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Six Amazing Comics You've Probably Never Heard Of

(Image via Flickr)

How many times have you decided to start watching a new television series, only to have it cancelled after a season—or worse, after a precious handful of episodes? The history of television is littered with series that were unfairly cut off at the knees: we all mourn Millennium, Crusade, Birds of Prey and, of course, Firefly. But how many of us can name an equally ill-fated comic series?

X-Men, Superman, and Batman, will go on forever, regardless if anyone actually reads them, and mid-list series like Teen Titans, Swamp Thing, and Young Avengers will stick around for a few good years. But some books seem to have the deck stacked against them from the get-go. Niche subjects and storylines can be successful, but for every SandmanBoneThe Walking Dead or even Hellblazer, there are scores of series that disappeared as fast as they arrived. These are titles that don't fit the “superhero” mold, or that buck even the most alternative of trends. These are the miniseries that never get collected as trade-paperback filler for quarter bins at Wizard World. 
 
Still, I can practically guarantee that every gone-too-soon series was someone's favorite. Commercial success or no, most of these books feature ideas that will intrigue you, writing that will make you think, and artwork that will dazzle and impress. With that in mind, I present six series, unfairly forgotten in the mists of most fanboys' minds but still quite worthy of admiration and investigation.

The Empire Striketh Back: Join Us For An Epic "Yoricking" Contest With The 501st Legion

When William Shakespeare's Star Wars came out last year, we had a great time teaming up with The 501st Legion. We ran some fun giveaways with them, and they even made Ian Doescher an honorary member of the legion. They're a great group of passionate fans, and we're really excited to be working with them again with this fun contest. 

Quirk and the 501st would like to challenge you to take the best Star-Wars-themed "Poor Yorick" photo you can. Or as we're calling it... Yoricking. 

See, there's a scene in William Shakespeare's Star Wars that involved Luke holding up a stormtrooper helmet. He says:

The Sherlock Holmes Handbook: A March Quirk Perk!

THE SHERLOCK HOLMES HANDBOOK by Ransom Riggs ($3.99)

AMAZON / BARNES & NOBLE / IBOOKSTORE / KOBO

The first Sherlock Holmes adventure appeared in 1887, but today the detective is more popular than ever-witness the upcoming release date of Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. For every reader who dreams of solving crimes in turn-of-the-century London, The Sherlock Holmes Handbook features skills that all would-be sleuths should know:

How To Con Your Kid: Win The App & The Book!

Here at Quirk, we love watching our books get transformed into apps when the opportunity presents itself. Check out a few examples of that, here

Fictional Characters That Doctor Who Should Totally Meet

Doctor Who is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary season. During those tumultuous 50 years The Doctor has come in contact with a number of great characters. Not only does he have an impressive array of companions, but he also comes in contact with historic and fictional characters. He’s met Sherlock Holmes and fought alongside Blackbeard. There is no limit to the Doctor Who universe. Now that Matt Smith is gone and Peter Capaldi has taken the reins (literally) we think The Doctor should run into a few other fictional heroes.

Seven Geeky Chocolate-Covered Ways to Celebrate February

I live within a two-hour drive of Hershey, PA. This means I am inundated with ads for “Chocolate-Covered February.” So much so that one year, my husband and I drove to the Chocolate Spa only to learn its cocoa facials and buttercream manipedis are booked months in advance.

So if you’re looking to a get a chocolate fix this February and you can’t get in the door for a Whipped Cocoa Bath or Chocolate Sugar Scrub, might I suggest you indulge in one of the books, films, shows, or comics below.

Some of the Most Terrifying Fictional Computers

For about as long as we’ve been able to imagine computers, they’ve had a place in our science fiction stories. Whether it’s the machines in Karel Capek’s 1921 play R.U.R (which, fun fact, coined the term “robot”), or The Engine in Gulliver’s Travels, these machines have provided information, service, and plot devices for decades. Sometimes, though, computers go bad, and when that happens, you best be armed with prayer, and a good hammer.

February 10 is Clean Out Your Computer Day, and though it might seem like a chore, I beseech you, please organize your PC. Make sure you know what programs are running, and where all your important documents are. Makeover your MacBook. Dote on your desktop. Because if we don’t keep a close eye on these suckers, they’ll be coming for us.

And if you still don’t understand the urgency of our plight, take a look at these six fictional computers that, in their own special ways, almost trounced humanity:

Five Flesh-Eating Series to Fill the Walking Dead-Shaped Hole in Your Life

How exactly have we lived this long since The Walking Dead's midseason finale? I'll keep this spoiler-free, but AMC's adaptation of the hit comic series left viewers on the edge of their seats—and probably without much sanity.

