Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rose From Doctor Who "Just A Needy Girlfriend?"


Steven Moffatt, the head writer of the current Doctor Who TV series, confirmed that spunky "Who" sidekick Rose will not return to the show.

Further, he referred to the popular character, who appeared in the first two seasons, as:

"...a slightly needy girlfriend..."

I think to refer to the character in this fashion sort of trivializes all she did on the show. At least with the spinoff "Sarah Jane Adventures" they put another former Who sidekick in a starring role.

I love the show, but the only problem I have with it is the concept of these female assistants. It often turns into "I like you babe, but Freebird and all that," and then Doctor Who sorta goes off.

And as much of an active role as characters like Rose or Martha have had on the show, they always seem sort of transitory. Look, I know we get different Doctors -- but how many "companions" has it been for this current show so far?

I mean...if I had my choice to play the Doctor or one of his companions, I'd put on the glasses and the Chucks in one second.

And I have Chucks. Well, not real ones. But good enough.

What Hayden Pantierre Did Between Signings At SDCC

Just had to share that with you this morning. Obviously a product placement ad for Purell.

Funnier "I'm so disgusted to be here" photo at this link.

Johnny Depp To Play Riddler In Batman Sequel?

Hollyscoop reports that Johnny Depp will reportedly play The Riddler in the Batman sequel...and Philip Seymour Hoffman will play the Penguin.

What, no love for Patton Oswalt?

Of course, the first and best Riddler will always be Mr. Frank Gorshin:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Superman is...

I received a trio of Superman links on my Google Alerts and I decided to reference all three...

In the first, rdxdave explains why he thinks Superman is, among other things, kinda stupid:
"Superman is like Brett Favre: strong, good looking, literate; but I somehow doubt that he's doing the Sudoku puzzle in the paper."

The second, by Chris Kiser, explains why he thinks Superman is a Liberal:
"Even at his worst, Superman mostly embodies the good side of liberalism, and the universe he occupies is basically a vision of what the world would be if liberals were right. My argument does, however, lend further validity to the notion that Batman is the superior character, and that he, like most conservatives facing liberals, could probably defeat Superman in a fight."

The last post, on Sir Martin's Outclass, is more like an overview of Superman's history over the last 15 years, and how it impacted the author:
"Over the past year, two writers made their mark in the Superman books. On Superman, Kurt Busiek depicted a Superman that is confident in himself and his powers. He believed that Superman is a man of great consequence and that his role is to help humanity endure against all odds. On Action Comics, Geoff Johns brought Superman back to the very core of the character and polished all the continuity gems such as the Legion, the Daily Planet, and Brainiac while enhancing the Superman mythology.

Both writers also reflect the current zeitgeist of a post-9/11 world. Azzarello wrote very much in the 9/11 era where we would question our heroes and our values. The post-9/11 world is a reaffirmation of who we are, what makes us strong, and how we are vital to the human race. I saw that reflected in my own work as a history teacher, and this also reflects in how I view Superman as a character."

All three posts remind me that iconic heroes like Superman and Spider-Man are mirrors with which we are assisted in seeing our own worlds...we think these characters are the same for everybody, but actually it's a mite bit more subjective than that...


I hinted that I knew the possible direction of the identity of Batman post "Batman RIP" in this post. If Rich is right in his latest column, I was correct.

Have you read Rich's column yet? What do you think of these potential spoilers regarding Batman? Surprised? Believe it? Will it last? Is it a gimmick?

And has anyone really warmed up to Jason Todd yet? What can be done to make him somewhat likable? Should he be likable? Is he even a good unlikable -- you know, like Shia LaBeouf?

And one more time I must ask the question: do you prefer reboots, eternal youth, or generational succession?

My answer: I prefer generational succession -- or the feeling as if time is passing and people are changing and growing.

HOWEVER -- generational succession is absent in some of our most famous properties.

We get a little of it in Peanuts, but it is extremely slow and the characters never mature past childhood. Moreover -- I don't WANT to see Charlie Brown grow up. Unless Jason Yungbluth is drawing it.

Pamela Anderson Was Original Scully Pick

...and the Earths diverged from that point, creating "Earth Pam" and "Earth Prime."

Gillian Anderson says:
"They were looking for someone bustier, taller, leggier than me."

Which means that "conventional wisdom" -- not always right.

Side note: I always thought Pam Anderson was far prettier without all that Barbie makeup:

I felt the same way about Suzanne Somers in her prime, these are blonds who didn't need such harsh makeup to look pretty.

San Diego Comic Con Reflections, Part Two

So anyway, me and my friend Tiffany got up reasonably early on Saturday morning, with maps of San Diego's touristy locations in my bag and full of good intentions. Comic con be damned, we were going to spend one day comic-free and in Balboa Park basking in sunlight.

