Welcome to the weblog of the writers and artists of Ferret Press (a publisher of fine comix) and PANEL (a Columbus, Ohio comic creators collaborative.) Here you will find our musings on comics, art, the creative process, politics, the web, and life.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/31/2005 05:30:00 PM :



"At first, I flipped open to a couple pages and thought "hey, this doesn't look too bad," and then I realized I was looking at the Bioncle ad."

Mike Sterling, talking about the Rob Liefeld art in Teen Titans #27.

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Monday, August 29, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/29/2005 04:29:00 PM :


SPX 2005 anthology line-up announced...sort of

Over on his Comics Reporter blog, Tom Spurgeon announces the list of contributors to the SPX 2005 anthology. Kind of. Apparently, this is based on an e-mail conversation he had with the book's editor, Brian Ralph. The official announcement hasn't been made yet.


Neither Tom nor myself made the cut. Ah well.

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  Posted by Dara on 8/29/2005 12:38:00 PM :


Jack Kirby museum

Via Newsarama comes...er, news of the Jack Kirby Museum. The online presence is still under construction, but there are a few exhibits and art samples available. Go check it out.
"Coming soon, we'll have a Fantastic Four exhibit with significant contributions from Tom Morehouse and a Captain America presentation by Mark Badger.

The Kirby Museum's long-term plans include a major travelling retrospective in 2007, a documentary, and more. "

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Friday, August 26, 2005
  Posted by Tom on 8/26/2005 11:54:00 AM :


You thought Moon Knight fans were crazed...

Check out this tribute to ROM!!Thank's to whoever pointed this out on the Journal board. Made my week.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/24/2005 06:04:00 PM :


This is Thomas Jane: The Punisher

And remember, kids, "fugly is the new pretty".

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  Posted by Dara on 8/24/2005 04:06:00 PM :


Do you live in NYC? Do you have $50? Are you free on 9/15/05?

Do you like gladiator movies?

Sorry, got distracted. Anyway, if you live in New York and want to learn about making graphic novels, then this seminar is for you:
"On September 15, 2005, AT 6:30 P.M., Chipp Kidd will host a panel discussion for those interested in the graphic novel. Kidd is a novelist, a world famous book designer, and an editor of Pantheon Graphic Novels. Panelists include Art Spiegelman, Pulitzer-Prize winning creator of Maus, Kim Deitch, creator of The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Jessica Abel, creator of Artbabe and La Perdida comics series, and PJ Mark, agent at Collins McCormick Literary Agency.

The event will be held at 826 NYC, 372 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Tickets are $50, reservations can be made by calling 718.499.9884."
(via boingboing)

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  Posted by Dara on 8/24/2005 02:15:00 PM :


B is for...

Over at Ninth Art, Bulent Yusuf continues an apparently regular series of columns called Alphabetti Fumetti. This week, it's the letter B. As in Vertigo mistress Berger, Karen. British artist extraordinaire Bolland, Brian. And everyone's favorite cantankerous writer/artist, Byrne, John.
"Byrne puts us in a bit of a quandary, therefore. Namely, how to separate the man from the artist? There is absolutely no doubt that he is a great talent who has helped produce some of the most dynamic and exciting comics ever published in the mainstream. Byrne's drawing style is instantly recognizable, often with large panels of granite-jawed titans engaged in epic battles. Visually, Byrne treads a fine line between realism and bombast - a perfect match for the superhero soap operas he specialises in."
Which brings up something I'm curious about: namely, what do you guys think of Byrne? As for myself, although I was keenly aware of him since my early days of collecting comics, I never read (at least not with any regularity) his seminal works (Uncanny X-Men, Fantastic Four, Man of Steel, etc.) So I'm afraid I can't offer up much of an opinion, other than the cliched "his old art seems more detailed and lively than his newer style, which often looks like he inked it with a magic marker."

Did anyone read his Next Men book? How about his recent output, like the de-Morrisonized Doom Patrol or Blood of the Demon? Does he still have it in him to create great comics, or is he just the washed up egotistical comics curmudgeon that every other blog and message board paints him to be?

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005
  Posted by Tony on 8/23/2005 02:10:00 PM :


So ... um ... what are you doing next Thursday?

