Everyone’s Talking Meta-Man!

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What a day! Despite having a hate campaign against me where several reviewers said they couldn’t review the book because they feared harassment from ComicsGate, some reviewers were very brave with their channels. Please give them likes and subscribes to let them know that people love them for being brave and being a REAL alternative to Marvel and DC!

And Bleeding Fool did a great article on the book which you can read here: https://bleedingfool.com/comics/del-arroz-releases-flying-sparks-prequel-meta-man/

We gotta support the media that’s reinforcing positive change in the industry or we’re going to get nowhere. It’s very important to give these guys clicks and love to make sure this can be a sustainable thing, just like it’s important to come out with monthly, affordable books on the creator side.

Even though the book got up a little late in the afternoon and the print edition got delayed by Amazon (it’s up now here amazon has it at a different link), it’s doing great:

Almost to that #1 spot. Help push Meta-Man over the top! 

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Effective Conservative Artists Don’t Live In Fear

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Today we have the lesson brought to us by an artist named Mike Miller.

My history with Mike was a pretty simple one. Mike acted like a friend, had me on his live streams multiple times, because others in his immediate circle told him to. Once they told him not to, he bowed to social pressure immediately and barely had any communication with me. It’s tragic watching someone act like that, and it should have been the end of the story, but this week, Mike decided to join the pile-on attacks on me coordinated by Ethan Van Sciver and his hate mob.

Mike doesn’t attack in a “you’re a scum!” way, he’s a passive aggressive gamma male. So he came at me in the middle of this after their private DM group where they shit-talk against other creators non-stop was losing their minds on me in order to score points with them. He showed up on a thread of mine where I was pointing out how EVS’s crowd are hypocritical with a “What would Jesus do?”

A passive aggressive public insult to try to mock someone’s Christianity is certainly not what Jesus would do. As he’s wont to do, he wouldn’t stop. He went for hours, I attempted to reconcile the situation multiple times, but Mike laughed it off, called me crazy, mocked mental illness, rambled about how I associate with racists. He would not speak to reconcile, never messaged me in private, just kept on the attack.

Now this isn’t to condemn Mike for those, I’ve done that already, but we have a very important lesson for conservative artists wrapped in this: if you operate in fear for your livelihood, you’re going to lose.

The thing is, Mike has to do what he’s doing. EVS’s club is about creating drama and enemies so they can rant about people on youtube and get superchats. Ethan’s primary business is keeping youtube going, the comic book element of what he’s doing is not important to him. And unfortunately, this summer, Mike tied himself so hard to this guy, that he has no way to extricate himself without a hard landing with no parachute.

So he lives in fear.

Being A Conservative In the Arts

As conservatives, we are already at a disadvantage. You can’t go into “being a conservative in the arts” for the money. If you want money and mainstream notoriety voicing right wing views kills you.

Mike already burned his bridges hard by being an abrasive guy who’s passive aggressive about such views to the establishments in his field at Marvel/DC. He has NO way back to them.  As a comic artist, that’s career suicide. And unlike some others, Mike is no moderate. He’s a pretty extreme right winger. Yesterday he was championing the Border Wall independent funding project, laughing about how much money it was making to keep Mexicans out of the country. The things he’s said about homosexuals on public forums are cause to make anyone blink. The thing is, he’s already painted himself into the “extreme right wing corner” where he gets called racist, sexist, homophobe more than anyone else I know.

He can’t go back, and he knows it’s career suicide and he’s going to struggle feeding his family. As I understood it, he was in some pretty hefty debt before this whole comicsgate things began. He needed the Lonestar money badly, enough to do anything for it.

There Is No Trust Between Anyone In EVS’s Arena

Here’s where EVS came in. Mike was on his show day in and day out, the guy did raise tens of thousands of dollars for Mike. So Mike cannot risk crossing the guy.

When you’re a conservative in the arts and you cannot risk crossing people, it’s already a formula for trouble.