And of course we ended up the whole day at the con and its environs. But we had good intentions.

Hollywood has pretty much turned San Diego Comic Con into its own personal marketing test group. The first thing you see as you approach the con from the Gaslamp district are "replicas" of ancient Chinese statues in a field -- these were from the new Mummy movie. Then you see the Knight Rider car. Later that day, we would see a lot full of (rather shabby) cows advertising another sci-fi TV show. And everywhere there is paper, paper pressed in palms.

And this is just outside the convention center.

My favorite promo item? Election stickers touting the combined ticket of Obama and Adama.

The convention center with its elaborate glass facade dominates the landscape, it affords a sense of direction as you travel the neighborhood. It looks at you as if to say, "why are you not in me?"

Once inside the con, there is a palpable sense of danger regarding the chance of possibly missing anything. A panel, an appearance, a signing, an announcement. You sincerely wish you could clone yourself to catch the two or three panels you want to attend that are all being held at the same time. And when you are in the industry, this sense of not wanting to miss a thing extends to the after-hours activities in the hotel bars and restaurants in the area.

In one hotel bar I looked over my shoulder and saw Grant Morrison. I wasn't sure it was him. I know; how could I not recognize him instantly? Well, I didn't. Then I kinda did. My friend Tiffany made sure to accidentally brush his shoulder when she squeezed past him in the crowded bar. That was so she could say that she rubbed shoulders with Grant Morrison. This was a deviously clever idea. I asked her if she picked up any sense of mojo coming off of him. I damned myself for being so shy.

But I'm not big on introducing myself to celebrities. And that what Morrison is -- a celebrity. In this field and out of it. I had nothing to say to him, though I've enjoyed his work. The only person I really did that "you're groovy" thing to was Eric Powell. And that's because the fact that he can turn around a book of that quality like that every month is fucking amazing. And that's what I told him. Except, I didn't curse.

Ironically, I spent quite a bit of time in the DC booth -- the Zuda corner of it specifically. That was ok, I didn't see most of the DCU editors on the floor anyway, or at least not in the volume I have seen them in the past. That might be because they had the option to stay in the DC hospitality suite. And I think a lot of them took that option, and who can blame them? Complimentary lunch or over-priced mini-pizzas from the concession stands, you decide. And then there is the "rabble."

More ironically -- the amount of former DC co-workers who ran into me and gave me a hug. Between this convention and all the others, there have been a lot of them. Even ones who I thought wouldn't even remember me. Some introduce me to other people at the company that were there when I was but I really didn't meet. "You know who this is? This is Valerie D'Orazio!" Awesome.

The Marvel booth was absolutely mobbed with fans. The circulation of fans at the Marvel booth was a bit more of an enthusiastic mass pushing inward towards the center, whereas with the DC booth it was more spread out and browsy. These booths were the nuclei around which the other booths are situated -- but I think I'm only seeing this as a superhero comic fan. I think cons like MoCCA Art Fest are far better at giving the indie publishers a shot.

The real independent stuff -- mini-comics and the like -- were in another part of the con entirely. Maybe they should all be together. And maybe Artists Alley shouldn't be divorced from the publisher booths, either. It's like these huge swathes of TV, movie, and video game promotions were cutting between everything. It took me several tries to even find Artists Alley. I began to doubt that Artists Alley existed, but was only the stuff of legend. I mean, the Harold And Kumar Guantanamo Bay unicorn you could pose on existed. But the artists???

That night was like crushcrushblurhotelbarcrushtalktalktalkblurcrushhotelbar. Nothing could really top what we did the previous year -- having an impromptu dinner with Erik Larsen and listening him to talk candidly about comics and his art for three hours. But almost rubbing shoulders with Grant Morrison, that was pretty special.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cloak and Dagger Media Round-Up

Oh, God, here starts the pimping...

Comic Book Resources


Comics Should Be Good

Comic Book Resources ( on the SDCC "Women of Marvel" panel)

Comic Vine (on the SDCC "Women Of Marvel" panel)


Schwapp Online??!!!!! (thanks, Kevin)

My take on the general reaction to the announcement: I think it's generally pretty positive, with the requisite amount of skeptics.

I think the skepticism on the part of some people is fine. I'm just going to do the best I can do with this book. I know if you've been a C&D fan for 20 years you want the best for these characters. I want the best for these characters. I like Tyrone and Tandy very much. I want them to be happy. And I want them to grow. And I want you all to really get to know them, because they are really interesting and complex people.

As for the manga issue -- I never approached this project as specifically a manga. I approached C&D and the issue of who the artist would be organically, in terms of what would be best for the story. I was discussing with a peer the basic idea for Cloak and Dagger and he said, "Irene would be perfect for this." And I looked at her samples and thought they were gorgeous and I thought it fit. And I asked her for some sketches for a pitch, and she was generous enough to provide me with a whole stack of them; the art at the beginning of this post being one of them. To provide a writer she barely knows so much art on spec required a big leap of faith on her part; one I was very grateful for.

