Monday, December 31, 2007

Marvel's "Skrull" Promo Art

Quick theoretical question:

What would it mean if all the characters on this promo piece for the Skrull Invasion really turned out to be Skrulls?

I mean, at the very least it would explain the last Howard the Duck mini.

Tips For The Overwhelmed Collector

I just went through my comic book collection the other day, tossed 1/4. I do this periodically with all my collections -- comics, books, DVDs, toys, even clothes. I do this because I know I have a tendency to be a pack rat. And knowing is half the battle.

Are you an overwhelmed collector? With the New Year upon us, now might be a great time to take stock.

1. Has your collection squeezed you out of essential living space?

2. Do you have parts of your collection either in your kitchen or bathroom -- not by choice?

3. Does your collection make you fill up with joy or dread?

4. Do you have visions of you passing away and your family struggling to get rid of all your stuff?

5. Do you want to relocate, but your collection has become so unwieldy that it would be cost-prohibitive to move it?

6. Do you keep stuff you feel no love for just because you think they might be valuable some day or just out of the principle that you must keep everything you buy?

7. Do you spend more time with your collection or other human beings?

8. When a piece of your collection gets damaged, do you get disproportionately upset?

9. Do you keep your collection in their original packaging and not touch or read them?

10. Have you ever skipped meals because of a financial deficit caused by a past, present, or future collection purchase?

It's fine to collect things. But we must not let our collections gets out of hand or distract us from what is really important in life. Here are some strategies:

A. Please keep in mind the Zen idea of Impermanence. Everything in this world is impermanent -- finite. Everything you own will eventually end up in thr trash heap. Everything you own will eventually get damaged and crushed and turn to dust. Even that museum-quality Iron Man helmet you bought.

B. Please keep in mind that YOU are impermanent. Your days are finite. Get a calculator and figure out roughly how many years, weeks, and days you might have left. I know that sounds ghoulish, but it's a wake-up call. Decide how you might want to enjoy your time left on Earth. Certainly reading comic books and the thrill and hunt of the collection are valid ways. But being obsessive over your collections or limiting the amount of time you spend with others might not be so valid.

C. Human beings grow and evolve; their possessions reflect that evolution, or they should. If you have surrounded yourself with He-Man figure from when you were a kid but you've psychologically moved past that era, those toys in-your-face are going to drag you down. Having one or two would be okay -- having Castle Grayskull mint in box in your living room while you have totally grown out of that is not okay.

D. If you are keeping the majority of your collection mint in package without touching them, you have a problem. Unless they are vintage Megos, in which case it's okay.

E. Comics and toys of past eras have ended up going up in price because back in the 40s-70s people were not that savvy about collecting for investment. But now they are. So the prices will never go up that much for new items. Unless they're Marvel Legends, in which case it's okay.

F. Every six months you need to go through your collections and cull 1/4 of them for irrelevant items. You need to be ruthless. Never keep comic books you feel "meh" about. Because comic books add up, multiply, have babies, take over your house.

G. Some comic books are worth more as recycled paper. Meditate on this one.

H. It is hard, but not impossible, to get a person to sleep with you when you have 300 pairs of action figure eyes staring down from the shelves in your bedroom. If you are considering sharing your life with somebody who may not be into the same hobbies as yourself, you might want to put those toys or hardcover collections of Witchblade in a den or living room instead.

I. If you want to get rid of large irrelevant parts of your collection but are agonizing about how to get rid of them for more than three months, go now and toss them in a garbage bag and just dump them and run away. Then come back and read the rest of my post.

J. A lot of times we purchase items for our various collections not out of a joy for the item being collected but out of a deep emotional need. Pay attention the next time you buy a comic book or toy or other collectible whether you are buying it because you will get enjoyment out of it or because you are feeling lonely/empty/bored. Learn to recognize the difference.

