Category: Columns

Marc Alan Fishman: Paint It Black


Of the many shows I’ve consumed as of late, two spring to the front of my mind when I want to spice up dinner conversation: Marvel’s Luke Cage, and FX’s Atlanta. They are a yin and yang both birthed from the peanut-butter-chocolate combination that is nerd and black Americans. One show is about a noble black man granted the superhuman ability to rise above white hate. The other is about a loser just trying to get a win in a world built to see him fail. What unites both shows is the through-line of Black America.

Each show is intrepid in its fascination, celebration, exploitation, and segregation of the African-American experience in today’s Trumped-Up United States. Each show on its own is solid, thought-provoking at times, and flawed in their details. Taken as a pair,they become something astounding. At their core, neither could exist without black being right at the forefront.

I’ll spare you my snarky synopsis of each show. Suffice to say you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you choose to ignore either. Cage is on Netflix. Borrow your cousin’s login. Atlanta is on FX. So, in a month or two it’ll be on Hulu. Borrow your other cousin’s login for that one too, I suppose.

With Luke Cage, I freely admit my desire to enjoy it came solely on the knowledge that it was birthed from pulpy roots. I knew little to nothing of the character. Luke works with Iron Fist. He’s got impenetrable skin. He used to dress like a pirate princess. Now he’s a yellow shirted black Stone Cold Steve Austin. Jessica Jones had (has?) his baby. Yup. That’s literally everything I knew of the character. Based on the pedigree of Daredevil and Jessica Jones (vis a vis Netflix) though, I knew Cage would be a quality watch. What I didn’t count on was (as many on my feeds commented on as well) the show actually being about Harlem and the black experience… not just a strong black dude fighting super villains.

With Atlanta, I ensured my series record on the ole’ DVR based solely on my appreciation for all things Donald Glover. And for those following along? This is yet another time I’m eating my own words. Where I once lambasted Glover for being angtsy, it was shortly after writing that article I found myself accidently in love with Because the Internet. The former ensemble cast member of the cult-favorite Community became a near-daily listened-to recording artist on my Spotify playlists for his work as Childish Gambino. Glover on the mic is pensive and egotistical in the same breath. His beats – which some truer rap fans than I lambast him for cribbing from more popular nerdcore artists – are slick interplays of techno-screeches, dub-step-warble, and delightful shoegaze. To think that guy would choose to pen “Twin Peaks, with rappers” as an episodic dramedy sounded like a match made in heaven for my mind. Never mind that I considered whatever that output was going to be, was ever going to be… purposefully black.

While the shows contrast in their nature – one acting as a literal homage and elevation to Blaxsploitation, the other acting an arthouse flick spiraling out somewhere between a serial and anthology – they both share a love of microscopic explorations of black culture as means to build their narratives around.

In Cage, we got a well-read, black-culture-versed hero who is enthralled about authors like Walter Mosley and Ralph Ellison. And while he could jaw a bit with Method Man about his favorite Wu Tang Clan album, the series was sure to celebrate the breadth of black music – from Raphael Saadiq, Faith Evans, straight to legends like The Delfonics and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. With Pop’s Barbershop as the “neighborhood Switzerland,” we got a central part of modern black culture woven straight into the fabric of the series. And while not every character on the show was given depth… even background players like Bobby Fish and Turk were allowed to show how they worked to provide for their own through the seedy underbelly of Harlem Luke Cage would be coerced to protect by season’s end.

Atlanta’s black America is far less united in history and shared gravitas. The Big Peach of Glover’s pen is dissected across multiple social strata. Glover’s character, Earn, is a burnout trying to burn less; lending managerial services to his mix-tape slinging cousin. Through the lens of the local rap-scene, we see how Earn and Paper Boi are celebrated by some, loathed by others, obsessed on by posers, and ignored by the players. Throughout the season Earn and those in his orbit wind up in a litany of stereotypical black locales – a BET inspired Charlie Rose interview show, a high-society Southern Gothic ball, the city lock-up, and the backwoods of Georgia for some illicit drug deals. In Atlanta, there are no super heroes to save the day, just the stub of a blunt or a bong made from an apple.

