Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Call At 3:00 In The Morning

A Call At 3:00 In The Morning

I wake up to the sound of my cellphone. The big flat numbers on my alarm clock display "3:05" as that Valkyries song from "Apocalypse Now" chirps digitally from the phone. I look at the number.



Donovan: Oh good Lord...
Me: B-but you were the one who told me to write about the accident...
Donovan: I meant a short fictional story about the quirkiness of modern love for the New Yorker or something!
Me: B-but...


But we talk. We talk about a lot of things. And when it is over, he says he's going to sell off some of his comics and collectibles and help me pay my medical bill.


Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I live by this saying

I live by this saying: what else good is abuse, harassment, bankruptcy, and a broken vagina if not to write about it in front of thousands of people? I learned that in my "Women's Lit" course in college.

But seriously.

I want to thank the men and women who contacted me to show their support. I am currently helping a sick friend and working from home at the same time so I can't answer everything right now, but I have been reading and I deeply appreciate it.

And I think that silence in the face of any sort of abuse, past or present, is unacceptable. It is only through sharing our experiences that we can heal and stop the cycle. We can hold it in, garnish it up, explain it away, pretend it never existed -- but it will always be there, begging to be released.

I wrote what I wrote because I had a story inside of me that was begging to be released. Through meditating on and tying together these various comic-related strands of my life I came to a personal breakthrough at the end of that blog. Though in a way I had already found a sense of peace and a new life, writing "Goodbye To Comics" brought me to a new level of self-understanding. I'm proud of what I wrote and I'm not ashamed of my experiences.

I also wanted to say that though the character of "Donovan Paul" may sound at points in the blog like a little bit of a cad, he also remained very calm and responsible during a freak accident that, quite frankly, was freaky for him as well. He calmed me down, did the appropriate things to get help quickly, and never left my side. The nurses told me that when he finally left the room after my initial intake, he was shaking and almost fainted. Had he abandoned me during or after that crisis I would have felt devastated. He did more than a lot of men I've known would have done. He's basically a good person and a great comic talent -- with a few fanboy blindspots.

As for the comic industry, there are a lot of good people, men and women, in it. I've grown up with comics people my entire life, and I'm taking care of one who recently fell ill now. I just want the industry to move in the right direction, get rid of the lingering sexism & racism, stop the sexual violence towards female characters, get more diversity (gender, racial, sexual orientation) into the characters, and make some of what I wrote in my blog things that no longer have relevance.

There is a big crop of talented young women and people of color out there who want to break into comics. Open the doors, give them an even and respectful playing field, and say a warm "hello" to the next gen of this industry.

Goodbye To Comics: Postscript

Goodbye To Comics:

Less than 12 hours after I finish my blog-memoir, my best friend -- a lifelong hardcore comic fan -- collapses in his hallway. I try to prop him up. His eyes are rolling to the back of his head and his face is spasming. He floats in and out of consciousness as I dial 911.

An older man, has had health problems for a while now. I knew this was coming. He is one of the old-school comics fans, starting in the early 1960s. His dream was always to be a professional penciller. He held out for that dream for a long time, finally altering his plans during the last two years and producing his own comic projects. He is a very talented artist.

EMS has a hard time finding him in his room, because of the sheer volume of comics & collectables. I point to the crumpled person on the couch under the blanket. I'm trying to hold it together but start to lose it as the techs approach him with their equipment:

Him: I'm okay, I don't need any tests.

It might be complications from his diabetes. It might be related to the high blood-pressure. His cholesterol is also very high. The EMS techs don't know, but they would like him to go to the hospital. He won't go.

So now he's sleeping, and I'm sneaking into his room every half-an-hour or so to see if he's okay. The techs said to check on him periodically and if his lips look bluish to call 911 again.

I've been told to abandon my friend's case for a long time now. He's just another "comic book guy." He would rather spend his last dime on the latest Marvel Essentials or art supplies than his diabetes medication. Do you know how many people I've known like that in my life?

It's not my responsibility. I have to move on with my life.

But I write to my boss asking if I can work from home tomorrow so I can take care of my friend. First thing in the morning I will make an appointment with my friend's doctor to drag him there for a diagnostic. I also want to know what medications he needs to be on and when he is supposed to take them. I leave messages with his with family members.

I start "digging" through the comic piles in my friend's room so there is enough surface area to place his medicine bottles where they will always be found. Looking at the titles, I recognize a lot of them as comps from my different comic jobs, a 14-year time spread.

Lives built around comics.

I call another long-term friend, who I met at a comics company ten years ago. He has also been of the "Goodbye To Comics" mindset as of late. I let out a good cry as I tell him the events of the last several hours. I also mention that I broke up with Donovan Paul. My friend says "good for you" but expresses some skepticism as to how long that will last.

Our conversation turns to comics, about the usual things -- what's wrong with the industry, how it can be fixed, and how we're both too old for this shit. Of course we're both in our mid-thirties and are full of shit for saying we're too old for this shit. But it's fun to say that phrase:

"I'm too old for this shit."

It's like we're two old hitmen from "Reservoir Dogs," about to go on another ill-advised mission. "I'm too old for this shit." It's like we're starring in "Lethal Weapon V" and we've got grey hair and about to jump from a flaming helicopter to the 61st floor of a burning hi-rise and somewhere in the background Chris Rock is saying something typically hilarious. "They're too olddddddddd for this shit!,"Rock screetches into the camera, pointing at our hapless selves.

By the time we're done talking the sun goes down. We've been on the phone for more than four hours. The mostly uneaten meal me and my best friend had began before the collapse is still sitting where we left it. I bite into a clammy egg-and-cheese sandwich and take a swig of cold coffee.

I pick up his keys and wallet off the floor. I check on him again. A fly lands on his cheek and he waves it away in his sleep.

I'm saying goodbye to comics. Be skeptical all you want, but I am.

But first I'm going to take care of my friend.

Goodbye To Comics: Epilogue

Goodbye To Comics:

Donovan Paul is sorry, but he cannot help me out with the $15,000 medical bill in the wake of the torn cervix I received when having sex with him.

He has no money, except for the money he uses to buy the high-ticket fanboy items that he brags about recently purchasing only minutes after telling me he has no money.

Implicit in all this is the insinuation that though two people tangoed, since I was the "catcher" it's solely my responsibility.

It's kind of like having an unexpected pregnancy, only there is no baby, just a scar I will never be able to see.

When I first left the hospital, I looked like a Kabuki performer. My face was bloated from all the solution they pumped into my system, and I was literally white as a ghost.

I went home with Donovan. I stayed over his apartment for two weeks. He had washed every last bit of blood from my jeans and I was very impressed. He said my blood was unusually "watery" and that even though it was dried and soaked-in, it came right out.

We had a lovely two weeks. We pretended like the accident wasn't a really big deal, and that it had hardly happened at all.

After the prescribed amount of healing time we tried to have sex. I found that I was completely traumatized regarding sex. But I knew that if I didn't try, I might never do it again. Still, the sensation of being penetrated made me want to be shot in the head. It was that bad. I was just so afraid of going through all that again. And I didn't even have insurance. What if it happened again?

Donovan was very patient. But truthfully, I could never picture a day where I would be able to have wild, unfettered sex with him. He said he didn't care about that, that he just wanted to be with me. But come on.

The second-to-last time I was intimate with Donovan, I tried his suggestion that I use a lambskin condom instead of latex. Both him & my gyno theorized that perhaps I was allergic to the latex, producing pain and discomfort.

For the first time in my life, I experienced what it was like to have sex and not have a sensation like burning acid.

Think about it -- all the other times I had sex in my life, it felt like burning acid, ripping flesh.

But I never complained. I thought it was normal. I thought I had to just "buck up" and take it.

Right before the accident, while having the sex w/Donovan, I was in intense burning pain. But I didn't complain. I didn't say a word. I could have spoke up and prevented an event that almost took my life but I didn't.

Why didn't I speak up?

My lawyer asking me regarding Gilgongo! Comics:
"Why didn't you speak up earlier?"

The therapist I had in my early twenties, regarding my father's abuse:
"Did you tell anyone?"

When asked about what I thought of the "Vicki Victim" rape pages:
"They look great! Great use of drapery!"

It's all because I don't want to "ruin" things, I don't want to assert myself and possibly make one man or another angry. Because look what happened with Dad. And so it continues. And I become "Vicki Victim" herself long after there are any true super-villains to be scared of.

And the problem with being silent and with being compliant and being like "Vicki Victim" is that there is a long, long, long line of predators out there who will target you and will shamelessly exploit you, thinking they can get away with it.

And no, it's not your fault that you're caught up in this cycle of abuse. There is no "fault" here. But there is a need to take responsibility, to take control of your life.

Ok, let's try this again.

No, it's not my fault that I'm caught up in this cycle of abuse. But there is a need to take responsibility for my life -- to take control of my life.

And I wish I could come up with some sort of sentimental, inspirational comic book metaphor to end with.

Suffice it to say that I'm alive, I'm healthy, I'm working and I'm writing.

I've been writing for three days straight, I'm tired and my hair stinks.

I'm going to go now and wash my hair.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Bloggy Memoir "Goodbye To Comics" is now completed.

The Bloggy Memoir "Goodbye To Comics" is now completed.

If you have just reached this blog and have some hours you don't mind never getting back, please start with the first post and work your way up.

If you have finished the whole blog and are reading this, you get a kitten.

And if you came here accidently after doing the keyword search "Sexy Superheroine Rape," please go fuck yourself.

Assorted Thoughts & Reactions

Assorted Thoughts & Reactions

I haven't really sat down and read the comments & the emails & the reactions until the last couple of days. When I first wrote the memoir, I was scared to death of the reaction I would receive. Now, after reading nearly a hundred emails and general reactions to the piece, I have come to this conclusion --

--that I sorely underestimated the support male comic book fans have for women in comics.