K. Never buy something because the purchased item might be useful/valuable for some indeterminate time in the future. Never buy a DVD if you have a stack you haven't watched yet. Never buy two of something for "investment." Never buy because you think your unborn child might get a big kick out of it when they're 30. Believe me, when they're 30, they'll be zipping around in their Jetsons cars.

Finally -- and this is more esoteric so bear with me -- the future will place less and less importance on owning "things." The trend will be not to have a big DVD collection but to either keep purchased copies on your hard drive or disc or to stream them anytime you want. As climate changes get more unpredictable and the economy more unstable, things like relocation becomes more and more an issue. You need to be flexible. You can't be burdened by tons of stuff in your house or apartment that impedes you from being mobile. If you have ever moved a big comic book collection, you know of which I speak.

People have been collecting objects they have an affinity for and amassing little libraries since ancient times. That's great. That's human. But -- like everything -- "all in moderation."

Except if it's those cute little wind-up robots from Japan, in which case it's okay.

"One More Day" and Reboots Vs. Generational Succession

(Sigh). You know, I really see what Marvel was trying to do with "One More Day"...

"Sync" The Comics With The Movies

In the future, comics will become more in service to the other media. It's hard to have a streamlined continuity in the movie and a highly-complicated one in the comic. The non-comic reader loves Spider-Man The Movie and then goes to read the comic and is completely confused.

And so the goal would seem, to an extent, to sync up these different media versions. And so we have a Spider-Man in the comic who is single and youngish and has Harry back as his Larry from Three's Company. Because that dynamic was successful in the movies and the movies reached a mass group of people and the goal of the comics is to reach that same mass.

Reaching The Youth Market
There is the burning need to reach out to new readership. The connection is made between "new readership" and Youth Culture. The idea is that a book about a married man cannot capture the imagination of Youth Culture. The idea is that a 16-year-old can only identify with a teenager, not a thirtysomething.

The "Dependable" Fan Vs. The New Reader
But then what becomes of the thirty- and forty- and fifty-somethings who have been following Spider-Man all this time? The assumption is that despite their complaints, they always come back...because they always do seem to come back. Because they're Fans. Because as Fans, and not as members of the fickle non-fan population, they are on a level addicted to these serialized adventures -- at least, this is the assumption.

I'm not saying that these observations and assumptions are The Way Things Should Be. I'm just saying that, if I had to take a guess, these are some of the complicated, market-driven concerns that might have gone into the planning for "OMD."

"Eternal" Superheroes

The bigger issue is the need for corporations to take their biggest branded characters and keep them eternally young and pure -- as opposed to letting them grow old and change. In this view, the same way Mickey Mouse doesn't grown white fur or Shaggy settles down with a respectable job, Spider-Man doesn't get married. In this view, these characters are considered sacred and eternal.

"End-Points" For HeroesA contrasting view would be that in all great mythologies and stories about heroes, the heroes grow and have a natural endpoint. Take Hercules, for example. Or Robin Hood or Gilgamesh. They don't adventure forever. But if you have a serialized format like the comic book, how do you work with this? Do you have the hero live out his adventures, be popular, and then die? And then you cancel the book?

Some might say, "yes," these characters should grow old and die. That it's their limitations born of time, aging & mortality that add value to their lives and their exploits.

The Drawbacks Of History Without Aging
This goes back to my theory concerning reboots and generational succession. Right now comic books are at a crossroads. The natural "end-points" for Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, et al are long past due. What that leaves in their wake are deeply complicated storylines and continuities. Think about it -- if you lived for 50+ years and never grew old but had constant adventures, wouldn't your own history be quite the labyrinthine epic?

Reboot or Generational Succession?

The comic book publishers, I believe, are faced with two options: Reboot or Generational Succession.

Marvel chose Reboot for Spider-Man.

Marvel might be choosing Generational Succession for Captain America.

The question is, which solution is better?

Because there has to be a solution.

Because "eternal character" + "unbroken continuity" eventually falls apart.

Friday, December 28, 2007

"I Really Loved You In American Beauty, Mr. Cusack."

