the comic divides the ordinary and the fantastical. I am also in awe of the triangle made by the character and her relationship with the panel below. The dip-dye colour of her hair and the green of her Parka all come down into the green and yellow of the speeding car to make a triangle of influence: the story is coming from this character. You can only do that in a comic. Also look at how whispering is portrayed in this scene:

Intimacy baby.

As a finale to this section which has gone on a bit further than I expected, look at the way the split between the two sides is show by the negative space and panel bordering up there, with the intermediary negotiator splitting in and in the next row it shows the division between one set of historical Pre-enactors and the negotiator itself. This page is from the web-comic series Dresden Codak and it has some of the most beautiful page layouts of living memory and definitely worth checking out,

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50Signal 2 now has a cover and will be released soon. I think I will do a blog post just about that cover soon and the people within it, but for now here it is, and thanks for reading. I was going to finish up with something but my head hurts and I need the toilet so I think I’ve said enough.

Night

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Yeah, totally started a blog post mid-May, and got so involved with it, it became an essay, and then, its still not written. I hope to push it into your face soon.

So much stuff is happening right now, so much stuff, that I need to do a blog post to remind you I am alive.

I AM ALIVE

Hello from the Moon.

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Please if you haven’t, do buy a copy of 50Signal. We are so close to selling everything we have in stock, and when we do, we are going to re-letter the dialogue of one of the characters because its been pointed out in enough reviews that it disrupts the story the way it is currently written, so we will bow to their wishes, because they’re right and I’m being a luddite.

So why am I encouraging you to buy it now when its going to be re-lettered?

Well because the version we have for sale now is my favorite one, and the one I believe to be the best, and even though it will be easier for people to read it, it won’t look as good. It won’t be as I intended it. I know the idea of a Directors cut of a comic is madness because there is no such thing as a director in comics, but for lack of a better term, this is my directors cut. The harder to understand director cut.

I thoroughly understand the need to create a great product, and an understandable product so that the world can share and enjoy with me my Baby thing, so I’m really happy to have it re-lettered. But I like this one.

Buy it from the link above, or email me directly and for the cost of £5, which includes the postage within the UK, I will send you a copy with a sketch I did in the back.

EMAIL ME AT nickgonzo@outlook.com

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I appeared on a Podcast recently, and they released not one, but TWO recordings of my voice as I chat stuff about comics and the universe. The lovely, friendly men from Games and Graphics had me on their podcast and I give an apt description of why Batman is a drink driver.

The first one is the proper, REAL interview, and the second on is a short collection of my babblings on Rob Jones’ plan to conquer the universe and how Arnold Schwarzenegger is an abomination. SO MUCH MUSCLE. They did remove my speech on how the more muscular a man gets the smaller his bum gets… so there is a small glory there.

You can hear the proper interview HERE and the random Ramble is HERE

In other news the Leeds based production company Sakerco are making a documentary about me, that I think has a working title of simply; GONZO, which was also the title of a great documentary about Hunter S Thompson released a few years ago (Just googled it and HOLY SHIT it came out in 2008 so I feel old. I saw it at the cinema, loved it, don’t know if you know but I am a massive Hunter S Thompson fan.)  Because the initial trailer has been uploaded to Facebook I can’t share it with you embedded in this post, so, I can link to you here.

My work with Kevin Pospisil on a project called NO LOVE that hasn’t been announced yet has had some concept work posted on line so here it is, enjoy:

no love

More about that soon. Looking forward to a SKYPE session with the man about how we move forward. And I am working on a print that will be for sale soon through the Madius shop, as well as hurtling on with 50Signal 2. Here is the work in progress image I took on my phone from my computer screen in order to tantalize people.

godzillaSome times its hard to be in Madius comics, all I get is Mike Sambrook and Rob Jones sending me messages day and night:

“Oh, I’m working with this great artist on a thing”

“Oh, I’m getting paid to do lettering for a famous comic company”

“Oh, I’m getting funded to piss my name in huge letters in the dust of the surface of the moon”

“Oh, I’m co-writing a version of the Bible with the newly resurrected Mega-Jesus as he rides the great beast from the sea in judgement of Man”

I get to work with myself mostly, and that guys a dick.

To be fair, I am working with two astoundingly talented artists RIGHT now on two comics I am very proud of so I should stop whining.

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Have you picked up Island from Image comics?

Its an anthology comic with long stories with no shared theme just being what they want to be and I love it for its adventurousness and creativity. It features work by Brandon Graham and Emma Rios as well as work by Ludroe and an essay by Kelly Sue DeConnick. Worth a read and a monthly release schedule and a thicker, glossier print makes it feel like an object to collect and treasure.

It makes me think more about the collaborative nature of the anthology and the THINGS an anthology can achieve. Papercuts and Inkstains is an Anthology comic that Madius does, but the real purpose of it is to show off Rob Jones as a writer. That’s why Issue 1 was made, in all honestly, to piece together a bunch of shorts that Robin had written and then put them in one place, and then Mike Sambrook has had work in it and then I’ll have a short in issue 3 hopefully. We are sneaking our stuff into his house really.