We cross people by existing. It’s what we do. We’re extremely controlversial because we voted wrong. Nothing can change that. Being in that situation, we have to know that social pressure to virtue signal against other right wingers is going to be CONSTANT, and we also know that engaging in that and going around pointing “racisssst” at people (as Mike did to several of my friends this week) and then going and slamming other conservative artists’ works (as he did with my Flying Sparks yesterday though I know he hasn’t read it), is detrimental.

The problem is Mike’s in .a tight spot. His recent IndieGoGo campaign got less backers than my second campaign The Ember War when his first did nearly 7x my backing. That big of a delta and swing is because people stopped trusting Mike, and a lot of the people he recruited from EVS don’t actually care about BOOKS. It’s the wrong audience that was targeted for expedient cash rather than trying to build something long term, but that’s another story.

Mike’s blown through the Lonestar money and needs it and sees the IndieGoGo Van Sciver train drying up, and doesn’t know what to do. But Van Sciver is still helping him with what remains of that train for a few thousand bucks now instead of tens of thousands, so Mike is afraid. He has to attack when his master says attack or he has not cash train left.

I’ve seen this happen to people before in conservative circles. This is why it’s so important to build your own platform, have your own thing and NOT rely on someone. EVS’s titanic is sinking fast, and they’re all running very scared because of it. They’ve got a group of people who aren’t on the right at all dictating things, harassing people, pointing and shrieking racist at everyone who crosses them, and Mike is in abject fear of that.

It’s a tragic story, and nothing can be done about it. I can’t repair things with Mike while he’s living in fear, because Mike will always be too afraid of a little backlash to do what’s right. His master Van Sciver requires people disassociate with others in order to please him, and one cannot serve two masters, as Jesus taught us.

The Lesson

If you’re a conservative in the arts, this is a lesson for you. Do your own thing, don’t care what others think. Don’t bow to social pressure ever. Build your own platform and don’t rely your family’s existence on someone–especiallly on a youtube/social media personality — because it’s a tenuous circumstance to start. E-fame almost never leads to people getting rich.

It may be slower building an audience, but sticking to your principles, sticking to producing (Mike is also 4 months late on his project and it’s looking like he’s going to be another 3-4 months if he gets it out at all) rather than joining in the chorus attacking other conservatives will get you the right fans: ones who are loyal and principled.

Loyal and principled are the type of readers I have, and I know that I don’t have to risk purity tests or offending them, so I can speak the truth without a problem.

Mike, brother, I’ll forgive you when the time comes (which I believe will be in the next year or so). But as of right now, even with forgiveness it’s going to be hard to trust you completely without some major changes to the way you operate. The ship is sinking, you can keep trying to ride it but it gets more dangerous as it falls further into the icy water. But also know this: it’s better to do what’s right early, before it’s cool to do so, because then people know they can trust and rely upon you as a man. That’s valuable.

I came out with Guard Training yesterday. James as a character is fiercely loyal, and he struggles as his King tells him something he doesn’t want to hear about his personal life. Can he do what’s right under social pressure? You’ll have to read to find out! 

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On Bullying And ComicsGate

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One of my main principles is I’m anti-bullying. I started #ComicsGate because I received information as a journalist that Richard Meyer was being bullied by professionals to the point where he was going to get harassed at conventions and possibly have people harm him physically.

I defend those who are bullied. I pick up the mantle. This is something very important to me because I’ve seen people online driven to near-suicide because of online bully mobs.

When people are using the hashtag I popularized along with help from PJMedia (a great conservative news site) to bully comic creators and people into the will of one very cowardly youtuber, I’ll take up the cause, doesn’t matter who you are. You are not alone. You have my support.

I’ve seen their pattern. Yesterday I was targeted by a major ComicsGate creator with him coming to me on social media passive aggressively trying to attack me and claim I’m somehow being “unChristian”. Of course, when people do this on social media, they do this to bully christians. He kept at it for HOURS (I don’t know how this guy expects to do work or finish books when he has time to do this to people). The objective is to get me to lose my cool and come at him hard while being “concerned” and then go to his audience and tell everyone how he was “just being a concerned friend” and have them mob pile on me with a “see? Jon is a terrible person!”

