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    • WITCH DOCTOR Workblog 7: Our vampires are different

    • Posted by Brandon Seifert on 21 Feb 08
    • Witch Doctor is a forthcoming medical horror comic from writer Brandon Seifert and artist Lukas Ketner. Witch Doctor combines horror archetypes and really sick shit from the real world. This is the book's workblog. For more information, read the first entry.

      I hadn't planned on revealing the villain/patient for First Incision, our first Witch Doctor comic... but then I got this in the mail this morning from Lukas, and it would take far more willpower than I possess to not share it.

      This is our vampire.

      First Incision is a somewhat different take on vampires -- as I think you can probably see, staring into the mouth of "John Drac," Morrow's anonymous vampire 'patient.'

      Rather than go in a traditional route, we based his mouth on the mouths of lampreys, a fellow obligatory hematophage. Lampreys have a long tongue with a bone barb at the end that they use for rasping flesh away and opening a wound. Our vampires have two tongues like that -- and they're what leave the telltale "fang" marks.

      I can't tell you much more about our vampires, except that for the really cool thing about them, you'll have to wait for First Incision.

      (Anyone catch that the title of this blog is referencing, one of my favorite ways to happily waste an entire afternoon?)

      Previous Entry: 6: Trading the arse-eels for intestinal worms. :: Next Entry: 8: Sparky the Metaphysical Defibrillator!
    • Clarification

    • Posted by Rootfireember on 21 Feb 08
    • I really need to clarify grinders (local sub sandwiches which are warmed up and are wonderful when one is freezing cold. I hate winter. I hate the Cold White North, who cares if I was born and raised here!)...and Grinders, as in those who post on
      Conversations could get really messy, fast, over lunch.
    • The Quarter-Century

    • Posted by Inexperto on 21 Feb 08
    • Well, I've been lurking around and occasionally posting here for a while now and, according to the Unwritten Lore Of The Internet, I think I'm now entitled to at least one angsty blog post. So here goes:

      I currently work in a terrible admin job in what could very well be the bitchiest office in the south of England. My job sucks. I was going to bore you with the details, but I already whinge more than I should to my wife, my friends and my family and so far no-one here has done anything to deserve the full force of my olympic-standard moaning. Long story short, I've been there four and a half years because the money is good.

      I turn 25 tomorrow. And the money is no longer good enough.

      This is the point at which I really need to stop waiting for things to happen to me and start actually making things happen. No more excuses, no more procrastinating.

      Music. Art. Internet. And possibly some temping.

    • WITCH DOCTOR Workblog 6: Trading the arse-eels for intestinal worms.

    • Posted by Brandon Seifert on 21 Feb 08
    • Witch Doctor is a forthcoming medical horror comic from writer Brandon Seifert and artist Lukas Ketner. Witch Doctor combines horror archetypes and really sick shit from the real world. This is the book's workblog. For more information, read the first entry.

      Whenever Warren talks about his allergies, I can't help but think, "He should go get some intestinal worms."

      It's hard to find allergies outside the industrialized world. They're a luxury of easy living, like White Liberal Guilt. They did this study in Venezuela where they compared the number of people with allergies to the number of people with intestinal worms. Among the upper-class people, only 10% had intestinal worms, and 43% had allergies. In the slums, there was twice the worms, half the allergies. And out in the rain forest, the native tribes had an 88% rate of worms -- and no allergies at all.

      There's this antibody we've all got called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). For a long time scientists couldn't figure out what it was for; they actually thought it was a mistake of evolution, because they only ever found it in large numbers when someone would have an allergy attack -- IgE is what causes an allergic response. But then they discovered that it's great for fighting parasites, which are too big and complicated for the rest of our antibodies to easily deal with. If you take IgE out of lat rats, they get swamped with parasites.

      Parasitic species may outnumber the rest of us free-livers as much as four to one. Our bodies have evolved to be constantly fighting them. And it may be that when our bodies can't find out traditional internal Red Menace, they may start mistaking harmless dust and strawberries and penicilin for no good rotten pinkos.

      In Blog #4 I talked about the Red Queen Race, the constant evolutionary arms race between a parasite species and its host, where both sides are frantically racing to stay in one place. This is the flip side of that -- old soldiers never die, and stockpiled armaments are only missing a target.

      Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disease where your red blood cells collapse into little stabby bits because the hemoglobin, the protective container the cells stick oxygen molecules in, is built wrong and can't hold its shape if it doesn't have oxygen inside. If you get the gene for it from both your parents, you'll probably be dead really early in life.

