Tag Archives: life drawn

Review: Hedy Lamarr: An Incredible Life

Hedy Lamarr: An Incredible Life

I remember the first time I fell in love with a screen icon. It seems as though red-blooded male I knew, knew that they loved women from that first sight. One of my friends from work talked about this very instance he has with all three of his sons. They were watching a trailer for the Justice League movie and the moment they saw Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, they all had a big grin across their faces, as they all felt those proverbial butterflies about the same woman.

My first onscreen crush was Brooke Shields. I remember seeing her in the Blue Lagoon and being “smitten” with those sea blue eyes. Since then, I had a few, and even some from yesteryear, one of them being Hedy Lamarr. I remember the first time I saw her, it was in Samson and Delilah. She played the titular female protagonist and she captivated my attention the whole film. So, when I heard that there was a graphic biography of the film icon, Hedy Lamarr: An Incredible Life, I was definitely interested.

We first meet Hedy, when she was 5 years old, growing up in Vienna, as her father becomes the person who stoked her interest in understanding how everything works, including cars and lights, which will start a lifelong interest in inventions. As she became a teenager, soon her interests were enthralled by the movies, and soon she pursued a career in movies, working behind the scenes, until a casting director saw her, and put her in her first film. Unfortunately, her career would be derailed, as she gets herself in an unhappy marriage, the death of her father, and growing presence of the Nazi regime in Austria, pushes her to pursue her dreams in Hollywood. As her star brightens, she begins to catch the attention of many Hollywood luminaries, everyone from Howard Hughes to Errol Flynn, while the situation in Austria, begins to get more dangerous, she works to get her mother with her in America. By book’s end, one of her inventions, the wireless network, becomes a trailblazing idea, which has changed the world, and has made he world take notice that she was more than the most beautiful woman in the world, but also one of the smartest people on the globe.

Overall, Hedy Lamarr is the true personification of “beauty and brains,” as she not only marveled the world with her presence but changed the world with her mind. The story by William Roy is riveting, evenly paced, and articulate. The art by Sylvain Dorange is ethereal and vivid. Altogether, a life story that shows despite how much people underestimate you you are more than the sum of your parts.

Story: William Roy Art: Sylvain Dorange
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Pharoah Miles’ Favorite Comics of 2018

Vietnamese Memories

Vietnamese Memories – This series by Clement Baloup is not only timely but tells stories that rarely get the time of day, even in comics

Tao Te Ching – The creative team behind this book does more than an adaptation of this important tome, they make it understandable to every reader

The Prince and The Dressmaker – In probably one of the most heartfelt stories I have read this year, Jen Wang, proves to be a master storyteller in story and art, in a story that proves that people are more than meets the eye

X-Men: Grand Design - Second Genesis

X-Men: Grand Design – Ed Piskor has proven himself to be one today’s premiere creators with his Hip Hop Family Tree series, and he shows his love for the X-Men in this series that packs so much in in one panel, it puts most creators to shame.

Old Man Hawkeye – Although this series is meant to be a precursor to Old Man Logan, I found this story to be even more compelling than the story that follows this, as we meet many old faces, as well as new ones, giving fans a dystopian world very much like Walking Dead, but with superheroes.

How To Read Nancy – Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden give comic book fans a treasure trove of information in what really is a textbook but also a graphic novel, as this book both entertains and educates fans on the history of this comic strip and how one should deconstruct a comic strip in the first place.


Abbott – In what is part thriller/ supernatural romance, we get a tale of an investigative reporter in Detroit searching for the truth about some ghastly unsolved murders that the police have ignored, one of them being the death of her husband.

Sleepless – As a fan of historical medieval stories, like The Tudors and The Borgias (both series) this series begins with heartbreak as the protagonist, Lady Pyppenia, is the sole heir to the throne, one currently occupied by her uncle, who sees her as a threat, as the series antes up on “ palace intrigue” as she navigates the scary waters of being a royal, as well as romance, as she starts to fall for her guard, the Sleepless Knight, Cyrenic.