Every single message I received from men was positive and reaffirming not only of my blog but on the need to have respect for women both in the industry and in the comics themselves.

I wrote a couple of blog postings a while back basically saying "it's a lost cause why fight it" regarding comics feminism. "Give the market what it wants," I wrote, lying passive on the ground and prepared to let whatever rebellious spark I had left in me twinkle away into nothingness. It's very easy to do this, to retreat into the cave of what has always been familiar to you, to parrot the same talking points and fantasize that one day you'll be let back into the "club" because all you know is that goddamned club.

Oh, yes, give the market what it wants. The Market. The answer to everything.

But what exactly does this market -- male comic fans -- want?

I read a hell of a lot more voices in favor of women's rights in comics and against the depiction of sexualized violence against female characters than I ever dreamed of. Voices from across the comic-collecting spectrum -- bloggers, Comicon/Newsarama/CBR crowd, alternative comix fans, mainstream comic fans. Surely they are all part of this Market.

I also received emails from many professionals in the industry, including one that just about made me sail out of my chair at work. Imagine looking at a flashing button on your phone and having the receptionist say: "Hi, you have God on line 4, would you like to take it?" This particular person's email just about made my millennium; the mere fact of receiving it and the kind words within gave me a tremendously renewed hope about comics, and about the people within in the industry.

But actually, getting the words of support from every person that dropped a line my way made my millennium; touched me deeper than I know how to express. It has made all that happened before...if not "worth" it, at least something I can process.


While I still feel that a degree of "cheesecake" in comics is ok, I am also no longer naive enough to believe that it has no effect on the way men see women, or that it doesn't objectify them. It is a very complicated subject and I don't feel I am the best objective judge to make these "calls" or to suggest concrete solutions. I have inhabited a mostly male social circle for my entire life. So as a "feminist" blogger all I can really do at the moment for the cause is tell my personal story. Since my name has entered Google Eternity twinned with "vaginal mishap" and other such topics I feel I've paid my dues in this respect.


My friend's health is doing much better, thanks to all who've asked.


I was going to post this when Robert Altman died a couple of days ago, but after just reading a comment by Elayne referencing it now I've just got to do it. It's from one of my all-time favorite movies, Popeye. Enjoy.

Goodbye To Comics #12: How Comics Almost Busted A Cap In My Ass

Goodbye To Comics #12:
How Comics Almost Busted A Cap In My Ass

Okay, so here is the story how the comics industry almost drove me to jump out my 6th-floor window. It is theoretically fucking hilarious. It's like Frank Capra by way of Dante. I mean, I hear they're going to do a "30 Seconds With Bunnies" version of this one.

We start with a conversation between me and my doctor:
"I have heart palpitations, stomach cramps, and migraines. And insomnia."
"Gee gosh why?"
"I'm in a very stressful situation right now at my job."
"You should find another job."
"But then how will I pay you?"
"Good point."
"Besides, I just need to stick it out just a little bit longer, and then I'm sure things will be okay. I have to keep this job. I've wanted this job ever since I was a little kid."
"No problem. You should do what most people in our society do -- ignore the problem and take these blue pills instead. These blue pills make you all numb so you can go through all sorts of indignities and not care. It's what everybody does -- even some people in elected office!"
"Cool beans. Only thing is, I have a history of being sensitive to drugs and medication. Might these blue pills negatively impact my life, potentially?"
"Oh not at all. They are totally safe. Here, take these samples."
"Wow, thanks. I can't wait to feel numb to my pain."

"Oh, God," I say, clutching my chest, "I'm having a...a...heart-attack!"

"Hello, Doc?"
"Yes? How's those blue pills coming along?"
"Well, I fell down at work and thought I was having a heart-attack."
"Yeah, but the paramedics came and said it was just a panic-attack."
"Yeah, and then the guy I was having problems with at my job told people that it just went to show that my job was too stressful for me and I couldn't handle it. And I felt very angry and humiliated."
"Gee willikers."
"Yeah, and I think it was the blue pill because I never had a panic attack before in my life."
"NOW WAIT JUST A GODDAMMN MINUTE!!! Don't diss my pills, yo!"
"No, I'm serious, I really think I shouldn't take this blue pill any more."
"You're just over-reacting. Try it for another week or so. Just until you get a nice, healthy concentration of the stuff into your system. And then everything will be fine."
"Uh, ok."

"Uh, Doc? Sorry to call you at such an odd hour."
"Not a problem. What's up?"
"I can't feel the left side of my body. Am I having a stroke?"
"No, it's probably just nerves. (It's certainly not my blue pill). Let's try to get you another type of drug to cover up the effects of the first drug."

Within a month I am suffering from extreme nerve pain, migraines, and fatigue. While it becomes more and more clear to me that I am allergic to these drugs and I need to stop them, they are already concentrated into my system and trying to quit cold turkey gives me a series of seizures. Besides, I don't have time to take off work from Gilgongo! Comics, because it's the holiday rush and half the staff are on vacation or maternity leave. Besides, apparently I "don't have paid medical leave."

Here is a theoretical conversation between me and a high-ranking supervisor:
"Well, we know you're going through a lot right now, and, while we can't give you paid medical leave, we talked it over and have decided to grant you ONE WEEK OF UNPAID LEAVE! Isn't that generous of us?"
"Wow, that's great. But I'm a person of low self-esteem who only feels worthwhile if I'm working like a dog and producing income. So I'll choose to work in sheer agony because I'm fucking martyr."
"That's why we love you here."

In the meantime, I had privately discussed with "Willy Wonka," one my bosses, that a situation with a certain employee was reaching the breaking point and had to stop -- but that I didn't want to make a big stink about it. Willy offers to step in and talk to this person privately. And while the initial harassment stops, this individual now hates my guts and is hostile towards me, creating vitrol and tension in the environment.

My physical condition continues to deteriorate because of my body's sensitivity to the prescribed drugs. But to stop causes seizures. The only solution is to slowly taper off of them.

"You might feel a little sick with the tapering," my doctor cautions.

"A little sick" does not begin to cover it.

My nerve endings become so damaged that touching my cat's fur registers on my fingertips as touching a smooth glass surface. Limbs go "dead" and completely numb without warning. I have tiny red spots all over my body, a sign of a poisoned system. My skin suffers constant nerve pain that makes me want to scream; unfortunately, since my body is so sensitive to medications, my doctor doesn't want to give me a pain-reliever.

And the intense that at some point I sincerely wished I was dead to make the pain stop.

I mentioned this to a moderately high-ranking Gilgongoite and confidant:
"Sometimes these migraines are so painful that I just....I just want to put a bullet in my head."
"Oh, don't do will make the Company look bad."(<----not a "joke" quote) Eventually, I call an administrative person in another building to go on what I think is an unpaid medical leave of absence. To my shock, I find out that I was qualified to have paid leave -- multiple weeks of it in fact -- all along. "But I was told that they couldn't give me paid leave." "Well I don't know what they said, but this is what I'm telling you." And so began months of excruciating tapering and recovery. All the time I wondered about my job, my reputation, and what would become of me now. When the paid leave ran out, I came back. I was still sick and in pain. But I was back. Of course, in the meantime between the leave & my return I made an official complaint regarding the problematic Gilgongo! employee. Which meant that when I returned, everything ran the gamut from surreal to fucked-up. I didn't feel welcome anymore. And I was ill. Who needed this shit? When you're healthy you can put up with a lot of shit. When you're sick, your threshold for bullshit, intimidation, and general fucked-upness goes out the window. After a few weeks, I went to my supervisor's office, closed the door, and announced my resignation. To my surprise, he insisted I stay. I insisted that I knew my own body and that I was going to need many weeks if not months of recovery to get the rest of the medication out of my system and to heal. He insisted that he knew if I stayed I could forge ahead and everything would be fine. I insisted that I wanted to resign now, with dignity. He said it would break his heart if I left. So I stayed. I only lasted another two weeks. By then, most of the medication was out of my system but my body was so damaged that everyday living was a nightmare of nerve pain and migraines. One day I stoically went into Willy Wonka's office and had a long talk with him. The last thing I asked him was, "What do you think the chances of my ever getting promoted in this place are, after I recover?" "Pretty bad. Even with the recovery they'll just use your illness as an excuse." "So I'm fucked, basically." And so I went to my office, cleaned it out, typed a resignation letter, and split. I knew that was the End. That whatever dreams I had of Big Comics, at least at Gilgongo!, were over. In the period of time between first offering to resign and my eventual departure, I was given a whole slate of new assignments that I had to now suddenly abandon. I felt so humilated. Why in the hell did my supervisior insist on me staying when I made it so very clear that my health couldn't hack it? Why couldn't he just take my resignation? Why did he insist? Now I am sitting across the room from my therapist, a year later, and I offer her a "crackpot" theory: "Because if I stayed...I wouldn't tell." And now I'm back at my apartment after just quitting the job I wanted my entire life. My nerve pain is still there in full force, one more fucking day of dealing with it. I put down the bags of belongings from my office in the kitchen and head for my bedroom. I get out my laptop and write in great detail everything that happened to me. I save in on my desktop in a folder marked "read this first." Then I get out some pieces of looseleaf paper and write out my will. I mean, according to my research, the bodily effects of this sort of catastrophic drug reaction can last YEARS. Who needs it? I was fucked up. My career was over. I really didn't feel like I had any allies or defenders. Soon the medical insurance was going to run out. I was going to have to live on my savings. And if I was too sick to get a job after that? What, welfare? Disability insurance? No. I had it. I was through. But how would I do it? I pictured sailing over the edge of the one window in my room without a child-guard. But then the following line ran through my head: "Oh, don't do will make the Company look bad."

Oh gosh, no. Don't make the Company look bad.

