Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Headlines I Hate: When Mainstream News Covers Comics

From the Dallas Voice (which bills itself as a LGBT news source, but it still looks awful):

"Zowie! She's Gay!"

Sub-sub headline for the same article:


Wait, I have one more coming on...

Monday, June 29, 2009

What Action Figures Do You Think NEED To Be Made?

Robot 6 has an article up asking comic creators and other such folk what action figure based on a comic book character absolutely NEEDS to be made. Choices included Firestar, Guy Gardner, and Atomic Robo.

Personally, I think they should make a figure of these guys:

We already have a goat:What action figures do you think NEED to be made?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson: How I Choose To Remember Him

/I'm spent today.
//had a giant wall-sized poster of him in my room in '83.
////wow, I didn't think I'd feel this emotional about it. I feel really sad and messed up.

Test Your Superhero Video Game Knowledge!

I had no idea that the Guinness World Record people put out these "themed" books. The Guinness World Records 2009 Gamer's Edition is more like a full-color reference bible on video games than simply a trivia book.

Here are some trivia questions based on the book; answers posted tomorrow!

1. What video game has the most licensed superheroes in one game?

2. What is the first video game company to buy a comic book publisher?

3. What is the first superhero video game?

4. Who is the first female supervillain to star in her own video game?

5. What is the first superhero MMORPG?

6. What video game has the most powerful Superman?

7. What Batman video game has the most villains?

8. What is the first video game to tie into a contemporary comic book storyline?

9. What is the first superhero game on PlayStation 3?

10. Who is the most popular video game superhero?

11. What superhero game boasts the most destructible environment?

12. What Japanese superhero comic has the most video games based on it?

13. Which X-Men character has the most spin-off games?

The Evolution Of Starscream

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has apparently made such an impact on movie critic Roger Ebert that he has written not one but two reviews on it. In his second, he points out through images just how incomprehensibly designed the character Starscream has become since his toy/animation days:

"In the stills with this blog, I have traced the history of Starscream® from its origin as a children's toy through its evolution in TV animation (1984) and the 2007 movie. It has grown steadily more complex, apparently feeding on larger and larger junk yards. Starscream® is now too much to comprehend, especially in Bay's typical average shot length of not much over one second."

And it's true. I find the movie Transformers ugly and overly-complicated in design next to their earlier counterparts. I don't mind highly detailed robots, but there should be a style to that detail.


Sometimes less is more, and so-called "realism" less of a virtue.

As an aside, Ebert points out that the designer of the original Starscream was from his home town.

New CEO of Archie Promises To Make Archie "Entertainment Powerhouse"

Jon Goldwater – son of Archie founder John L. Goldwater – has officially taken over the family business as CEO of Archie Entertainment. In a press release, he promises to bring "the kids from Riverdale to a larger multi-media audience."

"He is also looking ahead to developing new projects focusing on not just Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jugehead and Reggie, but other long standing Archie Properties such as Katy Keene, Lil Jinx, the Red Circle Heroes, Sabrina, Josie & the Pussycats, Cosmo The Merry Martian, Pat The Brat, Wilbur Wilkins, Bingo Wilkins, Suzie and Ginger Snapp, just to name a few."

For your reference:

Bingo Wilkins

Pat The Brat

Cosmo The Merry Martian

Ginger Snapp

Jon Goldwater served as the executive producer of "Return of Superfly"

Unhappy Customers: Wizard's Online Store

Wizard's online store on is still racking up unhappy customers, according to their feedback page:

6/24: "LESS THAN AWFUL! DO NOT BUY!!! Got some horrible crap as a "free gift" because order was "delayed" NEVER got a response from them as to if I would ever get what I ordered. HORRIBLE MERCHANT! Saw feedback after purchase - this seems to be thier M.O. sending CRAPPY crap instead of actual order - then they have a tracking number so order looks complete."

6/23: "
I have contacted the seller but not heard a response as yet. The order has not arrived so the child did not receive their gift for this birthday or next birthday by the looks of things. A token gift was sent out by Wizard once it was aware the item ordered was to be delayed and once recieved it was immediately trashed."

