Thursday

SHORT STORY - W.I.L.D.




W.I.L.D. by GRIMLY WHETFOX

"Simple guideline: if you go Loony and pull out of it, then it was an 'initiation'. If you stay a Loony, then it was a mistake."
~ Phil Hine

"... yet in one dream I can compose a whole Comedy, behold the action, apprehend the jests and laugh my self awake at the conceits thereof..."
~ Sir Thomas Browne


It had worked. For the first time. Well, not the first time it had worked, but the first time it had worked like this....

He stood in the centre of it all, the centre of the universe. What the hell had just happened? The buzzing, for god's sake, the NOISE! Like a jet engine taking off; like some gigantic, perfect generator, hidden TARDIS-style, labyrinthine, deep in the middle of him, in his chest.

It had been unbelievable! It hadn't taken long either, although he suspected that time was fairly relative at this point. All he had done was lay down on his bed, relaxed, begun a very slight breathing exercise (the one minute breath) and concentrated. This was beginners luck, he suspected, remembering what he had read about the universe configuring itself to help you when you were trying something new, something important. And sometimes just when you were playing cards...

Lying there, visualising his dream hands, breathing. His visions had slipped and slid in front of him, gently at first and then gathering pace: momentum, colour, definition. It seemed as if a new kind of energy was moving through him, something unlike anything he had felt before. A high-pitched vibration; subtle, tingling. And then fireworks had exploded behind his eyes - colours erupting, forming images, places, faces; some known, some obscure, but familiar...

Then the noise had started.

At first it was low, a rumble. Deep with him, below and beyond. There was a flash in his mind, a memory, clear and distinct.

He was in a huge public playing field at night, a teenager. He had gone there with friends at 3am on acid, tripping with glee, to get a clear view of the sky, so massive above them. The clouds seemed to reach down straight towards them, as if they were the centre of the universe, the apex of it all. It was as though they were in a giant fishbowl; which in a way, they were. Their skewed perspective of the immense night sky, its colours glowing and dynamic in their eyes, had given way to a new sensation. Something moving into the silence of the late night air. A rumble, low and far off in the distance, remote, abstract.

"What's that?" one of them had said.

"Don’t know… Shhhh, listen..."

And the faint rumble, like the furthest of thunder, had grown. Gently at first, but then with gathering intensity, getting louder and louder and increasing in pitch. Soon they were able to place it, the direction, and they realised it was a plane, coming in low towards the airport, towards them. They had laughed, shouting to each other to lay down on the grass and look up, straight up at the massive flying metal bird as it cruised, gravity defying, over their heads. The noise all encompassing: screaming engines and thunderous claps, mountains of moving air.

He snapped back from the memory with the colours still billowing in his mind and realised the noise was still there, still rising. He heard it from within, the top of it, the very peak of the sound. In his chest the feeling rose as the pitch of the note rose, higher and higher until he knew it could not get any higher, he could not hear in that range; but it continued to rise.

He understood, suddenly, what was happening.

Humans are just walking bags of pure energy!

The thought was liquid, electric, a current not spoken or imagined, just THERE. He fancied he must have some kind of nuclear reactor secreted inside his core, some dark machine. Wherever they had managed to hide it. Pretty smart of them anyway, what with all those organs in there.

The noise peaked finally, shriller and higher than he had ever imagined a noise could go; then fading, gently easing away. The noise became a light, a light that filled his vision, and as the sound faded, the very tip of the highest note dissolving away, the light grew in intensity and strength. Suddenly the sound was gone, and there was only the light.

He wondered. Paused and thought. Did that just happen?

Yes.

Then what? What to do?

Go somewhere.

But where? And how?

How? I dunno, man. Just try.

Remember the feeling in your chest? The feeling that rose with the sound, with the pitch of the note? That's how. That's how you steer this particular ship.

He grabbed the rudder and pushed, moving himself round, closing his eyes [eyes?] and relaxing, allowing whatever wanted to generate to generate. After a while he opened his [eyes], aware that something had formed. Something, or somewhere.

He stood in a marsh, on a dark night. It was cold, although he didn't [feel] it, he just knew it was cold, somehow. The sky was very dark and murky. The hills and mountains he could see in the distance disappeared into the night, black on black. The marshland was desolate. He could clearly see he was miles from anywhere, there was nothing and no-one close.

No wonder. You couldn't [walk] around out here, even with good pair of boots you'd be totally screwed. Huge puddles of dank water became grassy marshland, followed by deeper puddles, more like deep, fetid pools.

Wouldn't want to fall in one of them with a loose footing.

The thought mired him in the glutinous ground.

Fuck. Can't move. What do I do now?

The thought-voice inside stayed silent for a moment before its epiphany.

