Friday, August 29, 2008


...until Monday thereabouts. Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Night Owls Season One Finale... up on

The Timony Brothers, who produce this fine supernatural-humor webcomic, are great people and very friendly to fans.

Why not drop by and leave them a message of congrats for one season done, and another ahead?

Beefcake Question

Do you ever think David Hasselhoff felt exploited for his body, back in the day?

I was doing a search on him for something completely unrelated to securing beefcake photos -- and like the very first picture of him is lying naked with a Shar-Pei over his weiner.

And there's tons of photos of him from his "Knight Rider" and "Baywatch" days like that -- shirtless, posing in a leather jacket and Speedos.

My God, the above picture is like the perfect counterpart to that classic "woman with snake" photo:

And what about the animals, how do they feel about being living loincloths?

In This Issue...Wendy And Marvin DIE!


Remember Wendy and Marvin from the old Superfriends cartoon?

So they are characters in the current Teen Titans book, and they find Wonder Dog, and, long story short, Wonder Dog tears them into gory pieces:

Just in case you were fooled by the cover --

-- and had any intention of purchasing the book for your child.

Comic By Comic writes:
"Remember when the Teen Titans book was supposed to be about hope for the future? That time's long gone. This just felt unnecessary. It's not even as if the characters in question were that well developed - it's just shoddy writing, shock for shock's sake. And it's not for me. I'm done with the book."
It's official: Teen Titans is not a book for actual young people. Kids can read the comic where the big-footed action-figure superheroes who smile all the time fight dinosaurs.

Because there's no in-between. Right?

DC's comics were dark even before The Dark Knight -- but I have to sincerely wonder if, in the wake of new WB dictates that DC movies have to be dark, if this will become the new editorial rule.

It's like the GWB presidency, I just can't wait for this era to be over.

Fangirl Fridays: Heroes and Villains

Four important things:

1. I'll respect the public crusades some people have against the "freaks and losers" when they crusade equally as publicly against those in power who fuck up in the same way.

2. Anybody who says that black-and-white thinking is superior to shades-of-gray thinking should never criticize George W. Bush and his cronies again. Similar mentality. You don't get a free pass to apply black-or-white thinking to feminism. You don't get a free pass to criticize Bush for classifying everybody as either patriots or terrorists, and then go and apply the same thinking to males. And you don't get a free pass to classify yourself as a liberal and then have a fucking meltdown because somebody interpreted "Onionhead Man" in a way different than you did.

3. When I used to hear a story about sexual harassment, I would automatically assume that the man was at fault, and that it was a black-and-white story. Knee-jerk reaction. And I would get mad -- furiously, furiously mad. I acted this way out of emotion, out of identification. And you know what? Sometimes, I was right. And sometimes? I was dead wrong. And sometimes it was just far more complicated than I had envisioned. But all that didn't matter. Because I just made a public statement to "hang this motherfucker and cut off his nuts." And if I was wrong -- or just didn't have the full picture -- I looked like a goddamn moron.

4. My insistence in shades-of-gray thinking in everything from feminism to the latest fandom obsession seems to really piss some people off. Good. I enjoy watching people with infantile ways of classifying reality roar and stew in their own self-righteous outrage. It's like candy for me, it's the fuel for my car. Keep pissing, keep moaning, keep crying, stay bitter, write screeds, invite friends, and keep viewing your truncated world as a realm of heroes and villains.

You know what? Even the comic book writers aren't seeing superhero stories as simply tales of heroes and villains anymore. Maybe some people should learn to grow the fuck up, throw open the door, and crack open their minds. Or, if they insist on being dogmatic and close-minded, at least stop making fun of the religious fundamentalists. In fact, you might just want to try one of their fine systems of theological thought. It might be even easier if you had a book to follow. Heaven, hell, good, bad, right, wrong. Black, white. Heroes and villains.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Man Refuses To Shave Until Fable 2 Is Released

Stories like this make me glad to be alive.

In other news, I am going to stop shaving until James Jean comes back to Fables.