A visit to a dance club in the show is antithetical to Luke Cage’s Harlem’s Paradise. Where Paradise is all class, the club in Atlanta is hot ass. A barely-seen more-famous-rapper keeps a bevvy of hangers’ on in his private VIP section while Paper Boi remains in his self-proclaimed Oktoberfest (a joke so deft, I paused to relish it). When gun shots eventually erupt at both clubs, Cage is at the center of the action to protect and defend. Earn and his cousin duck, run, and get late-night-breakfast. That Paper Boi would then be announced as a potential suspect (when he was far away from the action) serves as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the modern victimization of innocent black men and women. Earn and Paper Boi see the story, snicker, and go back to their waffles.

In both cases I found a window to a world I’m often purposefully excluded from. That both shows do so well to feel lived in without feeling like purged-pandering is a testament to the niche media worlds we’re enjoying on modern TV. I’ve never been more excited for the future.

Martha Thomases: The Never-Ending Battle


Truth, Justice and the American Way.

That’s a phrase that has special meaning to those of us who love comics. Even if you’re not a superhero fan you remember it from your childhood, when, maybe, you were. Because it’s a phrase that’s associated with Superman, the character that initially defined American comics, it’s a phrase that evokes heroism.

We all want to be heroes, don’t we? Even those of us who might also want to be anti-heroes.

On Tuesday, you’ll have your chance. On Tuesday, you can vote.

It won’t surprise you that I have opinions about the best candidates running for elected office. I’ve alluded to them here and here, when I was supposed to be writing about pop culture. I’m more explicit here, where I get to mouth off about anything I want.

I love New York, but I hate that it has no early voting.

Fifteen years ago, when the terrorists drove airplanes into the World Trade Center, I immediately went and voted in the mayoral primary. It seemed to me that voting was my best tool for fighting terrorism.

I hate that I can’t vote every day.

You may or may not agree with me about who is best suited to lead the country, or what policies will make things better. I still want you to vote. Elections don’t mean much if we don’t. Democracy doesn’t mean much if citizens don’t participate.

Some people tell me that they don’t register to vote because they don’t want to get called for jury duty. Some people tell me they don’t vote because they don’t know where their polling place is. Some people tell me they don’t vote because it doesn’t make any difference. Some people tell me they don’t vote because they hate all the election ads and robocalls.

Heroes don’t give up that easily. Heroes do whatever they can to make the world a better place.

That’s the American Way.

Tweeks: Halloween Vlog!

This week we vlog while sorting our Halloween candy Topics include our first Halloween at Orange County School of the Arts, the backlash against Harley Quinn costumes when obviously everyone & her sister was in a Stranger Things costume, a recreation of the Kardashian Kit Kat video, and a review Poltergeist.

Dennis O’Neil: Tooth-Rotting Superheroes!


Feeling of anxiety in my torso as though some malevolent, weaselly little troll’s taken up residence there. Gonna pop out into Marifran’s face, like the little bastard in the first alien movie? No, but if it did at least it would be gone. Been snarking around for months. Why? What have I got that it might want?

Could the time of year have some relevance here? When I sat down to write this, it was Halloween, the holiday that, according to some savants, the barrier between the living and he dead becomes porous and allows those Who Have Passed Before Us to visit the realm of the breathing and… I don’t know – give the finger to the girl who dumped you in high school? Scare the living hell out of granny? Reap mountainous profits?

Ah, that last one. Like virtually everything else, Halloween, which began as a modest little wingding with religious roots, has become monetized and so parents buy loads of tooth-rotting sweets to hand out to the neighbors’ offspring and costumes for their own cuties to wear as they foray onto the block in quest of rotten teeth.

Sometimes the costumes are kind of traditional – ghosts, witches, princesses – but, it seems to me looking through the wrong end of the telescope, that more and more trick-or-treaters are opting for outfits adapted from the garb worn by the superheroes of movies, television and, and – what am I neglecting? Oh sure – comic books for those who prefer a touch of the archaic in their entertainment. Profits a’waiting, for sure.

