More Will Be Revealed: The Secret files of the dept.

How Prohibition made us more reliant on the income tax - Don't ...
After two disastrous attempts at creating mind-controlled combat slaves, the DEPT. temporarily abandoned the project and turned to more theoretical, not to mention political pursuits. Laboring in self-imposed exile and under a veil of secrecy to rival that of the Masons, the DEPT. embarked on its most ambitious undertaking–some would say overtaking–yet.  They were also about to make their biggest blunder to date, one that would come dangerously close to revealing their existence and agenda to the larger world.
 
In the 1920’s, the DEPT. managed to plant an inside man in the very home of the nation’s chief executive.  Neither a cabinet minister nor an adviser, the man who would come to pull the presidential strings with all the moxie of a latter-day Rasputin was none other than Dr. Cygnus Salem, the president’s analyst.  Salem, who had studied under Freud in Vienna, came to the administration with impeccable credentials.  Not until four generations had passed would it be revealed that Cygnus Salem was in fact the reincarnate embodiment of a sorcerer who had been burned at the stake in the Massachusetts town from which he apparently took his name nearly three centuries before.
The DEPT.’s plan was diabolically clever. Using methods that had been employed in Cuba, Dr. Salem and other agents hypnotized or drugged the President and key congressional leaders and used the power of suggestion to influence their respective opinions, and votes concerning the constitutional amendment that would outlaw the sale, purchase, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Evidently, the powers that be at the DEPT. felt that major resources of man-hours and mental energy were being waylaid and usurped by the demon alcohol.  They wanted to harness and channel the suppressed psychic faculties of some 150 million suddenly sober Americans. Inevitably, the rest of the world would bear awed witness to the undoubtedly positive changes taking place in the States and follow suit.
 
But it was not to be.
 
Prohibition, while an utter boon to the Mafia and other crime syndicates, was an abysmal failure for nearly every branch, faction and aspect of the Federal Govt., not least the DEPT. T. Magnus Reid, A Top Secret History of the United States (2nd Edition)

The CIA's Appalling Human Experiments With Mind Control | HISTORY
The DEPT. had scored a major victory for the forces of good over evil, not to mention for the interests of the US.  Their fearless and unflappable savvy in the face of the unknown and the unlikely did not go unnoticed in the invisible circles that constitute the true American govt.  While their methods and beliefs were still largely held suspect by the nation’s upper echelon, their carte blanche was extended, their access to intensely regulated information and heretofore off-limits facilities increased, their tireless efforts on behalf of the undiscovered nether regions coming due in increased influence and notoriety.  Unexpectedly, and tragically, years of suppression and isolation had caused fetishes, obsessions, and resentments to fester in the souls of the DEPT. agents Allowed a glimpse of daylight, these malignancies grew and spread in several of the members, manifesting in addictions to alcohol, narcotics, and other altering substances acquired from shaman, yogi, medicine men and quack pharmacists all over the globe, not to mention subversive behavior, sexual dysfunction, social retardation, and brutal, even murderous tendencies.  Dr. REDACTED, asst, deputy sub-director of the DEPT. from 1940 until 1963, (when he was quietly dismissed for his rather public presumption about who–or more precisely, what–really pulled the trigger on JFK, and later found dead of curare poisoning in a motel room in Galveston, Texas), would later claim that the afflicted DEPT. employees were under the influence of malevolent forces seeking retribution for the defeat they had suffered at the hands of the DEPT.’s spook troop during the War.  True or not, this was the first time any DEPT. member had openly claimed–at least as much as their secretive position would allow–that nonhuman powers beyond our control and comprehension could and did willfully direct the actions of those susceptible to such forces.  It was speculated that these extradimensional invaders had long sought an expansive enough access point to provide easy and unguarded passage between their world and ours.  Ironically, the DEPT. formed the ideal nexus at which such a gate way could be established.

A collective of absolute believers, even the most cynical and jaded amongst them were thoroughly convinced, whether by evidence or conviction, of the existence of uncharted dimensions of space and time, and that these regions, which could not be located on any map, were densely populated with beings both wondrous and horrific, beings whose ultimate intent might well be the subjugation of the human species, or even its utter destruction. T. Magnus Reid, A Top Secret History of the United States (2nd Edition)
MK-Ultra - HISTORY
In the late sixties, such bastions of yellow journalism as the New York Post reported on a series of incidents in which a self-described “freelance subatomic particle fetishist” appeared unannounced in a honeymoon suite at the MGM Grand in Vegas, the living room of a retired dentist in Seattle, Washington, a Dunkin’ Donuts employee bathroom in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and in a passport photo booth at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. The man, whose accent suggested an Eastern European origin, would give his name only as Satellite, and claimed that he had traveled from his homeland-, and from point to point, not by air, sea, or superhighway, but rather via a dimensional portal of his own design.  He turned up in Washington, DC, perched on Lincoln’s lap in the Memorial, and attempted to patent his invention, of which he would disclose only the blueprints and a blurry Polaroid of what he called the Transspatial Enabler, or Doormension, as Satellite was nothing if not consumer conscious.  The photo resembled nothing more than a black square, just the right size that a medium sized man could squeeze through with some small effort, provided that it wasn’t just a shiny square of acrylic tile adhered to the wall.

