I had heard about planes being rerouted and searched for bombs but didn’t pay further attention. I received this urgent press release (below) from Mark Mekkes of the Zortic comic… and I searched for more info. Google searches turn up with hoax-reporting in every other result, mixed in with the Zortic comic results. There are lots of places that failed to report “King Zortic” did the hoaxing and just shortened it to Zortic, like this one.
Seeing that, I felt that I ought to post the press release.
Webcomic falsely tied to Terrorism
Atlanta Airport bomb hoaxer used Twitter handle from long running comic strip, Zortic.
Orlando FL, January 26, 2015 — On Saturday, January 24th, bomb threats were twittered to Delta airlines. After initially being investigated as legitimate threats, the claims were discovered to be a hoax. However, the search has begun for the twitter user who made the treats using the Twitter handle zortic@kingzortic.
However, Zortic is also the name of a long running, online comic strip. Zortic, the comic strip, has been running for 14 years and is the product of creator Mark Mekkes.
“As much as I dislike the idea of calling more attention to someone who’s so obviously calling out for it in such an inappropriate way, it’s frustrating to allow that silence to inhibit the protection of my own brand name.” said Zortic comic creator, Mark Mekkes (who goes by the Twitter handle markmekkes@zortic). “I don’t like the idea of capitalizing on this event, but I’m also pretty unhappy about being dragged down into the negative publicity being associated with the name Zortic because of it. Apparently terrorists have no respect for copyright laws.”
Following Saturday’s incident, many internet users flooded search engines to find out more about the bomb hoaxer only to discover the comic named Zortic. A natural assumption was made by many casual investigators that the comic creator was the same Zortic who made the bomb threats. This resulted in several angry and threatening social media attacks on the artist.
“I kind of feel like I’m touching on the Muslim experience,” said Mekkes, “I have to explain to people that not all Zortics are terrorists Zortics.”
“It’s a really uncomfortable feeling seeing your comic’s title in the news in this way,” continued Mekkes, “I don’t know how he came up with the name. I really love my fans, but I’d hate to think that one of them was acting this way. It’s nice to think that my cartoon is popular enough for people to use its name, but I find myself preferring the theory that, within an infinite number of internet monkeys, the two of us just stumbled upon the same set of letters.”
The comic strip Zortic updates every Saturday and can be found at www.zortic.com.
The strip just resumed from a year’s retirement, but there is nothing in the strip or in Mark’s tweets to suggest any involvement. Being an artist/creative, you know, it would likely show up there as some kind of hint. However, restarting with a couple just getting back from their twelfth honeymoon just doesn’t line up with plane bomb threats – but that probably goes without saying.
The FBI is searching for the bomb threat suspect and really, it should be pretty easy for them to track them down. I mean, I’m sure it’s possible to disguise your IP but phones and computer activities leave trails over time and every criminal makes mistakes. I’ll update this post with any further news.