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July 27, 2016


CR Review: Civil War 2 #1-3

imageCreators: Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, Olivier Coipel, Justin Ponsor
Ordering Information: Marvel, comic books, 44 pages, 2016, $4.99 each.
Availability: Comic Shops Nationwide

Let's get the caveats out of the way first. I've liked the Brian Michael Bendis-written comic books I've read in the past. The art team for these comics of David Marquez and Justin Ponsor seems well-suited to what Marvel's Civil War 2 asks them to do, even if it's not particularly distinctive to someone not immersed in that world. I have fun reading superhero event series. In an era where the Direct Market seems dominated by patrons looking to be told what's important and vital to buy, crossover titles do that more directly than any other comics on the stands. Sitting down with this small pile of comic books, I was ready to enjoy myself and discover some insight as to how modern series work, what's important to company and creators at this particular time, and maybe see some cool fights and witty interplay.

Then I read the issues.

I'm still not sure what the heck happened, but I didn't have much fun, and I'm an easy mark. Plus now I'm confused as well.

In this rehash of the mega-successful Civil War series of 2006 into 2007, the various Marvel heroes on the 41 different Avengers teams have to decide how and if to make use of a precognitive Inhuman recently unearthed by that Jack Kirby (with Stan Lee) creation's Royal Family, the Inhumans fully present in their strange, modern role as X-Men with better movie deals. (The Inhuman in question, Ulysses, looks like a 2005 parody of a Portland barista. He's a student at Ohio State, so okay, I'll give them that one.)

Instead of Iron Man vs. Captain America, this time it's Iron Man vs. Captain Marvel: great for the latter character's relative gravitas but so far not as iconically satisfying as the two geezer-pals coming to blows. Instead of everyone fighting everyone, the actors playing significant roles in Civil War 2 stand around and talk -- at least so far. Conflict is either over quickly, told in flashback form, projected or thwarted. That could be part of the point, too, I don't know. It makes for a pretty dull ride. Even the dialogue never gets much further than people declaring first motivations at each other, Internet-style.

Sometimes I think all of modern comics can be explained in that one Avengers annual Jim Starlin did in the mid-'70s when they go off into space to fight Thanos, back when travel converns weren't automatically circumvented in superhero plotlines. Three to four pages of that issue is thus given over to the various heroes brooding and contemplating this forthcoming battle as they move towards it. If like me as an eight-year-old you preferred the Council of Elrond to the Battle of Helm's Deep, this was an amazing thing. There was a time when a significant subset of superhero readers would occasionally verbalize their desire to have their favorites just sit around and talk, as if every other kind of comic weren't more suitable for that, to greater reward.

Can you do whole issues with the Avengers on a quinjet, brooding? Whole series? Is this a slow build to something or is this the something? Are readers that invested in incremental soap opera based on abstract ideas of genre filtered through broad approaches to what the future means? The words used to create the series' slogans fail to achieve the clarity the previous series' register/don't register paradigm enjoyed. I still don't know which side is protecting and which side is saving the future. I might never find out. In the three issues I read, there are barely sides. Is that the point? As walking metaphors, superheroes will support just about any reading, but that doesn't make the readings any more pleasurable or insightful, except maybe in an accidental way: the choice of victim, who is deferential to whom. At that point it becomes about the genre, which was only ever half of the 1960s Marvel formula.

It may be through fiat-favoring sprawl that this particular comic series in its entirety is what used to be the 3-4 pages of an old annual's subplot, and the fighting and meaning-making has all been moved into the supporting series. At some point -- I remember first thinking this around the time of Final Crisis, which read much better with its Superman series sewn into its body -- mainstream comics companies became happy to sell you a clearly lesser version of the story in the hopes your buying habits might migrate in an unconscious search for a more complete version. It's a strategy that rewards smart readers and punishes your competitors. It's a strategy that thwarts art.

It's difficult for me to trust modern entertainment that conceals its best parts in an attempt to extend the amount of money they're asking you to spend. The longer versions of Peter Jackson's boys-adventure Lord Of The Rings movies were an exception that proved the rule, and for those to work that way they had to utilize Academy Award-nominated material as the "less satisfying" components. Now we get this idea regularly, like with that horrible Batman vs. Superman film, a time-lapse of a bruise being formed, showing up with its hand out 90 days after spitting on your palm. Who has the time to keep up? I do this for a living and I don't.

