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Erin Reads: Shoehorned in Oz, and Continuity in Oz August 26, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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Rinkitink in Oz…sure is a book.

This is Baum at peak “desperately trying to be allowed to write non-Oz things.” First chapter opens with “look, ravenous fandom, you’ve seen a map of Oz, right? Okay, zoom out until you’ve got a view of the surrounding countries. See these islands? We’re going there now. Still totally an Oz book, so stay with me! And bring your money.”

The eponymous Rinkitink shows up to visit the island nation of Pingaree just in time for it to be invaded by the evil nation next door. The evil islanders kidnap all the locals except Prince Inga, who goes to the rescue, along with Rinkitink and a talking goat.

Things only start to get Ozzy toward the very end, when the evil king and queen try to get Inga off their backs by passing his captive parents on to the Nome Kingdom. And then Dorothy sees the whole thing in the Magic Picture, and deus-ex-machinas a rescue with the help of the Wizard and a basket of eggs.

Wikipedia says Baum wrote most of the story in 1905, before Oz book 3 was published, and you can tell there wasn’t a lot of revising. The writing doesn’t have the wit and charm that was so good in books 7 and 8. The fantasy countries have the same blandness that dragged down book 9. At this point in the timeline the Nome Kingdom is ruled by Kaliko, but this book was originally written with Ruggedo — and it’s painfully obvious. I bet Baum didn’t change anything beyond find-and-replacing the names.

There isn’t a single girl in the party, which is grating. And this is the book with the wince-worthy scene about a transformed human being turned back in stages, with one of those stages being a Tottenhot (last seen in book 7).

Entirely skippable.


On to Book 11, Lost Princess of Oz, and FINALLY, Baum has accepted his lot in life and gotten into a groove. It’s familiar Oz characters with an Oz-centric conflict that we’re guaranteed to care about from the first sentence — Ozma is missing.

Dorothy is the one who confirms Ozma isn’t just sleeping in. You see, she’s the only one who’s always allowed into Ozma’s chambers, no matter how early, or late, the hour. Draw your own conclusions.

The kidnapper has also managed to disappear all the MacGuffins that would have made the rescue too easy. The Magic Picture is gone. When the Wizard takes a speedy Sawhorse-back ride all the way to Glinda’s castle, he learns that the Magic Book is gone — and so are all her spellcasting ingredients and equipment — and, when he gets back, so is his.

Awkwardly, the Magic Belt is still here…but somehow Dorothy has forgotten how to use it. It’ll protect her while she’s wearing it, and that’s all. I wish Baum had at least tried to shoehorn in an excuse. (Maybe it’s been so many years that Dorothy’s forgotten? Maybe its automatic spell-understanding power has run down, like Tik-Tok when he can only speak nonsense because his thoughts have run down?)

There’s a bunch of lovely setting description — of Ozma’s rooms, of Glinda’s magic book, of other scenery. Reminiscent of the time in book 6 when Baum slowed down to give us a bunch of national statistics about Oz: we’ve been here before, but this time he’s thinking about it.


The B-plot involves an isolated mesa-top community in the Winkie Country, where Cayke the cook’s magic diamond-studded dishpan is gone too. She and the Frogman, local respected oracle and literal giant frog, set out to find it.

In general, this is painfully less interesting. Although the way average Ozites react to them is pretty funny:

“Tell me, my good man, have you seen a diamond-studded gold dishpan?”

“No, nor have I seen a copper-plated lobster.”

And here’s what happens when they stumble into the country of the teddy bears (yeah, it’s a thing), get arrested for trespassing, and are brought before the king for sentencing:

“I condemn you to death merely as a matter of form. It sounds quite terrible, and in ten years we shall have forgotten all about it.”

So, a few good snappy lines. Too few. Even now that Baum is writing a fresh new plot instead of harvesting earlier manuscripts, he’s slid pretty far from the high point of cleverness we got in books 7 and 8.


The familiar characters, meanwhile, set off for a manual, boots-on-the-ground search. They split up into four parties to search the four Oz countries; Dorothy’s party is the one we follow.

