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Misleading cybersecurity lessons from pop culture: how Hollywood teaches to hack

Malwarebytes - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 17:32

In pop culture, cybercrimes are often portrayed as mysterious and unrealistic. Hackers are enigmatic and have extraordinary tech abilities. They can discover top secrets in a short time and type at breakneck speed to hack into a database.

In real life, though, hacking is not that straightforward. Hackers may have technical capabilities and high intelligence, but they are otherwise normal human beings. It takes a lot of time and research to come up with foolproof strategies to break into an organization’s secret files.

In the last few decades, hacking and cybersecurity have become important topics of discussion, and pop culture has capitalized on this wave of interest. Many movies and TV shows now find ways to weave cybercrime into their storylines. At times, the depiction is realistic and informative; most of the time, it’s plain misleading and ludicrous.

In this article, we take a look at some pop culture hacking scenes from TV and movies and the cybersecurity lessons, if any, we can learn from them.

Hackers are not always basement-dwelling nerds

Predominantly, male hackers are depicted in Hollywood movies to be either reclusive conspiracy theorists or super-smart, ex-intelligence officers. Picture Dennis Nedry from Jurassic Park or Martin Bishop in Sneakers. Their female counterparts—few and far between—tend toward the harsh, ass-kicking, boyish types, like Kate Libby in Hackers or Trinity in The Matrix.

The reality is, while we may be able to create criminal profiles for threat actors or even define skill sets and personality types that are attracted to hacking, there is no single stereotype that carries.

Hackers could be bubbly, social, feminine, sporty, narcissistic—the life of the party. They could also be relatively quiet, introverts, artists, compassionate, or deeply sensitive. Simply put, pop culture has a habit of stereotyping what it doesn’t understand, and hacking is still a widely misunderstood pastime/profession.

But there is one truth that unites all hacker types: Hacking requires strategic, conceptual thinking, so intelligence is required, as is practice. The best actual hackers spend years honing their craft, testing and testing code, working with mentors and peers, sometimes going to school or, yes, the military, for skills training.

However, cybercrime isn’t dominated by super-skilled hackers. Most criminals have softer code-writing skills, purchasing malware-as-a-service kits on the dark web or using social engineering techniques to scam users out of money. Meanwhile, there are hackers who use their skills for good, called white hats, often working as security researchers or in IT for businesses, schools, healthcare organizations, or the government.

Pop culture would benefit from seeing these more diverse representations of hackers, cybercriminals, and security professionals on TV and in the movies.

Hacking takes research and patience

Movies and TV shows are meant to be exciting and dramatic. As with most careers that aren’t well understood by those outside the industry—think theoretical physicist or brain surgeon—these professional portrayals are made out to be much more action-packed in pop culture than they are in the real world.

Real hackers and cybersecurity experts have to rely on patience and persistence gained through training and experience to strike gold—much more so than a magical solution that can resolve a plot point in five minutes or less.

3..2…1…”I’m in!”

Research is one of the most important parts of hacking or engineering or reverse-engineering, along with making mistakes. Real-world cybersecurity experts understand that failures are just as important as successes. Why?

Part of cybersecurity involves testing currently-active systems to find flaws and improve what needs improving. That can often take months or years of hard work, and not just a few minutes of elaborate schemes and computer wizardry. And even when criminals building the most sophisticated software discover that their cover is blown, they go back to the drawing table to advance on how best to come up with a better plan of infiltrating the host computer.

You can’t save a system by smashing buttons

When NCIS’ Abby is hacked, a million pop-ups fill her screen—Hollywood’s favorite “You’ve been hacked!” move. Thankfully, her friend heroically steps in, furiously typing on the keyboard until the problem is solved. Of course, that’s not quite how the scene would play out in real life.

When a computer is hacked, you cannot save it by pressing buttons aimlessly. You must, at minimum, unplug/shut down the computer and restart or install a USB drive or CD system. And you should also run a scan with an anti-malware program that can clean up infected devices. If you’re part of a business network, the process is more complicated: Alerting your company’s IT team is the best course of action if you suspect an infection. Button mashing will only make your fingers sore.

Hacking is not always flashy

Hollywood loves to make eye candy out of a hacking scene, often displaying colorful, polished graphic interfaces (GUIs) or 3D-immersive virtual reality experiences—neither of which have much to do with actual hacking. This infamous hacking scene in Swordfish, for example, shows Stanley completing some sort of digital Rubik’s Cube to “assemble crypto algorithm.” Whatever that means.

And there’s also this classic from Jurassic Park, where Ariana gains control of the automatic doors by “hacking” into the Unix security system in a matter of seconds.