Spider-Man "New Ways To Die" Sold Out Two Issues In A Row

Amazing Spider-Man #569, the second part of the "New Ways To Die" storyline (a.k.a. "The Anti-Venom Arc"), has sold out from Diamond on the same day it hits stands. This follows the first issue, #568, selling out last week.

Congratulations, Dan. You have a real hit on your hands, and you deserve it.

Girls Night Out

also known as, "what female comic book fans do when not reading comics"
also known as, "who needs medication when you have a hot Australian?"

On Sunday a bunch of friends inaugurated what will henceforth be known as "Girls Night Out," a journey of self-exploration, drinking, and discussing Nightwing.

Yes, I wore my special "Iron Man" t-shirt,
because I was trying to be fancy

Australians in background

First stop, "Blade Runner Sushi" -- not its real name, but what we like to call it on account of all its neon. I tend to fall asleep after my second glass of anything, so I decided to pace myself and NOT have the sake -- which was fine until someone said. "You know what I like? Sake!"

The Beauty Bar

Second stop, The Beauty Bar, where one can get both a drink and a manicure for $10. By this point, I had consumed a bit of sake at Blade Runner Sushi, so I was pulling out my wallet and saying "Dammit, who wants to get their nails done? My treat!"

An ode to Joe Strummer

Third stop, The Sunburnt Cow, an Australian bar which was the scene of the crime several weeks ago for one of our group, Tiffany. As she reminisced about the 6'4" rugby player from Melbourne who swept her off her feet ("eight times!" was our new catchphrase), I decided to stop drinking and sober up for the train ride home. I swore to God that the free shots of passion-fruit tequila the bartender gave us had Red Bull in it, because I became more awake with every glass.

And, alas, the best photo of me from the batch we took featured me holding up my middle finger. Cropped:
Face of pure joy

Whatever the case, by the time we left The Sunburnt Cow to follow a bunch of young Australian tourists who asked us to "hang out and show them where the good places were," I had assumed my hat of "oldest person in this group," as well as the hat they gave me earlier in the night, "Taken" (as in: "Single, single, taken"). As we sat in the 24-hour restaurant 7A for a late-night hybrid dinner/breakfast, I sipped on coffee and counted the minutes I was back home with my sweetie.

Because as much as I meticulously planned this night -- every venue, every awesomeness -- I honestly realized in the end that the most satisfying thing for me was just those ordinary days I have with my BF.

But if you were wondering what some female comic book fans do for fun, here you go.


This is Tiffany's world, we're just living in it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sympathy For The Devil?

So here's the situation: in January, I had a blogger publicly take me to task for writing "blind items" about sexual harassers in comics, among other things. It was this long pedantic post. Was it addressed to me privately? No. It was meant to be this big finger-wagging thing. Given the blogger and her own unique history, I was kind of shocked she did this.

Recently, the same blogger has taken me to task again for allegedly expressing sympathy for a screwed-up freelancer who was bothering her. The freelancer in question, who is obviously in need of some mental help, was talked about by name through two posts by this blogger -- thus, of course, making him infamous and even mentioned in Lying in the Gutters.

I didn't say the person in question was a saint, or even that all the things said about him in the referenced posts were untrue. Quite the contrary. In fact, I specifically said that I believed just about every story told in that post about him. And -- I was harassed by not one but TWO of his friends in a manner similar to the situation the blogger described had happened to her.

However, I knew him personally, and knew his situation in life, and I felt since his name was put out there anyway, I should provide the full spectrum of who he is.

Basically, I was saying that he's not a worthless dog who deserves to die. That there were steps that led to this point. That he *was* employed as an inker's assistant and so not completely detached from the industry. That there was a time when he was better. That things are extremely dire for him now. And that I believe (oh yes I do) that an overriding obsession with both comics themselves and working in the comics industry is part of the reason he fell.

