It Gets Even Crazier: Baycon and File 770’s Recent Tantrums

Last weekend, while I was having the time of my life, having a politics-free time with some cool folk who enjoy books and genres that I do, fake science fiction news site File 770 had one of their contributors write a weird fan fiction poem about me. Apparently, this person took quite the exception to the fact that I market and promote myself in the wake of some people I don’t know on the internet doing everything in their power to tear me down and delegitimize me. Naturally, not knowing me and never having interacted with me, the person got many of the specifics about events wrong, but his overall message was one that was true enough: these folk can’t get me out of their heads to stop talking about me.

A poem from a random stranger on the internet is a bit creepy, and naturally as it’s meant to target me negatively, I had a bit of a harsh reaction to it at first, but upon reflection I applaud this person’s creativity. If they want to spend their time writing poems about me and hopefully reading my book to come to a good conclusion that I’m not a “real” author or whatnot, that’s great. More power to them.

But what struck me more was the comments that brought me back full circle on this intense journey of blogging and gaining readers regularly since Baycon’s leadership took last year’s election quite personally, opting to disinvite me from their science fiction convention in order to try to send some message that to them, politics is more important than science fiction book releases or even personal friendships.

For those new readers: Baycon took to File 770 to launch a smear campaign of me after that, lying and gaslighting about the topic, which I’ve already shown their true motives on this blog in the past. My public blog was a call to them was to drop the politics, posted after having it made very clear by someone in the know that they would refuse to even open my emails on the topic. My points on the matter were impersonal, and topical, yet was met with some of the most angry, vitriolic personal attacks I’ve ever received. That’s the level of hatred that was involved, and the level I went to try to make sure they cleared up this event so everyone could have a good time in science fiction like in the past.

Baycon, as we found out, not only ignored my warning, but doubled-down with a program slate riddled with angry, one-sided politics. There were other long-time guests who messaged me privately to let me know that they declined their standing invites because the politics had become too thick with this group, and praised me for speaking out on the matter– and yes, despite what they said on the topic, almost every author who puts out even the most unread, semi-relevant work in the last few years has standing invites and gets invited year-after-year. You’re now up to date on the topic if you’re a new reader.

Then it got crazier. One of the File 770 fanfic poem commenters wrote a 400-word rant about Baycon and their interactions with me, specifically on how great of a time that they were all having without me. This person immediately opened with some mild racism directed at your humble Hispanic author and journalist, stating that I don’t “pronounce my name in a Spanish way”. A white woman on the internet demanded that I’m supposed to roll the r’s in Del Arroz harder to make myself some Speedy Gonzalez caricature for her benefit. Someone followed up on mocking my name and heritage on the site, making for a really bizarre display of racism against Hispanics on File 770 that illuminates a lot about the SJW mentality. I incidentally get a lot of racism directed at me from SJWs who can’t handle that I fly in the face of their narrative, and never have once received such treatment from the boogeymen they claim are “problematic.” I reached out to Mike Glyer, the purveyor of the site, for comment, who stated, “Name humor is fundamentally not funny. Ethnic name humor is offensive.”  I agree wholeheartedly, and much thanks to Mr. Glyer for that.

The person continued to make all these presumptions about me that are false before going into the meat of her narrative: no one at Baycon knows who I am or even cares about me. This is where it gets pretty ironic, as then it launches into proof of that concept by mentioning how they were all spending their party evening (most conventions have parties after hours) talking smack about me.  I’m glad that while I was enjoying myself elsewhere with a group of people who legitimately didn’t know me, that these folk of which I am well familiar with a large number, including some who attended/guested who are still very much my friends, had a good time getting angry at me and mocking me where they safely couldn’t get called out on it.