      But sickle cell anemia is great for killing malaria. Malaria is a protozoan named Plasmodium that likes to renovate our red blood cells and turn them into little summer homes. And the errors in hemoglobin structure caused by sickle cell makes their summer homes fall down around them. If you get malaria early in life, and you got the sickle cell gene from one of your parents, then the sickle cells will kill enough Plasmodium that your naive little immune system can usually figure out how to kill the rest -- and it'll remember how for the rest of your life. Sickle cell anemia basically lets your body vaccinate itself against malaria, something science can't do yet. So the places where you find a lot of sickle cell anemia? You also find a whole lot of malaria. It only becomes a blood "disease" when there's no malaria around for it to protect you from.

      (There clearly need to be creatures called "Immunogoblins" in Witch Doctor. I'm just not sure what they'll be like yet.)

      So, that's your lesson for today, class. In actual Witch Doctor news, we've got ourselves a MySpace now, and we'd love you to be our friend. Please add us, and send us a message introducing yourself. Work proceeds on our first issue, and we're currently firming up plans for the release party on May 1st and the Virtual Release Party in a chatroom somewhere soon after that. And go check out the pretty new design on the website!

      Previous Entry: 5: Meet the good doctor :: Next Entry: 7: Our vampires are different
    • dreams about Warren and other stuff that happens

    • Posted by roque on 20 Feb 08
    • some extremely surprising and life-changing news hit this week, in a backhanded way. without bothering you with the details, in about five months I'm going to be living someplace else and working some other job, and as of right now I have no idea at all what I'll be doing and where.

      the shock hasn't quite worn off yet, and so I am dealing as best I can: by delving into Second Life, mix-making, Twin Peaks DVDs, and other escapes from reality.

      I had my second dream about Warren last night. this one wasn't a sex dream, thank christ (it's always discomfiting to have sex dreams about someone you haven't met in person). we were on Second Life, somehow inhabiting our avatars, so that there were weird restrictions to our movements, and we had to type commands and click HUD buttons on the screen to perform certain actions.

      we were at a party in a multi-level building full of people from the Army of Filth and other revelers. one of my HUD indicators lit up and told me that Warren had very chivalrously lit my cigarette for me. I tried to return the favor, but he had already moved to another floor, so I followed him and bought him an e-drink. his avatar was sprawled out in a lounge chair, surrounded by bikini babes and spiky-haired comic geeks. he told me the party was moving someplace else in a minute, and then I woke up.

      random picture: one of my favorite outfits on SL, a 1930's vamp sort of thing.

      Classic Car
    • Pride

    • Posted by Ian Mayor on 20 Feb 08

    • Neither of my brothers are Geeks, so when my eldest brother had sons I took it upon my avuncular self to school the lads in all that's good and right.

      Little things, y'know, a Miyazaki here, a kick arse figure there, some of my comic books accidentally working their way into their sticky mits. Subtle stuff.

      But with the boys living in a primarily 'sports based' house, it was hard for me to judge just how much awesome was being retained, until yesterday, when my Seven year old godson asked me the following question...

      "Uncle Ian, can you draw me a ninja Turtle fighting Wolverine"

      I could have cried.
    • The Old Photoblag : 15

    • Posted by Ben on 20 Feb 08
    • garden

      Every day on my walk to work I passed over this river. I have no idea if it had a name, or if it was even man made. I do remember there being a big annual festival when the last natural stream in Seoul begins to run. It was tiny and surrounded by the concrete jungle of the downtown area. Whereas this river had little gardens set up on the step beside the water. During the winter people would brave the cold and come out to tend to their little plots. When summer hit? Ho-ly crap. I just wish this photo was in colour. The soil along the banks was suddenly rich with corn, flowers, cabbage, squash, kohlrahbi and Dai-kon that had probably all been there during the winter, but just not showing it's strength.

      The river itself pulled away from the banks, which is a little confusing to me as I think of Spring as the time of year when the river is going to sweep you off the goddamned planet. The water became a bit less muddy to look at and sometimes you could even hear the cockroaches in the nearest tree singing. Seriously, that was gross. They sound like grasshoppers on steroids.
    • Choking on my misanthropic bile.

    • Posted by Will Couper on 20 Feb 08
    • Except not really.

      I think it would make one hell of a song title though, don't you think.

      To all the people who avidly follow my exploits (about six people in total, I think), I must announce that I am suffering another one of those bouts of internet fatigue.

      You know what I'm talking about. Never actually talking face to face, missing the nuances of expression and just listening to a voice.

      This is probably something I've brought on myself, too much time on message boards and on IM, I think it can do strange things to you.

      Yes, IM can be a wonderful way of staying in touch with people, and I've had some fun conversation through that medium, but sometimes it's good to hear a voice or meet someone in person. The lack of that immediacy has worn on me quite a bit in the last month or so. I'm starting to feel like I'm not a real person (a sudden and quite worrying thought that came to me there - how odd).