I don't think the men who sexually harassed me were worthless dogs who deserve to die, either. That's why when I speak to somebody who knows them well or is involved with them professionally, I don't say anything, and I certainly don't post long screeds with identifying information like names. When I write this in my memoirs:
"Because putting all the hoopla about the topic aside -- the catalogs of "atrocities" that make for such tasty sound bytes and quick and nasty Internet reading -- at its core, sexual harassment is just a goddamn sad situation for everybody involved. It is not simply a story of white hats and dark hats, Good vs. Evil. It is SAD.

It is just all so fucking sad.

Casualties. Me and *blank* both. And everyone caught in the middle."
I'm not writing that because I blame myself. I'm not writing that because I want to garner sympathy for the other parties. I'm writing that because it's the goddamn truth. And sometimes I get real angry and forget that truth, but I always try to steer myself back to it, because I know thatway lies some semblance of rationality. I'm doing it for myself more than anyone else, or else it all just devolves into continuous hate -- and I lose.

Sympathy for the devil? Once we start think of these people as "devils," we're finished.


The fact that Grant Morrison or whomever would look at a character like Mary Marvel and decide that making her a pink-haired fetish queen (with stilted dialog that would seem at home with the second "Star Wars" trilogy) would be hilarious and ironic...that this is the best you can do with the character...

It's not the fact that she's turned evil that's the problem for me. Or that she was really good & now she's really bad.

But I'd like to see this with a female character where she's not automatically hyper-sexual as part of the bargain.

Take the "Dark Willow" storyline in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, for instance.

I know some of you might have your fetishes about grim women in loose-fitting black shirts and no makeup, but Dark Willow was not an overtly sexualized villainess.

Can't a female character be bloodcurdingly evil but not sexy? Can she express her evil in a way that doesn't mean really big breasts in a leather outfit? Or the need to seduce men?

Evil Mary Marvel doesn't need to wear sexy outfits. She could simply punch somebody's skull in. This was the same Mary Marvel who was sexually harassed in a "Supergirl" special and was pissed and wanted revenge. Would her evil side necessarily manifest as being a hottie with bigger boobs? That's all I'm asking.

See, I think the sex is added in to water down the threatening quality of this super-powerful chick. It's like, she's evil -- but she looks like a sex worker. She's evil -- but she could totally "do" you. She could beat your ass -- but you could totally enjoy it.

Nothing against "sexy" or leather corsets. It's just an observation.

(Oh, and for those who want to defend the iconic integrity of Fetish Mary Marvel -- I'm totally with you. Defend away. Just please don't specifically request that I retract my statements because you're obviously right and Grant Morrison is a genius who never makes mistakes.)

RIP Virgin Comics

Journalista reacts to the death of Virgin Comics:

"The Direct Market caters primarily to a closed network of 25-35 year old men who’ve been reading Marvel and DC Comics for over a decade, and have next to no interest in buying anything that doesn’t cater to their narrow set of interests. You can occassionally snag a moderate number of readers by producing work that grabs them by the fanboy short-hairs — vampires, zombies and licensed versions of characters or creative works that they fondly remember from childhood are usually required — but anything else is slow death where money is concerned. Treat the Direct Market as though it were a healthy, diverse and dependable sales environment and you might as well be jumping off a cliff."

In general, Virgin Comics seemed like a high class operation with beautiful art and high-quality production (not to mention: big name celebrities!). But it didn't have men in tights. Ergo: the masses didn't buy them. Ergo: the line failed.

Is this true? If so, whose fault is it? The Big Two? The direct market? Are the fans just too close-minded?

Can there be a big comics publisher on the level of DC or Marvel who puts out non-superhero comics? Isn't Image like this, a little?

Will superheroes and comics be synonymous until the end of time?

Um...wasn't some of those Virgin Comics sorta superheroey anyway? Are the capes a must?

Was counting on the Direct Market audience to know who Deepak Chopra was, and be impressed that he was writing a comic book, too much a gamble?

Now where will Hugh Jackman write comic books?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Casualties Of Comics

The Scott that Colleen Doran refers to in this and this blog post -- brought to my attention by yesterday's LITG -- is not unknown to me. He was one of my ex-roommate's best friends, and while I never hung out with him per se, he hung out with people I used to hang out with when I was in my late teens/early twenties. He called at the house for my ex-roommate many times, and I've seen him at several events.