They went further. A long-time attendee made ribbons – actually spent good hard earned money – to take a line from my original blog on the topic and mock me. For those not familiar with conventions, a custom in recent years has been for folk to attach ribbons to their badges, usually something silly or fun, or in promotion of something. They’re not that cheap to make, so it takes some dedication to want to do it (for those at cons in the near future that I’m attending, come find me to get your Grand Rislandian Army ribbons!). I’d heard about this before, and assumed it was a joke that they wouldn’t remember come convention time. Con-chairman Christopher Castro even chimed in on a Facebook thread to express his pleasure at his attendees mocking me in this manner back when the original word of my blackball from speaking hit. I reached out to him for comment, but he blocked me rather than reply. Word is that they gave out around 200 of these at the convention, $50-75 worth of printing costs and several hours of time dedicated to thinking about me.

Yet… no one knew who I was, according to this poster, including the poster herself who had quite a few details they apparently knew about me. The poster has since followed up to state that someone who called me a “cupcake” was responsible for this information — of whom I understand from use of that term to be Baycon programming director, Susie Rodriguez, the person directly responsible for my removal from speaking and the smear campaign. Nice source. The post then goes on to explain how their guest of honor, one of the writing duo known as James SA Corey, of The Expanse fame, had a look of disgust on his face when I was mentioned (I’ve never met or interacted with them, have no beef with them either. I’ve also reached out to them for comments on this topic as I hope to clear any ill-will up as a misunderstanding. From what I hear, they’re good guys and hard workers.) You see the cognitive dissonance that they have to form in order to make these arguments, which is what happens every time in these instances where SJWs get caught with their absurd behavior, and occurred from day one when the Baycon folk went into scramble mode to try to minimize the damage of being called out on their organization’s political problems.

Those comments went on, and they vary in nastiness as they always do when my name is evoked over there. It’s the same 5-10 people saying over and over how horrible I am or how much I don’t matter. The poem’s right in one regard– they sure spend a lot of time talking about me for how much I don’t matter. Something I said resonates to their core, and the reason, despite the cognitive dissonance, is the fact that these folk have spent decades preaching phony tolerance and diversity to a point where it became a witch hunt to find anyone who’s “not tolerant and diverse.” Those words lost their meaning, and became code for “we don’t like vocal Christians” a long time ago, and has in the last year or so added “we don’t like nationalists” to that. Now they’ve got someone willing to speak against their falsehoods, who not only proves there’s no tolerance or diversity desired with this crowd, but does so from a minority perspective who’s supposed to be leading a charge with them. It’s more than me, it’s what I represent as an anti-narrative to them. The narrative is their religion, and without it, they’re lost, as they’ve used that to fill that God-sized hole in their lives.

But there’s good news with this as well. Their tyranny over Baycon is over. New leadership was announced for the convention for 2018, leadership that I very much approve of. They’re of the same political persuasions, this is the San Francisco Bay Area after all, but they’re not the self-destruct-nuke-at-all-costs SJW types that handled the 2017 events. I expect to see some big changes next year, and hopefully the politics can be dropped from this sci-fi convention and it can get back to fun, as it’s the only thing I’ve asked since day one. I’ll of course be on top of watching this and making sure that pertinent sci-fi fandom news is brought to your attention.

Quick shout out my MANY friends from the guest list Baycon who stuck through me through the lambasting, through the attempts to smear my character through the last year. It was certainly rough with the mass of lies and vitriol flung at me, but I appreciate you being there, even if we don’t talk all that much. I won’t name your names for your own safety, but you know who you are. I love you very much and appreciate your support.

Bre Faucheux Interviews Jon Del Arroz – Wednesday May 31st!

