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About Con City and the weirdo who created it

Con City Press is the corner of the internet dedicated to the world of the Con City novels. Below you can learn a thing or two about this world, as well as the weirdo who invented Con City.

About Con City

Imagine a world where time stopped in the 1980s. Not in the sense that the pages of the calendar stopped turning, but in the sense that every crazy motherfucker that tries to randomly kill you in the streets resembles someone you remember from a classic movie from the 1980s, in appearance, attitude, or both. Imagine that in this world, in the early 21st century, in the age of the internet, smart phones, social media, and all the other bullshit the human race could have done without, these people wage war with each other and the rest of civilization for reasons known only to them.

Some want to punish criminals. Some just want to uphold their reputation. Some want a bit of peace and quiet in the wilderness. Some want to win video game tournaments and get the police to fund their gaming rigs. Some want to make a supersoldier out of a bear. Some want to train a monkey to write Hamlet 2. Some want to enjoy flying around in a hot air balloon without being forced to throw out their passengers on general principle. Some want to make sure everybody who can't spell words correctly is stone cold dead. And some just want to survive while their megalomaniacal boss makes enemies out of every psychopath you can think of. The one thing they have in common is that not a single one of them could tell you what really drives them.

The truth is, it's all in their blood. It's in the air that they breathe. It's in the very world around them. It is a driving force stronger than a hurricane, more menacing than a T-Rex, and more terrifying than a film critic in a black suit telling you that he's going to shoot you in the head because your movie didn't give an authentic portrayal of hitmen. This is the world of Con City.

No one knows how Con City came to be. One day, in the late 18th century, it just appeared in North America, or so the locals say. Official records claim that the city's construction was funded by an English nobleman named Lord Lewis Bartholomew Hawthorne III, but no one seems to know who talked him into making what he later said had been the biggest mistake of his life. In the early 20th century the city's Mayor, a man named Oberdick, managed to use bribery and blackmail to get himself elected President in the United States, Mexico, and Canada all at the same time. Then he held a meeting between himself, himself, and himself, and united the three countries as the Republic of North America.

Needless to say, the British Empire was none too pleased about this turn of events. Luckily for the first President of the Republic of North America, that was the year 1912. If you were to go back in time and ask President Oberdick whether he had a hand in a certain assassination that happened just two years later and distracted the entire world for four years and allowed him to build his country into a force to be reckoned with, he would smile and say, `no.' And then he would summon security and have them throw you out. Be that as it may, with the rise of the Republic of North America, Con City became an unrivaled economic powerhouse that, over the years, became a hotbed for innovation, industry, commerce, and record levels of violent crime.

As controversial as the birth of Con City might be, the city only achieved true notoriety in the early 21st century. In this era of modern technology a series of violent events triggered a chain reaction that ultimately drew the eyes of the entire world upon Con City on multiple occasions. These events involved a number of prominent individuals, most of them vigilantes, nerds, weirdos, psychopaths, or some combination of those. The novels, short stories, and short films you can find on this website tell their story.

About the Author

The Author


If you do an internet search for Viktor Zólyomi, the weirdo who wrote the Con City novels, you will find that he is a theoretical physicist doing research on nanoscale materials in the UK who also writes fiction novels and makes (very) amateur films in his spare time, holds two silver medals in recurve target archery, has a penchant for using a fencing sabre as a pointing stick, and operates a website dedicated to dark humor that hasn't seen an update in ages.

None of that is true. In reality, he is simply a pen name, a persona adopted by Con City's very own award winning freelance journalist Jonathan Parker. He writes novels exclusively under the name Viktor Zólyomi. His novels include pulp fantasy literature such as Rider of the Black Horse, and tourist guide books such as Con City and Road to Con City (though some would call the latter black comedy crime thrillers, but that's just because life in Con City is all fun, thrills, and mayhem).

Of course if you really must insist on this absurd idea that Viktor Zólyomi is a real person, feel free to check out his Goodreads Profile and Blog, which also hasn't seen an update in years.

Inspirations

The world of Con City takes inspiration from a great variety of sources. Many of them are from the world of cinema rather than literature, which probably explains why Con City and Road To Con City read like they were meant to be movies. Who knows, maybe someday they will be. Until then, feel free to rent a DVD of the films listed here in order to put yourself in the mood to read the misadventures of the likes of Sergeant Jack Westwood, Joanna Bennett, and Mister Jake, the outlandish antiheroes of Con City.