Everything You Need To Know About Being a Terrible Writer You Can Learn From Family Guy’s Brian Griffin

I watch a lot of Family Guy. It’s one of my favorite shows to unwind with at the end of a busy day. Good for a quick laugh, with pop culture references that tend to skew a little older and geekier, which I love. And it’s the perfect show to load up on Hulu while I’m cooking in the kitchen, or leave on in the background while I’m busy writing.

Send Your Sweetheart a Hollow City Valentine

When Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs came out, we made these adorable Valentines inspired by photos in the book. And now that Hollow City is out and about, we decided to do it again. Just for you, Quirk fans. 

Check out two more Valentines, after the jump. Feel free to send them off to your friends, or share them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and/or Tumblr! Enjoy!

February's Quirk Perk: The Onion Presents Love, Sex, and Other Natural Disasters

 

THE ONION PRESNTS LOVE, SEX, AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS ($3.99)

AMAZON / BARNES & NOBLE / IBOOKSTORE / KOBO

Here are more than one hundred news stories of high-school sweethearts, college hook-ups, dating disasters, weddings, divorces, and restraining orders. From “18-Year-Old Miraculously Finds Soulmate In Hometown” to “Couple Forgets 70th Wedding Anniversary,” these reports capture the heartbreak and hilarity of the human experience.

The Onion is America’s Finest News Source. It is the last bastion of unbiased, reliable, and definitive news in a world dominated by superficiality, mediocrity, and non-Onion news outlets. Since its founding back in 1988, The Onion has expanded into an omnipotent news empire reaching millions of fans through print, broadcast, radio, online, and mobile outlets. Today, The Onion misinforms more than 1.5 million readers in print and 7.5 million online each month.

10 Life Lessons from Super Mario Bros

1. The princess will always need saving.
No matter how many times Mario saves Princess Peach, she’s captured again in the next installment of Super Mario Bros. Life’s annoying like that too. The moment you finish one thing, something else will appear. Just keep on playing.

10 Future Book Characters Shailene Woodley Should Portray

After starring in the ABC Family television series The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Shailene Woodley has continued to star in several book-to-movie adaptations including Tim Tharp's The Spectacular Now and Kaui Hart Hemmings's The Descendants.

Happy National Squirrel Appreciation Day!

For no apparent reason other than that someone decided to declare it as such in 2001, January 21st is National Squirrel Appreciation Day! It’s a day to think about your favorite squirrel, whether it’s the one that freezes and then scurries away as you walk by or that tries to break into your home by tearing apart your window screen. Perhaps it’s even one of these squirrels below! Whichever squirrel it is, wave hello next time you see them as you watch them scamper away.

Ka-POW! The Top 10 Punches in Comic Books

They tell ya, ‘Never hit a man with a closed fist.’ But it is, on occasion, hilarious.”
—Captain Malcolm Reynolds

The fine folks here at Quirk Books asked me compile a list of my favorite punches, which I thought was pretty open-ended—like punches I've received? Punches I've delivered? There aren't even ten items on those lists combined. I'm not really big into boxing, either, so I decided to limit myself to great punches in the realm of comic books.

How To Appreciate a Dragon

This Thursday is Dragon Appreciation Day. No seriously, it is. Our country has designated an entire day just to contemplate the wonder of these magical, mythical beasts. And in case you’re caught off guard and utterly unprepared to honor these fire-breathing monsters, I’m about to give you six great books in multiple genres that will present ample time for you to be respectful and reflective on the hallowed holiday.

Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions with the Power of the Force

New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep. Feel the Force flowing through you this year with these helpful Star Wars quotes to keep you going when you’re heading into an asteroid field of challenges or sinking into a Dagobahn swamp of self-doubt!

"Do… or do not, there is no try."
Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries: Matt & Stephanie

Welcome to The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries!

From local bloggers to podcasters, indie video game developers to celebrated filmmakers, hard hitting journalists to award-winning storytellers, over the next few months geeks-of-all-kinds will be sharing their love stories and dishing out advice.

In this week's video, you'll meet Matt and Stephanie. Click play to listen to them talk about making movies, falling in love, and how Myspace is responsible for their relationship.

Our Top Book to Movie Adaptations of 2013

Image via

Another year has come and gone, more or less, and with it comes the end of the year lists. We are not immune! Neither, for that matter, can we resist the siren song of the book to movie adaptation. Some of them were actually—dare we say it—pretty good! So here are our faves (in no particular order except possibly by theme). Remember to reprimand us in the comments if we forgot your favorite!

