Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older (New York Time Book Review)

by Holly Black

In the best urban fantasy, the city is not just a backdrop, but functions as a character in its own right, offering up parallels between personal histories and histories of place. That is certainly true in Daniel José Older’s magnificent “Shadow­shaper,” which gives us a Brooklyn that is vital, authentic and under attack.

The book opens with Sierra Santiago painting an enormous mural of a dragon on the side of a building. “We hate the Tower,” Manny the Domino King tells her, explaining why her ­mural is important. “We spit on the Tower. Your paint is our nasty loogie, hocked upon the stupidity that is the Tower.”


It turns out that Sierra’s mural is important for another reason. Sierra comes from a long line of shadowshapers — ­magicians who channel friendly spirits into art. Given form, those spirits are able to defend the community. Her discovery of her own ability and the family history that comes with it is part dynastic intrigue and part cultural awakening. The story is messy, the people in it behave imperfectly and Sierra is heir to all the bad stuff as well as the good.

Sierra herself is a compelling, refreshing hero, with a “fro stretched ­magnificently around her in a fabulous, unbothered halo.” Along with her brother Juan, a guitar player in a salsa-thrash band; the enigmatic Robbie, who draws so compulsively that his art covers “every surface of his clothes, his backpack, his desk”; her trickster figure of an uncle; and a collection of clever and funny friends, she has to discover who is ­murdering her abuelo’s associates and why other murals all over her neighborhood are fading.


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Tens of thousands were here, the sort of eye-popping, enormous crowd that fills Grant Park’s Hutchinson Field for past Lolla headliners like Kanye West, Red Hot Chili Peppers or Metallica — except it was a 5:30 p.m. Sunday set for Twenty One Pilots. And Pilots didn’t pack them in with a commercial, trend-chasing sound, or a series of crossover radio hits (although there is certainly some support from alternative formats). This is a rare and refreshing case where a band has created a thoroughly original sound and stage show — and with that, the people came.

Naysayers might dismiss the duo as gimmicky, and they’d have some examples to support their argument. Frontman Tyler Joseph sported psychedelic aviator goggles, and drummer Josh Dun wore a green alien face mask for set opener “Heavydirtysoul,” the first track on this spring’s Billboard-chart-topping album “Blurryface.” During “Ride,” Dun nearly took a ride, playing drums on a platform that was hoisted up by fans in the front. Joseph pulled off his own over-the-crowd act, singing “Car Radio” from atop a 15-foot-tall ladder near the soundboard, then asked the crowd to pair off so one could hoist their partner on their shoulders for “The Run and Go.”

But these stunts gave the show a live-wire energy, and on top of that, Twenty One Pilots expertly flew through a series of genres: piano pop, emo, punk, hip-hop and beyond, changing styles in the blink of an eye. It even transformed reggae-style diddy “Lane Boy” into a dubstep-style rager. And so people many were jumping during “Radio,” the earth literally moved; you could feel the ground bounce from the top of a hill overlooking the field.

With a set like that, and a crowd like this, how long do you think it will take until Twenty One Pilots is headlining Lollapalooza, or for that matter, the Marcus Amphitheater at Summerfest?

The band is headlining a show at the Rave’s Eagles Ballroom Oct. 30. As you may have guessed, it’s sold out.

‘Despite the fact that the day’s earlier weather-related evacuation of Lollapalooza resulted in many artists’ set times being shifted, every Halsey fan at the fest was present at the BMI stage and chanting her name Sunday evening ready for whatever she had in store. “Ain’t no f*cking rain gonna stop this set,” she said when she took the mic to a loud chorus of cheers from her crowd, audibly filled with young women. “Hold Me Down” got a big response, but the biggest thrill of all? The moment when she brought out Twentyonepilot’s Josh Dun as a guest performer on her song “Roman Holiday.’ -  8 Cool Lollapalooza 2015 Sunday Sets: Florence & the Machine, Halsey & More


NINJA TURTLES “Turtles in Time” Review : Black Nerd Recap of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode featuring Renet, Savanti Romero and… Smooth Michelangelo?? (via


Review: An Entity Observes All Things by Box Brown

An Entity Observes All Things is 152 pages of perfect bound science fiction short stories, some of which have been published previously as mini comics (including New Physics, a review of which you can find here). The collection uses a limited color palette; each story uses 3-4 tones, mostly block primary colors, with some lavender and fuchsia mixed in for good measure.