Setting aside that saying, “It’s a Unix system, I know this” is like saying, “It’s a Windows system, I know this,” knowing Unix (or Windows) wouldn’t automatically bestow on someone the power to override security protocols—especially on custom GUIs reminiscent of a Minecraft beta.

Pop culture loves to spoon feed its audiences cheesy 3D visuals of viruses and authentication attempts. But these flashy visual interfaces, especially in 3D, are not accurate at all. What do your file systems look like on your home or work computer? How many of them are in 3D? How many times do you see a giant “ACCESS DENIED” painted across your whole screen when you enter an incorrect password or when your operating system can’t find a file?

A more accurate interface would be to show command line (code) displayed on a console or terminal, simply because it would be the most efficient way for hackers to obtain data quickly.

However, as much as pop culture has misrepresented hacking to the general public, it has also taught us varying real-life lessons about cybersecurity. Here are a few examples:

Do not download and install untrusted applications

In Ex Machina, we learned that the CEO of Blue Book, Nathan Bateman, fast-tracked the emotional growth of Ava by taking data from smartphone cameras across the world. This scenario is currently playing out in real life, as there are applications that can be downloaded from third-party platforms and even from Google Play and Apple App Store that can spy on users and steal their personal information.

This teaches us to be careful when downloading applications online. Verify each app’s capabilities and permission requests before installing them on your devices. If a music app is asking for access to your GPS location, for example, ask yourself why such information would be necessary for this app to function. If it seems like an unnecessary amount of access, it’s better to forget downloading.

Small distractions could be a diversion

Sometimes cybersecurity lessons can be learned from movie scenes that don’t involve computers at all. For example, in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Poe creates a diversion, distracting the general and the First Order armada before bombing the Dreadnought. In fact, military strategy is often well intertwined with that of cyberwarfare.

Small distractions were used to a great effect in the 2015 distributed denial of services (DDoS) attacks on ProtonMail, for example. A small ransom note was dropped as a precursor to a 15-minute test DDoS attack, which diverted ProtonMail’s IT team to customer service assistance. The threat actors then followed up with the true mission, jamming up ProtonMail servers with a 50 Gigabit-per-second wave of junk data that took down the datacenter housing servers while simultaneously attacking several ISPs upstream, causing serious damage that took the company offline for days.

The lesson you can take away from this is that a small disruption of services could just be the blip on the radar meant to pull attention away from the storm. Make sure you stay on alert, especially if you notice this at work, where cybercriminals are focusing more of their efforts for larger returns on their investments.

Always use two-step verification

Always use two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect your online accounts—that cannot be overemphasized. In Mr. Robot, 2FAs were used to guard access to the company’s data and keep hackers out. Many IoT devices, password managers, and other applications have recognized the power of 2FA, or multi-factor authentication, in shielding user and proprietary data from hackers who are able to exploit bad password habits.

Hollywood tends to misrepresent what hacking and cybersecurity are to the general public. But it has also taught us valuable lessons about how to protect ourselves, our devices, and our information on the Internet. We hope that, as cybersecurity awareness increases, the misrepresentations are reduced to the barest minimum. That way, TV and movies can do to cybersecurity what they do best: educate, inform, and entertain the public about its importance to our daily lives.

The post Misleading cybersecurity lessons from pop culture: how Hollywood teaches to hack appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Big Bloom Blanket

Moogly - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 16:00

The Big Bloom Blanket is cozy, casual, and creates a simple, modern floral afghan with an easy to memorize repeat! And it’s a free crochet pattern featuring Caron Simply Soft, here on Moogly! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links; materials provided by Yarnspirations and Clover USA. A favorite stitch pattern The Big Bloom Blanket features...

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The post Big Bloom Blanket appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

Categories: Crochet Life

PROFILE: Haunting of Villa Diodati Guest Star Maxim Baldry

Blogtor Who - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 14:00

He’s spent three quarters of his life growing up on screen. So Doctor Who guest star Maxim Baldry has a long history to excite fans ahead of Haunting of Villa Diodati At only twenty-four, Maxim Baldry has had a career longer than many actors twice his age, and yet is still a talent very much […]

The post PROFILE: Haunting of Villa Diodati Guest Star Maxim Baldry appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Bronze Age Book Club: Young Love

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 12:00
A new episode of the Bronze Age Book Club podcast has dropped, just in time for Valentine's Day.

Listen to "Episode 14: YOUNG LOVE #112" on Spreaker.