The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries: Katie & James

Welcome to The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries!

From bloggers to podcasters, indie video game developers to celebrated filmmakers, hard hitting journalists to award-winning storytellers, over the next few months geeks-of-all-kinds will be sharing their love stories and dishing out advice.

In this week's video, you'll meet Katie and her husband James. Click play to listen to them talk about love, Scrabble, and how poor Halloween costume choices can often be a good thing.

The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries: Ray & Melissa

Welcome to The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries! From local bloggers to podcasters, indie video game developers to celebrated filmmakers, hard hitting journalists to award-winning storytellers, over the next few months geeks-of-all-kinds will be sharing their love stories and dishing out advice.

In this week's video, you'll meet local game developer Ray Merkler and publishing professional / Cupcake Friday Project founder Melissa Ward. Hit play to learn about how they fell in love over craft beer, and the importance of supporting one another.

Nine Adventurous Cross-Stitch Projects for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Whether you are killing time, waiting for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug or needing to fill those moments between second breakfast and elevenses, I’ve gathered together nine incredible Tolkien-inspired cross-stitch patterns. Grab your supplies for these wonderful journeys in cross-stitch, and maybe some lembas to help keep you sated during your adventures.

Planet Quirk Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome to the annual Planet Quirk Holiday Gift Guide!

Yesterday, we posted our Gift Guide for Quirk DIY, which was chock full of cookbooks and craftbooks. The Planet Quirk Guide introduces you to all our geek flavored books. Fiction, gift books, art books, and more! Click away to learn more about them.

Interested in featuring one of these on your blog, for your holiday roundup? Email eric@quirkbooks.com with your requests! Happy Holidays!

The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries: Tim & Melissa

Welcome to The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries!

From bloggers to podcasters, indie video game developers to celebrated filmmakers, hard hitting journalists to award-winning storytellers, over the next few months geeks-of-all-kinds will be sharing their love stories and dishing out advice.

In this week's video, you'll meet Tim Quirino, the co-founder of Geekadelphia and the Philly Geek Awards, and his wonderful fiancee, Melissa Gregoli, social media maven at Campus Philly. Click play to listen to them talk about love, Comic Con, and Pixar movies... while never addressing why Tim is wearing a Daft Punk helmet.

The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries: Glen & Steph Tickle

Welcome to The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries!

From bloggers to podcasters, indie video game developers to celebrated filmmakers, hard hitting journalists to award-winning storytellers, over the next few months geeks-of-all-kinds will be sharing their love stories and dishing out advice.

The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries: Dan & Mary

Welcome to The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries!

From bloggers to podcasters, indie video game developers to celebrated filmmakers, hard hitting journalists to award-winning storytellers, over the next few months geeks-of-all-kinds will be sharing their love stories and dishing out advice.

What the Filk? Music for Every Fandom


(Image via flickr)

Filk? What is filk, you ask? In a nutshell, filk is a musical genre inspired by fandom...but as with many fannish things, it's a lot bigger on the inside. Filk is what happens when music and geekdom join hands and frolic off into the sunset, or more appropriately, collide at lightspeed and zoom through the galaxy.

Ten Creative Cross-Stitch Projects to Celebrate Doctor Who at 50!

Take note, Whovians: the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is fast approaching. To help pass the time (get it?!) as we count down to this momentous occasion—and to help welcome the Twelfth Doctor—I've rounded up some inspired, adorable, and occasionally incredibly geeky Doctor Who cross-stitch ideas. So pick a pattern, grab your supplies, and follow me as we allons-y through time and space, one stitch at a time.

The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries: Mikey & Allie

Welcome to The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries!

From bloggers to podcasters, indie video game developers to celebrated filmmakers, hard hitting journalists to award-winning storytellers, over the next few months geeks-of-all-kinds will be sharing their love stories and dishing out advice.

In this week's video, you'll meet two Philly based geek bloggers, Mikey and Allie. Hit play to learn about their first date and why days off playing video games in your underpants is, in fact, a good thing.

Enjoy! And check back every Tuesday afternoon for a new video through February!

14 Star Wars and Shakespeare Crafts to DIY

 
 
When Quirk unveiled William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher, the DIYer in me couldn’t decide whether I wanted to crochet a Yoda or embroider a Shakespeare quote onto my pillow.
 