Also, Irene's sequential art is amazing. There is a sense of action in her comic book pages -- pushing and pulling, sweetness and menace -- that is fantastic. If you take a look at her work in TOKYOPOP's "Mark Of The Succubus" you'll see that it has an edge. She's not afraid to "go there." But she also has a great grasp of giving her characters humanity. A great grasp on emotion and timing. And I'm very excited to be working with her on this book.

Anyway, that's it for now on the pimpage. My BF is sooooo much better with the toutage and the promotage than I am. I mean, I like pimping other people's stuff -- in fact, that's my job -- but I feel sorta weird when I have to do it for myself. But I'm gonna have to. :-)

San Diego Comic Con Reflections, Part One

Hmmm, I want to put this all in a coherent narrative, but I'm still zonked from my trip.

OK, here goes. Friday at the Con.

I guess I would start by saying that I'm neurotic about flying on airplanes in a way that would make Tony Shalhoub's "Monk" look zen. I'm pretty good at hiding this, and I really don't discuss it with many people because it's kinda embarrassing. So when Marvel inquired if I was going to be going to San Diego, the first thing I did was try to figure out how to get there by train. Then I went and got the plane tickets. I'm looking forward to the day we can just shoot our atoms through tubes.

Riding in a JetBlue plane is like riding inside a Macbook. Everything is white and curved and efficient, with a faint whiff of "green" enviro-friendly ethic thrown in. So if you're as neurotic as me about flying, JetBlue is a pretty good call. Just strap on your seatbelt, buy a little bottle of Kingfish merlot, and watch basic cable programming for six hours. Of course, the day I traveled the story about the explosion on that Qantas plane was all over the news, complete with amateur footage of the people within the craft going apeshit and the oxygen masks dropping down. More Kingfish, please.

By one of those twists of fate I ran into inker Michael Bair on the plane. I worked with Bair on Identity Crisis and Hawkman. He is, in my opinion, one of the great inkers, and an excellent artist overall. We chatted and he gave me some advice on freelancing: "save your money." He said it was really important to save your money and have a cushion. Since I'm about to go back to freelance internet marketing & promotions -- as well as freelance comic book writing -- I took the advice to heart.

But also, I was looking for some sign that the flight was going to be okay and I had nothing to worry about. It reminds me of this scene at the end of the Spalding Gray movie "Gray's Anatomy" where he sees Richard Nixon at the eye doctor. He spends the entire movie talking about how stressed out and worried he was about his upcoming eye surgery, to the point where he was attending sweat lodges and consulting faith healers who pull sausages out of people's abdomens. But when he finally sees Richard Nixon in the waiting room before his surgery, he interprets it like a sign from God that everything was going to be okay. What I'm trying to say is, Michael Bair was like my Richard Nixon.

I met up with my friend Tiffany at the airport and we headed to the Gaslamp district, where we were staying at the Grand Horton Hotel. The Grand Horton is awesome. I hate those hotels that are full of ugly abstract paintings and pastels, like something out of a Florida retirement home. The Grand Horton looked nothing like that. It was all Victorian with plaster cherubs and lace. Yes, it had a little bit of the look of a turn-of-the-century brothel. I peeked into one room, there was this guy in a bear suit kneeling in front of this other dude, I didn't know what was going on. In another room, I accidentally got locked in and it started snowing. But I don't think any of that really happened. I think it was the Kingfish.

Actually, the rumor was that the Grand Horton might have been actually haunted. One woman who was staying on our floor said that she heard strange murmurings at night. I was disappointed. If I was going to stay in an allegedly haunted hotel, I thought for sure I'd see some ghost action. Closest I came to action was bumping my head on the fold-out mirror doors in front of the TV set. And my BF was staying in a separate room with his buds. Boys room, girls room. Just like camp.

Which was fine, because both me and the BF were incredibly busy -- he had already been there for two days, and I had to get through everything I needed to within two-and-a-half days total. By Sunday, me and Sweetie were utterly exhausted. His pupils looked like two specks in a sea of tiredness. I was so drained and cranky that if I saw one more dude trying to be Heath Ledger I was going to start bawling. I was seriously going to cry my fucking eyes out. Not because I didn't have a fabulous time at the Con. Not because I didn't feel dazzling and wonderful after my book announcement. But because the San Diego Comic Con is a massive, biblically-sized human carwash.

SDCC was the church of pop-culture -- and being in the middle of it, especially with the added layer of being so involved in the industry itself, was like participating in some huge religious experience. Dude, it was intense.