I’m super excited to be talking with Bre. She’s got a really cool series of Fantasy novellas called Violet Blake, and she’s one of my favorite youtubers. I’m slightly offended that I didn’t get to be on “Champagne Thursday,” as I’m sure I’d about 3x as fun an interview with champagne, but what can you do. Maybe next time 😉

Here’s the link for tomorrow:

 

#Steampunk Clockwork Alchemy 2017 Round-Up

Clockwork Alchemy in San Jose, CA marked the first time I’d attended a convention wholly dedicated to steampunk – and it was a lot of fun! The crowd had about the highest percentage of people in cosplay I’ve seen, all in elegantly designed Victorian or Steampunk attire, and many I talked to are regular participants in the local ren faire or Dickens Fair – a really cool event around Christmas time that takes the theme of A Christmas Carol and extrapolates a whole convention center with prop-storefronts and everything. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this convention, but I was quite pleased to find on a search of their programming before the event that all of their content was themed, and most importantly there was NO POLITICS.  How refreshing! My wife and I decided to get a babysitter for the kids for a Saturday – Sunday morning jaunt to the con. I only wish we had more time!

The first thing we did was hit the dealer room, which was small but packed with cool themed craftsmen. I needed a new hat since losing my tophat for my steampunk attire a couple of years back, and I found a wonderful hat that the guy who designed it put a ton of work into. It’s gorgeous. Found some cool things for my wife as well like a teacup holster. And we met a craftsman who made a metal pendant version of my Grand Rislandian Army insignia – which readers of this blog will have a chance to win closer to release.

After that we looked into the programming. I’m no crafting person myself, but they had a ton of how-to-make-it-yourself content, of which would be of interest to a lot of people (cool costuming can get expensive!). They also had a “war room” where it was a big open room with live self-defense and weaponry demonstrations. I didn’t participate but I did watch and it was in depth and really cool. Next time that’s something I want to try when I’m not wearing a big heavy leather themed costume.

They also had a tent, outside which they had morning to evening dance and music performances. Really cool! I live streamed a little sample of that on Periscope on Saturday.

Beside that was the highlight of the entire convention, which I wouldn’t have thought at first, but my wife was pretty excited about – the tea room. They have a real brewer who made her own loose leaf blends, and set things up properly with china and the like, while people in themed costume serve you. It may sound a little silly or mundane but the atmosphere there was very themed and so wonderful that I was impressed – not to mention the tea blends they had were incredibly flavorful. It was free as well. Needless to say, the room was packed the whole time with a long wait, but it was well worth it.

We also visited the evening concert on Saturday night and played a cool board game Dicenstein in the gaming room with some nice folk. That ended up with a fun chat in the hotel bar with some folk we met through the online literary world.

Sunday, I travelled through author’s alley and talked to a lot of cool people including Harry Turtledove, the master of alt-history writing himself. I also met a great guy named Steve DeWinter who has a “Steampunk Oz” series that looks really cool, and M. Holly-Rosing, who wrote the comic for the Boston Metaphysical Society, which I’d seen online before. Was really cool to meet these folk! All in all it was an incredibly pleasant experience and I wish I could have spent another day there, as I know I missed the cool steampunk fashion show and ball on Sunday evening that looked like they would have been perhaps the most fun events of the convention.

And then the best part were the cool like-minded people. It was fun to chat steampunk with so many and share my bookmarks for my forthcoming release, which was very well received by all. My wife and I look forward to participating next year and hopefully we can contribute a little more with the release of For Steam And Country and perhaps a sequel if I can manage it in time for their event.

One more thing: I told a lot of people at the convention, but starting June 1, I’m going to be running #SteampunkMonth on the blog here, in which I’ll try to post some steampunk content every day through the month of June. I want everyone to join me in this and bring about a Steampunk revival on social media. Don’t be shy, join in the fun!

Tally ho!

 

Hello Massive Influx Of New People!

Seems like I get these huge spikes in readers every couple of weeks. This time it came in from a couple sources — new friends at Clockwork Alchemy (I’ll do a write up of the convention tomorrow) and from space opera writer J.A. Sutherland who was kind enough to send out a nice newsletter post recommending Star Realms: Rescue Run. Sutherland writes the Alexis Carew series and it looks right up my alley for a read. Something the folk who read regularly here might want to check out as well.