Oh, dood:

Film student interviews John Cusack, mistakes him for Kevin Spacey in "American Beauty." Or worse -- mistakes him for Wes Bentley in "American Beauty."

Other famous John Cusack movies:
"Jerry Maguire"
"Fight Club"
"Mystic River"
"The Departed"
"Walk the Line"
"Cinderella Man"
"Requiem For A Dream"
"Scream 2"
"Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
"I Am Sam"
"The Rocketeer"
"Saving Private Ryan"
"The Pianist"
"Scary Movie IV"
"The Octagon"
"The Great Train Robbery"

Fangirl Fridays: The "Thank You For Buying Countdown!" Edition

What is it with comic book fans using the word "rape" and "sodomy" in connection to storylines and reboots they don't like?

"You raped my childhood!"

"They committed sodomy on the fans!"

"They're asking the long-time readers to bend down and take it!"

Now, I totally understand the rage and anguish fans have over seeing beloved characters retconned out of existence or shot in the head. But why this reoccurring sexual imagery?

Then there is the phrase "continuity porn" -- one I tend to favor myself.

How did "porn" get in there? It's just Booster Gold talking to that little damned robot.

I'm going to play Devil's Advocate and lay out some online PR strategies I think comic book companies might use to their advantage.

1) Sure, by all means have somebody from your team go on message boards as "fans" and counter the bad press. That should be part of your overall PR strategy. It happens all the time. But make sure they are people versed somewhat in actual PR training or methodology. And I'm talking current PR methodology. You can't go on a thread with your brand new spanking "Newbie" Comic Book Resources persona and counter the sea of negative reactions by posting: "No, BLANK COMIX is awesome! I'm so excited about it! You should buy it!"

First of all, you have no cred in that online community whatsoever. Very few to none posts, not so much as a "hello!" on the Introductions thread. And so you carry your unpopular opinion with you to this board or blog, and just drop it in their laps. It's the equivalent of farting in a crowded room, folks.

Such PR needs far more subtlety and a conversational tone. You should gently explain why BLANK COMIX! is, despite popular opinion, worth buying. Create a slight doubt in the naysayer's mind. Be respectful. Above all, be human.

2) Shutting down threads and fan websites is pretty much the worst PR you could possibly create. I know you feel you are "controlling" the publicity flow. But you control the publicity flow (to the extent it is even possible) by interacting with the fans, especially those who are negatively regarding your comic. Silencing and remaining silent never ever helps. By dialogue you defuse.

3) Some editors and talent are natural PR people themselves. They have sparkling, jovial personalities, are popular with fans, and possess a certain instinct as to what and what not to say. Others, however, are trainwrecks. Learn to distinguish between the two. You give a trainwreck their own unedited editorial page or sprawling Newsarama interview at your own risk.

4) Today's consumers don't like to be "sold" to. They are bombarded by sales pitches in the form of 1 billion commercials and ads every day -- on TV, in the newspapers, pasted on taxis, flashing all over their computer screen. They come to their comic book media outlet to get away from all that, to derive a little bit of pleasure from their favorite hobby.

After a while, your numerous previews on Newsarama, Wizard, and Comic Book Resources lose all impact and meaning. The readers think you are in bed with these websites; that is their perception. This perception hurts both the website and your product. It produces apathy.

You would be far, far more successful by approaching Scans Daily or a specially-selected group of personal blogs and write them a personal e-mail inviting them -- asking if they would be so kind -- to post these exclusive pages.

And then use your connections with Newsarama and the rest to run a completely different type of story on your book. Use an interesting angle. Tie it in to current events. Make a poll or contest. Something. Just make that "something" intriguing and unique.

5) Admit when you've failed. Don't get defensive. Whatever you do, don't get hostile or defensive. Or arrogant. Acknowledge popular opinion and then explain how what you are doing from now on differs from that. Try the "It's A Whole New Era" approach. Even if the distance between eras are a few issues apart.

6) Yes there is a big untapped female market out there, yes you have no clue, yes you've continued to alienate and horrify them, yes even when they buy your superhero comics they are often ashamed to be seen with them in public. No I'm not giving you free insights on how to change this.