Before Con City, back in the early 1970s, a gritty crime thriller called Dirty Harry hit the cinemas. It was gritty, sleazy, violent, and a ton of fun.

Starring Clint Eastwood as the title character, Dirty Harry tells the tale of a war waged by the bitter Inspector Harry Callahan on a sadistic serial killer at a time when following the rules just doesn't get the job done any more. Armed with his weapon of choice, the .44 Magnum, and smoking a cigar that cops of the era could hardly afford, he exudes a unique charm that draws the viewers in, making them root for him even as he resorts to extreme levels of violence in the name of justice.

The novel Con City takes inspiration from and pays homage to this iconic classic (and many others) in a way not even the 1980s spoof show Sledge Hammer could, or dared to. We highly recommend that you give this movie a watch if you haven't already done so. It will enhance the experience of the insanity that is the Con City Universe.

Dirty Harry on IMDB Sledge Hammer on IMDB

The 1990s saw the rise of software giant Microsoft. Led by Bill Gates, who made a memorable guest appearance on South Park as Tywin Lannister, Microsoft rose to dominance in the world of personal computing. They released the shittiest operating system ever made, Windows 95, and yet managed to turn Windows into a world leading commercial operating system. And of course similar things can be said about Apple, the Macintosh, and Steve Jobs (i. e. Microsoft's chief competitor). By now no one should be shocked that there were some people who were horribly paranoid about just how much power such software corporations can wield through the wide-spread use of a single operating system, and how much control over the world it gives them. In other words, the 1990s was a time when conspiracy theories surrounding computers were blooming. Thus The Net was born.

The Net is a 1995 thriller starring Sandra Bullock as independent programmer and computer wizard Angela Bennett. She hangs out in internet chatrooms and fixes messed-up computers for people she doesn't meet in person, while collecting computer viruses on floppy disks. (For those of you who don't know what a floppy disk is, it's the 1990s equivalent of a memory card or pen drive, only much bulkier and much smaller in storage capacity.) One day she stumbles upon a conspiracy surrounding personal data access and finds herself robbed of her very identity while a ruthless hitman is trying to kill her. Then it's up to her resolve and superior nerdy intellect to find her way out of this mess and screw over the bad guys.

The Net is a phenomenal movie that provided inspiration for the novel Con City, in several ways. Highly recommended to all, and not just because of its inspirational effect on Con City; it's a very good, entertaining thriller, in which Sandra Bullock delivers one of the best performances of her career. Give it a watch, you won't be disappointed.

The Net on IMDB

`I'm too old for this shit', says Detective Roger Murtaugh in the 1987 action flick Lethal Weapon and its numerous sequels. The audience on the other hand can never be too old for it. Oh, and it takes place around Christmas, so just like another 80s classic called Die Hard, it qualifies as a Christmas flick.

A true 80s classic, Lethal Weapon is a buddy cop movie in which a grumpy veteran teams up with a suicidal loose cannon to take down a psychotic hitman called Mister Joshua. And some drug smugglers. But they're irrelevant. None of them can hold a candle to Mister Joshua.

In the chilling performance of Gary Busey, Mister Joshua is the epitome of the psycho hitman: accurate, efficient, elegant, and completely batshit insane. Not a man to mess with. That being said, I doubt Joshua would stand a chance against Con City's Mister Jake.

Lethal Weapon on IMDB Die Hard on IMDB

Commando, known to many as One Liners: The Movie, is an early film from the career of action movie megastar Arnold Schwarzenegger. Released in 1985 just a year after the iconic Terminator, Commando quickly became a VHS-era classic. Endlessly quotable, fun, and full of excellent action sequences. The movie pits Arnold as a retired black-ops commando against his former jealous teammate Bennett, a chain-mesh wearing psychopath portrayed by Vernon Wells. The result is carnage on an epic scale leading to a finale that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase `one man army'. In the words of the trailer: `somewhere... somehow... someone... is gonna pay.'