Oh yeah… Fly. Forgot about that one. Ok.

He hadn’t really given himself any options. There was no other way to move around marshland, and he'd flown before, several times. But he had not constructed the fabric before, had not made the scenery from scratch, had not come here on a jet plane.

He'd always just... found himself places. He'd done a piss poor job of designing this scene anyway, this place was terrible. Horrible atmosphere, dark, intimidating. Maybe he could fly on out of here and go someplace with more sunshine?

Got to be worth a try. Whaddaya got to lose, kid? Nuffing. Nothing can come from nothing. Nuff said.

He concentrated, closing his [eyes] again and relaxing, willing himself gently. This was a lot harder than he remembered. He floated up a few feet, but his arms were pinwheeling against some impossible centre of balance. His legs seemed to flap uselessly, uncontrolled and faltering. He wobbled around for a minute or two, trying to gauge the controls, to find a base to judge from.

It didn't work. He was floundering, literally, flapping in the air like an injured fish.

That's it!

He was trying to swim, rather than fly. Against air this was ineffective, no lever, nothing to push against, no purchase. He landed and steadied himself on the uneven ground, getting a damp foot for his efforts.

Nice.

Right, remember the internal rudder. Don't try and swim through the air, don't try and push through the air. Think Superman, it's more of a float. Just will it to happen, don't push so hard...

And with that he rose up, his arms still flapping slightly, unintentionally. He swung forward, feeling the air gathering speed around him, and suddenly he was away.

The wind should have been colder at this height and speed, but he still couldn't feel it, or at least it felt strange.

No matter. Time to find somewhere nicer.

The landscape spread out, vast and dark before him. The inky puddles of dingy water joined into one black landmass as he rose. The horizon was murky, dim in every direction, no sign of the source of the light that allowed him to see the very disappointing view.

As he moved through the skies he surveyed in every direction; it was as if he were marooned on a small planet, alone. The odd perspective of the curve of the horizon made him think he could probably fly round it in one night if he got some speed up. But the landscape was all so similar, how would he know where he had started, or if he kept to a straight path? What the hell would be the point of flying around a marsh planet anyway? Would that be a smart thing to do, given the myriad of possibilities, the potential experiences before him?

No, probably not, dumbass. Probably not.

He approached a huge black lake, moving at such a speed its edges were soon out of his field of vision, and picked up more pace, raising and lowering his altitude slightly, swooping down near the gloomy black water and back up again, getting a feel for it.

A marsh bank emerged, a huge expanse of grass at the edge of the massive lake. He saw a lone, sparse tree on the far bank. He decided to head towards it and land, make an assessment and see what he could do with the situation. If nothing happened, he would abandon this dreary landscape, and try to wake up. But waking itself required a journey, through other, less solid realms.

Oh god. Not looking forward to that if that's what I have to do, he thought pessimistically. He'd been here, in this situation before. It could be... confusing, to say the least.

He soared over the water, gathering a bit of speed, and made a route towards the tree. As he approached, he realised it appeared to be dead. It certainly wasn't doing very well, anyway. As he drew near he steered slightly, discovering to his surprise that he had no control, no rudder. He began flailing, trying to use his arms and legs to turn, to operate the strange flying machine that was his body.

It was no good, he was out of control. The tree approached too fast. He was off course, comprehending suddenly that he'd only tried to go forward so far, not turn. He didn't know how to turn, it just wasn't working.

Why?

It had worked before! Before it had felt like the most natural thing in the world! Why the hell wasn't it working?

He let out a small yell of fear and crashed headlong into the tree, which, up close and personal, seemed really to be more of a bush. He expected to get hurt, expected sharp branches or at least some thorns to tear at his [flesh], but there was nothing. No pain, just him, wrapped upside down in this bush, slightly stuck.

Nice work, Superman.

How is my driving? Not so good, mate. Not so good.

I ain't lending you my car keys, let's put it that way.

He untangled himself and climbed down, feeling slightly worse for wear and a bit sheepish. He didn't really feel like trying to fly again. Crashing into things wasn't sore, but he didn't expect a different result, and so he knew he probably wouldn't get one. It occurred to him that if this was his first willed experience in the dream state, then perhaps he was better off with the interesting, enchanting (if somewhat sporadic) accidental lucid awakenings. They always had some fun going on, at whatever depth of lucidity he was at, so it was always interesting. This was hard work, boring, and a little chilling. He wasn't scared, but he definitely wasn't enjoying himself either. It was dark. And lonely.

Okay. Time to wake up then. Seems like such a waste though...

Wait! Why not try to change the scene entirely? You made this! You can make anything!

Try something new! C'mon, it can't be that hard. Certainly don't have much to lose, anyway....

