As we return to the adventures of Tina The Detective, Dan and Fraser hit the ground running backwards. They’ve forgotten everything in the 12 years since they last recorded an episode but eventually catch up. Our USA trotting takes Tina from New Orleans to Dallas in an action-packed blur of companionways and coin tosses. So many coin tosses.

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At last, the wait is over!  Allow the blood to flow freely back into your numb arse after a week of being on the edge of your seat!  There’s broth!  Lack of agency!  All those old Matt Dillon proverbs your great grandmother used to say!  Immerse yourself in the most vivid, authentic recreation of New Orleans during Mardi Gras ever! Listen on!

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Riddle Of The Runaway continues as the Dan God puts Fraser (aka Tina the detective) to the test with…

Parties!

Unwanted male attention!

A bus!

A car!

Some not-awful writing!

A real cliff-plunger of an ending!

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A new adventure awaits! Dan is God! Fraser is Tina! Adventure! Music! Travel! Most importantly, NO BLOODY HORSES! Join us for “Heather Fisher”‘s RIDDLE OF THE RUNAWAY!

Hey! we’ve got a Patreon where you can go and binge on episodes way ahead of this one and get access to exclusive content. Join in if you fancy.

Greetings, fellow traveler to a fabulous adventure. Many of you may be aware of Dan and Fraser’s Starlight Adventures as a spin-off from SILENCE! We’ve enjoyed playing through these adventure game books for girls from 1985 so much that we’re making Dan and Fraser’s Starlight Adventures a regular thing. That’s right! REGULAR! The plan is for new episodes to appear (mostly) every Tuesday. This first installment is an extra-long mega bonanza of bad accents and poor decisions from two men in their late 40s who, and this can’t be stressed highly enough, DO NOT CARE ABOUT HORSES. Enjoy the full play through of STAR RIDER!

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SILENCE! #315

April 24th, 2024

IT’S LIKE A WHIRLPOOL AND IT NEVER ENDS

At last! It’s time for The Big Pivot! Welcome to the SILENCE! Sportscast! All the Action! All the balls! More kicks and hits than you could reasonably kick or hit! Who’s winning? YOU!

Unfortunately the sports chat gets somewhat derailed by talk about gigs and the 90s before Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die get sucked into The Reviewniverse where they find Joe Wilkinson: My Autobiography, Elf Quest, Cerebus, Viz (Gary’s got a strip in it!) and Proustian comics in general.

Following that, there’s a lovely bit of SILENCE! (Because The Film’s Started) in which The Beast Must Die has seen The Flash.

All sport is finally forgotten as the hosts reckymend Comfort Blanket, Allan Quartermain and the Spear of Destiny (Jesus fucking Christ), Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson and Gary just won’t stop going on about his Patreon. At this point in the blurb we usually say, “AND MORE!”.

@frasergeesin

@thebeastmustdie

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You can support us using Patreon if you like.

SILENCE! has not been sponsored by the greatest comics shops on the planet, DAVE’S COMICS of Brighton and GOSH! Comics of London for years but we still love them.

Welcome back, Jolly Whackos, to The Mighty Crusaders Number Four! It’s time for the third ultra-page of sequential narrative so get excited!

Listen to The Mighty Crusaders Number Four Supplemental at https://www.patreon.com/SILENCE

Send your correspondence to [email protected] for all your questions and comments. 

Transcript and pictorial reference below for all true monkey winners.

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SILENCE! #314

February 27th, 2024

SHOW ME THAT I’M EVERYWHERE AND GET ME HOME FOR TEA

Somehow climbing out of a river of turds that flows from broken window in Hell, Gary Lactus and The Beast Must Die convene to just try and have some fun for once. It’s all here! Talking! Life! Poor sound quality! Fraser Geesin’s Patreon! Cats knocking over microphones! Excuses! Comics! Great news inside!

Covered within this soup are such titles as Monster Fan Club, The Green Lantern, Guy Gardener: Warrior, It’s Lonely At The Centre of the Earth and more!

Oh, and if you weren’t aware, we lost a good friend. Help provide support for his family here

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You can support us using Patreon if you like.

This edition of SILENCE! is proudly sponsored by the greatest comics shop on the planet, DAVE’S COMICS of Brighton. It’s also sponsored the greatest comics shop on the planet GOSH! Comics of London.