For the new folk:

Hello, all! I’m a sci-fi writer, focused mostly on Space Opera, but will be releasing my first Steampunk book on June 15th, titled For Steam And Country. If you haven’t seen the cover yet, it’s here:

Otherwise, I’m about 40% through a third draft of my own space opera book, which hopefully I’ll be able to get to you this fall, and will be the start of a big universe I hope to write in for a long time. Stay tuned on that. Otherwise, I do a lot of book/comic reviews, talk about a lot of subjects that are important to me here (especially free speech and the problems with the entertainment industry, which are often related). I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and try my best to reply to comments (sometimes it takes me  a sec to get to the computer and approve). I did a project round-up awhile back that has a lot more of my random tidbits that I’m working on, but this is the most important stuff. I hope you stick around.

Appearances wise: I’ll be at LibertyCon in Chattanooga, TN at the end of June. It is already sold out, but if you happen to be going, I’ll be there. If you’re in TN or whatnot and can’t get a ticket, I’ll make time to go sign a book or whatnot if you’d like as well, cuz I don’t get out east very often.

I hope you new folk enjoy Star Realms: Rescue Run as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Tally ho!

 

Review: Your Name by Makoto Shinkai

I went into reading Your Name. thinking that it was going to be a stupid bodyswapping movie. Unfortunately, from American media, the whole “Freaky Friday” thing is so overdone in every television show – and done so poorly, that the concept jars me and makes me not want to pay any attention in the least. It’s a romance, but with some supernatural elements that unfold into something bigger over the course of the story.

So I was hostile to this light novel and skeptical on read, but was looking as it was highly recommended as an anime (movie is in theatres now). The first pages were a bit odd. It’s written in first person present from two perspectives and it’s been translated, so it’s a little difficult to get into the flow of the prose. The perspectives sometimes would have breaks, but sometimes it’d switch between paragraphs and get a bit confusing. It took me about 30-40 pages of reading to get settled into it.

The opening actually has us thrown immedialy into that body swapping, as the characters discover each other, their lives, and everything. It’s pretty intriguing as both have very relatable backstories and interesting aspects to them. Each has friends they rely on, both noticing that there’s something odd and different about them when they switch, which plays an important part later in the story.

About halfway through the book, the story opens up and changes direction dramatically in a way that I wouldn’t have predicted. It becomes a very intense emotional ride from that point forward. This is where I won’t spoil, but it’s what hooked me and made me interested in writing a review of the book. The intensity and the pacing are beyond much fiction I’ve read at all, even though this is at its heart a high school romance story.

The supernatural aspects really ramp up as well, and have some really cool components to it that I appreciate.

What I will say is that Your Name. doesn’t care at all about logical aspects of the supernatural, it just goes and tells the story and pushes you in the feeling and connecting with the characters. It’s pretty refreshing to read something like that, and by the end of it, I didn’t want it to end at all. Beautiful stuff and I look forward to seeing the film version. 10/10

Retro Review: Star Wars: Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn

In my review of Heir to the Empire, I called it space opera t its finest. After reading Dark Force Rising, I am sorry to report that I am wrong, because THIS is space opera at it’s finest. While Heir to the Empire did a lot to set up the story in Dark Force Rising, the characters really came into their own, were allowed to breathe, and upped in complexity. We didn’t need an introduction to Mara Jade or Karrde or C’baoth anymore, and they pushed the story along almost better than the canon characters at points.

In Dark Force Rising we have a few plot threads going: A Bothan is trying to take over the New Republic and frame anyone who gets in his way. There’s a missing Katana fleet of old clone war ships that’s been rediscovered and it’s a race to find them before Thrawn does. C’boath and Luke confront each other and Luke sees how the other Jedi has gone insane and turned to the dark side – but still hopes for redemption like Vader. There’s the Noghri who in the last book were sent to kill Leia and now have their own story of how the Empire corrupted them, and Leia works with them. And then there’s Mara Jade’s fumbling into her use of the force. So much going on there’s very little time for a break.

