Friday, October 31, 2008

A Short Halloween Story

When I was a child, my father always expressed the worry that I was too timid and too physically weak to be able to handle the slings and arrows that the world would inevitably throw my way. As such, he would often try to "toughen me up." I was enrolled in self-defense classes. He tried to teach me how to box. He told me that the only way to handle bullies was to hit them back, and harder.

But I was only interested in collecting my Smurfs in peace. I couldn't throw a punch to save my life. And I learned that the best way to handle the slings and arrows was to assiduously avoid them, and stay in Smurf Village.

Still, my father persisted. One of his tactics to toughen me was to make me watch one whole horror movie at Halloween. He would take me to our video rental store and tell me to pick a horror movie to watch. Then, when we came home, I had to watch the whole movie. No exceptions.

You must understand, merely standing in the horror section of the store scared the hell out of me. We're talking about the very start of the VHS industry, when most video tapes came in big boxes -- and, for the horror films, those boxes often had lurid, gory illustrations.

I can't even remember what movies I had picked. If it had blood or any sort of skeletons in it, it most probably did me in. I personally preferred the Universal monster cycle of the 30s and 40s, but apparently Frankenstein & Dracula didn't count as horror to my father. I could see the reasoning, I guess. Drac and Co. were positively cuddly by that point, victims of the marketing and licensing machine.

So instead I watched some modern supernatural horror and slasher films. "Watched" is not quite an accurate term, because I spent most of the movies with my hands in front of my eyes. I would make a little slot between two fingers through which I would view slivers of the horrible doings on the screen.

Then one Halloween night, when I was 12, my father died. A transit worker, he was asked to cover the body of a homeless woman who had just committed suicide by jumping in front of a train. Apparently, the sight and stress was too much for him, and he died on the subway platform of a heart-attack.

My mom canceled Halloween for a couple of years after that. And even when the official cancellation was over, the holiday was a bit taboo in my family.

But one development that came about after my father died was my newfound ability to watch horror films. Now it was I who went on my own to the video rental store to find them. And they really didn't scare me anymore. I sometimes laughed at how dumb they were, how fake.

For I had seen my father in a box, mortician's makeup providing him with a pale and ashy variation of his usual olive skin tone. Even his fingernails had been meticulously clipped and polished. Nothing could really be scarier to me, than those noticed details.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jim Shooter's Legion Blues

You can always count on Jim Shooter to provide a frank -- if unflinching -- perspective on things. His interview with CBR regarding his departure(s) from Legion Of The Superheroes -- and the current title's demise -- is no exception.

In the interview, Shooter goes over what he felt was his own failures on the series -- as well as expressing the opinion that he was treated to an extent unfairly by DC. In fact, he goes so far as to allege that the real reason Legion is being cancelled at #50 is to get rid of him:

"Sales of ‘The Legion of Super-Heroes’ aren’t great, but they’re a lot better than those of some of the titles they’re keeping. I think canceling the book is a graceful way of getting rid of me. I complain too much and too loudly.

I'm torn on this issue, as I do have a great amount of respect for Legion editor Mike Marts. I worked with him at Acclaim Comics, and he is a class act all the way.

On the other hand, I think Shooter is an elder statesman of comics, and especially of Legion of the Superheroes. He originally wrote the title, I believe, while still a teenager. I know he has a reputation of being persnickety, outspoken, and uncompromising, but I still think he is a dedicated and talented writer.

Further, in a world full of spin and passing the buck, Shooter in that interview reserved the biggest criticism for himself:

"But let’s focus on the real culprit – me. I guess what it really all comes down to is that my work wasn’t good enough to overcome all the small problems further down the line. If you’re out at first base, it doesn’t matter if you slide in at second."

I said this once about John Byrne, and I'll say it now about Jim Shooter -- like him or hate him, he's one of those people who had an enormous impact on this industry, and will always be remembered as one of the key figures in comic book history. I'm sad to see him leave the title he was so much a part of on such a bitter note.

That said, if I had to guess, I would think that Geoff Johns' own plans for Legion probably played a part in both the problems with the book and its subsequent cancellation. Perhaps at some point DC decided that they really wanted to go with Johns' plans for the book more, and so in the battle for competing visions for the future of the title, Shooter lost.

This not to suggest that Johns in any way specifically was looking to jettison Shooter's Legion. This the way things fall sometimes. That said, it would have been far better to let Shooter's story be told first, give him some room, and wait before launching a new direction on the book.

I wish Shooter's return on Legion didn't have to end so abruptly.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One Year Of Zuda

Today is the one-year anniversary of Zuda Comics. I live in a very Zuda-centric household, and so looking back at their website and index of strips, I can actually remember what I was doing when Avaste Ye or Joe Comics was currently offered in the competition.