As some of you might have already read, Mark Stewart – our own Amy Poodle and a member of the Diane podcast crew – died unexpectedly last month. There’s a crowdfunder running to support his partner and son, and I’d urge you to contribute if you’re able.

Most of the Mindless were able to attend Mark’s funeral last week. It was a raw day with howling weather to match the sense of rage this sort of loss can provoke, but the funeral ritual performed its dual function, showing us how much Mark there was out there in the world by prompting us to share memories, tributes, wild stories. The man’s thoughts were catchy like a cold, so it’s no surprise that variations on the phrase “he rewired my brain” were used so often on the day – looking at this site, everything from the naming conventions for contributors to the faces of The Amusing Brothers has Mark’s trace on it.

Mindless readers will know that Mark is the best writer about Grant Morrison comics to have ever put his thoughts out there, so we were moved to see an acknowledgement of Mark’s passing from Morrison in their newsletter:

A moment’s silence for Amy Poodle, AKA writer and critic Mark Stewart, who died last week. Mark was one of the first young readers to completely grasp the underlying metaphysics of The Invisibles, and his breathtakingly erudite and distinctive interpretations of mine and other stories were a highlight of the Barbelith Forum and the Mindless Ones blog back in the day. I loved reading his work, I always learned something, and I’m very saddened to hear the news that he’s passed away at such a young age.  

Our deepest condolences to Mark’s friends and family, and to his partner Clare, and his son Dale.

Flame on, brother!

As Morrison notes, Mark’s writing on the sadly vanished Barbelith forums pulled the pin on public understanding of The Invisibles, and his subsequent explorations of the series for The Comics Journal still freak my nut out to this day, to get bit Danny Dyer about it. The following passage from Bomb Light in Faraway Windows has been haunting me today as I considered how to write about such a multifaceted person from my perilously limited vantage point:

Because in fiction characters aren’t bound by their pasts, they’re not fixed in place, and if their creator wills it they can be a violent super-ninja freedom fighter, a successful, totally harmless horror writer and a dimension hopping agent of Chaos simultaneously, their “true” self located only in whatever overlapping sites of meanings the reader cobbles together from each cover story, forever hidden in the gaps.

Invisible.

Mark was talking about imaginary people there, of course, but I’m aware that tributes like this can risk turning people into easy fictions. The “real” Mark couldn’t be sketched out by any one account, least of all one that focuses on his writing like this post will, but together we can strain our eyes to see a more multifaceted impression of the man, just as his work allowed so many of us to trace things we might otherwise have missed when we looked at stories and the world. As our Botswana Beast put it in a recent email:

my sort of banner points is – as much as you might be into something, and I already thought All-Star Superman say was unbelievable, but to experience Mark enjoying something – the best comics already anyway – to experience that made it 10x better *at least* (in a fashion that sometimes made me feel my own mundane eyes were basically just adequate) – I think what characterises his criticism, or indeed what he defined in our little sphere of comics criticism, was to be almost entirely – except where Mark Millar was concerned – additive (there is stuff in his All-Star write up that’s so exciting and you can feel this Quitelyesque world bubbling up around you; incredibly immersive)

Even stuff I might be mildly leery of; Dan Slott, or the MCU, or Immortal Hulk say – basically if Mark liked it I would too because I knew someone was into it in a way – swirling, psychedelic, extrapolatory – that I could only vaguely imagine.

The description of Mark’s writing as being “additive” has been echoing around my head since I read it. There was real magic to the way he could tune you into something only his equipment had picked up, whether he did it with a quick bit of absurd language – “runce” on Barbelith, “Blackest NICE” and “bulk meat” here – or by taking the time to light a story up from a previously inconceivable angle. The Muppets never looked the same after I read Mark’s post on how Crazy Harry exists at

the point where the madness reaches such a fever pitch that the show turns itself inside out, kermit green giving way to grey, where wacky fun collapses into its abject… Where the stage lights finally go down on all that colour.

I’d never considered “The Darkness when everyone has left the theatre, and the thing waiting for you in it” or at least, I’d never acknowledged the fact that these thoughts might be troubling me. We’ll break through to brighter horizons in a minute, but Mark had a real gift for lighting up the subterranean world, as anyone who read his Batmannotations or listened to Diane must surely know. I doubt I’d remember Daredevil #9 by Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera if it wasn’t for Mark having wandered through that comic with a torch, talking about how the monsters lurking unseen in the dark caves of that story were an example of

Nostalgia veering into dread… From a certain angle the monsters look dumb and kind of friendly, but those ‘creepy cartoon eyes’ would make you sick if you were confronted with them anywhere outside the comic page.