Satellite’s bold claims and grand entrances created a low-key buzz amongst a population hungry for light shows, parlor tricks, miracles, anything of entertainment value in the overwhelming midst of social upheaval, assassination aftermath, and the nightmare of jungle warfare.  Satellite sightings were almost as common a phenomenon as glimpses of undead superstar Elvis Presley would come to be a decade or so later.
 
Though the Enabler’s existence was neither proven true nor exposed as fraud, despite the best efforts of everyone from the DEPT. to their archnemeses, the infamous World Skeptic’s Society, Satellite ignored and refused all challenges to present hard evidence to support his boasted feats of dimensional daredevilry for public scrutiny, even when promised big bucks and endorsement possibilities.  Eventually, the public lost interest in the shamelessly self-promoting dimensional drifter and he vanished into the back pages of historical obscurity, the D.B. Cooper of quantum breaking-and-entering.
 
Top fedgov officials, agents of both the NSA and the CIA, and other lifetimers in the inner sanctum, who paid scrupulous attention to such anomalies, however absurd or even comic, speculated that Satellite might have been nabbed by the boys at the Spookhouse, as they could not help but think of it. T. Magnus Reid, A Top Secret History of the United States (2nd Edition)
Why the Story Behind the Manson Family Murders Is Suddenly ...
Meanwhile, the DEPT. had their hands full with the Manson slayings, an orgiastic rampage of West Coast psychosis that had left a seemingly endless stretch of unsolved, unclaimed, and unidentified homicides.  And in Vietnam, after 75-some-odd years of trial-and-error experimentation, the DEPT. of Paranormal Affairs had, with a certainly qualified success, succeeded in fulfilling the legacy of their founder, Dr. REDACTED REDACTED. 
Dubbed the Suture Soldier Project, the foray into reanimation science involved reassembling and reviving the corpses of soldiers whose mangled bodies were deemed too toxic to be returned for burial in home soil.  The first Suture Soldier unit, which consisted of a dozen troops stitched together from the bodies of some 32 men blown to Heaven during a VC ambush on a convoy of armored personnel carriers.  Their lieutenant was a green and fresh-faced officer school type, very much alive.  He thoroughly expected to provide a fleshly feast before his troops even encountered action.  The zombies’ supposedly insatiable thirst for human blood, however, was only ever evidenced, and perhaps sated, in swift and decisive combat maneuvers in which the emotionless and rather single-minded undead units were almost invariably the victors. Their pain centers had all been detached; bullets chewed them up a bit but did little by way of slowing them down. The lieutenant, who received a Distinguished Service Cross at the end of his third tour, and subsequently the first and only military personnel ever to be elected to the DEPT., reported that his initial fears were soon abated when he discovered that most of the soldier’s in his charge were vegetarians. Only once did he witness one of the suture soldiers eat meat.  Powdered steak. The zombie spit it out.
He was so young. They all were': 'Picturing Nam' shows America's ...
The Suture Soldiers were an over-the-wire legend in the embattled cities and sinister jungles of Southeast Asia. As one GI pondered at the time: “If they got dead guys can fight this war as good or better’n me, then what the hell am I still doin’ out here?”
Why didn't we get a future where swimming pools have pinball tables?
While a nation turned its lonely eyes to NASA and Watergate, Patty Hearst and boogie fever, the DEPT., cocky and brash after a round of supersecret successes, turned their singular minds to ever-more ambitious attempts at traversing the dimensional boundary and gaining access to the NeoAtlantean continents of limitless unmapped reality planes. Professor Boston Faraday, DEPT. director since 1963, knew that the only greenlight for his proposed experiments would have to come directly from the American people.  He wanted desperately to go public, but endowed with a more pragmatic brand of wisdom than his departed predecessor, Dr. REDACTED REDACTED knew that widespread awareness and mainstream acceptance of his organization’s existence, and its radically sidereal agenda, could be achieved only by way of a meticulously planned, surreptitiously staged media event that would result in inevitable worldwide coverage and unquestionable exposure of the DEPT. and its eccentric staff of dimension-straddling ethereal pioneers.
The Culham Laboratory Open Days. Photograph by Retro Images Archive
Dr. Lucius Blakdragon first developed the Karmometer in the late 1950’s, in an effort to establish the validity of his theory of Karmatic Physics (now known as SupraQuantum Physics).  He foresaw his machine, a crude assemblage of jerry-rigged gauges, wires, voltage meters, tickertape machines, WW2-era computers, and an authentic witches’ cauldron (acquired from the estate of none other than the legendary Cygnus Salem), as a technological breakthrough that would eventually lead to the inevitable wedding of secular science and applied metaphysics. 
Retro Science Fiction
Dr. Blakdragon, in an address to the London Guild of Apprentice Sorcerers and the Oxford Academy of Science -‘In 1957, described his machine thusly: “The Karmometer, which I have developed almost solely at the expense of myself and a small number of key private investors, performs a rather quite simple task, irrespective of its daunting size (the Karmometer took up nearly the entire space of a two-story barn on the Doctor’s New England estate).  Its sole purpose is to measure the karmic weight, volume, and density of a particular object, and to determine the level of negative or positive karmionic energy emitted from said object.  This enables the owner or prospective owner of the given item in question to determine what type of power the object holds, with regards to whatever psychic baggage has been acquired in the time since its production, and whether or not the object’s influence serves or hinders the interested party.  While the Karmometer has yet to be tested on more advanced life forms, a series of successful experiments recently conducted by myself and my anonymous colleagues on several species of insects and small rodents suggests that my machine’s potential for enhancing the quality of terrestrial existence is not only tremendous, but quite possibly limitless.”
1953 ... emergency in space! | by x-ray delta one
While Blakdragon’s proposal garnered little attention from the “serious” scientific community, the metaphysicists curiosities were predictably peaked.  While celebrated theorists from Altvgeld to Einstein derided him as a “crackpot egoist” and a “20th century snake oil huckster”, Guild members and others in the occult community plotted in secret to wrest control of the Karmometer from the playboy superscientist, to what end one can only speculate.  Whether his pet project was a shameless scam, a profound discovery, or a noble failure, the world would wait 30-some-odd years to learn the truth; Blakdragon’s research came to an abrupt halt with the disappearance of the Doctor on October 31st of that same year, a date which the significance thereof was not lost on either schooled occultists or the simply superstitious.  While investigation into Karmatic theory did continue, it did so on a much smaller scale; Blakdragon’s associates, perhaps fearful of their own fates, or possessed of disturbing information regarding the mystery, went underground, and the scientific community, obsessed with cancer research and the space program, all but forgot the spectre of Lucius Blakdragon until the emergence of quantum theory.