This from Tom Kelly, one of the organizers of Supraphonic Studios:

"Open house at Zola (782 N. High Street) Thursday, Sept. 1 6pm - close

Three DJ's, art by Angie Needels, Vmann, and Tom Kelly

and the real draw: $5 Belvedere Martinis

Hope to see you,"

Both Needles and Kelly are friends of Panel, so I hope we can be represented.

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  Posted by Tony on 8/23/2005 02:09:00 PM :


The Physics of Superheroes

An upcoming book, The Physics of Superheroes by Prof. James Kakalios, will examine the science behind the spandex in October.

According to a writeup in this month’s Wired magazine, Superman’s legs would need to exert 6,000 pounds of force against the ground to allow him to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Nightcrawler actually would make a “bamf” sound when he teleports -- his sudden disappearance would make a temporary vacuum.

The Human Torch’s fireproof costume, though; that’s just silly.

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Monday, August 22, 2005
  Posted by Tom on 8/22/2005 09:48:00 PM :


Hey-hey! New stuff up for grabs on ebay. Went live yesterday. Items up for bid include pgs. 5 &88 from No Dead Time and sketches of Batman, Spidey, and the Thing. Thanks to Dara for winning the bid on a NDT page.

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  Posted by Tony on 8/22/2005 03:08:00 PM :


Alien <3 Predator

While we’re on the subject of good Web comics, let me direct you to Alien Loves Predator.

It tells the story of Abe the Alien and Preston the Predator, two buddies who share a New York City apartment. The two are not actually lovers, and much hilarity ensues as Abe attempts speed dating. It’s lovingly illustrated with action figures.

Very funny stuff. I have lost several productive hours to this feature.

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  Posted by Dara on 8/22/2005 12:23:00 PM :


News that makes Dara very, very happy

I was reading the interview with Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson about his new graphic novel (more on that later) when I came across this bit of news:
"We just acquired the rights to - and you'll be the first to know - 'Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser,' (by Fritz Leiber) which fantasy fans will know. He's been out of print for some time," Richardson said."
The Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series of books is my all-time favorite fantasy series. And I proudly own the 4-issue prestige format mini-series adaptations that Epic did many years ago, featuring art by the incomparable Mike Mignola! I'm really, really jazzed about this new series.

Anyway, back to the original topic of the interview: Richardson and artist Rick Geary are telling the story of Arthur Cravan in their new graphic novel. I must admit, I didn't know who he was before this article, but I'm sure you CCAD kids know.
"Cravan is credited as being one of the founders of the Dadaist art movement. Basically, he was against the rich owning all of the art and wanted to create art that couldn't be owned...he was Oscar Wilde's nephew; he was thrown out of Germany; he was a stoker (someone who shoveled coal) on a steamship that he jumped in Australia; he became friends with Trotsky when Trotsky was raising money for the revolution; and he had a side business as a forger of Picasso and other famous artists of the day. He also created one of the most famous critical art magazines of his day that created great outrage."

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Saturday, August 20, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/20/2005 10:46:00 AM :


Interesting bit of Gaiman news...

Saw this over at MoviePoopShoot:
"Angelina Jolie has been set to star in "Beowulf," the performance-capture adaptation to be directed by Robert Zemeckis and produced by Steve Bing's Shangri-La Entertainment.

Jolie will play the queen of darkness, who tempts the Viking as he makes his way in the quest to become king. She joins Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Brendan Gleeson and Robin Wright Penn in the pic, which will feature filmed perfs transferred to performance capture. Zemeckis used the process in "The Polar Express" as well as "Monster House," a film set for release next summer.

"Beowulf" was scripted by Roger Avary and Neil Gaiman, with Zemeckis and his ImageMovers partners Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke producing and Martin Shafer and the writers exec producing. "
Huh. Roger "Pulp Fiction" Avary and Neil Gaiman on script? That's just...weird.

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Friday, August 19, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/19/2005 12:04:00 PM :


Gay Batman

Artist Mark Chamberlain's gallery of watercolor paintings of Batman and Robin, with a gay theme. And the old art vs. copyright infringement argument starts anew.

For more on the subject, including DC Comics' cease and desist order, read the Stay Free magazine blog entry on this. The first comment is ignorant, but some of the other ones are well thought out and articulate.

