The Twisted Worlds Of Charlie Immer

I’m finding myself loving the work of Charlie Immer. It’s a combination of innocent cartoonish figures with brutal and often grotesque violence helping to create scenes of starkly surreal other-worldliness; an aesthetic quality reminiscent of mid-90s MTV animation or the more recent Superjail! from [adult swim]. These alien worlds are harrowingly dangerous places where beauty abounds and death lurks around every corner. It’s Fantastic Planet, pressed through a meat-grinder and it is delicious.

International Expansion and Comic-Con Appearance

by Edd Cartier, “Other Worlds” 1952

Guys, we have two major announcements.

First of all, Coilhouse is going international! The three of us have been operating out of California for the past two years, but as of August, we’ll be releasing our spores across three different continents. Nadya’s job is moving her to London, and Mer is traveling to New Zealand to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a professional hobbit-fluffer. Meanwhile, Zo shall continue to oversee our sinister stateside operations from her sooper seekrit LA lair.

Die Nachthexen. Hat-tip to Suzanne G of Wurzeltod.

Coilhouse readers attending Nerd Prom (aka the San Diego Comic-Con) have one last chance see us all in one place at the same time at the Avatar Press booth before we scatter to the winds. It’s actually quite fitting that our final meeting is at Comic-Con, seeing as that’s where the three of us met face-to-face for the first time two years ago. We’ll be signing and selling copies of Issue 03. Below are the specifics:

Where: San Diego Comic-Con, booth #2701 (front of the 2700 isle, by the front doors).
When: Saturday, July 25
What time: 12 to 1 PM

Also, Mer is going to be performing some tunes with her old friend Amanda Palmer at the big CBLDF fundraising concert on Friday night in San Diego. Click here for details. Hope to see you there!

Invading The Vintage

In a perfect world Switzerland would be exactly like the one depicted in these altered postcards by Franco Brambilla. The rolling, green fields littered with space-faring vehicles; an alien parking lot. The yodelers silenced by giant metal tripods which stride over the snow-capped mountains. The resorts, peppered with interstellar and Earthly tourists alike; gathered together for a weekend of skiing and chocolate tastings or in town for a cuckoo clock enthusiast’s convention.

Unfortunately this is not the case. No, in reality the aliens only come here to mutilate our bovines and abduct people who believe in the healing powers of crystals and the only reason anyone visits Switzerland is to utilize their efficient banking system to avoid paying taxes. And no one would ever admit to being a cuckoo clock enthusiast.

All Tomorrows: The Dying Earth

A reader is not supposed to be aware that someone’s written the story. He’s supposed to be completely immersed, submerged in the environment.
-Jack Vance

In 1955, The Lord of the Rings was published, and promptly changed fantasy forever. In its juggernaut status, the particular breed of epic it spawned often pushed aside, in the popular mind, any type of fantasy that came before.

Just what was that? Its rough-hewn predecessors took the form of hybrid stories rooted in fairy-tale, lurid history and the raw juices of pulp adventure. Robert E. Howard’s sword and sorcery romps are a perfect example — as are H.P. Lovecraft’s nightmares, for that matter. While the characters here may be connected to grand events, this was a fantasy of short stories, not novels. Instead of a painstakingly described mythos, this thrived on brain-watering mysteries and jolt endings.

Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth hit the stands in 1950. A collection of six perfect, interlaced stories set in a time when Earth’s sun is sputtering out and no line remains between sorcery and science, it didn’t exactly produce the literary paradigm shift that Tolkien did, but it has had its pull. Gene Wolfe, Tanith Lee and numerous other authors were influenced by Vance. Gary Gygax also drew heavily from it when crafting the magic of the original Dungeons and Dragons.

I’d read about it often before finally tracking down a tattered paperback copy (it seems to come in no other form). The feeling I got when I finally immersed myself in its pages was that, growing up, these were the fairy tales I’d always wanted.

BTC: DJ Earworm’s Latest Divalicious Mashup

As mentioned previously on Coilhouse, I happen to think DJ Earworm is one of the most creative and engaging mashup artists out there. His latest offering, “Backwards/Forwards” is a sublime distillation of Annie Lennox’s most fabulously demented/dementedly fabulous moments in music and videography. Enjoy.

Two Quick Notes For Coilhouse Customers

Holy schnikies! This has been by far the most overwhelming first day of magazine sales we’ve eover had. Thank you to severyone who ordered a shirt, magazine or sticker so far. Wow.

Okay, two notes about shipping

Firstly. Everyone, please check your PayPal invoice to make sure you remembered to enter the correct shipping address, and that the precious order is not about to be sent to someplace you used to live. For whatever reason, PayPal makes it easy to overlook the important step of choosing the correct address to ship to. Don’t let it happen to you! If you need us to fix your address, email Gretta ASAP.