For those of you who feel the same, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite Shakespeare and Star Wars crafts from around the web. Bonus points if you can find a way to combine them. Perhaps a Death Star vase with a Shakespeare quote etched into it or a Chewbacca doll wearing a ruff? We’ll leave it up to you.
 
 
 
DEATH STAR VASES: You’ll never purchase another store-bought vase after you mix your own concrete and pour it in a special Death Star silicone tray. There are also instructions for making Storm Trooper faces that can be used as drawer pulls, magnets, and wall hooks.
 
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU WALL ART: If you’re not the kind of Star Wars fan to proudly line your shelves with collectibles, this unassuming wall art project is perfect for you. The eye-chart style makes it blend in with your other decor, and the words are applied using Mod Podge and letters printed right from your home computer.
 
ROMEO & JULIET CROSS STITCH: Cross stitching is one of the most traditional ways to display your favorite quotes. This Romeo and Juliet cross stitch was made using a vintage pattern, but if you’re an expert cross-stitcher you could easily stitch your favorite Shakespeare quote.

The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries: George and Nicole

Welcome to The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries!

From bloggers to podcasters, indie video game developers to celebrated filmmakers, hard hitting journalists to award-winning storytellers, over the next few months geeks-of-all-kinds will be sharing their love stories and dishing out advice.

In this week's video, you'll met George Tagmire and his girlfriend Nicole, two geeks from South Jersey who share a love (and hate) of playing Animal Crossing together. Hit play to learn about how that game can ruin your relationship.

10 Awesome Starter Comics Series for Bookish Types

(image via flickr)

For the book fiend who devours novel after novel—with little regard to whether it has pictures in it or not—diving into comics might seem daunting. Heck, even dipping a toe into comics might. There are so many out there—not to mention all the countless spinoffs and reboots. Starting on a whole new medium altogether can feel like drowning, and so the book fiend dismisses it with a wave and goes back to novels, where it's safe and familiar.

Well. There is no surefire guide out there for getting into comics (except one personally tailored to your interests by a close friend or an amazing comic store employee). But I've compiled a list that I think comes really, really close. This list is tailored to the interests of the literary nerd—the rad individual who reads voraciously and is ready for the next cool thing, if only they had a diving board. Cannonball!

Suburban Legends: The Goatman Cometh [Excerpt]

An eBook exclusive re-release of Sam Stall's Suburban Legends came out October 1st! So through the month of October, we're sharing excerpts from the collection of spooky stories. Because Halloween! 

They told you the suburbs were a great place to live. They said nothing bad could ever happen here. But they were wrong.

This collection of terrifying true stories exposes the dark side of life in the ’burbs—from corpses buried in backyards and ghosts lurking in fast food restaurants to UFOs, vanishing persons, bizarre apparitions, and worse. 

So lock your doors, dim the lights, and prepare to stay up all night with this creepy collection of true tales. We promise you’ll never look at white picket fences the same way again!

Read an excerpt below (The Goatman Cometh), and pick it up for $3.99 via AmazonBarnes & Noble, or the iBookstore this month! 

The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries: Andrew & Lansie

Welcome to The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries!

From local bloggers to podcasters, indie video game developers to celebrated filmmakers, hard hitting journalists to award-winning storytellers, over the next few months geeks-of-all-kinds will be sharing their love stories and dishing out advice.

In this week's video, you'll met Lansie Sylvia and Andrew Panebianco, two First Person Arts storytellers from Philadelphia. Philly folks might recognize Lansie from Philly Give & Get.

Hit play to learn how these two met, how building a story together can be an excellent bonding experience, and why Andrew is the sweetest guy ever. Enjoy! 

DIY Costume: Kaylee Frye from Firefly

This summer I was busy getting married and moving into a new house. So when it came to choosing a character to cosplay this year I had some important criteria. The costume had to be…

1. Easy
2. Inexpensive
3. Epic*

*(Obviously.) Otherwise, what’s the point? ;)

It didn’t take me long to decide on Kaylee Frye from Joss Whedon’s short lived, but greatly loved TV series, Firefly. Here's how you can make one, too!

Suburban Legends: Close Encounters of the Worst Kind [Excerpt]

An eBook exclusive re-release of Sam Stall's Suburban Legends came out October 1st! So through the month of October, we're sharing excerpts from the collection of spooky stories. Because Halloween! 

They told you the suburbs were a great place to live. They said nothing bad could ever happen here. But they were wrong.

This collection of terrifying true stories exposes the dark side of life in the ’burbs—from corpses buried in backyards and ghosts lurking in fast food restaurants to UFOs, vanishing persons, bizarre apparitions, and worse. 