There's no specific character or scene in Commando to pinpoint as a particular source of inspiration for something in Con City, rather, Con City takes inspiration from the overall style and, for lack of a better word, the genre of the movie. Back in 1985 this was considered a serious movie with humorous elements to ease the tension. Had it been made today, it would have been considered a parody, or perhaps a black humor crime thriller. Considering that Con City pretty much invented the genre of black comedy crime novels, I'd say the inspirational effect Commando had on its writing could never be denied. Nor would I want to.

Commando on IMDB

If you want to see a movie that perfectly captures the essence of Con City, look no further than the 2006 Jason Statham action flick Crank. The movie is 88 minutes of non-stop insanity, described by some critics as `live action GTA.' Statham plays as professional hitman Chev Chelios, who is poisoned in the opening scene and comes to the realization that the only thing that can keep him alive long enough to get his revenge, is adrenaline. The result is absolute mayhem, as Chelios goes from one darkly hilarious situation to the next, going to a lot of trouble to keep himself pumped up, leaving piles of bodies in his wake.

Between Chelios, his crazy psychotic rival Ricky Verona, the assorted gangsters that get in his way, his unsuspecting girlfriend, his wimpy sidekick, and his sex-addict personal physician Doc Miles who tries to save his life over the telephone, Crank is full of memorable characters who just need to be themselves to create a fun joyride that will leave you wondering what the hell you just watched while simultaneously making you want more of it. There is a second Crank movie, which is almost as good, but we don't want to spoil that. Watch them both, it's a perfect double feature for fans of black comedy crime fiction.

Crank on IMDB

1980 saw the release of The Blues Brothers, an action comedy chronicling the efforts of two brothers to save an orphanage by committing as much crime as possible. While the tale of Jake and Elwood Blues is nowhere near as dark and twisted as the Con City novels, The Blues Brothers was nevertheless a true inspiration for Con City. Why? Because it's completely batshit insane, that's why.

The day after Jake Blues gets out of prison, he and his brother are sent on a quest to save an orphanage. Of course Jake's first idea is to stage a heist, but the old nun running the orphanage will have none of that, so the two brothers instead decide to get their old band together. Between them and their success are the Illinois police force who seem hell bent on putting Jake Blues back behind bars, Jake's ex-fiance who tries blowing him up with a bazooka barely fifteen minutes into the film, a group of country musicians, and the Illionis nazis, among other things. The resulting carnage reaches epic scales very quickly, well illustrated by the fact that this is a lighthearted comedy about musicians featuring an abundance of explosions, gunfights, and car chases.

The film stars Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, and features several famous musicians from Aretha Franklin to Ray Charles. Well worth your time, either with four fried chickens or white bread toast.

The Blues Brothers on IMDB

One of the most scandalous games of the 1990s, banned in several countries, and in general considered the spawn of the Devil, Carmageddon is a game that embodies black humor. The goal of the game is to win a race by destroying the cars of your opponents and/or running over as many pedestrians as possible. With its cartoonish graphics, over the top power-ups, crazy driver personas and even crazier vehicles, Carmageddon is an absolute blast for anyone who enjoys darker forms of comedy. It is also fantastic stress relief, for those of us who, unlike Con City's Joanna Bennett, suck at first person shooters.

Carmageddon's influence on Con City is evident from an iconic scene in the novel involving Mister Jake and the flawless paintjob of his car, but we shall not spoil that here.

Should you find the idea of Carmageddon entertaining, you might want to check out the 2015 game Carmageddon: Reincarnation or its 2016 console counterpart Carmageddon: Max Damage which does a commendable job at creating a fresh new incarnation of the old classic. A very different experience to the original, but still recognizably Carmageddon, in part thanks to the modeling of vehicle damage which allows players to experience some truly insane moments in the game. The Author of Con City is proud to have been one of the thousands of people who co-funded Carmageddon: Reincarnation on Kickstarter.

Carmageddon: Max Damage on GOG.com

The 1994 movie that made plastic explosives and showers famous, The Specialist, follows retired CIA operative Ray, played by Sylvester Stallone, who uses his explosives expertise to carry out hits on people whom he thinks deserve to be put down. When he is hired by a woman called May, played by Sharon Stone, to avenge her family, Ray ends up facing the entire Miami underworld and his former CIA trainer Ned Trent. And that, right there, is the reason why The Specialist is on this list.