the dept.

nazi rocketeer 3 by IOEFXPROCPP2323 on DeviantArt
It has been widely known for some time that Hitler had agents scouring the globe for legendary objects reputed to possess tremendous supernatural power, ranging from the Holy Grail to the Monolith of Io. During this period the DEPT. established a tenuous camaraderie with the covert limb of the US Armed Forces operations in the European theater. Setting out from the neutral territory of Switzerland, DEPT. agents followed the lead of the SS, seeking the same objects and power sources as the Nazis, hoping, if not to beat them to the coveted items and sacred locales, then at least to prevent their misusing these potentially terrible weapons in their heady grab for world domination.

Thanks to the expedient evolution of technology which entered full swing during the Big One, the once-sequestered unofficial records of the DEPT.’s movements and motives begins to be more consistently documented during this period.  Extensive tapes, photos, and file footage have been uncovered, revealing some extremely shocking occurrences that popular history ignored, or missed completely. Horrors so profound they could almost make the death camps seem like playgrounds…

REDACTED

Perhaps the greatest act of selflessness and heroism to which any of the DEPT.’s agents could ever lay claim occurred on August 3rd, 1944, more than half a year before Hitler’s suicide and the Germans unconditional surrender. Despite the shroud of mystery and the vows of silence that kept it from becoming even a footnote to the struggle until now, the Battle of the Hollow Earth was instrumental in deciding not only the course of the war, but quite probably the fate of humanity.  For the time being.
 
According to sources, members of the DEPT. had utilized their vaudevillian mind control techniques on a number of grunts, selecting the malcontent, the indifferent, and the agnostic to make up their ragtag platoon of supersecret footsoldiers. In late summer of 1944, this motley assemblage of soldiers scientists, and DEPT. operatives encountered one of Hitler’s occult teams at the mouth of the tunnel that led into the core of the planet. Rumor and legend had it that the hollow interior was home to a race of extraterrestrial superhominids who had become stranded on Earth sometime dating back at least as far as the Egyptian empire. The opposing factions, equally determined in their respective goals, clashed at the site, and by chance, an explosion and subsequent avalanche sealed the tunnel entrance, and the Nazis were foiled.