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 11:00


My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Wait, not everyone has a constant running internal monologue?! Mind. Blown. Apparently, we are hitting peak meat – and I think they are absolutely right. Wake up to your patterns. The flowers that end up in a bottle of Chanel No. 5. When you filter out male privilege,

The post Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week appeared first on %%www.knittedbliss.com%%.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Doctor Who – New Figurines from Hero Collector – The Master and The Monk

Blogtor Who - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 10:15

Hero Collector is announcing a new set of figurines in its latest boxset of Doctor Who Time Lords.  This boxset focuses on the Time Lords that have not exactly been on the Doctor’s side – the Master and the Monk  The characters are captured at 1:21 scale in hand-painted polyresin and accompanied by an in-depth […]

The post Doctor Who – New Figurines from Hero Collector – The Master and The Monk appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Adventures On Old Mars - A Castles & Crusades & Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Hybrid Campaign

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 07:35
One of the thought exercises that I've been tossing around is the option of using Castles & Crusades plus Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea to run an Old Mars game adventure or two. This has been on radar even since DM Steve spoke at length about the Serpent Men becoming a problem on Old Mars. I'm thinking about using the Castles & Crusades Siege engine systems to power the Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

‘Batman: The Adventures Continue’ Arrives from Paul Dini, Alan Burnett and Ty Templeton!

First Comics News - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 07:34

New Comic Books, Set in the World of Batman: The Animated Series, Coming this May

From the visionary team behind Batman: The Animated Series come all-new stories set in this seminal animated world! Batman: The Adventures Continue, DC’s new, digital-first six-issue mini-series, launching in print on May 6, 2020, is co-written by Paul Dini and Alan Burnett, both producers of the original animated series, and illustrated by Ty Templeton, who has brought the world of B:TAS to comic books since 1992’s Batman Adventures #1.

(Batman: The Adventures Continue #1 artwork by Ty Templeton)

Inspired by the beloved and Emmy Award-winning Batman: The Animated Series, these new comics reflect a new era of the long-running DC Collectibles action figure line by featuring newly designed characters never before seen in the beloved animated shows! DC’s Batman: The Adventures Continue characters are all based on art by Ty Templeton in the iconic Bruce Timm animated style. New figures from DC Collectibles launch this spring, and now, together with these new comics, the legendary Batman: The Animated Series continues to reach new audiences!

“Fans familiar with the Batman of The New Batman/Superman Adventures will be right up to speed,” says Paul Dini. “Alan and I approached the writing with the idea that we were doing the season you might have seen if we had not put the series aside to do Batman Beyond.”

“Tim Drake is still a very young Robin,” added Ty Templeton of the timing of the series. “Batman isn’t middle-aged or anything, and we’re not even close to the events of Batman Beyond.”

“What is different, however, is that we’re going back to cover certain gaps in the original series, events that didn’t have a bearing on the series at the time, but now do,” continued Alan Burnett. “In other words, there will be secret histories that will turn Batman’s world upside down. Things that no one knew were out there, until now.”

“Perhaps the most intriguing character in the run will be young man whose story threads through most of the issues,” teased Burnett. “He’s a smart, super-elusive loner who knows way too much about the Dark Knight. How this mystery man fits into the world of Batman Adventures and what he means to accomplish should, I hope, be a real jolt for old fans.”

In the first issue of Batman: The Adventures Continue, collecting two digital-first chapters, Wayne Enterprises in Gotham City is attacked by a giant robot that steals an entire room from the laboratory. Who’s controlling the robot? How will Batman stop the mechanized menace? And what does it all have to do with Lex Luthor’s sudden appearance in Gotham?

Batman: The Adventures Continue #1, written by Paul Dini and Alan Burnett with art by Ty Templeton and color by Monica Kubina, featuring a cover by Dave Johnson and a variant cover by Dan Mora, hits shelves on May 6, 2020. Digital-First chapters will be released beginning in April 2020.

(Batman: The Adventures Continue #1 cover by Dave Johnson)

(Batman: The Adventures Continue #1 variant cover by Dan Mora)

(Batman: The Adventures Continue #1 artwork by Ty Templeton and Monica Kubina)

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 07:21

The Charge Towards DC’s Future Continues!

Series of Five One-Shot Comics Spotlight DC’s Super Hero Heritage, While Revealing Secrets that Will Shape its Future!

BURBANK, CA (February 13, 2020) – The path to DC’s future continues to unfold in Generation One: Age of Mysteries! On sale in May, Generation One: Age of Mysteries is the first of five oversized Prestige format one-shots, each detailing a different age in DC’s storied, super heroic legacy!

Generation One: Age of Mysteries follows DC’s Generation Zero: Gods Among Us, in stores on Free Comic Book Day 2020.