(via boingboing)

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Thursday, August 18, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/18/2005 12:19:00 PM :


Intelligent Falling

"Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory"

Gotta love The Onion. Funny as ever.
"According to the ECFR paper published simultaneously this week in the International Journal Of Science and the adolescent magazine God's Word For Teens!, there are many phenomena that cannot be explained by secular gravity alone, including such mysteries as how angels fly, how Jesus ascended into Heaven, and how Satan fell when cast out of Paradise."

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  Posted by Dara on 8/18/2005 10:39:00 AM :


The Horde

Over at Ninth Art, Alex Dueben reviews a new graphic novel from Humanoids titled The Horde. Here's the high concept:
"In 2040, Russia is ruled by an insane, drug-addicted former-science fiction writer. The Third Chechen War ended a decade ago, when Russia used its nuclear arsenal, and the sentry posts on the border haven't seen a living soul emerge from the wasteland since. Globalisation failed in 2024. Flying saucers are running rampant, kidnapping people and even the mummified body of Lenin from his Red Square mausoleum. A woman meditates in an abandoned apartment building in the flooded city of Kyzyl, seeking enlightenment.

And life would be just fine if the President hadn't just asked the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church to canonise Genghis Khan. "
I'm usually not much for alternate/future history stories, but this one sounds very intriguing. Also, I wanted to post something about it because I know Tony is always interested in Russian history, both fact and fiction. The writer/artist, Baranko, is better known for his odd viking book Skaggy the Lost, from Slave Labor.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/17/2005 11:58:00 AM :


Time waster

Here's a fun game you can play to kill some time: Strongbow Rooms. An archery skill game sponsored by an alcoholic beverage? I smell a lawsuit.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/16/2005 11:56:00 AM :


Hey Kids, Boobies...er, Comics!

So what do you like about mainstream comics? Is it the action? The imaginative worlds? The fusion of writing and art?

Heck no, it's boobies.

Fetish Boobies
Boobies in Space
Mondo Boobies
Asymmetrical Boobies
Mondo Boobies, part 2
Old-school Boobies

Not that I'm saying it's all about boobs when it comes to comics. Not at all.

The ass is fairly well represented too. As is the perennial favorite, hot girl-on-girl action.

And to be fair, there's a little something for the ladies.

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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 8/16/2005 08:42:00 AM :


The Quill Awards
I mentioned at the last Panel meeting about the Quill Awards, an awards show for books that will be broadcast on NBC October 22.

You can vote on 19 categories including Best Graphic Novel from this site. The nominees, only one of which qualifies as an actual graphic novel in my opinion, are:

American Splendor: Our Movie Year
Bone (the one-volume edition)
In the Shadow of No Towers
Marvel 1602
Persepolis 2

Also in the humor category, Fantagraphics' Collected Peanuts is nominated.

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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 8/16/2005 08:36:00 AM :


Col. Angus Needs Your Vote

If you want more cowbell, vote Christopher Walken for president.

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Monday, August 15, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/15/2005 05:11:00 PM :


Oh joy, another one

At what point will movies-based-on-video-games overtake movies-based-on-comic-books? I'm guessing in about a year.


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  Posted by Dara on 8/15/2005 12:12:00 PM :


Graphic novel taught at West Point

Check out this MSNBC/Newsweek article about the "mainstream" movement of graphic novels.
"In order to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, cadets from the class of 2006 must study Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel "Persepolis," a coming-of-age tale set during the Iranian revolution. It's a wise choice for the syllabus, not only because it is such a compelling read but because the simple black-and-white frames of Satrapi's family saga will likely give the cadets a better understanding of Iran than any academic text, newspaper report or strategy paper ever could. "Persepolis" shows Iranians not as banner-waving fanatics or higab-covered shadows, but as individuals—funny, fraught and often fearful of the strange, powerful forces unfolding around them."
And here's an interesting figure:
"In the United States, sales of graphic novels have leaped from $75 million in 2001 to $207 million in 2004."
The article mentions art comix greats such as Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware, covers the recent Hollywood fascination with comics, and of course there's the obligatory Art Spiegelman bit. Overall, it's a nicely written article, well worth a read.