Think, now... concentrate...

So he had closed his [eyes] again, blocking off the scene. Blocking out the horrible landscape, he chose instead the darkness of within, behind his [eyes], behind the veil.

It worked, quickly and unquestionably. He wondered why he had not tried this immediately, to change the scene to a nicer place to try flying, a nicer place to be generally.

What will be will be, he thought. Nothing he could do about it now.

He opened his [eyes] and there was nothing. Just... nothing. Blackness.

He looked [down] but he had no body, nothing to look [down] at, or anything to [look] with.

Nothing but empty black space in all directions. A universe with no stars, no moons, no planets.

The void.

He had been here before. Not deliberately, but during some previous ‘excursions’ that had happened spontaneously. Unwilled: not directly willed, jet engine style, the way he had just done it. He knew he had wished for it those times, and attempted to conceive it, but when it had worked before it had happened accidentally. Before, it had always been in the middle of a dream, in the middle of the night or the very early morning, when his Rapid Eye Movement would be at its strongest peak, his body doing through the Pineal Gland Tango, strutting its hallucinogenic stuff through his synapses.

Dreams. Who fucking knows, man. Who fucking knows what this is all about.

He relaxed, remembering from experience that struggle or even effort was pretty much useless in the void. There was nothing to struggle against, nothing to put effort into. There was nothing. Nothing to do, no reason to panic. All he could do was wait.

The thought shot a red stab of terror through him.

How long?

What if he was stuck here? What if he was... dead?

Fuck fuck fuck. Get a hold of yourself. That's classic. Remind yourself not to panic, reasonably, calmly, and then proceed to freak the fuck out, textbook style. Straight out of the chapter entitled "What not to do." Nice work.

He [breathed] out, relaxing himself again, and reminded himself he was just in limbo, his body at home in bed asleep. Paralysed, as it naturally was every time he entered the R.E.M. phase, so that he didn't act out his dreams in the real world.

He pictured himself in his boxer shorts, bed covers thrown to one side, trying to fly around his small bedroom with his eyes closed, arms flailing against thin air, amateurish, swimmer-style.

That wouldn't go down too well, he thought. There would be a high chance of injury to the body I am not currently connected to. I like that body. I don't want it injured, when it discovers that out there, in the real world, they have this painful force known as gravity. And gravity don't take too kindly to people trying to fly around. It doesn't like that one bit.

He shifted in the void, [spinning], [turning].

How could he tell, how could he describe his motion, when there were no landmarks, no orientation, nothing. He remembered the red flash of panic, and realised the way forward. The void really was a dull place, anyway. The dark marshes at least had been [somewhere].

Tangible. Somewhere where he had a [body], at least.

Deep with his [chest] he dug.

Down, deeper down, until he felt it. There, buried, low.

He began to visualise, his [mind’s eye], perceiving the nuclear power plant in there.

The generator, the source: a light. A steady, gentle light. As it slowly grew and developed he pulled some of the energy up to his face, behind his [eyes].

Grabbing roughly at this energy with dream hands which he could not see inside his blank dream mind, he laughed at the concept of what he was doing. His real body asleep in bed, at home, whilst his dream body disappeared in his sleeping mind and left him only with the mind of the dream body to play with. The mind inside the mind: a tangible, actual workable piece of his own unconscious.

All of a sudden it hit him. He realised, he saw what he must do. It was so obvious from this position.

The dream yoga. The lucid meditation. It would work. Of course it would work.

Get lucid and then focus, just as you do outside, do it inside. Go inside the inside. As above, so below. Obvious.

There was a sudden huge swell in the energy he worked - colours flashing, rolling billows of bright hues forming, blossoming in his vision. He pushed more energy through it, into it, from himself into himself, somewhere in between, amidst his consciousness.

His mind recharged, powered up. Preparing, coiling energy like a spring. He knew he had the necessary spirit here to do it, to grow something. He tried pushing the swirling colours into an image, a scene, a form, something with shape that he recognised. Anything. But the glowing masses of colour remained fluid and pliant, tainted with shimmering streaks. Making no sense.

He thought for a while, gently feeding it a thin stream of energy, coaxing it, keeping it rolling. And then he did as he had read, the idea popping into his mind, almost as if this was the perfect time for him to realise, as if everything so far had been set up exactly this way so that now, as he thought of this, he could understand it for what it truly was, and have all the facilities and wherewithal to use it, truly use its potential.

With four deft movements, he formed the colourful clouds and haze into a doorway: an opening, a portal to the next place. He had found the way, almost all by himself.

Does reading books count? Does that mean I was taught, or perhaps that I researched?

It didn't matter, he supposed. Knowledge was knowledge, however you came about it. And if you can get enough knowledge together in one place then you have wisdom.