Somewhere in the middle of it all, I bought a Tribble. It uncannily resembled the cute and cuddly creatures from the classic Star Trek episode. It had a electronic device in the middle of it that allowed it to shiver and chirp in reaction to movement. I wondered what the airport screeners would think of my Tribble. I wondered what my cat would think. Okay, actually I just bought it so I could videotape my cat walking up to it and jumping on the ceiling after accidentally activating it.

The Tribble had the same color fur as my dearly departed cat Buffy. Looked just like her, too, except for not having limbs, a tail, or a head. Purred like her too. Shed like her too.

I don't remember much of Friday night except for going to Dr. Sketchy's and ordering an Original Sin ale. Tiffany was drawing away at the combination burlesque show/life-drawing class. Then somehow we ended up at the Hyatt's restaurant bar. This is a common occurrence at San Diego Comic Con. Drinks were bought, deals were made. The future of the comic book industry was set.

Onto Saturday.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cloak & Dagger!

I've literally just walked into my apartment after returning from San Diego, but I just wanted to pop in and say what I wanted to say for several months now: I'm working on a mini-series for Marvel called "Cloak & Dagger" and I'm pretty damn excited.

My thanks to Marvel Comics for making a childhood dream come true, and thanks so much to the people who read this blog every day and support it and me.

More to come in the days to follow, for sure. But now -- there is the resting. And, hot on the heels of the resting -- the writing. Oh yes, there will be writing.

Speak to you soon,

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Occasional Superheroine SDCC Meet-Up!

Okay all,

I'm not sure it will be as cool as the Pop Candy SDCC meet-up -- but I still think it could be awesome if we tried!

I'm thinking of holding it @12:00 on Sunday after the "Women Of Marvel" panel I'm on, which is being held from 10:30-11:30 at room 6A. (If you would like to sit-in on the panel beforehand -- that would be awesome too!)

From there we could choose a place to eat and hang-out for lunch! Or we could just roam the convention center and buy awesome crap & talk about comix! Or -- both!

If anybody is interested, please let me know so I can get a head count going and figure this out<----super-prepared

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What is it with today?! Ma Petrillo RIP

Seriously, this is just sad.
I used to watch the Golden Girls every Sunday. :-(

Christian Bale WTF?????

No seriously, is this movie cursed? Is Maggie Gyllenhaal going to go apeshit and shave her head now?

(see, I thought I was going to be too distracted by SDCC to get my blogging mojo back. but the world keeps providing me with material)

Says it was all a fantasy in the end and never really happened:

A Few Thoughts...

More details next week, but in case you've been following this bloggy saga since I first rebooted the site almost two years ago and wrote "Goodbye To Comics"...

I'm living my dream now. I never thought I could get to this point. No, scratch that -- when I was a kid, I thought for sure I could get to this point. But as an adult, achieving my deepest wishes seemed too difficult, too uncertain. I received a lot of advice back then that is helpful now, and a lot of advice that set me back for years.

Basically, any advice that stated, in one form or another, that I had to play it safe, not be myself, and do what everybody else did was wrong. It was wrong. How does that old saying go? The nail that sticks out the furthest gets whacked the hardest? Was that line from the Sopranos? I dunno. But that type of advice never helped me.

And I'm writing this now to say that even if you think, in your darker hours, that you can't achieve your dream -- you can. But being true to yourself is going to be a big part of your success.

I feel incredibly lucky and grateful for the opportunities I have now. I wish I could go back in time and tell the 13-year-old me that this day was going to eventually come. But, I think she already knew.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Twist and Shout

I'm going to be really busy the next couple of days getting ready for San Diego -- so posting might be a little spotty. I apologize in advance! And I'll have a lot to blog about when I get back, so I'll sort of make up for it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

To The Person Who Donated $70 To The Site In July

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was going through my (tiny) funds for San Diego, and I was like: OMG!

Really, I do very much appreciate it, and it really really helps.

Black Canary Barbie

Okay, Black Canary Barbie: too titillating? offensive? is the controversy justified? etc.

Black Canary Barbie is a $40 collector's doll. I used to collect Barbies about six years ago. The expensive collector dolls are not meant for kids. They have all sorts of stuff -- from possible "adult" subject matter to little swallowable pieces -- that can effectively place them out of the realm of your standard eight-year-old.

Now, they did put out cheaper versions of DC heroines that were theoretically targeted towards younger fans. This Black Canary is not one of them. It's a $40 freaking doll. Mattel has these "jazz" inspired Barbies that are even more extreme, with fishnets and sexy poses.

That said, the only Barbies I'd give a little girl are the ones where she's a veterinarian, or a police woman, or a teacher, or a journalist for the school paper. Something constructive.

You know what's really not constructive? A Barbie dressed in a pink tutu called "Princess Foo-Foo Flower."

That said, no, I wouldn't give this Black Canary doll to a child. It's not appropriate. A teenager, sure. Not an eight-year-old. It's just too adult. Not adult in a bad way. Just too adult, with no context for a little girl.