A sign of a great writer to me, is one who can take threads that bored me in one book, and make them my favorite in others. It shows concentrations can change, a depth in understanding character, and skill in setting up cool plotlines. While last book I was pretty bored with the Leia plots, in this one I thought she really shined, and I was very interested in the Noghri and their plight with the empire.

But the plots converge very nicely as well. I would say that the last 75 pages or so are literally impossible to put down. The ending battle is fun. I liked the feel of having the New Republic back to being underdogs, and the solutions they scrap out are quite enjoyable. The pace of the whole book is really nice, and the complexity involved just makes this a superior volume to the last. I also love that the tone of the trilogy has the same cadence as the original Star Wars trilogy. This feels like empire. The Rebels have a victory in the battle, but it feels like a loss of the war, and the Empire becomes strong again. It’s truly a beautiful work of art. Don’t underestimate this just because it’s a tie-in. It’s better than all but a handful of non-tie-in fiction.

Storyhack: A New Short Fiction Magazine Inspired By The #PulpRevolution

Storyhack is a new short fiction magazine, which is up on kickstarter now. I read their free Issue 0 which is available on their website, and have backed this kickstarter project as it’s got some of my favorite short fiction writers involved:  Jay Barnson, Jon Mollison, and David J West to name a few. It’s also got a contribution by David Boop who’s quite the veteran in the industry and has his own weird west anthology coming out soon.  I’ve blasted the short fiction market lately, and that’s largely because of a lack of fun projects out there that has torpedoed the market. Storyhack fills the void left by some of the old guard publications, and is worthy of support as it’s one of the few sources out there seeking to fix the market. I backed their first issue, which is up on Kickstarter now, and sat down to talk with their editor, Bryce Beattie:

Hey Bryce, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. If you have a
quick pitch for Storyhack for my readers, what would that be?

StoryHack Action & Adventure is a modern day pulp showcasing stories in
a variety of genres that embrace the passion and pace of yesteryear’s
greats.

or

A magazine so epic a 12 year old boy would stop playing his new XBox
just to read it.

What’s your background with the SF/F genres?

As a youth I started into fantasy with Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain
Chronicles, then moved on to Tolkien, then everything by Terry Brooks. I
was an adult before I tasted the sweet melancholy of sword & sorcery. I
know I read more, but I only really remember 2 science fiction works as
a youth: I, Robot (to which I thought: Gee, that’s interesting) and
Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars books.

Of course, I’ve been a SF/F fanboy in other media as well most of my
life. I got some pretty sweet Yoda undies after Return of the Jedi came out.

The pulp influences kind of drifted in here and there throughout my
life. One Christmas I got a couple of sets of old time radio shows on
tape. The Shadow was one, and a variety of hard boiled detectives was
another. That’s when I started seeking out detective pulps.

Years later I got a first generation ereader but didn’t have much
spending cash, so I was always on the lookout for fun public domain
stuff. At some site or the other (probably blackmask.com or gutenberg) I
discovered Robert E. Howard (What? Conan was books first?) and Edgar
Rice Burroughs. My mind was blown. Those stories had more life and vigor
in them than anything I had read before. At some point a religious
leader pointed me toward Doc E. E. Smith (thanks, Blaine!)

Who would you consider your favorites in the genre, past or present
and who do you strive to produce like?

Classic stuff first:

As you might expect, I love everything I’ve ever laid eyes on by Robert
E. Howard. Besides the easily recognizable stuff like Conan and Solomon
Kane, I dig the supernatural horror Conrad & Kirowan stories, the Sailor
Steve Costigan fight stories, the westerns, all of it.

Reading A Princess of Mars is actually what made me want to start
writing. So Edgar Rice Burroughs will always be a favorite. Confession:
I’ve read most of the Barsoom books, as well as a couple of the
Pellucidar series. However, I have never read the original Tarzan, which
is a sin I intend to repent of this year.