But the comicbook/Halloween synergy isn’t all that links holiday with comics. (All hands brace for comic book trivia!) For a few years in the past century, a smallish Vermont town called Rutland staged an annual Halloween parade and encouraged paraders to dress as comics characters. A Rutland resident named Tom Fagan upped the ante by inviting comics professionals to participate in the shenanigans and – surprise! some of us did. A town full of cheerful citizens, partying with colleagues, maybe something to eat and drink and maybe even the inspiration for a comic book or two, down the line… anybody see anything not to like? Thought not.

The festivities ended somewhere north of midnight when Tom opened the doors to a big old mansion he owned and invited all and sundry to find a place to sleep. We did, and the next morning we drove through the glorious New England autumn back to the real world.

And I was scared of what, exactly? I’d encountered my share of spookies in the previous 24 hours, but they had been more likely to generate giggles rather than screams.

Molly Jackson: Happy, Cheery Me


October was kind of a wasteland for me. The constant waves of political discourse were a downer. And now that the election is in a week, it is only getting worse. It’s not that I don’t want to stay tuned to the political scene, it’s just that I need some balance in my life. Right now, everywhere you look is filled with political drama. The country is teetering on the precipice of this election and it’s taking a toll on the country’s mood. So rather than give into the election-induced fatigue that has seeped in the tone of the country, I’m looking for some fun ways to keep upbeat and sane. And since this is ComicMix and all, you can probably guess where I am heading.

the_charlie_brown_and_snoopy_show_-_linuss_security_blanket_-_sally_2No, I am not going to tell you to watch Star Trek. Granted, pretty much every holodeck episode is easy, lighthearted fare. Still, the show has got a lot of critical issues covered in some episodes that even I need a break from now and again.

I did catch a screening of Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders during New York Comic Con. It felt so refreshing to watch a superhero film that doesn’t get dark. It was filled with laughs, brightly colored subtitled sounds, and actors who sound like they haven’t aged a day despite playing the same characters before I was born. I’ve even rewatched the original Adam West Batman movie recently and this new animated flick works with it so well. You can read Bob’s entire ComicMix review, but since Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders came out on Nov. 1st, it is definitely on my must watch again list.

verynearmintBut in case you don’t want to watch something, why not sit down a read! I’m not suggesting read anything though. I went and perused my own bookshelf for some suggestions. My first go-to for a fun story is Fred Chao’s Johnny Hiro volumes 1 and 2. Johnny Hiro is just an ordinary guy struggling to make ends meet in New York City. Along that seemingly serious journey though, he battles ninjas, monsters, and judgments from Alton Brown. Volume 2 takes a bit more of a serious tone but still light enough to help anyone’s election fatigue.

I’m also going to suggest the series Very Near Mint by Justin Peterson. It’s the story of a local comic shop and the owners, with all the exaggerated characters included. They get into a battle with a bigger comic shop and hilarious battling ensues. This is one of the funniest comics out there. Great character development and well-placed use of classic tropes make it an entertaining read.

So, if the country’s issues are getting you down, take a break from social media. Watch something fun or read something even funnier. Take the time to enrich and invigorate your mind and soul now. After this election, we are going to need everyone to help bring this country back together.

Mike Gold: Get Off Your Ass!


You may have read this before as I’ve done a version of this little rant ever since those hallowed days of the real First Comics three decades ago. Somehow, I even got away with it at DC Comics. I’ve done this on the air, online, and even on stage. If I am around in 2020, I’ll do it some more.

Assuming your teevee set is broken, I am informing you that next Tuesday, November 8th, is election day. We get to pick all of our Congresspeople, one-third of our senators, a petulance of governors, a shitload of local officials, and, as an added thrill, a brand-new President of the United States. You say you don’t like any of these bastards? You’re hardly alone. Perhaps you don’t like the fact that each winner will have his or her foot on our necks and his or her hands in our pockets.

system-is-not-brokenBut the fact is, each winner will have his or her foot on our necks and his or her hands in our pockets whether you exercise your responsibility or not.

Taking the presidential race as an example, you might think both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump are liars, blowhards, and jerks. Maybe so, but one of those liars, blowhards, and jerks will be sworn in as our 45th President this coming January 20th. That is an absolute fact. First and foremost, that person will be nominating for confirmation by the Senate the next Supreme Court justice. Probably the next two. Possibly the next four. And if our next President is lucky, she or he will have either sufficient support in the Senate or will get really lucky and, for a change, be able to work with a gaggle of Senators who are actually grown-ups who understand we need to have a full bench… just as our constitution says.

