East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Old comics and DIY censorship

In the past week, what with being forced to stay at home in isolation and all that, I decided to put some order in the growing pile of books, magazines and other papers that are slowly but steadily taking possession of my house.
We have been on a permanent state of warfare with a rat, in the last few weeks, and piled-up paper is not a good thing.

And in this way, while digging on a long-forgotten shelf, I found a few re-issues of old volumes of L’Eternauta, an Italian magazine that in the 1980s published color and black and white comics by Argentine and other Spanish-language artists and the occasional American or French story. It was built along the same lines of Metal Hurlant/Heavy Metal, and it was the gateway for many long-standing passions of mine – first of all for artists such as Carlos Trillo or Juan Jimenez, or Vicente Segrelles.

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Back from Lovecraft Country

So last night I saw the last episode of Lovecraft Country, the HBO series based on Matt Ruff’s book. And while I found some episodes to be below par, all in all I must say it was a nicely satisfactory adventure.

Granted, I believe “Lovecraft purists” (whatever that means) will find the series objectionable because it is not “properly Lovecraftian” (whatever that means), the same criticism that is usually leveraged at the scenarios for The Call of Cthulhu, the roleplaying game. And it’s a fair criticism, and a few episodes of the series do feel like write-ups of someone’s Call of Cthulhu games. But hey, they certainly were good games I’d have loved to sit through.

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Take me to Barsoom

It’s been a tough time, it still is, and there is no light yet at the end of the tunnel. It happens, and we can only play with the hand that was dealt to us.
And yet…

Mars is in opposition – it’s close to Earth, and facing the sun.
It’s burning bright red in the night sky, to remind us why it was associated with war and violence.
And tonight Mars is at its brightest.

I was in the courtyard, a while ago.
The sky is cloudy, over Astigianistan, and there’s a cold wind.
Nobody walks the streets of the village where I live, the cats are huddled somewhere and there’s a dog barking, desperately, in the distance.
But still, through the breaks in the clouds that chase each other over our heads, I saw Mars.

And you might ask…
Did I hold my arms up, like heeding a distant call, and felt like I was being swept by a strong wind and transported across the vast of night, to ancient Barsoom, just as John Carter and Ulysses Paxton before me?

Yes I did.
But it was just a moment.
If the going is tough, it is also true I’ll have to face the music here where I stand.

And yet, wouldn’t it have been good?

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The Hercule Poirot Centenary Blogathon: Peter Ustinov

It is the centenary of the birth of Hercule Poirot, the popular detective created in 1920 by Agatha Christie. For the occasion, the Liberi di Scrivere blog has organized a blogathon, and following this link you can find the list of participants.

In our house, the debate has never been about who is the best James Bond ever (I have always preferred Roger Moore to Sean Connery, who was my mother’s favorite), nor about who the ultimate Sherlock Holmes is (both me and my brother we remain faithful to Jeremy Brett). It is about Poirot that there is a split – my brother, along with the vast majority of Orthodoxy, recognizes David Suchet as the perfect Poirot, while I remain faithful to Peter Ustinov.

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Who am I to judge?

And so it is official – I will be one of the judges in the horror short story I Racconti del Gatto Nero (The Black cat’s Tales), which is part of the ToHorror film festival – the Turin Horror & Fantastic Film Festival, that is.
It will be interesting, having the opportunity of reading other people’s stories, and then discuss with the other judges about their merits and flaws, in order to pick a winner.

My best wishes to all participants.

Bribe money can be sent to my usual PayPal and Ko-Fi accounts.

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Lupin the 3rd – The First

I had heard about the new, 3D CGI animated movie in the Lupin the 3rd franchise about one year ago – more or less when I learned of the death of Monkey Punch, the artist and writer of the original manga from which the character was derived. I was curious about the movie, but for a number of reasons, I had no opportunity to watch it.
Until last night.

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Geishas, real women, and Lovecraft Country

It was weird, in a way, watching the sixth episode of Lovecraft Country, last night. One of the two best episodes in what I still feel like an uneven series, fraught with some “typical” HBO problems, Episode Six is set in Korea during the Korean War, and centers on a local girl in love with American movies, and serving as a nurse in an hospital. I won’t say more not to spoil you the fun.

What made the experience surreal was that I had spent part of the day,so to speak, in Korea – first, re-watching the classic Train to Busan for the next episode of the podcast I co-host with my friend Lucy, and secondly because I’ve been reading a very interesting book that puts everything in a different perspective.

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