Praise be to the snooty, antisocial gods luxuriating at the center of all creation - I survived my first year as Fiction Editor of Strange Aeons magazine, and there is no better way to celebrated my one year anniversary than Issue #10, which features a cover by SA fave Mike Dubisch, who created a beautiful, squamous wrap-around piece that is worth the price of admission alone.
But you get more than just the wrapping paper, friend. Lords of Light, do you ever get more... I'm talking about... er, writing about 52 pages of gorgeous color and B&W comics by Rob Corless, Vincent Ferrante, Ben "1314" Hansen, D.C. Stuelpner, Shelby Denham, and Eric York. And once again, another set of two fresh and wriggling Anno Ktulu collectible trading cards. We also have book reviews, news from around the Weird-o-Sphere, interesting adverts for outstanding fiction and other dark matter, and more. Yes, that's right, MORE. What is this "more," you might ask? I'm sure as hell not going to tell you, you nosy so-and-so, as the "more" in Strange Aeons remains a secret only revealed to those who order and hold our honest to goodness pulp mag in their soft, beautiful hands.
Of course, as Fiction Editor, I draw special attention to the prose piece we feature in each issue. For Issue #10, we have something truly special in Scotty Nicolay's story "You Are What You Eat," accompanied by an illustration from SA in-house artist and part-time limerick scribe Nick "The Hat" Gucker.
Laird Barron has called him a writer to watch. He appears with me in the (now sold out) Aklonomicon, adding his story of cosmic horror in the South Pacific "Ana Kai Tangata" to the noxious mix. He has his debut fiction collection coming out in spring of 2014 from Fedogan & Bremer. After reading his story in the Aklonomicon, I decided to invite Scott to submit for Issue #10. And while I was hoping for - and expecting, to be quite honest - something great from Scott, I had no idea what he was sending me.
"You Are What You Eat" is quite literally one of the most affecting, extraordinary, and totally UNIQUE short stories I have ever read, unlike anything that has come out recently. It's a piece of not only Weird fiction but profoundly weird fiction, that is unsettling and brutal and sad, while at the same time oddly uplifting. I can't do it justice without giving anything away, and I'd rather gnaw off my index fingers than to that, as it would rob readers of a revelatory experience that ranks up with with first discovery that amazing band or movie or author that is so damn good you can't believe that everyone else hasn't heard of them, but at the same being thankful that not everyone has (yet), because for a little while, this beautiful secret is yours and yours alone, allowing you to share it with those whom you deem worthy, and then watch the word spread with a mixture of sadness and pride.
For "You Are What You Eat," I share with you writer Scott Nicolay with neither sadness nor pride, as I certainly didn't discover him, and I want him to sell two million books. Writers this good need to, if we are ever going to re-balance the scales between bestselling schlock and small press exceptionalism.
While you're waiting for your issue to arrive via post, airlift, and/or trained fruit bat, feast on these page teases. FEAST ON THEM! Then go buy the magazine. Wood pulp doesn't grow on trees.
Issue #10 continues another chapter of "Anno Ktulu" (written by K.L. Young and Vincent Ferrante, pencils by Ben "1314" Hansen, graytones by Chris Hagerman, letters by Eduardo Martinez), a superhero story set amid the Lovecraftian Mythos, which debuted in serial form in Issue #9 after launching with an oversize, one-shot special edition currently available at the Strange Aeons mothership website. As noted in prior postings, the one-shot ties into the ongoing "Anno Ktulu" storyline that will be running all year in Strange Aeons. Get in on this innovative story of superheroes set in a Lovecraftian universe now, as you definitely don't want to miss this.
"Forbidden Lore" gives news and reviews devoted to the Weird, cosmic, and horrifying, and never in that same order twice.
Who are THOSE people mentioned on the Arnaud de Vallois cover to I Am Death, Cried the Vulture? Bloody hacks!
Have you ordered yet (Issue #10 or our many lovely back issues, prints, chapbooks, and T-shirts)? What, are you fingers broken? Strange Aeons continues the proud tradition of such classic Silver Age pulps like Heavy Metal, Creepy, and Eerie. You know you love this stuff. We love this stuff, too, which is why we do what we do. Check us out for the first time, if you haven't already. For those loyal readers, thank you from the bottoms of our flinty, twisted hearts for your ongoing support. We can't continue to pay people to create cool shit for us - and ultimately you - without subscribers and per-issue patronage. Stay golden, and we'll stay at it.
Issue #11 is now coming together, which will feature original, previously unpublished fiction by Gary McMahon, one of my favorite current horror writers, who also likes to make the rest of us feel like toadish turds with his karate, workout, and jogging updates. I was honored that he subbed, and pleased that I was able to accept his piece, which will continue the line of short fiction excellence established by Strange Aeons. Other stories shimmying in the pipeline will only add to the luster.
Stay tuned! Stay alive! Stay reading!