It is, unfortunately, much too big. In spite of the excellent plot-based excuse to split people up, we end up with Dorothy, Betsy, Trot, Button-Bright, the Wizard, Scraps, the Woozy, the Cowardly Lion, Hank the mule, the Sawhorse, and Toto. That’s 11 characters! We’re doubling up on roles, and there aren’t nearly enough good lines to go around.

The distinctions between the American girls have pretty much collapsed. Trot and Betsy never get anything useful or plot-relevant to do that separates them from Dorothy, and their lines are all interchangeable.

Button-Bright isn’t much better in the beginning. At least his propensity for getting lost becomes a plot point. (Dorothy scolds him for wandering off when they’re on an important mission! She’s come so far.)

The Wizard seems to feel pretty useless without his magic, though he does get a few good tool-using moments, recalling his resourcefulness throughout book 4. Would’ve been nice if this was a more explicit character arc — from “uh-oh, what do I do without supernatural powers?” to “wait, I’m a clever and resourceful guy, I just have to get my groove back.” I mean, this is the man who once took over the country with nothing but bluff, stage magic, and elbow grease.

Scraps is great. As sharply-characterized as ever. Gets to demonstrate that she’s just as good at coming up with clever plans as the Scarecrow, though she’s more mischievous about rolling them out. When the party gets stymied by an illusion, she’s the one who susses it out — a nice payoff for the time she learned how to deal with illusions in book 7.

The Woozy, Sawhorse, and Hank are, eerily, not much better differentiated than the girls. The Lion isn’t much better, though his characteristic cowardice still pops up. Should’ve only brought one of these, maybe two.

There’s a whole chapter when the beasts are discussing what physical features are best, and of course they all have wildly different bodies and capabilities…but each one has exactly the same level of pride in his own appearance, and expresses it in the same way as the next one. There’s no individual personality coming through.

Toto manages to stand out, partly because of his relationship with Dorothy, partly because he has a mini-arc about “losing his growl.” (You’d think this would be a great opportunity for the Woozy to be sympathetic….)

Apparently Toto has gotten more comfortable talking since his last appearance. He’s having whole conversations now, and wasn’t communicating nonverbally even before the growl-loss. I guess it’s nice that he’s already chatty, instead of being forced by circumstances to do something he isn’t comfortable with…but this feels like another missed opportunity for a character arc.


The most substantial character arc in the book is actually from the other party.

At first the Frogman is hugely-respected in his little corner of Oz, assumed to be wise and thoughtful because he’s so unique, and he goes along with this because he likes the attention. He joins Cayke on her quest because he expects to find new people to fawn on him. The indifference of the average Winkie is pretty jarring.

Then they wander past the Truth Pond — last seen in book 5 — and the Frogman goes for a splash, only to discover that, whoops, now he can’t lie. Maybe not even to himself. He comes clean with Cayke about not being as smart or venerable as he put on…and ends up doing some genuinely heroic things, putting himself in danger to help others, now that he can’t just coast along on bluff-based admiration.


“Search for Ozma” stumbles into being “search for a magician evil and powerful enough to have stolen Ozma,” and the parties converge when they both start aiming for Ugu the Shoemaker. Your standard megalomaniac sorcerer.

Turns out Cayke’s magic dishpan has teleporting powers, because why not. Ugu stole that first, used it to zap himself into Glinda’s and Ozma’s homes to steal their stuff, and then — when Ozma caught him in the act — had to hastily kidnap her as an afterthought.

One of the souvenirs from the teddy-bear country is a new MacGuffin: a tiny wind-up bear that can give true answers to any question. Not always specific-enough answers, unfortunately. They ask for Ozma’s location, it points them to a hole in the ground not far from Ugu’s castle, but all they see when they get there is Button-Bright.

And apparently none of them know how to play Twenty Questions. Or remember a whole lot of their own continuity, because we get lines of speculation like this:

“Perhaps Button-Bright is Ozma.” / “And perhaps he isn’t! Ozma is a girl, and Button-Bright is a boy.”

Yeah, and the last time Ozma was kidnapped, the villain’s whole plot was to hide her by transfiguring her into a boy, so your point is…?

Button-Bright also scornfully insists, “Nothing ever enchants ME.” Kid, on your first adventure you got turned into a fox-person. Dorothy was there!

You would think, considering that three separate characters in this party were on the expedition to Ev, one of them would remember where the missing Tin Woodman was eventually found, and start turning down Button-Bright’s pockets.