(via my old buds at 4ColorReview)

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  Posted by Dara on 8/15/2005 12:08:00 PM :


Hillbilly Hoedown

Via boingboing, a link to a funny "homage" to rednecks everywhere. It's a montage of still photos set to sweet, sweet banjo music. Enjoy.

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Friday, August 12, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/12/2005 01:58:00 PM :


Your political moment of the day...

Courtesy of Kirk Anderson, via Daryl Cagle's political cartoonist site:

Reminds me of Micah Wright's remixed war posters.

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Thursday, August 11, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/11/2005 05:59:00 PM :


Just because I don't usually post stuff about boobies...

"On the right, we have Pamela Anderson. On the left, we have Charo, representing what Pamela Anderson will be thirty years from now."

Like they say, "fugly is the new pretty"

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  Posted by Dara on 8/11/2005 02:52:00 PM :


Daniel Clowes interview

ReadyMade magazine ("a bimonthly print magazine for people who like to make stuff") has an interview with Daniel Clowes that you can read online here.
"RM: What was your favorite comic book when you were growing up?

DC: Mad magazine. Not necessarily the comic books, but those little paperbacks. I have all 78 of those."
He also talks a bit about his new movie, Art School Confidential, starring John Malkovich and Anjelica Huston.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/10/2005 11:45:00 AM :



Found via the ever-amazing boingboing:
"Canstruction® combines the competitive spirit of a design/build competition with a unique way to help feed hungry people. Competing teams, lead by architects and engineers, showcase their talents by designing giant sculptures made entirely out of canned foods. At the close of the exhibitions all of the food used in the structures is donated to local food banks for distribution to pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, elderly and day care centers."
Here's the official website. And here are pictures of the 2005 winners.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/09/2005 10:57:00 AM :



Speakeasy Comics is one of a slew of new comic book publishers, and I have to admit that up until I saw this project, I wasn't interested in any of their offerings. But check out the gorgeous art on Rocketo, by creator Frank Espinosa:

Espinosa is an animator who has worked on the Looney Tunes property extensively. I think issue #0 of Rocketo is supposed to ship this month. Check out this link for a preview of Rocketo #0, and here for a preview of Rocketo #1.

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Monday, August 08, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/08/2005 03:53:00 PM :


You can never have too much Batman...

Courtesy of Rich Johnston, links to a couple of different Batman movie scripts/treatments:

Batman - Year One, movie script by Frank Miller

Batman - Year One, proposal by Larry and Andy Wachowski

The latter features Catwoman in a prominent role. I haven't read the former.

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Friday, August 05, 2005
  Posted by Craig on 8/05/2005 11:36:00 PM :


Dara's post about teen-oriented comics and how they reflect on the adults reading them reminded me of an email exchange I had with a friend of mine a while back. He had just seen the latest Spider-Man movie, during the course of which Parker is more or less unmasked before the entire state of New York, and wondered what I thought of the trend in superhero comics towards these "unmaskings." While entire storylines were once built around the hero attempting to preserve his/her secret ID, lately characters are being unmasked left and right.

I pointed to an altogether different trend: the complete disappearance of the alter ego and "civillian" supporting cast. I read a year's worth of Batman and Superman comics (why? Jim Lee. Why? I honestly don't know.) and never saw anyone that wasn't in tights. Instead of trying to make ends meet and pay the rent, onetime everyman Peter Parker is staying with Aunt May in Avengers Mansion. Steve Rogers used to be an aspiring commercial artist; now, he's never not Captain America. I can't remember the last time I read a comic that showed the main character showing up for a day job that was unrelated to superheroing, and dealing with his personal J Jonah Jameson.

The secret ID used to be the aspect of the character we could identify with, the part of ourselves we could see in Superman or Spider-Man. Lately there seems to be a desire on the part of the readership to project themselves into the more fantastic, unrealistic aspects of these characters without acknowledging that we're actually more like Clark Kent. The line between the two alter egos is more often than not being blurred or destroyed so less of the reader's own identity is carried into their fantasies.

In other words, maybe most comic readers are as screwed up as people think. Not us, of course...

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  Posted by Dara on 8/05/2005 09:30:00 AM :


Remixed romance novel covers

I may have posted a link to this guy's site before, but regardless, there's a whole slew of new remixed romance novel covers to laugh at.

