How to Get the Comics Backstory for *Avengers: Infinity War* for Less Than $20

Marvel’s movies and TV shows could already fill hours, if not days and weeks, of your time. Yet, in order to know the full stories behind the Avengers, the Guardians, and the Spider-Men, you really need to go back to their comic-book origins. Now, that’s a time-suck. And a money-suck, too. Don’t fret, dear reader; thanks to the magical powers of Amazon, the past six months’ worth of collected editions are currently on sale for the Kindle—which also means they’re also readable on the ComiXology app, for those who don’t have Kindles—for just 99 cents each. This makes it possible to catch up on everything you need to know for about 20 bucks. Here’s a handy guide for snagging all the books you’ll need to catch up on all of Marvel’s myriad superheroes.

The Avengers

What to read: Avengers & The Infinity Gauntlet and Vision: The Complete Series

Two different takes on Marvel’s premiere movie franchise, in advance of this month’s Avengers: Infinity War[...]  read more

Witchblr, Kek, and the Widening Schism of Internet Religions

In its four decades, the internet has seen a lot of conceptual alchemy, but there’s nothing quite so odd as the Cult of Kek. The maybe-maybe-not religion is the brainchild of the so-called alt-right, some of whom claim to believe not only in white supremacy, but also in the supremacy of an ancient Egyptian deity called Kek.

The logic goes thusly: There’s Pepe the Frog, the unofficial mascot of the alt-right. There’s also an ancient (and real) Egyptian chaos-god named Kek who happened have a frog’s head. And then there’s “kek,” a World of Warcraft-derived word that became part of 4chan’s trolling toolbox. Alt-righties mashed the two things together to create the Cult of Kek, a catch-all ism that can invoke the power of Kek via “meme magic.” All those Trump/Pepe memes you saw during the 2016 [...]  read more

The Condom Snorting Challenge Is Tide Pods’ Final Revenge

Hello, fellow teens! Sorry to interrupt your latest obsession. According to various news outlets, you’re all busy setting up webcams, then holding a flaccid condom to your nostril and inhaling until it jellyfishes out of your nasopharynx and into the back of your throat like a latex loogie from hell. You’ve just completed the Condom Snorting Challenge, along with untold thousands of other teens risking asphyxiation for likes.

Sorry, is that not what you’re doing? Is it far more likely that you and the rest of your frivolous, moral-panic inducing compatriots don’t actually exist? Do accept our apologies.

While the Condom Snorting Challenge is many things, it is most certainly not a trend. Unlike January’s Tide Pod Challenge, there was no critical mass of teenagers talking [...]  read more

Experimental Controllers Could Change Gaming for Good

When I sit down to play Lumines Remastered—the Nintendo Switch port of the puzzle game that was, at one point, the PlayStation Portable’s killer app—I’m invited to put on a belt of Joy-Cons. This “peripheral,” designed by the Lumines team for the Nintendo Indies showcase at the Game Developers Conference, is designed to show off one of the remaster’s oddest new features.

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Taking advantage of the Joy-Con’s dynamic vibration, Lumines Remastered allows additional sets of the controllers to be synced to the Switch to act solely as vibration nodes, pulsing and jumping along with the beat of the music and Tetris-meets-3D-Chess gameplay. The makeshift belt is a means to illustrate this mechanic, and as I wear it, desperately trying not to make a [...]  read more

A Drag Queen’s Guide to Protecting Your Privacy on Facebook By Breaking the Rules

Ever since news broke of Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting and misuse of Facebook user data, numerous politicians, technologists, and everyday people have offered opinions on how best to respond. Many have suggested users leave the platform; others have called for government regulation. Still more have advised on ways users should lock down their privacy settings and delete content. While I’m sympathetic to all of the above suggestions—and am considering deleting my account, at least for now—there are more effective steps users can take to protect their data and privacy. It just means breaking the rules a bit.


p class=”paywall”>Some backstory: I’m one of the drag queens who protested Facebook a few years ago after several of us were booted from the platform for having names on our profiles that didn’t match our driver’s licenses.

But while the protest started with drag performers, we quickly learned that the impact of Facebook’s real names [...]  read more

Indie Title ‘Small Talk’ Is the Cartoony Party Game of My Dreams

Very few games have an art style that feels personal. Most major games strive for “realism”—the closest consoles and gaming computers can come at any given time to producing a digital landscape that looks the way we imagine the real world looks. But precious few attempt to approach the way the world feels.

Small Talk, my favorite game that appeared at last month’s Game Developers Conference, is one of those few. Its hand-drawn art suffuses the world with color and imagination, an elegant and whimsical sense of place. The look feels like a coloring-book take on Doom; like that first-person classic, the character art consists of sprites that subtly turn to face you as you move, offering the winking illusion of depth. But here, the creators have used the effect for a purpose that feels perfectly in line with how the effect works: to give you a chance to talk to cartoons.

These cartoons are monsters, invariably, or just odd-looking people. You find them [...]  read more

What Is A Meme? The Definitive WIRED Guide

Memes and the internet—they’re made for each other. Not because they’re digital visual communication (though of course, they are that), but because they are the product of a hive mind. They are the shorthand of a hyper-connected group thinking in unison. And, friends, the web hive mind is a weird (often funny, sometimes dangerous) place.

The term “meme” comes from evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. For Dawkins, cultural ideas were no different than genes—concepts that had to spread themselves from brain to brain as quickly as they could, replicating and mutating as they went. He called those artifacts memes, bits of cultural DNA that encoded society’s shared experiences while also constantly evolving.

But Dawkins coined the term in 1976, in his book The Selfish Gene, long before the modern internet, [...]  read more

The Stormy Daniels Saga Tops This Week’s Internet News Roundup

Another week, another tale of tumult on the internet. Whether it’s Fox News host Laura Ingraham being forced to apologize after mocking one of the Parkland students or the growing pushback against FOSTA/SESTA, everything last week felt fraught. And those are just two of the stories that had people talking on social media. Want to know more? Here you go.

Pardon Me?

What Happened: After weeks of the matter humming in the background, last week was another big one in the ongoing Special Investigation into Potential Russian Collusion.

What Really Happened: Special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe got another added twist last week, and it wasn’t that Joe diGenova wouldn’t be joining President Trump’s legal team after being announced as an addition. (The state of Trump’s legal team was much discussed over the last few days, though.) Nope, the latest curveball came courtesy of the latest court filing from Mueller.

It was a filing that  [...]  read more

OK, We Need to Talk About ‘Ready Player One’

Fans of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One have been waiting on a film adaptation of the book since it hit shelves in 2011. Actually, considering the film rights to Cline’s story were sold to Warner Bros. before anyone had flipped a single page, some folks have been anticipating the movie a lot longer than they waited for the novel. Now, the wait is over. Ready Player One is here.

But a lot has happened in the nearly seven years since Cline released his virtual-reality-filled geek fever dream. For one, VR, which felt like it was still decades out when Wade Watts put on his goggles in RPO, is now very real and present in many homes. (There is no virtual OASIS where people spend most of their days, though.) For another, the idea that money could be digitally mined like it is in the OASIS was only feasible in the minds of a few Bitcoin believers; today it’s not uncommon to find athletes and celebrities waxing poetic about cryptocurrency. But more than anything, the cinematic [...]  read more

WIRED’s Top Stories in March: More Than Just Facebook

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