Shards Volume 2 – As one of the best upcoming comic studios in the past few years, we get another collection from this talented collective, with their wide array of stories and characters that leave readers engrossed in these worlds, leaving nothing to chance.

Power& Magic: Immortal Souls – In an excellent collection from this small press company out of Oregon, we get a second volume of stories about witches who just so happen to be LGBTQ or POC or both, in what is a pure joy to read from such interesting voices

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation

Destiny, New York Volume 2 – In the continuation of this excellent series, we drop back into the world of Logan and Lilith, and the mysterious magical underworld that lies in plain view, as they face controversy , secrets and ultimately, loss.

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation – In this fantastic adaptation, we finally get to see Anne in all her complexities, as the heartbreak will get the reader even if you know what will happen

Review: Vietnamese Memories Vol. 2: Little Saigon

Vietnamese Memories Vol. 2: Little Saigon

As 2018 ends, it’s a year where hate in all of its disgusting forms was very prevalent in the news and in every community. World leaders became more vocal about their own biases, it became apparent to all, that tolerance had increasingly became a rare belief.

“Love for your fellow man” and “content of your character” are sentiments that feel like relics in this new world. Instead of defying abhorrence it was welcomed. We find heads of state making excuses for hate mongers and having difficulty with saying their associated actions are deplorable.

This new world that all of us has gotten used to makes it a very scary place for immigrants and especially refugees. Life of the refugee in their intended new world is no longer certain. This is what makes immigrant communities like the multitude of Chinatowns in various cities, Little Italy in New York, Little Manila in New Jersey, and Little Haiti, in Miami, FL, so essential to the endurance of the culture from their home countries. That culture helps form the identity of these new neighborhoods. I personally never grew up in one of these communities but I’ve been to enough of them to know how important it is to those who live there and especially the ones born here. In the second and final volume of Vietnamese Memories: Little Saigon we continue to follow Vietnamese immigrants as they fathom a new reality and try not to lose who they are.

In the first story we meet Xuan, a restaurant owner in Brooklyn, New York, who shares his affinity for Pho and just how it has shaped his love for cooking. We are then taken to San Francisco  where we are taken to the Laos area of this major metropolis where most of the people who settled there helped the US military during the Vietnam War. They came over to make better life for themselves  but their communities became infested with drugs and the gangs made up of their children and grandchildren who are completely cut off from their parents culture . We’re then taken to San Jose where their “Little Saigon” is actually a large thriving community. We meet Ahn, an older beautiful woman, who realized way too young that beauty was a curse as her path was not without the heartbreak of betrayal, living in two refugee camps, testing of friendships and ultimately arriving in San Francisco, where she weaponizes what she first saw as a curse into a tool to seize her dreams. We also go to Los Angeles, which has a big Asian population and one of the most world renowned “Little Saigon” neighborhoods in existence lying in the middle of Orange County. It’s one where most of the community came from South Vietnam and where we meet Yen, a woman, who was once a national athlete for a post-Vietnam War Vietnam but becomes imprisoned over several different instances. First for trying to flee the country but eventually for escaping prison, where she becomes pregnant with an American expat but is forced to raise her daughter on her own. As her daughter becomes a teenager she eventually decides to move to America to be with her sister and make a better life for her and her daughter. We are also taken to Charleston, South Carolina, where many Vietnamese settled because the terrain reminded many of them of the Vietnamese countryside. There we meet Tam and Nicole, a couple who escaped Vietnam because of the gang violence, the country’s instability, and the growing tensions.

Overall, the graphic novel is a classic tome of the perseverance of the human spirit, as one doesn’t know what one can endure, until one undergoes the fire. The stories by Clement Baloup are heartbreaking, profound, and immense in scope. The art by Baloup is effortlessly beautiful. Altogether, it’s an essential addition to any collection but especially to those of us who know of the struggles our family had to undertake to make a better life for us.

