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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. 

Death to Nag Champa

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: September 2013

Can I just say (I know that maybe in saying this, I’m speaking against the consensus of my demographic) that I really detest weed culture? The appropriation of other cultures, especially if they’re somehow the polar opposite of our own, isn’t a new fad. Fashion labels have been playing this game for decades. In any case, the combination of Rastafarian colors, Bob Marley, black-light posters, incense that makes my eyes water, and little marijuana leaves decorating everything is so exhausting to me. I wonder if there’s any point at which places like The Dungeon will no longer be something that exists in its current form. Probably not, so long as marijuana is illegal on a federal level and teenage rebellion still gravitates toward hookahs and giant posters of Janis Joplin naked in the forest.

If however, you are going to smoke some gerb (doobie, ganja, etc.), consider treating yourself and making it a special occasion. The Shine brand has recently released a new product: 24K gold rolling papers. They’ll set you back about $55 for a pack of twelve, but think how wiggity-wack-ass cool you’ll look smoking a jay that’s blangin’ with real gold. If you think paying that much for rolling papers (whether they’re made of gold or not) is stupid, then try smoking some more weed, and then consider it again. If that still doesn’t work, then just head on down to Collier’s, pick up some gold spray paint, and coat your regular Zig Zags for the same effect. Smoking anything is hazardous to your health, but at least if your blunts are coated in spray paint you get the added bonus of feeling light-headed. Wheee! No heavy head to carry!

Now I know I’ve deviated a bit in the last few years from my original column topic of comic/graphic novel reviews, but if you miss that old mess, good news ahead! Now let’s talk about comics—one in particular, really. Saga is the newest project from writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y The Last Man, Ex Machina) and illustrator Fiona Staples. A science-fiction fantasy, it’s been compared to Star Wars by a number of knowledgeable columnists, including Rob Bricken of i09. The essential plot is that there’s a war between two planets (Landfall and Wreath). After using up the resources and waging a long and bloody war with each other, the planets begin outsourcing the fighting to other planets. The story follows two lovers, who (naturally) are from opposing planets. Beginning at the birth of their child, the storyline focuses on them.

It would be difficult to choose just one favorite bit of this series. A creepy “lying cat” who hisses the word “lying” at any whiff of attempted misrepresentation? How about a Prince Robot with a monitor for a head? The characters are imaginative, the storyline is interesting and compelling, and although I’ve only read the first volume of the trade paperback, this is in my top three of 2013. Available at your local comic-slingin’ shop.

Arielle Mullen