River Crash, Deaths Unexplained



Riverside Club Closed After Mysterious Deaths

By Sentinel Staff

Nearly a score of unexplained deaths, possibly related to reports of a crash in the river of an aircraft or possibly a meteor or satellite have authorities mystified. Witnesses from throughout Uriah and Tabor Park reported a large mid-river. Nine men and ten women died at about the same time, in the same riverfront areas.

Preliminary autopsy reports rule out physical trauma. However, no poison has been found in the bloodstreams of the victims.

A chemistry professor from City College reported an increase in background radiation in the water, but this has not been confirmed by Water Utility officials. "Highly unlikely," a spokesman for the utility board commented. "But we'll be conducting tests."

Bodies of the dead were not radioactive.

Club Parallaxis in Uriah closed for two days, due to deaths of personnel. It has since reopened. A wake will be held at the club for the two women bartenders and one male audio technician at a time to be announced.

Some witnesses reported seeing a black helicopter in the area. Four different people reported seeing bright flashes at different places around the docks and warehouses preceding the river explosion.

A shipping container is visible in the water by the wharf. Authorities speculate it may have been knocked in the water by the disturbance.

Scorch marks are visible on the concrete pier and on the buildings, but authorities say these may have been present for some time. The area has been plagued by fires, apparently started by vagrants, for some time.

Anti-Immigrant Protest Sparks Riot

By Sentinel Staff

Protesters chanting "No More, Enough is Enough" assembled in Hampton Green yesterday, a sign that immigration is becoming one of the season's thorniest issues here in the city.

A number of the protesters were masked. One, who chose not to identify himself, explained "there are criminal elements who would punish us for this; I don't care to make their work easy."

The protest was noisy but peaceful until a group came out of the nearby Hel Club, a members-only nightclub favored by the subculture known as "Redpills", and told the protesters to disperse. "The Frenchman cannot hear the quacking of ducks," their leader said, presumably using the Redpill argot, "so waddle back to your swamps."

Fighting quickly broke out.

Scores of protesters clashed with a nearly equal number of nightclub denizens in a spectacular battle involving martial arts and scattered shootings. No deaths were reported, despite almost an hour of fighting.

The crowd dispersed. Someone had left a graffiti on a nearby wall: "The Train Is Coming Off The Tracks," "Trainman's getting a haircut!" and "Feed the Source." The graffiti was removed during the night.

A Hel Club spokesman had no comment.

Hey Kids, Comics!

Andres Bonifacaeio

I've had an unnerving experience.

Through friends, I was invited to profile a group of young people who are starting a comic-book company here in the city. I don't often do good-news stories, but I was in the mood for something light, considering what's going on in the city lately. You know the story: Young people making their dreams real. This generation's Superman by this generation's Siegel and Schuster (who were teens when they invented the Man of Steel, don'tcha know). You've read it before.

When I started interviewing their editor, their writers and artists...I found .

I guess I'll just give it straight.

No Limits Comics, operating out of a pair of apartments in the Apollyon district, has announced its first three titles: The Vengeance, about a driven, mentally-unstable superhero group; Arachnihilium, about a human-appearing alien whose stomach opens into a maw and a number of leathery spider legs to engulf, mostly, evildoers; and Sorrow, about a woman who births super-powered children who do her bidding for a day, then die.

"We wanted to do comics more connected to real life, if not in detail, in emotion," says editor Alia Ghanem, a twentysomething goth festooned with leather accoutrements and multiple piercings. She and her boyfriend, writer Bruno Schulz, started the company.

She continues, "The Vengeance is about what super-powers would really do to somebody, which is bring out their worst, id-like selfishness and cruelty. Real people steal, beat people, and rape when they can get away with it. So our heroes do, too."

We're supposed to sympathize with these heroes?

"You're supposed to be amused," she says. "I used to be disgusted by life, but now I'm amused." She smiles with her black lips.

Schulz is a small young man with haunted eyes. I ask about his approach. "I basically describe the blackness all around us. There's poetry in it, like beetles in a rotted log. Arachnihilium is a wandering, random force who erases people, like a father."

Like a what?

"My father killed my mother, then himself, after trying to shoot my sister and me. He didn't get us. We were too small, and crawled under a broken fence he couldn't fit through. Sometimes I dream I'm hung up on that chain-link fence, as I was, briefly, and he's coming for me."

At this I notice Bruno's nervous tic. He looks over his shoulder about once a minute.

I also notice something else. Alia has scars, over a dozen, on her wrists and arms. She's a cutter, it looks like. I ask her about it.

"That's a woman's life. That's what Sorrow is about...pain, disappointment, regret. Sorrow has her children when she needs them - and it's as painful as real birth, each time - knowing they'll age and die by the end of the twenty-four hours. So she doesn't attach. She couldn't bear it."

I ask if this relates to personal experience.

Alia reflects for a while. "Of all the mysteries of this world the one that's most baffling is why a woman would bring a new life to it, to all this suffering. Better to be in black nothingness for eternity, without this vivid episode of horror punctuating it. Life, I mean."

The artists of No Limit Comics are similarly full of sunshine. Halest Tranfo, who draws The Vengeance and Sorrow, has a muscular style reminiscent of "Jim Lee and John Watkiss and Jerry Ordway, the three Jays," whom he says are his artistic Trinity. He hides the letter "J" in his work, on walls, in clouds, in cracks on the street. He says he feels their power helping him when he does. He also says that the ghost of the famously troubled cartoonist Wallace Wood jars his table, and sometimes his elbow, while he is inking. "Woody likes to see me screw up. Sometimes he visits in dreams and tells me to go out the way he did."

Wood, his eyesight, liver and fine muscle control shot from years of alcoholism, facing a life of dialysis and decline, took his own life with a firearm.

Jade Seven, as she calls herself, illustrates Arachnihilium. Her work is detailed and sensitive, otherworldly, which is how she seems in person, too.

She has a lifelong fear of spiders, she said, which are "the embodiment of depression". "If you're ever depressed, or near a depressed person, look around. There will be a spider somewhere in the shadows. As if they feed on it."

So why does she draw a book about a human-eating spider-alien?

"I master it this way. I control the page. Usually."

This small crew of cockeyed optimists has produced six issues of each of these books already, in advance of publication. This impressed me; it's one thing to announce big plans, and another to do the hard advance work to make it happen on schedule. It's the difference between passion and discipline.

"That's Alia. She doesn't let us get lost in our private Hells. She demands we produce, and can make you feel very, very small when you blow a deadline or turn in pages that are just adequate," says Jade Seven.

"She has the personality of a dominatrix," Halest Tranfo declares.

Alia Gahnem smiles at this. "Go back to your drawing, Halest," she jokes, and everybody laughs.

Times change. The can-do heroics of early comics, the suburban horrors of the Fifties, the neurosis of the Sixties (I'll spare you the rest)…every decade has its popular culture reflecting its time. These walking wounded have their own type of fantasy, black on black, pain upon sorrow, creating a visual poetry for other sad souls.

"My dad left a note," Bruno Schulz says. "He wrote that none of this was real, the world is a lie built on deeper lies. He couldn't stand that, and he couldn't stand leaving us, either, which is why he tried to take us out with him. I dedicate my work to his memory."

The comics will be available next month.