I’d like to create something like the anthology I was doing a bit back, it was called My World Is Clouds, and it was all about the collaboration betwixt poets and artists, presenting an artist with a poem and seeing what they create. Back in those days I didn’t have the creative network or the money to get something off the ground so it lasted one issue and then went no further. If I didn’t have a billion things to do I’d release it as a PDF.

I think a future plan for Madius would be to be even more experimental with our output and create a title that is just platform to do really weird and original things. Comics have so few limits that you can do almost anything, but with an Indie title you have to be marketable otherwise its your money going out the window. Its a bit of a sad truth, because if you tank as a small press guy you’ve just lost your cash and you have to create that balance between adventurousness and self expression. Sort of like with the Big 2, if no one buys the singles then the story ends.

So yeah, further down the line, I’d like to do something crazy.

Then again these stories really don’t always go as planned. 50Signal was going to be an old style panel a day web-comic, like a newspaper comic, now its a book.

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Encourage your friends to do so to. Such as, by sending a tweet like the one I prepared below:

Like @Nick_Gonzo on Facebook because he needs all minds to be linked to work his Cosmic Laser https://www.facebook.com/thenickgonzo

For all you playing along at Home, I just finished reading John Dies At the End by David Wong which is a staggeringly good Horror book which also has the added feature of being organ-rupturingly funny. It is a long book and I read it so quickly because of its palatable blend of fear inducing prose and absurdity. I think that it doesn’t have the swing that other combination genre books have, the fact it can be funny and terrifying on the same page, in the same paragraph, and describe scary things with a familiarity that makes it quite as creepy as it is.

I have now started The Thing by Dylan Trigg which is all about the Phenomenology of Horror, and more specifically, body horror. I haven’t read much of it yet, because I have been distracted by the collected editions of Jonathon Hickman and Nick Pitarra’s The Manhattan Projects which is one of the finest comic series I’ve discovered unaided. No one told me about it, I found it alone and its all the better for it. Anyway, I haven’t read much of Trigg’s book but it is a framing of Phenomenology as that of the Unhuman, adding an alien element to our understanding of our-self and our consciousness. I will write n more about that next week.

Anyway, talk later. I went to a wedding later and ate too much food, so the only logical path to take is to spin a cocoon and come back out as a winged creature.

***Blog Post, blog post, its a blog post, you can read it to me when I need you come along***

I’m back from my self-imposed internet reduction cycle, only to leave again on a weeks holiday on Saturday when I will bury my phone in the ground and then be mass communication free for a whole seven days. Eight days probably.

Why did I reduce my presence? Because I was fed up of being argued with. The internet is the biggest gang fight imaginable and everyone is shouting all the time that they know best even when they don’t. Lord knows I’ve contributed to this in my youth but as I grow older I see the importance of peace and harmony in our actions.

Why didn’t I disappear at all? Because if you disappear from the internet, you’re giving up your presence on this grand futuristic web, and then I’d be kissing good bye to a large slice of my business.

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11194595_390163137835024_328519146332848566_oYou people are amazing by the way. I did a comic in a sketch book on shitty paper and someone read it over my shoulder and said you should publish it, and I did after Rob had had a good look at it and decided it wasn’t total cow dung, and you know what; you fucking bought it.

Never forget that, sure critics have liked it, and sure we’ve got a bunch of likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter or whatever, but let me tell you, right now, that 50 Signal would be nothing without you people who bought it, and who elected to pay more than the asking price with the sketch editions, or in some cases, just paid MORE.

So this is my thanks to you, and if you haven’t bought it, please order one from the web link above, or email me at nickgonzo@outlook.com and I can provide a sketch edition for you at £5 with the Postage included in that price if you live in the UK.

Read some reviews too, the A Place To Hang Your Cape review is located Here.

The Blunt Instruments review can be located here.

The review by the Big Glasgow Comic Page can be read here.

If you want a copy to review, email me at the aforementioned nickgonzo@outlook.com

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That’s my picture of Immortan Joe from Mad Max: Fury Road.

Its an amazing picture and I’d recommend it to everyone, its an excellent picture with wonderful design, story and action. The soundtrack is stunning too, and I have pre-ordered the limited edition vinyl version of the soundtrack. The art work for that ALONE is worth your money and you can check it out here.

My vinyl collection took a hit a while back, someone split a drink into the storage box at a party when it was in the custody of a friend, and it got left and it warped and mouldered and the majority of my collection became a write-off. Even if it was just the sleeve destroyed, the water got to the plastic and just warped the SHIT out of it, making it play like balls when it gets to the deck. So I’m starting to rebuild my vinyl empire from the ground up. Luckily things like my Lydia Lunch/ Nick Cave double album was elsewhere, but my White Stripes bootleg got fucked up and for that my heart weeps.