The portrait Colleen paints of Scott in her posts is pretty depressing; and if I had to guess, I would assume most or all of it is true. Ditto concerning the "Warren" stories, which I used to hear about in great detail before I ever worked in this industry at all.

But, since his first and last name is now out there connected with a litany of unsavory anecdotes, I just wanted to give a little extra perspective.

I've known a lot of aspiring comic book artists and writers when I was younger -- and most of them are in their 40s and even 50s now. They often used to hang out at the same comic book store. If you've followed "Goodbye To Comics," you might be familiar with it.

These are people who lived their lives for the moment they would become professional comic book creators. I mean, really lived for it. Lived for their comics, too. If they had to choose between rent and comics: comics. Food and comics: comics. Like that. When you're in your twenties this might be a little charming. They were fanboys, sure; but they had a bit of that arty 80's punk edge to them. To a young fangirl, it all seemed rather cool.

And they knew their share of people in the industry. Like I said, I was hearing these industry stories way before I was ever in it (or thought I could even be in it).

Nobody in my circle really "made it" in comics. Some gave up at some point, and some didn't. It became this magnificent dream for some that turned into a nightmare when they found themselves middle-aged, without a savings, without health insurance. Most had parents who could kick a few bucks to them, but these people were now in their 70s and even 80s. How long could that last?

You could look at them and sneer and say "how pathetic." The other side of the coin is, there's a lot of people out there like this from that era. There's a lot of people in the gestation stages of this situation now. Fans, convention patrons, assistants in comics studios, friends of friends of friends in the industry. Heading into the other side of middle age; big comic collections, poor health, tons of sketchbooks and spec scripts. Sometimes small, cramped, bug-ridden apartments, fire-hazards, stuffed to the gills with comic books.

As Colleen pointed out in one of her posts, Scott's art submission was wrong on so many levels. Certainly, including rambling lines of old poetry in your introduction letter will not score you any points. But it was obvious just from that alone that he was troubled. It's very clear that to hold him to a measure of proper comic book submission procedure is pointless.

What's that line from Death of a Salesman? "He's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him"?

And I don't know what the answer is. Obviously, people like Colleen shouldn't have to deal with it. Her concerns are valid. I can't deal with it, either. I tried dealing with somebody like this for a long time. I've seen the long slide. You do what Colleen did in her post -- try to break it down rationally. It doesn't work. You gotta just let them live their lives, even if it seems like a bit of a train wreck.

But I also can't let this go as just a big grotesque joke about a loser when the entire perspective on the story is not there.

Scott worked many, many, many years as an inking assistant to professionals. He's filled in the blacks and done clean-up on a lot of books that made it to print. This might be the limit of what he can contribute to Big Comics. The drive is still there to submit samples, and to expand his range. The presentation in doing so -- whether in person or electronically -- is not great. The company he chooses to keep is not great. Judging by Colleen's "Warren" stories, and my own run-ins with obsessive people who were good friends with Scott -- well, there is obviously a pattern here.

But people like this, without the intervention of family and (good) friends, will end up in a bad place. That's all I'm saying. And some might say, "well good for them," but I'm saying that they too are part of the fabric of this industry's and fandom's history. They may not qualify for the Heroes Initiative -- but they might very well end up elderly, sick, and destitute in the decades to come. Trust me when I tell you this will become a problem. Trust me when I tell you that more and more in the future this will become a problem.

India's "Hari Puttar" Vs. Harry Potter

In India, "puttar" means son and "Hari" is a popular name. So the new Indian children's comedy "Hari Puttar," about a 10-year old Indian boy who moves to England, is pretty innocent, isn't it?

Not so fast, says the WB. They've filed a lawsuit against the makers of the film -- wanting it banned for its similarity (at least in name) to "Harry Potter."

Of course, the name "Harry Potter" first turned up in the 1986 supernatural movie "Troll" -- but who's keeping track?

"One Day He'll Be Out On His Ass!"

I need to write this down before I forget it.