Story: Clement Baloup Art: Clement Baloup
Translation: Ceri Pollard, Hannah Flixter, Alessandra Cazes,
and Olivia Hanks
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Superman Isn’t Jewish (But I Am… Kinda)

Superman Isn't Jewish (But I Am… Kinda)

When it comes to representation, children look for it in some of the most interesting of places.  I remember growing up watching Saturday morning cartoons and being able to identify with Tonto in the Lone Ranger cartoon. It wasn’t because I felt I was the good best friend or the sidekick to anyone but just because he was Brown like me. I look back at how I first tried to identify with characters that look like me and see now just how marginalized society saw us even in fictional worlds. This affected my upbringing, as I realized then that I would never really be seen for all I could possibly be.

Fast forward to today. Those same children my age and the prevailing generations that came after felt this same pain until recently. The world has never monolith or monochromatic and entertainment has recently recognized that. Comics, books, tv shows and movies have “normalized” what the masses have been yearning for. In Jimmy Bemon ’s Superman Isn’t Jewish (But I Am… Kinda), one such creator explores his identity through the prism of superheroes.

We are taken to Nice, France 1984, where a young boy, Benjamin, gets his first lesson Jewish identity from his father, who regals him with the ranks of famous people who just so happen to be Jewish, including Superman. This was a badge of honor. From the time his father let him know that Superman was Jewish, his appreciation for his faith and culture became that much more emboldened. He also in due course found out how being Jewish also made him different. And, like every kid, he just wants to fit in. He soon finds a friend, in Momo, who like Benjamin, hates to be ostracized because of his culture, so he adapted an Arabic identity versus his true nationality of Portuguese. The graphic novel follows Benjamin through his life as he explores his identity.

Overall, Superman Isn’t Jewish (But I Am… Kinda) is an impressive graphic memoir that explores self, religion, and pop culture. The story by Bemon is heartfelt, humorous, and relatable. The art by Emilie Boudet transports the reader to a different world. Altogether, it’s a story which gives readers affirmation that being different is a superpower.

Story: Jimmy Bemon Art: Emilie Boudet
Translation: Nanette McGuinness
Story: 10 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Marilyn’s Monsters Vol. 1

Marilyn's Monsters Vol. 1

One of the most mesmerizing and enigmatic stars ever in movies is Marilyn Monroe. Her image is forever eternalized by her films, her personality, and her offscreen encounters. It all combined to make her one of our first Hollywood immortals.

I remember the first movie I saw her in and it still remains one of my favorite movies of all time, Some Like It Hot. It’s a film whose iconic scene made her a sex symbol. Eventually, I would go on to see her other films which was a mixed bag as far as quality. Her star power endures even in those.

Even through those movies, who she was as a person still remained a mystery. It was not until I watched Norma Jean and Marilyn and realized how the woman she would need to be was completely different from who she really was. Even after watching that film and even reading some books about her, there is still so much that’s unknown about this icon.

In Tommy Redolfi’s Marilyn’s Monsters, we get an innovative retelling of the story of the woman we know as Marilyn Monroe. It mixes a bit of the mystical into a wonderful alchemy that gives readers and Monroe fans a new way at looking at this screen legend.

We meet Norma Jean Baker, as she first arrives in Hollywood, wide eyed and bushy tailed, ready to start what she believes to be her bright future. She moves into a small but mysterious community, where has-beens and misfits mostly inhabit, and is lead by its mysterious founders.  She soon finds out just how hard it is to make it in the movie business, as she makes call after call, trying to get an agent to represent her to no success until one phone call leads her to take the infamous nude photo spread, which would become famous after her death. But, in this tale these photographs emit some paranormal powers that cannot comprehended.

Overall, it’s a spellbinding graphic novel that gives an inimitable look at the movie icon through all her beauty and anguish through the kaleidoscope of abstract thinking and a paranormal thriller. The story by Redolfi is effusive, clever, and well researched. The art by Redolfi feels like a lustrous hallucination while evoking all the elegance and exquisiteness of its main subject. By book’s end, even if you know her story you will more than have a new appreciation and even some sorrow for this movie star who had left this earth too soon.