How cool would that be?

He [smiled] to himself. Satisfied, enlightened: another good night's work under his... [belt].

It was going to get even more interesting now, he could feel it. Another tool in the armoury, another variation on the theme to exploit.

Beautiful.

A thin haze covered the edges of the colours draped in his mind in front of him. As the haze drifted across the framework he had formed, the image changed like an optical illusion: two images in one, the way in which you focus your eyes determining what you see.

The doorway took on the look of a mirror, the haze somehow reflecting the nothing that he was back at him, even though he wasn't there to see it.

Time to find out what is through the looking glass, his mind whispered, awestruck, to itself.

And he dove right in.



Grimly Whetfox is one of those people that is just going to piss you off, whatever they are doing. He has an irritating laugh, poor social skills, and chronic body odour.


In the post office he often engages the cashier in ongoing, pointless discussions, despite the fact that the queue behind him stretches out of the door, and everyone in it is already late getting back to the office from their lunch break. He also does this in banks and building societies, even when he does not have an account with them.

He spends his free time littering skateboard parks with tiny, sharp stones, writing long, meandering letters of complaint to small, home-run businesses, and spray-painting the words "Lies and Bullshit Please" under the phrase "What do you want to watch?" on billboards advertising Sky Television. He also uses commas far too often.

'W.I.L.D' is his first submission to Weaponizer. Pray god it's his last.

Wednesday

NIN: GHOSTS




This post is by way of a review of the new NIN album, Ghosts I-IV. An instrumental collection, it really showcases the devastating depth and intricacy of Trent Reznor's productions. As a long time NIN fan (I was cutting myself to 'Hurt' while y'all were in diapers), my interest in the group has waxed and waned over the years... Lyrically, Reznor's decision (from With Teeth onwards) to flip his rage and hatred onto wider social issues, rather than directing it back in a heroin-fuelled feedback loop at himself, signified a Lazarus-like return to form for the band. Suddenly it was no longer 'I hurt myself today...', it was 'Just how deep do you believe, will you practice what you preach, will you bite the hand that feeds...'

Much of With Teeth felt like a call to arms for a politically and culturally disenfranchised generation. And it didn't stop there - with Y34RZ3R0, Reznor flipped it again, releasing multi-tracks of many NIN songs for his fans to remix and upload to the site remix.nin.com. Comparable to the free download distribution option offered by Radiohead and other bands, Reznor went one further, actually giving away the composite parts of the tunes, freeing them up for re-interpretation.

As a producer willing to embrace technological change, Reznor has gone further than any other rock and roll artist. Mind-bendingly prolific, Reznor's Ghosts I-IV is a long-mooted collection of instrumental tracks that covers the entire spectrum of NIN beats and soundscapes, from mournful Downward Spiral-esque piano laments to pounding industrial beats.

Created in just ten weeks, this is more of a concept album than a comilation of offcuts. Ghosts stands up to previous instrumental remixes from Further Down The Spiral an Y34Rz3R0R3M1X3D, and in fact feels like more of a journey than these albums. Over the course of 36 tracks, Reznor slowly builds and layers soundscapes. Without the restrictions imposed by the verse-chorus-verse structures of rock, Reznor is able to layer the traditional guitar and drums of his industrial productions into a kind of throbbing techno tornado, slowly gathering pace and incorporating structures and sounds from classical, hip-hop and even jazz music.

"I've been considering and wanting to make this kind of record for years," says Reznor on his website. "But by its very nature it wouldn't have made sense until this point. This collection of music is the result of working from a very visual perspective - dressing imagined locations and scenarios with sound and texture; a soundtrack for daydreams. I'm very pleased with the result and the ability to present it directly to you without interference."

The 'interference' he mentions could of course be the spectre of corporate wanks who couldn't package and sell a sprawling epic like Ghosts in the mainstream market. Rather, Reznor has released the record himself, with several payment options, from his self-run download site. It seems that the business model of giving away multi-tracks is being re-thought too - with Ghosts, you must pay for the privelege of using the master tracks. The price however is extremely reasonable, and with the amount of fun I had remixing NIN tracks for free, I'm sorely tempted to go for the higher-priced download option.

Most of the paying downloads also include a book of specially commissioned photographs that accmompany the suite of music; eerie, washed out scenes of abandoned beaches and smog-shrouded sunsets, alongside abstract configurations of studio cables and diodes, evoking a pre-apocalyptic mythscape, while Reznor's vocal-free productions soar through varying emotional tones and resonances.

Ghosts I-IV cannot be recommended highly enough: in an era when most performers are spent by the time their first album is finished, Reznor is consisitently evolving and improving as time goes on. In years to come, we at Weaponizer believe he will be held in the highest regard, as one of the most innovative and intelligent producers / composers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.