Some days with comics I feel like I'm buying Wonka bars, hoping I got one of the ones with the plot in it. If this is the future, I vote reject it.

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Jack Davis, RIP

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Richard Thompson, RIP

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Go, Look: Alitha E. Martinez

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Go, Look: Jim Rugg Pin-Up Process Post

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This Isn't A Library: New, Notable Releases Into Comics' Direct Market

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Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's no-doubt largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.

I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. You never know. I'd sure look at the following, though.

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MAY161334BONE CODA 25TH ANNIVERSARY TP $14.95
A new Bone story not being a bigger story I think says more about our lack of infrastructure for publishing news: the market is oversaturated with titles, and there are few mechanisms to make one release stand out over another. Smith is a wonderful cartoonist with talent to burn. He can draw whatever he wants. His gifts for economy and clarity are flattered most by these characters and this general setting. It's up to you, but I'll follow him there every time he wants to go.

imageMAY161607 QUEEN EMERALDAS HC GN VOL 01 (OF 2) $24.99
Prime-time Leiji Matsumoto, one of the most graceful stylists ever to make a comics page. I can stare at this stuff for hours, and it used to be I had to because my passion for this particular artist outpaced my ability to find translated-into-English pages. I can't imagine this not just killing right now, given the kind of work that a lot of younger cartoonists are doing.

MAY160090 LOBSTER JOHNSON METAL MONSTERS OF MIDTOWN #3 (OF 3) $3.50
MAY160214 BATGIRL #1 $2.99
MAY160373 ROM #1 $4.99
MAR160555 AUTUMNLANDS TOOTH & CLAW #12 (MR) $2.99
MAY160635 EAST OF WEST #28 $3.99
MAY160642 JUPITERS LEGACY VOL 2 #2 (OF 5) CVR A QUITELY (MR) $3.99
MAY160860 BLACK PANTHER #4 $3.99
MAY160840 HOWARD THE DUCK #9 $3.99
MAY161512 HIP HOP FAMILY TREE #12 $3.99
Pretty good week for comic-book comics, coming right off of the big summer gone. Mignola-verse to start, as always. Batgirl was the title that was the spear tip of DC mixing it up a bit on their books in the hope of gaining a wide audience. Rom I have no particular fondness for, but I'm interested in the fact that it's being published again. Autumlands and East Of West are fun comics from sturdy creators. Jupiter's Legacy ending in five issues seems unlikely to be a natural-seeming event, so I'm expecting another period of time off for artist Frank Quitely or a really abrupt conclusion. I think with issue #5 we'll have a much greater grasp as to how well the new Black Panther title is working with its fan base. Everything's been great so far. HTD is in its final months, Finally: All Hail Ed Piskor.

APR160403 SUICIDE SQUAD THE SILVER AGE OMNIBUS HC $49.99
It makes sense these comics would be reprinted as widely as possible given the film, although it's hard to imagine the comic book format not being the best one. The more yellow the paper, the better.

MAY160429 TMNT ONGOING #60 $3.99
MAY160079 ELFQUEST FINAL QUEST #15 $3.99
That's about 50 percent more issues on each of these series than I would have guessed were there money involved. Someday I'll catch up with the Elfquest. I'll probably only ever sample the Turtles, if that.

MAY168864 JUPITERS LEGACY VOL 2 #1 (OF 5) 2ND PTG (MR) $3.99
MAY168865 SHE WOLF #1 2ND PTG (MR) $3.99
MAY168436 BLACK PANTHER #2 RAHZZAH RUN JEWELS 3RD PTG VAR $3.99
These are all comics doing well enough for multiple printings. In the case of item #s 1 and 3, one would have to think there's some playing along by the company, as both could have been expected to sell a lot of copies.

MAY161430 BADGER TP VOL 01 BATTLE OF THE FIVE WIZARDS $21.99
Love the Badger. Don't know what this is exactly, but I have a nostalgic thing going within my family where that character is concerned.