Story: Tommy Redolfi Art: Tommy Redolfi
Translation: Mark Bence and Tommy Redolfi
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.9 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Kabul Disco Vol. 2 How I Managed Not to Get Addicted to Opium in Afghanistan

Kabul Disco Vol. 2: How I Managed Not to Get Addicted to Opium in Afghanistan

When it comes to epic books which can change the way you read, there is only a few in the great literary canon that can do that. Those of us who voraciously read books are constantly in search of that same feeling, every time we pick one up. If you’re lucky enough, you may get that feeling a few more times, and each time it gets better. I remember the first book that I felt spoke to me. It was Holler If You Hear Me by Nathan McCall, which was an autobiography of how it is to grow up with the hardships with being a man of color.

I would go on to find that feeling a few more times, with not only nonfiction books but also fiction books. One of those books being the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini which is about a man who goes back home to war laden Iran to rescue his friend’s son. The book gave a view of that part of the world which is only known to most readers, when it came to their geopolitical issues. In Nicholas Wild’s Kabul Disco, we get a much in depth look at Afghanistan, and it’s one which is more interesting than the new media would paint it as.

It’s 2005. Nicolas Wild is a French cartoonist. He’s broke and about to be homeless. He’s a man without a plan. That is until destiny shows up in his inbox: a paid job… In Afghanistan! Kabul Disco explores the differences between the Afghan cultures around him and his own, as he and his fellow expat friends crash Asura celebrations, avoid the afterlife, and muse on the differences between Christian Easter egg hunts and Islamic penance.

In the graphic novel we meet Nicholas, a young French cartoonist, who gets a job in Kabul, Afghanistan, out of all places, which pushes him out of his comfort zone and expands his horizon. As he gets back in country, he soon finds his job has him covering the recent news rash about the nation’s war on opium or what looks to be one. The government looks to be active against the drug trade, which looks to be dangerous for anyone who has a dissenting opinion on the matter including Nicholas and his co-workers. Meanwhile, outside of work, he lives with a local family where he quickly finds out how the different sexes dined separately, the joys and struggles of being an expatriate, political protests, the inherent kindness of strangers, and the major differences between Islamic and Catholic customs. As Nicholas and his co-workers investigate deeper into the opium crisis, they soon find out the roots of how opium became so powerful and how it was affecting the election the country was having.

Overall, the graphic novel is a relevant and charming travel memoir that gives readers worldwide a view of a country most really knows about. The story by Wild is comical, touching, and illuminating. The art by Wild is unique and extraordinary. Altogether, it’s a graphic novel which will at the very least take readers away for a few hours to a place which only becomes more fascinating with Wild’s adventures.

Story: Nicholas Wild Art: Nicholas Wild
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.


Top Pick: Gideon Falls Volume 1 (Image Comics) – Lemire and Sorrentino is a match made in comic heaven, and this is a series that doesn’t disappoint. It’s creepy, dark, and it’s perfect for Halloween!

Black Badge #3 (BOOM! Studios) – Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins resume their awesome work from Grass Kings, and now tell the tale of North Korea, Boy Scouts, and Spies. It’s wild, and one of the most original and fun books I’ve read in awhile.

Runaways #14 (Marvel Comics) – Consistently one of Marvel’s best books every single month. Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka give such a touching and fun book, and something different from the usual superhero books.

Venom Annual #1 (Marvel Comics) – I usually don’t love annuals, and their $4.99 price tag, but this has Cates still on the book, and will serve as a great jumping on point for one of Marvel’s best.

Justice League #10 (DC Comics) – Scott Snyder and Francis Manupul is another great pair for comics this week. The series has had its pedal to the medal like usual Snyder stories and I don’t expect it to let up. This will also start the ”Drowned Earth” storyline that will be Aquaman focused, and that cover art alone has me hyped.



Top Pick: Shuri #1 (Marvel) – She was the break out star of Black Panther and Marvel recognizing that is giving her her own series. With T’Challa missing, she must choose between herself and her country. Can’t wait to see another perspective of Wakanda.

Archie 1941 #2 (Archie Comics) – What if Archie took place in the lead up to World War II? The first issue was really good with a good mix of history and we’re expecting more of that with this one.