NEW BCB'S TRAILER!




New Trailer for the Black Cherry Bombshells.

Vote now on Zuda!

Tuesday

NOT SO DIFFERENT AFTER ALL...




This video was voted Best Political Video in YouTube's Videos of 2007 awards. It was created by political activist site Avaaz.org. It makes some broad (some would say obvious) points, but it is quite effective counter-propaganda. Enjoy.

FLASH FICTION - SOLSTICE CAKE



SOLSTICE CAKE by FRAN FLETT HOLLINRAKE

My mother used to make Solstice cake. The recipe was never written down, because my grandmother, who gave it to her, couldn’t write.

Take dark brown sugar, the darkest there is. That’s for deepest winter. Then you need eggs from well-fed hens – they mean new life and make the cake rise high! A good pinch of saffron – the gold is like sunlight on a gloomy day. Some flour you’ve ground yourself, that’s next, and yellow butter - your cake needs fat to give it a lovely taste and keep it moist. It’s nice to use dried fruit; that sweetness is a memory of summers past. It goes well with the dandelion wine that you pour in slowly as you mix.

Everything needs a good stir - it helps if you’ve a man nearby. Pour the mixture into a deep tin, then place in a warm oven. Here, the magic will take place, your base ingredients transformed. Bake the cake until risen and brown, then take it out to cool. With a sharp knife, cut a slice for yourself, before inviting everyone else to share. Oh, and if you want the quantities for the ingredients, you’d better ask your own mother!

Fran Flett Hollinrake lives in Orkney. She is a historian, tour guide and story-teller and a member of the very wonderful Stromness Writers Group. She is a busy bee, what with traditional dancing and fiddle playing, and is attempting a sort of semi-Good Life type existence although she is still searching for a pair of dungarees like Felicity Kendal’s. She has written articles for The Guardian Unlimited and Northern Earth magazine and is responsible for the guide book Hidden and Haunted Underground Edinburgh. She is currently working on a novel. Everyone in the Writers Group is eager to find what happens in the end and Fran is also quite keen to know.

- Read Fran's blog about the Ness Battery

BLACKWATER, CLINTON & OBAMA




At the moment I am reading a fantastic book called 'Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army' by Jeremy Scahill. It is a fascinating account of the rise and rise of Blackwater, the private security firm run by ultra-neo-theoconservative businessman Erik Prince. Involved heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan as 'private contractors' - read 'mercenaries' - this company has the largest privately funded and recruited private militia in the world.

It now seems that Blackwater and contractors in general have become a political hot potato in the current US presidential race, with Scahill pressuring both Clinton and Obama into taking a stance on contractors: namely, that they should be phased out over the coming years. Obama's position seems more reticent than Clinton's, but both seem to be moving in the direction of attempting to curb the involvement of security firms such as Blackwater in future conflicts overseas.

Read the full story here on RJ Hillhouse's fantastic blog The Spy Who Billed Me.

Here is Scahill talking about the rise of Blackwater on The Nation:

INVISIBLES: GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB




This is an HBO documentary titled 'The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib'. Essential viewing.

















Invisibles

INVISIBLES - HOKUSAI








Invisibles

INVISIBLES - CONFESSION




Marve found this, its' a 4 minute 'How To'guide explaining how to go to 'Confession' and what you should do.

Possibley the most fucking hilarious part is where it tells you - in the time honored tradition of 'How To' guides - what you should take with you. This includes... actually, no, we wont spoil it for you, jsut keep a look out.

WE believe thats it's not a spoof, but genuine.

Have fun - or not, actually as that might be a sin and you might have to confess it. Actually, do because then you'll have some thing to con... oh, you get the picture.



Invisibles

THE 'HUMANS' PROJECT ON YOUTUBE



Stolen from Warren Ellis.

Monday

ALAN MOORE ON THE CULTURE SHOW



For those that missed it last year.

Thanks to the Alan Moore Fansite for the links.











INVISIBLES: PENSIONERS BEWARE!

Note: Americans, switch off now - this will probably make no sense to you - its a bit like us trying to work-out what the fuck is going on in an American "Football" game.

So, like the rest of us, your waiting to get to retirement so that you can push people out of the way with your shopping trolley and more importantly flood the buses, trains, etc at 9:30 so that you can use your buss pass. However, it appears that MI5 might see you as a terrorist threat and want to monitor your travel use. Yep, if they see a pattern in you going to the bingo on a Friday night they may pull you in. Go to Brighton more then once a year? Your a terrorist - or in our opinion a fucking sadist but thats another matter.