6/22: "
still have not received book but have been charged"

6/20: "
I did not recieve my order, and when I attempted to contact them I did not recieve a reply."

6/18: "
sent me a product that was not and when I wrote to explain the problem has not received any response, SWINDLERS ARE BUYERS BEWARE OF THIS SELLER"

Why does Wizard continue to send crappy little toys in the place of awesome statues and other high-end ordered items? Someone I talked to recently offered not so much a suggestion why, as pointing out a general fact regarding online stores through Amazon. He said, "As long as you send something in response to the order, Amazon processes it as the order fulfilled – and the payment gets processed."

This holds water with my experience using PayPal through eBay, which has a similar system.

If Wizard can't process the items that are being ordered, or do not have them available for ship in the appropriate timeframe, why are they shipping these token "gifts" in their place and accepting payment? Isn't there a name for that sort of business practice? And how can I have faith in things like the recent purchase of the Toronto Comicon by Gareb Shamus if his company continues to engage in these sorts of practices? Unless he is going to end up completely disassociating himself from the company, which I wouldn't doubt.

Jesus, man – JUST DON'T ACCEPT THE PAYMENT IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE ITEM!!! That's like eBay 101.

I'm not saying the Wizard online store is consciously defrauding the public, but they need to take control of this situation and temporarily shut the store down if there is a problem. The $300 they get for a Deadpool statue is not worth this sort of bad press.

/worked for a summer at the Better Business Bureau, saw it all. Their staff of volunteer senior citizens will follow someone to the ends of the earth like Javert did to Jean Valjean.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Transformers 2 Reviews

"...bloated, ponderous piece of s**t."

"This is so bad it's immoral."

"A great grinding garbage disposal of a movie..."

"Never in the field of blockbuster movies has so much been spent on so little."

"When the robots give a better performance than the humans, we have a problem."

"...the male teenage cinematic equivalent of snorting cocaine off a hooker's ass."

"...a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys."

and my favorite, from Rob Vaux @

"Critics really are eunuchs in the harem when it comes to movies like Revenge of the Fallen. Calling it bad 1) misses the point and 2) makes not the teeniest bit of difference anyway. Provided the number of giant robots bashing each other compares favorably with those silly talking sections, it more than meets the expectations of its fanbase. You might as well spend your time decrying the nutritional deficits of Doritos or telling a room full of smokers that cigarettes are bad for them. Everyone knows. They just don't care.

The bizarre honesty of director Michael Bay constitutes a sort of saving grace. He doesn't try to disguise the fact that his film is soulless corporate product; indeed, he embraces it with such obvious gusto that it becomes an auteurial style all its own."

It really boils down to that; "Revenge of the Fallen" sells soulless to those who buy soulless. It's not shitty filmmaking; it's supply and demand.

RE: Marvel & DC Flooding The Market With Comics

Some casualties from The Glut of Comics Past

Hasn't this always kinda happened – the "circle of life" of the industry, as it were? Flood, boom, bust, repeat?

I don't care if you're a major publisher or not, the real key is striking a chord with the modern zeitgeist. Two buddies with a Xerox machine can do that. But it takes 1) A real sense of what is important to people nowadays and 2) a pair of balls.

You can't create that sort of magic in a boardroom. By its very nature, such projects find themselves in conflict with the ultimate needs of the corporate machine, which rarely wants to take a chance. That sort of magic largely happens by accident, with projects that have managed to slip by management unnoticed and, by some miracle, make it to the stands. Then they get hailed as a "genius" – and then, realizing they have a great hit on their hands, the publisher milks it for all its worth with dozens of sequels and spinoffs and similar projects. That's the comic book Circle of Life. And that's largely the entertainment industry's Circle of Life.

Personally, I don't want to spend money reading about some old superhero that the writer idolized when he was 11. I've read that story in everything from "Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Boy On Earth" to "JSA." Give me something new. I don't want to read another Kirby riff, though Kirby was of course awesome. I don't want to read another riff off of a teenage superhero who gets special powers and learns that with great power comes great responsibility. "Remember those great Sunday Comics?" Yeah, I remember them from when I was a kid, and I've been trying to get out of the burden of childhood memory & nostalgia for years. Give me something else. Give me something new.

