Issue 1 -- August 27, 2012

This month I torment an annoying woman by goading her into watching something called Threads. For those of you who might be wondering, yes, Threads is a real movie. It's a piece of Cold War propaganda from Britain, and I consider it to be the single darkest, gloomiest, most frightening piece of moving cinema ever created. I don't see how a movie could get worse. I mean, I guess it's possible, but they'd have to really try, and no one will because there would be no market for such a thing anyway.

The story is that the BBC got ahold of "The Day After" and thought it was too nice, so they made their own nuclear fallout TV-movie in response. "The Day After" was made for network television and certain facts about nuclear holocaust had to be censored. Threads gives you EVERYTHING. Due to its "educational" nature four or five accounts have it up on YouTube at any given day, and watching it is something you can actually flirt with doing. However I don't recommend it because...I was serious. Threads really will ruin your week. No matter how desensitized you think you are, Threads will crush you like a bug. Of course, I realize saying not to do it only makes people want to do it more. This is why I use it as a weapon.

So, you might be wondering why on Earth a "humor" magazine would base its first issue around the existence of the most depressing film ever. Well, it....seemed like a good idea at the time.

Actually, I first found out about Threads when I found this: the warnings they broadcasted before it aired in Canada. There were two: one in text, and one on-screen plea from the president of the station himself. TWO warnings before a movie; how bad must it be? Then I went to the comments section and read things like "DON'T WATCH IT! STAY AWAY!!" and "I wish I could go back in time to prevent myself from ever watching this." I just loved the whole feeling of foreboding dread this was creating. Basing a story around Threads was less about the movie itself and more about the buildup I could create surrounding it. Even the title sounds spooky: "THREADS"? What does that mean??

The title is explained at the beginning: that everyone's lives are connected and, whether we realize it or not, every decision we make affects other people for better or worse. The movie may be dated but that's still a lesson we can take from it today. None of the characters in Threads had anything to do with what was going on in the background -- they were just living their lives, until civilization collapsed and they all died in horrible ways. No, life isn't fair, but what exacerbates the problem is when people who have the power to make it even a little bit fairer choose not to. The more we think and act only for ourselves, the more damage we will unconsciously do, and the closer we'll get to Threads.

I pointed this out in a speech I gave to the lady as she was digging the hole, but it wound up being cut to focus more on the funny and less on the preachy. You're welcome.

The majority of content in BANG #1 wound up being cartoon-related, but we'd like to have something for everyone in each issue. I just happened to recieve much more material in comic form than in word. Even if you think you aren't artistically inclined or particularly skilled at storytelling, you can still land a spot in BANG. Do you have a blog? Do you have an interesting story on that blog? Other people might want to read it. This month both our text entries are from a blog: that of A. Nudibranch. We felt her down-to-Earth tales of Portland life would make a good launching point. (I didn't know about the Weather Machine either.)
Our Valued Customers, one of our regular features, comes from Tim Chamberlain, who works at a comic book store in Boston and has started drawing caricatures of the crazier individuals to come through his door, garnished with quotes of things they actually, literally said. He's been releasing the cartoons on his blog for about two years now, and they're seriously some of the funniest things I've ever read. Our Valued Customers has recently been collected in book form and is now visibly for sale at Powell's, Barnes & Noble, or if you want retail to continue to suffer, Amazon.com.
Another comic scheduled to make regular appearances is Jesse Barboza's Forever 16. Appropriately enough, it's written in the style of a 1990's newspaper strip, with a long faux history. It'll bounce around to a different year every month, but no matter what era they're in, the characters will remain the same age, as per the title. Jesse hasn't exactly been drawing the strip since 1990, but long enough for me to get attached to the characters. You will be too.
Speaking of Jesse, in 2007 he and staff janitor Peter Paltridge combined keyboard and pen to launch Electric Wonderland, a high-concept graphic serial about the Internet of the future, which has become its own separate world. Its entire first chapter is included in BANG #1 (some of it even in color, oooo!) Jesse was the illustrator, but only drew this first installment. Paltridge takes over in the second Electric Wonderland story, which will run in a future issue.

All in all you get a lot for your money this month, which is nothing. Check out the premiere issue of BANG this month at any of 700 Portland locations and let us know what you think. I'll be back later.
---Mulberry Sharona

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2012 BANG The Entertainment Paper