And you lot traveling around the tube - using that wonderful travelpass/Oyster card of yours and smiling smugly at all those poor buggers trying to get a working ticket machine at Leicester Square - smile no more, you maybe a terrorist - according to MI5.

(Personally we blame Livingston but for fucks sake don’t vote for that twat Boris Johnson if you want to retain any vestige of sanity - unless your a surrealist in which case it probably makes sense).
.
The following article in todays Observer might be of interest.

Um... hang-on though, before you read it. now perhaps we missed this, but this article quotes Home Land Security Minster Admiral Sir Alan West. Homeland Security? When the fuck did we get a Department of Homeland Security never mind a minster there off? What the fuck do they do and when were they formed. It’s fucking bad enough the Home Office and other civil service departments have been amalgamated into the Orwellian sounding "Ministry Of Justice" but Ministry of homeland security ? With a budget of 3.5 Billion? What the fuck?


MI5 seeks powers to trawl records in new terror hunt

Counter-terrorism experts call it a ’force multiplier’: an attack combining slaughter and electronic chaos. Now Britain’s security services want total access to commuters’ travel records to help them meet the threat


* Gaby Hinsliff, political editor
* The Observer,
* Sunday March 16 2008
* Article history

This article appeared in the Observer on Sunday March 16 2008 on p22 of the News section. It was last updated at 01:49 on March 16 2008.

Millions of commuters could have their private movements around cities secretly monitored under new counter-terrorism powers being sought by the security services.

Records of journeys made by people using smart cards that allow 17 million Britons to travel by underground, bus and train with a single swipe at the ticket barrier are among a welter of private information held by the state to which MI5 and police counter-terrorism officers want access in order to help identify patterns of suspicious behaviour.

Read the rest HERE - just to prove we ain't making this bollocks up.

Invisibles

INVISIBLES: DOC STRANGE



Oh, come on. It is a TV movie from '78. And why did he get a gold cloak? Don't look at us but at least the poor fucker din't have to wear the daft black tights.





















Invisibles

THE BLACK CHERRY BOMBSHELLS: ZOMBIES vs. GIRL GANGS!




Zuda Comics is a new online, digital comics venture backed by DC / Wildstorm. The basic idea is that creators submit one 8 page story featuring their characters, and readers vote for the story they would like to see continued. There have been a few success stories so far on Zuda, from Jeremy Love’s lyrical and evocative ‘Bayou’ and Sharam’s post-apocalyptic saga ‘Road’. Perhaps the most original and exciting entry so far however (and currently in pole position), is a small, manga-influenced strip called ‘The Black Cherry Bombshells,’ by Johnny Zito and Tony Trov, with art by Sacha Borisich.

Coming on like a cranked-up dose of Tartakovsky’s early Powerpuff Girls, but co-directed by Russ Meyer and Rikdo Koshi, The BCBs are fast winning over the hearts and minds of the Zuda faithful. Weaponizer was lucky enough to catch up with the whole BCBs crew for a conversation about zombies, girl gangs and Vegas. Read on, and remember to vote Black Cherry!

For our readers who haven't yet encountered the BCBs, can you please introduce first yourselves....

Johnny Zito/ I'm Johnny Zito, and along with Tony Trov we wrote the Black Cherry Bombshells. Our amazing artist Sacha Borisich came to us through ComicJobz and Al Bruno, our colorist, took a break from his day job inventing new shades of blue to help finish the project.

... and now the BCBs!

Johnny/ 'The Black Cherry Bombshells' is the tale of ultra-violent girl gangs fighting for supremacy of a doomed future. There; every man on Earth has been mutated into a flesh eating zombie. The Black Cherry Bombshells - wild, tattooed bandits - are gaining a reputation as the baddest bootleggers in Las Vegas. That doesn't sit well with the local crime boss; the woman they call 'The King.'

How did you get into writing and drawing comics? Is BCB your first project, or have you been doing this for a while?

Johnny/ I've always been into comics. When I was a kid I used to hang out on my front step all day making my own from scratch. I've worked as a political cartoonist and I've made a hand full of short films but the Black Cherries are the closest I've ever come to my dream job working for DC Comics.

Tony Trov/ I got into writing during college. My band would perform huge, campy rock operas about alien abductions and talking dogs. People dug it and I've been telling goofy stories to anyone who'll listen ever since.


Sacha Borisich/ I've been illustrating for as long as I can remember. I don't know there was a time in my life when the pencil or pen wasn't glued to my hand.

The post-apocalypse background of BCB is a nice contrast to the frenetic, almost comically accelerated pacing. Which came first, the idea for the setting, or for the characters?

Johnny / We actually started with the idea of an all female cast. Then we tried to find a genre that might be considered traditionally male to see what would happen.