James Woods portrays what is arguably the biggest highlight of the movie, psychopathic explosives expert Ned Trent, to absolute perfection. Ned functions as the main antagonist of the movie despite that he technically works for the head of the Mafia. His wicked one liners, delivered in style, steal the show and make you love him and hate him at the same time. A truly old school 80s style villain in a 90s movie. The Specialist also features some very creative scenes involving the use of plastic explosives, going with the theme of the film.

Needless to say a movie like The Specialist is fantastic inspiration for a world of black comedy crime fiction and Con City has certainly benefited from both the sleazy elegant nut job Ned Trent and the movie as a whole. That particular character who was greatly influenced by Lethal Weapon's Mister Joshua certainly seems like he learned a thing or two from Ned Trent as well.

The Specialist on IMDB

1994 saw the release of Quentin Tarantino's undisputed masterpiece, Pulp Fiction. Building on his previous outing, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction presents a cinematic universe of black comedy crime fiction filled with larger than life characters ranging from philosophizing hitmen through stoic retired boxers and badass crime bosses to problem solving professionals and retired army officers who have a terrible history with a certain gold watch.

To say that Pulp Fiction served as a major inspiration to Con City would be an understatement. While the first Con City novel directly pays homage to an iconic scene from the movie, Pulp Fiction's influence extends to far greater lengths than that single scene. The world of Con City is a literary universe of black comedy crime fiction. True, it gets a lot more crazy than Pulp Fiction, but even Pulp Fiction had its fair share of batshit insane moments, such as the infamous metal potato speech (one of Christopher Walken's finest moments) and the scene in the car with Marvin. Just imagine if Pulp Fiction was a novel and had lot more crazy shit like that in there. That, in a nutshell, is what's at the heart of Con City.

And if you've never seen Pulp Fiction: what? What? How have you not seen this legendary masterpiece? Go watch it right now. It won an Oscar, you know.

Pulp Fiction on IMDB

When the video game Grand Theft Auto was first released, it sparked considerable outrage due to it being a crime simulator. The controversy did nothing to hinder its rise into one of the most successful game franchises in the world, and over the years it has spawned numerous sequels, as well as created its own genre. One of the most unique of the so-called GTA clones out there is an almost light hearted piece called Total Overdose: A Gunslinger's Tale in Mexico.

Released in 2005, Total Overdose takes us into Mexico where the player steps into the shoes of an undercover police officer for one mission (after playing as his father in the prologue) which ends pretty badly, and forces him to recruit his irresponsible outlaw brother to fill in for him while he recovers from his injuries. From that point forward the player controls the brother, Ramiro Cruz, also known as El Gringo Loco, in an adrenaline fueled rampage of mayhem, vehicle theft, and slow motion headshots.

Playing Total Overdose feels like playing a Robert Rodriguez movie. The atmosphere screams Desperado and the variety of ways in which the player can kill the bad guys (or the not so bad guys, if it comes to that) is staggering. The arsenal of weapons at the player's disposal is incredible for a GTA clone, and is well presented by the game's ultra memorable opening cinematic, which displays our antihero walking into a compound run by the bad guys with his entire arsenal and proceeding to demonstrate his skills.

The aforementioned scene received an homage in the first Con City novel, yet the influence of Total Overdose on the Con City novels was far more profound than that. All the insane nonsense that goes on during the game makes it a natural inspiration for the world of Con City. If you've never played this masterpiece, it's well worth to check it out for example on gog.com.

Total Overdose on GOG.com

If there's ever been an underrated classic among black comedy crime fiction movies it's The Way Of The Gun. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, this 2000 film follows antihero outlaws Mr. Parker and Mr. Longbaugh on their quest to flip off the world and try to make fifteen million dollars by ransoming a surrogate mother who is about to give birth to the child of a shady businessman. While that premise could easily yield a grim, dark, and depressing story, The Way Of The Gun is a thoroughly entertaining flick with tons of dark humor. It's also one of those films that give you a perfect intro. The opening scene features Sarah Silverman unloading a tirade of profanity as a character credited as `Raving Bitch' and introduces Parker and Longbaugh and the crazy world they inhabit; if you love these first two and a half minutes, you will adore the entire film.

The world of Con City is heavily influenced by the world of The Way Of The Gun. Whether it's the black humor of the opening scene, the absurdity of the car chase scene which Jeffers and Obecks somehow sit through with a straight face, or the dark yet fun dynamic between Joe Sarno and his friend Abner, this flick provides fantastic characters and great moments between them that will stay with you for decades. Highly recommended if you like your crime films with a good dose of black humor.