The Supreme Court consists of nine men and women of sundry ethnicities, races, and political persuasions. They are the last word on all of our laws. Their decisions affect all Americans and, to a somewhat lesser extent, most Earthlings for decades to come. You may have noticed sometimes they even decide elections. The winners of next week’s election are will bring about fundamental changes in our nation’s laws and procedures.

These nine people – eight people for the past year, thanks to the pathetic childishness of our Senate – are likely to be deciding on abortion, health care, our right to privacy (actually, right now we do not have any such right), how much we pay for our Internet service and how fast or slow it may be, federal interference of state marijuana laws, the deployment of for-profit prisons, the quality of our environment… and they just might revisit the whole corporations-are-the-same-as people debacle.


election, Presidential election, for-profit prisons, Ronald Reagan, Norman Thomas, Supreme Court, marijuana legalization, down-ticket

You might not appreciate the virtues of either major party candidate. According to the polls, most Americans lack such appreciation. I can dig that, but it doesn’t matter. You can exercise your constitutional right to write-in Ronald Reagan, Norman Thomas (Google him), or if you have a highly developed sense of irony Minnie Mouse, but the absolute fact is that after next Tuesday – or whenever the Supreme Court decides – either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump will be the next President of the United States. Like it or lump it, that person will have his or her proverbial foot on your neck.

Oh, and so will all those who win the “down-ticket” elections.

So once again, I implore you: this Tuesday get off your ass and vote!

If you decline to vote, you vacate your place on the high moral ground and you lose your right to bitch.

Well, you can complain all you want, but if you don’t cast your vote, why the hell should anybody listen?

Mike Gold is ComicMix’s editor-in-chief, and this was a bone fide editorial.

Box Office Democracy: Black Mirror: Season Three

I had very little idea what Black Mirror was before it was assigned to me this week. I was reasonably sure it was something a little spooky because of the way people talked about it on social media and from context clues I was pretty sure it was a TV show. That was all I knew and it was kind of refreshing.  I did know that people had a very high opinion of Black Mirror and maybe that damaged it in my mind. Black Mirror is a good anthology series with a few solid episodes but there’s a distracting sense of self-importance creeping in from the edges that is ruinous when the episodes aren’t rock solid.

The thematic through line for Black Mirror is the danger of modern technology, particularly technology popular with young people in the real world. We see the dangers of an exaggerated version of Klout, the perils of advanced virtual and augmented reality systems, even an episode about call-out culture. When these hit they feel like prescient warnings, but when they miss they feel like an old person yelling at kids for enjoying a thing they don’t understand. I enjoy meditations on how we can tell what’s real when computers start inputting signals directly to our brains, but I’m quite over being lectured about looking at my phone too much by any media— especially a streaming content provider like Netflix. The strongest two episodes, “San Junipero” and “ Hated in the Nation”, let the technological ruminations fade to the background and focus on just being strong stories instead and they’re much stronger for it. “Hated in the Nation” is a fun feature-length mystery thriller with a side of sci-fi and it stands head and shoulders above the rest because it isn’t there to lecture but to generate suspense.

Maybe I’ve seen one too many episodes of The Twilight Zone, but I also found the twists to be a tad facile. I could have written a summary of the first episode after the first ten minutes and would consistently only be surprised if they did a second twist (it’s very hard to nail a double twist). Storytelling isn’t about twists and predictable isn’t the end of the world but there were two out of these six episodes that seemed to have nothing going on except setting up a twist (“Playtest” and “Men Against Fire”) and when those don’t land the whole episode falls apart. It’s the unfortunate cliché of the sci-fi anthology that everything needs to have some kind of gotcha ending and the genre needs to grow out of it.

