Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "The Responsibility Audiences Have Placed on Us"

This poem is spillover from the September 1, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] siliconshaman and[personal profile] thnidu. It also fills the "bitter" square in my 8-31-15 card for the Tones Bingo fest, and the "winners and losers" square in my 9-4-15 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

"The Responsibility Which Audiences Have Put on Us"

The Puppetmaster sat behind a folding screen
of fine paper printed with a bucolic Italian waterfront.
This scenario allowed him to speak freely without exposing
his identity to anyone outside of his innermost circle:
his first line of defense as a supervillain.

"What do you need, boss?" Pazzesco asked
from the far side of the screen.

On the Puppetmaster's elaborate wooden desk,
one large monitor showed the elegant young man
standing at attention in his midnight-blue suit.

"It has come to my attention that someone is
attempting to tamper with the Eisner Prize,"
the Puppetmaster explained. The news had
come from Stephan Greenspun, the owner of
El Castillo de León, the convention center which
hosted Sequin Con and its award ceremony each year.
While Mr. Greenspun had no direct connection to any
branch of the Mob, the Marionettes did look on him
fondly for running a fine establishment.

"I am familiar with the venue, sir," said Pazzesco.
One slim hand touched the pocket of his suitcoat where
he kept his traveling sketchbook of bird cartoons.
"A few years ago, I attended Sequin Con."

"That's one reason I thought of you,"
the Puppetmaster said. "I also need
someone with a diverse set of skills and
a creative approach to solving problems."

"I'm at your service, sir," Pazzesco said,
bowing as if he could see his boss
instead of the decorative screen.

"This fix is unsatisfactory for practical reasons,
not least of which is that certain allies of the Family
stand to lose a considerable sum of money," he said.
People in Las Vegas would bet on anything, including
the distribution of awards in any popular ceremony.

"Yes, sir, that's quite unacceptable," Pazzesco agreed.

"More important, however, is the potential damage to
the field of sequential art itself," the Puppetmaster said.
He had even earned a nomination for an Eisner once,
based on a fotoromanzo with captioned snapshots
of a marionette show, although he hadn't won it.

"Because of the scandal?" Pazzesco said.

"In part," said the Puppetmaster. "As entertainers and
artists, creative people must always pay attention to
the responsibility which audiences have put on us.
We must never uphold the inept as if it were
great art, just because it's politically expedient
or financially rewarding. In order for art
to be great, it must be honest."

"Yes, sir," said Pazzesco. "Am I
to understand, then, that the situation
at hand may require some ... revision?"

That was Pazzesco's particular talent,
the ability to make minor alterations in reality,
small in power but great in possibility.

The Puppetmaster chuckled.
"Indeed it does, my boy, which is why
I'm sending you to Las Vegas."

He reached out with his own gift,
a delicate touch of telepathy, not to control
but just to caress, the Puppetmaster making sure
that his Marionette was in good working order
before setting him onto the stage.

Pazzesco sighed and leaned into it like a cat
stropping himself around his owner's legs.

It was simple enough for the boss to make
the travel arrangements for Pazzesco and
a hand-picked support team of enforcers,
bodyguards, and button men. The artist
didn't have a team of his own because
he rarely left the Family holdings.

The Puppetmaster, who like his nunzio
preferred to do most of his work from home,
had no trouble following the progress through
the bank of viewscreens on his desk and wall.

He kept one eye on that and turned the rest
of his attention to the altercation behind it.
The darknets held a morass of complaints
from young brats and embittered old men
about how "those people" -- by whom they
meant women, soups, people of color, or
any number of other groups -- were
ruining the future of sequential art.

It became clear that the once-secret fix
had leaked into the rumor mill, causing fans
to decry such an assault on the integrity
of the most beloved award in the field.

The Puppetmaster ghosted through the darknets,
occasionally surfacing into the more public parts
of the internet. He left behind little gems of wisdom,
cleverly captioned photos, pointers to logical fallacies,
mild observations, anecdotes, or stinging rebukes
as the conversation called for in each case.