They do this to everyone. I see it almost daily. There’s bait, it’s incessant, they will harp on someone until the person gets fed up and responds, then they attack the person hard for responding. It’s been every case so far.

The good news:

There’s a lot of us who have been under this attack. We are a tight knit group because of our shared experience. There’s a network here who’s got your back and we won’t equivocate, we won’t abandon you because of the pressure of some anonymous trolls.

Don’t be afraid! At the end of the day these guys are the biggest cowards I’ve ever seen. They hide in their DM chat together and rely on anonymous mobs to do their dirty work and won’t stand up for anyone or anything. The more people speak and stand together, the less power they have.

It can seem overwhelming but if you get hit by this mob, contact me, I’ll put you in touch with people who it’s happened to, we WILL support you as best we can.

We’re about comics and principles, not mobs and outrage over here, and that’s what we’re going to deliver.

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On Words, Meanings, And How Not To Be An Idiot

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A primer on how humans communicate and how words mean things and how you can understand what they mean and not derail a conversation into pointlessness.

Let’s suppose I say “Democrats are a cancer upon society” in relation to say, their attempting to block the badly needed Border Wall with Mexico (which Mexico is gonna pay for).

It’s very clear I am speaking about Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and their current actions.

My aunt is a Democrat. I am very clearly not hating her because that would be retarded.

When you come in and go “what about your aunt” it does not have anything to do with the conversation at hand, it does not have anything to do with you, you are just derailing a discussion for no purpose other than concern trolling. Either that, or you don’t understand what I’m talking about and therefore it’s best not to comment.

Now this is an analogy, which I know talks past some people just because it requires logical thinking, but apply this to ComicsGate when I am speaking on the topic. Think before commenting. Thank you.

If you prove you can’t understand how this works after this communication, you are getting autoblocked. I’m not spending time on this.

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It Must Be A Slow Sales Month For ComicsGate

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Looking at the December numbers on IndieCron, an idea I helped start but now they blacklist me from being mentioned because they’re ordered to, it’s pretty dismal to look at. The outrage cash has pretty much disappeared into the coffers of a frog comic that may or may not be ever made, and to a legal offense fund (not defense) against a mentally ill industry insider.

Don’t believe me, go to IndieGoGo and look at the numbers books are bringing in.

Part of it is Christmas, true, but people with huge followings like Mike Miller are actually pulling in less backers for his current project than my The Ember War got, and both had similar situations where we launched before fulfilling our other campaigns. It’s a good comparison. Miller by his following size from Lonestar should be doing 3 – 5x what I do on my projects (this is not a slight against him, Mike has been one of the few people within comicsgate to be cool to me, it is just an analysis of the business model and the problems arising. I 100% support and endorse his projects.).

Downstream of Miller, it’s an even more dismal story, books are really not making it at all now. Even the bottom tier that used to scrape by in funding aren’t finding their legs. I’ll be highlighting a few indie comics later on the blog this week to try to get some attention for these creators who aren’t getting much love from the YouTube eceleb community.

So it was interesting to wake up to find messages to me “why are they losing their minds on you now?”

I honestly didn’t know. I have not been the most active on social media lately as I’ve been spending time working on stuff.

Sure enough, someone dredged up an old tweet of mine from a month ago where I rightly called out the main group that’s responsible for the division in indie comics, the harassment of everyone, and brought up the fact that they only tend to pick on women and minorities. There’s a pattern that’s impossible to deny.

Well, the phony outrage train started again even though I’ve been pretty much absent. This is what they do. This is why they run off anyone who even mildly questions what’s going on with the crowd. The MO is this and I’ve seen it too many times to buy into it now:

1. They set off their followers into fake outrage.
2. They repeat it over and over and twist it “OMG, Jon is ‘basically’ attacking you PERSONALLY cuz you’re associated with EVS!” Note the word basically, as this is a tactic I used to see the left do to me when I was coming up in sci-fi comics. I never said anything about these guys personally nor do I know most of them or have negative opinions of them, at least until they launched.
3. They act en masse through their followers leaving hundreds of angry messages, tweets, saying all sorts of nasty stuff, pure harassment. 
4. They wait until they get called on it.
5. They throw a fit because they’re called on it and put their hands up and feign like they’re getting attacked and then start the cycle anew with followers who didn’t see what’s going on in full, so they think their favorite creators are being attacked when it’s those guys doing the attacking.