Having a LOT of fun collecting again. Got a bunch of The National albums on vinyl including High Violet an Alligator at the weekend, and the high point of my purchases was the Drive sound track on two disc pink vinyl. Its beautiful. I’m going to share with you now my favorite song from High Violet and the Drive soundtrack.

I don’t blame anyone by the way, shit happens and only things got damaged. Things are unimportant. We are not things.

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I sort of look around my life and I realize I have a series of collections. A music collection (both vinyl and CD), a comic collection (both trade paper back and single issues), a DVD collection, an art collection. Simon Pegg said some easily quotable vox populi verse about how adult obsession with nerd stuff is drowning out important issues. I believe he is right and ultimately our preoccupation with disposable fiction is muffling the really important things in the world. Lots of people are up in arms about this, but I see his point which is that in the past media used to make important points, and now fantasy and sci-fi IS the major media and is no longer making those important points. Things like Mad Max, Ex Machina, they have made important points, but however entertaining Age Of Ultron is, it is disposable media and ultimately contributes little to the culture of Earth History. What Simon Pegg and I are saying is please, make clever and interesting sci-fi and fantasy, and say something, make a point. If you don’t agree, that’s fine. Shouting at me won’t make me agree with you. That’s not how things work.

Don’t just make comics, make comics that say something.

Reading a lot of books on hauntology at the moment and seriously entertaining that the childishly named noughties never existed. They were/are some form of cultural nexus of all points in history, a Star Gate between times that are disparate and scattered but somehow all exist now. All peoples of all interests can find someone to share their fetish thanks to the power of the internet. Punks, Goths, New Romantics, everyone; we are all here, and we all simultaneously reflect places that existed but no longer hold any depth beyond nostalgia.

For people playing along at home, please read: Ghosts of my Life: writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures by Mark Fisher.

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I just finished writing a very complex and taxing comic for me that should be complex and entertaining for you. Writing things like this cannot be done all at once and so the comic existing in six word documents that hold each story fragment that all collide in one plane. Its called No Love and it has the fasted, most violent scene I have ever written. I hope you’ll look forward to that.

Until next time this has been a ramble from me.

Sleep well.

This blog post will be a very short section on today’s business, then a long rambling speech on consciousness and the human centric universe. So if you don’t want to read that, I totally understand.

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So comics are flying off the shelves, and I’ve been getting some lovely fan mail from you via my email address which I will reply to individually, so direct messages there. Please do not send anything to the “return to sender address” on the parcels, the office folk will not enjoy that. To the man who sent me the suspicious cigarette I have to apologise but I was forced to destroy it with a series of small controlled fires.

That’s a lie,  but it reminds me of this story I was told about a guy who insured his cigars and tried to claim in his insurance after he smoked them saying they were destroyed in a series of small fires. He couldn’t claim because it would be classed as arson. Don’t know how true it is but it makes me smile to think of it.

If you want a copy of 50 Signal they are still available from the above address or by sending me an email at the below address with the title “50 Signal Sketch edition”. They cost £5 which includes postage if you live in the UK. Email is as follows:

Nickgonzo@outlook.com

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Papercuts and Inkstains is also a groovy anthology and well worth your time. If you’ve already got 50Signal I’d recommend getting Papercuts and Inkstains. They compliment one another.

Someone described my art in Papercuts as too out there and if anything they’re spot on. I wanted to do something out there and I succeeded.

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We live in a world with a very human centric view point. George Carlin puts into perspective in one of his routines where he talks about ‘ending the world’ and I paraphrase now because I don’t have access to the Internet, but he talks about how we go on about the Ice caps melting and how it’s going to be the end of the world and it really isn’t. Sure we all die, but give it a few million years and it’ll have corrected itself, the temperature will have dropped, the air will be purified and all the little animals will have their paradise back. All of history is put into perspective in comparison to humanity.

I illustrate this with dinosaurs. If you think about it then there were dinosaurs for a while, then there was people. Which is true, but there wasn’t just one short age of thunder lizards; there was a longer period of time separating the Stegosaurus and the Tyrannosarus Rex than the T-Rex and the appearance of humanity. The entirety of humanity’s time on earth has been a relatively small part of Earth’s total time line, and the likelihood could be that it’s total time, beginning to end could be just as relatively brief.

And yet it is a human game to place the species of people above the other species out there. Christianity teaches us that Animals have no souls and that Mankind is the jewel in God’s creation. We are the best, forever, no take backs. What separates us is consciousness, it seems, and how we perceive the information and what we do with it. The need to change and alter the world around us, and the tools we use is what sets up apart.