When he saw the flamewar breaking out
in the BlackSheep chatrooms, however,
the Puppetmaster simply chuckled and
moved on. Let Kraken handle that one;
he knew the other supervillain organization
kept a close watch on that social network
because it tended to attract exactly the kind of
troubled youth they most liked to approach,
and they disliked anyone banging up
those potential recruits any further.

Pazzesco, being an artist himself --
one of the Family's best forgers, in fact --
should have no trouble collecting information
from other artists and figuring out that end of things.

Meanwhile the Puppetmaster could look into
the financial concerns of the situation.

Gambling made up the heart of Las Vegas, and
something the Marionettes dabbled in occasionally,
but other Families held more interest there. Still he
sent a note to his accountants to examine what
paper trail might be found for the money that
was doubtless contributing to the problem.

One thread he could see led to City Hall.
Well, that was a tangle, wasn't it?

Las Vegas was fraught with connections,
palpable to him the time he had visited the city
in his own nomination year, like gossamer lines
brushing against his mind whenever he moved.
Perhaps he could help with the political aspects,
or at least, nudge them out of the way, leaving
Pazzesco a clear path to the artistic issues.

They did not have many people in America,
as their base rested in Italy, but they had
at least a few feelers, which would suffice.
The Puppetmaster made some subtle moves
and then backed off to wait for the results.

It was the teamwork, as much as their superpowers
or their influence in the underworld, which made
the Marionettes a force to be reckoned with.

The Puppetmaster went on with his duties,
ate and slept and kept a bit of attention
on his active projects in between.

When Pazzesco arrived in Las Vegas,
the action began to heat up.

Mr. Greenspun had provided a patch program
so that the Puppetmaster could watch through
the occhio della testa that Pazzesco wore,
the tiny camera picking up his own view.
The patch allowed the gizmo to skim
from the hotel's security feeds too.

The Puppetmaster flicked through
the views with the speed of a connoisseur,
sorting out the ones most useful to him.

It quickly became clear that
Mr. Greenspun was quite serious
about defending the honor of the award
that his hotel hosted annually, for
he met Pazzesco in person and
gave him a splendid suite.

The lack of preregistration was
graciously waved away in favor of
having an outsider repair the scandal.

Pazzesco moved through the convention,
turning heads in his suit of sky blue capery.
"Are you a superhero?" people asked, and he
shook his head and laughed. "No, I'm an artist."

The other artists talked to him, and they
talked to each other, and by piecing together
the conversations the Puppetmaster was able
to figure out that the problem had started
somewhere in the Five Year Mark.

That category recognized excellence in
ongoing serials which made it to their fifth year,
a notable change from most awards focusing on
brand-new projects. It capitalized on the fans who
supported an established creator, and on ideas
strong enough to survive in the long haul.

A drawback was that it could also maintain feuds,
and one of those concerned two very different comics.
Pursuit of this information required Pazzesco sketching
some cartoon birds on a woman's program booklet
and buying far too many drinks for a man before
the relevant details finally came to light.

The Impossible Palace by Gabriela Dickenson
used pen-and-ink on paper to tell tales about
several quirky people -- most of them gizmologists,
super-gizmologists, or super-intellects -- sharing
a big crazy house designed by an architect who
was also a super-gizmologist. The series was
famous as much for her refined ink as for
the adventures with the strange house.

Mannly Menn by Mitchell Menn was
nearly the opposite, created electronically
with impressive control of the pixels to create
a very stylized, geometric look full of fart jokes
and slapstick. Popular in certain circles, it was
known for portraying female characters only by
scribbled speech bubbles coming from off-page,
its half-dialogues eerily compelling to its readers.

A panel discussion years ago had polarized
the audience about the issue of diversity
among works and fans of sequential art.

Gabriela had noted the matter,
added more diverse characters to
her repertoire, and considered it settled.

Mitchell had turned it into something
of a crusade, and couldn't stand the fact
that she kept ignoring him.