So lock your doors, dim the lights, and prepare to stay up all night with this creepy collection of true tales. We promise you’ll never look at white picket fences the same way again!

Read an excerpt below (Close Encounters of the Worst Kind), and pick it up for $3.99 via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the iBookstore this month! 

 

The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries: Chris & Shannon

Welcome to The Geek's Guide to Dating Webseries!

From bloggers to podcasters, indie video game developers to celebrated filmmakers, hard hitting journalists to award-winning storytellers, over the next few months geeks-of-all-kinds will be sharing their love stories and dishing out advice.

In this week's video, you'll meet Christopher Wink and Shannon McDonald. You locals might recognize Chris from Technically Philly and Shannon from NewsWorks / NEPhilly. Hit play and learn how they met, how Google Apps can play a major role in any relationship, and why Chris won't call himself a "cat geek", whatever that is.

Enjoy! And check back every Tuesday afternoon for a new video through February!

Suburban Legends: Guess What's Coming To Dinner? [Excerpt]

An eBook exclusive re-release of Sam Stall's Suburban Legends came out October 1st! So through the month of October, we're sharing excerpts from the collection of spooky stories. Because Halloween! 

They told you the suburbs were a great place to live. They said nothing bad could ever happen here. But they were wrong.

This collection of terrifying true stories exposes the dark side of life in the ’burbs—from corpses buried in backyards and ghosts lurking in fast food restaurants to UFOs, vanishing persons, bizarre apparitions, and worse. 

So lock your doors, dim the lights, and prepare to stay up all night with this creepy collection of true tales. We promise you’ll never look at white picket fences the same way again!

Read an excerpt below (Guess What's Coming To Dinner?), and pick it up for $3.99 via AmazonBarnes & Noble, or the iBookstore this month! 

 

Suburban Legends: The Prime-Time Poltergeist [Excerpt]

An eBook exclusive re-release of Sam Stall's Suburban Legends came out October 1st! So through the month of October, we're sharing excerpts from the collection of spooky stories. Because Halloween! 

They told you the suburbs were a great place to live. They said nothing bad could ever happen here. But they were wrong.

This collection of terrifying true stories exposes the dark side of life in the ’burbs—from corpses buried in backyards and ghosts lurking in fast food restaurants to UFOs, vanishing persons, bizarre apparitions, and worse. 

So lock your doors, dim the lights, and prepare to stay up all night with this creepy collection of true tales. We promise you’ll never look at white picket fences the same way again!

Read an excerpt below (The Prime-Time Poltergeist), and pick it up for $3.99 via AmazonBarnes & Noble, or the iBookstore this month! 




Celebrating Star Wars Reads Day, Plus Win Some William Shakespeare's Star Wars Posters!

This Saturday, the bookish community will be celebrating the literary world of Star Wars, and we're super excited to be a part of it. Hooray for Star Wars Reads Day

Suburban Legends: Roadside Assistance [Excerpt]

An eBook exclusive re-release of Sam Stall's Suburban Legends came out October 1st! So through the month of October, we're sharing excerpts from the collection of spooky stories. Because Halloween! 

They told you the suburbs were a great place to live. They said nothing bad could ever happen here. But they were wrong.

This collection of terrifying true stories exposes the dark side of life in the ’burbs—from corpses buried in backyards and ghosts lurking in fast food restaurants to UFOs, vanishing persons, bizarre apparitions, and worse. 

So lock your doors, dim the lights, and prepare to stay up all night with this creepy collection of true tales. We promise you’ll never look at white picket fences the same way again!

Read an excerpt below (Roadside Assistance), and pick it up for $3.99 via AmazonBarnes & Noble, or the iBookstore this month! 

Quirk Heads to New York Comic Con 2013!

Well, it's that time of year. When we pack our bags, box up our books, and make the great pilgrimage up north to New York Comic Con.

Our Pacific Rim Sequel? Drift Compatible Authors

Here at Quirk, we loved Pacific Rim. How could giant machines fighting giant monsters not be exciting? But it was also smart and had a lot of heart. It was an unusual summer blockbuster in that it performed moderately well in the United States, but did exceptional in the international market, which makes a sequel possible. Here’s our idea for a Pacific Rim sequel, with a literary twist.

We won the Kaiju War, but needed to make sure we were ready to cancel the apocalypse. Again. We brought the Jaegers back and built them bigger and stronger, but needed new heroes to pilot them. We found these new Rangers in the stories that helped us dream of such a creation: we found them in our favorite authors. Here are some of the newest Jaegers in the fleet, piloted by authors who’d do well in the Drift.