I’ve been reading a bit about perception, consciousness, and phenomenology recently, as well as the concept of Weak and Strong AI. Strong AI is your artificial intelligence that attempts to to have the skill and cognitive ability of a human being, whilst Weak AI is the sort of computer system that can make choices and informed decisions based around a central task, it’s intelligent and processes information and decides things up it has no awareness of self. It’s not the robot that sits and has debates the philosophy of the universe,  it’s the sort that controls a system in a reactive and intelligent way. But the thing is its still AI, both are forms of artificial intelligence, even if one would be more impressive than the other. So if we take this yardstick and apply it to the world around us, then we could see plants and animals as a Weak AI, and humans as Strong AI.

(I think that a whole different ramble could be written about how if intelligence is the processing of information then no intelligence is artificial as it’s just working within its predesigned system, but that’s another day.)

For instance a sunflower grows towards the light. It uses chemical tools at its disposal to alter it’s world around it by filtering the atmosphere and light energy into food. It reacts with intelligence, rotating it’s head with the path of the sun. Growing and adapting to the stimulus put at it. A plant does exactly what a human does to set itself aside from its animal counterparts but on a much smaller scale, on a less interactive scale. It won’t flinch if you go to punch it. But it will grow towards an area with more light.

Beavers build dams. Monkeys use projectiles, even if sometimes this is their own shit. Otters use stones to smash open the shelves of crabs. Tool use is around, on a much smaller scale. A beaver will never construct an Ipad no matter how many night school lessons you give it in computer technology. But it will alter and change its environment and sometimes to the detriment of this environment. If damage to the world around it is a yard stick for dominance over other species then beavers are doing okay. Animals are the Weak AI in this system.

Humans are the Strong AI then because even though they spend their time with the same concerns as a beaver: survival and procreation and success of the species, we have this big concern over why we are doing these things. People spend their days doing systems of tasks in order to sustain life and then can sit back at the end and wonder “But why do I exist?”.

It’s what we do with our consciousness, right?

The weird thing being is that Consciousness is seen as a hindrance quite a lot of the time. (Whether it’s consciousness of actions as worries over if we are good people are not are what makes us unhappy or consciousness of the self because there is nothing more damaging than self conciousness)) Anyway.

There’s a bit in the first episode of Dan Harmon’s community where disbarred lawyer Jeff Winger. is giving a speech about what makes people great. He picks up a pencil, tells the study group it’s name is Steve and then snaps it. The group gasp. Humanise something and we care about it far more than if we just have it lying around. People run over rabbits in their cars in the middle of the night and they are upset understandably but with time that fades. Introduce the rabbit, give it a name and an identity and a tiny smoking jacket and you’ll lose sleep over it for years to come. What we do with our conciousness is project it. We empathise. We draw links from ourselves to others, and other things with our minds, and we do this in order to better understand them.

Something I like about the robots in Judge Dredd is that they all come equipped with names. The main villain in the incredibly early Robot War story is called “Call Me Kenneth” and has the words emblazoned on his chest. The past designers of the future city of Mega City 1 know that robots will integrate better in society of we can stick a meaty human face on it. And they are doing. They are amongst us. The iPad for example, it’s advertising campaign of recent years focused on the hideously malformed grammatical statement “iPad is…”

And why you may ask… well look at this way, the iPad is an inanimate object. It’s like a chair or a desk, it’s fancy office equipment within which you can play angry birds. Therefore it should be referred to as ‘the ipad’ in the same way it’s ‘the chair’ or ‘the desk’. Instead they made it into a name, a designation of personality, and referred to it as such. The advert says don’t think of the ipad as an object, relate to it as a person, so it becomes a part of your life.

The most pervasive example of this is Cortana, Siri, and most recently the Google omnivoice ™. The software people now want you to talk to the Weak AI within your phone so it becomes part of your social circle. “Okay Google” “Cortana remind me to say hello to my girlfriend when I see her” “Siri Where’s the nearest meat processing plant”. We are being actively encouraged to fall in love with objects so that when our contracts refresh we stick with them. Talking to something, surely makes you more inclined to empathise with it.

That’s why history is human centric, because we need that input to empathise with it. A world without humans seems to be outside of our consideration. A world without humans is unrelatable to other humans.

But what about the Internet? That’s a world without humans. Twitter has a huge reliance on the chemical connection in your brain that the little box you’re chatting with or too is actually a person and not a configuration of data. I know many great people on twitter who I have never met and might not be who they are and yet because I believe they are people I relate to them. Same with Facebook and the same with Destiny or World of Warcraft. Because there is a person controlling that Orc you can have a conversation with it, but the only word you have that there is a person in there is from the orc itself. The orc is a questionable narrator. It just wants you to think that.

I’ve watched people have arguments with Aggregater twitter bots that formulate tweets from a myriad other tweets into new statements. That person is engaging that computer programme in discourse because twitter has the general promise that the people you are talking to is real. (As an aside that twitter bot is actually passing the Turning test by successfully arguing with the man, whether this reflects well on the bot or badly on humanity is up for debate.)

Similarly people are far more inhumane to one another on the Internet because the anonymity allows you to get away with it, but also the barrier of the screen removes another level of reality. It distances you from the person you are attacking because you can imagine them not being real.