Corroborated testimony from the debriefings suggests quite strongly that the DEPT. had finally succeeded in engaging the services of an actual combat zombie, a prototype at the very least, which was destroyed in the conflagration.  Thus, it can be said that one of the unsung heroes of the Second World War was in fact an Undead Soldier. Yet there is no gravemarker nor plaque to commemorate the selfless, and quite likely mindless, deeds of this khaki-clad Frankenstein’s monster.

T. Magnus Reid
A Top Secret History of the United States
White space shuttle illustration, science fiction, artwork, retro ...
You have to understand, the very nature of their work, work so abstract, so intangible, so bizarre that it placed them beneath legislative consideration. Most of their funding came from private citizens, perversely wealthy eccentrics who had traveled and studied extensively yet never been able to draw their own conclusions about a blessed thing.  This caused resentment, even hostility, towards the DEPT. from under-funded federal agencies whose work, in a societal sense, was far more practical, if not important.  But the boys at the DEPT. were crafty and sly, and had methods at their disposal of which most of us can at best hope to dream.
 
T. Magnus Reid,
A Top Secret History of the United States
Higher dimensional beings -FreeBeats- - YouTube
“I don’t know what’s over there, but it’d sure be a trip to fuck one.”

Baba “Doc” Octagon
Practicing Herbal Shockhealer

Berkeley
7 Strange Cases of Interdimensional Travel (With images ...
“Wild rumors have been circulating regarding these regions. That we have encountered hostility, that we are or will be at war with these…foreigners. Such rumors should, I think, be disregarded, no more true than the outlandish and absurd claims made by less ethereal conspiracy theorists. All contact, albeit limited, has to this date been utterly peaceable, and we have no more reason, save understandable caution in the face of the unknown, to doubt their intentions than they do ours.”

Ronald “Rusty” Mudbathe
2nd Dept Undersecretary
DEPT. of Dimensional Transport
Pin auf deep dream instagram collect
“Take us to your dealer.”

Dubious missive reportedly
received by Dimensional
Communications Faxline
DDT (origin unknown)
Steampunk'D — spacetalin: American Bombers in England, WW2
“I’m really sick and fuckin tired of all these limp-wrist, soft-shoe, ball-less, gutless, namby-pamby pussyfoot mama’s prodigal college boys wasting perfectly good air time and column space for free forum bitchfests. To hear them tell it, every civil servant in this country would mortgage his Grandma’s house to pay his gambling debts. Well, sometimes these things have to be done. It’s a wild kingdom out there, and somebody’s gotta pay the zookeeper.”

Lt. Cmdr. Hunt Rheingolden
Global Armed Services

Billboard for Pepsi Cola Modern (1970's to Present)

“I hear Pepsi’s in contact with their man over there.  Apparently, these…beings…are crazy about the stuff.  Not so much as a beverage as an apparent fuel source.”

Barney Actman
American Association
of Convenience Store Operatives
Forget Mad Men | Used cubicles
“I believe the possibilities for growth and expansion in the extradimensional marketplace have yet to be fully explored.”

Farley Weege
Chairman
Global Cartels Board
File:Industrial High School, Science Class, Demonstration of an ...

  “The problem, as I see it, is that you have a number, a growing number, of  shockingly ordinary individuals, men and women quite limited in capacity when it comes to matters involving practices, rituals, involving very ancient, even sacred, arts. What more attuned, less ‘civilized’ societies have been achieving through real magic, without benefit of quantum theory or sophisticated technology, since time immemorial. The intrinsic difference being that these pre-cultures have developed tremendous respect and profound understanding of the realms of transcendence, and that access granted, whatever the limitations, is a gift from the Gods, an opportunity for acquiring knowledge, not for exploiting this rich resource, as we so-called advanced societies seem hell-bent on doing.”
 
Dr. Small Ajax
Extradimensional Research Team
Harvard University
Cold War espionage paid off—until it backfired, East German spy ...
“Of course the administration was aware of the DEPT. Everyone who was anyone in Washington’s real inner circle knew about it. They were the subject of gossip, the butt of jokes, considered crazier and more dangerous than most CIA field ops. But it wasn’t kosher to admit that you believed any such nonsense. Paranormal phenomena were outré in that realm. And the boys from the DEPT. were persona non grata, except of course for that brief, triumphant period at the end of the Second World War, when the DEPT. was instrumental in stopping the Nazis from gaining access to the Hollow Earth.”

T. Magnus Reid
A Top Secret History of the United States
gif portal light Black and White creepy MY EDIT b&w clouds tornado ...