Despite the collection’s futuristic leanings, Brown’s An Entity Observes All Things is a collection of comics that exists in the now. Science fiction as a genre has the tendency to critique the time in which it is written. Brown follows in that vein. The problems the characters face are classic 21st century – public anxiety, use of social media, boredom at work, even podcasting play a large part in the storytelling.  Brown is also interested accessing  some of the complexities of the human condition – we see him use time travel in one story as a way to explore both regret and personal guilt while in another time travel represents personal separation in loving partnerships.

While many of the stories are fun or funny (sometimes darkly so) the strongest stories in An Entity Observes All Things are the ones in which Brown allows his characters to breathe. “Travel,” a comic about anxiety, proves to be one of the most resonant in the book. We spend a lot of time with the main character, and despite the fantastic shit that is happening all around him, the depth of his inability to interface with the outside world is striking.

Compared to Brown’s previous comics, An Entity Observes All Things seems much tighter. Brown continues to refine his style with dense geometric line and blocky design. I noticed in this collection the use of screen tone as a fill shade, something I don’t remember seeing in previous work; the technique feels like a natural extension of Brown’s current style.  

An Entity Observes All Things is a great introduction of Box Brown’s comics, and pushes previously out of print work to a more durable format. An Entity Observes All Things gives new readers a chance to sample Brown’s sense of humor and cartooning before jumping into other his longer work.  And as a collection of short science fiction stories, Brown has found the right mixture of present and future to create engaging science fiction.


Box Brown (tumblr: boxbrowncomics) is cartoonist and publisher with Retrofit Comics (tumblr: retrofitcomics) His recent graphic novel, Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, a biography of the legendary wrestler, was published by firstsecondbooks

Tokyo Ghoul Re Chapter 39

I really feel like this chapter conveyed more emotion than many of the previous ones.
Starting off, Kijima says that he doesn’t value his life as much because he isn’t beautiful. Even as a cruel torturer, this really shows his lack of self-confidence. He really is still human and how others view him affects him.
Then there’s the public reacting to the video. The public realizes that the CCG does that stuff and at the same time the readers do as well. The CCG is horrifying and few people seem to mind.
Haise definitely cares about the video and is upset by him. Shirazu’s response somewhat reveals his perspective. He’s in the middle of doubting both his previous views and Haise’s views. It’s this morally gray area that can really affect people.
Tsukiyama is looking so much better, even better than he originally looked. Kaneki’s life really has so much affect on his wellbeing. However, he’s still mentally just as bad. His health is only physical. This makes me think that Kaneki’s hair turning back to black is only physical as well. His memories won’t return just from that.
We get a glimpse into what is possibly Eto’s life and we get more background information on Chie.
This chapter really elaborates the theme of the whole story. Everyone is just a person, whether they are human or ghoul. There is a difference between who someone is mentally and who someone is physically.


Here’s a short review or something on season 2 of Bojack Horseman!

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Return to Hadron

Doom - 2015 - by Matt Powell aka “cannonball”

The C.E.R.N. facility tore open a gateway to Hell (ConC.E.R.Ned). The one marine they sent in didn’t come back, and the madness isn’t over yet. Time for a second try.

ConC.E.R.Ned was an interesting original Doom megaWAD published in 2013. The first episode was far and away not my favorite, so it’s cool that the author went back to the source and tried his hand at a remake / remodel. Return to Hadron is a challenging romp through the familiar yet different facilities at the C.E.R.N. complex, with an omnipresent green glow. It’s still weighted toward wide-open spaces that give the player room to maneuver, but Powell is far more canny about making the player surf through crowds. Return to Hadron is pretty fuckin’ cool; if you like slaying demons in techbases, give it a shot.