Pluralistic: Justice Warriors (22 May 2023)

Today's links

  • Justice Warriors: Matt Bors', Ben Clarkson's and Felipe Sobriero's scorchingly brilliant, viciously funny, dystopian sf graphic novel.
  • Hey look at this: Delights to delectate.
  • This day in history: 2003, 2008, 2013, 2018
  • Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading

A panel from Justice Warriors depicting a mob of motley mutants protesting over the financialization of bread. One shouts, 'Stabilize the economy!' Another shouts, 'Bread is not money!'

Justice Warriors (permalink)

The internet did not create Matt Bors, but the internet would be a much poorer place without Bors and his acerbic, scorchingly funny webcomics, which he publishes at The Nib (a site he founded), amongst some of the web's most iconic humor:

Founding The Nib and creating a home for all those great webcomics would be legacy enough for one creator, but Bors's monumental accomplishment with The Nib is topped by his savage creation, Mr Gotcha, the single most effective rebuttal to the most annoying Reply Guys on the whole internet:

Dayenu: if he had only founded The Nib, it would be enough. If he had only created Mr Gotcha, it would be enough. But Bors continues to amaze and delight. In Justice Warriors, a graphic novel he co-produced with Ben Clarkson, we get a distillate of all the weird, crazed things both grotesque and lovable about the net of a thousand lies:

Justice Warriors is what you'd get if you put Judge Dredd in a blender with Transmetropolitan and set it to chunky. The setup: the elites of a wasted, tormented world have retreated into Bubble City, beneath a hermetically sealed zone. Within Bubble City, everything is run according to the priorities of the descendants of the most internet-poisoned freaks of the modern internet, click- and clout-chasing mushminds full of corporate-washed platitudes about self-care, diversity and equity, wrapped around come-ons for sugary drinks and dubious dropshipper crapola.

Outside of Bubble City is the Unoccupied Zone, which is very much occupied with a teeming assortment of motley mutants, themselves gripped by endless crazes, fads, and trending subjects. The Uzzers are Bubble City's hated underclass, viciously policed by the Bubble City cops, who mow them down with impunity, crying about their impending PTSD as they work the trigger.

Justice Warriors is a cop buddy-story dreamed up by Very Online, very angry creators who live in a present-day world where reality is consistently stupider than satire. As Bors told Cy Beltran in Comics Beat, "The current moment is so many things at once, it’s an omni-crisis of politics and attention—that’s what felt important to tap into, that sense of frenzy you can barely keep up with."

That's the feeling of Justice Warriors, all right. As Bors puts it, they tackle "social media derangement, celebrity culture, investment schemes, mass movements, and A.I." in a tale with more sight-gags, densely packed literary references, and savage takedowns per page than anything you've ever read.

The art in this book is spectacular, styled a bit like those ultra-busy Al Jaffee full-page MAD Magazine spreads, or the Moss Eisley Cantina, or the wild alien scenes from Ben Hatke's YA classic Zita the Space Girl kids' graphic novels:

But Justice Warriors is grosser, busier, and more frenetic than any of them. As Bors describes it, they created "a chaotic mutant-infested city that tops the most sensory-overloading cities in all of comics and animation."

Justice Warriors is a mind-altering experience. If you liked Bubble, Jordan Morris and Sarah Morgan's apocalyptic comedy podcast/graphic novel, you'll love Justice Warriors:

This is a comic book the internet needs. In a century, when our mutant descendants wonder how it all went wrong, they can use Justice Warriors as a Rosetta Stone to make sense of the detritus of our civilization.

Hey look at this (permalink)

A Wayback Machine banner.

This day in history (permalink)

#20yrsago William Gibson on the future of media

#15yrsago We need a privacy bill of rights

#15yrsago Steamy tell-all memoir by a Disneyland “Jack Sparrow”

#15yrsago Oregon to hold hearings on whether its laws are copyrighted

#15yrsago China’s surveillance state

#15yrsago Cisco internal memo: Chinese censorship and surveillance are “opportunities”

#15yrsago EFF forces Lockheed to withdraw trademark claim on B-24 bomber

#15yrsago Open Source Embroidery and the “gendered gift economy”

#15yrsago RIP, Robert Asprin

#15yrsago Structures of Participation in Digital Culture — free download scholarly essay

#10yrsago Privacy, public health and the moral hazard of surveillance

#10yrsago Perils of smart cities

#10yrsago Chronology of the Canadian Conservative government’s war on science

#10yrsago Unknown mathematician makes historical breakthrough in prime theory

#10yrsago What UK education czar Michael Gove doesn’t understand about creativity
#10yrsago Accused identity thief nailed by food-porn Instagram photo

#10yrsago Utah wants to tax power consumed by the NSA’s massive, illegal data-processing facility

#10yrsago Book review: information security for lawyers

#10yrsago When America issued dogtags to kids to help identify their nuke-blasted corpses

#10yrsago Whatever happened to crack babies?

#10yrsago Internet of Things and surveillance

#10yrsago Profile of math-inspired 3D printing sculptor Bathsheba Grossman

#5yrsago Explaining marine invertebrate reproductive strategies to the lobster-obsessed Jordan Peterson

#5yrsago Supreme Court rules that employers can make signing away your right to sue them in a class a condition of employment

#5yrsago New York high school will use CCTV and facial recognition to enforce discipline

#5yrsago High school students who will not smile in the hallways are sent to mandatory counselling, while bullying is rampant

#5yrsago The Vatican dunks on the finance industry and its “amoral culture”

#5yrsago Ahead of national elections, India’s authoritarian ruling party loses a key regional battle

#5yrsago Britain’s hardline prohibitionist drugs minister is married to a weed grower

#5yrsago App that let parents spy on teens stored thousands of kids’ Apple ID passwords and usernames on an unsecured server

#5yrsago Two sitting Senators were among the people whose identities were stolen in FCC comments from anti-Net Neutrality bots

#5yrsago The military sysadmins in charge of Trump’s cellphones can’t get him to give up wildly insecure practices

#5yrsago Amazon has been quietly selling its facial recognition system to US police forces, marketing it for bodycam use

#5yrsago Mur Lafferty wrote a science fiction story about the DMCA to help EFF’s fair use for vidders campaign

#5yrsago The paperback of Walkaway is out today, along with reissues of all my adult novels in matching covers!

#5yrsago The emerging split in modern trustbusting: Alexander Hamilton’s Fully Automated Luxury Communism vs Thomas Jefferson’s Redecentralization

#5yrsago 84K: A grim meathook future novel of exterminism, with a theory of change and a glimmer of hope in its centre

Colophon (permalink)

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  • Picks and Shovels, a Martin Hench noir thriller about the heroic era of the PC. FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE, WAITING FOR EDITORIAL REVIEW

  • The Bezzle, a Martin Hench noir thriller novel about the prison-tech industry. FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE, WAITING FOR EDITORIAL REVIEW

  • Vigilant, Little Brother short story about remote invigilation. ON SUBMISSION

  • Moral Hazard, a short story for MIT Tech Review's 12 Tomorrows. FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE, ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION

  • Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. ON SUBMISSION

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