“Ladies and gentlemen, congressmen and senators, Mr. and Mrs. President, and all the ships in orbit…everything we feared, everything we imagined, everything we disbelieved, is true. We have evidence that certain…we’ll call them… entities are entering and leaving our dimension and acquiring various goods and returning with them to…the other side. We have reason to believe that these entities have nuclear capability, that they have indeed stolen, or perhaps even purchased, nuclear weapons from this dimension. We have no idea at this time what the effects or outcome of a trans or even multi-dimensional nuclear conflict might be, so we want to be certain that we test it first.
 
We feel that there would most likely be losses, acceptable losses, mind you, though we don’t know exactly whose losses, nor to what extent. Due to our inability to as yet enter the gate between our world and the next, it is apparent that a toll may well have to be paid. A taxable toll. And that tax might well come due in human lives. In the name of the human future, we’re prepared to meet that cost.
 
I’m an extradimensional engineer for Biocorp.  I design portals, entryways, into different…ah, I’m not sure what the company’s calling them these days.  A rival research organization has already copyrighted the term Dimension. In fact, I’ll probably get sued just for saying it then.  We’ll call them territories, if you will.  Paranormal territories.  Subreal regions of as-yet-undetermined space, mass, and volume which we feel could be…I hesitate to use the word exploited.  No, I don’t, actually.  Exploited to our gain.  We feel that these dimensions are already being exploited but not by the right groups.  You see everything is available to be exploited, it merely depends on who is doing the exploiting and we know when we are doing it, the end result and ultimate goal is for the good of us all.  Not just on a national, but a global, perhaps even universal level.
 
I’m working on a portal right now that is triggered by a chant, a very primitive chant that I’ve recorded from people’s indigenous to the region that was once the Brazilian rain forest.

There are many indigenous peoples who are traveling in and out of these dimensions, I’m sorry, territories.  Illegally in my opinion. Indigenous and non-indigenous. Non-indigenous beings who have followed the indigenous footsteps, creating a transindigenous superhighway between this plane and others.  We at the facility refer to this as “The Gypsy Flyway”. And that is a licensed trademark of Biocorp, for the record
 
We’re talking about losses of billions of trillions of dollars in revenue due to this virtually unfettered intradimensional travel.  We’re talking about gypsies from another dimension, stealing our nukes, stealing our jobs, stealing our children.
  
The DEPT. of Paranormal Affairs, really, is about jobs. We’re for jobs. The more jobs we’re able to provide, extradimensional engineers, plasmonauts, inner space cadets, alternate reality clerks, subatomic regional managers, commissioners of entity affairs, the better service we do for this country and the species as a whole, and the more this DEPT. has proven its worth in the eyes of the American People.”

Prof. Arvin Schock
Address to the Senate Subcommittee on Historical Revisionism
1952
Famous Private Detectives in Novels, Movies, and TV
“I didn’t useta believe in any a this stuff.  Wolfmen, vampires, ghosts, the walkin’ dead, creatures from deep space. I thought that was all just midnight movies and funny books and tabloid hoohah.  A bonafide skeptic.  But all that changes when ya see yer partner devoured by an unnameable thing while you stand there screamin and soilin yer Bugle Boys. When ya see the people ya love still livin, but not in human form.  That tends to shift the ol’ reality plane a few centimeters to the side.  Some go insane.  That’s cost us a lot.  We lost a lotta good people to the madness. We’re often forced to institutionalize them. Then ya don’t wanna see em again cause, y’know, well, it’s embarassin. And of course it’s top secret.”
 
Damon Ross
DEPT. agent (unspecified)

Ronald Raygun by Jason Rutledge on Dribbble
“I met the Reagans in 1954, debriefing them after their first UFO encounter. I recommended their astrologer.  In fact, I did Nancy’s first star chart, and after that she was sold. Darlings of the White Wing, and New Agers to boot. Whoda thunk it?”
                                                                                                 
Batheson Greeley
Former Director
DEPT.
(1942-1963)

The Last Thing I Wrote Before Coronavirus Shut Down the World, Ironically Enough

ewKX10502546Does anyone else get the feeling that the complete collapse of civilization is going to be really good for the planet?

Like when a guy my age has his first heart attack—it’s a wake-up call! You start eating better, exercising, get your sex drive back, suddenly you’re in the best shape of your life. Sure, there’s some scar tissue, and you have to take your medication and pay attention to doing things in “cycles”…I mean, whether it’s your personal apocalypse or a global one, I guarantee you will start riding a bike again!

I mean seriously, I feel like there’s little hints that some kind of mini-geddon is coming. Everyone’s talking about how it’s better to eat food that’s locally sourced, that we should all be growing our own vegetables and brewing our own kombucha and cultivating our own weed and 3D printing our own protein substitutes. I am not good at any of that shit, so I’m starting to apocalypse network. Where you meet someone at the farmer’s market who grows their own strawberries and bottles their own chai and makes their own vegan cheese out of cashews and dustbunnies and you’re like “Can I get your number? Are you on Instagram?” Though what we really should be doing is asking, what’s your physical address and how can I make it to your place on foot when the shit goes down?