I went out to buy some breakfast close to the house. Should have traveled farther, got a really good meal, but I had a lot to do and I just wanted to get it over with.

Went to the deli. This is an old old deli, that's been around since I was an infant. In a patchwork neighborhood filled with stores that open and close every other month, and several outright abandoned storefronts, the deli is a rarity. But it looks its age -- and worse, it has shared its long history in this sad area with my own. It knows too much: remembering the generations, my family's growth and implosion, my modest string of ex-boyfriends and roommates, everything. How to make a clean break of it? Certainly not at the deli.

When I walk into this deli, I feel as if I will never leave this neighborhood, as if the same preservative formula keeping it standing will continue to glue me in place.

The guy at the counter is ill with a degenerative disease, and I feel terrible as he struggles to put my $1.50 egg sandwich, container of orange juice, and cup of coffee in the brown paper bag. I feel terrible for him but I don't want to pity him; I'll be honest, I just don't know how to act. The other guy, he says "hello how you're doing" to me in the same rote way he has done for more than a decade, without looking at me, more a statement than a question. He's ill too, but not as bad as the first guy. And then there's yet another guy there, very old -- he's ill too, with big dark spots all over his skin. There was another guy used to work there, he died.

So anyway, I'm almost done at the place, this woman comes in and asks if they carry watermelons. Obviously, I think, she is new to the neighborhood. The closest thing to fresh fruit this deli carries are pickles.

When the lady leaves, the "hello how are you doing" guy scowls and says derisively, "Ha! Do we carry watermelons?!" And then he steps out to get some change for the store.

The first guy can't control his anger, his face bent in disgust. Now, I never seen this guy look angry before, so this is a shock to me. But he's furious, shaking, muttering, "Got no respect for people -- he's like an animal! You know? No respect! No wonder one day he'll be out on his ass!"

I scrambled to pick up my brown paper bag bursting with its contents (purchased for only $3.58). The man insisted, "you need a plastic bag? I'll go get you a plastic bag!"

"No, I-I'm fine..."

The poor man was clearly in agony packing the brown bag alone. I was fine. But it wasn't even that.

"No, no, let me get you a plastic bag!"

I thought about the elevators back at the apartment, both of them, rattling and in sore need of repair. I knew the landlord would wait until somebody got hurt in them again. I just knew it.

Cher to Play Catwoman in New Batman Movie?

Is Cher on tap to play Catwoman in the latest Batman movie? The Telegraph says oui:

A studio executive said: "Cher is Nolan's first choice to play Catwoman. He wants to her to portray her like a vamp in her twilight years.

"The new Catwoman will be the absolute opposite of Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry's purring creations."

I'm taking this with a big grain of salt, but given the trajectory of the films so far, such a storyline featuring an aging Catwoman is not completely out of the real of possibility.

Cue the fan posters and the Photoshop.

The Director Who Films My Life

**it's scary how accurate this is**

Your result for The Director Who Films Your Life Test...

Roger Corman

Your film will be 46% romantic, 24% comedy, 54% complex plot, and a $ 28 million budget.

An action-complex tale about a complex character that is you. Corman was responsible for a very early Jack Nicholson film, 1963's The Terror (Francis Coppola was associate producer), filmed in three days! The actor who plays you will emote complexity like Jack ... maybe Christian Slater or Gwyneth Paltrow. Also, Roger filmed the original Little Shop of Horrors film -- which in the 1980s was the basis for a hit Broadway musical and another film. All his films were shot for mere thousands of dollars, sometimes completed within the week. Roger knows talent, and knows how to keep costs down with complex stories such as your life story. His versions of Edgar Allen Poe stories are considered classics (The Raven, The Pit and the Pendulum), and also directed Deathsport and Bloody Mama in the 1970s. Oh, yeah, man, this guy will make your film a cult classic!