I looked at the four pages of of my will that I just wrote out in pencil. Typical fucking fan-geek will.

"I hereby bequeath my set of Buffy DVDs to..."

I was going to end my life for what?

For Comics?

For motherfucking comics, I was going to be street-pizza?

For what?

For Phantom Girl, Herbie the The Fat Fury, Angle Man, Cottonmouth, and the Woodgod? For Paste-Pot-Pete, the Inferior Five, the 3-D Man, and Squirrel Girl? I was going to lay down my life for the industry that introduced glow-in-the-dark multiple cover gimmicks? That elevated Rob Liefeld to the level of DaVinci? That still, on average, produced the same adolescent male power fantasies as they did 50 years ago -- men in pajamas, women in bondage? For being cast out of the realm where power is signified by how many action figures you have on your desk, this was why I was going to end my life?

Well, there was also the matter of the continual pain.

But I threw the will away and slogged through it. I wrote a book. I went on a strict diet free of MSG, preservatives, and sugar to bring my pain down to managable levels and eventually lost 60 pounds. I managed to recover enough to get a part-time job, and when that was successful I upgraded to a full-time one where I made more money than I ever did at Gilgongo! Comics. And I thought I had processed everything, that I learned my lessons.

Yeah, I said to myself that I would write this all down one day in some sort of memoir, or I would become active in Friends Of Lulu and protect women everywhere, or I would do a half-billion other noble things so I could see the "silver lining" in my struggle.

But deep down I could still see my dad ripping that Wonder Woman poster off my wall:
"You ungrateful bitch! You fucked it all up! You touched the fizzy-lifting drink! Now you win nothing--NOTHING!"

And I just wanted to make him happy.

Goodbye To Comics #11: Willy Wonka And The Comics Factory

Goodbye To Comics #11:
Willy Wonka And The Comics Factory

There was always this parody/homage of "Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory" that I wanted to write. Instead of candy the factory produced video games, and the story focused on this impoverished Asian chick with unrecognized bisexual tendencies who beats all the other kids at the video game contest and gets to visit the factory.

Now, what this girl and the other contest winners don't realize is that in addition to games the factory also conducts bio-terror experiments with various plagues, zombie dogs and reanimated dead soldiers.

What follows is more John Carpenter than Roald Dahl. But eventually the Asian girl, the last survivor, claws her way, barely alive herself, to the control room where Wonka is. Wonka informs her coldly that because she fucked with the fizzy-lifting drinks, she is disqualified from the contest and gets nothing.

But eventually she inherits the factory, fires the Oompa-Loompas, and hires Sailor-Moon lookalikes instead.

Whether she maintains the covert black-op research and development contracts with the Shadow Government is another story entirely.

One of my favorite sci-fi authors is Kilgore Trout, and I can only hope that, while unpublished, such stories as the aforementioned might live up to his standard.

But now I want to say a few words about somebody I always associated with Willy Wonka, somebody who brought me into Big Comics -- the theoretical Gilgongo! Comics to be exact. Certainly he had the the personality of a comics Willy Wonka -- smart, talented, whimsical, if but a little phlegmatic on certain days.

He was an artist who wouldn't draw, and I was a writer who wouldn't write. So we had a lot to talk about, both of us bemoaning our blocked creative drives.

And why wouldn't -- why couldn't -- we express ourselves?

Because of the act of Creation actually depressed us, made us feel lonely and like we were standing on the precipice of something Greater than we knew what to do with.

Because we were told repeatedly growing up that we'd make no money with our art.

Because we were afraid of rejection, failure.

Because it was so much easier to to just eat donuts, do our job, laugh with our friends, and feel some degree of security.

Because we had Responsibilities.

But the truth is that, even with all of the above taken into consideration, there is no way to suppress the creative urge for too long without having it assert itself in our lives like some angry, living thing bursting forth from the world of abstract concepts into our material realm.

Willy Wonka's big enemy was his big metal art flat files. They were always "biting" him on the leg.

"Goddammit! Why am I always getting banged in the shins by this @#^%#$ flat file?!"

We would have long philosophical talks about art, the mechanics of office politics, and just what the hell was the meaning of it all. My ostensible job for the first two years of my tenure, before I began to inisist on editing, was to occasionally place a package in the mail rack, make a few Xeroxes, pencil in a visitor here and there, and, mostly, to just continually convince him not to quit.

I mean -- that was it. That's all I did.

After an earlier editing tenure at another, smaller, comics house & stints in advertising, the snail's pace of my new position was quite a shock. But I was convinced I was Going Places, that I , like so many of the other (male) editors at Gilgongo! Comics would work myself up from obscurity to higher and higher up the ranks, provided I kept pushing for more and more responsibility and kept proving myself.

And I remember the first day I showed up for the interview --
It was like Charlie visiting the Chocolate Factory.
It was awesome!
As a lifelong comic fan, it was truly what dreams were made of.

And I remember on that first day, as I showed up over-dressed in a suit and heels, how, in the midst of all the orientations and "hellos" and tours of the office, how I was told, by two different people, on the fly, quiet-like:

"Watch your back."

Now, I never had a problem with Willy Wonka. We had a good run. The day I resigned, he told me that he was jealous because now I would at least have a good block of time to write.

"Take me with you," he said in half-jest.

But I don't think he truly meant it. I mean, where I was going was half-way between hell and the unknown -- destroyed reputation, broke, physically ill, and standing on that old familiar precipice (on the verge of something Greater?).

Though I did write that book.

Willy Wonka never did check in with me after that last day in his office, never asked how I was doing, never inquired how the medical & financial & legal nightmare I was in the middle of was coming along. The situation I had with another employee at Gilgongo! was no doubt some small part of this. Because, you see, I had "fucked with the fizzy-lifting drinks," and now I was disqualified and would get nothing.

About two years later, Willy answered an email regarding a letter of recommendation for a job with a very formal recitation of company policy, footnoted with a "well, maybe I'll try to write you a little something, if you can keep it quiet." I made a note to myself to contact an editor I hadn't seen in eight years and get a letter of rec from him instead. Which I did.

Goodbye To Comics #10: "Lost Girl's First Comics Job"

Goodbye To Comics #10:
"Lost Girl's First Comics Job"

So if you've been following the blog so far, here is the scorecard:
1. Crazy bodybuilding comic-reading possibly steroid-fueled dad.
2. Being called a lesbian throughout grade-school and teased because I read superhero comics.
3. Successful run at the theoretically-named Gilgongo! comics ends in harassment, character assassination, illness, and personal disaster.
4. Comic guy accidently rips vagina open during intercourse, effectively leaving me $15,000 in debt.

But there is so much more. There is a whole narrative about the comic collectors I used to hang out with when I was a teenager, a rogue's gallery that would make Dick Tracy weep. Most of those men are now nearing their 40s and 50s and are almost completely destroyed, living alone in dimly-lit apartments filled to the ceiling with comics & collectables. My entrance in their lives was unnatural, unnatural because I was a young teenage girl and I was not supposed to a)be reading comics and b)hanging out with sexually-frustrated comic fans.

Now you may say: you were a free woman! this is America! you have the right to read anything you want and hang out with whomever you choose!

But what is right and what is reality are two different things.

I started working at the comic store after running away from home when I was 16. I ran away from home because I was tired of getting beaten up by my mom's boyfriends. Misogyny and me, we go waaaaaay back.

The owner of the comic store was a friend of my late father. He was a middle-aged man, a bit on the grotesque side but always quick with a joke and generous with his customers. I was so thrilled to get this job. As a comic fan, working behind the counter was like winning a trip to Disneyland. I had finally made it.

Here is a quick picture of what the fan culture was like in the early 90s. Speculation was in full swing, and everybody was as greedy as fuck. There were a lot of collectors that weren't fans at all but were simply buying up "hot comics." Which was great for my boss. Unfortunately, what was not so great was that comic thievery and shoplifting was at an all-time high. It was not uncommon to hear of one big store in the city or another being heisted in the middle of the night, cleaned out. My boss felt he hadn't a lot to worry about, however, because he was the first one to admit that the place was a scummy little hole in the wall.

Into this scummy little hole in the wall trotted the most bizarre cast of characters ever to grace the fandom. There was the old-time cartoon animator who spent his declining years buying high-ticket Golden Age items, taking care of his mother, and smelling of pee. There was the fast-talking heroin-addict who constantly came in looking to trade choice pop-culture memorabilia for quick cash. There was the short, mild-mannered big-time comic collector in the rumpled two-piece velvet suit who thought that putting peanut butter on his dick for his cat to lick off did not qualify as animal abuse. There was the fat, mentally-challenged older lady who would pull her top up and shake her boobies for a quarter; it should be noted that she was not a comic collector, but rather just a piece of the "local color."

In essence, I was working on the "Howard Stern Show."

One of my co-workers was a soft-spoken Latino man who I was never quite sure was mentally-challenged or just really really innocent. We're talking like Forrest Gump. My boss always made jokes about "spic this" and "Wetback that" and I marvelled at how my co-worker never got angry, never got angry for being called a "dumb spic." He would just smile shyly and act like he didn't really understand what was being said. He will become a footnote to this entire story, so just tuck him in the back of your mind.

I felt a certain degree of "protection" from my boss, that kept unwanted "admirers," mostly adults and a few who were middle-aged, at bay.

So when he told me in private that I sexually aroused him, that I made him "hard," I was completely devastated. I cried.

My boss acted like he didn't understand why I was crying. He said he assumed that as a "single girl living by herself" that I was "open to this sort of thing." Mind you, he was a friend of my dad. But really, considering the caliber of person that frequented his store, was this scumbaggery such a big surprise? As a naive teen with no parental supervision and no security, the answer is -- yes, it was a complete surprise. This guy was like my uncle.

What followed was a textbook case of how a patriarchal society deals with troublemaking females.