As I've written in a previous post, I think Zuda is a noble and worthwhile enterprise, full of hope for the future. Zuda is the Barack Obama of DC Comics. Hopefully, what I just said will mean at least four more years of Zuda. Of course, if I'm wrong, Sarah Palin will be a heartbeat away from the presidency. But dammit, she'll look good doing it, won't she?

Here's my musical tribute to Zuda:

(sung to the tune of "We Didn't Start The Fire")

A Spelunker's Guide To The City, Azure and Alpha Monkey,
Araknid Kid, Avaste Ye, Hannibal Goes To Rome

Hopeless Youth, High Moon, Hammer Sound, Re-Evolution,
Rhandom Escape, Action Ohio, Adventures of Maxy J. Millionaire

We didn't start the Zuda
But the strips keep turning
And High Moon keeps earning
We didn't start the Zuda
Hey kids comix for free
In this bad economy

Admit It, You Thought Liefeld Was Cool Back In The Day

It's ok, we are all friends here. You saw the cover to X-Force #1 when you were a teenager and thought it was the coolest thing ever. You bought all the multiple covers -- and bought extra to take the trading cards out.

You tried to draw like Rob Liefeld. You did. You drew little prototype comic books starring superheroes with lots of lines on their face. It's quite alright.

Those impossibly-sized and -shaped guns Cable used to carry -- you thought that was the coolest thing ever. Ditto for Steven Seagal's ponytail. I know.

I was there. I know. And it's ok, really. We were oh so much more younger then.

That said, what do you think of this Rob Liefeld "Armageddon Now" book? Think about it: Christian "end times" prophecy plus impossibly big guns plus fully-painted Liefeld artwork.

So in this book the Russians are the enemy again, and they wish to destroy Israel in order to "leverage themselves in the Islamic world." Now, the Russians are actually worshiping some ancient godlike being, involved in some demonic cult. And it's all related to the Bible's Book of Revelations. With quotes.

The funny thing is -- there have been a lot of aborted or unsuccessful attempts to create a truly successful, crossover appeal Christian comic book, and having Liefeld spearhead "Armageddon Now" might actually do the trick.

Still can't draw feet, though.

Who Is The Iron Patriot?

I dunno, this guy maybe?
I'm not really into Iron Man action figures, but I bought that one because it had really bright colors. And this awesome unicorn sidekick which smelt of apricot whose hair you can comb. 'Cause that's what I look for in my toys.

Sex Drive/High School Musical III Mix-Up Scars Kids For Life

A movie theater in Utah accidentally ran "Sex Drive" instead of "High School Musical III," thereby exposing a room full of tweens to the evils that include Seth Green playing one of the Amish.

One angry parent wrote,

"I could not carry my little children out before they were exposed to extremely vulgar and sexually explicit material..."

Apparently, there is nudity at the very beginning of "Sex Drive."

This reminds me in third grade when our annual year-end movie was "Beverly Hills Cop." Somewhere by a third of the movie our teachers realized that this was an R-rated film. Ditto for fourth grade and a trip to see "Chorus Line" on Broadway. We were singing "Tits and Ass" on the bus ride home through the porn shops and dirty movie theaters of 42nd Street.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

30 Rock Vs. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

An actual conversation that has occurred in the history of the world:

"I don't really find the characters on 30 Rock that likable. I like the characters on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia better."

"Are you serious? Didn't you tell me last week that you liked the characters on Family Guy better than those on How I Met Your Mother?"

"I did."

"Well...that just reveals a systematic problem."

"Look, 30 Rock & How I Met Your Mother are just shows about rich spoiled people with made-up problems. I see this as a socio-economic issue, perhaps even a socio-economic-cultural issue."

"I can't believe you."

"And another know how on the Mr. Belvedere theme song they have a line like life is more than mere survival? Oh come on! That family never knew what it was like to have mere survival. They have a friggin' butler, for God's sake. And their dad is Bob Uecker!"

"Haven't you even watched Mr. Belvedere? The man was taken in to make money to send home to his family! They were trying to help him out. It was charity."


"Money to send home for his family. His own family."

"You're right...I feel terrible."

"You should feel terrible..."


The next day:

"What are you listening to?!"

"It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia clips on YouTube. Wild card, bitches! Whoo!"

