Wednesday, May 17, 2023

You Can't Keep a Good Magician in the Trunk

Abracadabra! Alakazam!

Speak the Magic Words: MYSTIC TAROT has arrived in both Standard Tarot and Collector’s large sizes.

Standard Tarot size is limited to 1,000 copies. Jumbo Collector’s size is limited to 500 copies.

See them both at my website - along with more than 30 other original, unusual and eccentric tarot, Lenormand & oracle packs, created for the adventurous practitioner and the curious beginner alike.



Saturday, May 13, 2023

Someone Had to Do It


I’m going to do something that I rarely do here, and push my second novel at you.

The few people who’ve read PERSEPHONE’S TORCH all seemed to like it. Even people who don’t know me and have no reason to SAY that they like it. For example, Kara L. Wolf said “I give this book a standing 5-star ovation.” And she said some other nice things, too. Shanna Biondine said “A wonderful and thought-provoking story to the very end,” and ditto about the other nice things. An actual Amazon customer unknown to me says, “It’s a reminder that magic, or the perception and creation thereof, is primarily a way of seeing the world.”

I particularly appreciate that last comment; they “got” what I was trying to do.

I suspect that the reason it’s failed to find any significant audience is simply that it doesn’t neatly conform to any of the accepted standard genres or tropes that people expect — and if you know me, why should that surprise you?

Is it a Mystery? Well, yes, but not in the conventional sense. Is it a Fantasy? Well, yes, but not in the conventional sense. Is it a Romance? Well, yes, but not in the conventional sense. Are you starting to sense a pattern?

It’s a Drama About Drama.

And I immodestly assert that whatever ever else it is, it’s better WRITTEN than 98 percent of everything else out there. I think you should get it and read it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

There, I said it. It can be found at Amazon and other online outfits, and it can be found (in both paper and ebook versions) in the book section of my own online emporium, .

Thanks for checking it out!

-- Thorn.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

(Not) The End of Flight


If you are looking for a really fine modern rendering of PETER PAN, look no further than P. J. Hogan’s 2003 version starring Jeremy Sumpter, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Jason Isaacs, Lynn Redgrave and Richard Briars. It is a beautiful and under-rated incarnation of the story that fully embraces all its themes. Roger Ebert totally Got It. Here’s a link to his review.

Now, then. Let’s discuss the latest cinematic turd bearing Peter’s name.

No fictional character in history has been more misused, abused or maltreated than Peter Pan. By my count, the new film (which I will not name nor link to in this post) is merely the third time in just the last decade that Hollywood has been unable to find anything better to do with its time and money than gang-rape Peter Pan.

This latest assault is pure revisionist Social Justice finger-wagging made by people who actively detest the original story, and see it only as a “problem” (their words) that needed to be “fixed” (also their words).

Their only talent is Arrogance.

Their laudable hatred of Injustice extends to a much less creditable hatred of all things from the past, all of history, all of art, and ultimately to all of humanity itself. People like this are incapable of creating anything original, because they hate originality.

This what happens when Hatred becomes so endemic to a culture that the people who Hate the Haters become worse than the thing that they Hate.

Here’s a principle that I wish more filmmakers would embrace: if you don’t respect the source material, find some other story to tell. Preferably something that hasn’t already been done literally dozens of times before. It shouldn’t be that hard. My bookshelves alone are filled with hundreds of great fantasy stories that have never even once been adapted to film.

The ignorance of the people who made this abortion is almost palpable. Bereft of any kind of creative instinct, brainless, ill-educated and one hundred percent talent-free they seek only to dismantle the work of their betters.

In fact they hate Talent itself: because talent is something that divides people into classes. And something they don’t, and never will, possess.

In theory, Talent is one of the more Egalitarian forces on earth, admitting anyone to its ranks regardless of things like background, ethnicity or education; and yet it divides people into haves and have-nots. Certain branches of Higher Education have trying to rid the culture of it for years, and sometimes to me it seems that they have finally succeeded. 

It’s just a fact that Hollywood has never been more bereft of the stuff in the century-plus of its existence. And they know it. But the principle that they should be held to some semblance of Creative Standards causes them become Indignant. Why should wealthy, entitled, ethically challenged people living in luxury be denied a mouthpiece simply because they have no talent?   

Rather than accept the blame of their own inadequacies, they behave like petulant children and point the finger of blame squarely at the audience. How dare we hold them to standards?

To paraphrase Patrick McGoohan’s THE PRISONER (a TV series that has seen no equal in the fifty-six years since its premiere) Standards are Un-Mutual.

Getting back to PETER PAN: James M. Barrie is not and has never been my favorite playwright by a long pinch, and yet he is by far the superior of the creatively bankrupt “filmmakers” who continue to lay siege to his most enduring creation — in this case, the Disney Company, which has devolved into an entity that Walt himself would despise, incapable or anything even remotely resembling invention or innovation. 

And yet I see a positive side to all this.