So to me, all other business strategies take a back seat to actually publishing that book or series that seizes that zeitgeist and sets the world on fire. That's the only way the industry actually grows and develops:

Accidental Awesomeness --> Sequels and Spinoffs --> Glut

And then:

Glut --> Bust --> Accidental Awesomeness (allowed because management isn't really paying too close attention, they're busy licking their wounds)

Stir, repeat.

"Facebook The Movie" Starring Shia LaBeouf?

Good God.

I could picture Shia in "MySpace The Movie," however.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ed McMahon RIP

I fondly remember Ed McMahon as part of the fabric of my pop-cultural landscape growing up.

I'm feeling OLD again...

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Are Megan Fox And Shia LaBeouf Transforming From Friends To Lovers?"

Get it? Transforming? (via those newshounds at the Daily Mail)

God. Imagine the spawn of those two:

Kansas City Star Asks Readers What Comix To Can

Ha ha ha, he's such a BIG AWKWARD DOG. And that's what makes it FUNNY!

In an unusual appeal, the Kansas City Star has asked their readers to pick out which comic strips get the boot:

Not to be critical, but our daily comics pages are feeling a little stale to us in FYI. And when that happens, it’s time to ask you, our readers, for help.

Below is a list of 10 comics that are no longer authored by their creators or are revisiting old story lines, are similar to others on The Star’s comic pages, or that we think are tired. Which ones could you live without? Pick five you could let go of and let us know. We’ll use the results to help make room for promising comics we’d like you to see.

Our goal today is a mix of styles and story lines that entertain and speak to our values as well as our times. Please help us get there.

Ha ha ha. She has no self control and no self esteem! She's a PIG! That's FUNNY!

And the contenders for the chopping block are:


Beetle Bailey


For Better or for Worse


Mark Trail


Real Life Adventures


Wizard of Id

Ha! He's the laziest mofo in the army! 4315 war casualties in Iraq!

That's relevancy!

Now, the idea is to pick 5 you think should go.

Which ones would you pick?

(Imagine if comic books did this to figure out who gets canceled?)

My Penthouse Article (Article SFW, Site NSFW Obvs)

Well, the larger context of the article is on comic convention love stories, but me & my BF David were interviewed.

My "bargain with God" quote always seems to get picked up. :-D

I'm not sure if I told the interviewer how I literally pushed a guy who was talking to me out of the way so I could get at David & give him my phone #.

I...was also apparently blonde when I met D. Forgot about that.

Anyway, Penthouse: not just photos. Read it for the articles. :-D

The Comix issue, on sale now!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Future Of Comic Book Magazines

Got this Facebook message regarding the magazine "TRIPWIRE" –

"TRIPWIRE Annual 2009 will not be carried by Diamond US because it didn't make their benchmark. So the only ways that people in the US will be able to buy TRIPWIRE Annual 2009 is 1) buy it at their local Barnes & Noble; 2) Buy it off us at Comic Con in San Diego from our table or 3) Pester your local comic shop to order it from us directly. We are happy to supply US comic shops directly at 50% off cover with a minimum order of 5 copies."

I'm not a big follower of the whole Diamond "benchmark" thing, though I know it has led to a bunch of books being dropped by the distributor. I guess not carrying "TRIPWIRE" just sort of raised my eyebrows because I always thought that it was a pretty basic comic/pop-culture publication, even in the United States (it should be noted that Diamond UK has picked up the annual).

I just remember going to the larger comic shops and being able to buy all the British pop-culture magazines (many of which are WAY superior to their American counterparts). Under this benchmark system, would I still be able to do that? Or are the stores going to order these mags from alternate distributors?

With "Comic Foundry" and "Comics Now!" gone, and "Wizard" seemingly in a not-so-awesome state...I dunno, what is the fate of the comic book magazine nowadays, anyway? Or the pop-culture periodical in general?

I'm just musing on it, I'm not offering any amazing insight or answers.

And I just know I'm going to get pilloried for this, but maybe the big companies like DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse should just put out pop-culture/comic magazines for the mass-market with an article/comic mix. Something to just introduce the mass-market reader to their comic book properties and storylines. Something like Wizard, but in-house from the publishers themselves. And something that leverages the notoriety of their movie, TV, and video-game licensing.