1. Tell the victim good-naturedly, "now you just keep this between you and me, okay?"

2. To cover your own ass, tell other people that your victim is a)crazy, b)a nympho, c)a liar, or c)a crazy nympho liar. In my case, this jerk went around telling others, including his own wife, that I sexually came on to him.

3. Punish your victim in some way so you can feel better about her rejecting you.

When I came into work the next day following the incident, my boss told me gravely, in front of the rest of the store, that a set of trading cards were missing by my work station and that he suspected I did it. Since he couldn't trust me anymore, I had to leave.

Of course, what type of trading cards were they?

The theoretically-named Gilgongo! Comics Superheroes series.

I kept waiting for somebody to defend me, but the rest of the men in the store just looked sheepish and away. Most had been recipients of my boss's generous nature for more years than I was alive. Though I considered some of these men as my friends, I simply couldn't tip the scales away from a guy that, in their scummy little hole-in-the-wall universe, was like a king.

So I left. Passively, stunned, not quite sure of what had just happened. Later that day, as I was walking home from grocery shopping, one big heavy bag in each fist, I had a delayed-reaction to the event and suddenly became filled with fury. I marched back to the store and slammed the door open.

"You...sonofabitch! You fucking told me that I sexually excited you! That I made your dick hard! I fucking trusted you! You fucking did this to punish me, you fucking scumbag motherfucker!"

He acted like he didn't know what I was talking about. Of course. Though at one point he reinterated his theory that since I was "a young single woman" I was "open" to that sort of thing.

I was 16.

I screamed at him for about 20 minutes, never once putting down my bags of groceries, my hands red and creased white by the bag handles. When it was over I stalked out of the store, turned around, and punched my fist into the plexiglas door, leaving a giant crack that extended from the "Yes we are open" sign to the faded Charlie's Angels Topps stickers near the bottom.

Soon after that I got what is known in the parlance as "a real job" and entered college. I was so burned by the experience in the store that I refused to read or buy any comics ever again.

Some time later, I ran into my quiet Forrest Gumpian ex co-worker. He said he was real sorry about what happened, but that he made sure to "take a lot this time" to punish my boss. I asked him what exactly he meant.

He invited me to the apartment he shared with his religious, working-class mom and dad. In his room were thousands upon thousands of expensive comics. My old boss's comics. Stacks of mylared Silver and Golden Age books. All the "speculator" titles, Marvels and Images and Valiants bagged and boarded and stacked to the ceiling. In the second bunk of the bed set he shared with his late brother were row after row of choice books, some in multiples of twos and threes, all lovingly sheathed in plastic.

"You see," he began to explain, "whenever he call me things like 'dumb spic,' 'retard,' things like that -- I take a book! Every time. So he say, 'you dumb retard,' and then I go, when he not looking, I take a book. Every time. Not so dumb a retard, am I?"

After years of not being able to turn a profit, the old comic store closed. It is now a 99 Cents store, though tomorrow it might be a cell-phone store, or a discount clothing outlet. All I know is that every once in a while, even if I don't need anything, I buy a dishrag or something from the place. Just to walk inside of it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Goodbye To Comics: Well Yeah, Sometimes Abuse DOES Create The Superheroine

Goodbye To Comics:
Well Yeah, Sometimes Abuse DOES Create The Superheroine

There is a lot of debate in the comics blogosphere regarding the depiction/retconning of an abusive interlude in the lives of one superpowered female character or another. The objection is usually about how an abusive past shouldn't be used as the "reason" why a woman became a superhero.

Well then what the fuck else is that abusive past good for?

Sometimes it comes down to:
1) Go down the path of self-loathing and self-destruction
2) Become the Black Cat, or Catwoman, or Black Canary, or whomever

If you've been following the posts, you'll remember the scene where I'm in the ambulance, theoretically bleeding to death from the most sensitive part of my body, the hapless Donovan Paul in tow.

Donovan tries to "cheer me up" by offering suggestions as to how this accident, which will eventually bankrupt me and leave me deathly afraid of sex, has a "silver lining."

Was Donovan trying too hard?


But without the belief and motivation that this shitty event, like a number of shitty events sprinkled throughout my life, could be used as an impetus to create positive and, dare I say, "superheroic" things, I fucking would have went batty. And I don't mean "batty" like Batman.

So these narratives regarding the female superheroine with abuse and trauma in her past actually INSPIRE me.

So you mean Catwoman became strong and a fighter and took control of her life?



Does that mean that there isn't a section of the male reading audience that gets off sexually by viewing the rape and torture of superheroines in these very comics?

Ah, there's the rub.

Goodbye To Comics: Why I Write

Goodbye To Comics:
Why I Write

There are only two times in my life that I have actually written this much in such a relatively short period of time.

The first was right after I resigned from my job and had, for almost two years, absolutely nothing. Everything that I had used to give myself a sense of identity was gone. I always related it to that scene in The Jerk where his pants are around his ankles and he's cradling his thermos. Kind of a flip metaphor considering my situation, but...

Anyway, one day I just started writing. Out of nowhere. And I didn't stop for like four months. And I wrote a book! A big-ass Stephen King-sized book! And I was like -- where the hell did that come from?

Several days ago, I broke up with Donovan Paul. I think it had something to do with the fact that I couldn't accept that Britney and Bush were smarter than I was. Or maybe it was the culmination of a dozen of little things. Or simply because he reminded me of Comics.

And I didn't feel bad or sad -- I felt all that in the weeks leading up to it. But I did feel empty.

And then I just started writing.

It all feels rather indulgent. But like Donovan told me that day in the ambulance when my vagina got "broked," maybe the "silver lining" is the writing. Of course, at some point Donovan stopped mentioning the thing about writing about my broken vagina -- probably just around the time he realized that in the movie adaptation of the story, he wasn't going to be played by George Clooney.

Remember Shelley Duvall in her prime? That's who I'd like to play me. She's fucking awesome.

Goodbye To Comics #9: The "Jonah"

Goodbye To Comics #9:
The "Jonah"

So my boyfriend of a handful of weeks, Donovan Paul, expresses concern that he will get blacklisted from comic work if certain people know he is connected to me.

Looking back on it now, I would have just dumped him then and there. At that very moment.

Oh, you don't want to be seen with me because it will "hurt your career?!" Well fuck you!

But at the time I was in love with Donovan, and so I took what he said very very hard.

I couldn't believe that after three years since I stood up for my rights in the comic industry, I was still "the Jonah" -- persona non grata.

It was like I was OJ...only instead of killing two people with a really big knife I had the temerity to be harassed and react to it like a human being who possessed at least an ounce of self-respect.

And I thought: "here is the man of my dreams" -- you know, the one who broke my vagina -- "and I ruined it by not playing along with the system!"

All the self-hatred flooded back.

I remembered a conversation I had with an old boss of mine about my situation. A long-time veteran of the comics field, he said that unfortunately I was "ruined" in the industry.

"Do you know what a 'Jonah' is," he asked. "Ever read 'Billy Budd?'"

He went on to say that a Jonah was the person who was blamed for everything, the untouchable, who everybody shunned and sacrificed so they would not get "bad luck by association."

He also said I strongly reminded him of "Rose Kelly" from the movie "From Hell," and suggested that it might make me feel better if I viewed the movie. Which I never did, afraid that I would see a scene of Kelly lying in her own blood with her ovaries ripped out.

But it was only until Donovan expressed concern that I might kill his career merely by association that it really hit home to me what being a Jonah meant.

In the Bible, Jonah is sent on a mission by God. But Jonah doesn't want to carry it out. So he flees on a ship in the opposite direction from where God wants him to go. So God plagues the ship with storms until the passengers get so upset that they throw him overboard. Then Jonah gets swallowed by a fish and spit up on the shore of where God really wanted him to go.

I'm on that shore, and I'm covered in ambergris.

Ambergris smells like shit, by the way, but ironically is one of the most important ingredients in making perfume.

Out of the 60 or 70 people I worked with at the theoretically-named Gilgongo! Comics, I have contact with none of them that are still working there -- only former employees. During the worst years of my life, when I was basically struggling for my life and livlihood, only the freelancers that I worked with ever checked in to see how I was doing. Inkers that I worked with maybe once or twice emailed me out of the blue to say "hey" and to express their appreciation for my work with them.

I was also put in the uncomfortable position of having big-name artists and writers contact me, and express confusion over why I had suddenly "disappeared" from Gilgongo! Comics. Especially with the female creators, it would have been soooo tempting to spill everything to them, to tell them my real story. But then they would be in an uncomfortable position. And it was hard enough as it was to be a successful woman in the industry.

And then there were half-truths and all-out lies spread about why I left. I wondered how they started. I wonder who told them to save their own ass.

"Oh, the stress of working at Gilgongo! was just too much for her. She was very fragile."

And WHY exactly was it so stressful? When I have had positive reviews for every other job I had since I was eighteen years old, never unable to complete any assignment? When I had so very recently received an award from Gilgongo! Comics itself for a job well-done?

My whole point is, if you're going to say "she was stressed out, she couldn't handle it," why not say EVERYTHING, including the "why"? Why destroy my reputation? It may have just been "politics" for some people, or even misguided loyalty for a friend, but it was my LIFE!

But as noted in an earlier posting about my conversation with a boss about the theoretical "Melia Bratton," most female accusers, if you believe the gossip, are either "sexually confused" or have some sort of other mental difficulty.

Here is a related theoretical scene (theoretical as in "OJ Simpson is theoretically a multiple murderer"):

I'm having lunch with an comics industry legend. Five minutes into the conversation, he finds it important to say the following, out of nowhere:
"You know, (BLEEEP!!) had accused me of sexually harassing her. She made a really big stink about it. But she's a very, very troubled woman. Vindictive and bitter. It's very sad. So if she tells you anything...well, just take it with a grain of salt, that's all."
Weeks later, I run into (BLEEEP!!!) in the washroom. I look at her carefully, like a specimen, as if I might be able to detect simply by sight what an alleged whackadoodle she is. But she's just a woman, calm and collected in a simple but elegant brown shirt, skirt, and patterned stockings. She nods and smiles at me and leaves the room, a folder full of writing tucked under her arm.