This might not be the place for this critique, but as I’m not a TV critic I’m not sure I’ll get another chance to talk about it. I might be getting very tired of the way people act in English dramas. Perhaps I’ve been taken in by an epidemic of overacting in American television, but in all but the most heightened moments everyone seems so dispassionate in Black Mirror and in most English shows I can call to mind right now I feel the same way. Either I’m supposed to believe England is a country full of people who have an almost sarcastic disconnection from their day-to-day lives except in moments of extreme stress, or this is some kind of artistic meme— and if it’s the latter, I just don’t care for it much anymore. If it’s the former, I guess it’s an okay representation and I hope the country of England gets better soon.

I want there to be more anthology programming on TV. I hate seeing a TV cast that is temporarily or permanently bored with their show, and that constant churn makes sure that even in a weak moment that everyone at least gives a shit. Unfortunately I haven’t particularly clicked with any of the attempts to revive the format, and Black Mirror is almost certainly going to continue this trend. If I was given a very specific recommendation, I could see myself returning for an episode or two— but I’m not going to be on the edge of my seat whenever season four launches. I like my science fiction a little less preachy and old fashioned. I’m happy Black Mirror exists for the people who want it, I’m a fervent supporter of anything that isn’t a family sitcom or a police drama, but it’s just not my cup of tea.

Michael Davis: Dream Killer 5 – Go F Yourself?



From last week:

When I wrote about numerous other options there certainly are. The four I list are ones I can speak about from a personal perspective.

Publishing Options:

  1. Find a major publisher
  2. Crowd Fund
  3. Fund Yourself
  4. Go outside the box.

The vast majority of top tier creators in the industry use option number one. Presentation to publishers differs from creator to creator. My process varies depending on the entity I’m pitching to.

I covered two and three last week. I stopped thinking about number one more than twenty years ago. I started thinking about number two after talking to Mike Gold a year or so ago.

That brings up to numbers three and four, financing yourself and getting out of the box but before I continue I want to make something clear.

This isn’t bravado, it’s business.

One of my many criticisms I get is that I tout my résumé too often. I don’t, but when I do it’s for one or two reasons. The first, I talk to parents of kids interested in careers in the arts as well as give advice in my columns. Many of those parents are from disadvantaged communities, and no example works better than an example that works.

The second reason is to piss off my haters. Not nearly as important, but it sure is fun.

Funding Yourself? Should You?

Funding yourself is just that. Unless you have considerable bank coming up with the money to capitalize your idea isn’t as easy as you may think. Many young creators only reflect on the comic book. The fact is the comic is the easy part.

Do You Have a Realistic View Of Your Idea and Ability?

Your parents and friends love you. Well, some of them do. One moment you’re singing a happy song and the next you’re on a milk carton after a unpleasant encounter with grandma. That’s my way of saying you never know what’s in your future or where problems may pop up from.

I’m sure you believe grandma does not want to bust a cap in your ass and you think I’m just silly. You know she and the rest of your family loves you, and most certainly do. There is no better support system than friends and family… and no better way to end up on that milk carton.

Unless grandma is a Marvel editor, mom and dad write and draw for DC, or your sister is the new publisher at Dark Horse you better find someone who has some professional experience. Listening only to those who care about you will give you a false sense of greatness.

They love you, but they have no clue what good is.

What Are You Not Considering?

Although much consideration is given to praise, little is given to what makes a successful project. Among the factors left to chance by many are distribution, marketing and all that comes with those concerns.

Put another way: all that shit cost money.

Always remember the comic industry is dream filled but reality based.

Let say you have ten thousand dollars to spend. That’s a sexy sum to most. I’ll make it even sexier – don’t include payment for the comic in that ten G’s. That’s not improbable at all, numerous projects have been produced with the creative team taking a back-end (paid later) deal.

If you want to self-publish something just for your friends and family, then ten grand is more than enough. You want to reach a broad audience and compete with the big boys ten grand maybe covers your printing, and that’s an enormous maybe. Again if you have dead presidents just hanging around while you play weatherman with a stripper, then this isn’t an issue.

If after making it rain you can’t pay your rent then do not get into the comic book business as a way to do so. No matter what that stripper says to you the moment your money runs out, you’re done and that’s probably not the done you were looking for. Yep, those strippers can be some cold bitches. Just like the comics industry.

Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money for many things. Promoting and marketing a comic book may not be on that list. I say may because nothing I write and nothing you create means a thing unless you know what your goal is.

