On October 9, 2012, PJ Holden (commenting about my forum post regarding the “Tharg Code” letters [In which he encoded the name of 2000AD’s fictional editor, Tharg, into a 35 AMerican comics – Rich]) tweeted – “I wish he’d manage to seed a future shock across all of those letters, that would have been mind blowing!”
The tweet inspired me to encode a short science fiction prose story* across fan letters published in multiple comics. The comics in which the fan letters were published are listed below in alphabetical order by publisher. When you read the first word in the first sentence of the first fan letter, then the second word in the second sentence of the second letter, and so on, the code reveals the following story (the relevant words are underlined in bold):
Bleeding Cool has taken the liberty of scanning in the letters column, highlighting in purple the first word from the first sentence, the second from the second and so on…
*The constraints of the letter page format and code limited the story’s length. I needed to use as few words as possible to create a story with a Tharg’s Future Shocks-style twist. Also, there is an apocryphal legend that Ernest Hemingway once wrote a story using only six words, and I thought it would be a fun challenge to write a story using less than six words. “The immortal man died” was the shortest story I could craft.**
**The story is entitled “A Shocking Occurrence” and is dedicated to PJ Holden.