      The upshot of this is that I'll be going quiet for while. Dunno how long this will be. Could be a day, could be a week or it could be a month. I just don't know. I'll still be updating my MySpace and may even blurt things onto Twitter. I think I need time away from the internet to do other things, like write, read and interact in more than an electronic way.

    • Movie Review - Sweeney Todd

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 19 Feb 08
    • Since I Am Legend, which had some serious flaws, I have watched some fucking great films, reviewed here. So, my latest reviews have been very positive. You're probably thinking, "oh, he's saying that so he'll prepare me for a very negative review of Sweeney Todd...". Wrong. I fucking loved Sweeney Todd.

      Since the ultraviolent (and very good) Sleepy Hollow - nine years ago -, Tim Burton took a different direction on his brilliant career. Instead of being dark and gothic, his latest movies have been more colored and funny. Movies like Big Fish (a good adventure), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (unecessary remake, really), Planet of the Apes (weak) and Corpse Bride (dark but funny, and a great film). Now, Burton's back to the world of shadows, gothic architecture and artistic violence. And what a return.

      Well-written by John Logan (whose irregular career has been getting much better), the script tells the story of Benjamin Barker, a barber who lived happily with his wife and daughter, until judge Turpin, who wanted Barker's wife, had him arrested under false charges. Fifteen years later, Barker returns to London wanting revenge, and finds out from piemaker Ms. Lovett that his wife poisoned herself and his daughter has been adopted by Turpin. Barker then changes his name to Sweeney Todd and starts planning a way of killing judge Turpin. He sets up a barbershop in which he kills his customers and has them cut up so Ms. Lovett can make pies with their meat.

      The movie already impresses with incredibly dark cinematography by Dariusz Wolski, making a heavy use of light and shadow. It's interesting to notice the movie gradually becomes more colored, reflecting Sweeney's state of mind: the more he kills, the more "alive" he feels, in a sad portray of his deteriorating mind. But throughout the whole movie, every frame is beautifully shadowed and colored, no matter what Todd's state of mind is.

      Burton's direction is probably the best of his career and that's saying something. Composing every frame with care and intelligence, he creates excellent camera movements that enrich the story and characters. Also, he doesn't cut the audience any slack: every drop of blood, every cut throat is shown in perfect detail, in a wonderful "fuck you" to politically correct.

      Burton also puts up a show during the musical scenes, which he directs like a master. Joel Schumacher and his Phantom of the Fucking Opera have a lot to learn. Burton's camera travels elegantly across the scene, using mirrors and inventive angles to make the mood stronger but avoiding melodrama (which Schumacher's Phantom was full of). But the music is secondary, serving the purpose of enriching the story instead of calling attention to itself (once again, one of Schumacher's mistakes in Phantom of the Opera) And the singers? Great, thank you very much. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter sing as well as the film demands them to. They're not professional singers, but they do a very nice job. If you think they're as bad as Gerard Butler in Phantom, get your ears examined. Also, the soundtrack by Stephen Sondheim is great.

      The cast is perfect. It's great to see so many spectacular actors all in one movie. Beggining with my all-time favorite, Johnny Depp. Versatile, brave and brilliant in choosing his roles (it's hard to find a bad movie with Johnny Depp in it), Depp adds another great character to his magnificent career. Depp's Sweeney is utterly obsessed and, as the movie progresses, becomes increasingly psychotic, something Depp portrays in a haunting performance. His face when he finds out his wife poisoned herself and when he kills his first victim are the kind of face that stay with you long after the session.

      Helena Bonham Carter proves her talent once again. Ms. Lovett is apparently a sweet woman with no talent at all for making pies... but under the surface there's a monster in her, that hides behind her sad smile. An ambiguity that makes the character very interesting.

      Alan Rickman, who recently offered a fantastic performance in Perfume, is, of course, excellent. Brilliant actor, really. He creates a hateful villain without being histeric or making Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader "look, I'm evil" faces.

      The rest of the cast is also very good, with special mention to Sacha Baron Cohen (famous for playing Borat) and Timothy Spall. But Jamie Campbell Bower as Anthony doesn't shine as much as the rest of the cast (he's decent, though) and Jayne Wisener is the weak link in an excellent cast. They might aswell have replaced her with a wax statue.

      I see Sweeney Todd as the opposite of Edward Scissorhands. While poor Edward was misunderstood and didn't want to hurt no-one, Sweeney fools people into his chair and kills them very much on purpose, enjoying every second of it. Two sides of the same coin. Both movies are about the how rotten human beings can be, and both movies are magnificent.