What Is Your Goal?

Knowing my goal accounts for every business decision I make.

If that family comic book is your aim, then it makes perfect sense to use your money or lacking the capital perhaps borrow or ask your family to invest in your dream.

New creators looking to compete at a major level can do so and that has been done. Despite the sarcastic title of this series, killing your dream isn’t my goal. Quite the opposite.

Self-funding your project comes with incredible perks. If you can afford to take that risk, there is no downside and what I call the it side is plentiful.

  1. It’s yours; you own it.
  2. No one can tell you shit because you control it.
  3. Money? You deserve it.
  4. You get to tell your haters to eat it.

Here’s something that will come as a surprise. There have been a great many new creators who have self-funded their projects with no financial risk and achieved greatness doing so.

I’m speaking about damn near every celebrity who decided they wanted to do comics. What? You don’t know of whom I speak? Now, why do you suppose that is? The answer is simple. It’s not their lane. Comics are littered with the bodies of famous people not knowing when to stay in their lane.

No amount of money or name recognition will make something bad into something good. Just ask the guy with the name a duck screams about Batman V Sucked.

There was every reason to assume a major star becoming Batman would make that movie work. Nope. On the flip side, the film is closing in on (put pinky next to mouth) one billion dollars, so old Ben did all right. A major movie superstar in a major film is not a guarantee of box office gold. Mr. Hanks and Mr. Howard can tell you about that their flick Inferno was more of a box office campfire.

I have no say except my opinion when it comes to movies, but when it comes to comics I can say with authority: being a star in another medium means absolutely nothing in comics.

There are some notable exceptions. Matt Groening, Kevin Smith, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and perhaps the most successful big star to come to comics, Reggie Hudlin.

Reggie and I have some tainted history but as an example of someone coming from another area he’s the gold standard. He’s a good writer, loves the medium and – most important – knows how comics work. A bit of phone etiquette would be nice (inside joke), but you can’t fault his abilities.

Should You Self-Fund?

  1. Do you know your goal?
  2. Have the money to lose?
  3. Have a realistic view of your idea?
  4. Seeked out a professional?
  5. Understand creating your comic is the easy part?
  6. Are you considering everything you need?

New creators who are lucky enough to fund themselves may want to give the folk I listed above a Google. My advice once was never to use your money if you don’t have too. Been there, done that, got burnt, swore I’d never do it again.

Did it again but with a small difference that should have been a no-brainer.

I’ll discuss that next time.

Emily S. Whitten: Pro Cosplay Makeup with Jenna Morin!

jenna-morin-1A month ago I shared the inside scoop on the exciting new comic-con on a cruise ship, Fan2Sea – where it came from, what it will offer, and why it sounds like, as Bender says, “Fun on a bun!” And the awesome fact that I will be going on the cruise and reporting back on that fun for everyone.

But you don’t have to wait until after the cruise to know more about what’s going to happen on it. In my continued coverage, I checked in with one of the many cool people who will be featured on the cruise, professional makeup artist Jenna Morin, to ask her about her work and what we can expect from her on board. She also gave me a bit of makeup and accessorizing advice for a cruise costume I’m working on. Read on for the Q&A!

Jenna, what is your background and experience as a makeup artist and cosplayer, and how did you get involved with that?

I’ve been doing makeup for about twelve years now. I started when I was working in a haunted house and just fell in love with it. I suppose cosplaying started for me there as well. Something about transforming into someone or something else was just plain magical; people’s reactions to it were just the icing on top. My first makeup ventures were as a face painter and body painter. I did a lot of children’s parties and a lot of photo shoots. Then companies like Budweiser and Jameson Whiskey started hiring me to body paint models for high end events. I just kind of evolved from there. I went to school for beauty makeup to round myself out and had some great mentors for my SFX makeup. Now I’m just traveling the world doing what I love. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some great movies and some of my favorite television shows. I do a lot of events for AMC and The Walking Dead and I’ve got a great following in the convention circuit.

jenna-morin-2Do you have any favorite stories or experiences that have come from your work in the industry? What are some of the coolest projects you’ve worked on?