The problem is, many people assume, when they hear "Barbie," that we are talking about strictly children's toys. Whereas, like a large segment of the action-figure buying public, what we are really talking about are adult collectors.

Kinda like...comics?

(with a hat tip to Paul Duggan for the link)

Ditmas Park Tales: The Tracks

My shitty version of Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" --

Okay, this is how The Kid ended up making me climb the sharp rocks out of the tracks.

The Kid -- I must have had a dozen aliases created for him in other things I've written, but I'm getting lazy now -- had struck upon a truly genius idea. We were going to go down to Ave. I to the discount store and buy up all the Toy Biz Marvel Comics action figures that were on sale. I mean, they were on sale for nothing, maybe $2 or $3 a piece. Hulk. Dr. Doom. Wolverine. We'd buy them all up, along with similarly discounted Simpsons and Little Mermaid figures, and then wait a few years and resell 'em and make a profit and be rich.

I was 16 and had made a firm decision that I wasn't going to return to high school anymore. It was boring, it was dull, I couldn't relate. Worst of all, they were making us play badminton.

So instead of taking the bus down Coney Island to the store, The Kid convinced me to take the tracks. They were train tracks that were rarely used anymore, overgrown with weeds and choked with rusted cans and the skeletons of bikes and appliances. It was easy enough to make one's way down to the tracks, by squeezing past a fence and navigating past a very level decline or series of flat step-like rocks. But, as with everything in my life, I needed to know there was a predictable conclusion, a way out. I wanted to know there was a similarly safe and easy way to get out of the tracks. The Kid assured me that there was.

Now, The Kid also had a habit of accidentally setting things on fire. So I don't know why I trusted him.

My heart dropped as we walked along the tracks. One-by-one, The Kid opened up to me regarding the dangers of the area -- how to listen for the trains he initially told me almost never traveled down this route anymore, the accidents, the criminals who hung out there. I saw a crack pipe lying between two bleached and splintery wooden boards and brought it to The Kid's attention. He admitted sometimes him and his cohorts would go down there with booze, but swore they weren't taking drugs.

Later, The Kid would steal a small metal cash box and take it down to the tracks and try to open it with a sledgehammer. I don't remember details. There might have been tiny explosives involved as well. Just like in those heist movies. I just remember it was the last time he was allowed back in his house, and that's how he ended up staying over mine for a spell.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, we were walking along the tracks, listening for the trains that were not supposed to come, when a little band of about six boys confronted us. The oldest one must have been no older than eleven. They looked at us with screwed-up, mean faces and announced that we would not be allowed to pass. Also, that we were fart-heads.

Now, The Kid looked like he was 12, but was all of 15. You'd figure me and him could take these suckers. But, we just felt rather silly about it. They were little children. And they could probably, if they piled on, could kick our ass. Or even have a shiv. Never underestimate youngsters who hang out on the tracks.

One boy threw a pebble at The Kid, and it bounced off his forehead. The Kid flinched. Then somebody else threw a pebble at me, landing on my cheek.

"Fart head!"

Soon, we were barraged by pebbles and the sound of this bunch's laughter. We were beat. We had no plan. We just pushed past them, the momentary sting of tiny rocks peppering our back and legs.

"How much further?" I asked him.

There was no conception of time on the tracks. Or direction, other than Where We Were and Where We Were Going.

The Kid assured me we were almost there. Then, by a steep wall-like formation of sharp rocks and glass, he stopped.

"Okay. We get out here. The store's right up and over."

Indeed, he was correct. Looking up, I could see the top of the discount store surrounded by blue skies and clouds.

"Yeah, but how do we get out of here?"

"We climb."

No, there was no fucking way I was climbing a fucking wall with sharp shit sticking out of it.

"Fine, then go back home. There is no other way. I'll leave you here."

I wanted to cry. I watched him approach the wall, grip the pipes and rocks that stuck out of its horrible, lumpy facade, and crawl away from me into the horizon.

I wanted to turn back, but then I thought of those little bastards with the pebbles. I was so close to victory and those Marvel Comics action figures for only $2.99! Nightcrawler! Colossus! Spider-Man with alternate suit!

So I approached the wall and unsteadily gripped a triangular piece of granite. I winced as my knees and the meat of my hands got scratched up. But, I finally made it to the surface.

As I met up with The Kid and headed with him towards the store, something caught my eye. I couldn't believe what I saw. A little further along the block, past the wall we climbed, was a set of concrete stairs leading to the tracks. It even had a fucking banister.

"We could have taken this to get up! Didn't you know about these stairs?!"

"Yeah. But the other way was more fun."

Is THIS Political Cartoon Offensive?

This was brought up on Fark, and, in light of the whole Obama "New Yorker" controversy, I'm interested in your opinion.