I realize that sounds as materialist as hell, but that's all I got.

Anyway, as a quick plug for TRIPWIRE, the 2009 annual features:
•Stan Lee on Marvel's 70th anniversary plus a look at the future of Marvel movies
• Solomon Kane history feature including a look at Dark Horse's Robert E Howard line
•Guillermo Del Toro on his novel The Strain
•A look at the sleeper hit of the year, British low budget sci fi movie Moon with director Duncan Jones
•Joe Kubert on returning to Tor after years away
•30th anniversary of Alien feature
•Profile of Flesk Publications plus interviews with Mark Schultz and Gary Gianni
•A look at Tintin in the year of his 80th birthday
•Celebrate Batman's 70th anniversary with a look back at the character's history plus Frank Quitely interview
•Ian Rankin on Dark Entries, his graphic novel for the new Vertigo Crime line plus Vertigo's chief Karen Berger on the new line
•DC's Wednesday Comics series
•Bill Morrison talking about Bongo in the runup to The Simpsons' 20th anniversary
•Interview with fine artist and illustrator Phil Hale, the man who painted Tony Blair's leaving portrait for the House of Commons
•Being Human feature looking at the hit UK genre series
•Strips from Roger Langridge, Punx, Kevin Mullins and David Hitchcock
•The Power List 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

"You Have To Get Paid" - Lessons In Freelancing

My newest Comics-Op article is entitled "You Have To Get Paid" (a.k.a. "Stupid Freelancer Tricks"), and chronicles the month a client decided to bail on me without paying. Far from being a "poor me" (though I was driven to eat KFC biscuits for lunch on multiple occasions, which became unpleasant on my bowels), this article focuses on the DUMB MISTAKES I made as a freelancer dealing with this particular client. Learn from my foolishness!

But although the client I discuss here was not in the comic book industry, "You Have To Get Paid" points out certain alarming parallels to issues comic freelancers sometimes face. And the article ends with a "Ten Commandments" of sorts for freelancers in the industry.

So if you want advice on freelancing, or are just jonesing for a really messed-up story featuring people who do unfathomable things, this article is for you!

Comic Writers: How To Find An Artist!!!

The number-one question I hear from budding comic book writers is: "how do I find an artist?" Part of this stems from the need to have illustrated samples of one's work as opposed to just script samples. Other writers are just skipping the submission process to publishers entirely and just want to get their comic book out there themselves.

But what if you don't have the cash to pay your artist up front?
Where do you find artists to approach?
What do you say to the artist when you approach him or her?

Writer Brendan McGinley (Invisible Inc., Hannibal Goes To Rome) has, in my opinion, incredible luck in finding artists to work with. First, his artists are really really talented. Second, they actually produce (which is a tribute not only to Brendan's compelling scripts, but his management & interpersonal skills). If there was any comic writer I would go to for advice on finding artists for new projects, it's Brendan. And so he has been so gracious as to share with us his advice.

OS: Do you recommend paying the artists rather than getting them to work on spec? Pros and cons?

Brendan: I recommend chaining the artists to their desks till those flighty geniuses turn everything in. But that's not our concern at the moment.

Val Staples advised me once to pay everyone in percentages, and he should know. But there are no guaranteed profits. and if you're an unknown talent with a story good enough to print, you ought to lubricate that offer with at least a nominal page rate as operating costs.

Page rates aren't necessarily expensive. There are lots of incredible artists who want to create something smashing. I've found a lot of collaborators in Argentina, where the rate I can afford to pay is a better income than here in the states.

Collaborative terms should be open and upfront. Is the artist merely a hired gun for flat-rate collaboration? Are you simply sharing net profits? Copyright? Trademark? Merchandising/licensing rights? Will one of you have to jump out of a cake wearing a penguin suit? Figure out what benefits you both, then re-state it clearly in a single document and confirm it.

I tend to offer a mix of up-front page rate and back-end spec, depending on how fast the production schedule is. A more demanding schedule calls for a higher up-front rate because they don't have time to work on other, more lucrative projects. That said, those heartless bullies at Tokyopop and Mirage keep swiping my best artists, so maybe it's best to dominate someone's calendar with a fat page rate.