(Once the Wizard finally thinks to ask narrowing-down questions, our heroes find Ozma pretty quickly. They recover all the magical tools and ingredients. They even finally track down Cayke’s dishpan, and send her home happy.)


But listen, all Plot-Enforced Stupidity aside, I love the way this book ends, and here’s why:

How do they defeat Ugu? This terrifyingly strong evil wizard? The villain who managed to imprison Princess Ozma, de-power Glinda the Good, and generally get the best of all good magic-users in Oz?

Dorothy beats him in a magical showdown.

She’s been secretly practicing with the Magic Belt. (“I transformed the Sawhorse into a potato masher and back again, and the Cowardly Lion into a pussycat and back again.”) Now she breaks it out and gets her magical-girl on, complete with an “I’ll punish you” speech. Saves the rest of the crew from Ugu’s traps, and, with transfiguration power that rivals the Nome King’s, turns Ugu himself into a dove. I would make a “he got better” joke here, but…he does not. The very last denouement scene is dove!Ugu asking Dorothy for her forgiveness.

Dorothy Gale has gone from “sweet, simple Kansas child, who was a meek and tearful prisoner for the Wicked Witch of the West” to “most formidable magic-user in all Oz.”

And boy, she will wallop you if you mess with her girlfriend.

Monday Works Roundup, 8/22/16 August 22, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in Leif & Thorn, Works Roundup.
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Leif & Thorn
Ceannic Quartz Team Fusions (art | Thorn, Violet, Birch, Rowan | worksafe)
Who has a better right? (sketch | Hedge/Grassie | worksafe)
Holly/Olive – Don’t stop (comic | Holly/Olive | NSFW-ish)
Leif/Thorn – Look but don’t touch (comic | Leif/Thorn | NSFW-ish)

Save me from the snowball (sketch | Hans/Anna | worksafe)

Le Petit Prince
Mister Prince (art | prince, Rose, little girl, fox | worksafe)

Oz books
Sleepin’ Dorothy (art | Dorothy and the gang | worksafe)

Sleepless Domain
Mahou in Rain Boots (art | Undine | worksafe)

Steven Universe
A Rose Quartz and an Amethyst makes… (art | Smoky Quartz | worksafe)
Learning to be ‘us’ without her (sketches | Greg/Rose/Pearl, Greg/Pearl | worksafe)
Dalmation Jasper (art | corrupted quartz | worksafe)

Wedding Dreamers (reward chibis, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Walker and the gang in matching snappy suits. #likeaboss

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Leif goes down on one knee, for very platonic reasons.

The DoJ is going to start seriously tracking police killings. Finally. August 16, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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People killed by police, 2016. 728 and counting.

Now including a 73-year-old librarian who was roleplaying for a training exercise. And yet we will continue to trust that department with guns.

“During the course of the standoff Caldwell police officers broke numerous windows to gain entry, crashed through ceilings while they were maneuvering through the home, and punctured holes in the house by shooting canisters of tear gas that released noxious chemicals into the home.” Even though nobody was in the house…and the owner had given them the front door key.

Heartwarming: “Charles Kinsey, who was released from the hospital late last week, is now walking with a cane and a noticeable limp, but he still wanted to see Arnaldo Rios. Kinsey told reporters that Rios jumped from his hospital bed and hugged him when he entered the room for their private meeting.”

Grass-roots organizations in black communities lead the efforts to make their streets safe. We need to get rid of the offensive falsehood that black people don’t care about crime, and help create the reforms they’ve long demanded.”

“The federal government investigated the Baltimore police’s activities between January 2010 and June 2015, and concluded that officers routinely violated black people’s rights, intruded upon their lives, and racial bias pervaded ‘every stage’ of BPD’s enforcement activities.”

And finally: “The US Department of Justice, for the first time, will keep a comprehensive database of fatal officer-involved incidents, amid rising skepticism around police accountability.” A long-overdue first step.

Erin Watches: Adventures with Tip and Oh, cont’d August 15, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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Back from a fast-paced Otakon, ready to relax and finish off this season.

Apparently there’s a kind of Boov doomsday cult hiding in the sewers, convinced that the Gorg conquered the surface of the planet and enslaved everyone it could find. They have a slideshow about it! With a song! (Oh doesn’t have a song prepared for his own slides, so Tip makes some verses up.)