A Modest Proposal

I humbly request that all posts publically attacking Dave Sim and calling him a misogynist and other such things be deleted from the various blogs that have done so. I think if we all work together, we can prevent the slander of this public figure in the comic book community until if and when he has a formal trial labelling him a misogynist. Sure, he's known about the community as that "guy who's cranky about women." But what's the big deal? These things are so very subjective. And I heard he's real fun at parties. However, some of these charges levelled against him in these blogs and message boards are very serious, charges that can have an impact on his job and his very livlihood. He's even been followed on message boards and confronted about these charges. Now, is that civil?

So again, I humbly request that all negative posts regarding Dave Sim, or message board threads, be either deleted or shut down. Further -- I request that any mention of anything relating to those posts ALSO be deleted and shut down. Even the very reference to another post that has been written could help spread these damaging rumors.

Now, say you have been mentioned in one of these ruinous Dave Sim posts, and want to respond in some way. If you do so, you are still guilty, and you should restrain yourself from doing so. In fact, the only way you really could mention those Sim posts is if you are attacking the writers of them or those who reference them. Then, you are still kind of spreading the rumors...but at least you are on his side while doing so.

Comments will be closed on this post, as I want to try to contain the data within it as much as possible. In fact, this post itself will be deleted after a time, just to be absolutely sure. Then I go through the cache, and delete that. Then I delete the entire Internet.

Remember, use social pressure to get those posts taken down!

Now, you might ask yourself: why is somebody so gung-ho for women's rights taking such a stand for Sim? Well, I believe in fairness and consistency. Let's say I was just writing this post as a satire. Unfortunately, the spirit of this post is out in the blogosphere at this moment, and it is no satire. It's real. And it's kinda dumb, and yes it's victimizing the victim again, but where is the big surprise in that? It's all so predictable, and all so banal, and it has been happening way before I came to the scene, and will continue long after I'm gone.

Oh, and stop slandering Sarah Palin too by yakking about her daughter's baby (or "babies")! Yes, I realize that the fact she wants to keep birth control out of the hands of teenagers makes the rumors relevant. But screw relevancy.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Crisis Vs. Final Crisis

I really didn't feel inclined to make my promised review of Final Crisis #4...but as I have been asked by a few people for it, and I did pay for the bloody thing, I might as well.

I guess in order for me to speak of FC #4 I need to back up and talk about my reaction to the original Crisis On Infinite Earths. I read all the back-issues of that mini-series, out-of-order, in the early 1990s. Back then, my knowledge of obscure DC lore was not huge. I was (or had been) mostly a Batman fan. So obviously reading Crisis On Infinite Earths opened up a whole new world for me.

Though I did not know who more than half the characters in Crisis were, when they (or entire worlds) occasionally died it still had an impact for me. Ditto for the drama and the plot in general.

If you had to ask me what Crisis On Infinite Earths was about, I would have said (and still would say) "how people react to a disaster." I realize this is a rather reductionist point-of-view on the series, and does not take into account the Monitors, Anti-Monitors, and numerous parallel worlds. But Crisis appealed to me on a basic human level, in basic human terms I could understand. And I have no doubt this ability of Marv Wolfman & George Perez to get that point across is what was largely responsible for the huge success of the mini-series.

When Comic Book Deaths Still Mattered?

In contrast, if you were to ask me what Final Crisis is about, I would tell you "some neat stuff Grant Morrison thought up regarding continuity and postmodern remixes thereof." That's just for starters. I'm sure if you asked Morrison himself, or a FC fan, the same question you would get more specifics. And that, I think, is the problem.

While there is nothing wrong with creating a book with a very complex plot structure and background that appeals mostly to hardcore fans, I question why it should be the keystone of a year-long (or even three or four years-long) publishing plan. Would not an event with more of an appeal to both the pre-established fanbase and the new reader make more sense?

After I read Crisis On Infinite Earths, I went back and read other related books to "catch-up." I did not do this because I felt I had to in order to understand Crisis. I did it because I wanted to. I looked up old issues of All-Star Squadron because I wanted to (certainly not because they were what all the cool kids were reading). Had there been an extensive backlist from DC at that time, I probably would have bought a number of their titles.

This series was about as continuity-geeky as it got -- but I liked it.

Crisis On Infinite Earths worked for me because it took a casual reader at best and made her more interested in the DC Universe. It worked because it touched me on a very basic human level. It worked because of the great synergy between the talent, the two seamlessly forming one unit. It worked because it was consistent on many levels, not least of which was the fact that Wolfman/Perez were on every issue. And it worked because even though there was a lot I didn't understand (it took me several passes before I could wrap my brain around the concept of Earth 2), it didn't impede my enjoyment of the story -- even reading the book out-of-order.