When idle ranting failed to produce
the results he wanted, Mitchell had turned
to manipulation instead. According to rumor,
he had successfully tampered with other awards
before setting his eye on this one, and he was
not just aiming for a prize of his own but had
also shoehorned a whole slate of his friends
onto the ballot in hopes of producing
a more "traditional" line of winners.

Some of the other artists who preferred
diversity had tried to rouse Gabriela,
with no success whatsoever, so they
had taken matters into their own hands
to mobilize more of the audience.

Meanwhile the Puppetmaster had
turned up another player through
the political and financial lines.

Al Bompensiero was a bookie,
and one suspected of fiddling the odds,
which was a serious charge in Las Vegas --
but nobody could pin down a direct link
between him and the Eisner Prize.

Then while he was in the midst of
a complicated analysis, the Puppetmaster
had to drop a discreet warning to Pazzesco
that he should go fish Gabriela out of a stairwell
she was trying to measure before she could fall
and break her neck -- and indeed, it was only
Pazzesco's gift of Revision that allowed him
to snatch her in midair as she startled off the rail.

"I'm not with hotel security," he assured her,
"but I would still appreciate it if you
stayed on secure footing."

This from the same man who had once had to be
rescued from the dovecote of a Family resort.
Well, at least the lesson had sunk in.

No sooner had they straightened that out
than a new problem arose: someone was
trying to make trouble for Pazzesco through
his passport, which triggered an alert program
in the Puppetmaster's control center. He had
ways to fix it, even in City Hall, even in America --
but not quickly, with so few of his people there.

The last thing they needed was for
some American police to pick him up on
false pretenses and find out that rather more
of substance lay under the surface.

So the Puppetmaster pulled what strings
he could reach and hoped for the best.

Then the alert winked out as suddenly
as it had appeared. Wary, he tapped on
his touchscreen to trace the cause.

Next a message appeared:
A little bird told me there was trouble,
so I made it go away. Special thanks
from the mommy of the baby girl
who isn't crying anymore.

The Puppetmaster puzzled over that
for a long moment, and then recalled his visit
to Sequin Con when a girl was crying because
her mother's girlfriend got sick and had to go home.
He had quickly cobbled up a bird puppet out of napkins
and plastic cups and thread -- and yes, he had modeled
the thing after one of Pazzesco's characters --
which performance had soon dried the tears.

Apparently the mother in question was
an adept programmer in City Hall, with
a good memory and a fine sense of balance,
and whose skill at connecting the dots was
altogether too high for the comfort of
anyone who relied on secrecy.

At least she was on their side.

That gave the Puppetmaster an idea,
so he sent a note to Pazzesco suggesting
a search of previous convention materials
and attendees for Al Bompensiero, to see
if a connection might be found that way.

Pazzesco went off with great enthusiasm,
showing around a picture of "a fan" whom he
was seeking -- and amazingly, it was that simple.

Gabriela had a picture from several years ago
of a signing table where she and Mitchell had been
assigned, and the image showed Al getting
his copy of Mannly Menn autographed.

"I remembered him because he was such a jerk,"
she explained. "He went on and on about geometry,
he was really rude to the other artists, and he
clogged up the line something awful. But
Mitch wouldn't make him leave. Either
one alone is bad enough, but together,
they're like bleach and ammonia."

With all the players on the field, they could
finally map out enough of the plan to stop it.

Mitchell, it turned out, had the idea of fixing
the award by loading up the audience with
his fans, and fans of other "traditional" artists
with work eligible in other categories this year.
What he lacked was the money to make it work,
and he complained about that online.

That attracted the attention of Al,
who as a bookie handled large sums
of money, and stood to profit from an upset.
So Al put up the front money to pad the audience,
which allowed them to get their candidates on
the ballot because nominations came from
people who bought Sequin Con tickets.

Pazzesco went to Mr. Greenspun,
explained the situation in diffident tones,
and asked the host for his input.

Frustrated, Mr. Greenspun admitted that
while Al's machinations broke bookie rules,
Mitchell hadn't broken any actual laws,
only violated the spirit of the award.

Thus Al could be arrested, but Mitchell could not,
and the Eisner Prize didn't have a cancel or
reset option in case of tampering -- though
it could be proposed as an amendment
to prevent a repetition of the problem.

