North Carolina Young Republicans Are (Definitely Not) Bothered IRL About Drawings of Skulls

Back in May I was contacted by Adam Brinklow and Penny Barber of Satanic SF about my Problem Glyph, [HEX OF OBSOLESCENCE]:

One of our members stumbled on your Hex of Obsolescence tweet a few weeks ago, and we just fell in love with it. Since you gave permission to reproduce the imagery and words, we’re hosting an event next Sunday (May 29) where we’ll be mailing the hex to all 115 members of the North Carolina legislature who voted for HB2, as well as to the governor, and possibly one or two transphobic bloggers, if we end up with some leftover postage.

The imagery fits nicely with our group aesthetic, the message syncs with our tenets about human rights and free expression, and although we’re aware that few of these politicians open their own mail, the mass mailing is itself a gesture of protest (although of course we’re hoping at least one or two of the schmucks will actually receive the page and make a fuss).

Of course I had no objections! The [HEX] in the form seen in the header image currently is freely available for anyone to download and print in both PDF and PSD format, and in my current city of residence Seattle, the stickers are all over the place, slowly melting into inky rainbows on utility poles and newspaper boxes. The hyper-local Capitol Hill Seattle blog did an interview with me about it here (I suspect the comments are bad and don’t recommend reading them; I sure haven’t).

A few weeks after the satanists did their thing, I received this slimy little gem in my FB:

I cackled myself sick and forwarded it to Satanic SF to left them know their efforts were paying off big time. From the text of the HEX itself:


Ms. Tedesco is completely unaware, at 6:47AM on a workday, when she spent the time and effort to track down my personal Facebook account which is in no way mentioned on the [HEX] and must have taken some legwork, that the sigil really hung itself in her office, and is already doing its good work. The only people who work this hard to tell you that they aren’t scared, are the terrified.

I don’t have to believe, light candles, burn sage. This magick happens all on its own. Keep it up.


[”Their Future is Not Our Future,” Problem Glyphs, by Eliza Gauger, image courtesy of the artist.]

The symbols do not exist in a dusty tome, secret knowledge only for adepts. They come to life in the Glyphs as Gauger imbues her artistic work. She describes this work, not unfamiliar to any artist or researcher, in the language of magic:

“Generally the amount of effort or sacrifice one makes for any given spell is supposed to be roughly proportional to its success, right? Big prayers require big sacrifices. And that’s always been part of being the local witch, is that you do the legwork for your client. Any freelancer totally understands that dynamic. Drawing something is a form of magic, you’re summoning form from void, and you’re doing it with skills very few others have access to. So at the end of the “ritual” (drawing), I have proof that I did the ritual, which is the problem glyph itself. It’s like a receipt that I focused on this person’s problem for them for however many hours, and applied my skillset and experience to it.”

Conjuring the Internet: Art and Contemporary Magic

One of the foundational ideas behind Strix Publishing is that a book is more than a collection of words and images. With the advent of digital publishing, the idea of book-as-artifact is more precious than ever, and Strix’s function is to create premium edition books acting as vessels that do their contents justice. 

This is not so say we’re Luddites, though. We do not disavow digital editions of books—they’re a tremendous boon to publishers and readers alike and represent an important step in the democratization of knowledge and art. Almost all Strix print publications will be accompanied by eBook editions, but physical books are the focus of our attentions. The initial slate of publications for Strix’s 2016 catalogue, beginning with the Problem Glyphs art book, were all solicited due to how well they lend themselves to unique and beautiful print editions.

Problem Glyphs will be a premium edition and display-worthy art book featuring a Smyth sewn genuine clothbound hard cover with gold foil-stamped cover illustrations. The estimated 220 interior pages will be printed on beautiful matte coated art paper. Tremendous care has gone into every aspect of the book, from its binding to its typography. In the case of this edition, typographical choices were made in close consultation with Problem Glyphs creator, Eliza Gauger. We’ll have more to share on this subject soon. 

In the meantime, we’re very excited to share this 3D mockup of the Problem Glyphs art book, and are looking forward to see you all in the comments of the Kickstarter, beginning May 16th.


I just wanted to make a book post highlighting the chapter headings in The Alchemy of Being Fourteen, which are sigils from 3liza‘s problemglyphs. The chapter titles are Eliza’s creations as well, they’re the actual names of the works above them. I looked at each and every problem glyph to find ones that reflected the conflict within the chapter it would be posted above. So just to warn you—if you go looking for the original anonymous prompts for these problem glyphs, it’ll probably contain spoilers for the book. 



Suspended in the Void for over a year, the wizard stirs. Creators Simon Berman and Eliza Gauger have been hard at work planning the creation and release of their anticipated comics series, Black Hole Wizard. With their other projects sufficiently underway they finally have the time to make their heady vision a reality.

But, this being the foul year of our Lord, two thousand fifteen, we need your help. Both Simon and Eliza are involved with numerous other endeavors that pay our bills, including the ongoing Problem Glyphs project. Producing a comic book to professional standards is a time consuming and difficult process requiring a huge amount of our attention. With our new Patreon, you can help us. The first two issues are written, concept art is finished, and the whole of the first six issue story arc, Return Trip, is outlined and ready to go.