“The Generation series of specials are built to bring the new DC timeline to life,” said DC Publisher Dan DiDio. “With Generation One: Age of Mysteries and every subsequent volume we’ll be shining a spotlight on the 80-plus-year publishing history of the DC universe while charting the course for the bright future of DC’s characters. All of our greatest stories and events will create the backdrop and context for the great new adventures we have planned. Everything counts, and we guarantee there’ll be surprises along the way!”

Readers of Generation One: Age of Mysteries will witness firsthand major events from throughout the history of the DC universe as seen through the eyes of characters like Wonder Woman, Lucius Fox, Alfred Pennyworth, Green Lantern (Alan Scott), The Spectre (Jim Corrigan), Mister Terrific (Terry Sloane), and others. The series of one-shots will also expose secrets from DC’s history, such as:

  • What was the previously undocumented “big bang” of the Age of Mysteries?
  • Which character truly ushers in the dawn of Super Heroes, inspiring all the rest?
  • What was the real reason behind the Justice Society of America’s retirement?
  • Which Golden Age hero will become history’s greatest villain?
  • What contentious alliance kept the Wayne family dynasty alive after Thomas and Martha’s deaths?
  • Who are the new, never-seen-before wildcards that will be instrumental in fashioning DC’s push to the future?

These five books will have all the answers to these questions, setting up DC’s boldest storylines ever while laying the groundwork for more excitement to come. The five Generation issues will feature a who’s who of creative talent, with an overarching story by Brian Michael Bendis, Dan Jurgens, Andy Schmidt, Robert Venditti, and Joshua Williamson, illustrated by artists including Doug Mahnke, Bryan Hitch, Mikel Janín, Ivan Reis, David Marquez, and more.

Generation One: Age of Mysteries is scripted by Andy Schmidt, with lead art by Doug Mahnke. Each of DC’s Generation one-shots will feature a cover by Jim Cheung and a variant cover by Gary Frank. Generation Two: Age of the Metahuman, Generation Three: Age of Crisis, Generation Four: Age of Rebirth and Generation Five: Age of Tomorrow will follow monthly after Generation One: Age of Mysteries.

Generation One: Age of Mysteries is a 48-page, Prestige format one-shot on sale at comic book stores and participating online retailers on May 27, 2020.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Sheriff Mal VS Murder in Joss Whedon’s FIREFLY #14 From BOOM! Studios

First Comics News - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 00:46

Discover Year Two of the New Adventures of the Biggest Damn Heroes in the ‘Verse in February 2020 

LOS ANGELES, CA (February 13, 2020) – BOOM! Studios, in collaboration with 20th Century Fox today unveiled a first look at FIREFLY #14 from New York Times best-selling writer Greg Pak (Ronin Island), artist Lalit Kumar Sharma (Daredevil), colorist Francesco Segala (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), and letterer Jim Campbell (Coda), along with series creator & story consultant Joss Whedon (the visionary writer/director behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Marvel’s The Avengersand more) continue the iconic worldwide pop culture phenomenon’s sold-out return to comic books. Available in stores February 2020.

Mal matches wits with a serial killer! The newly minted Sheriff Mal (don’t call him that, though) and Boss Moon are given their first big case as local law enforcement—to hunt down and arrest a serial killer haunting their new town! As Mal and Moon dig deeper into the mystery behind the suspicious murders, a surprising new benefactor strolls in, offering new technology and new beginnings for the townspeople…all courtesy of the Blue Sun corporation.

FIREFLY #14 features a main cover by Marc Aspinall (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), along with variant covers from artist Daniel Warren Johnson (Murder Falcon) with colors by Mike Spicer, and more.

Created by Whedon and set 500 years in the future in the wake of a universal civil war, FIREFLY centers on the crew of Serenity, a small transport spaceship that doesn’t have a planet to call home. Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds, a defeated soldier who opposed the unification of the planets by the totalitarian governed Alliance, will undertake any job — legal or not — to stay afloat and keep his crew fed. Thrust together by necessity but staying together out of loyalty, these disparate men and women are seeking adventure and the good life, but face constant challenges on the new frontier, such as avoiding capture by the Alliance, and evading the dangers you find on the fringes of the universe. 

FIREFLY #14 is available February 19, 2020 exclusively in comic shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and Madefire.

Available now, Firefly: Legacy Edition Book One collects previously released Serenity comics for the first time under one cover in a new value-priced format as Mal & the crew ride again in these official sequels to the critically acclaimed Firefly television series and Serenity film.