The Way Of The Gun on IMDB

The profound effect the action films of the 1980s had on the Con City novels is fairly apparent, yet, recent motion pictures have also greatly influenced the creation of this black comedy crime universe. A prime example is the 2010 mini series Hooker With A Heart Of Gold.

Independently produced and released as a five part web series, Hooker With A Heart Of Gold is essentially a two and a half hour love letter to the craziness of the 1980s. It tells the story of a doctor who invents an artificial heart made of pure gold that can reanimate the dead, and the hooker who winds up being the first recipient of the revolutionary discovery. And then of course there's the criminal underworld, the assorted unsavory figures of which make the lives our heroes very difficult in various ways.

The movie is cheesy, fun, features a fantastic soundtrack, and is full of memorable characters. Perhaps the one who stands out the most is Steele, a villain who belongs in the same league with the likes of Mister Joshua and Ned Trent. And despite the low budget, the film delivers authentic performances and even a couple of shootouts. The final showdown of the movie, even with the budget special effects, is a blast to watch.

Hooker With A Heart Of Gold is every bit as batshit crazy as a Con City novel, hence it's no surprise that this film provided galores of inspiration for Con City. If you've never seen it, check it out at the website of independent film maker and 80s expert Brad Jones, also known as the Cinema Snob.

Hooker With A Heart Of Gold on IMDB The Cinema Snob

The concept of an unstoppable killing machine has been around in fiction for ages, yet one of its most iconic examples is just a few decades old. The terminator, the title character of the 1984 film The Terminator, is an intelligent robot hiding in human skin, programmed to infiltrate, seek, and destroy. Dread surrounds this cybernetic incarnation of death, and its victims know true horror as they try in vain to get away from the vise-like grip and high precision targeting skills of this fearsome movie monster.

Although Con City is far from being as dark and especially as serious in tone as The Terminator, Con City certainly took influence from this movie's iconic killing machine, in some cases figuratively, in others, a little more literally. An unstoppable killing machine is an excellent source of danger and suspense in black comedy crime fiction, after all, whether they're the hero, the villain, or somewhere in between. Hell, Con City's iconic hitman Mister Jake even steals one of the terminator's own methods for getting access to his target at a certain heavily fortified location, albeit Jake puts his own psychotic twist on it.

And that, perhaps, is the one thing for which all victims of the terminator should be thankful for. The terminator may have been cold, relentless, unstoppable, and indestructible... but at least it wasn't a psychopath.

The Terminator on IMDB

Saints Row. The video game series that started out as a GTA clone and then evolved into a simulation of what it's like to live in a batshit insane world populated by weirdos, psychopaths, trigger happy lunatics, power hungry sociopaths, and feisty nerds; a world where the constant mayhem, destruction, and explosions are the least of your worries. Sound familiar?

If you've never heard of the Saints Row series, this is the game franchise that, in its third installment, introduced a giant purple dildo that the player character could wield like a sword, and in its fourth made the player the President of the United States only to have them dethroned by an alien invasion from outer space and locked inside a simulation eerily similar to the Matrix (spiced with a little bit of Tron and a whole lot of crazy). This is also the game franchise that spoofed reality TV with Professor Genki, a pink cat with a penchant for destruction who ran a televised `murder funhouse' called Super Ethical Reality Climax, complete with play-by-play and color commentary. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

If Crank is the movie that feels closest to something like a Con City movie, then the Saints Row games are easily the closest thing to a Con City video game. Well worth playing if you want a GTA clone that went off the rails and kept going. It's best to play the entire series from start to finish so you get a better understanding of the vast roster of fun and surprisingly complex characters. Just bear in mind that the first two games are a lot more serious in tone, and you may find yourself wondering where all the craziness is, but just be patient. As soon as you get to Saints Row III, you'll be wondering how the franchise went from street gang simulation to fighting a luchador in space.

