• Interesting Stuff

    The Golden Age of Comics is Twelve.

    I’ve been reorganizing books shelves and back issues boxes the last few weekends, restocking the spinner rack in my office with my favorite comics from middle school, and I keep thinking about the truism that I’ve come across many times over the years: “The golden age of comics is twelve.” Because, for me at least, it really seems to hold true. The comics that I first read between the summer of 1982 when I turned twelve and the summer of 1983 when I turned thirteen were foundational in the development of my tastes and interests, and I can draw a direct line between them and the kinds of stories that I am writing now. But as true as the sentiment is, I got to wondering where it originated.

    I’d always known that the phrase was a play on an older aphorism about “the golden age of science fiction,” but wasn’t sure just who had originally said it, and where. This morning I took to Google to see if I could find the answer, and ended up falling down a deep, deep hole.

    The short version is that the quote is popularly attributed to a fan in the 1960s, Peter Graham, possibly in the pages of the fanzine “VOID,” but the long version turns out to be a bit less clear. The website Quote Investigator has done some fairly exhaustive digging, and while they haven’t yet found a definitive source, the notes of their investigation make for interesting reading with appearances by many of the biggest names in SF/F in the mid- to late-20th Century.

  • Interesting Stuff

    The World’s Writing Systems

    I have a post on Metafilter to thank for pointing out The World’s Writing Systems. Here’s what the site is for, in its own words:

    This web site presents one glyph for each of the world’s writing systems. It is the first step of the Missing Scripts Project, a long-term initiative that aims to identify writing systems which are not yet encoded in the Unicode standard. As of today, there are still 146 scripts not yet encoded in Unicode.

    The information can be arranged chronologically, or by region, name, Unicode number, or status, but however it’s sorted the site is packed with interesting data on writing systems and is incredibly aesthetically pleasing.

  • Interesting Stuff

    Disney’s Society of Explorers and Adventurers

    Somehow I am only just now learning about the existence of a fictional secret society whose history connects many of the more recent Disney theme park attractions around the world, the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, or S.E.A. for short.

    The basic idea is that the personalities behind many of the newer theme park attractions (and retooled versions of existing ones) were all Victorian/Edwardian era members of a centuries’ old society for, well, explorers and adventurers. And the attractions themselves, therefore, are all part of a shared world with a shared history. In essence, the Imagineers have created a canonical version of what many Disney park fans have done themselves over the years when concocting elaborate theories about how the backstories of various rides and attractions might be connected. Haunted mansions and towers of terror, jungle cruises and mountain railroads, it’s all part of one sprawling tapestry. (There’s even a connection to a certain adventuring Nazi-punching archaeologist, whose pilot pal was a member…)

    I found some great overviews of the organization online, such as the write-up at the Disney fan wiki, and fell down a deep, deep rabbit hole of fan videos on YouTube, such as the three part series by Offhand Disney.

    This may be old news to the rest of you, I know. Most of the pieces I read were written between 2014 and 2017 (though most of the YouTube videos seem to be more recent). But if you’re anything like me and have a weakness for steampunk adventurers, Jules Verne-esque explorers, and monkeys (yes, monkeys), then I have a rabbit hole of theme park awesomeness that just might be up your alley…

  • Interesting Stuff

    Borges Speaks

    I have John Coulthart to thank for pointing out this hour-long interview with Jorge Luis Borges, when he appeared on William F. Buckley, Jr.’s Firing Line in 1977. I’ve only ever seen brief video clips of Borges before now (who was a huge influence on me in college and after), and I’m looking forward to spending an hour listening to him talk.