Is this cartoon (illustration) that appeared in a recent Rolling Stone offensive?

Just to backtrack a bit, I found The New Yorker cover with Obama & his wife offensive...or more specifically, in bad taste and not effective as satire. I understand arguments to the contrary and respect them. I just didn't like that cover. So sue me. I'm not asking for a boycott of The New Yorker. I'm just saying "meh," and I'm not buying the issue. Okay, not like I buy it anymore anyway, but just read what they post online. But there is a point in there, somewhere.

Back to this Rolling Stone cartoon.

I find this cartoon effective in that I clearly understand the "joke" -- the Democratic candidates are bedeviling McCain. Okay.

I find this cartoon in bad taste for two reasons.

First, the way the mock "Viet Cong" are drawn bothers me. Of course it's exaggeration -- an illustration of a theoretical McCain "flashback" using stereotypically drawn antagonists a la WW II propaganda -- and is not meant to be in any way a statement by Rolling Stone on Asians. It's satire. And yet, the appropriation of that racist imagery still has the power to disturb. I'm not saying Rolling Stone shouldn't have used that imagery, I'm just describing a gut feeling I have when I look at that cartoon. Please do not lecture me with "What Is Funny 101" and tell me my sense of humor is dead. That sort of patronizing tactic was used to death by certain critics in relation to the Obama New Yorker cover, and I'm pretty much sick to death of it.

Second, I think making fun of McCain's experience as a prisoner of war for 5+ years is in incredibly bad taste. That really bothers me. If McCain wants to once in a while make a little joke about it, that's fine. He has earned the right to refer to his painful experience any damn way he wants to. But the reference falls flat in this cartoon, and makes me cringe at the sight of it. It makes me wonder why this is not an an issue in the way the New Yorker cover was.

That all said -- I'm a Obama supporter and plan to vote for him in the election. But I respect the time McCain put in military service, and I think he suffered terribly and that's not something that should be used in satire. From Wikipedia:

"In August of 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain. He was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours, at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery.] Further injuries led to the beginning of a suicide attempt, which was stopped by guards...His injuries left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head. He subsequently received two to three beatings per week because of his continued refusal to sign additional statements."

Again, not advocating censorship, just giving my two cents.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

People Who Look Like Superheroes (and their T-shirts)

Okay, this happened for the third time today, so a post was warranted.

So this morning I'm on the train, and spot this tall thin guy with black hair wearing a long red shirt and huge white goggle-looking glasses with a stripe across the center. My BF nudges me to get my attention. I say, without missing a beat, "I know, I know: Plastic Man."

Then as I am walking to work I see this kinda buff blond guy in shorts and an Aquaman T-shirt, and I'm like: "No wonder he's wearing that shirt. He looks exactly like Aquaman."

Finally, on my lunch break I spot this guy with brown hair that's sticking up, smoking outside of Home Depot with a semi-surly look on his face. What tee is he wearing? Wolverine, of course.

This all reminds me, in a very tangential way, to this really funny photo gallery in The Smoking Gun where they show mugshots of perps wearing ironic t-shirts.

Me? I love T-shirts with cool characters and stuff on them. So far I have:
* Two Charlie Browns
* Linus
* Firestar
* Iron Man
* Wonder Woman insignia
and many others I can't remember right now.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Wonder Women Of America" Cosplay Book

Not able to attend San Diego Comic Con this year but jonesing for your fix of women dressed as comic book superheroes? "Wonder Women Of America" is an upcoming book featuring nothing but pictures of women dressed as superheroines from last year's SDCC.

From the website:

"If you’ve been to the San Diego Comic Con, you’ve seen all those women dressed in sexy super-heroine costumes. Now you can take them home with you! Wonder Women Of America, a great new book by Amos Toys’ co-founder Russell Waterman and photographer Ruth Wiggins, celebrates how women at Comic Con choose to express themselves, their interests, their freedom and their sexuality by dressing up as fictional characters."

You can purchase a copy of this book at -- you guessed it, this year's San Diego Comic Con! Which kind of defeats the purpose of the first sentence of this post, but there you go.

Dark Knight Cake Prompts TV Station Evacuation

Shades of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force terrorism scare!

Police and firefighters were called into the station of KENS 5 Eyewitness News after receiving a chocolate cake with wires coming out of it.

Oops, it was only a Dark Knight promotion!

A spokesperson for a local theater explained that the TV station should have received an e-mail earlier telling them about the cake.