Tony /: When we settled on the all male zombie setting the characters just kind of emerged from that world.

In the artwork for BCBs, I can see influences from Genndy Tartakovsky and Manga comics. What appeals to you about this style of art, in terms of the story you are trying to tell?

Sacha / The style was generally decided when I came on board but I think it's perfect. There's lots of blood and guts, people die and get eaten but that round cartoon-y style makes it palatable for all ages.

How big a challenge were the limits placed on you by Zuda?

Tony / It's hard to get all your ideas out there in 8 pages. We tried to write each page as a stand alone strip; something that could be read as one chapter of the story and be psychologically satisfying.

Johnny / It's a new medium, too. Just the size and shape of the screen presents its own challenges. If we win we hope to experiment with the screens more.

What are your opinions on some of the other work shown so far on Zuda? Any favourites?

Tony / This is the best month at Zuda so far.

Sacha / Hands down, every contestant this month has beautiful art, and the story diversity is great.

How far ahead have you planned the BCBs saga?

Johnny / We know where it's going and how it ends. Nothing is written in stone but when we came up with the idea we roughed out the whole arc. Beginning, middle and end. Your vote guarantees you a year long zombie vs. tough chick epic with crazy gangs and ruthless kingpins.

Tony / Where else can you get a guarantee like that?

The character of The King is a classic. Do you ever intend to tell the story of how The King came to power?

Tony / Absolutely! The King's rise to power is integral to the Black Cherry Bombshells' story. She's a lot more complex than you'd think. I mean why would you want to rule over this world anyway? Everything has gone to crap. So we're gonna get into her and why she does what she does.

Johnny / Plus we have to meet the rest of the King's gang. The Slamazon, her Mexican wrestling body guard, is only one of many loyal soldiers who serve the King.

Showing lesbian relationships in a strip like BCBs is a daring move on your part, and certainly makes the comic stand out from others on Zuda. How did you arrive at the concept of a world where men are zombies and girls are hot, gun-toting lesbians?

Johnny / Ha Ha, would you believe the gun toting lesbians are a natural progression of the world they live in?

Tony / Someone left us a comment mentioning how all the men in her life are already a bunch of flesh eating zombies.

Johnny / There's something to that. When it was decided that we were going to use an all female cast we just employed the same power-fantasy tenets that comic books are famous for. So, the girls rule and boys drool… and hiss and bite.

Tony / Plus, this isn't lesbians for lesbians sake. Starbuck and Frankie are in love. In this terrible situation their relationship is probably the only thing they have to hold on to.

You clearly have a love and appreciation of pre-exisiting zombie lore. What is it that has made zombies so popular recently, and are you a fan of zombie crossover hits like 'The Walking Dead' and 'Shaun of the Dead?'

Johnny / I'm a big fan of Dead Alive. Shaun was awesome, too.

(Editor's note - 'Dead Alive' was the USA-release title of Peter Jackson's classic 'Braindead.')

Sacha / Warren Ellis' Black Gas is awesome too.

Tony / The Romero Classics (Night, Dawn, Day) set zombies up as the perfect cultural metaphor. It's great short hand for calling attention to conformists and other people obsessed with themselves.

You've also drawn my attention to SaveZombies.com. How active are you in the campaign for zombie rights?

Sacha / Equal rights for all, even the undead.

Tony / Says so in the Declaration of Independence just above Zombie John Hancock's signature.


Johnny / SaveZombies.com is sponsoring a Black Cherry Bombshells' contest. After you VOTE for the Black Cherry Bombshells leave us a comment on the comic about how much you like/love/lust for zombies and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a free Black Cherry Bombshells t-shirt. Contest ends this weekend. Winner should be announced Monday.

Finally, can you tell us who influenced you to start drawing / writing comics, and what inspires you to keep going?

Tony / I find Dan Slott's seminal Ren and Stimpy issue where you could chose your own adventure to be particularly inspiring.

Johnny / The amazing-ness of Jim Steranko nourishes me.

Sacha / Classic films and 80's cartoons, respectively.



Thanks to Johnny, Sacha and Tony for the interview. Now, Weaponeers, it’s time to do your part! Sign up here for a Zuda account, log in and vote for the Black Cherry Bombshells, or they’ll blow you up with bazookas and feed you to the zombie dudes. You were warned!

Thursday

NAZI ZOMBIES!!



Stolen from Jay of the marvelous Optimum Wound Comics...

"Someone’s going to finance the Dutch zombie-nazi flick, Worse Case Scenario. Here’s one of the promos they filmed a couple of years ago to raise funding.

Super creepy. Here’s hoping that they pull it off…and sooner rather than later."