And when I get sick and depressed, my go to reading is a stack of Doc
Savage reprints I bought a decade ago at a local used book shop.

Modern Authors:

There’s a lot of current genre authors that I would consider pulp. I
think Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files are a lot of fun and match the pulp
ethos very well – a hard working, competent lead with a moral code
getting into bizarre trouble in scenes of bombastic action.

Gregg Taylor is another modern favorite. His work is filled with
mystery, action, great character moments, and most of all fun. His main
two series are the chronicles of a Shadow-esque superhero called The Red
Panda, and the hard boiled detective tales of Black Jack Justice.
Gregg’s written & recorded over 200 individual radio theater episodes,
several comics, and 7 novels. I think he nails the style about as well
as anyone. Plus, he’s helped keep the pulp torch lit for at least 12 years.

David J West has written some very inventive stuff. Many of his old west
stories feature a fictional version of the colorful real-life Mormon
gunslinger Orrin Porter Rockwell. I’m excited to read his upcoming sword
& sorcery team novels.

And who do I want to produce like?

The Shadow, because that was twice a month and sold like crazy. Can you
imagine how much work that must have been? Adventure, because it covered
so many types of story. Planet Stories for the covers and
imagination-widening fiction. Apparently I want it all.

Were you influenced or moved to action on this by Jeffro Johnson’s
Appendix N last year? It looks like you’ve connected with a lot of the
authors who are in the #PulpRevolution movement surrounding it.

It actually happened the other way around for me. I learned of Appendix
N by way of the of the PulpRev authors I was meeting.

How did you find the authors for Storyhack?

I posted on the sites where I knew to post calls for submission, but the
first big push came when Daddy Warpig caught wind and tweeted it, then
Jeffro included it in a sensor sweep over at Castalia. I didn’t even
know Castalia House existed until like a week later. Seriously, though,
I owe those two big time. Guys, if you’re ever in town, look me up and
I’ll smoke you a pork shoulder or something.

Were there submissions or was this an invitation?

Open submissions. I received and read about 100 of them. I had no idea
how hard it would be to pare down to the few I could afford buying, or
how thirsty the authors of pulp are for publication.

Any funny stories about anyone involved?

In the funny “strange” department, I ended up choosing 3 authors who are
also from Utah, only one of which I knew lived here (David J West) when
I chose. I actually accepted Jay Barnson’s story in person. I kind of
doubt I’ll ever get that chance again. But I plan on doing this a long
time, so you never know.

I also had one author include a rather long stream of consciousness
cover letter asking me if I would please, please, please read and
consider the story even though it was submitted four and a half hours
after the midnight deadline. Two hours later this author sent a follow
up basically saying “Oops, please excuse my pleading, I just realized
the deadline is tomorrow.” That story made it in.

If you could make Storyhack revered as one pulp magazine of the past,
what would that be and why?

That’s a hard one to nail down. Weird Tales is certainly a contender, as
it inspires copycats to this day and shows no signs of slowing down. But
then the Shadow has near complete cultural awareness. Even folks too
stodgy to consider touching a pulp magazine have heard of him, and thus
the magazine. The Doc Savage tales were pretty much the template for
every action hero since. In the end, though, I’ll go with Amazing
Stories, which basically birthed the genre of Space Opera by publishing
Skylark of Space and Lensman. I think I’d like to give birth to a genre.

Hey, a guy can dream, right?

What do you think of the current short fiction market, and what do you
think needs to be done to get more people interested in reading short
fiction again?

I think there’s a need  right now that is not being met.

The short fiction market is narrow. Even the biggest name magazines only
publish across couple of genres. And really, they only print a tiny
subset of those genres. That was actually the direct impetus for me
launching this project. I couldn’t find anyone publishing the kind of
shorts I was writing (and wanted to read.)