Secondly. A note from Gretta, our lovely shipping extraordinaire: “Hello Coilhouse Magazine Lovers, it warms my ventricles to see so many returning customers and I am delighted at the sight of hundreds of new customers from around the world. This is great because this means there will be an Issue 04! This also means that some of you who ordered on the 16th, your magazines may not be shipped until as late as Wednesday, so please kindly exercise a little patience, as it is just me doing the label printing, order filling and post office deliveries. This is not a cry for pity, just a heads up. If you must must MUST have it shipped sooner, send me an email and you’ll be bumped to the top. Gotta run, lots of work to do to get your goodies to you! Lovies, Gretta”

Regular posting will resume shortly. Thank you again, everyone!

Comrades! A Tour of Coilhouse Magazine Issue 03!

The shop is now open! Issue 03, the stickers, and the shirts are up for grabs (note: the shirts have already been printed, and are available to ship immediately).

With our past two print issues, we were content to take a couple of snapshots of the best-designed articles and show them off on the blog in hopes of enticing you to buy a copy. This time around, attempting to choose select images from our newest issue is proving to be painfully difficult. Thanks largely in part to our phenomenal creative director, Courtney Riot, each and every article had a design personality so strong, it’s clamoring to represent Issue 03. What to choose, what to omit…

Eh, screw it, this ain’t Sophie’s Choice! It’s late. We’re giddy and delirious. Let’s throw caution to the wind, yes? FULL MONTY, baby. After the cut, a tantalizing, low-res glimpse at all the articles in our latest issue. Enjoy.

New Coilhouse Shirts Revealed!

It’s a big day for Coilhouse! In addition to the new stickers, today we are also premiering the new shirts, featuring our original poster girl, the Stratosphere Messenger. Here are a couple of pics. More will be posted to the store, along with details and sizing charts. Below is Zoetica and above is photographer Lou O’Bedlam, who also appears inside Issue 03.

Our next post on this blog will be it. The one that you’ve all been waiting for. The one that we’ve been waiting to post for many months now. With our next post, our shop will officially open, and you will come face-to-face with Issue 03!

Issue 03 Reveal Moments Away! For Now: STICKERS!

In the next hour or so, here we are going to reveal the contents of Issue 03 and put it on sale in our shop (along with new shirt designs and stickers). Stay tuned!

To tide you over while we put our finishing touches on the big Issue 03 post, order here are the two new stickers up for grabs. These premium contoured vinyl stickers are water-resistant, printed with a UV finish and will last you 20 years. They cost $3.99, but the first 5 people who order Issue 03 will receive a sticker of their choice for free! (Update: congrats Matthew, Ruth, Nickolas, Charlotte and Jason!)

More pictures of the 2 stickers designs after the jump.

Fire, Puppets, Rootabagas! (Crucible Fire Arts Fest)

The “Golden Mean” snail car, a featured installation at the Fire Arts Festival this year. (Photo by Kim Sallaway.)

Heads up, Californians! The Crucible’s 9th annual Fire Arts Festival, “a spectacular open-air exhibition of astounding performances, fire sculpture and interactive art, lights up the sky at the Crucible’s new Fire Arts Arena in the freeway canyon lands of West Oakland.” Commencing this evening and running through Saturday the 18th, the festival is a full ten acres of installations, vendors, roving theatrics, circus arts, fire performers and aerialists.

For months now, Coilhouse co-editor Meredith Yayanos has been in meetings and rehearsals, preparing for this epic event. She’s a key player in The Rootabaga Opera, the featured musical performance at the festival this year. Composed by Mer’s good friend Dan Cantrell, the massive scale, multi-disciplinary work features dancers, acrobats, 20-foot high shadow puppet projections, pyrotechnics, a chamber orchestra and an Eastern European-influenced women’s choir. The whimsical narrative is based on noted American poet Carl Sandburg’s cherished early 20th century folk tales, The Rootabaga Stories.

A few of the Rootabaga Opera shadow puppets by Mark Bulwinkle. They’ll be projected onto a towering scrim and lit by arc welders.

Other featured music performances will include Poor Man’s Whiskey, BlacKMahal, Lucero, and last but certainly not least, Mer’s longtime chum and collaborator, Amanda Fucking Palmer. Mer actually postponed her move to Middle Earth, NZ specifically to participate in this event. She says “I haven’t been so proud or so glad about a music project in a very long time. I’m hoping to see a lot of our readers there!” Rumor has it she’ll be bringing her penny farthing and her Stroh along, too.

After the jump, some more related videos and images, and a long, illustrious list of artists contributing their large scale installations to the massive fundraising event.