Take The Director Who Films Your Life Test at HelloQuizzy

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Favorite Bad Movies #1: Staying Alive

So many things about this film:

1. It's literally a "what if Sylvester Stallone made a dance movie?" Answer: many women (and men) half-naked in spandex.

2. The opening scene, at the dance try-outs, is an Eighties camp classic.

3. The Broadway show at the center of the film -- "Satan's Alley" -- is unbearably bad, yet it is always referred to as awesome and the show of Tony's career.

4. Tony Manero is portrayed as a complete and total asshole.

5. Director and writer Sylvester Stallone had no real grip either on the movie's predecessor, Saturday Night Fever, nor on the workings of the actual dance community -- resulting in a movie that rings hollow on both.

6. This film started the fast slide into failure & obscurity for John Travolta, a blow he would not recover from until Pulp Fiction.7. The very end of the film, where a triumphant Tony struts down Broadway in tribute to the opening of "Saturday Night Fever," should cause us to root for him -- but all I can think about when I see it is, "this guy has just been a selfish, insufferable asshole through the entire picture."

And yet, I never fail to watch this movie whenever it comes on cable. It's so preposterous that I am transfixed & compelled. It is the 1980s version of Showgirls.

And of course, we would later see Staying Alive co-star Finola Hughes later in TV's Generation X as Emma Frost:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Didio: Rebooting Was A Mistake

Dan Didio @ Toronto Fan Expo:

"My problem with us is that we reboot the characters too much.

“What happens is that if a character doesn’t work, we go, ‘We got a brand new direction to put him in! We’re moving him into something new! We’re going to try something brand new and different! We’re going to throw everything out and start over again!’ We make that mistake, but what that does is, it alienates fans.

“Our biggest mistake is that we don’t continue and build on…"

Now, is Didio referring to creative team reboots like Supergirl & Flash?

Or rebooted characters like Atom, Firestorm, and Blue Beetle?

Or both?

I'd like to couple this with references made in the last Lying In The Gutters regarding the fates of books like Atom, Blue Beetle, etc:

"...we can expect a swathe of cancelled DC books.

"We've seen "Shadowpact," "All New Atom," "Checkmate" and more get cancelled at certain sales levels. Now books like "Blue Beetle" and "Simon Dark" are at similar lower levels. My prediction: expect announcements shortly."

Now, I really don't want to see a book like Blue Beetle get cancelled, as I think it has a lot of merit.

However, I wonder with this newly admitted regret over rebooting, if DC's faith in the current crop of rebooted characters has dwindled.

Batman III Fan Posters -- Crappy Or Awesome?

Okay, this was almost as good as watching that Superman III trailer from the previous post...

CHUD points out some Batman III fan posters that are...well, they weren't too crazy with them.

But you decide. I think the David Tennant one is sort of ok. The Catwoman one kinda looks like she has a five o'clock shadow.

Posters of Harley and Two-Face here, via io9

WB To Look Towards "Superman III" As Inspiration

If Warner Brothers wants to do a "darker" Superman movie, may I humbly request that they look no further than the great 1983 film "Superman III" for inspiration. Reasons why:

1) Superman becomes evil self-hating wino
2) Woman turns into scary-ass robot

All the elements are there. I guarantee that if the WB puts in a scene comparable to the robot transformation scene in "Superman III," no child will be able to watch this film -- which is, apparently, kind of what they want.

Also, they can get some poorly cast comedian to play some slapstick comedy relief character who skis on the side of skyscrapers ala Richard Pryor. You know, I was watching the biography of Pryor the other day, and when they got to the part where he was taking these roles like "Superman III" that were the antithesis of everything he stood for in his brilliant stand-up comedy work, I just got so depressed. It's like, what's with these comedians -- Pryor, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy. Hollywood just homogenizes them. Even freaking Bob Saget.

You know what Bob Saget was famous for before "Full House" and "America's Funniest Home Videos"? Being the dirtiest comedian on the strip. That's why my eyes filled up with tears when I watched that "I suck dick for coke" scene in "Half Baked" -- because I was getting a glimpse of the Saget who used to be.

Shit, I've just drank waaaaay too much coffee.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Arthur: Worst Reboot Of A Children's Character Ever!