So many stories. Okay, here’s a favorite… I was doing an event for AMC a couple of years ago. The entire cast of The Walking Dead was there to have dinner with advertisers and investors. During dinner they wanted a horde of zombies to come out and invade the space. I was in the back making zombies, completely annoyed, behind on time, because nothing seemed to be going right that night. I was putting the finishing touches on one of the makeups and I hear a voice behind me say “I don’t think it’s quite right; maybe you should start over.” Without turning around I replied, “Last time I checked I was the hired artist for this job and I think it looks great,” in a very agitated and snarky tone. The person started to apologize and I turned around only to be face-to-face with Andy Lincoln. He apologized so much and said he was only kidding, but I felt like a complete ass. We’ve worked together a bunch since then and he always teases me about it.

What will Fan2Sea attendees be able to learn from you, and what will you be doing while on board?

Well the biggest thing is that I will be doing makeup on board! I’ll have my entire kit with me; everything from airbrushing to prosthetics. Attendees can come to my area and get body painted, face painted, turned into a zombie, or even get pretty stuff with glitter. I’ll have my entire face paint kit for kids on board as well. They can become their favorite superhero or beautiful princess. I keep my costs super reasonable so its affordable to everyone, so everyone, come visit me to complete your cosplay and makeup needs!

As for a tutorial, I think I’m going to offer a fun class on how to make a zombie out of household items. Not everyone has the budget or access to super professional materials. I want to show that really cool stuff can be done with things from your cabinets, grocery store or even the dollar store.

jenna-morinWhat if someone has never tried cosplay makeup before? Will you be able to help them out? Do you have any tips to share?

I can help anyone, from makeup veterans to someone just trying it out for the first time. I’m happy to sit down and talk to you about your character and figure out what works best for you and your needs. The biggest tip I have is to save up and buy some quality makeup. There are plenty of cheap makeups out there that will get the job done… for about an hour. Then all that time that you spent applying it starts to melt off, smear, smudge and just plain fade away. Not to mention the skin problems that can come from low quality makeup. Do some research and make sure you use something more on the professional end… Your skin will thank you for it!

Since it’s always cool to get advice from a pro – I’m a cosplayer but I would like to also be comfortable on the cruise in warm weather, which means I’m looking for comfy, cool options. I found this super cute dress at Hot Topic and thought I could make it into a Walking Dead cosplay for a walker killer – but not a specific established character. I want to create my own badass walker killer! I thought I could do some blood on my skin to go with the dress (to make it look like I’ve been killing walkers), but I don’t want it to be cumbersome or sticky in the heat. Do you have tips about that and how to apply it? Also, we all know some of the Walking Dead characters have their own unique weapons. I’m trying to think of one that would be easy to carry or attach, but unique. Any ideas?

First, I have some amazing alcohol based blood spray. It’s not sticky at all, it’s waterproof, and it’s totally comfortable. It will dry on your skin and hold there all day, so you won’t even feel it. It takes about 15 seconds to dry! I have it in a cool spray bottle for blood splatter and the best thing for making blood streaks is to just use your hands.

Walking Dead props can really be anything. Remember, they pick up whatever is around them to defend themselves most of the time. You can go completely outside of the box. I’d suggest making something out of L200 foam. It’s light and easily manipulated. A pipe, axe, aerial, wrench, bat, or knife. Or, if you watch Z Nation, something like Addy’s bat with the spikes on the end – that could be awesome as well. If you do the bat, what I’d suggest is to buy a foam bat and use L200 to make the spikes. They are selling bats all over for Harley Quinn cosplays right now. Grab one of those and paint it black and then make the silver spikes out of the foam. I’d suggest you check out YouTube for some tutorials on how to manipulate L200.

Thanks, that’s super helpful!  So what are you most excited about for Fan2Sea?

I’m most excited to meet the fans and guests. Cruise vibes are all their own and there’s no other venue like it. Hanging out with everyone and feeding off of their excitement to meet their favorite celebrities, or meeting someone that’s excited to meet me or get their makeup done by me is always an amazing experience. Also, the karaoke. I’m a big fan of karaoke.

Thanks for sharing with us, Jenna, and I’ll be super-excited to meet you on the ship and get some walker-killer makeup assistance (and possibly something with pretty glitter on another day, because who doesn’t love pretty glitter makeup?). For all you readers out there, I hope to see you on the cruise as well!

