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If you're a follower of Penny Arcade (an excellent comic/blog about computer gaming - mostly computer gaming, anyway), you might know that Gabe from the site is pretty heavily into Dungeons and Dragons. With the greatest of respect to our own awesome DMs, he's definitely the kind of DM I'd like to run my games. 

For a start, check this out...


Having some difficulty figuring out what's going on there? Check out this post on PA for the full, and frankly superb, details. All of Gabe's posts about his gaming can be found here, along with a rather amusing Twilight-spoofing adventure that he wrote. I recommend you spend a little time there, for an incredibly creative, loving and dedicated look at the game. 

Happy Birthday, Ray Harryhausen!

Harryhausen-754598Pornokitsch überhero Ray Harryhausen is 90 years old today.  Harryhausen holds a special place in our collective heart here at Pornokitsch; Jared and I are both fanatical stop-motion-ophiles, and we made friends in college by bonding over our shared enthusiasm for Harryhausen's movies.  Jared has had the great good fortune to meet Harryhausen three times (I, alas, have not yet had the pleasure), and his wedding gift to me was a vintage Clash of the Titans poster signed to us with Harryhausen's best wishes.

Harryhausen's monsters represent the best of fantasy movie-making:  exquisite craftsmanship, gorgeous detail, and a loving and deeply personal commitment to the creative process of monster-making.  The movies around them haven't necessarily withstood the test of time, but the monsters in a Harryhausen flick have proven themselves immortal.

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10 Tips for Moderating a Panel or Interview

Preacher at Lecturn The not-so-secret cabal gathered to discuss one of our pet peeves: terrible panel moderators. (The same applies to interviewers).

Too often it feels like an event or venue scores the famous author and then calls it a day. Why worry about the moderator? Who couldn't interview Stephen King? Or get a good quote out of China Mieville? Shockingly, a lot of people can't. 

There's nothing worse than getting hyped up to see a favorite author, only to have the experience ruined by a lazy, ill-prepared or just-plain-bad moderator. And we've seen some appalling ones in action.

Not to belittle the effort: moderating a panel or interviewing a guest is very, very difficult. Which is why it should be taken seriously, and not left to chance and/or the intern. In devising our tips, we've combined fan experience and professional experience, so, for once, we're not just completely making shit up. 

So, without further ado, 10 tips for those in the nerve-wracking position of moderating the panel or interviewing a guest author....

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Trailer Porn: Red

My Facebook page has lit up during the last two days with geeky excitement over the trailer for Warren Ellis' Red

The cast is pretty unbeatable. And even my mom might find this to her liking, as (in addition to the all important "shit blows up" factor), the cast includes Helen Mirren, with whom my mom has quite a lot in common:  they're the same height, nearly the same age, absolutely ridden with mojo, and true bad asses. (Seriously. My mom can bench-press a small elephant.)

Copyright x The Macabre

[Slightly grim collection of notes, possibly only of interest to me.]

United Kingdom: The term of protection in the UK for an original written (literary), theatrical (dramatic) musical or artistic work lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years from the end of the year in which he/she died. (Intellectual Property Office)

United States: Anything copyrighted or published prior to 1923 is in the public domain. Works never published prior to 2003 and never registered for copyright prior to 1978 are now in the public domain in the US if they are by authors who died more than 70 years before the most recent New Year's day. (Handy site from Penn)

[So the UK will give us new editions whilst the US gives us "unpublished stories & letters".]

After the jump - authors that died in 1941 & some genre authors that enter the public domain over the next few years.

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DVDs - Dexter Season 1 and Homicide: Life on the Street Seasons 1 & 2

Dexter  One doesn’t have to be particularly invested in a show to remember that hey, it’s 8 pm on a Wednesday; Dexter’s on; might as well watch it.

Consuming television on DVD, however, changes the equation. All television becomes appointment television by necessity; you have to make a conscious decision to buy or rent the DVDs and finish the set in order to get any return on your investment.  Watching tv on DVD can be exceptionally rewarding. Television as a medium gives writers a lot of freedom, and more time to explore characters and story-arcs than movies.  Watching episodes in order, in quick succession, serves to highlight these strengths.

But this process can also underline tv’s weaknesses.  When episode  after episode fails to impress; when the story loses its luster; when the characters cease to be compelling (or never become so in the first place), it’s time to throw in the towel.

These two radically different shows, Dexter and Homicide, are categorical examples of all of the above.  Everywhere that Homicide succeeds, Dexter fails.

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[Please take part in the discussion, but the drawing is now over. Dead. Dead-dead. Not zombie-dead.]

We've had a topsy-turvy relationship with the shambling undead as of late - absolutely abusing one recent zombie "hit" and then discovering a hidden gem in another. So what's your take?

Is the zombie trend dead & buried? Or are there still more lurching, brain-devouring delights to come? Discussion encouraged, but, more importantly - DRAFT TIME. Who or what is your favorite zombie?

We've got a stack of zombie goodies to give away - including shiny new first editions of Ryan Brown's Play Dead, Weston Ochse's Empire of Salt and a signed copy of Rebecca Levene's Anno Mortis

Rules as usual, below the jump.

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Graphic Novel Round-Up: Brought to You by the Letter P

Our latest gathering of the best & brightest in graphic novels. This time, our arbitrary theme is the letter "P". (Very, very arbitary.)


The ProgrammeThe Programme (Milligan / Smith): An American incursion into "Talibstan" inadvertently rouses a sleeping Soviet superhero. The arms race begins anew. While the Soviet superhero wakes his friends & comrades, the CIA scramble to find the dregs of their own superhero program (his name is Max). 

The series just feels dated, and not in a 'timeless' kind of way - Milligan could've just as easily written this in 1993. There are some appealing twists (he is an expertly cunning plotter), but the whole American imperialism, race war, shouty politics bits feel rehashed. This is still a pretty enjoyable comic book, but it feels well-stuck in the writer's comfort zone. (6/10)

Prisoner of the Stars (Font): This is a long-belated translation of the classic 1980's Spanish graphic novel (thank you, IDW!). In the distant future, the remnants of humanity are stuck in dystopian underground cities. Packs of renegade outsiders run on the surface. And, best of all, the sun is flaring out, spelling the planet's inevitable doom. Into this mix comes a Man with No Name. He's on the run, but he doesn't know why...

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