FIREFLY is the newest release from BOOM! Studios’ eponymous imprint, home to critically acclaimed original series, including Once & Future by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora; Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera; Faithless by Brian Azzarello and Maria Llovet; Abbott by Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivelä; Bury the Lede by Gaby Dunn and Claire Roe; Klaus by Grant Morrison and Dan Mora; Folklords by Matt Kindt and Matt Smith; The Red Mother by Jeremy Haun and Danny Luckert; and the upcoming Alienated by Simon Spurrier and Chris Wildgoose and King of Nowhere by W. Maxwell Prince and Tyler Jenkins. The imprint also publishes popular licensed properties including Buffy the Vampire Slayer from Jordie Bellaire and David López; Angel from Bryan Edward Hill and Gleb Melnikov; and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from Ryan Parrott and Daniele Di Nicuolo.

For continuing news on FIREFLY and more from BOOM! Studios, stay tuned to www.boom-studios.com and follow @boomstudios on Twitter.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 00:43

New York, NY— February 13, 2020 — Old buddies Cable and Deadpool will be reunited for the very first time this May in CABLE #3! Deadpool considers Cable one of his best friends, but the young star of this new ongoing series will be a very different Cable than the one he remembers. Not yet the grizzled old veteran Deadpool has teamed up with in the past, Nathan Summers will be meeting Deadpool for the first time in an adventure that will prove that this is one friendship that is destined to be!


In this new ongoing series, writer Gerry Duggan and artist Phil Noto are teaming up to bring you Cable like you’ve never seen him before. “Show up if you want to be thrilled by an important new era in Cable’s history,” promises Duggan. “Or you get lost looking at Phil’s work. It’s his finest hour.”


be sure to pick up the debut issue when it goes on sale March 11th!


Retailers, final order cutoff for CABLE #1 is Monday, February 17th!




Art and Cover by PHIL NOTO

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 20:19

New York, NY— February 13, 2020 — For as long as the universe can remember, the Kree and Skrull empires been locked in what seemed like a never-ending war, but now, a former Young Avenger has done the impossible. Abandoning Earth, his fellow heroes, and the love of his life, Hulkling has united both intergalactic empires under his rule and now heads to Earth with one of the largest armadas the cosmos has ever seen. What happens next will be chronicled in Marvel’s biggest event of 2020, EMPYRE, as well as the essential one-shot, LORDS OF EMPYRE: EMPEROR HULKING. Written by Chip Zdarsky and Anthony Oliveira with art by Manuel Garcia, LORDS OF EMPYRE: EMPEROR HULKLING will show readers what led Hulkling on his bold new path and shed light on his mysterious plans…


“Hulkling is one of the coolest characters in modern comics – he’s the great scion of two galaxies-spanning empires, yet somehow one of its most sweetest, kindest, and down-to-earth heroes,” said Oliveira. “This story is about really delving into that sense of restlessness, and his epic, classic hero’s journey – Star-crossed romance! Colossal space battles! A long lost prince! – grounded in its heart with a question about what it might mean, and what it might cost, to be king.”


Check out the main cover by Patrick Gleason below and see Hulkling fulfill his destiny when LORDS OF EMPYRE: EMPEROR HULKLING hits stands on April 22nd!






Categories: Comic Book Blogs

The Good, The Bad, & The Lovecraftian - Post Apocalyptic Lovecraftian Death Squad One Shot Encounter

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 19:21
One of the ideas that I've been toying with over the last couple of months with my campaigns is a down & dirty Cha'alt NPC death squad & for this I wanted to break out one of the OSR classics. So Goblinoid Games Realms of Crawling Chaos is gonna get a bit of a workout. This of course is part of my on going Cha'alt/Godbound campaign. The idea is that my player's PC's have been causing Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


First Comics News - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 18:26


PORTLAND, Ore. 02/13/2020 — Image/Skybound Entertainment kicks the action into gear with the return of fan favorite miniseries Dead Body Road by Justin Jordan, featuring new series artist Benjamin Tiesma, colorist Mat Lopes, and letterer Pat Brosseau. The action-packed, six-issue series—Bad Blood—will hit comic shops this May and feature covers by Matteo Scalera and Moreno Dinisio.

In Dead Body Road: Bad Blood, Bree Hale has left a lot behind in her life. Crime. The military. But she can’t leave behind her own family, and when the local crime boss puts a hit out on her brother, there’s nothing she won’t do to save him. Absolutely nothing.

“Well, it’s been a couple years, but I am back to crime….writing,” said Jordan. “Crime writing. This is another story about revenge, but this time from the point of view of the person trying to stop someone else from getting it. But should she? Dead Body Road is back.”