If you have an arc equivalent to a feature film's worth of plot, you're looking at 110 pages of 11" x 17" zoom and pow. You can't ask someone to commit to that kind of workload without offering them some money along the way. If you can't afford it, write something short and satisfactory. The DOSE anthology was founded on my hard-learned lesson that most artists whip out five pages before they run out of steam, and I wanted to do scripts I could write in a few days rather than agonizing over the social resonance of repurposing Thelemic principles as superpowers for political allegory. You know, just like in GARFIELD.

And lastly, remember: you're writing all those pages and coordinating production and submission, and actually paying gobs of money for the privilege. Your time and talent is worth something too, and if you're going to do triple duty as writer, editor and publisher/production director, you should hold out for quality, timely work. Otherwise, do what I do and draw it yourself. Badly. Over the course of several months.

OS: How did you build such an impressive roster of talented artists? Did you know them all beforehand as friends, or how did you meet them?

Brendan: I haven't met anyone in person, because no one dares venture this deep out into Queens, which is a shame, because I grill a pretty good steak when you get here.

I originally solicited artists on Digital Webbing but found the responses too broad. Very few people regard the actual stylistic requests, and though a lot of the submissions were qualified, not everybody's ready to actually work on a production schedule. I've been burned and burned again by great artists who decide life is in the way of the agreement, and then I'm holding eight pages and an art-shift when I have to replace them. That's no way to launch a mini-series. It's easy to find an excuse. It's hard to find a professional.

(One more reason for DOSE -- to see who can get a short story done before handing them a sustained project. And Digital Webbing did get me, among a couple of other choice finds, Johnny Zito who I have in fact met, but not cooked steak for. So I do still recommend it, especially if you're a vegetarian artist.)

I started hitting up people whose work I loved on Mark Millar's message board. There I linked up for STAR-X with Andres Ponce, who's now working on HEIST, and this was while I was still at WIZARD and they encouraged us to read all the comics that came out every week. I really enjoyed a Jay Faerber property called FIREBIRDS, especially the costume design, and I checked the credits to see who the artist was. "'s that fellow I agreed to do a book with this morning." So he passed a blind test and we carved out a fun chapter of STAR-X. I've kept Andres close since then, and he's recommended a lot of other people, like Tomás Aira for INVISIBLE, INC. And I'm going to meet him in person at SDCC next month. But again: no steak, though I doubt my grilling could impress an Argie.

Josh Elder and I trade artistic wishlists sometimes. I tried to peel Ashleigh Firth, who blew me away with just a couple of headshots in Drew Melbourne's ARCH-ENEMIES and almost succeeded. Nicola Scott, I'd hit up, too, right before Dark Horse found her. I'm either half a step ahead or one step behind all these companies with the budget to woo great talent. Maybe I should become a headhunter for editorial. Which is to say, I should let Andres do the headhunting and take all the credit.
Yeah, recommendations, those are where it's at for me. Look to Buenos Aires, I say.

OS: Say that Writer X wants to find artists to do pitches or spec stories. What do you recommend he or she do?

Brendan: Writer X should do the smart thing and go into screenplays. Much better payoff. But let's assume they have a story that must remain intact, free of meddlesome suits.

I keep a list of eye-catching artists with stylistic notes for reference when a fitting story hits my keyboard (are you listening, Bing Cansino? One day I'll track you down!), though if anybody at the moment can do a cool, pop-glam, animated style ripe with expressions and textures then...well, either you're Amanda Conner or you need to e-mail me right now about SHE'S FAMOUS NOW. Or both.

What really works is to see who the people you want to hire are watching on DeviantArt. Sure, Writer X wants to work with the impressive Artist Y, but what about the stunning Influence Z?

Thanks, Brendan!

You can read "Hannibal Goes To Rome," by Brendan McGinley and Mauro Vargas, on Shadowline Web Comics.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

GOSSIP: Follow-Up

As promised in my recent Comics-Op column, here are more insights by readers and professionals regarding the topic of comics industry gossip. EDIT: I've been asked to take down the links to the brouhaha.