Here is a Zen parable for you to consider:

There was a time when this was the biggest selling comic book in the world. Meditate. Then take a bath.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Occasional Links: The Custom Supergirl Edition

This cartoon from Something Positive reflects on the beloved institution of the comic book universe known as The Girlfriend:

Need Coffee points out that somebody is selling these cute little I Heart Warren Ellis T-Shirts on
Which reminded me of some other cute T-Shirts for sale...

Marvel & the UN are teaming up for a comic to boost the international organization's image:

In a move reminiscent of storylines developed during the World War II, the U.N. is joining forces with Marvel Comics, creators of Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, to create a comic book showing the international body working with superheroes to solve bloody conflicts and rid the world of disease.
See, now Marvel should just get the rights to GI Joe and just go to town spreading Pro-America goodness all throughout the continents and fight teh Cobra.

Some of the first official Incredible Hulk movie images are being released...

This new movie -- not a sequel -- differs from Ang Lee's version in the sense that after Bruce gets hit with the radiation, he becomes this dude:

As you may or may not know, customizing action figures to fit your character of choice (or make a better version of another company's crappy one) has become quite the move. But I thought I saw everything when I came across these mods based on the Ape Entertainment series Sullen Grey. Marvel Legends never has a figure that sported a Bauhaus T-Shirt before...

And from the sublime to the gratuitous panty shot, we have this custom Supergirl action figure...

Hey, don't get me wrong, a realize to some people that little swatch of white cotton -- that virginal Playtex triangle -- is exciting. But it's a little creepy too.

Well that's it for now at Occasional Links. And remember, kids:

"Will You Be Our Token Female?"

Can I vent here for a second?

So I get approached by this site to pitch column ideas. And they're even offering to pay me, etc.

They approached me and said, basically, "we looked around us and saw that we didn't have any female writers. So we are coming to you because we are looking for a column from a female perspective."

And so I initially thought, "well, fine. that's cool."

And from a marketing standpoint I simply knew they were looking for "Ms. Sassy Female's Female Comic Book Female Female Reviews Comic Book Grrl!"

And you know, I just didn't want to give them that pitch. I mean, I wanted the money and all. But there was just something inside me that resented it.

So I gave them a totally gender-neutral pitch, saying that while the views in the column would of course be from a female perspective (me being female), that's not what the focus would be on.

No dice. And why should it go over? If you have an entire slate of male writers, and you are approaching me because you want to fill that lone female slot (oh, is that a pun?), you damned well better get some estrogen, right?

No, approach me because I am a talented writer, because I kick ass with my writing. Because my writing can be, on occasion, witty. And if you don't feel that way, and you don't think I have the chops, don't $##$%@ approach me so I can be your token female!

You know, in my other industry (the one that pays me money), I get hired and retained based on the amount of hits and links I generate for my client. It's a veritable science. There are charts and numbers. And you know, I like that. I really, really do. Because my gender doesn't factor into it. My skills are what matter, the results I generate.

But I don't want to be a token female. You know how those action figure lines would have that one token female? And she would either be really butch or a total half-naked victim/princess? I don't want to be that action-figure.

Occasional Links: The Chun-Li Edition

What do you get when you combine She-Ra, Transformers, and good ol' cheapo toy company ingenuity?

Yes. It's good. It's full of WIN.


Follow-up on DC's "let me introduce you to our backlist" response to critcism of their current monthly titles:

“We love our passionate readers who spend from $1,000 to $1,500 a year on comics, but there’s a lot more people who are willing to pay $300 or $400 a year on graphic novels and luxury editions.”

--Paul Levitz

Now, this is, to an extent, a sound strategy. The real money, in my opinion, IS in the backlist.

But you need to develop & expand your backlist. A good, well-written story will yield $ regardless of format or media.

And a backlist should reflect the best a company has to offer.