Pazzesco smiled and said, "Then it's
a good thing that not everyone is
restricted to coloring inside the lines."

"I wouldn't know anything about that,"
said Mr. Greenspun, which was their cue
to take the rest of the solution under the table.

Pazzesco also quietly sent word of the matter
to the Family's allies in Las Vegas, so that they
would know who was responsible for the mess
and that the betting was under repair now.

Some of them added their own ideas
for salvaging the situation, and the nunzio
handled those negotiations with grace.

From there it was simply a matter of figuring out
which methods of persuasion applied to whom.

Many people who could be bought once,
could be bought again and redirected,
either with cash or other incentives --
a surprising number rolled over just
for a piece of Pazzesco's original art.

Bullies tended to be cowards, easily spooked into
leaving early when the enforcers loomed over them;
only a couple required an actual pat on the head with a fist.

Al had also paid for some computer hacking,
but the Puppetmaster assigned a few of
the Family hackers to the task, and
they managed to clean it up.

When some of the judges noticed the stir
and tried to interfere -- not realizing that it was
actually undoing the prior manipulation --
Pazzesco used his superpower to edit
their memories, gently, just enough
to throw them off the trail.

A minor challenge emerged when Al
could not be found for arrest, but with
his plan largely in ruins, he should not
pose much of a threat anymore.

Once the deliberate manipulations
had been cleared away, they left
the actual voting to the fans, just as
the Eisner Prize was meant to do.

Electronic voting made it all quick and
convenient, so much an improvement
over the days of paper ballots and
counting the tallies by hand.

None of the titles put forth by Al
and Mitchell won anything.

It was no surprise that the prize
for the Five Year Mark went to
The Impossible Palace -- with
Mannly Menn popped out of
its inflated position, that was
clearly the best candidate.

Gabriela had to be pried out of
a sketch fest in someone's room party
to come accept her prize.

Then after doing that, she
wanted to borrow one of the enforcers
to pose for a new character she had just
dreamed up, a stealth intellectual.

"Cover: blown," the poor man muttered,
but he let her make the sketches anyway.

Mitchell slunk away from the dispersing crowd
in the company of several friends who were
loudly proclaiming their intention to drown
his sorrows in a bathtub full of beer.

"Look sharp, boss," Pazzesco said suddenly.

The Puppetmaster looked -- and there was Al,
trying to make a discreet escape from
the rear of the audience.

It took only a moment to bounce an alert
through several anonymous servers
and drop a tip to the local police.

"Al, old buddy old pal!" Pazzesco sang,
turning on his artist's charm. "I've been
looking all over this con for you." He
sidled close to the larger man.

Al, who was used to people trying to get
his attention whether he recognized them
or not, fell for it completely.

Pazzesco draped a capery-clad arm
over the fellow's shoulders as they left.
"We cleaned up dat fix you put in," he said,
letting his Neapolitan accent seep out of hiding.
"Do it again, Imma introduce your face to dis wall."

Then he slung the man out the door and down the steps,
hard enough to leave Al stumbling into the street.

The Puppetmaster laughed. Some people
just couldn't understand the concept of
playing fair, but could understand
a simple physical gesture.

Pazzesco might be a true gentleman,
a fine artist, and an exquisitely precise
editor of reality ... but he was still a mobster
and altogether capable of using tricks learned
by a wild young graffitist on the streets of Naples.

For all of Al's size, he had apparently
never trained in fighting, so it was easy for
even a smaller man to outmatch him.
He was still reeling when the cops
pulled up to arrest him.

Mr. Greenspun himself appeared through
a small discreet door, bearing a bottle of Étoile Rosé,
one of California's finest sparkling wines, which he
presented to Pazzesco with thanks for a job well done.
The nunzio accepted with a modest little bow.

After that exchange, Pazzesco reported to his boss,
"I believe we have fulfilled the responsibility
which audiences have put on us, sir."

"Indeed, you may go and celebrate,"
the Puppetmaster said, and just in time.

