Imagine being inserted into the fictional milieu of Project Black Sky, publisher Dark Horse's in-house imaginary superhero world. SkyWatcher 1, blogger and EIC of SkyWatchers does this everyday, and doing so, redefines the border of the transmediated and the postmodern in comics.
Imagine if you will:
It's approaching four AM on a late January morning and the late winter has gotten to me. I've been up for the last 40 hours or so, first tied up in a dread anticipation, then flying in to Arcadia, and now waiting for an honest-to-god clandestine meet in the small hours of the morning, with the Super Bowl just days away.
I won't conceal the shudder I felt when I saw that sign at the airport, just as I walked into the city. Who can say how the city's "shield" got started. Urban myth puts it down to urban graffiti that began to denote the lawlessness Arcadia had descended to back in the '90s. But what do I know? Like you I don't follow stories about Arcadia in the news. Not that anybody would cover it.
But I do know that shudder. And I feel it as viscerally as a mugging when I walk down what I can only describe as a gangplank and out into the city. The last thing you'll see as you exit the airport's main concourse, Dear Reader, is that city "shield" cast in iron, hanging over the vast doorway as if to say "omni spe omnes introeuntibus."
But that's not what kept me up in the city. Who'd want to sleep in a place like this? It's pure adrenalin, rising from a strange mix of curiosity and success and fear. I'm going to meet SkyWatcher1, I'm going to be able to explain these strange goings-on. Finally, finally.
But of course, at a little before four, I realize I won't me him (her?) just yet. That it'll be me finding an all-night copy-shop and printing out a hard copy of my questions and leaving them in a genuine old school dead drop mailbox.
A few days later, just after the first quarter whistle blew, I'm back on a plane and I have SkyWatcher1's responses. It reads like a holy grail of puzzling out the hidden things of this world. I open my iPad's Twitter app and click on follow @WhoIfNotUs. I continue reading, then open the PopMatters API to publish.
Here we go.
PopMatters: Even a quick glance at your blog reveals a level of passion and dedication to covering the events you do. What about these occurrences is it that compels such passion?
SkyWatcher1: Geez, man. Apathy much? Here’s a better question: Why aren’t more people as committed to exposing the truth like I am? Every single day the government and major corporations are covering up flying men, strange weather anomalies, serial killers in the streets, UFOs, and who knows what else? This is my country, man, and my planet. And If someone like me and all my readers and sources weren’t out there gathering clues and putting together the puzzles pieces, well… I want to say it’d be too late, but who’s to say it’s not already? I mean, you’ve seen the news. We got countries destabilizing, but we have government agencies spending taxpayer dollars to divert attention away from some sort of covert agency gathering details on extra terrestrials that the public should know about. Look it up, man. Project Blue Book? The Majestic 12? Just coverups for the real culprit: Project Black Sky.
For those not familiar with the blog can you describe what it is that you're blogging about?
SkyWatcher1: It sounds self important to say I’m covering the real news, but that’s the truth. I’m committed to informing people about what matters and what might change the world. A bartender was dropped out of the sky by a disgraced government agent and its gets glossed over for the next Miley Cyrus scandal or something. I mean, if its up to bloggers like me to discover the truth about guys like the X Killer, as one kindred spirit in Arcadia is up to, well… we’re in trouble.
But to better answer your question, I cover the strange and the bizarre, but I also cover the eerie and the unknown. And the reason I blog about it is because it’s this kind of stuff -- murderous ghosts in Chicago or psychic government agents -- that are going to be the game changers in the coming years. I’m pooling as much research as possible so folks who want to know what’s really going on can protect and defend themselves with knowledge when the government tells them some sort of top secret ubermensch is in the world’s best interest.
Can you speak directly about some of your posts? What were some particularly tense/exciting/terrifying/ecstatic moments? What posts were you glad you were alone after? What posts were the easiest?