Well, great, the writers are willing to toss out all established continuity for the sake of an episode gimmick. Oh gets a case of static electricity, and the cure is for another Boov to touch him…except suddenly Boov Never Touch Each Other! Sure, Kyle put his arm around Oh as far back as their reconciliation scene in the movie, but all of a sudden he won’t make physical contact with Oh — or any other Boov in danger — because it’s Not Proper.

Seriously, you couldn’t have given us the fun of Oh’s electrified head turning into a Jacob’s-ladder without that kind of plot-contorting?

The Department of Bubble Vehicles has a little “hang in there, baby!” style poster…with a weird segmented bug-cat on it. Aww.

Oh freaking out over receiving an issue of Tweenie Pop is the greatest thing. He literally goes into a magical-girl transformation over it.

Positive continuity: in one episode, Sharzod decides to adopt Pig the cat as a fashionable new hairpiece, and a couple episodes later we see a cat-hat on a random Boov photographer.

Episode 11a sees Tip get into a punching battle with a would-be alien invader who’s got that Steven Universe aesthetic going — four arms, three eyes, cute skirt, Jasper-style build.

And every line of hers is gold. “I forged my muscles in the trials of Moondisc, a planet made entirely of insults!” “I was birthed in a pit of fire. How do you make a pit of fire proud of your accomplishments?!” “I too was recently banished to the friendship center by MY love interest!” “Four is the most desirable amount of arms!” “You too seem to know the unfathomable horrors of love!”

Sharzod confirmed to be a boyboygirl!

I still think it was the wrong decision to make the Gorg male at all. (Think of the narrative parallels! A daughter on a journey to rescue her mother vs. a mother on a journey to rescue her daughters!) So of course in the cartoon they decided it wasn’t gendered enough, and doubled down with a little pseudo-mustache. It’s a a literal Starfish Alien! Why does it need anthropomorphic cues of masculinity?

But, y’know, the alien babies are still cute. And it makes a nice lead-up to an episode where Oh goes searching for his own biological relatives — his podmates — and tries to have a human-style family reunion, with mixed results. That’s the second-last episode, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was planned to be the last one, because the affirmation of his adoptive family at the end is a nice wrap-up for the themes of the whole series.

Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail August 9, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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People killed by police, 2016. 703 and counting.

A Virginia jury convicted a white police officer for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager, William Chapman, who was accused of shoplifting.” Not the first person Stephen Rankin has killed, either. (“This is my second one.“)

“[Officer James Burns] had no idea who was in the vehicle. He had no idea if that was the vehicle he should be concerned with. He just discharged his weapon.” Deravis Rogers died. At least, for once, the officer was charged with murder.

“Raja then tried to stage a crime. He called 911 using his personal cell phone over 30 seconds after firing his last shot. During the call, Raja yells, “Drop the f—— gun right now!” Raja then falsely claimed on the call that he identified himself as a police officer and gave Jones orders. Raja later admitted to investigators that he kept shooting despite seeing Jones throw his firearm out of reach.” Charged with manslaughter and attempted murder. It’s a start.

“At one point, an officer tells other police, ‘Make sure these are all off,’ in an apparent reference to their body cameras.” And yet there’s video of Paul O’Neal, and it’s terrible.

“It’s almost incomprehensible that a young naked man would be considered dangerous such that a police officer would kill him.” David Joseph, 17.

“On Sept. 4, 2005, days after the levees failed and water swamped the city, police murdered 17-year-old James Brissette and 40-year-old Ronald Madison, who were both unarmed, and wounded four others on the Danziger Bridge. […] After hearing from five dozen witnesses and examining 400 pieces of evidence during a monthlong trial, a federal jury convicted the officers for opening fire and trying to cover up wrongdoing.

“The only reason this situation did not get worse is because I am a recognizable elected official and fortunately at that moment two other officers recognized who I was. I was incensed. I shouldn’t have to use my title to get justice.”