The Book Groupies' Bucket List

The Book Groupies gathered in September 2012 on Cape Cod to talk about The Last Policeman by Ben Winters and specifically, the idea of The Bucket List. We started by accepting the inevitable: Life is terminal. That was hard enough.

High-Water Mark

For the 40th anniversary of Apollo 17, December, 2012

I

Soon after brutal apes were graced
With cunning minds and nimble hands
That grasped both word and implement,
They sought more fruitful far-off lands.

Devising hieroglyph and rune,
They logged the heavens, wielding tomes
To guide their craft across the seas,
Subduing wilds to make new homes.

So Much Weeping

What would I do if I knew the world would be ending in six months?

Hell, I don’t know. Weep, I guess. Weep a lot. So much weeping. And I would say “shit” a good many times. And eat lots of peaches. And pizza. I would use drugs. In tandem. Cognac sipped in between huffs of paint. I would watch no reruns of Quincy. I would eat lobster for breakfast. Naked. No more shaving.

Popcorn for the Apocalypse

Nothing different. That is exactly what I would do if the world’s end was supposedly near. That was my response to the Y2K panic and The Rapture, so if anything, I am consistent.

Midnight Sunrise: A Short Story Set At The End of the World

So, this was it.

I heard her showering in the hotel bathroom. The hollow echo of water followed the steam, up and out of the open doorway and into the bedroom. I laid back on the bed with a scratchy towel wrapped around my waist and my feet still flat on the floor.

From the Non-Annihilated Desk of William Howard Taft

As you may have heard, I—William Howard Taft—have returned to life after my century-long hibernation.

My goal: to run for president in this, the momentous year of 2012! (The details of my return and campaign have been recounted in the book Taft 2012. Or so I am told. I have yet to find the spare time to read it, although I must admit it is quite a handsome volume.) It is my honor and duty to be so considered for a second term, even though my status as an outlying independent candidate has relegated me to the depressing backwater of the mass media.

Go Out Doing Something Noble

I was in the army for 8 years.

I put myself through sixteen weeks in Hell at the Infantry School in Georgia. I was eaten alive by mosquitoes the size of your average USB thumb drive in the swamps of Louisiana. I froze in the unimaginable cold in Germany, and I ruined my body as a Paratrooper.

And this was all outside of Iraq.

Hanging On To Civilization and Humanity, For As Long As I Possibly Can

I’ve been answering the End of the World question for years.

One usually first confronts it around middle school. Without probing too deeply I realize that I had never really revised my answer since that time. A voice from the Id, something along the lines of: “Yeah! I want a seraglio full of Penthouse models all dressed in hooker costumes, and all the chocolate chip cookies in the world!”

The End of the World Used to Seem So Cool

The end of the world used to seem so cool. I’d get to go days without shaving, acquire a cool long coat, and sleep on a cot next to pallets of canned soup and a loaded shotgun. Plus, everyone would dress like the Legion of Doom. What’s not to love?

Then I had kids.

The Last Piece of Pie

If I was to die in six months
awaiting the collision of an asteroid,
I could cry with everyone or wait
to die with everyone or
check Facebook and Twitter. I could run away
to another place, hope for another fate, but

I would think about Leaves of Grass.
And the dirt on the bottom of one’s boot.
I could search for the songs of myself.
Reflect on what I have left –

Six Months to Walk it Off

So. The world is going to end in six months due to an asteroid hurling itself towards us. What to do, what to do.

Melancholia + Saying All of the Things You've Wanted to Say

It's a shame that last year's Melancholia will be better-remembered for director Lars von Trier's Nazism jokes (tastelessly expressed at, of all places, the Cannes Film Festival) than its brave, unconventional response to the apocalypse.

Although judging from these squirm-inducing GIFs of Kirsten Dunst, seated next to von Trier while he was making said un-PC comments, you'd think the world was ending too:

Becoming a Cult Hero

Oh God. The asteroid is hurtling towards earth. We're all going to die.

Ten Things To Do At The End of the World

1. Carry a gun and shoot out the wheels of anyone who cut me off in traffic. Especially if they didn't use their blinker.

A To Do List At The End of the World

Six months until the world blows up. Okay.

1. pole dancing classes.

2. break my four years of sobriety.

3. get my family to Israel.

In that order.

I have to assume my kids don't know about this world blowing up thing. They're three and one and love couch forts and tickle parties. This is how I want us to live our next six months, please.

I also have to assume nobody else knows about the world blowing up because if they do:

A Vigilante for Politeness

If there was really just half a year before the whole planet went kablooie, what would you do?

