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Foiled death-ray terror plot is ‘the stuff of comic books’

death rayTwo New York men were indicted this week in an alleged plot to build a portable X-ray weapon to destroy enemies of Israel that scientists say is “the stuff of comic books.”

Indeed, while death rays may have been the preferred weapon of Golden Age supervillains and B-movie mad scientists, their real-world application is dubious in best. However, that apparently didn’t stop 49-year-old Glendon Scott Crawford of Galway, New York, and 54-year-old Eric J. Feight of Hudson, New York, from trying.

The two appeared Wednesday in federal court in Albany, New York, charged with conspiracy to provide support to terrorists with the weapon. According to The Associated Press, federal prosecutors allege that Crawford, an industrial mechanic for General Electric in Schenectady, approached Jewish groups last year searching for funding and people who could help him with technology that could secretly deliver damaging, and possibly lethal, doses of radiation to Muslims and other targets he considered enemies of Israel. The indictment states that he traveled to North Carolina to solicit more money from “a ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan,” who contacted the FBI.

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A Month of Wednesdays: Clowes, Seth and Mother Goose

The Death-Ray (Drawn and Quarterly): I have two distinct reasons to be exceedingly grateful to Drawn and Quarterly for republishing Daniel Clowes’ 2004 comic book Eightball #23 (originally published by Fantagraphics) as a bound hardcover album, bearing the title of the comic’s full-length story.

The first is highly personal. While I greatly enjoyed reading the issue in its huge, newspaper-sized, stapled format, as soon as I finished, I was faced with a problem: Where on earth do I put the damn thing? Obviously it wouldn’t fit in a long box or on any of my bookshelves, either laid flat or standing. If I simply set it on an end table or a coffee table, not only would it take up a lot of space, but it would collect dust and need regularly dusted. And it wasn’t like I had a lot of comics of similar size—only Lauren Weinstein’s Goddess of War, really—so I couldn’t stack it up with my other gigantic comics in a corner somewhere.

Ultimately, I stuck it in an oversized shipping envelope and hid it in the space between a bookshelf and the wall of my apartment, although even there it bothered me, as I knew it was there. And, of course, every time I moved I would pull it out, look at it, and realized I’d have to find a place to keep it in my new apartment as well, before I ultimately would decide to hide it behind a bookshelf in my new place. (It occurs to me now that while Clowes probably didn’t plan that experience for me, it does replicate the feelings of some of the characters in the story, who come into possession of something they can’t really get rid of, but can’t have others know about and have to secretly store for years).

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