We live in a human centric world but the future is pressing more and more doubt on that. One of the biggest changes we are going to have to acclimatise to is the future of the Object. The future is one of unreal things. The cognitive dissonance of distance versus humanity is one I can see a lot of struggle with as we have more and more of an online presence humans themselves are becoming more distant and yet due to the same process objects are becoming more human.

Ultimately the sick irony to this is that even though we are going to be best friends with our computers, have our mobile phones as best man at our wedding, we probably will still see animals as far less important than people, and whilst people my care for animals, it’s unlikely that they will ever give them an equal footing in the universe. There will never be a balance between human and animal centricity in the world, even though in the future there may be human/object balance. An AI could feasibly go to university but I would never sit next to a beaver during classes. Which is probably down the fact AI were built by us, human endeavour made them so and we worked hard to get them, whilst in many world views animals and plants were given to us. We didn’t craft them so we are less likely to give them an equal viewpoint on the world.

Sorry it didn’t go up on Sunday, I have had a busy week, what with the launch of 50Signal and me working on the sequel and redecorating the house and eating lots of chinese food and drinking wine.

I’ve been out a lot recently actually.

THEN THERES THIS WHICH I WILL TALK ABOUT MORE LATER

And I think we should all take a moment to appreciate the fact that despite my constant consumption of food and alcohol over the past few weeks for the first time in a while j can confidently fit into a 36 inch waisted trouser. Before I could wiggle my way in but preferred the 38 because I for some reason thought it was a legal requirement to have at least a thumbs width of space all around the edge of my waist band, but now I’ve conquer the trouser… beast? No wait that sounds wrong. Moving on…

++++++++50SIGNAL AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE NOW++++++++

The lovely people over at Starburst
Magazine, a science fiction and cult entertainment magazine forever doomed to be autocorrected to Starbucks by my corporate whore of a phone, has included a very favourable review of Papercuts and Inkstains, the very splendid and worthwhile comic anthology put together by Rob Jones as part of the first wave of Madius releases.

(I’m sure by now you’re all aware of what it is and that I did some art for it so I’m not going to labour the point. Buy it if you want, if not wait for the DVD release with the directors commentary or illegally download it from Napster.)

Thing being, and the reason I bring this up, is that it’s really surreal to see something YOU made in a magazine that PEOPLE can BUY from newsagents and the like. The only reason we know it was in there at all is that Jones was in a WH Smiths and took a courteous look through an errant copy and found our comic in its review section.

There’s one thing about seeing a review on a website and the seeing it in print. In my head the website is still the place where the “see: other” content is stored. When I was younger I’d hoover up copies of Empire whenever our paths would cross, and after the cinema reviews there would be the reviewed-on-the-website list and it’d be a cinematic grease trap of all the guff people who hate films would go and see. For example whilst purile money engines like Grown Ups would get a begrudging review in the magazine, Big Mommas House 2: Like Father Like Son would be relegated to the website, where I wouldn’t read it. Having a review in the actual comic near the reprint of Grant Morrison’s Zenith and the latest volume of Sex Criminals makes me feel like one of the big kids. Like what we are doing is very Splendid and Worthwhile.

The first of you people to contact me telling me what the phrase “Very splendid and worthwhile” comes from, who said it and in front of which building I will send you a nice little prize.

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Back to that Forbidden Planet review, it’s staggering how nice people have been about 50Signal, and I know people aren’t being ‘nice’ they like it and are reviewing it as such, but I’m always worried about my art work and how people will see it. I started drawing 50Signal in response to a suggestion by my sister. After looking at the art I’d done for hourly comic book day she suggested that I draw more simplistic things. Sure I do the overly complex line art on Harvey Spig and more recently on NO where people actually commented that it was hard to tell what was going on in some of the more creative panel layouts, and they were right. Took a gamble and whilst visually attractive it wasn’t the greatest way to tell a story.

(I can talk about this its fine. *sobs*)

So, 50Signal is an attempt at more simplicity in telling a story, and I think people are getting that and I’m managing to do it without sacrificing content.

If you want a sketch edition of 50Signal please drop me a line at nickgonzo@outlook.com and there is a little delay at the moment getting them sent out due to the volume of requests I’m getting. If you want one and are patient send me an email they cost £5 if you live in England that’s including postage, elsewhere we will have to come to some sort of arrangement.

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“Hey Nick, you haven’t written an extended piece of Bum Hattery lately, why don’t you indulge us by talking about Cyborgs and creeping futurism” says no one, ever.

“Good idea,” I shout back hearing no reply but the sound of my own voice.

This will be just a long stream of thoughts, so if you are into comics and art and don’t like my ramblings, see you next time.