Final Crisis, for me, fails on several of these levels. As a person who only read #1 and part of #2 (and couldn't even understand that), issue 4 is completely incomprehensible. But even without having much background knowledge, the book could not even engage me on a basic human level. The most it could do so was by two scenes: two Flashes hugging each other and Black Canary saying goodbye to Green Arrow. And yet in those scenes, I still had only the vaguest notion of why those actions were occurring; by contrast, the deaths in Crisis were very clear, "OMG the world is ending I'm dying it hurts!"

But as I have written concerning review copies I have received of comics based on particular video games, it might be pointless for me to give a review of Final Crisis #4 because in the end it might not be a comic written for me. I don't have the long investment in the events before it. The failure of Countdown and the disjointed relation of Death of the New Gods to FC has not provided me with an easy introduction to the series. While I have loved Grant Morrison's Vertigo stuff, I've never been a huge fan of his JLA work, or of his treatment of other DCU characters outside of Animal Man. And, as with most events, I am willing to pick up only a limited amount of crossovers and spin-offs ("willing" as in, not really willing; "limited amount" as in, I can't really afford).

If the "Darkseidy" scene in FC #4 was a rip-off of Episode III,
and Darth Vader was a rip off of Darkseid,

does that mean we have come full circle?

But I think if you have the heavy investment, and you are enthusiastic about Grant, and feel keyed-in to this continuing story the way other people are keyed-in the Lord of the Rings, then I think -- current issues concerning the art notwithstanding -- there is no reason why you wouldn't like Final Crisis. I mean, it's certainly better than Countdown, and fill-in artists Pacheco & Mahnke are both very good. I understand the reader unhappiness about the fill-ins, but it's not like they put Joe Schmoe on the book (no offense to Joe).

If you are a new reader, however, I don't see this series making much sense for you. You might want, instead, to pick up a trade collection of Crisis On Infinite Earths and then work yourself backward & forward. Then, perhaps picking up some momentum, these latter-day DC events might make you more impassioned.

I'm On A Deadline

Hi all,

Just letting you know I'm on a deadline, and until I finish what is due I have to put the blog (and the rest of the Internet as well, except for snappy YouTube clips) away and pretend it doesn't exist. This might take a couple of hours, or it might take until the end of the business day.

I'm thinking that once I get into it, it should only take a couple of hours to finish. But you never know.

How Free Is Free?, Part Two

Regular "OS" commenter Lewis Lovhaug has a new comic book you can download called "Revolution Of The Mask." Sort of like "The Watchmen" meets "V For Vendetta" (something to tide you over until the inevitable crossover), "Revolution Of The Mask concerns a society where all media is vetted and censored. Obviously, his comic book is a fantasy, a least as it pertains to the U.S. and all other freedom-loving nations of the world.

Yet, the website Project Censored has a list of 25 legitimate and important news stories that have blacked-out by the mainstream media (or, MSM). These stories aren't of the "tinfoil brigade" type, but include information about threats to our basic liberties, our security, and our health. In fact, the venerable Walter Cronkite wrote of Project Censored, "Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcast outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism."

Why wouldn't the MSM cover these stories? The reasons are Conflict Of Interest, and I Don't Want To Be Targeted Or Have Any Threat To The Comfortable Lifestyle To Which I Am Accustomed To. In the former, the entities mentioned in the news stories might have or potentially have some business relationship with the media company in question. In the latter, there is the threat to the media company of some sort of vague and ugly retribution, possibly involving either the FCC, the IRS, or the head of a horse.

But even if we had a fearless and intrepid Edward (or Edwina) R. Murrow to cover these controversial topics, we would still need a receptive audience who would actually give a shit. Unfortunately, the tired and harried 9-to5 worker who trudges home after a long day in their ergonomically-designed salt mines might not want to get depressed further by sad facts regarding matters beyond their control. A story regarding them losing their basic human rights would only make them feel more helpless, whereas a mentally-disturbed Britney Spears skinny-dipping in a stranger's swimming pool is kinda hot. And so the market determines the the content of the media.

For all these reasons, it seems to be The Comedy Show that is most able to bring sensitive and often censored stories to light. Seeming jesters such as Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Bill Maher are too goofy to really be a threat -- right? With a spoonful of ironic sugar, they often end up feeding us more important issues -- and/or are more blunt -- than the MSM itself. And when confronted on the matter, they can simply lift their hands up like any storefront fortune teller and say, "for entertainment purposes only!!!!"

Of course, a tiny industry concerned with the production of Funny Books doesn't add up to a hill of beans in the face of the larger media machine, and what we are looking at in this post might not have any relevance to said industry or related MSM at all. Still, though we are but humble comic book fans and creators, it is always good to periodically revisit these topics.