John Wick meets Southern Bastards in this pulse-pounding action series—set to deliver an explosive tale of revenge like you’ve never seen before!

Dead Body Road: Bad Blood #1(Diamond Code MAR200042) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, May 20.

Dead Body Road: Bad Blood #1 will also be available for purchase across many digital platforms, including the official Image Comics iOS app, Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Dark Horse International Line Expands

First Comics News - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 18:24
DARK HORSE INTERNATIONAL LINE EXPANDS Middle-Grade Graphic Novel “Gert and the Sacred Stones” and Multi-Cultural War Story ‘Papaya Salad’ Arrive Summer 2020 MILWAUKIE, Ore., (February 13, 2020)—From Italian publisher Tunué, creators Marco Rocchi and Francesca Carità, and translator Jamie Richards comes middle-grade graphic novel Gert and the Sacred Stones, available in English for the first time!

Gert and the Sacred Stones is a story of heart, bravery, and conflict. Meet Gert, a young orphan whose land is shrouded in a thick fog that hides ferocious, fantastical animals that endlessly constantly besiege her village. Tired of the endless war between humans and nature, Gert sets out to make sure no one else suffers what she has as a result of the war. But to achieve this she’ll have to do what is forbidden to young women like her: become a warrior.

If Gert is to succeed in her quest, she must learn the hard truths of war and violence, and discover that being a hero may not mean what it seems.

“We wanted to create a multi-faceted and well-rounded female character who could mirror the strengths and weakness of both girls and boys. Although it’s a fantasy setting, there are many references to real life and to our way of seeing the world. Many will recognize themselves in the protagonist’s will to forge and affirm her own unique identity despite the adversities she faces, and in her awareness that she must learn more, experience more, and grow by taking responsibility for her choices before she can change the world.”—Marco Rocchi and Francesa Carità

Gert and the Sacred Stones TPB arrives in comic shops August 26, 2020 and in bookstores September 8, 2020. The 160-page graphic novel is available for pre-order now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local comic shop  for $14.99.

A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON WORLD WAR II What happens when you find yourself in a war that’s not your own? That’s the question Sompong must answer for himself, and the one creator Elisa Macellari explores as she looks back on the life of her Great Uncle in Papaya Salad with translator Carla Roncalli Di Montorio.

On the eve of World War II, Sompong leaves his native Thailand to study abroad in Italy on a military scholarship. A gentle and resolute man with a love of books and language, Sompong chronicles his life during the war all while finding humor, joy, and love even as the world changes irrevocably around him.

Originally published by Italian publisher BAO, Papaya Salad gives voice to an often-overlooked perspective on World War II. As Macellari describes “[Papaya Salad is] a historical and emotional journey through my family and my roots, grown in both Europe and Asia. A personal narrative that needs to be shared and hopefully finds a home in the empathy of readers”.

Papaya Salad arrives August 26, 2020 for $24.99

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 17:31

I really enjoyed working with Victor when I was at Archie. I was with Archie for 10 years. When I went to the New York ComicCon I was with Victor constantly, When he would come to the San Diego ComicCon we would hang out at the booth together for most of the show. In between, we would talk on the phone about ways to promote Archie Comics, new stories coming out and life in general. He was always warm and friendly to me and my wife. He had a wonderful, wry sense of humor. My condolences to Kathie.


In both my life and career, I’ve had many mentors. In my career, Victor Gorelick, long-time Archie Comics editor, was certainly a major one. Having worked for the publisher since he was 17, he knew the business inside and out, particularly as it related to the creation of comics (he could not only edit but was also a skilled writer, artist, letterer, and colorist). He taught me what makes a good funny strip for young readers, including where to insert the most outlandish visual gag or quip, and he shared my love for puns. As an editor of stories I wrote, he encouraged me to always remember it’s how each character individually reacts to a situation based on their unique personalities that creates the comedy. That also helped me when I edited stories by others. In my role as company historian and researcher-editor of the Archie Americana Series of classic reprints, Victor was an invaluable source of information to me, with a tremendous, encyclopedic memory of who did what and when. In later years, when I was a freelance writer-editor-researcher working on a book about the pre-Archie days of the publisher churning out superhero comics in the late 1930s and early ‘40s as MLJ Comics, Victor graciously stepped in and offered assistance there as well. His insights were always invaluable, and always tinged with a knowing wit… Victor having gone through the process so many times himself. Beyond all that, Victor encouraged and nurtured a love in me for film noir movies and classic radio shows. In those few but nice breaks from work, he’d excitedly share with me all about some ‘40s noir drama he watched, and how well-written, directed and acted it was. And he’d lend me audiocassettes of some of his favorite old radio broadcasts, especially those narrated and performed by a personal favorite of mine, Vincent Price. I am very grateful for all I learned from Victor, both professionally, and in our shared love for the arts.


