I’ve been reading Matt Howarth’s comics for over 25 years, and this graphic novel is definitely an anomaly: no aliens or electronic music or time travel or bizarre violence. It’s a terribly human story about the contemporary decline of the American economy and the atomization of our society. All the art is in Howarth’s inimitable style, and the characters’ expressions (verbal and visual) are engaging and believable. The end of it is a couple of pages of goofy sentimentalism that I could easily have done without.
In its simplest form, actions performed for no measurable reason, or contrary to linear logic, might indicate such underlying motives as love or friendship or trust. But great care had to be exercised, because identical actions could derive from hate, insanity, or blackmail. Moreover, in the case of love, the nature of the action seldom helps to identify its motivational impulse. Particularly difficult is separating love from blackmail.
Evil, and mischief, and misery, and confusion, and vanity, and vexation of spirit, and death, and disease, and assassination, and war, and poverty, and pestilence, and famine, and avarice, and selfishness, and rancour, and jealousy, and spleen, and malevolence, and the disappointments of philanthropy, and the faithlessness of friendship, and the crosses of love—all prove the accuracy of your views, and the truth of your system; and it is not impossible that the infernal interruption of this fall downstairs may throw a colour of evil on the whole of my future existence.
Disappointed both in love and in friendship, and looking upon human learning as vanity, he had come to a conclusion that there was but one good thing in the world, videlicet, a good dinner
Thomas Love Peacock, Nightmare Abbey
“This, our body of mortality, this veil of flesh and blood clothing the inner soul of us, this is the real ‘badge of innocence,’ the common ‘bond of friendship,’ with which the Great Architect has been pleased to invest us all this, the human body, is the badge which is ‘older and nobler than that of any other Order in existence'” [via]
“Video for Arcade Fire’s ‘Intervention’ cut to Sergei Eisensteins iconic 1925 film, Battleship Potemkin”
“I can taste your fear
It’s gonna lift you up and take you out of here
And the bone shall never heal
I care not if you kneel
We can’t find you now
But they’re gonna get the money back somehow
And when you finally disappear
We’ll just say you were never here
Working for the church while your life falls apart
Singing hallelujah with the fear in your heart
Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home
Hear the solider groan, ‘We’ll go at it alone’
Hear the solider groan, ‘We’ll go at it alone'”
Miskatonic School for Girls caught my eye as interesting (Amirite?), but when I got to the image of the player’s board … yeah. Oh, my … This project is fully funded, and how; but, there’s still time to participate if you like the idea.
“The Miskatonic School for Girls is the first deck building game where you get to build your opponents deck. This unique feature creates a totally different play dynamic from other deck building games.
If you haven’t already guessed, Miskatonic School for Girl’s setting and themes are rooted in the Cthulhu Mythos. While H.P. Lovecraft may have written his stories with a far more sinister tone, our game is lighthearted and cheery, because we’re twisted like that. Play as a house of students at Miskatonic as they try to survive with their sanity intact. This is going to be a challenge as the entire faculty consists of mind-rending creatures and insane cultists! Gather friends to help stave off these wretches, and while you’re at it, why not send a few of those wretches to the other houses… Hey, nobody likes a tattletale, but when you’re sanity is on the line, you’d start snitching, too! If you can manage to be the last house with any amount of sanity left, you win!”
“During your turn, you’ll buy your new friends with friendship points and use nightmare points to send faculty after the rival houses. Eventually, those Faculty will end up in a players hand, where they will hold class, teaching your innocent students about the horrors around them. This has a detrimental effect on your house’s sanity.
Due to the overwhelming power of the dark truth, it’s just a matter of time before your house goes completely bonkers. The last house left with any sanity is the winner!”
Oh, and that image of the player’s board?