"There you are," said Gabriela,
hooking an arm around Pazzesco.
Since she was already judged to be
nonthreatening, none of the bodyguards
challenged her for the position. "Come on,
I've got a friend who wants you to draw him
as a bird, and he'll pay in marzipan."

Pazzesco gave a happy little whistle
and let her lead him to the waiting friend,

Thereupon the Puppetmaster turned off
his camera, stretched luxuriously,
and rolled away from his desk.

After all, you had to know
when to let go of the strings.

* * *


Stephan Greenspun -- He has pinkish-fair skin, light brown hair, and blue eyes. He wears glasses. Soft and unassuming, he seems like the quintessential nerd. He loves comic books too. But his business acumen is razor-sharp and he is rich enough to own a sizable portion of Las Vegas. Stephan is a descendant of Hank Greenspun, an influential patriarch in local history. Well-connected and charming, Stephan has plenty of friends.
Among his properties is the hotel El Castillo de León, a handsome edifice of brick and timbers which Stephan bought and restored to historic splendor. It is famous for the statue of a red marble lion which presides over the main entrance. The Castillo hosts Sequin Con, an annual event for all types of sequential art where people vote on the Eisner Prize.
Origin: He was born into a wealthy family and has used his own business acumen to improve it.
Uniform: Smart casual. Usually a luxurious sweater over a business shirt and tie or cravat, with trousers.
Qualities: Master (+6) Businessman, Master (+6) Hospitality, Expert (+4) Comics Fan, Expert (+4) Logical-Mathematical Intelligence, Good (+2) Honorable, Good (+2) Networking, Good (+2) No Circadian Rhythm
Poor (-2) Tolerating Low-Class Behavior
Powers: Good (+2) Wealth
Motivation: He who dies with the most toys, wins. Really. He collects comic-related toys as well as buildings. He enjoys playing with all of his wealth, and even sharing it.

Pazzesco (Nichi Galante) -- He has olive skin, brown eyes, and short curly brown hair. He comes from the Puglie region of Italy, and speaks Neapolitan as well as conventional Italian. His superpower allows him to bend reality just a little, such as by predicting what will happen before it does, making minor alterations in what just happened like catching a cup as it falls, or tampering with people's memory of a recent event.
Nichi belongs to the Marionettes, and is one of the Family's best forgers. He also draws bilingual comics for teaching children about foreign languages. He illustrates the text with little pen-and-ink birds tinted in watercolors -- a different species native to the homeland of each language. Nichi is not a frontline fighter, and his martial arts training focuses primarily on self-defense. He rarely needs to leave the holdings, but occasionally the Family will send him into the field for his ability to edit reality a bit or for his diplomatic skills. He excels at making subtle, effective deals ... but underneath the elegance, he is still a mobster and he can crack heads if that's all people will pay attention to.
Origin: Nichi's superpower first manifested when he was riding in a car with his family, and a large farm truck hydroplaned out of control ahead of them. His ability flicked out to avoid the collision. The motion of the truck was conspicuously artificial. Nichi used his ability primarily to avoid arrest while getting into mischief -- he was an enthusiastic graffiti artist -- and that eventually attracted the attention of the Marionettes, who helped him channel his talents into more refined directions.
Uniform: Men's fashions. Nichi loves bright colors and fine clothes, often dressing to attract attention. Several of his business suits are made from capery: one sky blue, one burgundy, and one antique gold. He never wears blue with brown. That suit in the picture goes with black shoes.
Qualities: Master (+6) Forger, Expert (+4) Artist, Expert (+4) Second Chances, Good (+2) Cielo e Meraviglia, Good (+2) Fashion Sense, Good (+2) Interpersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Intimidation, Good (+2) Negotations & Diplomacy, Good (+2) Resourcefulness
Powers: Average (0) Revision
For events within a few seconds, it's free. Within a minute, it requires one hero point to upshift. Within ten minutes, it requires two hero points to upshift. Within an hour, it requires three, and he can rarely stretch beyond that.
Motivation: Touching up life's little mistakes with pride.