Do you think the comic book industry, and its principal players, should be subject to the sort of public scrutiny and (at times) gossip that others in the entertainment field are subject to?

"Michael from Pittsburgh":
"Absa-friggin-lutely, yes on the scrutiny part. I think they should be held accountable like athletes are... if an athlete has a bad game outting, then you see bloggers and old media journalists criticizing them. Because comic book fans can be just as passionate, as a sports fan that is passionate about their sports team and those currently wearing the logo.

For example, if a illustrator, writer, editor or tracer does a sub-par job taking care of iconic heroes, then they should get blasted by the fan-critics.

Gossip, on the other hand, should not be considered at all. Bad gossip ruins careers and lives. Nothing good ever becomes of it.

Perhaps future comic book editors, writers, etc.. should be required to take Journalism ethics courses in college or university."

Nicolas Priet:
"This is a very complex question. The very existence of continuing gossip in this industry proves how much the comics industry has strayed too far from its original business model and target audience : the kids. On one hand, the fact that such a major part of the readership wants to know the ugly part of thebehind-of-the-scenes of the industry is (or should be) fundamentally wrong. This is supposed to be a medium who allows its readership to escape our depressing reality. By needing to know how it's done, the bickering, the politics of the publishing side, you destroy the "magic". But, since most of the audience has become jaded and cynical adults who only want to see the feets of clay of the creators, it has become the norm. Having said that, without the gossip columns, the revelations of behind-the-scenes and all other things, I would never have realized of disturbed and rotten this industry had degenerated, nor would have I gotten the explanations of why/how some storylines never made any sense. One could make the argument that the existence of gossip about this industry, and the interest for it is a mere reflection of how low it has degenerated."

Bryy Miller:
"I think that comic books have flown under the radar with the general public on a level that movies, television, and video games have not. It takes a lot more of an effort to "get into" comics. That being said, people don't think of writers or editors as celebrities. They just would not CARE about comic gossip. Drunk Errol Flynn thinking he committed a murder and trying to cover it up by dumping the guy in the river? That we think is awesome. Who is getting hired, fired, or put on this or that book - that's simply not juicy. As for public scrutiny, I doubt people would give a hoot as long as they got their books. I mean, that's basically how it is now. In fact, most people don't like it when you actually do tell them what's going on."

Greg Hatcher, CBR columnist:
"If you mean paparazzi, rumors, gossip, and snark -- no, nobody should be subject to that. I remember when Devin Grayson and Mark Waid were an item there was a truly embarrassing amount of message-board gossip and speculation about it, did it help or hurt Ms. Grayson's career, did Waid do this or that in a story because he was under her influence -- it was deeply disturbing and weird, especially since so much of it was coming from fanboys who were clearly dysfunctional socially. It made me ashamed for my hobby.

On the other hand, I have often wished for actual news reporting. Meaning more serious journalism in our industry press; someone to act as watchdog, to be an advocate for those who are getting screwed by publishers or distributors or whoever. An objective observer to shame industry people into acting like adults. THE COMICS JOURNAL used to do a fair amount but they've gotten too snooty to bother with Marvel or DC much any more, and that's where we could really benefit people by shining a light on stuff. I think it's astonishing how much childishness creeps into the actual business practices in comics. I suppose you can make the case that it's
much the same in TV or movies, but.... I dunno, in comics it seems like the inmates have been running the asylum for decades."

Ian Walker, "Beer and Comics":
"Sure. I mean, I don't care about most of it personally, I'm not big on gossip, but basically, if you want your name to be known publicly, you have to accept that you're going to be under that kind of scrutiny, and for your life to be under the microscope. You ask for fame? Then expect everything that goes with it.

I mean, offhand, how much do I know about, oh, Neil Gaiman, for example? As someone who doesn't really follow these things (but enjoys his work), I know he has multiple children (two? I think), at least one daughter. He lives in Minnesota, which I find odd for and Englishman. Imagine if someone cares to know more?

You're putting yourself into the public sphere. Deal with it.