However, I realize after such a heavy topic, a palette cleanser is necessary:

How Free Is Free?, Part One

The idea is that we are the most free nation on Earth; this is what I have been taught. I never saw a need to question it. Freedom of press, freedom of speech.

I still think in some ways we are pretty free. I mean, in a more repressive country, someone like Jon Stewart would have been thrown in a gulag a long time ago, accused of speaking out against his government. We would have no "Saturday Night Live," unless it was called "Our Country, It Is Glorious."

And yet, I do not think we are completely free, or at least as free as we have been taught from infancy that we are. It might be that asking to be completely free is too much to ask. Some might interpret "completely free" as being able to just walk up to some chick on the street, honk her breast, and say "good mornin' stranger!" So we could use the word "free" but only with the proviso that the freedom in question doesn't encroach on other people's well-being and rights.

Then again, the man who feels that his need to honk a breast uninvited as a necessary part of his well-being might find that a value judgment against his happiness has been made, and that he is not indeed free. So right from the beginning, we have had not only to place limits on freedom, but make certain assessments as to what is and what is not acceptable. I think this is needed. But does this gets extended into areas where there might or might not be any immediate danger to another person?

Say the breast-honker is an artist, and makes a comic book for himself and others of his ilk called "Breast Honk Monthly." "Breast Honk Monthly" is made up of nothing but stories of guys going up to women and honking their breasts without permission. Should that comic be banned or censored under the idea that it incites or condones such behavior? And if it is censored for those reasons, would we say that the artist's freedoms have been unnecessarily curtailed? Indeed, would the artist feel he is living in a repressive regime? Or is he just a skank?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

One Or Two Things I've Learned...

I don't condone the behavior of the DC Comics Insider -- the blogger who posted controversial allegations -- for a number of legal and ethical reasons that can hurt both the accused and the accuser. This person has crossed a line, and gotten way over his or her head in a way that I think he or she is not fully aware of. I think somebody on the Bendis Board (or maybe the Millar Boards?) said it was something like "it's just sick sad depressing fucked up shit." That is probably the biggest reason not to indulge in it all, because contact with it lessens you as a person and places a stain on your spirit.

But things need to change. Need. To. Change. My biggest fear is that because of this incident, people will shy away from public dialog regarding topics like sexual harassment in the comic book industry. That dialog still needs to continue when and where it is relevant and appropriate. The way The DC Comics Insider handled things was extremely poor, and dangerous to both him or her and the people mentioned in the blog.

The proper ways to deal with injustice, whether it be sexual harassment, racism, homophobia, or anything else are:
1. Find out what legal resources are available to you to address the issue and pursue them.
2. Get counseling.
3. Try to channel some of your hurt and frustration into something productive and expressive. This can be by joining or starting a support group, writing a book, painting a picture, anything.

To immediately go and "out" people in the fashion of The DC Comics Insider will hurt you as much as it will hurt them. It can even give those people you have a beef with sympathy; they become the victim. They get seen as the victim, you get victimized twice. Not a smart solution, is it? A better one is to find out legally what you can do. Or leave the situation; turn your back on it, and shake the dust off your feet.

But by no means do I subscribe to the "silence is golden" rule regarding injustice. I don't think it is distasteful for a member of a family to talk about some abuse that happened within it, for example. But you know -- there are people who do feel that way. They honestly feel that "what happens in the family, should stay in the family." I believe it is a primal response, some inherited predisposition from the apes, or maybe even the lizards.

That said, there are proper legal channels to go through. And they are there to protect you, as well as "them."

And if you are very concerned about the morality of a place you work at, leave it. Discuss it online, but don't put yourself at risk by using immoral tactics to do so. You then risk becoming the very thing you profess to hate.

The golden rule for all the frustrated, the unappreciated, the victims, the damaged, those with grudges...become a successful person. That'll show 'em.

And you know what they hate even more than you not giving in to your bitterness and destroying yourself? When you help other people. Been sexually harassed? Spend some time counseling a person that is going through the same thing you went through. Help give them the courage to get out of the bad situation. I've done that. It was awesome. They hate when you do that, you know. They hate it when you help empower people. So go help people. Stop giving these people sympathy by attacking them, and go out and help people.

Occasional Superheroine Bulletin Board

Kevin Colden's acclaimed webcomic Fishtown is coming out in a handsome hardcover edition from IDW, and will hit stands November 12. You can read an interview I did with Colden over high-quality biscotti here.

Laurel Maury is the graphic novel reviewer for NPR's "Books We Like" column, and you should check her posts out.