But there was something about that particular woman, Ms. BLEEEP!!!, that struck me, that very silently creeped me out. Seeing her face again in my mind, I now know what that was.

She looked like a middle-aged version of me. I can only hope that at her age I can look so tranquil, a sheaf of paper with one story or another that I wrote myself in my hands.

Goodbye To Comics: Judith Regan And Why I Don't Apologize For "Sleeping With The Enemy"

Goodbye To Comics:
Judith Regan And Why I Don't Apologize For "Sleeping With The Enemy"

Judith Regan is the publisher of "How To Marry A Porn Star," "OJ: If I Did It," and a good friend of Howard Stern. It might be assumed that Ms. Regan is not exactly a sterling feminist, considering the types of people she publishes & promotes.

Which is why I found her long, candid personal statement released today regarding the OJ book so on-point with my own situation.

The statement answers charges that she is a heartless slime for publishing OJ's book--that she of all people, a woman, could profit off a wife-batterer and probable murder.

And so Regan recounts her own harrowing story of abuse by her ex-husband, and that she is the last person in the world to be insensitive to women's issues.

To have a "power person" like Regan get vulnerable and tell such a story of brutality & humiliation...

I was moved, honestly.

But then the question would be asked,
Why does Regan support projects & entertainers that are perceived as so anti-woman???

It is assumed by some that abuse and harrassment is the fire by which the future mega-feminists are created.

But really, wouldn't victims of abuse by the "patriarchy" know, more intimately than anyone, the sheer power of that patriarchy?

The power of that patriarchy to savage, to wreck careers, to intimidate?

And is our first reaction to fight that patriarchy?

Or to ingratiate ourselves to it as to not get hurt again??

Wouldn't the woman who was brutalized by her husband feel a degree of control, a degree of safety by having an "icon of misogyny" like Howard Stern on her side?

I'm not saying it's right.

It's just when I hear "you should know better than..."

Yeah, maybe I should know better. Maybe I should get a brain transplant or have my memories removed or dope myself up until I've got that "Laura Bush Smile" as well.

I listened to Howard Stern since I was 12 years old. The content of his show blended well with how I saw women treated around me, far more than any feminist treatise that I read.

Again, I'm not saying it's right.

I remember a woman I used to know who had been raped as a teenager and said she proceeded to fuck as many men as she could after that so the initial rape wouldn't bother her.

So when I find that my blog gets the most hits from keyword phrases like "superheroine rape" and "superheroine kill" and "superheroine torture" and "superheroine defeated," I have to laugh it off.

But deep down it makes me want to vomit and never stop. Because the idea of a "Superheroine" apparently motivates so many people to contemplate nasty things.

Then again, perhaps most of those hits are from feminist bloggers looking for material to discuss.

But actually, I know they're from angry sexually frustrated males. I know because I've run with that crowd in several different permutations.

And yes, it's well-known that the rape and torture scenes of women in comics have a big fan following. And that a few editors and writers know this and "play it up."

I get many, many hits based on those keywords, by the way. I was getting good Google AdSense revenue from it, too.

Goodbye To Comics #6: Lesbian = Woman Who Reads Comics? Part Two

Goodbye To Comics #6:
Lesbian = Woman Who Reads Comics? Part Two

The meta-narrative of this theoretical memoir is that I had a sexual accident with a "comic guy" and am in the hospital bleeding to death and unconscious. This is, as is everything in this memoir, theoretical, the same way that theoretically the US invaded Iraq for oil and theoretically Flight 93 was shot out of the sky in order to save thousands of lives. It’s all, as Steve Buscemi says in “Fargo,” “easy-peasy,” no reason for anyone to throw me headfirst into a wood-chipper.

When we last visited Lidsville I had just “outed” myself as a bisexual to my gay female co-worker at a comic company.

It was a crazy thing to do. It was the only thing to do. It was like being at the edge of a plank. It was like choking and needing oxygen.

But then what about my complaint last blog posting about the girls who called me a dyke at school just because I liked comics? Perhaps they were right?

It turned out that my co-worker also collected army dolls as a child, as well as the Six Million Dollar Man (a little before my time, but I had a lot of Return Of the Jedi figures). Was there a connection, then, gender-specific toys and sexual preference?

And was I truly bisexual? Or was it merely that I was a afraid of men?

After my sexual injury, Donovan Paul, the man who accidently broke my vagina, suggested that I might be gay because I was afraid of penetration -- and that perhaps the "silver lining" to the whole accident was the discovery of my true sexual persuasion. And that maybe he could watch.

But truth be told, whatever burgeoning bisexuality that had lived inside my psyche over the last 20 years was now giving me a great solution to my anxieties --

“No more penises.”

I was tired of dicks -- Donovan’s dick, Superman’s big honking theoretical dick, all dicks.

I was tired of dicks as well years earlier when I discussed “coming out” and other issues with my co-worker at a nearby bar.

“Is he still bothering you,” she asked me.

“’s just him being stupid. It’s not a big deal. I have a handle on it.”

“Maybe you should tell somebody.”

“And yeah, then I’ll get crucified.”

I had a handle on it, I reassured her. I had a handle on everything. I was going places. I was going to get my reward for dealing with dicks.

Weeks later, after going to a gay bar with my co-worker, after attending the Pride parade, I came out discretely to my bosses and co-workers. No longer did I find being called a “dyke” an epithet. I wanted to own who I was.

Besides, being gay didn’t hurt my co-worker -- everybody accepted her.

But she wasn’t hired for the same reasons I was.

I was hired as a defacto secretary. A freelancer once joked that I was given money “to sit there and look cute.”

And here I was pulling an Anne Heche.

Some guys thought it kind of cool me being bisexual, because now I could make out with other women in front of them. But I insisted that I had no interest in “bisexuality as a parlor trick for men.” Okay, so now I’m not even Anne Heche. I’m like Gertrude Stein or something. By denying men the pleasure of the sapphic fantasy, I’m a bitch. Useless.

Needless to say, when the topic of diversity in the Justice League was brought up, my suggestion of bringing back the gay Ice Maiden was disregarded.

“She’s dead,” said one editor. “The gay one is dead and retconned out of existence. The straight one is alive.”

Goodbye To Comics: Interlude

Goodbye To Comics: Interlude

I listen to a lot of Christian programming -- I know it wouldn't seem it based on my writings, but I do. I listen to the Christian programming because the religion provides the only real solace I can get sometimes when I face or think back to certain life situations. I mean, according to logic I should be as mad as hell a great deal of my time. But Christianity is illogical. It says that we have to love the people who have done us wrong and believe that whatever crimes they have committed will be addressed by God. It's very comforting, and it actually works.

But sometimes, I do wonder if the suggestion to "do nothing and let God take care of it" works in the service of the actual people pulling the strings. I mean, what a great way to keep oppressed people passive.

Then there is this question. What if you are sure that God (the Universal Deity, The Great One, The Big Cheese Upstairs) wants you to actually be active and confront the wrongs that have been done to you? What if you feel that God actually wants you to write this all out?

Yesterday, I felt very strongly that God wanted me to write this all out -- perhaps just to get it out of my system.

My whole life I have had the desire to reveal the hidden, to shake out dirty laundry, to bring glossed-over wrongs to the light. This, as you can imagine, is a thoroughly unpopular and quite frankly dangerous position to have.

I have noted throughout my life a deep aversion in society to saying the truth and a great reward for telling lies.

As I child I was admonished to "never tell anyone what happens in this house," even if, in retrospect, some of it needed to be told in order to get some outside party to fix things.

As an adolescent I encountered the usual suspects of disgusting adult individuals who would make lewd sexual innuendo or overtures and caution: "now don't tell anybody about this!"

As an adult things become a bit more covert. You observe that there are unsaid policies of silence regarding bad behavior in exchange for rewards. Your reward for continual silence might be tangible, like a promotion or bonus, or it might be intangible, like being allowed in certain social circles. Or there just might be the implicit understanding that during the next series of job cuts your ass might be gone.

But whatever happened to Truth, Justice, and the American Way?

Sometimes I fear that the system I just described IS the American Way.

I just read this article in Vanity Fair condemning the "smarties" who knew early that the Iraqi war was doomed. They were chastised by the author because though they were in positions of influence and had the vital information, they chose to remain silent because their silence was beneficial to their careers. Yes, Colin Powell is a great guy -- but he didn't make it a point to blast the war that he later said he knew was faulty. He kept quiet because he knew his political career would be damaged by not towing the party line. So thousands of troops die in the service of his silence. So how great really is Colin Powell? Or any of the other people who kept mum as to keep their reputations intact?

The American Way.

When I told my lawyer that the most important thing for me was to "tell my story," she wondered why I couldn't just dig a hole, scream into it, bury it, and go on with my life.

I don't know. I was made this way. Ask God. Maybe it's a defect, like a club foot.

And though the Old Testament is very "do what I say and don't ask questions," the New Testament is very much about running around and exposing hypocrisy and pissing people off.

There's nothing passive about storming into a temple and overturning tables.

My key mistake was that I was too passive about the bad behavior of others. And my even graver mistake, the one I believe sometimes is the main reason behind my Own Personal Hiroshimas, was buying into the devil's bargain of silence for reward.

It's a devil's bargain, make no doubt about it. It is what has kept generations of abuse, oppression, and crime intact -- not so much the Big Bad Guys, but the Unassuming Quiet People.

But the real test, of course, is to maintain such a noble standard of living NOT when one has nothing, but when one is immediately faced with losing everything. Would I be able to pass that test? I honestly don't know. I've failed that test before.