SkyWatcher1: The posts that are the easiest are the ones where I’m getting a tip from a reader. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who cares. It’s nice to know that, though I run SkyWatchers as SkyWatcher 1, there are many other people out there with their eyes on the sky. A big, big thanks to all my readers and anyone that’s ever sent me a tip. I couldn’t do it without you!
The tense moments come when I can tell I’m really on to something. I did a post recently about an emblem I discovered for something called Project Black Sky. Traffic took quite an uptick. Normally that’s nice, but man, when you’re talking about some top secret government conspiracy and people start paying attention, it makes you wonder what kind of people are paying attention. But, it’s all in the name of getting the truth out there. I’m no martyr, or… I certainly hope I won’t be, but making sure people hear about these types of things is important.
That all said, the posts that I enjoy the most are the ones about the truly fantastic. A man flying away from an exploding building without a plane or actual photo evidence of that murderous ghost I mentioned?! Sometimes it just all seems to good to be true and it’s crazy to think of all the unanswered stuff that’s out there. I mean, no one really talks about it anymore, but there was a legit superhero named Captain Midnight that was part of the U.S.’s effort in World War II. I mean, if that’s real, who’s to say the rest of this stuff isn’t?
Your blog seems to come from the citizen/activist tradition. Over the last few years we've seen such groundswell movements like the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring and even the rise of hacktivism. Do you see yourself and your blog in the same light as social movements of this kind?
SkyWatcher1: No. I think my focus as SkyWatchers is much, much bigger. I’m not thinking locally, or even globally sometimes… I’m looking at the big picture. And when I say big, I mean it. The Bermuda Triangle, UFOs, Universal Leylines, interdimensional kidnappers and invaders… These aren’t issues that are effected by the rise and fall of economies. These are possible threats to humanity and doorways to other worlds. I mean, if the government’s hiding Project Black Sky, what else are they hiding? And that’s just one government on one planet! It’s a big universe and a big world and while other organizations might not see the forest for the trees, I won’t be fooled. I’m not, nor will my readers, be worrying about how the Tea Party is gonna do this or that when the time travelers come! We’ll be ready!
Given the scope and variety of your posts, I have trouble believing you're just one person. Who funds you?
SkyWatcher1: Like I said, I have sources all over dedicated to the truth. We’re legion when it comes to the truth. I’ll say no more than that.
Is this the first time these occurrences have played out? Or have they happened in the past? It feels like wave upon wave of such strange events have hit this world since the '90s.
SkyWatcher1: That’s the most interesting part, Shathley, it’s been going on for much longer than that. I mean, like I mentioned, you had Captain Midnight back in the forties, but there was also his Nazi counterpart, Ivan Shark. It’s hard to believe, but the things he was inventing during WWII are truly stomach-turning. There are also WWII scholars who have found evidence in military records of seven-foot-tall scientist who was trying to create and aryan superman via genetic experiments. Shark’s nearly forgotten and I’ve never stumbled across a name for that towering madman, but there are clues and undeniable evidence that these strange occurrences go back decades! In fact, a source (who shall remain nameless) tells me that there’s a reason people across the world aren’t holding on to keepsakes from numerous UFO crashes. This source says he/she found a pattern in the murders of people in towns where notable UFO sightings and crashes occurred. But, I should save some of that for my site, sorry! Always happy to talk about the quest for truth, but I have to save some of the good stuff -- until I can go through the source’s research at least. But it looks promising. I’d guess some renegade alien serial killer has been roaming the country for years! That’s probably who the X Killer is!
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For your consideration: Like The Blair Witch Project or The Matrix or any of the countless other films that have leveraged their own fictionality, perhaps the most interesting way into this story is through its fictive nature. Industry leader Dark Horse has constructed a bold new media campaign that acknowledges its superhero world's own fictionality. In doing so, the publisher has offered a bold new take on both transmedia and postmodernism, one that is worthy of critical attention. Their fictional world begins today, with the release of Captain Midnight Volume One and our critical eye turns to this novel campaign this Friday in the Iconographies.