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He Keeps Belying The “Horrible People” Part

Every time I read about something that Max Temkin does, I’m impressed; yesterday he may have set the bar impossibly high for future impressions, though.

Let me back up a little.

Temkin is one of the creators of Cards Against Humanity, the party game for horrible people. In his spare time, Temkin has been involved in things like the Twelve Days of Holiday Bullshit sampler pack of joy, one day of which involved Temkin and R Stevens wrangling two dozen webcomickers to produce a Funnies Section for the modern age¹. More recently, he teamed up with Kris Straub to bring PWNMEAL (the extreeeeme gaming oatmeal) to PAX East. What I’m saying is, Temkin is all about surprising people with unexpected things that will bring them joy.

Now you may recall that about three months ago, John Campbell hit a very bad place in life and engaged in behavior that caused a lot of concern for Campbell’s immediate safety². Specifically, Campbell announced publicly that unfulfilled Kickstarter pledges for Sad Picture For Children would never be fulfilled, and that inquiries would result in books being destroyed.

That’s not the sort of place that you bounce back from in twelve weeks or so, but Campbell has been showing signs of improvement, with a backers-only announcement at the end of April titled If you’d like a book you can have one. Most recently, Temkin³ appears to have successfully reached out to Campbell and … well, read it yourself:

An update from Max Temkin

Hello! My name is Max Temkin. I’m a designer from Chicago.

I am a great fan of John Campbell’s work and a backer of Sad Pictures for Children, and it’s been really hard for me to see this amazing book create so much trouble for both John and its backers.

Over the last few months, I’ve been talking to John about helping to close out this project, and I’ve agreed to take over the project and fulfill the remaining books to backers. On Monday, I picked up the remaining 100 books from John’s apartment, and I’m going to work with you to distribute them fairly to people who haven’t gotten their project rewards yet.

In just a moment, you’ll receive a backer-only update with a link to a form to fill out if you didn’t get your copy of Sad Pictures for Children. We’ll do this on the honor system; there are only 100 books left, so please only fill out the survey if you didn’t get yours.

To close out this project quickly, I’m going to pay out of pocket to deliver the remaining books. All I would ask of you in return is to continue to support John’s art in the future, and continue to take risks on Kickstarter to help make new art.

Thanks for your patience, and I look forward to getting the rest of these books out to you,

– Max

P.S. I will do my best to keep up with Kickstarter backer comments, but if you need to reach me quickly with any questions or comments, I am @MaxTemkin on Twitter, my email is, you can text me at (312) 857-[removed to prevent spam harvesting]. [emphasis, links original]

I don’t know that you could ever say it often enough: Max Temkin is one of the good ones. Here’s hoping that recognizing the value in distributing the remaining books is the corner that Campbell needed to turn to get back to a good place, and that a trend of improving safety and stability (mental and physical) is the result.

In lighter news, Drive is back and Dave Kellett is taunting his readers for not picking up the “hiding in plain sight” secret in today’s update. Dammit, Dave — you have a critically-lauded movie and you get all sassy.

I have some ideas about this strip, but I don’t want to spoiler anything, so I’ve placed it below the cut, below the footnotes. Drivenauts, have at it.

¹ Another involved giving $US100,000 to various small projects that affected the lives of more than 38,000 students across the country.

² And, this being the internet, more than a little shit-flinging and casual cruelty. You know who you were.

³ Who worked with Campbell on a comic for the aforementioned Twelve Days.

Okay, so Orla’s been beat from Hell to Monday since she was sentenced by the Sett to fight in the arena. She’s unexpectedly good at it, and is either talking to herself there against opponent #6, or is receiving coaching from somebody else, mentally.

Today: her final opponent, the Fekk Dragon. FD appears to be speaking in the same voice (that is, the same typeface) as Orla’s inner coach. They recognize each other. And FD is Vinn, an artificial construct of some 14 parasitized species, including some Humans that were infected back in 2331, Humans who became part of the Vinn.

The Vinn parasite leads to cross-species genetic transfers, with abilities like bioelectrogenesis, venomous necotoxins, chromatophore cells in their skin/hides, sharp vision due to minimal diffraction of incoming light, and shark-like electroreception. Just the sorts of things that might make one an amazing fighter, or possibly allow for the unconscious “racial” memory of millenia of hand-to-hand combat skills.

We know Orla is hiding secrets — she’s la Familia, sent to spy on the Machito‘s crew. Could she be Vinn? True, all the Vinn we’ve seen have a distinctive dark rectangle over one eye, but if she’s got chromatophore cells, maybe she’s just switched the markings off to pass. She’s an exobiologist by training — exactly the sort that would most likely come into contact with a new species, like one infected by the Vinn. Could she be deep undercover for the Vinn, or could she be a “liberated” host that’s acting on behalf of la Familia?

Could she be spreading the Vinn parasite to the very center of El Imperio, leapfrogging the slow expansion of Vinn-infected space with a dagger to the heart of Human government?

Dammit, Dave — tell the rest of this story, already!

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