And until next time, Servo Lectio!


Joe Corallo: Last Week In Intolerance


Some of you may have heard of the Mockingbird controversy and harassment of Chelsea Cain. Less of you probably heard about Tokyo Comic Con banning men from cosplaying as female characters. While the two events are unrelated, they both involve intolerance in the comics industry… and they both have a happy ending. Well, happier than it could have been, I guess.

Back in March, the character of Mockingbird was given her first solo series at Marvel Comics. The character of Bobbi Morse, Mockingbird’s alter ego, debuted at Marvel back in 1971 with her becoming Mockingbird in 1980. Though she was created by Len Wein and Neal Adams, her first published story was written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Barry Windsor-Smith. Mockingbird has appeared on and off in Marvel Comics as part of S.H.I.E.L.D. and different Avengers teams ever since with varying success. Once Mockingbird appeared on network TV’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on October 21st, 2014 it made sense that Marvel Comics would want to try a solo series for the character.

Enter Chelsea Cain, successful novelist, columnist and outside-of-the-realm-of-comics recruit. Comics taking in people from the outside is hardly new and has been seen as having at least some potential to tap into a different audience. Despite solid reviews the series has been cancelled at only eight issues in. After brutal backlash on Twitter towards Chelsea Cain’s pro-feminist take on the character, she quit the social media outlet. Heidi MacDonald’s piece at The Beat goes into more of the details, which I linked to back up at the top.

i-vampireWhile her future in the realm of comics is currently up in the air (as far as we know) there are some important takeaways here that may not be quite as obvious – the biggest of which for me is how well the first volume is selling. It’s reached number one on Amazon’s graphic novels list. Some of this may be due to the controversy, but that’s still an incredible feat for a comic cancelled for lack of sales… although that is hardly new.

I remember I, Vampire getting cancelled for lack of monthly floppy sales even after its first volume made it to #4 on the New York Times bestseller list. That was over four years ago. More recently we had Tom King’s Omega Men cancelled by DC Comics, briefly uncancelled, then ended for good with trade paperback sales also hitting #4 on the New York Times bestseller list. Mockingbird may end up enjoying that same fate.

Since then, the big two have seemingly made no real attempts to try and adapt to the changing markets. Sure, they’ve upped the output of straight to graphic novel stories such as DC Comics’ Earth One, but they can’t seem to solve this particular problem.

Though Axel Alonso tweeted out his support of Chelsea Cain, for which I applaud him –it’s something he didn’t have to do – the real support may need to be the comics industry putting more faith in their talent and their product similar to how Vertigo used to years ago. If Neil Gaiman’s Sandman came out today with the sales it had at first, we’d likely never have gotten past a dozen issues. I don’t have the answers to that. Maybe moving print comics to digital-only if they’re selling that well as trade paperbacks, I’m not sure. Either way we need the big two doing more for creators and to cultivate worthwhile stories so that maybe Mockingbird getting cancelled can have a happier ending.

tokyo-comic-conWe already got a happy ending with Tokyo Comic Con, a large convention featuring guests like Jeremy Renner and Stan Lee. Well, sort of. After a large public outcry through social media, the organizers decided to end the ban on men cosplaying as female characters. It was very bizarre, and seeing how quickly they were able to change their minds on this decision it lends itself to the idea that it was entirely unnecessary.

What’s still a bit troubling is that Tokyo Comic Con is issuing gender specific registration cards that will be checked to make sure that only people of the corresponding gender will have access to changing areas and restrooms. I haven’t found anything specific on their policies regarding transgender and non-binary attendees, so these gender specific registrations do raise some red flags for me.

While I do hope there won’t be any issues because of this, we’ll have to wait and see. I’m thrilled that they reversed their needless cosplaying restrictions, but it does seem to me that if they were trying to keep men out of women’s changing areas by implementing such a ban that their attitudes towards transgender and non-binary attendees may be troubling.

That wraps up last week’s examples of intolerance in comics. I’m sure there were more, but I only have so much time to research. Come back next week to see if people have become more tolerant by then.

The answer may surprise you.