Hide No More: The Cover-Up Trope in Fantasy Fiction (And How Elatsoe Kills It)

When people recommended the young adult novel Elatsoe to me, it was never as a quirky take on a fantasy world. That’s what it is, though: a modern America with spirit summoners, vicious vampires, and fairy children as its typical citizens. Magic is a known factor that makes travel convenient, complicates crime scenes, causes fantastical global warming.

Rather, the book was introduced to me as a story about grief, healing, and ghosts that features a Native lead. This is also a true statement about what Elatsoe is. What interests me about the discrepancy is how people don’t see a need to mention the setting, bizarre though it may be. Seemingly nobody is saying, “Brace yourselves, because this story has kind of an unusual world…”

That must be because the setting’s not so weird after all. Not since approximately 2005.

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Karakuridōji Ultimo Review: Too Much Promise

Why does nobody talk about this ambitious, high-octane, bizarrely stylish manga?

When I was in high school, seinen and shōnen manga (especially edgy ones) were my favorite things. Hunter x Hunter, Parasyte, Attack on Titan, Death Note—all series I devoured. But what manga felt like full-on events? I can only think of two: Akira and Ultimo. Akira has such an impressive pedigree (and such a huge print size) that buying it can’t not feel like an event. But all Ultimo had was suspense and promise.

It also had Hiroyuki Takei and Stan Lee, but trust me, I didn’t care about that.

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Pretty Strong: Ultimo, Shōnen Heroes, and Gender Roles in the Early 2010s

Recently I finished Ultimo, a manga which history will remember only as a footnote in Hiroyuki Takei’s career that weirdly has Stan Lee’s name on it. While I didn’t finish it back in the day (when, after many delays, it petered out into a ‘meh’ conclusion), I was always captivated by its high ambition, its sleek art style, and its sheer charm. Take Ultimo himself: his design strikes me as effortlessly cute, cool, and beautiful at the same time.

Cuteness and coolness. Beauty and strength. Today I notice that for Ultimo’s character, these are not contradictions. If anything, his beauty is implied to be the reason he embodies ultimate power and goodness.

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Top 5 Most Epic Blondie Movie Endings, Presented Without Context

Are you a Blondie superfan? Neither am I. Thanks to my funnypaper-reading daddie and my movie buff mommie, though, I’ve absorbed Blondie knowledge all my life against my will. Here are my picks for the top 5 most entertaining Blondie movies, ranked purely by their last 5-50 seconds of runtime.

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First Impressions: Four Against Darkness (A Solo RPG)

Includes narrative-style actual play!

Recently—and with a whirlwind passion—I have gotten interested in solo RPGs. Not video games, but tabletop, pen-and-paper, cards-and-dice affairs. Most of what I’ve done is itch.io browsing and theorizing about what mechanics I’d like to put in my own games.

Until now: yesterday I did my first run of Four Against Darkness (and today I will do another). In the niche world of solo games, this one is quite popular, with multitudes of players and expansions.

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How to Draw Comics (When You Can’t Draw)

“I’d love to make a comic. If only I could draw…” Stop right there, buster.

Anyone can draw. Not everyone can make a still life—not everyone can hold a pencil with perfect poise—but everyone can get marks on the paper.

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