Hoo hoo ha ha:

The Goot

“I am a seducer, I’m a salesman...I’m trying to get people to buy my message. I do have a message. I’m as corny as Kansas in August. I’m as high as a kite on the Fourth of July. That’s from South Pacific, but yeah, I do have a message …The meek will inherit the earth...So be nice to the meek. The old man spitting on the corner. The janitor cleaning up. The man behind the counter at the convenience store. Those are our people—that guy driving that truck—they make the world go. And, you know, the powerful and the wealthy, there’s a place for everybody, but don’t put the regular guy down. And that comes from me. I’m an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life, but I’m an ordinary guy. I’m not a fancy fellow."

“I indulge in wine, and I love vodka, I do...And I love scotch, you know. And I love weed. And I love women. And I do have, you know, those … Addiction is such an overused word. Addiction is just someone famous walking around the street. It’s so whacked out, but I think that there are certainly times that I use money to make me feel better.”

--Steve Guttenberg from a sprawling interview in yesterday's New York Observer

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Keanu Reeves as Plastic Man?

Has it been confirmed that Keanu Reeves might play Plastic Man in a movie adaptation?

Do Not Want.

Not even with the Wachowskis attached.

No, just having black hair and an oval-shaped head is not enough.

Last Minute San Diego Comic Con Plans

The stress!

But once again, the BF saves my bacon. :-)
(as well as other friends!)

Rumor Of The Week

From LITG:

"I understand that Marvel have been playing wargames on how to persuade Geoff Johns to jump ship at the end of his contract (over a year away) and what to do with him when they get him, so expect to see DC Comics fight back pre-emptively…"


Geoff Johns at Marvel?

Could that happen?

What would he work on?

I said it before -- I think Johns is the foundation of the DCU.

So if -- theoretically -- he was to go to Marvel, would he be engaged in similar "world-building?"

As always, this is just speculation.

Also, according to the same column, Shooter is back on "Legion."

And Nova isn't canceled, which makes the BF happy. :-)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Satire or Copyright Infringement? DJ Coffman Vs. Scott Kurtz

A recovering Skull shills his book with McPedro --
by DJ Coffman

Ah, the wonders of twitter.

DJ Coffman of HERO BY NIGHT fame, has a 'Will Draw Anything For $2' feature on his blog, where you can find Obama (as Captain America) fighting John McCain (as the Red Skull). You can also find characters like Skull from PVP getting skull-fucked by the Red Skull. Classy, huh?

DJ Coffman considers the whole thing parody and fair use. Something that Scott Kurtz (famous for his Star Wars and comic parodies) doesn't look too favorably on - as he noted on his twitter (listed in reverse reading order here):

pvponline Let me see if I can break it down for you guys: Skull getting eye-fucked=not like. PvP being parodied in Foxtrot with reverence=DO like.
pvponline @djcoffman How noble of you, DJ. You're a real gentleman. about 8 hours ago from twitterrific in reply to djcoffma
pvponline @djcoffman Scott Rosenberg has taught you well. You two so deserved each other. about 8 hours ago from twitterrific in reply to djcoffman
pvponline @djcoffman Where was the satire? Maybe if you understood these things better you would still own Hero by Night. So blow ME. about 8 hours ago from twitterrific in reply to djcoffman
pvponline @djcoffman the Han shirt is commentary and satire (i.e. fair use) DJ. What you did was infringement. my paypal is about 8 hours ago from twitterrific in reply to djcoffman
pvponline @JoshuaJericho DJ's never had a real tight grip on ownership rights. Clearly. about 8 hours ago from web in reply to JoshuaJericho
pvponline @djcoffman and P.S. Since you made 2 bucks off that, you owe me two fucking dollars. about 9 hours ago from twitterrific in reply to djcoffman
pvponline @djcoffman Hey, asshole. I officially do NOT give you permission to draw the red skull fucking my character. take that shit off your website about 9 hours ago from twitterrific in reply to djcoffman

And, of course here are DJs posts:
djcoffman in fact, maybe I'll just start a whole other comic about ways to skullfuck trolls? I've got time
djcoffman any more dicky discussion about the drawing I took down, and I'm going to republish it. Fair warning
djcoffman I haven't had this many laughs on a Sunday since I don't know when. 41 minutes ago from TwitterFox
djcoffman @JTShea No. He's the world's largest hypocrite. Maybe he should remember things from 1999 like this: about 1 hour ago from TwitterFox in reply to JTShea
djcoffman @pvponline I try? about 8 hours ago from TwitterFox in reply to pvponline
djcoffman @pvponline Well, sorry it upset you. You should see the ones I've turned down. There are a lot of people who don't like you. about 8 hours ago from TwitterFox in reply to pvponline
djcoffman @pvponline And if you allow it to run on your forums I'm going to re-publish it on my site. Just a heads up. about 8 hours ago from TwitterFox in reply to pvponline
djcoffman @pvponline Of course ,I'm sorry that type of humor upsets you. I understand. Now drop it and move on. about 8 hours ago from TwitterFox in reply to pvponline
djcoffman @pvponline No, that was "dark satire" you twit. RedSkull, fucking skull, and he also requested any other skulls I could throw in. So blow me about 8 hours ago from TwitterFox in reply to pvponline