I’m an atheist, but I like to get high, so I’m still on an eternal quest for meaning. Like I see patterns and apply significance to the tiniest shit to make myself feel better about my preposterous life choices. “If I hadn’t gone to Burning Man that one time in ‘96 I would have never considered the possibility that I could survive the end of civilization!” (not the right punchline but a fine placeholder)

I’m at that age where I’m not sure if I’m in the best shape of my life, or the worst health I’ve ever been in. Like either I’ve got everything pretty much locked down and figured out, or it is all about to fall apart tomorrow. I mean, I eat better and exercise more than I ever did back when it would have mattered, but I also do ridiculous things to my mind and body that far fewer adults have grown out of than you would probably like to think.

I’m in my fifties and what nobody tells you about being in your fifties—or probably lots of people do in books I just haven’t bothered to read—is that this is the time in your life when you start adding up your balance sheet. I don’t mean literally; my finances remain precariously on the precipice of one-serious-medical-event-we’re-done. But it’s when you start trying to figure out if it’d be okay if you were to suddenly die. Like, how does everything stack up for you? What’s the big unresolved shit? Who do you really really really need to apologize to and who can you afford to just say “fuck it!” Because it becomes very tangible past a certain point. People start having those aforementioned “medical events.” Stupid accidents, things attacking you from inside your own body, just scary horror movie bad stuff. And you can no longer pretend it’s impossible or that it’s something that happens to other people you read about or that it isn’t eventually, inevitably, no matter how hard you slice it, coming for us all. So you have to start being ready for it. Making peace with it. Not easy peace, either. More like the kind of peace between rival gangs who know bad ugly shit could go down at any second, and inevitably will, but it’s best for everyone in the meantime to stave it off as long as possible so we can all make some money and get laid a few more times.

The Good Fight 4: Homefront Out Today!

The Good Fight 4

Happy May Day, people! In honor of the occasion, why not go and get yourself a copy of The Good Fight 4: Homefront and check out Love Vigilantes, my latest addition to the ongoing saga of Duke “HandCannon” LaRue. This one’s the wild, raucous tale of his whirlwind romance, railgun wedding, domestic disasters, and unfathomable fallout with the love of his life and one-time partner-in-crime Liza Fate. Lots of other great tales of superheroic domesticity between these covers (be they paperback or digital). If you prefer, you can always hold out for a hard copy from me, once I’ve got my order in. Thank you for your continued patronage. Both of you!

Last Dance: The Tall Tale TV Audio Edition

Chris Herron at Tall Tale TV has done an audio version of my HandCannon short story, “Last Dance.” Chris himself has a great personal story, having turned on to audiobooks when he was suffering from temporary legal blindness in 2015. He’s since recovered, but launched this project both as a way to give back to folks who can’t experience stories the traditional way, and to give authors like me a promotional boost without having to shell out for the expense of creating an audiobook on our own. I think he’s done a terrific job and his project deserves more eyeballs and earholes, so how about you give this, and other Tall Tale TV stories, a listen?

Legion of Damn! Thoughts on the Best Thing to Ever Happen to TV in the History of Recorded Time

Back in the 1990s, when I was a flat-dwelling San Francisco Gen X slacktivist too busy falling in futile love with lesbians and smoking speed out of broken lightbulbs to do something as mundane as, ugh, watch TV, there was a live action series inspired by the X-Men comics I’d loved as a kid. Apparently, it looked something like this…

kinopoisk.ru

It’s as if they managed to capture the essence of everything questionable, wrong-headed and lame about the decade and distill it into a single syndicated television program. (Hopefully they later jettisoned it into the far reaches of space.) Granted, I also thought I was too cool for comics at the time, but even if I hadn’t been, I doubt I’d have been slavering at the mouth for a weekly taste of whatever this is pictured here to satisfy my cravings for supertainment.

Four years later Bryan Singer’s X-Men would arrive and upend everything about the moribund live action superhero film that the ’90s Bat-franchise had so successfully driven to the edge of its grave.

Xmen-Featured

That’s a massive leap forward in less than half a decade, but it made a promise that the the 2ks would be lot more interesting for mutant-lovers and comics geeks, and it re-inspired my appreciation for those old funnybooks by using the Claremont/Byrne era I read and loved as a touchstone.

But countless superhero franchise flicks later, and after the dull thud of Age of Apocalypse, you might forgive me for summoning images of Generation X‘s ’90s-era awfulness when I heard that FX was going to do a live-action X-Men show based on an obscure character (to me, at least) from the ’80s New Mutants books (I never read those).  