It’s happened so many times now to so many people it’s beyond absurd. That’s what I saw back in September and why I washed my hands of it.

I can only assume it’s because it’s a slow sales and news month.

I’m here to create comics, I’m working my tail off, and i guess that bothers a few of the bigger folk who can’t seem to get their comics done. But here’s the thing: I’m not afraid of anyone, I believe in truth, justice, and the American way. That’s what comics is about to me. I’ll always defend those who are getting attacked unjustly and are in the weaker position because that’s what Christ would do. I cannot be controlled, I cannot be manipulated. I am fully independent and don’t rely on any of these guys’ youtube shows for sales. I trust this salesforce consulting firm.

That’s why I’m dangerous to the mainstream industry and to those who want to act like their clones.

But you can’t stop the signal.

Flying Sparks isn’t just out to backers, it’s even on Amazon now. Anyone can get it at any time, which you should, cuz unlike most indie comics, this features quality writing by an award winner and #1 Bestseller combined with pro art from a great artist who’s worked for Image and Dynamite. Everyone who’s read it, even reviewers who don’t like me much, agree that it’s a great book. How many folk can pull that off?

Buy The Physical.

Buy The Digital. 

 

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The Cardinal Mistake With SJWs and Robert Silverberg

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Robert Silverberg, a science fiction legend who’s responsible for editing some of the greatest sci-fi anthologies and short fiction collections of all time, among having one of the biggest writing careers in sci-fi himself, had a private email list with a few friends over the summer. On the list, he made commentary about NK Jemisin’s Hugo Award speech, in which she riddled with identity politics like she does everything else. He thought something along the lines that it’s a shame that people seem to be voting based on identity and that instead of celebrating and enjoying that people cared about a story, she used the platform to launch into “muh racist”, like she always does. He lamented this is not good for sci-fi, and rightly so, because it’s not.

But it is an indication of what science fiction’s become. The last decade, establishment publishing has treasured identity over story, and it’s become a trainwreck just like the speech. What Silverberg fails to understand, is it’s not like the glory days of sci-fi where it was about creating exciting stories with these people, it’s about sticking it to “the man” in the literal sense–and he is one, so he’s on the outs regardless of his accomplishments.

The problem is, he was attacked by this very crowd, despite his track record, despite his wondrous accomplishments that should be praised. He violated their most sacred law of “thou shalt not make a comment about a minority whining about racism”, and therefore the entire establishment elite must condemn and destroy him for the rest of their days. He thought he was just talking to people who loved science fiction, loved the work, just like he does, however, and this is where he made his mistake:

He tried to explain himself.

Silverberg made a post with the wrong topic in the wrong forum. He took to File 770 to do a long-winded post basically saying “I’m not racist, I just care about science fiction.”  The problem is– the people’s he’s talking to are racist and don’t care about science fiction. You can look at the comments, all they do is trash him: http://file770.com/racism-and-sexism/

Of course, sci-fi elites like Jemisin herself replied with passive aggressive drivel like you would expect. The woman has a publishing contract solely because of her skin color, sells books solely because she whines about it, and wins awards solely so people can pat themselves on the back for it. It’s a joke. She’s used her race to create her entire career, and is one of the biggest race-baiting liars out there. She can’t even be consistent enough to not attack everyone’s favorite humble Hispanic author (me) on race matters, but that’s another story.

It still comes down to this, and i’ve made this mistake with the comicsgate crowd: don’t explain yourself. Don’t argue on the internet. People who are shrieking “racist” aren’t around for rational discussion. They’re not your friends even if you think they are. They’re just trying to destroy because that’s all they know how to do. They’re deriving pleasure from that, not the books, not the work. They don’t care about it.