My friend recently had brain surgery. They did a bit of drilling into her skull to implant an antennae as part of treatment for Dystonia. Now as well as the antennae she has wires, a junction box and a battery pack all powering this electrical unit under her skin. She’s a cyborg, and you can say that without a hint of irony as she is modified with the power of technology to function better.
Which makes me think of this lecture by Amber Case where in she discusses the new definition of a cyborg. In the simplest of terms I have been a cyborg since I had to put glasses on, and used technology to augment my sight.

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Ultimately that’s really lame, because by that logic we’ve been cyborgs since we decided that we could use a big bone to smash up a tapir instead of chasing after it and hitting it wirh out hands (then again if you are really lucky one day I’ll go off on one on my theory that Hal 9000 is the logical result of the bone at the beginning of 2001) but recently our dependence on technology has become more and more apparent.
For example: take away my glasses and I can still ‘see’ but just not very well. Take away my phone and you are removing a whole spectrum of my functionality. By removing my phone I am being diminished as a person, and that’s something that will apply to a lot of people on Earth if they are really honest with themselves. I use my phone to communicate with people I have never met, I use it to talk across the planet. The Internet is one of the few reasons I still have friends from University and have a career in comics because I have networked my way to this position. Remove my connection to the Internet and my connection to the world around me goes away.

How many times a day do you Google a song or a news story, fact check a piece of trivia?

You are connected to the world through your screen, and it’s portrayed as a negative thing increasingly, but what if it’s a massive positive? What if it’s the logical merger between human and data? Dan Harmon talks a lot about this in an episode of his podcast where he posits that we are just the evolution of Data storage, the ultimate word in biological data capture and therefore, to further the evolutionary process of the data that has formed our life they require us to build better computers. Imagine that, humans as meat prosthetics for information.

I also read an essay recently that suggested that we are just technology developed by bacteria as vehicles. Bacteria has moulded our growth as a species so they can live within us.

Humans as technology is something that really interests me and I would love to write something extended on this. Might do when I get home. Right now, see you later.

First up some shameless promotion.

50Signal is on sale tomorrow… or at least Wednesday the 25th of March via the Madius Comics shop.

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But if you want a copy of the comic with a thank you and a sketch in the back the you will have to email me directly at nickgonzo@outlook.com and I can get that sorted out for you for the tiny price if £5 which includes shipping within the UK.

Title your email “50 Signal sketch edition”

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That great fleshen lump at the bottom of that picture is my ankle, just so you know it’s now some squamous horror I have lurking around. Just me and my grotesque body.

If you have any questions or insight or statements to make concerning 50Signal or anything else in this beautiful world of ours, then direct your emails to the same place:

Nickgonzo@outlook.com

And if you are okay with them appearing in here please note them “fit for print” and that’ll be cool won’t it.

People have been talking to me about the comic a lot. It fills me with a warm sense of pride that this comic, whether you enjoy it or not, is worth talking about. I’ve had a few wild speculations in what exactly is going on during the comic,  one of which more or less got everything right.

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I have been listening to a lot of podcasts recently. But which I mean I have been listening to two podcasts recently in a highly concentrated volume. The first is Harmontown, a podcast that completely bypassed me for some reason, or more accurately I bypassed it because it just didn’t seem like it was for me.

Weird considering I’ve been a fan of Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab for years and channel 101 inspired some terrible videos from me over the years. But I’ve probably heard Dan Harmon’s voice more than anyone else’s over the past few days. It has inspired the sort of surprise laughs in me that make you seem like a psychotic in public. A guy avoided me by circumnavigating a whole store instead of passing me in one aisle because I was laughing my tits off to a solid gold harmon anecdote. I’d recommend it if you like rambling humour.

I know Harmon is a bone of contention because he spends a lot of time in the public eye for being loud and shouting and being hard to work with. That doesn’t bother me too much because I know how these things can boil out of control, but if you put aside those thoughts and remember that American national treasure Chevy Chase is a mammoth rape joke making dong and that Season Four of community DID SUCK then you’ll be fine.

The other thing I’m listening to is The Beat Bee Sessions which is a radio show style music podcast hosted by Jane Dope and Food One, aka Jim Mahfood the comic book and funk artist extraordinaire. I love a good music show, when I used to work late nights at university and such I would listen to all sorts of radio shows like God’s Jukebox with Mark Lamar. BBC6 music is my favourite thing on earth and listen to the catch up shows on an evening, but until the BBC let me download shows for offline listening then podcasts will be the groove for me. The Beat Bee delivers all ranges of music: funk, soul, hip – hop, rock and electric. Not having the tyranny of a self curated play list breathing down your throat is strangely liberating. Because I have no option but to listen to someone else’s music choice and having no option to fast forward means I will put up with stuff I’d usually skip and develop an like for stuff I’d usually hate. Also, the conversations between the tracks are charming and chill and it adds to the shows overall relaxing vibe.

I also like Spektor module curated by Warren Ellis because he has basically produced a podcast of music I love because the music hates me.

The word press app is bugging out so this is the end to today’s edition.

Thank you and good night.

Sort one this one.