I am a coward. In my day to day life, I see so much rude behavior in the public sphere, but I don't have the guts to say something. People do all sorts of little things that make someone else's day just a little bit worse.

To Be Or Not To Be? Easy! Be!

Sit down, Ben. I’ve got some bad news for you.

I just looked at the Amazon page for The Last Policeman, and --

What? No no no. The bad news isn’t a one-star review. Are you kidding? A book by you? With that premise? What’s not to love? It’s just that --

How To Speak To Your Children About The Upcoming Destruction of Earth

 
Being a husband and a father, my attention immediately turns to my family. And, in a pre-apocalyptic world, I'd definitely focus on spending as much time with them as possible. I imagine that we'd pack up and find happiness in a warm, sunny location near the beach--a place we all love. Maybe a stop at Disney World--assuming it's still in operation. (Surely nothing would be sadder than an abandoned Disney World--well, maybe the end of the world. But, I digress.)

What Would I Read If I Only Had Six Months Left To Live?

So the world is ending in six months. Damn. I guess I’ll never go to Paris; I guess I’ll never write that novel. There’s that list of books to read in the back of my mind though—the classics, the Must Have Read Before You Die titles. What would I read if I only had six months left to live?

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Four Of Our Favorite Feline-Friendly Authors

Image via Must Read Faster

Have you ever tried to hug a cat? I'm talking really hug and squeeze one. It’s damn near impossible. These feline-friendly authors have at the very least attempted to give their kitty a nuzzle.

Planet Quirk Collides with New York Comic Con

We <3 NYCC. And, we're super-excited to bring our books and swag to this year's con because we've got a ton of great things to unleash.

Amongst our tables of books for sale, you'll find these new releases...

The Last Policeman: What's the point in solving murders if we're all going to die anyway? It's a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. And, each one of us must face our own mortality. So, what would you if the world was ending?

Professor Gargoyle: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1: Quirk unveils its first middle grade series... and you won't believe your eyes! Prepare to be amazed as the cover morphs. Oh, and we'll have a huge morphing poster in our booth. Don't miss it.

Fill in the Blank: This inspirational sketchbook invites you to create houses, cars, skyscrapers, cereal boxes, wine labels and more!

What would the con be without some great swag? We've got some exciting things for you...

ARGH (Our) Top 10 Favorite Pirates

Ahoy! Aaaargh! argh argh argh argh RUM me matey’s argh argh Walk the plank with ya! argh argh argh argh landlubber n’ wot ye swashbuckled git argh argh argh argh n’ I’ll feed ye to the fishies n’ argh argh argh avast me left hand’s a hook but I sail the seven seas argh argh argh (more rum) argh ARGH! 

TRANSLATION: In honor of International Talk Like A Pirate Day, here’s a list of 10 our favorite pirates. Argh.

1. CAPTAIN HOOK: Ah, yes. The scourge of Neverland, thus affirming the popular that all grownups are in fact evil pirates. Also known as “Black Stache,” the man we know as Captain James T. Hook (although even that is not his real name) is believed to have been a shipmate of the famous pirate Blackbeard, as well as the only man that Long John Silver himself ever feared. As for what brought him to Neverland in the first place, we may never know for certain, although storytellers have dared to reveal their own theories of this deep, dark secret.

Hook is perhaps the most iconic of the hook-handed pirates, having lost his right appendage in a swordfight with that rascally Peter Pan. In the true fashion of a deadly pirate, Hook fears only two things in the entire world: the crocodile that ate his severed hand, and the sight of his own blood.

2. LONG JOHN SILVER: The progenitor of all things that we have come to associate with pirates, despite the fact that he was merely the quartermaster, the man responsible for leading the boarding party onto the ships of their victims, and not a Captain of his own ship. With a prosthetic pegleg on his left side and a fast-talking parrot named Captain Flint (after the actual Captain of the ship, because he was such an intimidating figure that even his own boss was scared of him), the depiction of Long John Silver in Treasure Island set the bar for all fictional pirates to come.

His moral ambiguity, mutable allegiances, and strange sense of honor among thieves made him an intriguing and likeable rogue. Plus he has his own fast food chain, which is pretty much the most badass thing that any pirate has ever done.

3. THE SEA CAPTAIN FROM TALES OF THE BLACK FREIGHTER: Because in a world with actual superheroes it wouldn’t make sense for anyone to read superhero comic books, people in the world of Alan Moore’s Watchmen read pirate comic books instead. Through the course of the series, there is a young boy sitting by a newsstand on the street and reading a comic book called Tales of the Black Freighter, and the panels and narration from that comic book end up being intertwined with the panels and narration from the Watchmen comic book that you’re reading because, metafictional parallel narrative devices I guess. Is that a good reason? 