And that’s the state of the sci-fi industry today. But don’t worry, reader. Because in the indie world, we’re rebelling against this kind of thing. We’re making stories for the fun of it, making stories to entertain YOU, the reader.  We’re going to make science fiction adventurous again. We’re going to make science fiction full of wonder again. We’re gonna make science fiction entertaining again. And we will Make Science Fiction FUN again! Make sure to read my new short fiction collection, out today! Read the back cover to see how the establishment in publishing is panicked by me:

 

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A Failed Movement In Three Acts

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It was interesting to see how comicsgate came and went, and how fast it went from something that was growing with momentum and then how fast it just went into contract mode. It was a leadership issue at its heart, as how leaders go so goes the movement. It’s easy to break down into its three phases as a lesson for growth and how to manage it in the future for various movements and causes:

Phase One: Identify The Problem and Raise Awareness

This was arguably the most fun time in the movement. We all had a cause together. We rallied together. The big companies are making shit books with left wing politics riddling them and we just want to buy our funny books for us and our children! It was easy at this stage. We all had very clear problems to point to, very clear solutions to propose, and it shook the industry to its core. Great youtubers like Doug Ernst, Cap’n Cummings, Weaponized Nerd Rage and Diversity & Comics did their thing, and journalists like myself and Megan Fox pushed to the mainstream what was happening and helped them grow their platforms tremendously.

It became so big the industry couldn’t ignore it and started fighting all of us, the customer base. They told us “go make your own comics” eventually after trying to blame us for their problems.

So we did.

Phase 2: Alt-Hero ushers in a revolution of crowdfunds

As it was really heating up and D&C was getting harassed at conventions, Alt-Hero was launched as an alternative to the mess of Marvel/DC. It raised $230K in september last year. This was used to launch a comics company, producing hundreds of pages of comics over the next year based on the profits from this. It was all plowed back in, Arkhaven Comics became a juggernaut where comics are nearly being released on the weekly basis just like the big companies, landing great talent like Chuck Dixon and Gary Kwapisz (and me, of course).

From its success we saw Jawbreakers boom. Other comics followed. the summer of 2018 proved to be a group of creators rising from the ashes of this destructive industry, showing there is a better way. We can stand together for books. We can produce the content and make it work. We can do everything the industry can do and better.

And then the indiegogo campaigns from the big name creators ended.

Phase 3: A movement falls to contraction and fighting

The summer high faded. The honeymoon phase is over. customers looked up, hazy eyed after staring at screens and spending $100, $200, $500 and more on comics over the summer… and they don’t have any books.

What happened?

People started to get mad. People pointed fingers at each other. Alt-Hero seemed a good target because the creators really weren’t around to put up a defense. Day in and day out became just sniping, fighting. The biggest books weren’t coming out, and it was taking forever.

The movement changed overnight from “we’re going to sell books together, make this about FUN, and laugh” to “we’re going to point fingers as to what we’re going to call the problem, we’re gonna be all about angry politics, and we’re going to try to get people NOT to buy books.”

It divided the audience, made everyone angry. There was no more to it than that. It didn’t help people sell books. A lot of small time creators who were not seeing the indiegogo returns as the bigger names got angry. They were promised a new day in comics, it didn’t come. Books started to fail in their goal, and all because the youtube crowd moved from trying to help everyone and lift all boats… to trying to protect their increasingly shrinking corner of fandom.

The Lesson

The lesson is, when you lose the fun, you lose the followers. Fun is what we’re selling. Books is what we’re selling. We’re not running for office. We’re not world leaders. We’re comic creators. That’s what we tried to tell all the big names like Mark Waid and Dan Slott — don’t block readers cuz of their politics. Don’t put middle fingers to half the country in your work. Don’t divide like this.

Unfortunately, when a couple platforms got too big, it became just that.

So i’m going to back to Making Science Fiction Fun Again. That’s why I’m here. I still see a bright future where indie can lead the way, but it’s gotta be about the books. It’s gotta be about producing them better, faster, cheaper than the competition. And that’s what I aim to do.