Good god, I hate trains. I’m more aware of DVT on a train than I am on a plane. Probably because planes were designed by a guy aware that long flights will happen and trains were designed by a guy who fucking hates you.

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Now I know this is weird, but I was talking about fears with… either a colleague or my sister the other day… or both at separate intervals. Anyway, during this conversation everyone was like: Spiders. Roller coasters. Fire. Whatever. Me, I was asked what my fear was and I have two answers:

1) People touching my eyes and teeth.

2) BLOOD CLOTS.

I will touch briefly on eyes and teeth.
I don’t like them being touched. There is a big trend of me doing foul damage to eyes in my comics and I blame things like The Evil Dead an 28 Days Later for this. I don’t like the idea of being blind. Hence; fear they’ll get all wounded.
Teeth comes from my years wearing a brace. During that time I have my teeth wired and tightened and pulled out in the name of cosmetic improvement. That’s enough to fuck anybody up.

My fear of blood clots is based in the idea of objects hurtling around your circulatory system like asteroids of scabs getting stuck in your valves and lungs and tubes. It’s a frightening concept and I don’t want to entertain it.

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Here I am, surrounded by the joys of 100 or so copies of 50 Signal. Hooray, it exists and you can probably order it now. Check out this link below:

++++++++50SIGNAL AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE NOW++++++++

Or of you want a personalised sketch copy (each equipped with a unique drawing and a dedication) you can bug then for a flat rate of £5 including UK postage by emailing me at nickgonzo@outlook.com . If it’s America or elsewhere I will review it on an individual basis.

That’s all you get this Sunday evening. I’ve been travelling down to London and back this weekend and I am all alcohol delicate and my sister is feeding me soup. I’m weak and tired and need my rest.

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Hola,
We now live in a word where the Utopia series 2 soundtrack is available for purchase. I mean it was released on December the 15th 2014, but this is the first time someone has brought it to my attention.

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I was stunned by the music for the first series, it was unlike anything I’ve ever heard before, adding to the show as well as compliment it. I think that Utopia received a lot if stick for going with its own aesthetic but that’s something I admire.  There are musical cues we here all the time now which are all absent from Utopia. Steering towards a Dub style with a heavy emphasis on samples of weird instruments and vocal sounds, it mixed up the format you expect from conspiracy theory/spy action media. Then to do a whole new suite of music for the second series which developed it’s tone as the plots focus shifted was a master work. Its much darker, much more disturbing, and in some instances is barely music, but its a fantastic apocalyptic collection.

ANYWAY

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Went to see Jon Ronson talk at Waterstones Leeds yesterday. The PowerPoint heavy original presentation had to be abandoned after the computer failed to work in any way or form so we had a mighty question and answer session. The main focus of evening was discussion about his latest book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, a book about people who whether or not by their own hand, have been publicly shamed by us, the mighty public.

As Jon puts it; “We’ve sleep walked into a surveillance society, and whilst we’re all frightened of the NSA or the government but the real monster is people like us”. I’ve been on twitter since 2008 and I know exactly what he means, and I’m not talking about the shambling terror that is Gamer Gate that is you besmirch its name it will come down on you like a tonne of hammers made of solid shit, but its the warriors of the public world that want to cut the biggest slice out of those who offend. For example, one of the people Jon talked about was Justine Sacco who made a fairly ill judged joke on Twitter, which in her mind was meant to be social comment on White privileged, but due to the wooden nature of 140 characters it read like a racist statement and in the space of an 11 hour flight the woman’s life was unpicked by people calling for her public destruction because of this one joke. It can happen to any of us. It could happen to you that anything you say could ignite and having been taken the wrong way will become the stick people beat you to death with. You can lose your job, lose you friends and have your life thrown through a blender because you’ve said something that may be wrong, that may just be ill judged, but does the punishment really fit the crime?

I’ve done it, and if you’re honest you’ve probably done it, where you join the raging crowd tearing at someone who did something bad. Sometimes it feels good, like taking a bite out of a Daily Mail journalist for being a homophobic twat, or holding a political party accountable for what it says and does, but when that rage machine has no target it can turn to anyone.

Its practically a Black Mirror episode.

The Tweet, a new novel by Franz Kafka.

I also got to ask him about going through the Kubrick family boxes. Way back when Jon made a documentary called Hotel Auschwitz, all about the tourist industry surrounding Auschwitz. People would visit, but no one wants to stay. He got a call from a member of Kubrick’s people who wanted to procure a copy of it for Stanley, and he sent it and heard nothing, until after Kubrick’s death where the same Member of his people invited him to the Kubrick house hold for tea. There Jon found that every room was filled with boxes and boxes of stuff, a life’s collection and research for films that sometimes never got made. There’s a library of books at Kubrick mansion all of them biographies of Napoleon collected for a film that was never completed. Spurred on by his wife during his investigations into the Men Who Stare At Goats, a book about Psy-ops and shadowy government military research, Jon asked to look into the boxes and eventually made a movie about their contents.