Saints Row The Third on GOG.com

Not A Hero is a 2D sidescroller shoot 'em up game released in 2015, in which BunnyLord, a purple rabbit who thinks he's Frank Underwood, tries to become the Mayor of England (not a typo). His strategy for winning the electoral race relies on a roster of gun toting maniacs whom he hires to create `a violent today for a better tomorrow' (literal quote). It is up to the player to unload a limitless supply of bullets into BunnyLord's enemies and the, according to BunnyLord, `corrupt' cops who try to stop the would-be mayor.

The game is as much fun as its premise is ludicrous. The pixel art graphics make the game feel like a throwback to the old days, and the explicit cartoon violence makes it that much funnier. Playing it feels like walking the streets of Con City. The nonsensical schemes of BunnyLord would certainly fit right in with the daily insanity of life in Con City, and the range of problem solvers whom he hires (i.e. the playable characters) would feel right at home next to the likes of Mister Jake and Sergeant Westwood. The game even has a chainsmoker hitman in it (albeit he is not retired and does not live in a campervan).

And then there's Aunt Ruby, the old lady who runs the cafe where BunnyLord holds his post-mission briefings with his problem solvers. She joins you on one of the missions; she may make you think she needs to be protected, but you'll likely be surprised. She, too, fits into the game's madness, the same way as a schizophrenic cyborg fits into a Con City novel.

The game is available on e.g. gog.com if you want to give life in politics a go.

Not A Hero on GOG.com

Frank Castle, better known as the Punisher, is a vigilante antihero from the Marvel Universe who, unlike the majority of comic book heroes, sends bad guys not to prison, but to the morgue, and that's assuming there's anything left of the bad guys in question to bury. He wears a signature white skull insignia painted on his chest that criminals fear like death itself. He made his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man issue 129 in 1974, just three years after the release of the film Dirty Harry, and went on the become a massive success with readers. He has starred in numerous comic series of his own, appeared in video games including the fantastic 2005 third person shooter by Volition (i.e. the guys who made the Saints Row games), his tale was adapted to the big screen on three separate occasions, and he recently stole half the show in the second season of Netflix's Daredevil, and is now set to have his own show pretty soon. Oh, and there's this:

One might not expect such success from a not quite family friendly comic book character who doesn't even have any superpowers, but just like Dirty Harry, he struck a chord with the fans and we just can't get enough of him despite (or perhaps precisely because of) the extreme levels of violence he unleashes on the villains. The Punisher is an inherently tragic character, having lost his family in a mob hit and having concluded that the only way he could move on was by raining down lethal punishment on criminals everywhere, both for the sake of his own inner peace and to save others from suffering his fate.

Yet despite the dark and tragic nature of the character, over the years a good number of Punisher stories displayed a healthy amount of humor. Humor of the darkest form, of course, as found in, for example, the Garth Ennis comic series `Welcome Back Frank' and the aforementioned video game by Volition. Which is precisely why the character provides such natural inspiration for the Con City novels; a vigilante who feeds an angry mob boss to polar bears in a zoo and makes it come across as hilarious would be right at home in the batshit crazy world of Con City. Then again, it's probably good that the Punisher does not live in the world of Con City. There wouldn't be enough bad guys left alive in Con City to write stories about by now.

The Punisher on Goodreads

Of all the wacky superheroes that the Marvel Universe has given us over the years, Deadpool is easily one of the most unique. Brash and violent, batshit crazy, constantly tearing down the fourth wall with a jackhammer, the merc with a mouth has been entertaining us with his antiheroic, and sometimes outright villainous antics, since 1991. Before he became the final word in anti-superheroism, he used to be a mercenary called Wade Wilson (if his recollections of his origins are to be believed), and even in those days he spewed one liners like an 80s action movie star. Then he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he signed up for a secret program that gave him immense regenerative powers and thus saved his life; it also made him fuck ugly and drove him incurably insane, whether any of the voices in his head admit that or not.

Deadpool is a similarly dark and tragic character as the Punisher, but far crazier and much more humorous. While the dark humor in the Punisher stories usually involves over the top ways in which he dispatches criminals, Deadpool brings in humor in just about every form you can think of, from pop culture references to fourth wall breaking jokes to gruesome body humor involving mangling, maiming, or outright killing Deadpool himself before his regenerative powers bring him back to dish out more ass kicking, recite more one liners, and eat more chimichangas. He has run across the Punisher on a number of occasions, most notably in the two-part crossover comic in which the mob puts out a hit on the Punisher and Deadpool tries to cash in only for things to go colossally wrong.