For many years, Victor Gorelick proudly represented Archie Comics as a member of the Kubert School’s advisory board, an assemblage of highly placed comic book industry professionals who met regularly at the School to advise on the curriculum, offer counsel and suggestions and whenever time allowed, review the students’ portfolios. It was during one of his visits to the School, that I met Victor. I was a third year student and a life long Archie fan so it was a thrill to have Victor review my work. It was then that he hired me offering me my first professionally published job. In doing so, he launched my career. I would work for Victor for twenty-two years and over that time, Victor, one of the most unquestionably knowledgeable and experienced editors I’d ever work with, would teach me a lot. For most of my time at Archie, I’d deliver my work in person at the Archie offices. Victor and I would have long talks in his office and we’d cover a lot of ground. Aside from comics, Victor and I also shared a mutual love for old time radio shows especially the crime anthology, The Whistler, a show we both enjoyed. I’ve been teaching at the Kubert School for twenty five years. Even after Victor stopped making his visits to the School, he never lost his interest in my old alma mater. He’d regularly ask about how the place was doing and for the people there that we both knew. It will forever be impossible for me to talk about my career as an artist, a writer, and a teacher, without thinking of Victor. I’ll forever appreciate having known him. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to The Whistler again without remembering him.


Victor Gorelick was my first boss in the comic book biz, the kind of editor I always wanted to be. Vic was always generous with ideas, supportive of his creative teams and he was always encouraging his people to take that next creative leap. He set a high bar for professionalism, demanding that the work be turned in on time and done to the best of your ability (and he never, ever stopped trying to improve that ability). He taught me that my first idea is rarely my best and that comics demanded clarity and brevity. He was a good friend for more than 40 years and his influence shows in every work I write.


Victor edited over 100 of my Betty and Veronica stories. “Victor, I have a great story but I will need all 24 pages of the comic to write it” I would say and then I’d give him my pitch. “Do it in 6 pages” he’d respond. It was impossible to argue with Victor because he’d already hung up. I will be forever grateful to Victor for making me do a 6 pager. I learned how to condense a story and make each panel count. RIP, Victor.


I’m sorry to hear the news of Victor’s passing; along with Dan DeCarlo, he was instrumental in getting me started (and keeping me going!) as a writer at Archie comics. I will miss hearing his “say hi to Bill” sendoff greeting for my husband at the end of our conversations on the phone—he always ended a call that way, in a friendly manner, no matter how we chewed over a story I’d sent in or was working on. He may have been a tough editor to work for at times, but he was also a good friend.


I am very saddened by the death of my good friend, colleague, editor, and inspiration Victor Gorelick of Archie Comics. To say this is the end of an era is an understatement.
Victor WAS Archie Comics. He was there over 60 years !!! And his love for Archie never waned. He was so proud of the Archie legacy, which he was a big part of.
I’ve known Victor for 35 years, meeting him my second year at the Joe Kubert School. He plucked me out of the school and gave me my start at Archie. It’s safe to say he gave me my career!! Of which I’m eternally grateful!
I have so many fond memories of Victor, I don’t know where to begin. But the main things that pop into my head are all the great conversations we’d have sitting in his office. We covered a wide variety of topics, and Victor’s dry wit was always the best! I’ll really miss those talks.
My deepest condolences to his family and especially his wife Kathie, who he always claimed he won the jackpot when he met her!
Thank you, Victor, for everything you’ve done for me. And for everything you’ve given to the Archie family and fans out there. Your life lives on in every page!


Sad to hear of the passing of Archie Editor-in-Chief Victor Gorelick. I owe much of my career in comics to Victor, who gave me my first assignment back in 2006, and also approved my son Ben’s work a couple of years ago. He was great to work with and nobody knew the characters better than he did. He was truly a legend in the comics world, having worked at Archie for over 60 years. My condolences to his family.


Victor Gorelick was my Archie editor for over twenty years. He made working for the company easy and fun. He trusted me with tight deadlines many, many times, saying “I can always depend on you”. When I needed extra work, he was there to help me. When I came to him for professional advice, Victor never hesitated to offer practical solutions. We shared lots of laughs and personal stories about our lives.
I was the first person to do an extended interview with him about his comic book career for Alter Ego magazine # 23. Victor was a walking encyclopedia about the history of Archie Comics. He worked there for sixty-two years. I knew he had been ill in recent times, but somehow, it seemed like he’d always pull through and stay strong. And he did, until now. RIP, Victor. You’ll be greatly missed by all who knew you. Thank you for everything you did for me.
This photo was taken at a New York Comics Convention in 2009. On the left is Jon D’Agostino, whose comics career lasted from the 1940s to the 2000s. On the right is Victor.