He found photos of scenery for films and location shots and books and the severed head of the Sniper from Full Metal Jacket, oddly a character who makes it all the way to the end of the movie without ever being decapitated…

I’d love to do something like that.

It was a pleasure to meet Jon and I can’t believe I didn’t get to ask him about his time with Frank Sidebottom.

Are you reading Nameless from Image comics? Its absolutely batshit comic about the journey to Space to stop a huge Asteroid from crashing into the Earth, an Earth in the grip of a psychic sickness driving people into murderous frenzies. Its filled with deeply odd magic talk that can only come from the mind of Grant Morrison, and it has a gritty brutality to the art that could only work in their comic. Its on my pull list at the moment and is hugely deserved of a place in yours. I’ve been buying a lot of single issues, I buy the first issue and then judge whether I want to get the rest of the series, or get the trades, or just ignore it because its a piece of shit. But there are a LOT of strong titles out at the moment. It really is a good time to be a reader. Here are some other things to check out:

The Surface (Image Comics)

Help Us Great Warrior (BOOM! Comics)

Casanova (Image Comics)

Curb Stomp (Boom Comics)

Howard The Duck (Marvel)

Still reading through the weird history of North Korea at the same time. Its a well crafted and easy to read book, and I’m flying through it. As a finalé to this blog post, Eliza Gauger has made a playlist of space related tunes that is the sort of thing that makes me thing of 50Signal plot details and development. I love writing 50Signal.

Google: Von Neumann Probes

 

See you later, Space Cowboy.

I wrote a whole blog post here over a period of two days.

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I went into great detail about the Southern Gothic in music with a specific focus on The Handsome Family. I spoke a bit about Stanley Kubrick’s boxes and Jon Ronson, author of The Men Who Stare At Goats, who went through said boxes after Kubrick’s death and made a film about his experience. I waxed lyrical about Public Service Broadcasting’s new album The Race For Space.

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Also involved was this photograph from Better Call Saul.

Anyway that disappeared because the WordPress app fucked up. The thing about blog posts, or mine at least, is that they’re interesting to you when you’re writing them, but now it’s buggered off I don’t want to write it again.

Not really much going on at Tower Gonzo at the moment. The slow spinning wheels on the Madius train are creeping into town. 50Signal is at the printers and I made this statuette the other day. As a result I may be doing concept art for another stop motion animation movie. Hopefully this one won’t tank like the last one.

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Something that has happened is that PAPERCUTS AND INKSTAINS ISSUE 1 the first official release from Madius Comics has hit shelves and is available now from the Internet store.

A reviewer made it official too that my weird creations are a reason to buy the comic. Lots of fuss has been made about my busy pages, but no one’s really reported on their contents so this makes a pleasing change.

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We are also running a competition on the Facebook page to win some stuff. So go there now, follow the instructions and win things, including a bunch of original art pages by me.
I for one wouldn’t want original pages by me. I fix so much shit in post it’s unbelievable. For example: last page of my submission to PAPERCUTS and INKSTAINS I totally fucked up the characters eyes and had to rearrange them to so she didn’t look like a lobotomy patient. It’s really surreal giving away artwork. I spent quite a bit of time working on NO which is what it’s now called, originally CLEAN UP ON AISLE 37, but the huge NO on the first page cause reviewers to not read the title. I drew it mostly without pencils to keep it loose and weird, then just handed it over to Rob never to be seen again. The last page literally leaving the table to his hands as I finished it on his living room coffee table.

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It’s official that I am attending Nottingham Comic Convention as well this year. It’s too far away to get a good gauge on what exactly I will be pushing upon you, but I bet it’ll be good stuff.

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I’ve taken time out from reading really heavy philosophy books interspersed with modern poetry to read something more light hearted. I was reading The Conspiracy Against The Human Race, Weird Realities: H P Love craft and Philosophy and In The Dust Of This Planet and decided to switch to a biography of Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick was MY kind of controlling, misanthropic film maker. The control he wanted to exert over everything he made was both admirable and maddening. He also embraced ambiguity: something modern, glossy directors should embrace. I walked out of the BFI reissue of 2001 late last year, having gone on my lonesome, listening to a bunch of people throw their arms up in the air and cry out “But what does it mean” or more disturbingly talk about wrong interpretations. Urgh. The idea of about wrong interpretation is baffles me.
Anyway my light hearted reading ploy failed and I’m now reading A KIM JONG-IL PRODUCTION,  a book about North Korea and it’s film industry. North Korea is a weird place, simultaneously the butt of many of the world’s jokes and yet possibly the most terrifying nation on earth. We cover up our guilt about letting these horrific crimes against humanity continue by having a good chortle about how they dress weird in clothes and Kim Jong-Un has a weird haircut.

Oddly I have become the part owner if a car that actually is the same model used in North Korea as taxis.

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So here ends another blog post.