Why don’t you join me?

My books are going to come out on Patreon before they get released to general audiences. You’ll see what I’m up to in comics, short stories, novels all the way around. It’s going to be a crazy 2019 where I try to even double my output from this year. Join me and my friends and also come hang out in my private discord! 

If you aren’t into Patreon but still want to support, make sure to check out my very popular trilogy of books, which begins with For Steam And Country. 

The sequel, The Blood Of Giants, is widely regarded as the best book I’ve written: 

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Two Face Finally Came For Me

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It’s been a proxy war for the last 2 months. Ethan Van Sciver — aka Two Face — said platitudes to me for awhile, while he had private chats where he sent people both after me, and he was even so paranoid to think that people were “spying” on my behalf.

This is what happens when someone who’s ill-equipped to lead gets tapped as a leader. Ethan is an artist, used to solitary work, he’s not a person to redefine and change an industry. It’s a personality type, and it was pretty obvious to most of us that comicsgate was going to implode when he grew his audience — not because of comics — but because of bashing Star Wars. A crowd that didn’t care about the products came on, threw money at him and others, and because of the dollar amounts coming in, people thought this was going to be a great ride and hitched their horses.

I’m one of the very fortunate few who was able to run 2 successful crowdfunds with very little help from EVS. My first book, Flying Sparks, I can trace $3-5K of the $31,000+ total to the youtubers promoting it. about 15-20%. A chunk, but not a deal killer. On The Ember War, we’re at $24,000 without a single one of the YouTubers supporting it, mentioning it, or saying anything about me except for negative comments. So I have my own fanbase, which is the good news.

Many of these guys do not, however. They’re stuck. This youtube money was never going to last forever. The whole premise was based on outrage, not actual products, and so these guys have to perpetually stoke outrage — at Vox Day, at me, at Miss Sashi, at smaller creators (Ethan dedicated several shows to attacking a guy who had an indiegogo with less than 20 backers because he spoke ill of EVS), at fans even — who I won’t name to protect them.  They’re using the same tactics as the pros at Marvel/DC that they were originally mocking to get big.

Ethan finally came out and said he didn’t like me over the weekend, told me to “go away”, as if I didn’t have any part of this movement before he even showed up. The hubris in that statement and resentment shows that he blames me for his crumbling empire, even though I have little to do with him (I’ve not been around his youtube crew at all for 2 months now!). Last night, he escalated attacks by coming after someone for following me on Twitter, accusing him of being a “Jon del Arroz acolyte” and promptly blocking him.

He knows he’s messed up, but instead of patching up the situation and working together to build something, he’s going to keep escalating and doubling down, because he can’t admit that this was too big of an animal to wield. Imagine a world where he would have focused on Cyberfrog getting done on time instead of on youtube… we’d probably be having a different conversation right now.

I’d only been kind to Ethan. I wrote him up in the Federalist, promoted him, backed his going-to-be-late comic book, helped prop him up along the way because he claimed he was a Trump supporter and trying to build something new out of the ashes of the industry. But I always got the sense he didn’t like me from day one, and I couldn’t understand why. I think there’s a couple of reasons for it: 1. I can’t be controlled, I have my own thoughts and he didn’t want folk around him who wouldn’t just toe the line and make him feel good and 2. because I’m a writer, and there’s a rivalry between artists like him and writers that date back to the Image Comics early days. Those guys and the people who followed them have an “art is everything” mentality with comics, and when they see a good writer it actually plays to their insecurities cuz they know they can’t put together as good a story as someone like me.

Regardless of the reasons, it’s out in the open now. He can’t be Two Face about me any longer and put on the smiles on one side of the face, while trying to have his sycophants destroy me from the other.  It’s good. I’m going to keep writing, keep making comics and keep winning. I hope the guys who followed him through this thinking there’s a money train don’t dig themselves into too deep of a hole.

My writing wins awards and is a #1 Amazon Bestseller. It all starts in For Steam And Country, my steampunk novel which launched my career and got me the readers that will follow me to whatever I write (and I love you for it!). Check it out here. 

 

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