Even in a literary field, if your name is big (which includes publishers in the comic industry, sorry - you help make plot decisions, it makes you noteworthy), expect people to want to know about you. Expect the scrutiny that goes with being a "name". If you want to look outside of comics? Think Steven King. Think Michael Crichton. Think Dan Brown. Think JK Rowling. Think whoeverthehell wrote "Twilight". If people care enough, they're going to know about these people's lives. Enjoy it if people care. It means that you're probably pretty big. What did PT Barnum say about publicity?"

"Absolutely for the big time corporate players or the superstar. Especially when the issue revolves around someone who cheats others in behind-the-scenes business, or someone who is a proven swiper. In this case, the corporate player or the superstar, the scrutiny is justified.

However I think it's out of place for the rank-and-file employees and freelance creators who are grinding out a living by performing the labor of creating the product and bringing it to market. They already get screwed just by being a little guy in a machine.

Glenn Haumann, ComicMix:
"I go through this every single day. I don't think it's particularly anyone's business to know who's sleeping with who, or who has the latex fetish, or who subscribes to that adult web site, except as to how it relates to the business. That said, there are people in the business who make their personal life part of the business, this being the last literary frontier where a straight white male can do an autobiography and still be looked on as avant-garde, and there are people who make business decisions on who they're friends with, or dating, or were dating, and so on.

But celebrity? Most of us have the right level of celebrity-- inside the convention hall, we're rock stars; outside, we're happily anonymous."

Torsten Adair:
"From a media viewpoint, yes, if there is actual news, then business individuals should be subject to public scrutiny. More so if the business is publicly traded. How far down the organizational structure one should go depends on how the individual is involved with the story. As for gossip, that's a tricky area, as it exposes the reporter to charges of defamation, specifically slander (oral) and libel (broadcast)."

Jeff Kraschinski:
"No. In the entertainment industry, most all the individuals who are the focus of such gossip and public scrutiny are the performers who willingly put themselves out in the public eye themselves, and those who do not put themselves out for all to gawk at generally are ignored on a day to day basis by the gossip hounds and paparazzi (Harrison Ford being a prime example). In either case, those people are themselves the product to be marketed. For example, films can be heavily promoted and do well merely because of a particular actor’s involvement,

In comics, the CHARACTERS are the product, entertaining though it may be. Not so the producers of said product. One might as well ask if the rank and file worker at Microsoft deserves public scrutiny and gossip because Windows 7 is due out soon. Stan Lee is the notable exception to the rule in comics as he’s put himself out there as a media whore for decades now.

But for the most part, these are private workplaces, and should remain so."

Monday, June 15, 2009

$25,000 1990 Nintendo Cartridge On EBay

If you have $25,000 to spare, you might be able to purchase from eBay this "Nintendo World Championships Gold Cartridge" from 1990 – apparently the "Holy Grail" of videogames.

According to Wikipedia, these gold cartridges were given out to winners and runner-ups in a contest held by Nintendo Power magazine, and only 26 are in existence. In the comics world, a comparable item might be "Action Comics" #1. Or one of those sets of Liefeld's "X-Force" #1 with the complete set of variant covers and the polybags intact.

Freelance Horror Stories: Stories/Advice Wanted

My upcoming column for Comics-Op concerns FREELANCER HORROR STORIES (in the comic book industry).

Please email me if you would like to be interviewed (you will get link-back, plugs – OR remain anonymous) regarding the following topics. Please note that interviews will usually be brief; looking for anecdotes mostly.

In these tough economic times, the last thing you need is a freelancer job gone bad.






  • Ask for art on spec (for writers & publishers)
  • Ask people to work for you for free.
  • Hire interns.
Intern/spec/sweat-equity success stories
Would you rather work 9 to 5 or freelance?
And plenty more!

Cast "Harper's Island" With Archie Characters!

Archie Andrews

Poor boy makes good by marrying the millionaire's daughter!


She's pretty and has lots of money!


She's bitter, and probably a latent serial killer, but is doing her best to hide it and just get through the wedding.

Mr. Lodge

He's pissed! PISSED!


Will he ever get a job worth a damn?

Dilton Doily

Destined to be red-shirted early in the show.

Big Ethel

She's prettied up some since her teenage days, but is still ugly inside.

Weird British Guy

What the fuck is he doing on the show?

Reggie Mantle

If he couldn't have Archie, nobody would!