Sullengrey and Cthulhu Tales artist Drew Rausch is profiled in David Gallaher's new column on Comic Mix, "Mixing It Up."

Clout Magazine's October/November issue features "So Super Duper's" Brian Andersen.

Max Ink has a cartoon regarding the candor and civility of the US Presidential contest. I've just received some comix from Max & am looking forward to reading them!

And the webcomic collective The Chemistry Set have just released their first anthology, No Formula, through Desperado Publishing, which you can get on Amazon (for a substantial discount) here. The creative line-up on the book includes Neil Kleid, Elizabeth Genco, Vito Delsante, Jim Dougan, Dean Haspiel, and Fishtown's Kevin Colden. I bought my copy of the book yesterday at their signing at Jim Hanley's Universe, and will profile the anthology in a later post.

The Great Comics Dare

Yesterday I asked a person I consider to be a knowledgeable and enthusiastic comic book fan to walk me through the New Comic Book Day shelves and recommend to me a bunch of titles I may or may not be familiar with. I was not able to buy everything, but I purchased 8 of the recommended titles:

Booster Gold
Big Hero 6
Hellblazer Presents: Chas The Knowledge
The Incredible Hercules
House of Mystery
Justice Society of America

As I've said, some of these titles I have read before, and some are brand new.

Now I'm going to jump in and read them and gauge what level of "old skool comics appreciation' each title engenders in me. Will let you know.

Is anybody reading these books?

2008-2009 Nominations for the Friends of Lulu Board of Directors.

The time has come again to nominate the best and brightest for the Lulu Board of Directors! We need our members to nominate dedicated people to keep up the good work, changes and new adventures for Friends of Lulu that has been the hallmark of 2008.

Nominating and voting individuals to the National Board is one of the privileges enjoyed by members of Friends of Lulu; if you are a member please visit our online nomination page at and submit your nominations!

Comics professionals and members are welcome to run for the board; self-nominations are also accepted and encouraged! We are looking for a few dedicated souls to volunteer their time and energy for a year as we go about bringing women and comics together. Being part of the national board can be very rewarding, enjoyable, and you will make a huge difference in the FoL organization.

We currently need to fill the following positions:

The Treasurer keeps account activities up to date including PayPal and checking accounts,establishes & adheres to budget for Friends of Lulu projects and programs, and processes retail purchases through the website.

Recording Secretary:
The Recording Secretary sits in on monthly online meetings, records minutes and presents them, maintains an archive of previous minutes, and prepares documents as necessary.

Membership Secretary:
The Membership Secretary keeps an updated record of current and lapsed members, and maintains e-mail and snail-mail correspondence with them. Mails out welcome letters and membership cards to FoL members, new and returning. Regularly sends membership updates to the Newsletter Editor.

Make a nomination online by using our form at: php, and please include the full name and email of your nominee.

We are always looking for volunteers to help us out at conventions, on our website, and in our newsletter! If you wish to donate your time and energy to Friends of Lulu but do not wish to be on the Board of Directors, please contact us by e-mail: We are currently seeking volunteers for many positions, and your skill set may be just what we are looking for.

Nominations will CLOSE on Monday, November 10th and voting shall begin shortly thereafter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Monster Mash

Monster-Size Hulk is a tribute to the "giant"-sized Marvel monster comic book of the 1970s (who can forget "Giant-Sized Man-Thing"?), complete with multiple stories and even an all-text Dracula tale penned by Peter David. Of course, the Giant-Sized editions of the 1970s were around 50 cents...but in this day and age $3.99 for double-sized issue of original material (albeit some which are...gasp...only words) is not bad.

The main story features the Hulk vs. Frankenstein slugfest we have all been waiting for (have those two ever fought before?). This is no flat-topped generic Frankenstein's monster but the one with the funky mohair vest and hippie hair from the short-lived Marvel monster comic. Of course, though the two monsters duke it out, they eventually realize they have more in common than differences. The end of the story seems to set up Frankenstein's Monster for further adventures in the Marvel universe; consult the comic itself for details. Perhaps he can join the Avengers.

The other stories feature a Hulk/Werewolf By Night tale done in the moody black & whites of the old Marvel magazines, a cute two-page gag featuring Googam, and the aforementioned Peter David text piece. The part in the Werewolf By Night story where Bruce Banner suspects Jack Russell's possession of a human-sized cage to be some sort of "illegal and weird" pastime takes us out of the nostalgia-era mindset a little bit, but for the most part these stories are pretty timeless.

Superman & Batman Vs. Vampires & Werewolves has a rather utilitarian title that will no doubt keep in in backlist for some time to come. The story is about...Superman & Batman Vs. vampires & werewolves.

