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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Dead Worms & The Dirty Ground

Originally Published in Synthesis Weekly: March 2012

A bit of disgusting, nausea-inducing nostalgia hit me today while I was on campus. As I was walking to class, it was raining and all the worms from the grass were inching their way onto the pavement to squirm helplessly. Every so often I’d see pieces of worm in various stages of decay and smelled a faint but eerily familiar smell. It took me until tonight to figure out what that was, but now that I finally pinpointed it I feel compelled to share it with all of you.

The junior high I attended had a long cement outdoor hallway that ran the entirety of the school. Bordering it was a large expanse of field on which various Physical Education classes were taught (see also: state mandated humiliation). When it rained (as it often did), hundreds of worms would make their way onto the cement hallway. Their sheer numbers were so vast that it was physically impossible to avoid stepping on them as we trudged through the hallways. If you’re wondering, and I know you were, hundreds of mashed up worms on one cement sidewalk has a very distinct smell. It’s foul and inescapable, and it was that pungent bit of vile nastiness that hit me today like a two by four straight to the dome. It grosses me out to imagine back then, all us kids in class with macerated worms clinging to our Keds. That might strike you as a little morose, but hey, it’s been that kind of weather lately, and I guess I’m just that kind of depressed pile o' human.

Sticking with that same melancholy tone (I know, I know, same shit as always, right?), let’s move forward to the focal point for this week. Comic enthusiasts worldwide were saddened last weekend to hear of the passing of the great Jean “Moebius” Giraud. Born in 1938, you might know him as the co-founder of Heavy Metal magazine, or for his concept art behind Ridley Scott’s Alien and Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element. If you’re more into the alternative or foreign comics, you might recognize his stunning past works of Blueberry and L’Incal. This man was instrumental in creating the current tone of science fiction art, so if you’re a fan of the genre in any sense, you should be grieving your weirdo ass off.

In more lighthearted news, it looks as though Batman is heading to Brazil... No, seriously. The Brazilian Military Police are introducing a new recruit to help snuff out crime in the Esplanade St. Therese area of Taubate. These Brazilian yahoos have hired 50 year old retired soldier Andre Luiz Pinheiro to dress up as Batman (body armor and all), and patrol the streets. Naturally, the first and most vital question to pose is, will his Batsuit include nipples? It sounds ludicrous, but hey, if it helps reduce crime, then more power to em’. Maybe if we’re lucky by this time next year we’ll have Captain Planet patrolling the streets of downtown Chico to help people curb their littering habits. I’m lookin’ at you, smokers. Put your butts in the trash! 

Arielle Mullen