- Jay

NORTHERN EXPOSURE NOMINATED FOR BAFTA



Weaponizer favourites Northern Exposure have been nominated for a Bafta for their work on a documentary called 'Halal The Beef', named after one of their best-known tracks. NrnXpo's Sweet E was also working as an Assistant Director on a film called 'Trouble Sleeping' which has also been nominated. You can check out the nominations here.

Congratulations to Sweet E and Northern Exposure - I'll lay even money they are the only Scottish hip-hop group who can claim to have both the fiction and non-fiction Baftas sewn up!

Weaponizer will keep you posted on how they fair. Drop by their MySpace and wish them well.

Wednesday

ZUDA COMICS: VOTE BLACK CHERRY!

For those that don't know how the totally brilliant Zuda Comics site works, creators upload webcomics there every week, and you the readers vote on which entry you wish to see continued. Entries so far have been fantastic, with a personal favourite of many readers being Jeremy Love's genuinely beautiful Bayou.

This week's frontrunners are a bizarre, high-octane mix of George Romero, Genndy Tartakovsky and Russ Meyer - the rather awesome Black Cherry Bombshells. We've got an interview with the creators coming really soon, so I won't give anything away about the story. Just go read the first 8 pages and vote!



SPOT THE DIFFERENCE

Thanks to Jesus (our Jesus, not your Jesus) for this little gem.















FOLD-AWAY ASSAULT RIFLE




For the mass murderer who works in the dark, and for whom rucksack space is at a premium.

Monday

LET'S GET A FEW THINGS STRAIGHT...

"Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted."
- Hassan I Sabbah


"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."
- Aleister Crowley


"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.


"You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality.”
- Malcolm X

"Make friends with them until they beg for mercy..."
- paraphrasing Grant Morrison


"Without a just solution to the Palestine tragedy, there can be no stable peace in the Middle East."
- King Hussein I of Jordan


"Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors."
- The Qur'an


"What is hurtful to yourself do not to your fellow man. That is the whole of the Torah and the remainder is but commentary."
- Talmud, Shabbat 31A


"Seek peace, and pursue it."
- The Bible (Psalms 34:14)

Thursday

SLAM POETS ON YOUTUBE

Have some random Slam poetry from YouTube. Most of these guys are yanks... you have to admire the energy. I really dig the American slam style. When I started reading poetry, I was fortunate to see several US Slam Poets at Big Word, and they very much influenced my style.

I'm part of a group of poets, and we've been looking at poetry on YouTube. We're gonna get up in this too.

We are The Chemical Poets. We do not compete. We do not play. Expect us.

Till then, enjoy these guys...

Eric Darby - Scratch & Dent Dreams



Karl Thompson (Poetry Vandals) - 5 Nights of Bleeding & Response



Hostage



Taylor Mali

INVISIBLES: MINDFULNESS



... with Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center.

Seen here introducing Google staff to his version of mindfulness meditation - think Zen with Taoism mixed in - or are the just aspects of the same thing? Oh well.

Lord Fanny however, would like to say that someone should tell him that if you wear a think cotton shirt to not tuck it in your trousers, tends to puff them out a bit apparently - the shirt that is not the trousers that is.




Invisibles

INVISIBLES: PS2



Shinto meets Zen meets Zen painting meets... oh, you get the picture.



Invisibles

WATCHMEN MOVIE - ONE YEAR TO GO...

It's one year now until Zack Snyder's adaptation of Alan Moore's Watchmen hits the screens. These images were featured on the official Watchmen movie site and Ain't It Cool, so you have probably seen them already. I'd be interested to hear what you thought about the movie though. Are you expecting another piece-of-shit LXG abortion? Does this look a bit too Batman Begins grimy for you? Are you just excited to see Rohrshach on screen? What are your thoughts on Moore's famous Hollywood non-involvement policy? Leave some comments!









Wednesday

IRON MAN




Okay, okay, I'm a helpless fucking fanboy but HOW COOL IS THIS?

Tuesday

BIG FREEZE: EDINBURGH FLASH MOB




This is pretty cool, wish I had gone along now.

Monday

INVISIBLES - BUSH vs. ZOMBIES





Invisibles, with thanks to MotorNerve.

INVISIBLES: PALE BLUE DOT



Must be the Blue Mold, "the blue cheese, or the meal we ate down the road"



Invisibles

INVISIBLES: COSMOS

Seminal series by Carl Sagan, the world's most pre-eminent pot-smoking stargazer.









Invisibles

OPERATION PARTY HARD!


Journalistic integrity? Professional ethics? I am not just a journalist, I am a man. I have needs. I have desires. I want to... PARTY HARD!!

Protest against the $cientologists - March 15th - Edinburgh - Bring a fedora...

Why a fedora? What is the Marcab Confederacy?

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