Is an Amazons Attack hardcover justified? Does DC want this hardcover to be a non-comic book reader's entry-point into the Wonder Woman mythos?

And why is BATMAN the focal point of the Amazons Attack cover? Just to confuse branding even more?

Nicolas Cage wants a Ghost Rider sequel:

"All they have to do is call," said Cage. "I would love to see that happen. That would be fun."
He's adorable, isn't he?

Dear Marvel,

Where Is my NEW WARRIORS Omnibus Hardcover, collecting the first 25 issues of this exceptional series by Nicieza and Bagley?


PS: I will settle for a trade paperback.

Smallville's Lana Lang will be Chun-Li in the new Street Fighter movie, reports.

In other news, there is going to be a new Street Fighter movie.

Video: Still the best Street Fighter movie:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Comic Books Will Destroy You"

How many times have I heard variations of this theme from old-time collectors, veteran comic book writers, jaded editors?

How many times?

That's what I thought about as I read EZ-STREET by Robert Tinnell & Mark Wheatley on Comic Mix. (The entire graphic novel is being serialized there for free, by the way).

I quoteth from EZ-STREET:

...I'm trying to save you from a lifetime of misery.

See -- you can be really, really good at something-- anything-- when it comes to the arts-- and it won't matter.

It's all about networking and ass-kissing and--

Frankly, it's about surviving. Winning the war of attrition. Which takes resources...

I'm not being mean. I'm telling you this because I like you...

You need to give this shit up right now. Before it's too late.

Do you want to be thirty-five years old owning nothing but deft on a credit card? Trying to break into a business you love? And finally realizing the dirty little secret--

That it doesn't love you back?!

Compare this to other off-the-record quotes I've heard in my career:

"Once you hit a certain age, you're not the flavor-of-the-month anymore. They want the flavor-of-the-month. The editors, they want to be rock stars. They want to hang out with beautiful, interesting people. And it doesn't matter if you can do the job, or what you did for them in the past. You're nothing to them anymore."

*** *** ***

"Look, if Michelangelo stepped into this office right now, I couldn't give him work unless he was a big name. I can only use big names."

*** *** ***

"Sorry I didn't make it in for the meeting today, but my arm just got numb for no reason. Doctor wanted to check it out. It was weird."

and later, the same person,

"They found me unconscious on my bathroom floor. For no reason. One moment you're awake and the next you're not."

and later, the same person,

"I'm just going to put my time in, and get out. Just another couple of years is all."

*** *** ***

"The problem is that they think comic books owes them. That's the problem with hiring fans."

*** *** ***

"I don't hate the man. But he was an alcoholic and bi-polar and he made the lives of everyone around him miserable. And yeah, I guess I hated him."

*** *** ***

"He never recovered from having to do that. He was too nice."

*** *** ***

"And then after she was fired she had all her belongings put out in the hallway for people to take."

"Did she give her time to take her stuff?"

"Nope. I think there's still stuff there. Do you want to come see if there's anything left?"

*** *** ***

"And nobody even had the decency to tell me about the new team. I had to find out on Newsarama."

*** *** ***

"And I asked them why I wasn't being hired anymore, give me a reason. I mean, what else am I good at?"

*** *** ***

(gesturing to his office)

"One day I'm getting out and selling all this on eBay. And I'm going to live like a king. I may even go to the Bahamas."

*** *** ***

"F**k that s**t, I do commercial art now."

*** *** ***

About a fairly famous comic writer:

"He's not that great a writer. But he's a great networker. He knows just what to say. And that's how he built this."

*** *** ***

"So everybody gets laid off except the same core people who have been drinking with each other every week. Funny how that works out."

*** *** ***

"I made him what he is today. Back then, he was just this greasy, nerdy fan. Didn't know how to dress. I had to teach him how to dress!"

"I-isn't that him two tables down?"


*** *** ***

"I remember he picked up this desk and just threw it into the wall. And he was the type of quiet, serious guy who didn't do things like that."

*** *** ***

Heard multiple times about numerous persons:

"He's a brilliant artist. Too bad he's on the coke."

