It’s been more than a day and I’m still laughing at how the Squire pact in TOZ-X is now just a friendship bracelet while Mikleo and Sorey apparently have each other on telepathic emergency speed dial LOL.
Hey Everyone! When I was younger, I used to read a ton. As a direct result of that, my writing and reading were on point. Recently, however, I haven’t been reading as much, and as a result, my writing isn’t as good as I want it to be (albeit, still pretty good). I’ve decided to read all the books on this list over the next 1 and a half years to get back into reading and to improve my writing. Enjoy! :)
Ligeia. “The thing that was enshrouded advanced boldly and palpably into the middle of the apartment.” Color process illustration by Byam Shaw, for Edgar Allan Poe’s book, Selected Tales of Mystery, 1909.
Robotnik Art Historia- Part Four: Age of the Eggman
Welcome one and all to the Robotnik Art Historia, where we examine the visual depictions of Robotnik over the years! Well beautiful friends, we’re close to the end here, and it’s rather appropriate given that the particular ‘era’ of the books covered here is where things really began to end for the old Robotnik, with a new Robotnik emerging to take the place of the old- Robo-Robotnik, an early one shot villain, who after devastating his own Mobius was moving in to the current one in order to re-live the thrill of conquest. Uploading his consciousness into a body modeled after the modernized Eggman design from Sonic Adventure, he would take over as central villain to the book, and usher in a time when SEGA would finally start exerting more and more control over the book in order to align things more closely to the games, having decided that they wanted a more consistent depiction of their mascot and his world. To sound off that declaration, an adaptation of Sonic Adventure would become the first major plot after issue 75. Afterwards came what I like to call ‘The Dark Ages’.
Now, for each person, when and why ‘The Dark Ages’ started up is a matter of interpretation. Personally, I place the deterioration of things as happening after the Sonic Adventure adaptation finished- this is era that would give us Green Knuckles, the Love Triangle, Freedom Fighters In School, and the thrice accursed art of Ron Lim (more on him below). It was an age of uneven storytelling and even more uneven art. Yet despite having long since been permanently killed off, Robotnik managed to linger on all the same. Fittingly, this era would feature some of the crappiest art of Robotnik yet, and at the same time would signal his temporary return to the books… in what was probably one of the worst Sonic issues ever.
19. Chris Allan
A former regular on the Archie Ninja Turtles comic, Chris Allan theoretically should have been a perfect fit for the book, having demonstrated more than enough skill in drawing anthropmorphic animals that would qualify him to handle Sonic. Unfortunately, Allan was a rather prominent example of what I call ‘Sonic Complacency Syndrome’- it’s when an otherwise skilled and competent artist’s abilities turn to complete shit when they try to do Sonic. It has felled more than a few, and serves as a good illustration as to why it takes effort to do this shit right- Allan’s Mobians were poorly, poorly executed, and try as he might he could never quite get them right. He was selected to illustrate the ‘Tales of the Great War’ stories, which helped to flesh out the (underwhelming) details of the Great War and how Robotnik came to be Warlord. While his Mobians were sub-par, he managed to do a pretty good job with Robotnik. There was nothing in particular that stood out about his take on the guy, but given how the rest of his work ‘stood out’, that’s prolly for the best.
19. Frank Strom
Frank Strom’s enduring legacy on the Sonic Book was the creation of the Dragon Kingdom and all the characters associated with it, including the infamous Monkey Khan. Frank Strom before working on Sonic was heavily involved with DC’s Looney Tunes comics as a writer, and worked extensively in Adult Comics. When it came to drawing for Sonic, he was…. not really all that good, at least when it came to Mobians. He had more luck with humans, including Robotnik, and was among the few to draw the guy before he had the bionic earsa nd eyes. While there is nothing especially bad about how he drew Robotnik, there’s something very… off, about the way he looks. Bit of an uncanny valley thing going on there. And as many before him did, Strom is yet another to draw Robotnik with a bulbous nose. Out of all the features that artists drawing the guy seem to mess up, it’s more often than not its his nose- which is ironic, given that this design has the least exaggerated nose out of any Robotnik and Eggman out there.