So what do you think -- was the Skull/Red Skull cartoon Coffman drew satire and fair use, as much as any parody using copyrighted characters would be? Or is this a special case?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Burlesque Meets Life Drawing At Dr. Sketchys

A beautiful woman dressed as an absinthe fairy reclines on a gauze-draped table and strikes a pose, an elegant but slightly crooked antique chandelier hanging above. The artists grip their sketch pads with purpose and get to work as bawdy music cranks up over the speakers

sketch by the talented Tiffany Kamerman

Dr. Sketchy's Anti Art School combines burlesque with life drawing for a raucous good time to be enjoyed by artists and gawkers (as long as they're respectful) alike. Founded in 2005 by artist and webcomic creator Molly Crabapple, the event (held every other Saturday) has become a Brooklyn institution.

model Delirium Tremens before absinthe...

...and after absinthe

I attended the event with my friend Tiffany, an artist who let the charcoals grow dusty and hadn't sketched in a while, figuring that maybe the interesting venue might inspire her to pick her craft up again. She started with a few hesitant, unsure sketches, and by the end of the night she got her art mojo back and even won a contest (and a free shot of absinthe onstage!).

Tiffany and a fellow artist share absinthe on stage

The audience for this beautiful and sultry-- but definitely tongue-in-cheek -- burlesque show/sketching session was about 50/50 men and women and the event was definitely something both genders would enjoy. Our tireless model, Miss Delirium Tremens, struck each pose with an air of self-confidence and just a touch of humor.

If you're an artist or simply a devotee of cool shit to do in NYC, you really owe it to yourself to attend Dr. Sketchy's -- their next show is on July 26th at The Lucky Cat in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and you can read the details here.

Gallery:Dr. Sketchy's John Leavitt and Molly Crabapple


...and fantasy
(sketch -- and the ones that follow
courtesy of Tiffany Kamerman)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Want To Be An Assistant Editor At DC Comics?

They're hiring.

They're looking for an editor for their licensed publishing department, too.

About The Memin Pinguin Controversy

Adalisa gives us a bit more background on the cultural significance of Memin Pinguin -- recently pulled off Walmart shelves -- in Mexico. A good point she makes is that this character was created in the 1940s and was never revamped or updated, surviving to the present day on nothing but reprints.

Now, obviously, Memin Pinguin is an offensive-looking character. I can speak nothing regarding the content of the comic, having not read it. But his design, and the design of his mother, are clearly based on harsh stereotypes.

That said, what do we do with the instances of Memin Pinguins in our own backyard?

Do pockets of our community find themselves feeling nostalgic and forgiving over a character like Ebony White from The Spirit -- since it's a part of our own American pop-culture past? How about the portrayal of the Japanese in some comics during WW II? Or the cult over cheesecake bondage covers from both the comics and pulps of an earlier era? I've heard/read impassioned defenses of all these things by fans.

I've read as many defenses of Ebony White as I've read condemnations. Certainly, the character had his moments of self-sacrifice and heroism, often helped The Spirit solve cases, and was an integral part of that comic strip. On the other hand, he was drawn in a very stereotypical manner -- not unlike Memin -- and there was a lot of humor had at his expense.

From the Wikipedia entry on Ebony White:

"Eisner later expressed mixed feelings about his portrayal of Ebony White. He acknowledged that he was conscious at the time that he was using a racial stereotype and was unapologetic about it, but defended doing so by stating that "at the time humor consisted in our society of bad English and physical difference in identity.""

The difference, it seems to me, is that The Spirit's current publisher, DC Comics, does not try to push the Ebony White of the 1940s onto our mass market shelves (though he remains intact in their specialty archive editions). Instead what we have is a revisioning of the character (as depicted in the Darwyn Cooke drawing below) -- something that Adalisa says in her article Mexican publishers are too cheap or dismissive of comics culture to invest in.

I am glad that Memin Pinguin was taken off the Walmart shelves. Whatever its pedigree in Mexico, I really don't think it has a place here.

It's just that before we pat our backs a little too firmly over how much more "PC" we are in America than Mexican comic book readers, we need to revisit our own past as well. To defend the golden age Ebony White or exaggerated portrayals of Asians in wartime comics or blatant sexism in a variety of comic books on the basis of "nostalgia" and "a more innocent time" (a tactic that, as I get older, I'm having less and less patience for) and then condemn Memin Pinguin as racist is hypocrisy.

Yes, Will Eisner was a genius and awesome, but in the 1940s he used the stereotypical pop-cultural shorthand of the day to design the look and character of Ebony White. So did the creator of Memin Pinguin. The thing to do now is to acknowledge the past and create something far better in the present.