The moody illustrations of Tom Mandrake channel Gene Colan as ordinary mortals morph into dark creatures and Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman gape at the horror of it all. The first issue seems very much a throwback to an earlier time -- perhaps hearkening a bit to the monster comics of the Seventies, but also to the DC comics in general of that time period. I kept hallucinating and thinking the artist was Jim Aparo.

Your Cryptic Image Of The Day

It's an actual Halloween costume, in case you're curious.

Poll: Do You Still Care About Final Crisis?

Wih Final Crisis #4 hitting the stands today, I thought I would ask the question:

Do you still care about Final Crisis?

Follow up questions:
Were you collecting it?
Are you still collecting it?
If you are collecting it, would you buy the hardcover?
Do you want another DC event after this, or do you want them to wait for awhile to let things settle?

Kirk Bitter Over Sulu Snub

William Shatner expresses his disappointment at not being invited to George Takei's wedding on a exclusive YouTube video:

"The whole thing makes me feel badly. The poor man, there's such a sickness there. It's so patently obvious that there's a psychosis there."

He goes on to take a dig at Takei for hiding his homosexuality & then coming out of the closet later in life:

"Finally at the age of 70 he decides to come out of the closet and say: I'm gay. Like, who cares?"

"You'd think there'd be an epiphany in someone where he might have said...poor Bill Shatner."

"There must be something inside George that is festering...and he decides to take it out on me."

"It's sad...I feel nothing but pity for him."

Of course, mission accomplished, now I'm subscribed to his YouTube videos.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Haven't You Heard...

about the bird?

Hi Again

Okay, I cannot post any comments relating to "that thing." Please do not be offended if I erase them.

There is also apparently a blog by a "DC Insider" that has just sprouted up. Just to make it clear -- I have nothing to do with that blog. Nothing against the person who runs it, I just wanted to make that clear.

I am not devoid of opinions on the subject, to be sure, but this is not the forum or time right now.

Comments on this post are locked, but next post will be back to normal.

Intermission Music

Due to some shocking allegations made by a commenter on my previous post, I'm going to have to halt comments for now. They will still be allowed, but I have to moderate them later after I figure out what is the best course of action to take.

No offense to the commenter who made them; there's just some shit hitting the fan right now.

I actually have to run into a meeting

Speak to you soon.

Breaking: JG Jones Comments On Final Crisis

JG Jones responded to a request from Comic Book Resources regarding his participation in the final issue of Final Crisis by writing:

"Any problems completing the series are my own. I love Doug Mahnke’s art, and he would have probably been a better choice to draw this series in the first place."

He also indicated that he would not be redrawing the final issue for the eventual FC collection, and that he is, according to CBR, "currently revising his plans for the future."

Doug Mahnke will indeed be providing the art for Final Crisis #7.

I realize fans might be angry at JG for not being able to draw the final issue, but I hope they cut him a break. As I have learned as a comic book editor, there are sometimes things beyond our control.

It's Official: New Black Panther Is A Chick

From Marvel:
There’s a new Black Panther leaping onto shelves this February and she—yeah, you heard us—is already making waves in the mainstream. What’s happened to T’Challa, the previous Black Panther? What does it mean for the future of the Black Panther?And just who is under that mask? For some answers and hints, the men behind this new plot twist sat down with the Washington Post in their first interview-- read what Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada and series writer Reginald Hudlin had to say here. There’s a storm brewing in Wakanda, and it hits this February in the extra sized Black Panther #1!

With a female Kraven The Hunter and a female Bullseye, there seems to be a trend at Marvel regarding revisioning traditionally male characters as females.

Who's next? And what do you think?
As for me, I think it's aweeeeesome.

The New Warriors Canceled

The New Warriors have been a cult favorite for many a comic book reader who grew up in the early 1990s. The reboot has recently been canceled, according to the latest solicitations:

Penciled by REILLY BROWN
Cover by NIC KLEIN
This is it. This is what it's all led up to. In a future that's
everything he's ever fought against, Night Thrasher has achieved his
mission and been reunited with his brother, Dwayne. But at a cost. One
that's growing. And when that cost becomes too high, Donyell realizes
he needs to take it upon himself to set things right. In this final
issue of NEW WARRIORS, all bets are off. And no one leaves unscathed...

To be honest, I did not follow this new series; though, as I do with a lot of relatively short runs, I might sit down and read the whole set now. But I'm sorry to see the series go, as I know the revival of The New Warriors meant a lot to their devoted fans.

On the other hand, this brings up the issue of revamps versus sticking to the original team. Would a New Warriors starring the old cast of Firestar, Justice, Night Thrasher, Namorita, and Nova would have worked better? Or is the time for that past -- was it better to just move things forward anyhow and update the book?

