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November 30th, 2012

Stoner Alien Fan Art

Filed under: Sketchbook Pages — Tags: , — William Cardini @ 7:41 am

I drew some fan art for the webcomic Stoner Alien:

Stoner Alien fan art

Stoner Alien fan art

November 27th, 2012

The Werewolf Principle by Clifford D Simak

Filed under: SF Reviews — Tags: , — William Cardini @ 7:06 am

The Werewolf Principle by Clifford D Simak is a fantastic book.

The Werewolf Principle by Clifford D Simak, cover by Ian Miller
Cover by Ian Miller. From pulpcrush’s Flickr photostream.

I have fond memories of reading and re-reading “City” by Simak but for some reason I’ve never checked out any of his other books. The description of The Werewolf Principle in this Tor blog post about engineering humans for different planetary environments, however, made me want to track it down. I couldn’t find it at any of my usual Austin used sf book haunts, but when I went to NYC for BCGF I visited the new Singularity & Co bookstore in DUMBO and there it was.

The Werewolf Principle by Clifford D Simak, Cover Artist Unknown
Cover artist unknown. From pulpcrush’s Flickr photostream.

Simak’s day job was in journalism and it’s evident in his clear, quickly moving sentences. The dialogue is a little too clunky and expository but where Simak shines is in his unexpected combination of ideas, evocative imagery, and philosophical explorations.

Het Weerwolfprincipe, Dutch Translation of The Werewolf Principle by Clifford D Simak
Dutch translation. Cover artist unknown. From Jan van den Berg’s Flickr photostream.

In The Werewolf Principle, Simak focuses on the dilemma of his protagonist, Andrew Blake, a shapeshifting artificial human who struggles to integrate his implanted memories of a youth in the American Midwest with the consciousness and strange abilities of the two aliens he can transform into: a mystical, telepathic wolf-like creature and an indestructible intelligent pyramid of sludge who is strictly logical and emotionless. If it sounds like a strange setup, it is. Simak eases you into it by starting Andrew Blake, whose name I took as a riff on A Blank, as an amnesiac, found floating frozen in space. Simak also does an admirable job of hinting at the hard-to-understand thought processes of the aliens.

The Werewolf Principle by Clifford D Simak, cover by Richard M Powers
Cover by Richard M Powers. From Cadwalader Ringgold’s Flickr photostream.

Andrew Blake’s struggle to find a place for himself enables Simak to discuss what it means to be human, the consequences of mind uploading and cloning, and the purpose of intelligence in the universe. Simak does all this without straying too far from a small town in the Midwest, placing his story on a future Earth where technology has freed humanity to live a more pastoral life. The Werewolf Principle has its feet planted in Ohio but its eyes focused on the stars, imagining a variety of alien civilizations. In that, it reminds me of Olaf Stapledon’s masterpiece Star Maker, where the narrator walks out on an suburban English hill and has his mind transported throughout the galaxy.

L'Ospite del Senatore Horton, Italian translation of The Werewolf Principle by Clifford D Simak, cover by Karel Thole
Italian translation. Cover by Karel Thole. From Anobii.

What separates The Werewolf Principle from Star Maker is that it hints at the larger life of the galaxy but keeps the story focused on the mental anguish of one person. Simak condenses the sometimes dry descriptions of far too many lifeforms in Star Maker to short descriptions of landscapes: wind-swept alien tundra bathed in starlight, sweltering swamps, yellow domes filled with crustacean intelligences, infinitely tall black towers held together by time kept out of sync, and intergalactic spider webs. Simak also adds a love of the earth and all the things that grow on it. His descriptions of bucolic valleys and moonlit autumnal forests are evocative. However, by keeping The Werewolf Principle short and mostly earthbound, Simak doesn’t reach the same epic heights and almost religious fervor of Star Maker.

The Werewolf Principle by Clifford D Simak, cover by Kelly Freas
Cover painting by Kelly Freas without book title. From Robert Weinberg’s collection on The Illustration Exchange.

In multiple books, Simak uses hard sf concepts to populate small-town America with creatures more typically seen in fantasy novels. The Werewolf Principle has brownies and the titular werewolf. The Goblin Reservation contains banshees, trolls, and goblins (of course). Talking dogs are the dominate the Earth in City. Simak’s concerns, however, are strictly science fiction: the future of humanity and the place of intelligence in the cosmos. I’d definitely recommend checking out his novels.

November 23rd, 2012

Tumblr Update

Filed under: Admin — Tags: — William Cardini @ 4:18 pm

I intend for this site to be my primary home on the internet, but there’s no denying that there’s a powerful community feeling on Tumblr these days. Therefore, to make it easier for y’all to follow me there, I’ve consolidated my two personal Tumblrs into one: http://hypercastle.tumblr.com.