When I was writing the previous Dora the Explorer post, I remembered what I consider to be the worst translation of a children's character from book to screen ever:

Arthur The Aardvark.

Okay, here is the original "Arthur" book:

It's a book about how even though Arthur has a big nose, it's totally okay because everyone's beautiful and it's what is inside that counts.

Now here is Arthur after Hollywood got a hold of him:


Can you imagine being the creator of some character like Arthur and being told by TV producers that they totally love everything about this character -- except for the key concept?

But the ears...the ears are still there. Thank God.

Dora The Explorer To Get "Feminine" Makeover

Apparently Nickelodeon is working on a revamp of Dora the Explorer to make her appeal to preteen girls:

"Amid competition from older and racier rivals such as the Disney phenomenon Hannah Montana, Dora's TV bosses are reportedly in talks about re-designing some themed toys and merchandise to make the character more feminine."

If this is true, and they make her into another Hannah Montana/Barbie/Bratz clone, I will vomit my guts out.

If they want to make her older -- fine. But just make her "normal." Please please please don't glam her up.

You know what Dora does? She freakin' explores! With comfortable shoes!

An Uncommon World Calls For Uncommon Strategies

I am in yur box, thinking outside of it

When I was in my early twenties, ready to leave college, I was still in a world that believed the best thing you could achieve was the security of a steady 9-to-5 job. This job would be one you could stay in for thirty years and which would provide you and your family everything you needed for the life you have grown accustomed to. Sure, you would start at entry-level at this great Job, but, as the years went by (and you caused no trouble), you could count on steadily moving up the ranks to a higher position, perhaps one day becoming a manager or even a manager of managers.

The old paradigm: Dagwood Bumstead, suburban breadwinner

My father had such a job. It was a job that managed to support a wife and three kids, and provide us all with medical insurance and regular trips to the dentist.

While he struggled for years in the trenches, finally my dad built things up at the job where he could be a Supervisor. Part of this meant that he could have the type of job so many people dream of -- a bureaucratic position which entailed him spending long stretches of time sleeping or doing nothing. I'm not exaggerating this. He often had nothing to do. He had nothing to do but had to stay in that goddamn office.

On one of the days he went back into the field, during an emergency, he had a heart-attack and died. Just days short of his pension. Which his employers saw fit to deny his family. Because while he played the game -- oh, so sorry, you're a couple days too late. Do not win, do not collect $200, do not cross "Go."

But back then, there at least was still a game to be played.

I think that the notion of job security I referred to earlier -- such a staple of life when I was growing up -- was just part of an era. I don't think it's the defacto way things are with working in America, or even should be. This notion of one's employer as the God-like father-figure who provides, who gives food and shelter and health and a future -- as long as you play by the rules and think inside the box.

The new paradigm: Lucille Van Pelt, entrepreneur

I just made a sum of money this week doing two things I enjoy -- writing and blogging. Neither path was a common strategy. The more I let go of my attachment to the common strategies, the more opportunities I encounter. It's as simple as that. It's as literal as that.

Just wanted to share that with you. This week was very very cool for me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sexual Harassment In Comics -- still going on

I know, I'm naive right?

No, I really am.

Somehow I bought the idea that we are all in a more mature place, and that these are not concerns anymore, cuz we're all adults here.

But apparently -- no.

"On Friday, just before the show closed, this same woman was closing up her tables when a group of four men came to her booth, started taking photographs of her, telling her she was the "prettiest girl at the con." They they entered the booth, started hugging and kissing her and taking photographs of themselves doing so. She was confused and scared, but they left quickly after doing that."

This shit is still going on? Women groped and stalked at SDCC? This is 1990s stuff!

My motto: "let the 1990s (in comics) stay in the 1990s."

And as several people have suggested, the answer is for San Diego Comic Con to have an official policy regarding sexual harassment.

Such official policies -- when actually enforced -- are everybody's friends. They prevent misunderstandings and tragedies (and tragic misunderstandings).

There is only one thing from the above-referenced post by John DiBello I would nit-pick at -- and I'm doing it based on my own experience.