APR161855 DENNIS THE MENACE HC VOL 02 COMPLETE COMICBOOKS $19.99
JAN161032 OHIO IS FOR SALE GN (MR) $19.99
MAY161453 BOYS OF SHERIFF STREET GN (MR) $14.95
Finally: three stand-alones I want to buy, including a surprise French album series making an unexpected North American appearance. What's not to like?

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The full list of this week's releases, including some titles with multiple cover variations and a long, impressive list of toys and other stuff that isn't comics, can be found here. Despite this official list there's no guarantee a comic will show up in the stores as promised, or in all of the stores as opposed to just a few. Also, stores choose what they carry and don't carry so your shop may not carry a specific publication. There are a lot of comics out there.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, albeit a while back, try this.

The above titles are listed with their Diamond order code in the first field, which may assist you in finding comics at your shop or having them order something for you they don't have in-stock. Ordering through a direct market shop can be a frustrating experience, so if you have a direct line to something -- you know another shop has it, you know a bookstore has it -- I'd urge you to consider all of your options.

If I failed to list your comic, that's because I hate you.

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If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through August 2016

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*****

July 29
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Ohio)
* If I Were In San Antonio, I'd Go To This (Texas Comicon)
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

July 30
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Ohio)
* If I Were In San Antonio, I'd Go To This (Texas Comicon)
* If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This

July 31
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Ohio)
* If I Were In San Antonio, I'd Go To This (Texas Comicon)

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August 3
* If I Were In SF And Qualified, I'd Go To This

August 12
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Otakon)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Kansas City Comic Con)

August 13
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Otakon)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Kansas City Comic Con)

August 14
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Otakon)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Kansas City Comic Con)

August 17
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

August 18
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Chicago)

August 19
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Chicago)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

August 20
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Chicago)

August 21
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Chicago)

August 25
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

August 26
* If I Were Near Palm Springs, I'd Go To This (Comic Con Palm Springs)
* If I Were In Cleveland, I'd Go To This (BOUND)

August 27
* If I Were Near Palm Springs, I'd Go To This (Comic Con Palm Springs)
* If I Were In Cleveland, I'd Go To This (BOUND)

August 28
* If I Were Near Palm Springs, I'd Go To This (Comic Con Palm Springs)

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Events For September 2016 Onward Listed Here

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Holy Crap Look At This Al Williamson Art

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Paul O'Brien on Old Man Logan #5-7. John Seven on The Incantations Of Daniel Johnston. Benjamin Bailey on Kill Or Be Killed.

* go, read: So Below.

* Constantino C. Tejero walks through the fine art aspects of work by man prominent Filipino cartoonists through the age.

* OTBP: The Adventure Zone.

* on making a mini-comic.

* Stephen Bissette profiles Vernon Grant. Sean Ford talks to Gabby Schulz.

* this looks lovely. So does this.

* finally, love for Schuiten.
 
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Happy 78th Birthday, Pierre Christin!

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July 26, 2016


CR Review: King-Cat Comix And Stories #76

imageCreator: John Porcellino
Publishing Information: Self-Published, Mini-Comic,
Ordering Numbers: Available Here

In his introduction to the latest issue of King-Cat, American Arts Hero John Porcellino cheerfully offers up his own appraisal of the comic in front of us: "It's a weird one!" I would say that's true if you've come to expect the full-on comics press of the last few issues, particularly last year's jaw-dropping issue #75. There are fewer comics here, and some are slightly ragged. One that involves the cartoonist mostly lying in bed is outright disheartening. Because Porcellino's lifetime project tracks his moods and thoughts on the futility and wonder of making comics.

I think older fans will like this issue regardless of it breaks from #75 because the comics will feel like checking on on Porcellino, and there are a ton of letters and even one of the artist's patented list celebrations of recent culture as he encounters it. I'd recently heard that Porcellino has given up on the extensive travel of recent years, and this issue seems to reflect that kind of emotional readjustment. I'll take all the Porcellino I can get, even when it's not enough in certain areas to satisfy my consumption desires. I look forward to seeing what happens and how this issue looks in retrospect if Porcellino settles more and more into the cold, flat landscape.
 