20. Suzanne Paddock
Susan Paddock is a bit of a mystery- she has only two Sonic works to her name, only one of them being a proper story, and I can’t really find much of anything about her career outside of the hedgehog. Still, the one story she illustrated for was perhaps one of the most out there ideas in all of the book- a story where Sonic winds up in a rules obsessed zone and has to clear his name with the help of a lawyer Sally Acorn called “Sally McAcorn”. Yeah, that’s not dated or anything (for those of you who weren’t children of the 90s, Fox in those days had a comedy tinged lawyer show called ‘Ally McBeal’, best known for birthing the ‘dancing baby’ meme of the early internet).
Anyway, Paddock’s art style in general was really weird, and her depiction of Robotnik was no different- in this Zone an AI called ‘J.U.D.G.’, at some point in the past there was an organic Robotnik, and just… look at him. He has teeny tiny T-rex arms! And his body looks like it was glued onto his legs! Damn this was a weird ass story, and I’m still not clear if it was meant to be implied that the past Robotnik became J.U.D.G.E or not… yeah in addition to being weird, this was a crappy story in general. It was also the last time Robotnik in any form would appear in a Super Special, as between this stinker and the even worse ‘Naugus Games’ the line was cancelled.
21. J. Axer
Jeffrey Axer was one of a number of artists on the book who started out as a fanartist, and easily one of the most well regarded- bringing to the book an incredibly detailed anime-influenced aesthetic, he was responsible for some of the most gorgeous artwork to grace the early 2000s era of the book. Which is why its such a crying shame that the only times he got to draw Robotnik 1.0 where in a pair of Pro-Art pieces, both of which were miscolored. Seriously, why is it so hard to remember that his eyes are red against black??? Why??? Ah well- Axer’s Robotnik was cool looking, taking much of the SatAM Robotnik and making it fit into the anime aesthetic very nicely. I especially dig the fang-like eye teeth and attention paid to his cheek bones.
22. Ron Lim
Hooo boy, Ron Lim… I still wonder if he was a victim of Sonic Complacency Syndrome or if he just didn’t give a shit. Either way, Lim was a former Marvel hotshot who was particularly well known for his work on Silver Surfer. I am convinced that the reason he got the job at Archie was purely on the basis of having been a big name at Marvel, because lord almighty his artwork was just horrendous. Well, that’s not entirely fair- Ron Lim is in fact a very skilled artist, but the problem was? He was a poor, poor, poor fit at Sonic with a near total inability to even vaguely grasp the kind of style you’d expect for a Sonic book. What was worse though was that despite how awful his work on the book was, Ron Lim stuck around for a long, long time, to such an extent that he was practically the main artist for the book for much of the early 2000s. Yeah, not fun times.
Naturally, his touch of dung extended to his art for Robotnik. Much like Penders, Lim struggled to reconcile the realism he was used to with the toony exaggeration required of the book, and ended up failing on both counts. Ron Lim’s Robotnik as an end result was a stubby, wrinkly looking guy whose appearance made it seem as though he had been sculpted from butter and was in the process of melting. Not helping matters at all was the fact that the story he appeared in was one of the very worst of the series, and a personally despised one. Lim’s Robontik is noteworthy in that it might be the most realistic looking of the various attempts at drawing Robotnik… this however was not a good thing, as much like Penders, Lim’s Robotnik was caught in an awkward area between realism and tooniness, and executing neither well. Still, this wasn’t the worst drawn Robotnik on the book. That distinct honor would go to the next on our list…
23. “Many Hands”
Many Hands. A name which will live in infamy. Okay technically ‘Many Hands’ wasn’t a person but a bunch of people, but twice this name has popped up and twice the end result was just odious. Look at this. Just… look at this. Do I really have to explain why this is awful? He looks like a deflated baloon, his shoulder pads are all wrong, and the coloring and shading is just *garish*. This is probably the worst drawn Robotnik in the entire series, and given all the shitty art that came before and after that’s REALLY saying something.
24. Dawn Best
Another of the ‘New Wave’ of fanartists-turned-pro that hit the book in the early 2000s, Dawn Best was a much anticipated addition to the books, having made a name for herself in fan circles as a superb artist. She showed a great deal of promise, much of which was unfortunately squandered thanks to Ken Penders’ absolutely abominable inks making a hash out of the bulk of her art. While he slowly improved down the line, the damage was done. Regardless, Best remained pretty popular. She only managed to draw Robotnik once- her take on Robotnik was an especially chunky and brutish looking specimen, with a shaggier and more unkempt mustache than most. As I say far too often than I like, its a shame we could not have seen more from her… both regarding Robotnik and in general.