Mitchell Menn -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and dark brown hair which he shaves off because he's already going bald. He is short and stocky. He comes from a large, rowdy family that balances out to average as the disadvantages of knowing them largely cancel out the advantages. They do love his artwork, though, are are proud of having a successful artist in the family.
Mitchell draws the comic Mannly Menn. It has a highly stylized, geometric look akin to things like Johnny Bravo. The humor runs to slapstick and fart jokes. Most problems are solved by hitting. This comic book has female characters portrayed only by speech bubbles coming from off-page, but instead of actual text, their bubbles just contain scribbles to which the male characters respond, so it's like getting half of a telephone conversation. Although Mitchell started out with pen and ink, he has progressed to electronic art and considers it clearly superior.
Qualities: Master (+6) Macho Humor, Expert (+4) Comic Artist, Expert (+4) Work Ethic, Good (+2) Iron Stomach, Good (+2) Persistent, Good (+2) Sports Fan
Poor (-2) Sexist Pig

Gabriela Dickenson -- She has tawny-fair skin, yellow-grey eyes, and long hair with just a little wave. Her hair color is variegated, showing many shades of lighter and darker blonde, with just a hint of red among the gold. She wears glasses. She was named after the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, which was a compromise after her father balked at "Emily," so her mother picked a favorite non-English poet instead. Her parents are both writers, with her mother Marthy teaching at a college and her father Lewis at a high school. They are very supportive, but a bit baffled over how to raise someone whose creative talents lie in a totally different field. Gabriela has a laid-back personality in general, and prefers to avoid drama.
Her older brother Rupert is a talented baker, and their team creations are famous at family gatherings: he bakes cookies and cakes, then she makes them beautiful. She is actually good enough to paint entire comics onto cakes. But they never sell those; they are only made as gifts for friends and family, or more rarely, donated to charity auctions.
Gabriela draws black-and-white comic The Impossible Palace, about a bunch of characters (mostly super-intellects, super-gizmologists, and gizmologists) who live together in a big crazy house designed by an architect who was also a super-gizmologist. They have all kinds of adventures dealing with ordinary people, and with the house which was sold cheap because almost nobody could make sense of it. The design of the house was somewhat inspired by M.C. Escher's work such as "Relativity" and "House of Stairs." The comic is done entirely by hand, on real paper with permanent ink. It has a hearty following among both soup and nary readers, but some comic fans hate it because it is drawn by a girl, drawn by a soup, hand-drawn, or whatever.
Currently Gabriela is attending college part time in Westbord, with an emphasis on business. Her creative skills are already good enough that she needs little work there, just adding a few classes on art history and the like for context. Mostly what she wants to learn is how to make a solid career out of drawing comics. She lives in a dorm for young professionals, nicknamed "Nerd World." This arrangement allows her to continue building momentum on a successful series while acquiring new skills toward her long-term goals. She won the Eisner Prize in the Five Year Mark category.
Origin: She was born precocious enough to earn recognition as gifted very early. By her teen years it had shifted into super range.
Uniform: She buys clothes that she likes, then combines them for comfort, with little if any regard to appearance. She often mixes colors and patterns at random. The result can be a real eyesore on occasion, but she also favors muted colors, which helps reduce the overall impact.
Qualities: Master (+6) Sequential Artist, Expert (+4) Dexterity, Expert (+4) Intrapersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) College Student, Good (+2) Decorating Food, Good (+2) Equanimity, Good (+2) Fangirl, Good (+2) Sense of Wonder, Good (+2) Small Happy Family
Poor (-2) Fashion Sense
Powers: Good (+2) Super-Intellect
Motivation: To be the Bard of art.

