There are bad guys in the world of Dredd … and then there’s Judge Death!
Leader of the Dark Judges, causing death and destruction ever since first making their way over from the alternate dimension of Deadworld. Judge Death always returns to Mega-City One and the body count is always terrible.
Uttering the magic words, “The crime is life, the sentence is death!”, Richard Bruton chatted to Leah Moore and artist Xulia Vicente about bringing Death to this summer’s Sci-Fi Special…
Gazelle Amber Valentine is one half of sludge / doom / death metal two piece Jucifer, formed in Georgia, USA in 1993. For more than seventeen years Gazelle and her bandmate (and husband), drummer Edgar Livengood, have adopted a nomadic lifestyle. The pair live, tour, rehearse, and sometimes even record in their Winnebago, towing the literal wall of amplification Valentine utilises on stage in a trailer behind them. The duo describe this life as an endless tour, and they can easily find themselves playing live shows in twenty or more countries in a single year.
Jucifer’s music can be (and usually is) harsh, aggressive, and loud, but its subject matter and lyrical content are not necessarily what people might expect. 2008’s L’Autrichiennewas a concept album based around the French Revolution accompanied by extensive historical notes, while 2013’s За Волгой для нас земли нет (“There is no land beyond The Volga”) dealt with the Soviet Union and WWII. Equally though, there is a strong sense of Americana embedded in much of Jucifer’s music and lyrics; dark folk sounds and sensibilities; finger-picked banjo and violin strings, and dissonant, melancholic melodies. Nowhere is this side of their work more apparent than in Gazelle’s solo album Devil’s Tower I, released in 2013.
All of this – the nomadic life, the artistry, the power and intelligence of her writing – made Gazelle Amber Valentine someone I was very keen to approach as a contributor to Spirits of Place. Her essay, entitled “I Have Trod Such Haunted Land”, ended up being the first in the book and remains one of my favourites. Even though her internet connection can be intermittent as she and Edgar continue their never ending tour, Gazelle was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the book and her contribution to it.
Not far from where I live there’s a landscape that’s soaked in apocalyptic imagery. Thornton is a wild and sometimes bleak place, on the hills above Bradford, where the Brontë sisters were born before moving to Haworth, the place they’re more usually associated with, six miles away.
Thornton is farmland and scrub, beautiful in the summer sun, foreboding and often impassable in the depths of winter. There’s a place called World’s End View, from where you feel it really is possible to sit out the apocalypse. There are scattered communities with Biblical names… Egypt, Jerusalem, and Jericho, which even had its own monstrous walls in the Victorian era, massive ramparts that edged the road through and held back the mountains of waste from the stone quarries.
Magical techno-futurist, Spirits of Place contributor, and generally lovely guy Damien Williams conducted a Tarot interview with me about the project, it’s origins and it’s future. You can read the full interview at technoccult.net
Copies of the limited, signed edition of Spirits of Place are still available HERE
In the interview I talk about Ghost Stories of an Antiquary Vol 1, H. P. Lovecraft, and my Greenwood writing, among other things. I also seem to have acquired a new nickname, which I’m not sure I’m happy with…
THE BRITISH EQUIVALENT OF MEGA-CITY ONE, BRIT-CIT IS A SPRAWLING METROPOLIS THAT COVERS ALL OF SOUTHERN ENGLAND, and governs several territories, including Cal-Hab and the South Welsh Peninsula. Brit-Cit suffers from many of the same problems as other Mega-Cities, but is also a focal point for an abundance of weird, occult occurrences.
STRANGE & DARKE – NEW BLOOD
Detective Inspector Jericho Strange heads up the Endangered Species Squad – a unit within the Brit-Cit Justice Department charged with investigating these arcane cases. Partnered with Psi-Judge Bekky Darke, Strange’s exposure to a supernatural artefact called the ‘Black Mirror’ has left him with a face you will never forget…
STORM WARNING – THE RELIC
Lillian Storm is a psychically powerful Judge in the Brit-Cit Justice Department’s Psi-Division. Unfortunately, her abilities are just as much a curse as they are a talent. Can she keep her power in check whilst trying to retrieve a deadly relic and stop an ancient hex which plagues the land?
THIS VOLUME INCLUDES THE STORIES:
Strange & Darke: New Blood (Judge Dredd Megazine 319-323)
Storm Warning: The Relic (Judge Dredd Megazine 361-366)
On Saturday the 2nd of April 2016 the Spirits of Place symposium was held at Calderstones Mansion House here in the heart of South Liverpool.
The whole thing came about when I saw that the venue was for hire and I started thinking about what kind of event it would be great to see there. Something the likes of which people who live in London, or Brighton say, might be quite used to seeing advertised but which there never seem to be very many of up here in the North. Something which fused historical and archaeological topics with things like folklore and myth and literature. Something which spoke of the stories – public, personal, true and otherwise – embedded and encoded in the landscape. Tentatively I made some enquiries, things spiralled quickly, and within a month I found myself at the helm of an actual event that had speakers and tickets for sale and was definitely an actual real thing.
And then, on Saturday, it happened. And it was successful. Very successful. And people have sent me lovely tweets, and emails, and even written lovely blogs about it (here and here).
Lots of people have asked me if there will be another one, and do you know what? I think there probably will be. If you’d like to stay informed about that please subscribe here.
The finale of Peter Harness’ brilliant TV adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s master-work Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell aired on BBC One last night and if you missed it then you should catch up as soon as you possibly can (if you’re in the US you’re lucky enough to still have a few episodes to go).
BB: For all her flaunted sexuality, Dejah Thoris of Mars has always been, at least in the modern comics, a strong and quite capable woman. What threat is she facing on Barsoom as our story begins here?
LH: Dejah Thoris is only flaunting her sexuality by Earth or Jasoomian standards. On Barsoom she is wearing the equivalent of jeans and a t-shirt.
Burroughs took the idea of a white man turning up in some remote village and being utterly amazed to see the women’s breasts out in the fresh air, and transposed it into the fantasy pulp world. It’s a classic trope, where the young dashing man is sent to a planet where the natives only wear cling film and demand lessons in Earth Kissing.
Highlights for me included meeting Will Ross, Mike Taylor, Jane Mainlley-Piddock and Helen Grant in real life, being introduced to the likes of Chris Rose and Prof. Aaron Worth, and chatting with BBC Ghost Story for Christmas originator Lawrence Gordon Clark. Here’s a picture to prove that happened:
I was there to deliver a paper on adapting James’ stories into comics. I spoke about comics and adaptation generally a bit and then focussed on the Ash Tree because, happily, I had a couple of pages which Alisdair Wood had drawn for an adaptation of that story. I’m very pleased to finally announce that Leah and I have adapted all eight stories of Ghost Stories of an Antiquary which will be published in a single volume by Self Made Hero in Autumn 2016.
Anyway, I intended to write a little report on the whole thing but I didn’t find the time, sadly. Now Will and Mike at A Podcast to the Curious have spared me the guilt by devoting a whole episode to the conference, including interviews with Helen Grant, Prof. Darryl Jones, Jane Mainlley-Piddock, and even me.