Monday Works Roundup 8/8/16 August 8, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in But I'm A Cat Person, Leif & Thorn, Works Roundup.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Species Swap II (wallpaper | Reseda, Timothy, Miranda, Poe, Walker, Blake | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
Filling plot holes (comic | Del/Violet | M)
Angelic Leif (art | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)
Flags of the Fictional World 1 (art | flags | worksafe)

Gravity Falls
Prism Bill (art | Mabel/Bill | worksafe)

Oz books
In the Nome King’s Cavern (art | Dorothy, Evring | worksafe)

Steven Universe
Terrifying Gem Army (comic | Jasper, corrupted gems | G)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Miranda tries to be helpful. No, really!

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Our heroes do their best to have romantic adventures in a really long line.

“I’m so fucking ready, America.” August 6, 2016

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“Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump, and three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times. He asked, at one point, ‘If we have them, we can’t we use them?’… Three times, in an hour briefing, ‘Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?’”

“Donald Trump asking about nuclear weapons is the biggest red flag since Voldemort asked about Horcruxes as a teenager at Hogwarts.

“Fine, let’s stipulate that she’s a crook. That crook is all that’s standing between us and having President Donald Trump redefine the future of this country and of the Republican Party. Donald Trump is unfit for office.”

If you want reasons to vote for Hillary instead of just against the apricot hellbeast, look no further than Michael J. Morell, former CIA deputy director:

I spent four years working with Mrs. Clinton when she was secretary of state, most often in the White House Situation Room. In these critically important meetings, I found her to be prepared, detail-oriented, thoughtful, inquisitive and willing to change her mind if presented with a compelling argument.

I also saw the secretary’s commitment to our nation’s security; her belief that America is an exceptional nation that must lead in the world for the country to remain secure and prosperous; her understanding that diplomacy can be effective only if the country is perceived as willing and able to use force if necessary; and, most important, her capacity to make the most difficult decision of all — whether to put young American women and men in harm’s way.

Mrs. Clinton was an early advocate of the raid that brought Bin Laden to justice, in opposition to some of her most important colleagues on the National Security Council. During the early debates about how we should respond to the Syrian civil war, she was a strong proponent of a more aggressive approach, one that might have prevented the Islamic State from gaining a foothold in Syria.

I never saw her bring politics into the Situation Room. In fact, I saw the opposite. When some wanted to delay the Bin Laden raid by one day because the White House Correspondents Dinner might be disrupted, she said, “Screw the White House Correspondents Dinner.”

Or, to put it another way: “This is literally why we have a representative government. I know you don’t want to read long, boring things. So I do it for you, and I ask a bunch of smart people, and we come up with shit that works. Here’s my solution on energy. Here’s my solution on Wall Street. Here’s my solution on jobs. I have fucking binders full of this shit and you know it. I’m so fucking ready, America.”

Guns, race, and police: some numbers. August 4, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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People killed by police, 2016. 690 and counting.

“Data released by the FBI on Monday shows that 2015 was one of the safest years for U.S. law enforcement in recorded history, following a sustained trend of low numbers of on-duty deaths in recent decades.”

“Officer Cariol Horne did what any good person would do, when she saw a fellow cop choking a handcuffed suspect. She stepped in, and stopped the attack on the defenseless citizen. In a story that garnered national attention, Horne was fire, then dismissed from the Buffalo Police Department after 19 years of service.” Or, “but what about all the good cops?!?…oh.”

“This study estimates the impact of Missouri’s 2007 repeal of its permit-to-purchase (PTP) handgun law on states’ homicide rates and controls for changes in poverty, unemployment, crime, incarceration, policing levels, and other policies that could potentially affect homicides.” (Surprise: gun homicides went up by 23%, and murders specifically by 16%.)

“Criminal histories and documented mental health problems did not prevent at least eight of the gunmen in 14 recent mass shootings from obtaining their weapons, after federal background checks led to approval of the purchases of the guns used.”

“Alva Braziel was shot 10 times by the police near a gas station in what the police say was a justified shooting because the man had a firearm and was pointing it at them. […] However, the time frame of the video does not seem to match the police’s claim, as their arrival and the subsequent fatal shooting takes less than 10 seconds.

Even if the white guy happens to be pointing his gun directly at an officer, his interaction with the police is unlikely to end in the exchange of gunfire.” Eight incidents that illustrate the point.

Affiliates of Showing Up for Racial Justice: a good way to find good groups in your area.