I had the disinct privilege of working with Victor Gorelick around fifteen years ago on a project called “Betty And Veronica: The New Look- Bad Boy Trouble”- a four part comic story spread out over four issues of the Betty and Veronica digest magazine. It was a new different type of presentation of these characters. as I was hired on to draw it in a similar style to my Marvel work. It marked a departure stylistically from the Dan Decarlo “house style” that Archie Comics was known for, and, despite a fair bit of pushback from fans who were against seeing their beloved characters drawn any other way than what they were used to seeing, the experiment did well enough that they continued with other storylines in the same “new look” style, and eventually, led to the modern Archie style, where new styles abound.
To me, Victor Gorelick foresaw that. He was one of the “old guard”, having been working in comics since at least the Bronze Age, but he was forward thinking in trying new and different things- at least in my own experience with the man.
I remember when he first called me up to offer me the job- I had been working for Archie Comics for around 7 or 8 years by then, but only on the Sonic the Hedgehog title, so when he offered me the Betty and Veronica story, I saw it as a challenge. I just remember him telling me they wanted it to look more akin to the types of romance comics that Marvel and DC used to do, rather than the classic Dan Decarlo look. Sounded simple enough, though I had never drawn a “romance” comic before- I just took the challenge, and we were off and running. Victor was really easy to work with, and called me on the phone fairly often while doing the job, just to make sure I was on schedule and what not. I remember one package of art that i sent them getting lost in the mail, and having to redraw the sequence, because i didn’t scan the pages before mailing them out(I’ve learned since then!!). The original pages finally showed up(after I had already drawn and turned in the redrawn pages), and Victor insisted on paying me for both sets- something he didn’t have to do, but did anyway, which spoke to his character and made him number one in my book!!
After the job was completed, I continued working for Archie, but was back on Sonic, and didn’t do any more Betty and Veronica work, so I wasn’t in contact with Victor anymore like i was while doing that particular work. Flash forward to 2014 at the San Diego Comic Con. I stop by the Archie Comics booth and introduce myself(it was my first time to meet a lot of the Archie guys, even though I had been freelancing for them for years by then). I asked them if Victor was there, and they introduced me to him. I finally got to meet the man face to face- A good bit older and a little more frail looking, but still up and about, greeting the fans, and just enjoying the interaction with the folks. I’m glad I got the chance to talk to him, however briefly it was.
To me, Victor seemed to be one of the last guardians of the “old ways” of comic book production and thought, but in a lot of ways, the things he helped set in motion were directly responsible for the “new ways” of doing things. I’m not sure if he would be comfortable with me saying this, but I believe his contributions to the comic book industry, and his faithful loyalty to the Archie Comics brand, are things well worth remembering. I know I, for one, will always remember them.
Godspeed, Victor. It was a pleasure and honor to have known and worked with you.


I woke up to the heartbreaking news that my friend, longtime Archie Comics contributor and editor Victor Gorelick has died. I’ve known Victor for forty years, ever since I wrote some Radio Shack custom comics for him around 1980. I got to know him better when we spent close to 4 years in the trenches together on LIFE WITH ARCHIE starting in 2009 and, in the years since, on a couple of online series. Victor was the literal heart and soul of Archie Comics, a 60-plus year employee who truly embodied the Riverdale spirit (but by way of Brooklyn). My condolences to his family, both at home and at Archie. I’ll miss him. You will too, although you may not realize it.


The great Editor-in-Chief of Archie Comics, and my good friend, Victor Gorelick has passed away. He is/was an institution at Archie and in comics. He kept Archie comics rolling over there for decades! He was tough, fair and funny to work with. I’m so very grateful for having had the opportunity to work with him. RIP, Victor!


Categories: Comic Book Blogs

NEW: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in glorious neon vinyl

Blogtor Who - Thu, 02/13/2020 - 16:45

The last ever BBC radio series of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy makes its vinyl debut! First broadcast in 2018, the Hexagonal Phase is based on Eoin Colfer’s And Another Thing…, the first -and, to date, only – official sequel to Douglas Adams’s original book series. This is also the first ever publication of […]

The post NEW: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in glorious neon vinyl appeared first on Blogtor Who.

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