Of course, I had a glimmer of interest when I heard that Noah Hawley was going to be the guiding force behind it, not least because I’d had such a similar reaction when I first heard that someone was going to make a TV version of the Coen brothers classic film Fargo. After all, someone had already tried that idea years earlier, too, and it did not meet with what you might call success.

But Hawley somehow managed to nail the language and storytelling rhythms of the Coens so well, I was convinced they had a heavy creative hand in the whole endeavor, only to learn later that beyond their exec producer credits they had next to none.

So I had confidence Hawley would at least do something noteworthy with his little slice of the X-franchise. And the casting of Dan Stevens (so great as a kind of sociopathic Steve Rogers in the underseen thriller gem The Guest ), Aubrey Plaza (an out-of-nowhere sensation from Parks & Recreation who really needed to prove that she could do something more than drip dry slacker sarcasm over any and all proceedings), and Jemaine Clement (who’d already busted out of his Flight of the Conchords comedy-music box by tearing it up as a sexy vampire in What We Do in the Shadows) seemed reasonably intriguing, if not outright inspired. So yeah, I figured I’d give it a look. Maybe Hawley would give me something to look forward to on Wednesday nights since I’d abandoned Arrow. Boy, was I underestimating that mad fuckin’ genius.

The pilot for his Legion announced its intentions pretty much from the first scene, introducing the viewer to a bugfuck puzzlebox where it was hard to tell what year, decade or mental facility we were in, or whether we were ever in reality at all. I had to watch the whole thing twice just to try and decide for myself what was happening in 3D reality and what was going on exclusively in the confines of David Haller’s (Stevens) mind. Happily, as art-rocked as the episode was, there were definitive answers to those questions, and David even expressly asked, “Is this real? This is real, right?” at the appropriate moment. And the response he received was not a narrative cheat, but a direct testament to both character and viewer. Basically Hawley saying, “Yes, we’re fucking with you, but no, we’re not.” After that rewatch, I knew that this pretty, occasionally Lynchian multimedia indulgence, with its spot-on music choices and psychodelicate visuals was actually going to tell me a story, and wasn’t just yanking my chain for the sake of getting away with high weirdness on the TV (though that was a pleasant side effect).

I knew it wouldn’t be a show for everybody, but I knew most of my comics-reading friends would love the shit out of it, and even better, it was one I could happily recommend to certain non-comics friends who were more literate in things like Kubrick, David Lynch, David Bowie, and other things arty, entertaining, offbeat and good.

Much like in Logan, Hawley’s show thrives on solid writing, spinning out character beats and scenes about human connection that almost make you forget you’re watching a sci-fi suspense series based on a comic book. And the mutants they’ve contrived for this corner of the X-verse are unique and metaphorical in ways that tend to serve both story and theme. Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller, a full-bodied, full-blooded star in the making forged in the fires of Fargo, and that character name is no accident, Pink Floyd fans) can’t touch anyone lest they switch bodies/identities. So of course she and David have to fall in love. Cary/Kerry Loudermilk (the always-amazing Bill Irwin whose film career stretches back to Robert Altman’s superweird Popeye movie) is a middle-aged man with a kind of parasitic female twin (Amber Midthunder, a lovely young actress with sixteen years of work behind her already and the best surname I’ve ever heard in my life) who can leave his body at will, but generally doesn’t like to, so has aged much slower than him. She’s also kind of a badass. Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris, who can wear the hell out of some clothes) can enter people’s memories, which proves really useful in parsing out what’s going on in David’s brain (the central question being, is he schizophrenic, or a superpowerful mutant that can rewrite the world?). Ptonomy also has an awesome Thompson machine gun.

As much as I’d love to write an episode-by-episode breakdown of why this is the greatest thing to come out of the Farnsworth box and enter the center of my brain like one of Brian O’Blivion’s Videodrome tumors, I know we live in an age where even the most voracious of readers are devolving to have the attention spans of sugar-stimulated gnats, so I’ll try to just brushstroke its greatness in a few more hyperbolic paragraphs of praise.

Back in 2012, X-Men: First Class Screenwriter Zack Stentz tweeted:

“My goal in life is to get “Oh! You Pretty Things” into an X-Men movie. I think I’ve got a good shot at succeeding.”