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Go, Look: Mean Streets

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Military Veteran Group Issues Broad Warning Against Cartoonist Zapiro, Disrespectful Art

Here. There's a long and unfortunate history of the African National Congress and its subgroups speaking in a hostile way towards the cartoonist Zapiro and other artists, so this latest round shouldn't be a surprise. What is always worth noting is this idea that exists in various places that politicians deserve respectful treatment above and beyond other people. I strongly disagree, but that's not the way so many political cultures lean.
 
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OTBP: š! #25

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Bundled Extra: Let's Throw The Spotlight On The Comics-Related News From Comic-Con

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I've received some word from several CR readers that it seemed there was a lack of comics news at Comic-Con International in 2016. I think it was a light year of news for all the media participating. Even the movie material was less about casting announcements or substantive deal-making than it was debuting commercials on existing films' behalf.

There were some fun announcements and bits of news, though, strictly as it related to the comics medium -- the greatest of them all. Here's what I could find.

* Drawn and Quarterly announced its acquisitions of Hostages by Guy Delisle and Poppies Of Iraq by Lewis Trondheim and Brigitte Findakly. The Delisle is due next Spring and the Poppies book in the Fall.

image* there will be a Jack Kirby-era Fantastic Four Artist's Edition from IDW in early 2017, kicking off that year's celebration of the King's 100th birthday with style and flair.

* this isn't a project that exists, but Derf let it be known during his spotlight panel that as a irascible long-time resident of Cleveland with a great sense of humor, he'd be pretty good at writing a Howard The Duck comic. In general, if you're pitching, Derf is listening.

* Joëlle Jones signed an exclusive at DC Comics.

* the Graphix imprint at Scholastic announced at their annual cocktail party that they will be hosting a major contest aimed at unpublished cartoonists to find their newest author. That seems like one hell of an opportunity, and should benefit them PR-wise as well as the services of the person they select. All those cartoonists dress pretty well, so I have to imagine that it's a good company through which to publish.

* Marvel is going to launch a title called World Of Wakanda expanding on plotlines suggested in their popular Black Panther comic. Artist Afua Richardson, artist Alitha Martinez, poet Yona Harvey and writer Roxane Gay are apparently involved. I'm putting Richardson first here because that Times article failed to mention her at all.

* IDW plans to publish a bunch of new Hasbro-related series in the months ahead.

* the Richard Rider as Nova character will appear in a forthcoming Marvel comic book.

* the videogame company Blizzard will team with Dark Horse Comics to make comics related to the gaming company's Overwatch franchise.

* in what may be Comic-Con's first announcement of an announcement, Jim Lee let it be known there will likely be some use of the WildStorm properties under DC's current "Rebirth" line directive. That was a talent-driven company when it was at its height, but that talent did enough with the characters that I would imagine some of them to be appealing.

* Tomb Raider gets a fancy archival treatment.

image* Keith Knight let slip at a panel on Thursday that a next-year book for which he's doing only illustrations -- I'm guessing this one -- is part of a three-book deal.

* Marvel is planning to have its Inhumans properties fight their X-Men properties in an event comic over the 2016-2017 winter. That sounds miserable. I don't really understand Marvel's recent stewardship of those properties. Inhumans seems a gold mine -- aliens among us that are machines of intergalactic war -- that has been given X-Men plotline hand-me-downs. X-Men is a former champ that got old and worn out and seems to be wrestling with its t-shirt on these days. X-Men in particular seems to be in that place DC was with the Legion Of Super-Heroes property right before they basically stopped trying. I will feel better for the loser (which will be the mutants), and the resulting hope for an eventual relaunch unburdened by nostalgia and the impediment of movie-deal emphasis.

* VIZ has joined the corporate partnerships portion of the CBLDF support umbrella, and there's already a handbook to show for it.

* writer Joss Whedon will do some work on a forthcoming comic starring the Rupert Giles character from the Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV show. Speaking of Whedon, there will be a new Firefly/Serenity comic book series from Dark Horse.

* Ben Hatke has a sizable comic out any second called Mighty Jack.

image* at her spotlight panel on Thursday, when asked about potential future projects, Lisa Hanawalt let slip that she has made many more Coyote Doggirl comics than she's posted on-line.

* there were Eisner Awards. Big nights for Drawn and Quarterly, Fantagraphics, Image. Hall Of Fame welcomes Tove Jansson, Carl Burgos, Lynda Barry, Matt Groening, Rube Goldberg and Jacques Tardi.