Captain Ginger #1 (AHOY Comics) – AHOY has been damn near perfect with their three releases so far and we’re expecting no less from this one.

East of West #39 (Image Comics) – This weird west apocalyptic story has delivered with every issue and this far in, we want to see where it goes.

Low Road West #2 (BOOM! Studios) – The first issue started off as a apocalyptic type story and then veered into fantasy. We’re intrigued. We’re very intrigued.

Superman Isn’t Jewish (But I Am Kinda) (Life Drawn/Humanoids) – An interesting exploration of Jewish identity in modern times.

Transformers: Optimus Prime #24 (IDW Publishing) – IDW’s current run on Transformers is winding down with everything coming together and we’re glued to the pages of every release.

The Unstoppable Wasp #1 (Marvel) – Writer Jeremy Whitley is back and so is Nadia! The first volume was beyond fantastic with a mix of fun, action, science, and girl power! We’re expecting no less and are so excited.

John Cassaday Named Chief Creative Officer of Humanoids

Humanoids has named Eisner award-winning artist John Cassaday as the company’s first ever Chief Creative Officer. Internationally renowned for publishing seminal genre works by creators from all around the world, including The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Mœbius, Humanoids has been aggressively ramping up its publishing slate. Earlier this year, Humanoids debuted Life Drawn, a new imprint of literary graphic novels that spotlights slice of life stories, biographies and stories with social political themes. In naming Cassaday its Chief Creative Officer, the Los Angeles-based publisher continues its expansion while maintaining their high quality standards.

Cassaday created I Am Legion for Humanoids in 2004.

The announcement of Cassaday as Humanoids’ Chief Creative Officer comes in the lead up to New York Comic Con, where the publisher will announce a major publishing initiative during the Humanoids 20th Anniversary In America panel on Friday, October 5 from 1:30-2:30 PM in room 1A02 of the Javits Center.

Humanoids 20th Anniversary In America

Join Chief Creative Officer John Cassaday, Senior Editor Fabrice Sapolsky and Director of Sales and Marketing Jud Meyers for the panel that will change the way you see Humanoids forever!

Almost a dozen A-List comic creators will be in the room answering questions and celebrating 20 years in the U.S. Humanoids is about to make history again as it did in the past with legendary creators such as Moebius, Jodorowsky, Ladronn and Manara. It’s THE panel you don’t want to miss. New Projects! New Heroes! Hot creators! A bold new direction ushering in a new era in comics. Panel followed by Q&A session. Surprise collector give away for the audience!

Preview: Marilyn’s Monsters

Marilyn’s Monsters

by Tommy Redolfi

Marilyn’s Monsters is the latest release from Life Drawn, Humanoids’ new literary imprint, which spotlights personal stories and provocative, political narratives.

Marilyn’s Monsters presents Marilyn Monroe’s dark journey like you’ve never seen it before. The famous Hollywood Hills. A strange, twisted forest filled with freaks and broken-down trailers. In this dark world, movie stars are born in the shadows. Determined to become the greatest one of all, shy Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe) comes to this ghost-town with hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, she’ll have to face all kinds of monsters to reach her ultimate goal. . .

Humanoids’ Life Drawn Gets a Second Wave of Graphic Novels

In advance of San Diego Comic Comic International 2018, Humanoids is announcing a second wave of graphic novels for Life Drawn, its new literary imprint. Life Drawn spotlights personal stories and provocative, political narratives. The upcoming titles run the gamut, including: a biography of feminist icon and actress Hedy Lamarr, focusing on her revolutionizing scientific and technological innovations; a runner’s memoir of the New York Marathon; a hallucinatory and horror-fueled telling of Marilyn Monroe’s life and a humorous exploration of religious identity (and Krypton).

Marilyn’s Monsters by Tommy Redolfi

Publication date: September 4, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594655357; 248 Pages; $29.95

The famous Hollywood Hills. A strange, twisted forest filled with freaks and broken-down trailers. In this dark world, movie stars are born in the shadows. Determined to become the greatest one of all, shy Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe) comes to this ghost-town with hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, she’ll have to face all kinds of monsters to reach her ultimate goal. . . . This is Marilyn Monroe’s dark journey like you’ve never seen it before.