In the meantime, I don't think even a hole as big as the Grand Canyon could hold my voice in.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Goodbye To Comics #8: "We Need A Rape" Part Two

Goodbye To Comics #8:
"We Need A Rape" Part Two

If you have been following this memoir at all then you realize that I theoretically have a mended broken vagina, a ton of hangups, and am “too nice.” You were also introduced to the deceased comic character Vicki Victim, who was raped, burned, and was also “too nice.” About three years a before I sustained a broken vagina I was involved in a special moment in time called a “syzygy.” That’s a time where the planets are aligned “just so” as to produce something along the lines of “shit happens.”

Vicki Victim was unwittingly the catalyst of this syzygy -- certainly not by her own fault.

“The rape pages are in!”

The Rape Pages. There is something almost festive about the way the phrase rolls off your tongue.

In the Rape Pages Vicki Victim, who was chosen as the theoretical sacrificial lamb for the theoretical Gilgongo! Comics’s sea change from “too nice” to “badass," was being raped by a supervillain. The artist would later tell me that drawing those pages made him feel ill.

Honestly, I felt ill looking at them that day. I felt like my head was swaying, light. Hmph, I was too weak, not badass, just like a “girl.” Why couldn’t I be more like my female co-worker -- stoic and no-nonense? She read saw the pages, she read the scripts, and she had no problem with them.

Actually, she did have a problem with them. But she never told anybody who could make a difference. And she didn’t tell anybody because she was smart. And so was I. Right up to the point where the syzygy happened.

So I make an excuse to leave my boss’s office and I get on the computer to read the latest on the comics gossip-mill. An item immediately grabbed my attention. It concerned more theoretical people I’m probably not supposed to talk about.

So this female in the industry accused this really big-time male in the industry of a Really Bad Thing. And now the big-time male, who, using my handy-dandy random name generator, I will call “Ned Hasley,” died and this woman was being savaged in the blogosphere for “sullying his good name.”

By an incredible coincidence, my latest assignment, freshly written-out on my yellow legal pad, was a huge tribute to...Ned Hasely!

Now, I knew Ned. Everybody did. He was company royalty. But I never heard of anything like what this accuser said. But for some strange reason, I kind of believed the accuser anyway. Maybe recently viewing Vicki Victim getting raped from behind by a man in a circus outfit sort of pushed my mind in that direction.

I felt the old familiar surge of my blood-pressure. I looked down at my hand and it was shaking. Why was I so affected by this gossip item?!

Before I knew it, I marched into the office of my other boss, the “sensitive” one, and closed the door.

“Is it true?!” I blurted out, the angry tone of my voice surprising me.

“Is what true?”


There were pictures of Ned covering my boss’s desk -- a grandfatherly fellow with wise old eyes and an unassuming grin.

“What about Ned?”

“The thing about him groping Melia Bratton.”

My boss flinched for a second, then took a breath and said,

“Melia...she’s a nice woman, but very confused. Sexually confused.”

“But is there any truth to her story?”

“Yes and no.”

“I mean...did he touch her or not?”

“I’m sure Melia misinterpreted things. And’s like OJ.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Who knows what really happened?”

“Well...I have to say that working on this tribute for Ned has kind made me uncomfortable now. Because I kind of believe Melia. Because of what’s happening with (BLEEEEEP!!!!).”

“Is he still bothering you?”

“Yeah...” I raked my fingers through my bangs and looked up at the celing. “I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know how much more I can take of it. It’s really stressing me out. And now we just got these pages of...rape art. And...I don’t know, this whole place is really making me uncomfortable right now. I don’t know why this is all happening now like this. At the same time.”

Now let’s fast forward to my unlucky first fuck with comic guy Donovan Paul. I kick him off of me. There’s blood everywhere.

“W-what’s wrong?!”

“T-the bluh....the bluh....”

“Are you sure you’re not still a virgin?”

And let’s zip back, back, back in our theoretical wayback machine, back to my dad ripping my Wonder Woman and Batman posters off my wall in a rage.

“You ungreatful bitch!”

Now to when my old boss at the comic shop propositioned me sexually when I was 16.

“You arouse make me hard...”

Now to the Gilgongo! Comics “New Direction” meeting.

“We need to get the ‘happy’ out of comics...”

Now to my lawyer.

“They said they are lining up to testify against you.”

Think the last five minutes of “Requiem For A Dream.”

I say: “goodbye, Comics.”

And Comics says: "shit, girl! aren't you gone yet?"

When I've written the last chapter of this memoir, I will go. I will go, relatively safe in my obscure niche, and I will not look back. And Comics can have Comics.

Goodbye To Comics #7: “We Need A Rape”

Goodbye To Comics #7:
“We Need A Rape”

My theoretical comic company, which, for the theoretical purposes of my theoretical memoir, I’ll call Gilgongo! Comix, was tired of being “pushed around” in the sales wars and in the court of fanboy opinion (such as it was). So with all the red-nosed gumption and determination of Ralphie from “A Christmas Story” Gilgongo! Comix decided to go badass.

They needed a rape. Because there’s nothing quite so badass as rape, lets face it. And the victim couldn’t been from the usual suspects: “The Black Raven” (done that already plus ovaries ripped out), “Bondage Queen” (wasn’t she raped like every issue--at least mentally?), “Demon-Girl” (she was already paralyzed from the last pseudo-raping and that provided all sorts of logistical nightmares for the artist).

No, they had to find the most innocent, virginal, good-natured “nice” character they could find and ravage her not once but twice.

Theoretically, this character’s name was Vicki Victim.

A whole groundbreaking limited series would be built around Vicki Victim’s rape and murder.

This made me nervous. In the office, I was known as being innocent, virginal, good-natured, and “nice”. I was kidded on it on a regular basis, as well as being told it was exactly those qualities that were “holding me back.”

Of course, it was silly to identify with a dumb old comic character.

Vicki Victim’s fate was sealed in a Gilgongo! Comics confab in which we explored how we could change our comics to be more “badass.” It was decided that the reason we were trailing in sales was because we were “too good-natured and nice.” This would have to stop. Our books needed a grittier edge. We needed a grittier edge.

So our books changed. There was rape, and murder, torture, death, and mutiliation. Superheroes did amoral or outright evil things and the line between good and bad was blurred.

And you know what?

Our sales improved. And this is a fact.

But it all started with Vicki Victim, and she has to be given credit.

To be fair to the ultimate writer that was assigned to the Vicki Victim Story, he was specifically told to include sensationalistic “adult” themes in the story. But when we got the scripts in I was still kind of shocked. Perhaps I was so affected not simply because of my fannish defense of Vicki Victim’s “purity” as a beloved character. Perhaps I was dealing with my own issues.

Let’s back up.

Do you know what a syzygy is?

That’s when all the planets align in such a manner that crazy shit happens.

In my time at Gilgongo! Comics I experienced several of what can only be described as “syzygies.”

One was an incident where one of my bosses set out to rid me of my “niceness” once and for all. It involved a freelancer who had a habit of delaying handing in his work because he was such a damned perfectionist. I was told to go into my office, close the door, and scream at this freelancer until he cried. I wasn’t told to simply “be firm.” I was told to scream at him until he cried and scare the living shit out of him. And believe me, he would have cried. And he did. I screeched like a maniac at the poor devil, threatening and berating. Right beyond my nearly closed door, I could see my boss listening with glee.

Tears rolled down my cheeks -- not out of pity for my prey, but because the sheer shock to my system turned me bright red and sent my blood pressure through the roof. I thought I was going to have a heart-attack. On the other end of the line, the freelancer was stuttering, crying, freaking out.

I couldn’t stop shaking, even minutes after I hung up. What had just happened was so unnatural to me, so vile. And it served no purpose anyway. Because soon after the lights flickered and my computer began to whine like a little baby, and soon all the power was out. Everywhere.


But this wasn’t the crucial syzygy that began the chain of events that ended my career. That particular incident had to do with your dead friend and mine, Vicki Victim.

It started with my associate editor running gleefully into our boss’s office, several boards of art in his hand.

“The rape pages are in!”

Goodbye To Comics #5: Lesbian = Woman Who Reads Comics?

Goodbye To Comics #5:
Lesbian = Woman Who Reads Comics?

I am often asked a lot of things related to comics because I am a woman who reads comics and thus I am a freak.

1. Is it weird to be a woman who reads comics?

2. How did you get into comics?

3. What type of comics do you buy?

4. Sit on my lap?

I’ll tackle the first question first. How has it been like being a female that reads comics? In terms of the first 16 years of my life, it has been sheer fucking hell except for the introverted part where I’m in a world of my own and am having sex with Wolverine.

Why has it been sheer fucking hell? Because I knew NO other girl who read superhero comics, and because I was made fun of, kicked, beaten up, spit at, and called a fucking dyke. Of course, I was partially resposible for this as that at some point, around age 11 or so, I knew that if I only stopped the comics, started wearing feminine clothes, and made some token effort to be like the other girls things would have at least been bearable. But I consciously made the choice then, buoyed of course by the sensational return of Jean Grey that there was no way I was going to miss thank you very much, that I would continue on my peculiar path.

But it was always curious to me how the lesbianism thing was connected, at least by my various tormentors, to the comics.

I mean really, what is so gay about Batman?

Ok, let’s start over again.

What’s so gender-specific about a superhero narrative? About the graphic story-telling medium?

And yet, I was called “a fucking dyke.” Obviously the sensible shoes and my GI Joe collection didn’t help the situation. But I was stung, and the connection between “lesbian” and “comics” stayed in my mind.

Worse, all the boys who I hung out with as a child who talked comics with me were by the age of 12, only interested in fucking. So I couldn’t hang out with the boys or the girls. But it was ok. Because I had the comics.