*** *** ***

"So one day he calls three of us into his office. And my friend tells me, 'you know, he's going to fire us. And I'm okay about it, but I'm worried about BLANK. I think BLANK, when he hears this, is going to break his neck. And so I need you to do something. If BLANK makes a move like he's going to break his neck, you gotta help me hold him back. You hear me? I'm serious, man. BLANK's gonna kill that mother f**ker. Promise me you'll help me hold him back!'"

*** *** ***

"I'm going to put these letters back here. And so if I die, you'll have proof of who did it."

*** *** ***

(announced multiple times)

"That's it. Today's the day I'm going to quit. I mean it. You'll have to do all this stuff yourself for now on, sorry. You'll have to tell them I moved on."

(never did it)

*** *** ***

"Great artist, horrible human being."

*** *** ***

"Great writer, horrible human being."

*** *** ***

"Great editor, horrible human being."

*** *** ***

"Have you ever heard the one about Wally Wood?"

*** *** ***

Advice on writing comics:

"Read books, dammit! You already read enough comics. Read some f**king books!"

*** *** ***

"But when all is said and done, I really believe he loves those characters."

Occasional Reviews: Buy Ms. Marvel & She-Hulk!

She Hulk #24
Writer: Peter David
Artists: Shawn Moll & Victor Olazaba

Ms. Marvel #22
Writer: Brian Reed
Artists: Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan

The current arcs of She-Hulk & Ms. Marvel are surprisingly introspective and sensitive works in the sense that a lot of attention is paid to the psyche of the superheroines in question. I hesitated to type the last line for fear that unless I wrote "She-Hulk becomes a celestial goddess with the mind of a fetus who is emotionally enslaved by Cosmic Spider-Man" the books might lose that all-important "mass appeal" cachet. And that would be a shame.

Which brings me to a broader (see, I said "broad," I made a funny) point --

I do not believe that superheroine comics that are not simply cheesecake vehicles can survive depending on the "usual" Wizard Magazine reader demographic alone. Comic books starring complex, strong, clothed females need a broader (puns I have a million of 'em) reader base. They need a more vocal reader base. They need a reader base that communicates with the publishers in question & let them know when they're doing it right.

Because the fact is, if books like She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and the current Wonder Woman and Benes-less Birds of Prey fail, they communicate to the publishers that positive superheroines don't sell books. What is even more crucial, if Birds of Prey with its new female artist Nicola Scott fails, or if Wonder Woman with scribe Gail Simone fails, that will also communicate that "women can't sell comics."

Never mind the other factors. Never mind marketing (or lack thereof). Never mind previous successful track records. I'm telling you, that's how it is perceived when the higher-ups have the numbers of sold books in their hands. And in the end, while I think the fact of the gender involved does make things a bit more complicated, it all boils down to those numbers.

But the Ms. Marvel "The Monster and the Marvel" & She-Hulk "Jaded" storylines are the sort of complex, textured character-studies of superheroines that critics complain they don't see enough of. Carol Danvers and Jennifer Walters are active, independent, and hard to pin down. They aren't mentally-fragile Suicide Girls or "full-bodied women" with the brains of newborns.

But hey..."Suicide Girls: The Comic." That would make a lot of money, wouldn't it? I mean, the idea is pure genius. And that's the tragedy of it in a nutshell. As a marketer, I know that "Suicide Girls: The Comic" would sell a million copies. It's a great license for a comic book company. It would get a ton of PR, and sell a million copies. Even if the art was so-so. They could even skip the art and go straight to a fumetti, just use photos and word balloons like those soft-core porn mags from the 1970s.
She-Hulk & Ms. Marvel could easily become cheesecake books on the level of Red Sonja and Shanna the She-Devil and sell a lot more copies. But then you soil these strong characters. Do I think in the past some of the covers of each title were devised to "reach out" to the cliche fanboy Wizard Magazine readership? Sure. Do I think DC's Catwoman has sexed-up covers by Adam Hughes in order to attract that very same readership? Sure.