In return for your support on Patreon you’ll receive advance looks at finished pages, behind the scenes access to live-drawing sessions and even chances to receive original artwork, signed scripts, and other swag from time to time.

To learn more about the Black Hole Wizard Patreon please visit: https://www.patreon.com/blackholewizard

Thanks for your interest over the past few years and if you choose to help support us in bringing the wizard from the Void, thanks for your hard earned dollars. We won’t let you down.

—Simon Berman & Eliza Gauger, March 1st, 2015

PS: Find us at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle later this month! More on this soon. 

PPS: listen to Black Sabbath


Thinking about starting your own Patreon?

Use my referral link and we may both get some free cash. Patreon just started a referral program where using referral links from your friends or favorite creators rewards you both. If you’ve been thinking about starting a Patreon and you’re ready to pull the trigger, I’d love it if you used my referral link and gave us both a chance to get a bonus on your first month! I would be happy to bump your project on my Twitter and personal Tumblr (not here though, since this is a glyphs-only space more or less) to get you more eyes on your work.

My Patreon referral link is:


When you’re ready to start building your own Patreon, click that link first and maybe we’ll make some extra cash!

Thank you for supporting Problem Glyphs, whether its by reblogs, tips, or Patreon! I couldn’t do it without you.

Deep Map Pilots 1: Marenka


MARENKA flies the sailplane service that skims the Neptune atmosphere on a loop that brings it back to the thaw station on Triton.  All the many photos taped to the walls of Marenka’s cockpit flutter like dead leaves in a cold breeze when she bounces out of the atmosphere, and when the harsh thermal exchange bounces the boat about on its descent to Triton.  Triton is a moon of frozen lakes and a hot core.  The sailplane delivers scooped helium-3 to the fusion engines that are re-routing core heat to the surface.  Soon, Triton will be a subtropical worldlet on the edge of the solar system.  That’s when Marenka will leave.  She has a cockpit full of photos of all the things she never wants to be near again, and soon Triton won’t be a cold enough place for her.

Deep Map Pilots is a five-part science fiction vignette series in collaboration with Warren Ellis.  Ellis writes; Gauger illustrates.

Animated GIF showing progression:

External image

Problem Glyph thoughts

Eliza has always said that while she does her Problem Glyphs to address the specific problem at hand, she also intends for everyone to find their own interpretations if that helps them connect with the Glyph. But I have precisely never needed to do that. The problems that get submitted to her are almost universally things that’re particular issues for millenials (my generation) - dealing with various traumas, not being taken seriously by baby-boomers, being assumed to be lazy/narcissistic by previous generations, the shattered economy and a complete lack of hope that we can work through said shattered economy, struggles with mental illness, struggles with The Genders, you get the idea. I can actually connect with almost every single Glyph without needing to interpret it in my own manner. 

So now you know (yet another reason) why I love this project so much and am so intensely grateful to Eliza for her work on it.

If you’ve had the misfortune of following the social media ravings of writer, Simon Berman or artist, Eliza Gauger over the past few months, you may well be asking yourself, “What the hell is Black Hole Wizard and what is wrong with these people?” We will attempt to answer the first question; the second would require a lot more time than we have right now.

Black Hole Wizard is a comic book intended as an excuse for us to explore the weirder recesses of science fiction and fantasy, the droning soundscapes of doom metal, and the new aesthetics of 21st Century occultism. It’s our hope to take these elements and meld them into a compelling attempt at recapturing the spirit of mid-century speculative fiction. 

Simon Berman is a staff writer at Privateer Press where he works on their award winning tabletop games WARMACHINE, HORDES, and the Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy Roleplaying Game. He’s also written and directed a number of projects for Unhallowed Metropolis, the gas-mask chic role-playing game of Neo-Victorian horror.         

Eliza Gauger is a decade-deep veteran of freelance illustrating and fine art, starting her career on the quaintly-infamous Book of Erotic Fantasy and clawing her way up through assignments with Legend of the Five Rings, Unhallowed Metropolis, Conclave Journal, the Proof newspaper, storyboard and graphic design on projects with Jhonen Vasquez, and gallery shows in Munich, Berlin, New York, and Seattle. Her most recent project was DEEP MAP PILOTS with Warren Ellis, a series of illustrated sci-fi vignettes.

We’re currently hashing out the first of our initial six issue story line but we’ll have more to share soon. We hope you’ll join us and our new acquaintance, Qutaybah of El’anscopé, the Black Hole Wizard, on this psychedelic journey into the Void.

eliza's Shop
By Threadless

That’s right all you Glyph Witches, Dumpster Dionysiuses, and Hex Havers, we are proud to announce the launch of Problem Glyphs apparel on Threadless!




Both designs are now available in both Men’s and Women’s sizes and are available in a variety of options including t-shirts, tanks, and hoodies. We’ve been taking our time to make these shirts available both in terms of adjusting the glyphs for the best look and in finding the right vendor. We believe Threadless is a great home for our shirts in terms of both quality and audience. Thank you so much for your patience and we hope you love the first Problem Glyphs shirts!

Yrs truly in blessed commerce,