Plus: The New New Warriors had Jubilee (even though her name is now Wondra).

Anyway, I hope Marvel does something with this team again in the nearish future.

I'd like to write it one day, but mostly to drive my boyfriend, who is the biggest NW fan in the entire universe, crazy. ;-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lesbian Webcomic Sites Target Of Harassment

I've just received this disturbing report regarding a number of webcomic sites with lesbian-themed content being targeted for harassment.

Megan Rose Gedris, creator of the Yu+Me and I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space webcomic, reports in her LiveJournal about a particular poster with a scary message of hate. The poster wrote:

"I'm glad all of those girls are dykes, them some ugly bitches!
Anways while those two clam-smackers were fingering each other, I busted in their room with a shotgun. No death-ray guns for me, I prefer the old fashion way since more blood splatters that way. I first shot Susan at her head because that's the only way to cure those people than I shot Janet in the head as well.
Two dead dykes and one big smile on the face.
Now it's time for me to wipe out the rest of the Sapphire Sisters."

Was this another "dumb troll" who was probably just some kid in his mom's basement, nothing to worry about?

No, actually:
"Well, turns out he actually WAS a threat. One of my readers is a police guy, who has been watching this guy's internet activities. He was a 45-year old guy living in Toronto, not too far from me and my family. And he was escalating. His "stories" (he posted such things as this all the time) were getting more and more violent and sadistic, all of them featuring violence towards gay people. Scary, right?"

and what sort of stuff did he have on his computer?
"Thousands of images of illegal, sadistic pornography..."

But the story has a happy resolution, as he was taken into custody:

"He can't actually be convicted for threats against fictional people, but he CAN be for illegal porn! Yay justice!"

So you have a grown man writing stuff like:

"...I prefer the old fashion way since more blood splatters that way. I first shot Susan at her head because that's the only way to cure those people than I shot Janet in the head as well."

Does his writing constitute a hate crime? One person on the LiveJournal thread thinks "yes" --

"First off, he just violated his TOS. Get his account shut down.

Second, you can contact the Hate Crime National Hotline at 206-350-HATE (4283). (
They might be able to give you guidance on any additional rights that you have."

I firmly believe that the person who wrote those hateful things WAS dangerous, IS dangerous, obviously has a lot of hatred against women and lesbian women in particular.

Don't take these things lightly, don't just assume "it's a troll" and that's it. This wasn't some ordinary trolling, this was a guy who calls himself "Da Solution" who writes about shooting lesbians in the head so their blood spatters. Murder: that was HIS solution.

I think the thing to do here is spread the word that this sort of thing happens, share stories, and, most importantly, point out resources to take legal action.

This story makes me sick.

On a lighter note, I read a big chunk of Yu+Me a while ago, and thought it was great. :-)

"Sex Among The Geeks"

"Which executive gave an artist a phenomenal amount of work over the last two years so that the executive may woo a colleague and partner of the artist, in a manner rather reminiscent of the biblical tale of David and Uriah?"

There's actually a Bathsheba of the comic book industry?

One of the gigs my literary agent was trying to line up for me was an article/comic in GQ (yes, the actual GQ Magazine for men) entitled "Sex Among The Geeks." The theme? Fornication in the comic book industry.

I said to her: "I don't think I can come up with enough good stuff."

She said,


(Butters from South Park impression): "Uh, okay."

Postscript: "Sex Among The Geeks" is still a pretty viable topic for an article I think, between the sex on beds made of comic book boxes and the apparent Biblical references. And the cosplay.

Paul Lynde Halloween Special: What Was Up In The 1970s?

It's not just my foggy memory on the subject -- I was watching some old 1970s TV shows and they were really really corny.

The 1960s were campy --
The 1980s were fun but sort of shallow & materialistic --
The 1970s were corny.

Case in point: this Paul Lynde Halloween Special from 1976. My God, where to begin? This show makes the Star Wars Christmas special seem like The Sopranos.

Lynde as The Rhinestone Trucker?

Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf?

Florence Henderson singing a disco cover of "That Old Black Magic?"

Pinky Tuscadero from "Happy Days" as the love interest?

This wasn't just children's entertainment -- this was the sort of stuff that was made for viewers of all ages in the 1970s. And variety shows were the absolute worst. Even a lot of the children's animation was treacle.

Only two really cool things about the Paul Lynde Halloween Special:
1) KISS performs!
2) I'm sort of on a Paul Lynde kick. This dude was fascinating.

But the 1970s still sort of sucked on TV.