William Cardini Tumblr

I’ll post sketches, drawings, and images that inspire me on that Tumblr. I’ll continue to post drawings and pages from cartoonists that I dig on the GCPM Tumblr that I maintain with my buddy Josh Burggraf.

November 20th, 2012

Vortex #3 Preview on Squidface & the Meddler

Filed under: Print Comics — Tags: , , , — William Cardini @ 7:39 am

Squidface & the Meddler has posted a five-page preview of Vortex #3. Click the screenshot to check it out:

November 16th, 2012

Vortex #3 for Sale

Filed under: Print Comics — Tags: — William Cardini @ 7:52 am

Vortex #3 is for sale in my online shop.

As always, you get a discount if you buy more than one.

November 14th, 2012

BCGF 2012 Recap

Filed under: Event Recap — Tags: , , , — William Cardini @ 12:19 am

Thanks to everyone who came by the GCPM table and traded for or bought an issue of Vortex.


Me and Josh Burggraf. I look like a madman.

BCGF was amazing (and hot and crowded and intense).

Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest
I keep showing people this picture from the BCGF tumblr to give them an idea of how crowded BCGF was. You can see me staring directly into your soul through the camera.

It was my first time tabling at an east coast comics festival so I got to meet a lot of people IRL that I’ve only known online, which was fantastic. I’m really feeling the comics love right now. It’ll be a while before I can travel to another con so it’s good that BCGF was so great.

William Cardini Silver Surfer and Josh Burggraf Batman fan art
One really awesome moment was when this dude Barney came up to me and Josh and asked us to draw some sketches of superheroes for him. Barney’s a big fan of Rub the Blood, if you look at his Twitter he asked other people to do fan art.

You can see Josh’s perspective of our weekend on our GCPM tumblr. I’ll put Vortex #3 in my store soon.

November 9th, 2012

GCPM will Debut Vortex #3, Future Shock #2, and Future Shock #3 this Weekend at BCGF

Filed under: Events,Print Comics — Tags: , , , — William Cardini @ 7:17 am

This Saturday, November 10th, Josh Burggraf and I will be tabling at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival, representing the Gold County Paper Mill. We’ll be at Table U32:

The GCPM's table assignment at BCGF
BCGF is from 12-7pm at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 275 North 8th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

I’m debuting Vortex #3:

Vortex #3 cover
Vortex #3 continues the adventures of the Miizzzard on the planet of the shape-shifting aliens who call themselves the Vortex.

Vortex #3 center spread
In Vortex #2, the Miizzz entered the communal dreamscape of the ultra-violent Vortex to try and free their minds from outside control. Now the Miizzz must battle through layer after layer of berserk nightmares.

Josh is doing a simultaneous release of #2 and #3 of the SF anthology that he edits, Future Shock:

Future Shock #2 and #3
Future Shock #2 contributor list: Max Bode, Danica Dora, Josh Bayer, Pat Aulisio, Ryan Dirks, Steve Fuentes, Victor Kerlow, and Josh. Future Shock #3 contributor list: Alex Degen, Sungyoon Choi, Det Roc Boi, Vincent Giard, Anuj Shrestha, Victor, Josh, and me.

Here’s a shot of two pages from my six-page contribution to FS#3:

William Cardini pages in Future Shock #3
My story is called “The Miizzzard of the Year One Million ATTACKS the Floating Crystal Witch.”

We’ll also have Vortex #1, Vortex #2, Kid Space Heater #1, Kid Space Heater #2, Future Shock #1, and Digestate (we both have stories in Digestate and we’re distributed by its publisher, Birdcage Bottom Books). Follow our tumblr for more preview images and updates.

November 2nd, 2012

Catch Up #3 Pre-Sale and Release Party

Filed under: Events,Print Comics — Tags: , — William Cardini @ 10:22 am

Hey y’all, sorry about the silence this week. I’ve been deep in it working to finish up Vortex #3 so that it’ll be ready to debut at Josh and I’s GCPM table at BCGF.

Today though I’m excited to announce that Catch Up #3 is available! Catch Up is a literature and comics journal that the Gold County Paper Mill puts out. I’m a comics editor alongside Josh Burggraf and PB Kain. We’ve got a ton of great folks in #3, you can see a full list and order a copy on our site.

If you’re in Louisville, there’s a release party tonight at 7pm. Here’s a link to the Facebook event. There’ll be poetry readings, an older poetry/comics collaboration I did with Jak Cardini called Impossible Objects, and a few copies of Vortex #1 and #2 if USPS delivers it on time.