Look again: was he wrong? do you want him to be?

Let’s double back a bit because this is not a moment for subtlety: like Botswana Beast above, and like Daredevil in that story, a lot of the time I was just registering the caves until Mark made the rest of it clear to me. There’s a real power in Mark’s ability to suggest the shape of dangers and worries we’ve not fully understood, but like a lot of people my intoxication with Mark’s work also had a lot to do with the way he could tune you into frequencies that seemed to come from a better reality.

Back when I was reading Mindless Ones dot com instead of contributing to it, Mark’s Candyfloss Horizons posts seemed to me to contain all of the possibility of this magazine and the culture around it in its most potent form. Part 1 set the scene, and let us know that the scene would shift every time we looked at it, but Part 2 was the real trip. These posts found a way through superfiction to a world of abundance, a world of fluid images and meanings and sexuality that has little to do with the value that Disney and Discovery, Inc see in these fictional realities. On brighter days, I think that some of this explosive plurality may yet survive the cinematic age.

If we’re talking about hope, well, the Beast already mentioned Mark’s write-up of All Star Superman in his comment, and I’m not joking when I say that I think about it every time I’ve been beaten into a rut and need to imagine a way out of it.

Here’s Amy Poodle, talking about the expansive possibilities of ASS:

Most of us, if we’re lucky, will experience a time in the future, perhaps an extended time, maybe a moment or two, when we’re really taken out of ourselves. When the grey scales fall off our eyes. It could be at our child’s birth, it could be falling in love, it could just smack us in the ennui one day when we’re walking down the street, and this is the atmosphere, the internal environment, that All Star Superman is trying to reflect and catalyse in us – the best days of our lives (as THE ADAMS sang), when, as I said above, everything’s soft (because the boundaries between things needn’t be so rigid anymore), fairytale (because everything seems primal, mythic and illuminated with significance), permeable (because we want to interrogate, explore and know more) and malleable (because we’re an integral part of the whole thing). With this in mind, have a look at the landscape of ASS again. It’s all those things: Bric-a-brac colour schemes that lap at the eye; balloon-skin thin line work; an illustrative style that summons up bedtime and “Nan, can I see the picture…?!?”, a gentle three dimensionality rotating softly within and around itself. If Morrison’s preceding works have aggressively shoved the reader towards the kind of…err… magickal awareness he wants to provoke, then All Star Superman is a far subtler beast. It doesn’t rely solely on didactic screeds, or narrative thrust, or belligerently zany page layouts to make its point – it’s all just loaded into every panel, the mise-en-scene, the general tone. Superman’s got there already, and all he wants us to do is catch up, because sometimes it’s lonely on that cloud. The book is truly a collaborative effort. I’ve made every effort to include the artists in this little eulogy as much as I’ve included Grant, because everyone working on it contributes to the fiery nimbus that surrounds the piece, either by accident or design. It doesn’t matter. The spell just worked.

Sometimes it comes steam engines. Sometimes it comes All Star Superman time.

Reading back through pages of Mark’s writing today has been rough going. I’ve cried a couple of times, gutted about the fact I won’t get to hear from Mark again, grateful that I ever got to hear from him at all. Everything in Mark’s work seems to point me away from where my head’s at today, whether it’s his thoughtful approach to the evidence of our passing in Ghost World, the giddy thrill of Zenith showing that comics can broadcast from the edge of their moment, or the depictions of a virtual overlay of neglected physical spaces in his Batman 666 scripts.

As I get older I find that both hard times and days of real joy and comfort make me want to draw my world close around myself, to treasure what I have and hide from what I can’t control. These impulses are understandable on an individual basis and maybe poisonous socially, allowing those of us who can afford to minimise our exposure to the world and its horrors to do so. The best of Mark’s work asks me to be less of a shitebag than all that. It’s full of portents of what’s wrong [in/out] there for sure, but it’s also always reaching past itself after the next possibility, carefully tuned into the ways the world might yet bend into a new shape upon contact.

Ask yourself, in the dark of the year, under your duvet, sat bright by the TV screen, submerged in a bath of comics, out in the world, navigating by stars or streetlight, wherever you are – can we do less?