The only thing that this newest assault on PETER PAN proves is that originality, insight and creativity that connects at a deep level with universal human experience can survive anything.

Pirates of every stripe and breed have laid down an almost relentless broadside barrage against Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up — but he’s endured and survived for over a century now, and done so in the face of almost unprecedented Hatred and Abuse.


Crow on, Peter. You’ve earned it. You are eternal. And they can’t keep an eternal boy down.


Monday, May 1, 2023

Give a Shout: AROO!


Bruce Canwell, my good friend at The Library of American Comics (and not coincidentally the author of "The Prunes of Ire," debuting on this website this summer) has today posted at the LOAC website four new-to-the-interwebs installments of Jack Kent's delightful comic strip KING AROO. 

If you missed my earlier post about KING AROO, it's right there down below. And either way, you should go over and see the four new dailies posted at the LOAC website right here:

Because KING AROO is good for the Soul. Period.

-- Thorn.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Previews of Coming Attractions


Check out the trailer for the new QUIRK story "The Prunes of Ire," landing in July, right here at Duck Soup Productions!

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

It Can Happen Here.

In 2023, if you are a creative person working in any genre, you and your freedom to create are both in danger.

If you stray, even unintentionally, even in a small way, from the boundaries of what is considered to be socially acceptable art as determined by a small handful of very loud and self-important people, you will be silenced.

An apology for your Heinous Crimes will be demanded — and if you refuse to apologize for something that you didn’t do, or something that you reasonably should not have to apologize for, you and all your future projects, no matter how inoffensive, will be shut down.

God help you if you piss off the Entitled Minority.

If you don’t see the danger here, you’re part of the problem. Look it up: as many as eighty million people died in China's Cultural Revolution. Don't think it couldn't happen in the West.

-- Thorn.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Looking Ahead Into the Past

Hard as it is to believe, 2023 marks the ten-year anniversary of TAROT OF THE ZIRKIS MÄGI, the project that quite literally saved my life. The correct pronunciation, by the way, is “Maggie” — as with the old comic strip characters Maggie and Jiggs, or Maggie O’Connell, the free spirited lady pilot of NORTHERN EXPOSURE whose boyfriends are known for their mortality rate. It is an Estonian surname.

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know this. I didn’t know the correct pronunciation myself until years after the deck had been published! This is particularly embarrassing, as before the deck arrived I wrote an entire novel centered around a circus family named Mägi — and I was mispronouncing the name in my head the whole time! The misperception within the tarot community is that the deck is named for the Biblical Magi, who were the three Kings “following yonder star” of the song. It’s not: it’s named for a circus which is the focus of all the action in my novel SEE THEM DANCE (which is still in print, by the way!).

So now you know! 

Ten years seems like a long time when those years are in front of you, but once they’ve passed into the rear-view mirror they seem like Nothing At All, Really. Just little “phht,” and then they’re gone.

Life Never Waits, always remember that. I wish I could remember it more consistently myself, or at least live as if I remembered it!

When I worked in the library at a local college, I used to say to my work study students, “Nothing in the first twenty years of your life prepares you for how fast the next twenty go by.” That still holds true, but I must say it gets Markedly Worse after forty.  Some of you already know what I’m talking about. Those of you who don’t, will. Surviving ten years in any business would have seemed like a Big Accomplishment to my Younger Self. Now I’m old enough to understand that it’s nothing more then pure stubbornness!

The big news this month is that I have Mostly Finished work on my latest deck, MYSTIC TAROT, and hope to fund the publication of a nice offset edition in 2023. Watch this space for future announcements. In the meantime, you can see all the cards in the short teaser film that’s currently playing right up there at the top of this post!

My main inspiration for this one comes from the strikingly gorgeous posters produced in Victorian and Edwardian times for the great magicians of that era — Thurston, Blacksone, Kellar, Houdini, and others less well-remembered. These images often dealt in supernatural themes, and were designed and made with a lushness of detail that is unequaled to this day. Not surprisingly, since our modern mode of tarot derives from works created in the same time period, I was able to find many connections between the two art forms. This was another labor of love that combined several of my enthusiasms, and I hope that the resulting deck will resonate with Tarot readers and collectors. 

You don’t have to live in the past or blind yourself to the many injustices and hardships of the past to appreciate the historic accomplishments that humanity made with fewer technological advances than are available to us now. But after all, there is still injustice in the world, and just as in the past, much of it is perpetrated by self-righteous chest-beaters who are convinced that right is on their side. I do not advocate living in the past. I never have advocated that. I *do* advocate familiarity with the past, warts and roses and all, to inform the work we do now, and help us decide how we move into the future. That’s where I’m coming from with the tagline I’m using for this deck, “Look Ahead into the Past.”

Watch for a crowdfunding campaign, coming soon! In the meantime, I want to thank everyone who has supported my work for the last decade. Without you, I might very well not have survived these ten years. You are my hope for a better future.


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