By the way, from the comments thread of my post about comic book pet peeves:
"Shit..this is one wordy post!! Where are the pictures? - tmcclurg"
Well, Tim, you know the old adage about being careful what you wish for, right?

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Thursday, August 04, 2005
  Posted by Tony on 8/04/2005 07:28:00 PM :


I H8 DVDs / I <3 DVDs

I borrowed "Blackadder" series two out of the library the other day, but when I got it home, it was so badly scuffed I could only watch two of the episodes. The disks can't be much more than a year old.

I hate DVDs. I'm told DVDs don't wear out the way videocassette do, but it seems like they only last if you keep them in a hospital clean room. They just don't stand up to the wear and tear of renting or lending.

So with "Blackadder" off the program, I pulled out my series collection of "Firefly." "Firefly" was a space western TV program by Joss Whedon, creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." If that doesn't sound good to you, you're wrong. It's pure brilliance. It ran for about five minutes on Fox.

I love "Firefly," but there's no way I could afford the whole series is on VHS. I love DVDs.

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  Posted by Dara on 8/04/2005 02:20:00 PM :


Comic Book Pet Peeves: Teenage Heroes

In an earlier post, I bitched about comic book publishers who feel they have to pick a company name starting with the letter A, just to get in the front of the Previews catalog. Today, I'd like to talk about another prevalent aspect of the comic book world that really bugs me.

Ok, I may be in the minority here, but I really, really dislike teenage characters. And not just in comics, but also TV and movies and such. But definitely in comics, where they seem especially prevalent. What the hell is the fascination with making every other new character or book about high school kids?

I suppose back in the day, when there was a large readership in their teens, this approach made sense. After all, what are superhero comics if not wish fulfillment? And to the insecure high school kid dealing with his or her own issues, it must have been refreshing to see someone as powerful as, say, Spider-man also go through the same shit they did in school. They could identify with the heroes, and through them, escape their own problems.

But come on, these days the average comic book reader is in their 30s or 40s. So not only do I not see the appeal of reading about angst-ridden high schoolers, I find the endless fascination with them more than a little creepy. Pedophilia and statutory rape allusions aside, is there a huge "re-living my high school days" demand out there that these books cater to? I don't know about you guys, but I really didn't enjoy my teenage years, especially my high school experience, all that much. I mean, don't get me wrong, I wasn't miserable. As dorky as I was, I still had the good fortune of going to a decent school and was hardly picked on or ostracized. But still, when I think about all the angst, confusion, sexual frustration, uncertainties, and the other crap that defined my teen years, I don't get all that nostalgic. And when I read fiction, especially escapist fantasy, I want it heavy on action while grounded in adult themes and situations that I can relate to now. Not bullshit teenage angst. Or worse yet, what a balding, middle-aged writer thinks passes for teenage angst.

But damn, you'd think the comic readership as a whole was hell-bent on going back to those years, given the number of titles and characters that feature the ubiquitous "misunderstood teenager with extraordinary powers". Or some variation thereof. I mean, just look at every other new independent title. Armor X, Season Of The Witch, Hero Squared, Hero Camp, Invincible, and tons more that I'm sure I'm forgetting. And over at the "Big Two," you have The Runaways, Spider-Girl, Teen Titans, New Warriors, Arana, Wildsiderz, Firestorm, Intimates, Son Of Vulcan, New X-Men, Machine Teen, etc. Or pretty much anything Sean McKeever has written.

The thing is, I'm not saying that all of these books are bad. Some, I'm sure, are actually quite well written and deal intelligently with the themes of alienation, self-discovery, and responsibility in the face of maturity. But still, I'm not sure why there are so many characters and books featuring young adults. Personally, there's no better way to turn me off a new title than to start the synopsis with "our hero is an average high school kid who..."


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Wednesday, August 03, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 8/03/2005 12:56:00 PM :


Your political moment of the day

Via Steven Grant's column:
"...that's the thing about a repressive agenda: there's virtually no time when something bad happens that doesn't come at a good time for it"
For more fun with comics and politics, including an interesting comparisson between Rafael Palmiero and Karl Rove, drop on by this week's column.

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