Over the years he was featured in several video games, including his very own game by High Moon Studios in 2013, and in 2016 he at long last got his own movie, courtesy of the efforts of the great Ryan Reynolds (who is probably secretly Deadpool in disguise). And then there's the time he faced Dracula. No, seriously.

With such a violent and darkly humorous resume, Deadpool is a natural source of inspiration for the world of Con City. As batshit insane as Con City is, it's probably fair to say that the king of batshit insanity is the merc with a mouth, and the likes of Gabe London, the best/stupidest mercenary of Con City, owe a great deal to the king. All hail Deadpool, and may he grace us with more twisted humor for decades to come.

Deadpool on Goodreads

`Don't Panic.' These are the words printed in large friendly letters on the front cover of the titular Guide in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Written by Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy started out as a radio play until he was persuaded to write a novel, and then a trilogy, and then what we know today as the `increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker trilogy' spanning five books. (Six of you count the one written by Eoin Colfer after Adams' passing.)

The first novel explores the idea of the Earth being in the way of an interstellar highway and being subject to demolition by an alien constructor fleet. As horrific as that might sound, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is in fact a comedy. Sure, the Earth gets blown up by Chapter 3, but it gets blown up because it's in the way of an interstellar bypass, and the demolition crew clearly points out that the citizens of Earth had no business to complain about the destruction of their planet as all plans had been public for fifty years and available for consultation just a few shy lightyears away, and anyone too lazy to bother going to the complaints office didn't deserve to have a planet anyway.

That, right there, is the kind of hilarious, absurd nonsense that permeates the entire novel. Largely told from the point of view of Earth's seemingly sole survivor Arthur Dent, who is just as baffled by everything that goes on around him as the reader, the novel takes us on a wild ride across the Galaxy with a plethora of assorted absurd characters, such as the blithering idiot President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox, who is introduced to the reader when he steals a prototype spaceship, or Marvin, the depressed robot, a.k.a. the `Paranoid Android,' who seems to be the butt of an endless string of vile jokes throughout the series.

The nonsense doesn't stop with the premise and the characters, either. The novel takes the idea that the towel is the most important thing you should take with you when you travel and turns it into a spectacular running gag. Then there's the number 42, which, if anything, you must have heard of as the ultimate answer to the ultimate question even if you've never read The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. And of course there's the titular Guide itself, an e-book from before the rise of e-books filled with endless useful and useless trivia about the various places and people in the galaxy, which has the words `Don't panic!' written on the front for good reason. And the list could go on, but no list can do the novel justice. Best to just go read the book and enjoy the insanity: The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is an endlessly amusing absurd comedy that deserves a place on every bookshelf.

The absurdity and cruel humor of the Hitchhiker's Guide novels served as fantastic inspiration for the world of Con City. Sure, there are no depressed robots or idiotic galactic presidents in Con City, but we have a cyborg on her way to split personality disorder, a moron who tries to fake a solar eclipse with a hot air balloon over a similarly fake volcano, a bullfighting promotion where the bull always wins, a space agency that wants to colonize the Sun, and an endless supply of idiots such as a would-be criminal who thinks it's a great idea to reveal the identity of your masked associate to the press in the name of marketing. And also, we have the Hitchhiker's Guide To Con City, which reveals that the rules of hitchhiking in Con County are so important that law prohibits them from ever being written down. Much of such nonsense would never have come to be had the Vogon constructor fleet not built that interstellar bypass through the third planet of a certain solar system.

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy on Goodreads

Publication History Of Con City

The world of Con City evolved gradually over the years. This is a chronological list of the major Con City releases to date. You may see a pattern here.


1. Con City: published 31 October 2012

2. Koala Hunting: released 31 October 2013

3. Rick Jackson's Hollywood: released 15 May 2014

4. Road To Con City: published 31 October 2014

5. Hitchhiker's Guide To Con City - free online edition: published 31 October 2015 (ebook and paperback edition: 15 February 2016)

6. Shadow Of Con City: published 31 October 2016

7. Koala Hunting 2: The Quest For The Loch Ness Monster: released 31 October 2017

8. Bear Of Con City: published 31 October 2018

9. Monkey Of Con City: published 31 October 2019

10. Maniacs Of Con City: published 31 October 2020

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