But see, that strategy ultimately fails because you've enticed the readers with boobies on the cover and then there's no or not enough boobage inside. It's false advertising.

In the end, like I said, it comes down to numbers. Sales. If we do not support books like She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and Wonder Woman now, we cannot complain. The companies have room for only one "superheroine" book each to "carry." And those are currently Spider-girl & Manhunter. Those are good-will superheroine books that are carried by publishers irrespective, to an extent, of sales. They meet the quota. Everything else comes down to numbers.

Only when a comic book starring a white heterosexual male gets cancelled, nobody questions whether white heterosexual males can really "sell" comics.

And that's why, along with the quality of the titles, I'm pushing for Ms. Marvel & She-Hulk. Plus, it looks like Ms. Marvel might be a Skrull according to some solicitations art. And She-Hulk's sidekick is a Skrull. You like Skrulls, don't you? What role will they play in the great "Invasion" event? Ooohhh, don't you want to find out? Captain America might come back! And Irving Forbush!

Occasional Links: The Mr. Rogers Lovefest Edition

Heidi Meeley points out in her blog the discrepancies between the original solicited Catwoman #74 cover...
and the final one:
At the risk of falling into a pit of my own hard-won cynicism and cold-blooded marketing analysis so soon after the holidays, I will temporarily keep my mouth shut and invoke the following:

It's never really good when they can Google "Your Name + Hitler" and come up with several pages worth of hits.
I don't feel that Will Smith meant to say that the Nazi dictator was Awesome with an A, but when you're doing a press junket for a so-so I Am Legend remake during Christmas time, there's no need to get into strained metaphors utilizing genocidal maniacs. I don't want a history lesson from Smith, Brad Pitt, or even Sean Penn. Well, maybe one from Ellen DeGeneres, because she's so damn pleasant.

Did you know that Cathy Lee Crosby of That's Incredible fame was the original TV Wonder Woman? I was trying to forget this, personally.

Over at Digital Femme, Cheryl points out that Misty Knight has lost her trademark Afro:

I liked the fact that Misty was a character who was secure enough and loved herself enough that she wasn't going to dump a vat of caustic lye on her head or risk scarring herself with hot metal in order to look acceptable.
This reminds me of when I was twelve and sitting next to an African-American girl at the beauty parlor. She was having her hair straightened, and I was having a perm. Why can't females be loved for who they truly are, dammit?! See, now I'm going to be cranky all day.

Incidentally, when I saw the title of another Cheryl post, "Yo, OS Heads!", I really didn't click the link thinking it was about me.

Really. I'm not that egotistical.


Fast on the heels of the "Fatgate" controversy, Jennifer Love Hewitt feeds the homeless in a heavily-covered media event. Is this her (or her publicist's) way of symbolically saying, "I don't stuff my face, I stuff the face of others?"


Kids, if you don't like the way your current comic books are written, remember:

See, here is where I think DC marketing is brilliant. By currently producing some lackluster titles now, consumers are forced to turn to where the money *really* is -- in the backlist. Monthly copies at your comic shop are mere pennies to a big corporation, whereas Barnes and Noble, Borders, and net the big cash -- and with mainstream audiences, too.

Of course, in several years when the amount of trade-paperback worthy new material dwindles, there may be a little gap in quality backlist. But there will still be plenty of readers who haven't been introduced to Watchmen, Kingdom Come, and Batman tales from the 1940s.

And let's face it, all the mainstream companies are putting out expensive collected editions of stuff whether the sales or quality warrants it or not. It's standard now to, in many cases, plan the collected edition at the same time the original is being produced. If it has a gorgeous cover, beautiful binding, and shrinkwrap it MUST be worth that $25 or $30 or $50, right?

And where will DC's next ground-breaking works of art like Watchmen, Dark Knight, Kingdom Come, Batman Year One, Starman, or V for Vendetta come from? And does it really matter?

And now: THE KINKS!