I would stay loyal to the comics.

Besides, my bipolar dad seemed to get more and more agitated as I physically developed and neared puberty. I don’t think he liked women very much. I don’t think he wanted me to be a woman. Had he not passed away two months before my first period, I don’t even know if I would have made it to being a woman.

That summer he had become more violent than I had ever known him to be. A frequent target of his rage was my comic collection, neatly filed with bags and boards, that he would grab by the handful and throw at me as he called me a fucking ungreatful bitch. He beat me within an inch of my life.

And yet, that was such a great summer. We went to all the cool comic shops in Manhattan. We had lots of ice-cream. I filled out the back-issues of my Claremont/Romita Jr. X-Men.

It was such a bad summer.

It was such a great summer.

It was such a bad summer.

It was such a great summer.

Ok, so I’m in the hospital room, right, and they’ve just given me the knockout gas so they can sew up my wounded vagina. I’m in Oz, so to speak, I’m talking technicolor and Peter Allen in a amazing glow-in-the-dark patchwork coat. It’s wild.

In the dreamscape I am walking past a long corridor filled with the writhing bodies of what I can only assume are the Dead. To build up my confidence I start singing,

“My name is Cuban Pete...I’m the king of the Latin beat...and when I dance I go boom-chicky-boom boom-chicky-boom boom-chicky-boom...”

I’m suddenly reading the first scripts for the Rose and Thorn adaptation by Gail Simone. The irony of this story as it applied to my life was not only striking, it was choking.

I was an assistant editor, theoretically. Theoretically in a theoretical company.

Several weeks later I approach an openly lesbian co-worker at a company function and confess that I am bi-sexual and that I desperately need somebody to give me advice.

Goodbye To Comics #4: Batman and Wonder Woman

Goodbye To Comics #4:
Batman and Wonder Woman

I began reading comics when I was three years old. My mom worked during the day and my dad at night, and consequently my dad was tasked with keeping me busy -- and enculturating me. This would explain why I didn’t have any conception of the fact I was a girl until I was eight and the other girls told me, “you dress funny.” (Of course, cords and big leathery shoes are a hell of a lot more practical than a buncha lacey satiny things. And I totally don’t regret missing the prom...even though Sue Snell bribed Tommy Ross to take me and all.)

At any rate, my father and comics were inextricably joined in my mind, Perez Teen Titans and Buscema Avengers forever linked with the interior of my dad’s broken-down old Dodge Dart, Claremont X-Men and cartoony images of Jim Shooter in Marvel Age blending with hot summer days in the early 80s and Dad taking me to Baskin Robbins for a blue daquiri “icey.”

There were a few comic stores we frequented. One was conveniently located only a couple of blocks away but carried mostly old crap and Mad Magazines. The middle-aged proprietor was a friend of my dad’s and would later offer sex to me when I was 16. Then there was the scary hole-in-the-wall near my grammar school. It was a poorly-lit “used book den” with stacks of molding paperbacks and periodicals everywhere; porn in the back, a box of crumpled comics and Mads in the front. It was rumored that the store owner, this old bespectacled man who never looked at anybody in the face, was a child molester. At some point my mother forbade me to go there anymore, though I did anyway because I didn’t quite understand what “child molestation” meant and anyway he had old Howard the Ducks for 15 cents a piece.

But the really good comic joint, one of the first “specialty shops” to open up in Brooklyn, was located in Bensonhurst. This was THE place for me to visit, the highlight of my week, the reason for my existence. My father faithfully took me there every Sunday after playing in the park. Then we’d get ice-cream. It was heaven, reading the latest Detective Comics or Superman Family next to him in the car. I used to read those comics until the covers fell off.

My dad even looked like a superhero. He was an amateur bodybuilder, and had, over the last few years, grown quite large, almost like Hulk Hogan. Those “tips” he was getting from his buds at the gym were certainly paying off!

One day my dad got me a special treat -- one poster each of Batman & Wonder Woman to put on my wall. I had seen those posters in the windows of the store for a while and had really wanted them. Most likely they were drawn by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, as he was doing a lot of licensed material for DC at that time. Classic Batman, classic Wonder Woman, both on a field of stars or motion lines. My little pinups of Scott Baio or Olivia Newton-John would pale in comparison, mere shells of personality next to such illustrious guardians of the universe.

Once back in the house, my dad got out his trusty heavy-duty staple gun and bolted those suckers onto the wall above my bed, divots of wall and plaster popping off. I was always scared to death of that stapler, to me it was quick and severe like a gun, merciless. But it kept those posters up.

Those posters stayed up for about a couple of weeks. Then my father had one of his violent, bipolar fits over me choosing to attend a birthday party down the hall of our floor rather than spend all day at his side in honor of Father’s Day. He started at the door, where colorful letters that spelled out my name, made out of clay by my mom, were torn off in a rage, leaving a spot of blood where one of his fingers got cut. Then he moved into the room and made a grab at my posters, at Wonder Woman & Batman, ripping them to shreds and then balling up the shreds and throwing them at me as he accused me of being an ingrateful piece of shit.

For a few years after that I never liked to look at posters or even think about those images, those Garcia Lopez Wonder Womans & Batmans. It reminded me of what I did, of how I made my dad tear them off the wall. At the time, I didn’t realize that wanting to go to the birthday party would offend him like that. If I would have known, if I had some clue, I would have not went and thus saved the posters, I could have had Batman & Wonder Woman looking down on me, keeping me safe from bad guys, for even years into the future.

But now I have a clue.

My mind is wandering from this to another scene. You will excuse me if I do this during the narrative, but as you remember from the last blog posting I had just had the knockout gas administered to me at the hospital after getting my vagina busted. So I’m like in this “Mulholland Drive” fugue state in the memoir, I’m seeing Miss Gulch cycling by, I’m seeing cows with televisions for eyes, I think even Mitch Hedberg is hiding out somewhere around here, looking for cookies. It’s rockin’ I tell you.

I am now seeing the painters cover up the “Metropolis Destruction” scene from the 7th floor of DC Comics reception area after 9/11. I always thought it was bad karma to have such a negative tableau be the first thing you see when you entered the “executive” floor anyway. But with the WTC gone, it was now beyond a bad artistic choice, it was fucking unbearable.

Maybe they shouldn’t have painted it over, however. Maybe they should have just torn it off.

Goodbye To Comics #3: The Broken Vagina Monologues Part Three

Goodbye To Comics #3:
The Broken Vagina Monologues Part Three

The “Rape Agenda” limited series by DC Comics -- buy them all! In each collector's-item issue a different female character gets sexually assaulted or mutiliated! The line-up is as follows:

Rape Agenda #1: Supergirl. Writer & Artist Frank Miller brings to life what it would be like if Supergirl was brutally sexually assaulted by Braniac and then had her hand fed to Krypto. A brave and affecting story about life, love, death, rape, redemption, death, taxes, racism, and the Iraqi war. Guest-starring Turner D. Century.

Rape Agenda #2: Batgirl. Writer Alan Moore returns to the Batgirl-mutilation genre with Melinda Gebbie in tow with an early story of Batgirl, long before she donned the cape and cowl (we’re talking like when she was 12 and shit). A lyrical story of sexual awakening and fisting. Guest-starring Air-Wave.

Rape Agenda #3: Sue Dibny. We dig up the corpse of Sue Dibny and have her anally fucked by Solomon Grundy, who can’t tell the difference. Both Brad Meltzer & Rags Morales actually refused to work on this story, can you believe it? So we had to hire some ex-Image dudes who draw like Liefeld on quaaludes. But you bought the first two issues of this abortion, so you’re fucked because you’re all OCD and need “a full set.” Ha! Gotcha suckers! Guest-starring Angle Man.

Rape Agenda #4: Tori Amos. Fucking uppity bitch! Me takum crayons and make story about fucking bitch who deserved to get fucked! Stupid bitch! Me draw story and put Carrie Fisher in slave outfit in it. Carrie & Tori fuck like randy whores and then they get killed by Doomsday! Me draw with crayons and I put the letters in there too so it like comic book. And fuck Nancy Pelosi too. Guest starring Granny Goodness.

Of course, DC Comics never put out a comic called “The Rape Agenda.” This is just me being all wacky like Bill Maher, all irreverent, spilling naughty keywords like “rape” and “superheroine” so I can keep getting “hits” by net surfers from here to Rangoon who are looking for dead superchick porn.

I was merely making a theoretical jump.

Here’s another jump, me from my gurney to the examining table after getting my “vergina broked.” A Margaret Cho sketch about how her kidneys failed from her eating disorder played back in my mind, giving me comfort that some other woman has gone through something so fucked up as this. Though of course, thousands upon thousands of women have. I wasn’t special. I wasn’t even totally there anymore, as I continued to bleed and as Donovan Paul, my hapless date and accidental "vergina broker," sat by my side, stroked my sweaty brow, and continued to think up ways how there was a silver lining to what had just happened.

No, I wasn’t all there...there was something...almost past the line of my vision...a person...standing there, watching the whole thing...was it...could it be...THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY?!

No. It was me. I saw myself standing next to me, viewing the whole friggin’ mess, calm as a cucumber, as calculating as a computer.

Oh, crap.

I needed to get me back inside me, but I was too weak. By this point I had several boxes of gauze shoved up my snatch in a vain attempt to stem the tide of the blood flow. Doctors, nurses, janitors, and I think New York City Mayor Bloomberg all filled the room at various times, some presumably necessary to the case at hand, some merely curious.

I winced as the gauze was pulled out and different tools were shoved in, my head turned away from the action and staring at the “sexual assault” laminated informational sign to my left. By this time Donovan Paul was apparently asked to wait outside.

“Honey, did this man force himself on you?”


“You can tell me if he did.”

“He didn’t.”

“Look...I’ve only seen this injury on sexual assault cases.”