Clinton’s plan will create 3.2 million jobs; Trump can’t even pay the performers at his own rallies August 2, 2016

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And it’s not just any performers Trump won’t pay. It’s adorable little girls. “In an article posted this morning, Jeff Popick, the man who wrote the song and the father of the youngest Freedom Girl, informed the Washington Post that he plans to sue Trump over promises Popick says were made and then broken by the campaign.” Oh, and he’s trying to stiff a hotel that hosted a campaign event, too.

A 74-page document that’s nothing but links to terrible things Trump has said and done. And growing.

“The results of an online survey conducted by Teaching Tolerance suggest that the campaign is having a profoundly negative effect on children and classrooms. It’s producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom. Many students worry about being deported.”

“While working on “The Art of the Deal,” Schwartz kept a journal in which he expressed his amazement at Trump’s personality, writing that Trump seemed driven entirely by a need for public attention. “All he is is ‘stomp, stomp, stomp’—recognition from outside, bigger, more, a whole series of things that go nowhere in particular,” he observed, on October 21, 1986.”

On the flip side: “Clinton’s promise is a big one, but that doesn’t mean it’s an empty one. This morning, Moody’s Analytics released a report concluding that Clinton’s economic plan would create 3.2 million jobs and accelerate growth of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). By contrast, earlier this month, a similar (albeit contested) Moody’s analysis of Trump’s economic plan estimated that it would reduce employment (by about 3.5 million jobs), reduce economic output, and prompt a painful recession.”

It was determined the T-shirt was offensive to some people and so the decision was made to pull it from the sales floor.” The text” Someday a woman will be president.” The year: 1995. How far we’ve come.

“I cannot walk into a room with pictures of Humayun. For all these years, I haven’t been able to clean the closet where his things are — I had to ask my daughter-in-law to do it. Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could? Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?” This woman’s strength is incredible. Dishonor and shame on anyone who attacks her.

I want to live in The Onion’s uniferse: “Donald Trump reportedly threw himself on his bed Tuesday and asked himself ‘Why can I never seem to say the right thing?‘ while weeping into his pillow.”

Promo post: Sparkler Magazine; Echoes Production August 2, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in Fandom.
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With 24 hours left in the Sparkler Monthly Year 4 Kickstarter, they’re fully funded — but if you want some cool rewards and/or to help them hit their stretch goals, go give it a look!

Here’s their pitch:

Based off the Japanese comics model you might know from magazines like Shonen Jump, Sparkler Monthly runs serialized fiction in monthly chapters–so every month, you get a new piece of five different series at once. Most of our series are comics, but we also publish prose with illustrations, audio dramas, and one-shot short stories in any format. All of them are bundled together in the magazine so our audience can get a taste of everything.

After three years of running our magazine and releasing almost fifty ebooks and paperbacks from it, we’re proud of what we’ve built. We pay our creators advances, give them veteran editors, and release their work in a number of formats, all while keeping copyright in the creators’ names. In an era where we have an industry-wide push to support more comics for women, that’s exactly what we publish: Female Gaze content for women, men, and non-binary readers in a wide variety of genres, much of it LGBT+. And although we hire all genders, the vast majority of the Sparkler family is female–from the owners to the editors to the creators to the staff–and we’re proud that the female perspective is the norm here, rather the exception.


Also got asked to boost a link to Echoes Productions, a…collaborative writing/roleplaying project? With all the flair of old-timey adventure novels. Check out Meddlesome Marxist Macheteros of Guevara’s Groupthink for a sample. They’re not looking for money, just eyeballs, and maybe interested new members.

And here’s their pitch:

Enter a world where World War IV could literally happen at the drop of a hat. A reality where Soviet superheavy tanks charge across the Siberian tundra in battle against chrome robotic hordes and cloned battalions from space. Where time is weaponized, military weapons are sold in used car lots, and adventure is just out your front door!
Enter the Paraechoes Timeline, and see our world through a dozen fractured lenses. Create new breakthroughs in an Allied laboratory, or become the top executive in the Mediterranean Syndicate’s management food chain. Fight alongside the minutemen of the Confederate Revolutionaries or hold fast to traditional values in the American Unionists. Follow the brave field team of the Persephone Foundation as they catalogue, explore, and survive the hottest Cold War in any universe.

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