Al Bompensiero -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and brown hair with a scruffy beard. He has a pear-shaped face above a large, flabby body. Al is married, but he cheats on his wife. He will do pretty much anything for enough money. He doesn't have a good gauge of respective strength or influence -- he not only bullies weaker people, he doesn't know when to back down from someone far more formidable than himself. Al is used to using his size to intimidate or push people, but has no real training in how to fight effectively. Much the same is true of his business endeavors, which is attracting disapproval from higher up. An excellent case in point is his recent attempt to fix the Eisner Prize in the field of sequential art.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Comics Fan, Good (+2) Big and Tall, Good (+2) Bookie, Good (+2) Putting in the Fix
Poor (-2) Picking on People His Own Size

* * *

"An award means a lot to me. It brings happiness along with a kind of fear. It brings fear because the award is the responsibility which audiences have put on us. So a singer winning an award should always try to give best of him to the audiences."
-- Shreya Ghoshal

See the Italian folding screen.

The Puppetmaster has a command center which consists of an executive desk with plenty of shelves, drawers, and doors for organizing equipment connected with a plain desk and a bank of viewscreens along the wall. It's a modular system that fits together to create a comprehensive base of operations. The Puppetmaster's command chair is not the wooden one shown with the desk above, but rather the matching executive chair upholstered in leather. It is soft enough to be comfortable for lengthy work sessions, but not so soft as to tempt him to fall asleep in it.

Sequential art is a story told in a set of ordered illustrations, often with text. See Comics and Sequential Art or Understanding Comics for detailed descriptions.

A fotoromanzo is the Italian term for photographic comics. Fumetti is another term. There are apps and free online creators for these things.

Fixing a contest spoils the purpose of it, but some people don't care. The tampering may be done in whole or in part. The Sad Puppies made a famous attempt at this in the Hugo Awards, but outraged fans smacked them down by voting No Award in the contaminated categories.

A nunzio is someone sent by a Mafia boss on a diplomatic mission, rather than a combat mission. The nunzio may act as a representative of the boss and/or as an agent to perform other assigned duties besides negotiation. It is considered a breach of protocol for the receiving Family to pick a fight with one, both because such assignments usually go to favored personnel and because they are customarily noncombatants. This does not necessarily prevent fights breaking out due to less-mannered bystanders, so it is routine for a nunzio to travel with a team for protection and other tasks. The term comes from nuncio, an ecclesiastical diplomat.

An occhio della testa is a tiny gizmotronic or super-gizmotronic device which can be worn to give a shooter's-eye view of the action, and may include a tracker to assist in watching the person from other cameras nearby. They are often fastened to eyeglasses or hats, occasionally to jewelry such as earrings or tie tacks, even used to replace buttons. The phrase literally means "a head's eye," from the phrase "Costa un occhio della testa" ("It costs a head's eye.") for "It costs an arm and a leg," meaning very expensive. This probably refers as much to the high cost of early models as it does to wearing the eye of a camera on one's head.

Inking comics has various advantages. Explore the tools and techniques of traditional inking.

The Impossible Palace is a black-and-white comic in Terramagne about a bunch of characters (mostly super-intellects, super-gizmologists, and gizmologists) who live together in a big crazy house designed by an architect who was also a super-gizmologist. They have all kinds of adventures dealing with ordinary people, and with the house which was sold cheap because almost nobody could make sense of it. The design of the house was somewhat inspired by M.C. Escher's work such as "Relativity" and "House of Stairs."

Digital comics have their own assets. There are different tools and methods for making digital comics.

Mitchell draws the comic Mannly Menn. It has a highly stylized, geometric look akin to things like Johnny Bravo. The humor runs to slapstick and fart jokes. Most problems are solved by hitting. This comic book has female characters portrayed only by speech bubbles coming from off-page, but instead of actual text, their bubbles just contain scribbles to which the male characters respond, so it's like getting half of a telephone conversation. Although Mitchell started out with pen and ink, he has progressed to electronic art and considers it clearly superior.

Print and digital comics each have their own advantages and disadvantages. The format has nothing to do with the quality or merit of the work, and which you prefer is a matter of personal taste and intent.

Diversifying comics has a long tradition. Charles Schulz added a black character to Peanuts based on reader input: someone pointed out the lack, he agreed that it was a valid problem but did not want to overshoot his experience and cause offense, so black readers were consulted, and he used their ideas to create Franklin.

Étoile Rosé is a sparkling wine from California.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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