And thus we bring this chapter of the Historia to a close. Well friends, it’s the beginning of the end now- after this there will only be one last post to this artist retrospective, as we exit the Dark Age of the book and enter into what was a bright and shiny renaissance- the Flynn Era!
Grammatical table from William Burckhardt Barker’s A reading book of the Turkish language, with a grammar and vocabulary; containing a selection of original tales, literally translated, and accompanied by grammatical references; the pronunciation of each word given as now used in Constantinople (London: James Madden, Steven Austin, Printer, 1854).
Anonymous request for what Spencer Reid would have in store for his girlfriend on her birthday.
I woke up to the rustling of our sheets, the mattress dipping down as Spencer crawled into bed beside me. He pressed himself against my back, nuzzling into my neck, his warm body a comfort.
“Hi,” I murmured.
“Good morning,” he replied. “And,” he continued, pressing his lips to my head, “Happy Birthday, (Y/N).” I smiled as I rolled over in his arms to face him.
“Thanks,” I said. He kissed me gently.
“You might want to get up, though,” he said.
“Mm. Why?” I asked sleepily.
“Because I have big plans for your birthday.”
Spencer took me to my favorite coffee shop for breakfast, where I got my usual danish and macchiato. Then, he pulled me enthusiastically to our next stop, which turned out to be the bookstore that I love.
“Pick one,” he said, standing in the center of the store with his arms out wide.
“Anything,” he said. I smiled slightly at him and then turned to peruse the shelves, eventually settling on a selection of classic fairy tales, which Spencer paid for as we left.
“Alright, what’s next?” I asked.
“You’ll love this one,” he said with sparkling eyes as he took my hand in his.
We went to the Disney store, which Spencer knows I adore, but where I don’t go often because it’s so expensive. He smiled brightly at me.
“Go ahead, pick something,” he said.
“Pick something?” I repeated and he nodded.
“Yeah, whatever you want,” he encouraged. “Go on.” I smiled hesitantly and then went on to look around the store. I settled on a journal and pen set, fashioned in the style of Belle’s books from ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
“Okay, we have lunch now,” Spencer announced.
“You’re very…in command today,” I commented, and he smiled at me.
“I have big plans for today,” he said.
“I can tell.”
We had lunch at one of my favorite little Greek places, and I got all my favorite foods, complete with baklava for dessert. Then, hand in hand, we left the shop and Spencer announced that we had one more stop to make.
“Where is it?” I asked.
“The flower shop,” he answered. Puzzled, I followed him.
“Okay, pick your favorite of these rose bushes,” he said. I looked at them for a moment, and settled on a pink one that liked. Spencer bought it and we headed back toward the house where we both lived.
“Let’s go, we have to plant it,” he said, sounding excited.
“How about out front?” I suggested, but he shook his head.
“No, I’ve already picked a spot,” he said assertively and I just nodded. This change in his personality was curious, but I found myself interested to see where it was leading. He led me to the back of the house, where a space of dirt was cleared, presumably for the rosebush.
“Come on,” he encouraged. “Let’s go.” I laughed at his enthusiasm and followed him as he knelt in the dirt. He looked between me and the clear patch of dirt, gesturing toward it.
“You want me to dig a hole for the roses?” I asked, and he nodded, pointing to a spot in the center.
“Right there,” he said, and, shooting him an inquisitive look, I began to dig into the dirt. Seconds later, I came upon something solid and glanced up at my boyfriend.
“What?” He asked innocently. I turned my attention to the dirt and pulled up a small black velvet ring box. When I turned back to Spencer, he was sitting on one knee.
“Open it,” he said softly. I opened the box and gasped at the sight of the princess cut ring.
“Spence,” I said.
“I want to spend my whole life with you, (Y/N),” he said. “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and you’re beautiful and smart and kind and I love you more than anything in the world. Will you marry me?”
I nodded my head against the tears in my eyes.
“Yes,” I managed. “Yes.” He smiled and slid the ring onto my left ring finger. We both stood up and he pulled me close. My fingers were dirty but I didn’t care.
“I love you so much,” I mumbled into his shoulder.
“I love you, too,” he said. “And (Y/N)?”
He smiled brightly at me.
What this book is: A selection of fairy tale inspired spells and charms for the modern witch.