Kabul Disco Book 2: How I Managed Not To Get Addicted to Opium in Afghanistan by Nicolas Wild

Publication date: September 18, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594654695; 176 Pages; $19.95

In this second volume of his travelogue series, Nicolas Wild returns to Afghanistan, unfulfilled by his old life in Paris, to resume work at the Zendagui agency. This time around, however, his job is even trickier than illustrating the Constitution (see Book 1): he has to convince Afghans that “Opium is Bad” in a time when no one wants to hear what expatriates have to say. With a charming sense of humor and a genuine love for Afghanistan, Nicolas Wild depicts a series of complicated events, transpiring in a complicated country.

Superman Isn’t Jewish (But I Am . . . Kinda) by Jimmy Bemon (writer) and Emilie Boudet (artist)

Publication date: October 2, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594655982; 112 Pages; $14.95

Adapted into an eponymous short film by Jimmy Bemon.

An intimate and humorous autobiography of a boy’s quest for identity as he struggles with his heritage and his heroes. Benjamin would always proudly say, “I’m Jewish. Like Superman!” Assuming that Judaism is some kind of super power and Hebrew is akin to the Kryptonian language, Benjamin believes each of his family members is a superhero. Until, like Krypton, his world is shattered. After learning of the link between being circumcised and his religion, Ben decides to hide his heritage from everyone. Caught between the desire to avoid disappointing his Jewish father and his desire to understand his Catholic mother, Ben has to find a way to abandon his secret identity for a very public one. Humorous, timeless and universal, this personal and poignant story of acceptance and understanding shows how we all must learn to love the hero within ourselves.

My New York Marathon by Sebastien Samson

Publication date: October 30, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594657542; 192 Pages; $19.95

Published timed to the annual New York Marathon, this inspiring love-letter to the event and to the city that hosts it has already been championed by running heavyweights Jeff Galloway and Amby Burfoot, and endorsed by both the New York Road Runners club and the New York Marathon itself.

A quiet, aging teacher decides to run the New York Marathon. Along the way, he transforms into the man he always wanted to be. Sebastian, a quiet and shy teacher, decides, on a whim, to challenge his aging body and crumbling spirit and run the New York Marathon. From the streets of France to the streets of Brooklyn, Sebastian pushes himself past limits he didn’t even know he had. A humorous and poignant autobiographical tale and a love letter to the landscapes and panoramas of New York as well as a testament to the triumph of the human spirit.

Hedy Lamarr: An Incredible Life by William Roy (Writer) and Sylvain Dorange (Art)

Publication date: November 6, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594656194; 176 Pages; $19.95

To her fans, Hedy Lamarr was a silver screen star; to those who knew her, she was a genius. She fashioned designs to revolutionize the planes built by Howard Hughes. In the dead of night, she tinkered with her blueprints and experiments. And when World War II began, Hedy left her superstar persona behind and claimed the patent for a strange device. One that manipulated sound, created an unbreakable code and confounded the Nazi regime, giving the allies the advantage they needed to claim victory. Scientists called it “Spread Spectrum” technology. The military called it a “secret communication system.” Today, we call it a “cell phone,” “Wi-Fi” and a little thing called “Internet.” This is the story of a genius. A visionary. And the most beautiful woman in the world.

Vietnamese Memories Book 2: Little Saigon by Clement Baloup

Publication date: November 13, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594657993; 256 Pages; $24.95

Winner of the Coup de coeur prix Michelin 2012 – Rendez-vous du Carnet de voyage

The second in a three book series exploring the stories of displaced Viet Kieu around the world, Vietnamese Memories: Little Saigon immerses us in the diaspora of the United States and the assimilation of these Vietnamese immigrant communities, labeled Little Saigons. Through trips made in 2009 and 2010, Baloup shows how the memory and culture were maintained in these Asian neighborhoods in the heart of the big American cities (Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Lao Area, etc.).

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