It's this:

"Another friend of mine, a woman running her own booth: on Friday a man came to her booth and openly criticized her drawing ability and sense of design. Reports from others in the same section of the floor confirmed he'd targeted several women with the same sort of abuse and criticism."

I don't think this instance (as unpleasant and crappy as it is) should be added to an official complaint about the sexual harassment for the following reason:

Assholes who don't want to do anything to fight sexual harassment anyway will point to that quote and say: "oh, now we're not allowed to criticize a woman's drawing ability?"

That can be used as a strawman argument to discredit or make light of the other complaints.

I learned this from a sexual harassment attorney. She said I couldn't include claims of being yelled at and other abusive (yet not explicitly sexually harassing) behavior, because then it could be said that "I just couldn't handle the pressure" of my job.

NOW -- we all know that things like excessive criticism or verbally abusive behavior specifically towards women could very damn well spring from misogyny.

But I'm trying to tell you about some of the tough questions that come up, and how jackasses use certain things to excuse shitty behavior.

That all said -- SDCC needs a sexual harassment policy in place by next year's con. It will be good for them, it will be good for women, it will be good for men, it will be good for everybody.

Marie Severin Birthday Tribute: Fallen Angels #3

In commemoration of Marie Severin's 79th birthday, I wanted to run some art from a recent discovery I made: Marie's guest pencilling on Marvel's Fallen Angels #3, from 1987.

I absolutely love her art in this issue (with inks by Tom Palmer!), her comic timing for the extended "origin of Gomi" sequence perfect. In fact, this issue had largely females working on it -- script by Jo Duffy, and edits by Ann Nocenti. This was the 1980s, folks -- such occurrences were not uncommon.

For those not familiar with Fallen Angels, it was supposed to be another mutant teen team book, but with more of an edge. Gomi was a telekinetic nerd with a telepathic connection to two sentient lobsters, Don and Bill.

Lobster likes Chicken McNuggets

Gomi means "garbage" -- but he doesn't know that

Evil geniuses with a crush on Marvel Girl ... to create a substitute "dream girl" with all of her powers

Unable to eat Gomi or his lobsters, the scientists retreat --
and a hero is born!

Grant Morrison???

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Remake "The Craft" (Or Turn It Into A Comic)!

With all the horror reboots in the pipeline: Poltergeist, Child's Play...

Isn't it time to remake this movie:

C'mon, people. Teenage girls who practice magic. High-concept! Very "Hannah Montana" generation. I'm no dummy. It's not just nostalgia. I too am thinking about the bottom line here.

Sony Pictures doesn't want to make a movie remake? Turn it into a manga-sized comic. I will reiterate: teenage girls who practice magic.

And then, when you get the rights, hire me to write it.

Simple trajectory.

Does George Lucas Owe Anybody Anything?

I realize there has been a lot of angst out there over first the "new trilogy" and now this Clone Wars movie. For example, Joe Neumaier at the Daily News writes:

"Just keep in mind that when some of us saw the Death Star explode that first time, it already was in 3-D, It blasted off the screen, into our heads and lodged in our movie memories like a permanent scene in an Oscar night movie montage. We don't need 3-D AT-ATs and forest cruisers that jump off the screen. We just want you to stop. Create something new."

Moriarty at Aint It Cool News is a bit more emphatic:

"I am sorry that I ever spend the time and energy I did on STAR WARS, Mr. Lucas. I am sorry that I poured my money and, before that, my parents’ money into your pockets. I’m sorry that after decades of being a fan, even when there was no new STAR WARS to satisfy that craving, I somehow made your life so unbearable simply by sharing my enthusiasm for that world with our readership."

That last quote was in regards to an enforced embargo on Clone Wars reviews that got an early(and quite negative) review of the film pulled from the website.

But does George Lucas owe anybody -- fans or otherwise -- the Star Wars film they want to see?

If Lucas wants to turn this franchise into fodder for Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel, isn't that his right?

Or between Creator and passionate fans of the Creation, is there some unstated interdependence, a bond?

Does George Lucas owe anybody anything?