* I'm sure I'm missing a few, but it looks like comics-related people taking home Inkpots were Peggy Burns, Tom Devlin, Matt Fraction, Derf, Jason Aaron, Jim Davis, Christopher Priest, Kieron Gillen, Peter David and Alex Sinclair.

* the Comic-Con Icon award went to a comics person this year: Sergio.

* my old industry pal and respected peer Graeme McMillan reminds me that Dynamite had a bunch of pre-show announcements. I'm not finding anyone to sort that out for me -- I'm a brave person but I'm not that brave -- but I'm guessing that this New York Times article is a good place to start. Let me put up a bunch of random links, too.

* Fantagraphics sold out of its allotment of Patience by Saturday afternoon. I think Cartoon Books sold out of the new Bone: Coda, of which they brought tons.

* Graeme had a pre-con story of his own: Joe Casey + Nick Dragotta + America Vasquez.

* IDW will do Jurassic World in 2017. If it's like the movie, it'll be a massive surprise hit. Here's Bleeding Cool's snapshot-driven report on the rest of their retailer presentation.

* finally, Miriam Libicki wrote to admonish me for not coming by her booth, where she would have regaled me with stories about her forthcoming book, Toward A Hot Jew. That's a Fantagraphics book, and I believe the cartoonist's debut there.

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Go, Look: Timothy Lamb

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Collective Memory: Comic-Con International 2016

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Links to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2016 edition of Comic-Con International, held July 21-24 with a July 20 Preview Night in and around the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego.

This entry will continue to be updated for as long as people

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Institutional
* Festival Site
* Physical Location
* Host City

imageBlogs And Personal Journals
* Phil Nel
* The Beat

Facebook
* Community Page

Miscellaneous
* Photos From Mid-'70s Comic-Con

News Stories And Columns
* CCI 01
* CCI 02
* Time
* Washington Post

Photos
* boingboing
* Comicbook.com
* Nerdist
* Variety

Twitter
* #SDCC
* #SDCC2016

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Go, Look: TrumpTrump

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied & Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* this one's several days old at this point and has probably been widely seen, but Steve Brodner has been doing some fun work with the Village Voice recently.

* Dean Mullaney has the next wave of Library Of American Comics releases. Ted Adams says don't sleep on Dieter Lumpen.

* those nice men at Secret Acres sent out two old-fashioned PR announcements for two forthcoming books, due out around SPX time: a new printing of Brendan Leache's Pterodactyl Hunters in the Gilded City, as well as Reid Psaltis' The Order of Things.

* this was the foldered-out preview copy that Fantagraphics was pressing into everyone's hands during Comic-Con. It looks fascinating, and I'm told it reads equally well.

* there were likely a bunch of of corporate-partnership comics that I failed to notice during Comic-Con. One is Blizzard and Dark Horse for a comic about the Overwatch game. I just saw that one. Mostly it's stuff going the other direction.

* finally, Ken Eppstein wrote in to say that the magazine American Road has a comics focus this month.
 
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Go, Look: An Arnold Roth Process Post

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Go, Look: Paul Pope Images Mini-Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Rob Clough on a bunch of comics by Whit Taylor.

* I'm all for articles exploring the issue of fan entitlement, but 1) the recent Leslie Jones thing struck me as something far different and far scarier than creators being told they suck for movie plot points and is dangerous equivalency to make, 2) you're probably not being fully honest if you don't get into the fact that big media properties just aren't about making art and asking for a culture of artistic leeway to be afforded those who are brought in to make art product like that is sort of weird. Maybe we leave Shakespeare alone but can fully expect the choreographer of Shakespeare Ice Capades will get notes.

* a little bit on Alien Fire.

* there were two Washington Post articles I planned to link to but I've reached my monthly limit of backtracking to copy the link's address directly after not getting the article.

* congrats to 2dcloud on hitting their crowd-funding goal.

* Bully focuses on toast, an optimal reaction to the excesses of Comic-Con.

* finally, Evan Narcisse talks to Chadwick Boseman. Paul Gravett profiles Igort.
 
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Happy 63rd Birthday, Bob Pinaha!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Brannon Costello!

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