That being said, this only reveals immense opportunity. Yes, there are
some things to learn if you want to put out a ‘zine, but you don’t have
to pay for a 3,000 copy print run. You don’t have to sell xeroxed copies
out of the back of a station wagon at cons. You can do the technical
stuff basically for free if you are willing to learn how. And you can
put your baby on a digital shelf at the world’s largest book retailer.

People today are busy, sure. That means an awful lot of them only really
have time for shorter fiction. Short stories can fill that bus ride into
the office or that quiet minute before the kids get out of bed again.

There are also many in the up and coming generation that simply are not
interested in reading flowery think pieces masquerading as fiction. But
if they’re given a chance to find action and romance and imagination and
excitement in a story, they’ll be hooked for life.

As far as what needs to be done to get readers into short fiction again?

Two things.

One, there needs to be people willing to try out this publishing thing
without copying the current industry big names. Instead they need to be
publishing stories that _regular_ people will actually want to read. Can
you imagine a fast food line cook, a plumber, or a bored-to-tears file
clerk picking up a magazine that should be subtitled “SciFi with
Literary Predilections?” Neither can I. So would they want to read?
Well, take a look at what they’re watching: Summer blockbuster action
movies, sword fighting vikings, power-hungry kings, superheroes in
peril, CIA agents racing the clock, that kind of fare.

Two, the word must spread like a cold, person to person. We are
inundated with advertising today, and the vast majority is just white
noise getting filtered out. But a recommendation from a friend? That’s
how people find new things to try. So once you find something you like,
you have to share it. Without being a jerk. That’s the only way pulp
will spread again.

Bonus third thing: Parents, read to your freaking kids.

What’s next when this successfully funds?

Once I get Issue 1 funded and fulfilled, I’ll set up some form of
per-issue subscription and continue publishing fun yarns. I expect to
still need to pony up a few bucks to fund the next couple of issues as
subscriptions increase and StoryHack gets established.

But the long term “next” is simply more and better. I’ll get better at
editing, layout, marketing, and all the background business stuff that
goes into making a sustainable magazine. As reach and sales increase,
that’ll mean more fiction per issue and more money for the authors. I’d
like to add an audio edition as well.

Thanks so much for the interview, and your support of the magazine!

 

Again you can back Storyhack here and make this a reality!

Comic Review: X-O Manowar #3

Some spoilers ahead, though I left out a couple crucial details to ensure the story is still enjoyable to those who pick this up.

X-O Manowar #3 picks up right where #2 left off, with Aric preparing for an outright assault on the President of the other faction. It starts out with this pretty montage with guest art by David Mack, as it’s explained how cruel and awful these people are in the way they treat “inferior” species, both using them in slavery and tinkering with different species genetics to keep them down. It’s jarring and makes a reader care for this war that hadn’t been explained too much to this point.

Then Aric goes to track the president down and we get thrust into the intense action that’s defined the first couple of issues. After reading a lot more of Kindt’s work between Issue 1 and now, I see that Kindt made a purposeful choice to let the beautiful art of Tomas Giorello breathe, which I appreciate. The scenery is so detailed, so many different alien concepts, Giorello really did more for this arc than I’ve seen an artist do for the vast majority of comics I read. He worked extremely hard and it shows. Giorello’s art has some of the best pages in this issue of the run so far.

The side Aric is on then bombards the city before Aric and his team can get out, betraying them, the end result of the rivalry with the Captain from prior issues. This gets resolved in an extremely satisfying manner, which I’ll leave for readers to discover.

There’s a couple pages of Aric’s internal dilemmas, as he talks to the armor. The armor attempts to woo him further and what’s interesting is I expected wholly that Aric would don it by this point, and was surprised that he didn’t. Which I’m okay with, I’m very much enjoying Aric Warrior adventures as it is, but this is an intriguing plot thread I hope gets more pages dedicated to it in the next arc.

I’m just as excited as I was in issue 1. Each issue has been packed so far, hits story points, sets up the next. This first arc of three issues really nailed all the high points that make me want to read comics. 10/10