For those that don’t know, “Oh! You Pretty Things” is a classic David Bowie song from his early masterpiece (just one of many) Hunky Dory. It contains the following lyrics:
Look at your children
See their faces in golden rays
Don’t kid yourself they belong to you
They’re the start of a coming race
The earth is a bitch
We’ve finished our news
Homo Sapiens have outgrown their use
All the strangers came today
And it looks as though they’re here to stayOh you Pretty Things
Don’t you know you’re driving your
Mamas and Papas insane
Oh you Pretty Things
Don’t you know you’re driving your
Mamas and Papas insane
Let me make it plain
You gotta make way for the Homo Superior

I have no idea if David Bowie ever read an X-Men comic, or whether he would have wanted his beautiful song used in a giant mega-blockbuster comic book franchise movie (for enough Euros, though, probably sure). But I do know that those lyrics, by happenstance or design, pretty much summarize the entire reason for being of the X-franchise. That is the very essence of what every really good X-men story is ultimately about. The freaks represent an evolution, and mankind in all its tremulous fearfulness just ain’t fuckin’ ready.

When I read Stentz’s tweet, just after Days of Future Past was announced as the next X-Men flick, I thought, This guy gets it. This is EXACTLY what the soundtrack to a ’70s-set X-movie needs. This is style and attitude and a connection to something bigger than this insular comic book multiverse. 

Then the movie came out, with neither Stentz’s name in the credits nor the song on the soundtrack, and those are not the only ways Days of Future Past disappointed me. But I won’t go into that here. For whatever reason, Stentz has had nothing to do with the franchise since, though I’m sure he’s having a fine career, and no one else in the movie side of X-world seemed to give a shit about his inspired pop musical idea. But over in Hawley’s world…

BAM! A beautiful cover, an expressionistic montage, a pointed use of this terrific song at an integral moment in the show. And that’s just one of the many examples of Hawley’s brilliant use of music to augment and underscore his high-art pop confection, which honestly has a David Bowie feeling all over it, from production design to wardrobe selection to just a general vibe. But back to the music: Pink Floyd’s “Breathe (In the Air)/On the Run” scores a crucial moment in the season finale, and they are another musical force whose artistic identity infuses the show. As musical acts, Floyd and Bowie didn’t shy from scifi concepts; rather they fully embraced them, and they’ve obviously had a profound influence on Hawley’s approach to the genre, to which I can fully relateAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did something similar in a recent episode with the Moody Blues “Have You Heard?” and it was terrific. Likewise Winter Soldier’s use of Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man” in its closing montage. I just wish more of these comic book shows and films would engage with deep-cut pop culture in this way (and not the wall-to-hall first-flapjack-off-the-griddle song selection of Suicide Squad).

The show doesn’t look like anything else, doesn’t cut together like anything else, says fuck-you to the idea of “where is this?” or “when are we?” It’s overloaded with style, and some might bristle at that, but it’s style worn comfortably over intriguing substance. It’s not afraid to be sentimental, hilarious, terrifying, outrageous, disturbed, distracting, profound and irrelevant, always in the same episode, often in the same moment.

In the early going, I thought Hawley was perhaps just using the Fox/Marvel franchise as a stepping-off point to indulge some weird experimental boundary-pushing televised mindscrew that would have very little relevance to or reverence for the source material. But while it definitely feels like he’s getting away with something, there’s no way that giant synergy machine would ever let him get away with all of that. So for those looking for a fullblown high concept comic booky genre show, it’s definitely there. In spades. With inscrutable government agents and spooky organizations and demonic presences and superpowered showdowns and carnage galore. For those who might watch the first one or two and think, Where is this going? It’s going nowhere, right? like it’s Lost all over again, you needn’t worry. Just as with Fargo, there’s nary an i un-dotted or a t uncrossed in the tightly plotted, flab-free eight episode arc. Why more shows don’t keep things to this manageable number is beyond me (I’m looking at you Netflix/Marvel).

Needless to say after all that emotive gushing, this is not Generation X’s Generation X. It’s post-millennial post-modern high art for lowbrow lovers of pop wonderment. If I ever get a chance to turn The Villain’s Sidekick into a TV series I’d want to do something as tight and well-defined and satisfyingly one-and-done as Hawley’s done with this flagship season. It’s like he’s taken the best lessons of indie film, art school, mini-series, his record collection and serialized soap operatic funnybook storytelling and put it in one of those blenders people pay a thousand bucks for because it can even make hot soup.

Go taste the perfection.

Legion

The Good Fight Vol. 3 For Sale March 21st

March 21st! That’s tomorrow! And by the time some of you read this it’ll be today, or yesterday, or sometime last year when you’ll really wish you’d known about it before all the shit went down. It’s bound to be a wildly entertaining anthology with something for everybody who likes superheroes, funnybooks, movies based on funnybooks about superheroes, TV shows spun off from movies based on funnybooks, or just enjoys slowing their roll long enough in this era of endless infotainment deluge to read crazy genre stuff on the printed and/or digital page.

tgf3ebookcover