“I heard of a porn star once who had this happen during a shoot. And this woman who slept with Dennis Rodman. His dick was too big.”

“So you’re saying his dick was too big? That this is how it happened?”

“He’s huge.”

“Did he use any...foreign instruments?”


“Anything brakeable? Any knives?”

“No. He’s got just a really big dick. He’s a really nice man, so totally calm and everything. He saved my life.”

“’s just that I have to ask these questions.”

“I understand. Oh, doctor?”


“Am I going to die?”

By the time I was placed on the gurney for the operating room, I had shed so much blood that I felt myself lose consciousness.

But I had been through so much over the last four years that I didn’t care as much as I should have. I wasn’t upset. I was just tired. I looked up at Donovan as he said goodbye to me, I took a mental polaroid of his face and built a whole sleepy, comforting narrative around it. I barely knew him, but I was satisfied. I was satisfied with everything.

Back at the house, I had a computer file entitled, “read this first” on the desktop, written a year ago. I had instructed a couple of good friends to access this file and email it to certain people just in case I ever died. It was all very Bob Woodwardsy. I am outwardly a very soft-spoken, passive individual but I am Joe Pesci on a PMS tear at the keys of a computer. My ability to write has, for the most part, been my only true means of defense, like nunchuks or katanas. As I type these words I have an autographed picture of David Carradine as “Bill” tacked to my wall, next to an autographed picture of Margot Kidder as Lois Lane.

What does this all have to do with comics, you may ask?

By now in the narrative, the gas mask gets pulled over my nose and mouth. The part of me that escaped, this inscrutable mute presence that has never left my side, betrays no emotion. But I know that bitch is going to write about this.

Goodbye To Comics #2: The Broken Vagina Monologues Part II

Goodbye To Comics #2:
The Broken Vagina Monologues Part II

Last episode, I was bleeding to death on the carpet of a member of the comic book industry. Much like Batman mused as he was strapped to a giant sno-cone by Mr. Freeze, this was truly a shitty way to die, eye-level with a stack of barely-read Marvel comps.

My theoretical sex-partner, the theoretically-named “Donovan Paul,” was, to his credit, quite calm and collected for a man who had potentially murdered a woman with his dick. When the second attack of bleeding started from my vagina, creating a gush akin to what happened to Johnny Depp in “Nightmare on Elm Street,” I began to freak out. My blood-stained hands began to frantically dial my cell-phone. I wanted to use the voice-recording feature to document that Donovan indeed did not rape and kill me just in case the ambulance got there too late. I’m sure that’s what they would all think, that Donovan raped me, and then he would be thrown in jail and nobody would believe him. Then perhaps Keith Olbermann would use his story for his “Oddball” segment:

“Next we have a story about another crazy comic book guy who raped some poor chick..on top of his comic book collection! Worst...murder...ever!”

I pictured the comics gossip mongers and pundits perhaps focusing on my death for a few weeks. And just maybe, with me so radically and sensationally dispatched, other unrelated things might come out about me and my experience with the comics industry...maybe...

Maybe it would all come out, come out like my blood was so quickly coming out. would all be worth it...

Besides, I had no health insurance. The fear of death pales in comparison.

But I had to protect Donovan Paul.

I was always protecting one Donovan Paul or another, saint or sinner it didn't matter. It was an automatic reaction. My fingers stuttering on the keys, my voice shakily breathing into the receiver:

“T-to w-w-whom in may concern...I just want to let you know that just in case I die that Donovan Paul is not d-don’t throw him in jail or anything...”

Soon EMS and several cops knocked on the door. Donovan tossed his replica Hattori Hanzo sword that had been lying around into a closet, though he forgot about the lightsabers.

In the meantime I had been partially dressed, my jeans saturated in blood as the bleeding relentlessly continued. I was in no pain...which was odd. Later, I found out that there were very little nerve endings where I had been torn. A painless way to bleed to death. However, the rapid internal clotting was pressing against my bladder, something that would reach unbearable levels until a catheter was used in the hospital.

To say that the police looked askance at the decor of Donovan’s apartment was an understatement. Boxes and shelves and virtual stacked columns of comics, graphic novels, and toys filled every nook and cranny. Crazy comic book guy.

A cop, glancing darkly at the selection of lightsabers leaning against a door, asked Donovan to step outside for a minute as the EMS was fitting me into the gurney so he could ask me some questions.

“Honey, did this guy force himself on you?”


“You can tell me.”


“Did he...use any foreign instruments on you?”


“Any bottles, dildos, vegetables, broom-sticks, knives...”

“No...Donovan’s a good man. We were just having sex."

I kept repeating what a good man Donovan was, how he had helped me stay calm and what a great time we had earlier that night, as they carried me off in the stretcher. Donovan accompanied me in the ambulance, coming up with one "good reason" after another why this accident was not a tragedy but actually a blessing in disguise.

"You...can write about this," he said with an encouraging grin. "You can write all about what happened and make lots of money."

I could feel the blood pool up between my legs. I flashed back to one of my all-time favorite comics, X-Men #207. At the end of the issue, Wolverine mortally wounds Rachel Summers/Phoenix -- or so he thinks. We find out later that she used her telekinesis to hold her guts together and stay alive.

I squint my eyes in concentration and try to use my telekinesis.

Goodbye To Comics #1: The Broken Vagina Monologues

Goodbye To Comics #1:
The Broken Vagina Monologues

You might have noticed in the last post that I glossed over a rather visceral phrase: “broken vagina.” I think Broken Vagina is a good way to begin this theoretical memoir. It’s provocative and begs explanation. Of course, you might be wondering what a theoretical broken vagina has to do with comic books. It has a literal and figurative meaning, both of which I hope will be apparent buy the end of this post.

Actually, let’s get the figurative one out of the way -- I WAS FUCKED BY COMICS!

Ok, super. Let’s go.

I, like many in the comics industry, had sex with someone within the comics industry. Actually, there was a bit of fine wine and good food, laughs and hugs under the stars, but, in the end, there was fucking. The last man I had fucked, six years previously (obviously such a positive experience in itself that I became abstinent, questioned my sexuality, and got my jollies writing Buffy porn), was also in the industry. The man I fucked before that was also in the comics industry. The man I fucked before that was only tangentally in the comics industry and was more of a comic book collector. The man I fucked before that collected rare Megos. Before that, I used to have sexual fantasies about Burt Ward and still slept with my teddy bear.

But back to my broken vagina.

We have dinner, laughs and hugs under the stars, and then I say the magic line -- “why don’t I go over your place and take a look at your comic book collection?”

To be honest, I didn’t feel completely gung-ho about sleeping with this particular person, but I wanted to be “normal” like Carrie on “Sex in the City” and have sex like it was no big deal. I had been afraid of getting intimate with anyone since my last boyfriend, and always carried a a degree of guilt and shame concerning my body & sex.

But I knew that this time would be different. I was newly-skinny (okay, that was because of catastrophic illness, but I looked good in a belt), I was blond (just like Mom!), and I had a bunch of crazy promises from various small-time industry types that yes my star was to rise again.

We made love on a bed that I later found out was supported by long comic boxes. We fucked on comics. It was not the first time for me.

Two-thirds into the sex, I felt a “pop.” It was the only actual pain I felt, that quick, swift pop.

I kicked my partner off of me and pulled myself into a crouched sitting position. I felt something warm pour down my legs.

“T-t-the bluh....the bluhhhhhh...”

“Are you sure you’re not a virgin?”

“The bluhhhhh...”

“Maybe you had some of your virginity left?”


Then it stopped. My eyes darted quickly to the beige carpeted floor, which was soaked with a big circle of blood.

At this point, I think it would be helpful to give the other member of this awkward carnal tango a name. Significantly, throughout all of the therapy I received right after the injury, I never mentioned this man by name once. As my therapist pointed out, this made for a choppy, hard-to-follow narrative. So I would have to name him, just as I would have to name everyone.

But I can’t really do that, can I? This being a theoretical memoir and all.

What would OJ do?

(Theoretical conversation between OJ and Judith Regan of Harper Collins
OJ: So...let’s say theoretically I killed Nicky and Ron...I could say how I did it? Theoretically, of course? And get a lot of money?
Regan: would be theoretical money.
OJ: Oh. Could I spend theoretical money? Could I use it to buy a boat, for example?
Regan: You could buy a theoretical boat.
OJ: Could...I sail on a theoretical boat?
Regan: Theoretically.
OJ: Can it be a yacht? I like yachts.
Regan: Dear, it can be any type of boat you want.
OJ: Chinese junk?
Regan: Yes.
OJ: Submarine?
Regan: Si.
OJ: I...I’m going to get fucked somehow from all this, aren’t I? You’re entrapping me, aren’t you?
Regan: I’m on your side, OJ.)

It ocurrs to me that I will have to give theoretical names to this theoretical cast of characters. For this task I go to my handy-dandy online random name generator, a great tool if you ever want to surf the net looking for other lonely, disaffected souls at 2:00 in the morning to engage in a bit of conversation.

The first name I get is “Donovan Paul.”

Okay, so Donovan Paul has just leaped off my bleeding body, his body splattered with blood as well, both of us naked as the day we were born. Somewhere, Dario Argento is dreaming. Donovan regards nervously the red fluid that has dripped through and past his thin futon mattress, threatening to stain his collection of Giffen “Defenders.”

“Uh, I think the first thing to do is...stay calm...and get off the bed. Hey look, it’s stopped bleeding.”

“Y-yeah...yeah it has. M-maybe it was just a little t-tear...I could get it c-checked out with the gynocologist tomorrow if it s-still bothers me...”

“Do you have a gyno?”

“N-no...” I look up hopefully at him, think Willow Rosenberg circa season two of Buffy. “B-but I will -- I’ll do it first thing tomorrow morning!”

Then the bleeding started again.