Tales of the Black Freighter tells the story of a man known only as the mariner or the Sea Captain who is the last serving member of his shipwrecked crew. He sees the ominous, evil The Black Freighter pirate ship approaching in the distance, and tries desperately to return to his home before the ship attacks and destroys his family. Not to give too much, but the story ultimately serves as a parallel to the story of Watchmen as a whole, and one character’s journey in particular. But this is not happy drunk pirates; this is dark, scary, evil pirates who do horrible, horrible things (let’s just say the story starts with someone building a raft out of the dead, bloated, waterlogged bodies of his former crewmates, and it goes from there).

Top Ten Hobbit References in Popular Culture

It's almost Hobbit Day! This very special day of Tolkien Week is celebrated every September 22nd in honor of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins’ birthdays. Or at least it’s been celebrated since 1978 when the American Tolkien Society announced it. So go outside, take off your shoes, break out your favorite Tolkien tome and celebrate all things Hobbit in style

Here are some of the top Hobbit related pop-culture references to get you in the Hobbit Day spirit. Let us know how you’ll be celebrating in the comments!

1. THE BALLAD OF BILBO BAGGINS: Oh the ‘60s. An era of war, love, and a time when Leonard Nimoy sang a song about the exploits of Bilbo Baggins for fun and profit.

Complete with women in elf ears and pixie cuts, this retro song features glorious lyrics like, “Hobbits are a peace-loving folks you know, they don’t like to hurry and they take things slow. They don’t like to travel away from home, they just want to eat and be left alone.” Do not mess with a Hobbit and their second breakfast!

2. SOUTH PARK: This parody episode titled The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers comes complete with an epic quest, six grade Ringwraiths and plenty of “my precious” jokes. Not to mention the usual irreverence we expect from Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

Bonus: Gandalf the Grey also appears in the Imaginationland episodes as part of the Council of Nine alongside the Jesus allegory lion Aslan.

3. FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS: Real life New Zealand band turned semi-fictional HBO parodies of themselves Bret MacKenzie and Jemaine Clement create and star in a LotR themed music video for their song Frodo, Don’t Wear the Ring. Dressed as Hobbits of course.

This is made even funnier when you consider that Bret starred in The Two Towers as the fan favorite and fan named character Figwit. He is also an Oscar winner, so amend that to Figwit: Oscar winner. Yeah, that’s a thing.

The Best & Worst Schools in Fiction

“How do you know the summer is really and truly over? My dad says it’s over precisely one second after midnight on September 21st. My friend Ellen says it’s over the minute you start thinking about whether to buy a binder, or a spiral notebook for school. But for me, the way I know the summer’s a goner is when my brother Pete and Artie, the Strongest Man in the World, go to the beach and try to beat up ocean.” - Pete Wrigley (the older one), from The Adventures of Pete and Pete.

September means school. Even for those of us who aren’t in school anymore, September still means school. It means shorter days, hooded sweatshirts, and getting abnormally excited about CVS having a huge sale on composition notebooks (whatever man don’t judge I do most of my first drafts in those things). Whether you’re moving, losing those precious Summer Fridays, or even just looking forward to finally getting rid of the kids so that they can go back to school, the cycle of the seasons still tends to revolve around that last hurrah of Labor Day, when something ends, or at least something changes, and we’re forced to face the coming fall, for better or for worse.

And yeah, okay, it could definitely be better. But at the same time, keep in mind that it could be a whole lot worse. So to cheer you up, here’s a list of 3 of the best fictional schools*, accompanied by a list of 3 of the worst fictional schools. Whichever helps to ease the pain of the coming autumnal onslaught. The kind of places you look to and wish you could attend -- as well as the schools that should make you glad that hey, at least you’re not starting there this fall.

* Excluding our own Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and Lovecraft Middle School, of course, which are clearly the greatest educational facilities in which you could ever possibly enroll, ahem. Anyway, where were we? Right. Moving on.

The Five Greatest Dogs in the History of Comics

Photo by Michael Peligro

For anyone who has ever had a dog, you will know that they are more than just a pet. A dog is a friend, companion and to many, a family member. Recent studies have actually shown that the average dog has the intelligence of a two year old human with a vocabulary of 165 to 250 words.

So, in honor of man's best friend, we are going to take a closer look at five of the best canine companions... in comics. 

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