What I loved about this book (overall): Bree and Anna (henceforth “the authors” for simplicity’s sake), have composed a variety of well thought out spells, conveniently organized by sections. The book is in a similar vein to the Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells that is often cited, thumped, noted, prized, stolen, and organized via color-coded sticky notes by we tumblr witches (and witches off-tumblr as well). The authors present lovely forewords to each section where they describe the topic about to be addressed, and briefly go over the considerations (both practical and ethical) of that topic; it bears mentioning that although there are ethical recommendations, the authors did a good job of not attempting to police the readers and acknowledging other viewpoints.
Specific things I enjoyed (bulleted)
The spells are quite practical. Here, you won’t find complicated 3 page long evocations paired with expensive or unnecessarily exotic ingredients. Instead, you’ll find simple (but potent), spells using fairly common herbs, stones, and household objects (like thread, yarn, or pins).
On the occasions where an unusual herb creeps in, substitutions are suggested.
Warning labels are included with the herbs! This point alone is worth quite a bit, trust me.
At the end of the book, the authors explain the process used to make the spell, and provide not only references for future reading, but also lists of herbs used for given purposes (Cursing, Protection, Healing, Relationships, Opportunity, Divination/Truth Seeking), and a Lunar and Solar Chart from the perspectives of both individual authors. Again, the convenience factor of the book is extremely high. This section alone is worth the price, in my opinion.
The spells are quite witty at times, with little jokes (and an unintentional SwanQueen reference) that had me chuckling on a few different occasions.
The spells are different enough in form that every type of practitioner is likely to find at least a few spells that really resonate with them. For example, there are spells that are mostly actions; spells that have incantations; spells that are heavy on visualizations.
The overall tone of the book is conversational, to the point, rather light, and notably devoid of the pretentious, patronizing tones that often creep in to occult books. The volume is quite refreshing and enjoyable; you can finish it in an afternoon, though you’ll likely look back on it quite a few times in the future.
What this book will do for you:
For beginners, this book will provide an excellent starting point for not only spell casting, but writing your own spells using inspiration from literature or other spells paired with correspondences. For seasoned witches, a fresh, new perspective and points of inspiration. I myself came up with four different spells after reading the ones in the Grimmoire.
What I did not like:
In the interest of being completely fair, I will point on a few things that I was not completely in love with.
The incantations were often rhymed. Some of these rhymes were quite lovely; some, in my mind, relied a bit too heavily on approximate rhymes, common rhymes, or did not take into account the meter of the piece.
There were not quite as many illustrations as I had expected.
The materials “boxes” on the Kindle edition can sometimes separate themselves between pages in an awkward manner; to be fair, they are still far better formatted than several similar “boxes” I’ve seen in other books.
I’d give this book 4 out of 5 pointy hats; I enjoyed it and I believe that most witches reading this would too. What few problems there were are small, or differences in preferences. The convenience, practicality, friendly tone, large correspondence tables, and relative inexpensive cost of the book makes it a sure win!
Demonology fascinates Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
As evidenced by his manuscript, page No. 61 written in his hand from his controversial but highly successful work Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, published in 1830.
Around the time the book was written the author was recovering from his first paralytic stroke. J.G. Lockhart, Scott’s son-in-law, was looking to take Scott’s mind off his unfortunate state. Demonology was a subject that Scott had been fascinated with since childhood, and over the years he tirelessly researched it. He had previously proposed collaborating with Robert Surtees on a study of demonology in 1809, and with Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe on a comic selection of supernatural tales in 1812.
In 1823, he had even written part of a dialogue on popular superstitions, which had failed to attract a sufficiently enticing bid from Constable. The format of the book is ten letters addressed to Lockhart. Scott surveys opinions respecting demonology and witchcraft from the Old Testament period to his own day. As a child of the Enlightenment, Scott adopts a rational approach to his subject. Supernatural visions are attributed to ‘excited passion’, to credulity, or to physical illness. The medieval belief in demons is based on Christian ignorance of other religions, leading to the conviction that the gods of the Muslim or pagan nations were fiends and their priests conjurers or wizards. Scott also observes that trials for witchcraft were increasingly connected with political crimes, just as in Catholic countries accusations of witchcraft and heresy went together.
Sir Walter Scott, was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet. He was the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His novels and poetry are still read, and many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.