Category: Columns

Michael Davis: Dream Killer 4 – Publish or Perish

dreamkiller4From last week:

That, boys and girl, is called knowing the game. Those who don’t shouldn’t play. So despite being blackballed by one of the big two how was I able to thrive?

Alternative means of finding distribution, budget and happiness.

The vast majority of top tier creators in the industry use one option.

There are numerous more, and I’ll touch on those next time.

As well I will break down what option was preferred and why for the project I’m using for this series. I’ve been in the game for a long time. What I use as examples are not intended as a ‘how to’ to get into the comics biz. If so the series would be named ‘how to ruin your career.’

The underlying point is to look at the big picture when entering this field. I believe with every fiber of my being one should always look to do the right thing. Comics are a very small industry and to have a real shot, it’s counterproductive working on how well you write or draw without working on your relationships skills.

Put another way, when people tell who they are and what they are about, trust but verify.

“The vast majority of top tier creators in the industry use one option.There are numerous more, and I’ll touch on those next time.”

It’s next time.

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.

The Comic Book Companies: Who & Why?

I’m not an idiot. This is a pop culture site heavy into comics. As such a significant amount of this, many readers will know. That’s great, but those who know will be surprised to learn many and by many a mean most of the newbies looking to get into the business have clue zero regarding the publishers in the industry.

There are well over two hundred publishers in the United States and thousands worldwide. For our purposes, we should know the players that meet your criteria for your project. The competitive rules are distribution, brand recognition, and marketing clout. What follows are the current major power brokers of the industry in my opinion.

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics is one of the big two. Marvel has a lineup of some of the world’s greatest comics. They include The X-Men, Fantastic Four, The Hulk, and of course, Spider-Man. When Disney acquired Marvel, the industry thought the mouse would destroy Marvel. Nope Marvel did change but for the better. Marvel is the undisputed superhero king in the mainstream because of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. DC has yet to catch the kind of fire Marvel has on the screen.

DC Comics

DC Comics is the other half of the big two and despite my rocky history with them still my choice universe. Time/Warner owns DC, but as of this writing, the noise is AT&T is about to buy Time Warner.

When Disney purchased Marvel, I was one of the few voices that thought this was a good thing and it was. They were smart enough to let Axel Alonzo and other key playa’s stay and soon fear turned into faith. I also correctly predicted DC would oust Paul Levitz and move operations to the West Coast. This is not to say Paul was an obstacle to DC; he wasn’t. He was problematic. His influence spanned three decades and for better or worse Time Warner knew for DC to compete with Marvel Paul had to go.

In my opinion, and I do so hope I am wrong, if AT&T buys Time Warner and DC Comics is part of that deal (it may not be) then DC Comics may be fucked.

Disney is in the content creation business, and even James Bond can tell you nobody does it better. AT&T is in the telecommunication business and realizes within the high stake arena of telecommunication, they are far from the only game in town. What AT&T has is the ability to deliver content better than anyone. What they don’t have is content they own outright. If they buy Time Warner, they get the mother of all content and instantly become the biggest pimp in town. So big Comcast becomes their bitch, and even Disney had better recognize.

As most of you know, the DC lineup includes Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Flash. DC further has a mature reader line of books called Vertigo. The Vertigo books have a suspense and horror tilt. Recently DC entirely rebooted their entire 78-year continuity with a revamping and retelling of all their major characters twice. The New 52 did not do the kind of numbers DC was hoping for but Rebirth is very strong and the talk of the industry. Outside comics Marvel may be king in the movies, but on TV it’s all DC.

All good right? No. Not really. If this deal happens all it takes is one high powered mofo to say; “What do we need comic books for?” Remember Disney got Marvel because of its superheroes.

Look at all AT&T gets:




Cartoon Network

Adult Swim


The CW

Warner Bros. Pictures

DC Entertainment

New Line Cinema

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

You see comics on that list? Nope. DC Entertainment, yes. Comics, nope. You don’t need comics if you own the property already. Far-fetched? Maybe, but so was AT&T buying Time Warner a month ago.

Image Comics

Image Comics started in the early nineties. They quickly rose to the number three position in the industry. They have a consortium of studios that all contribute to the publishing line. Many creators do creator owned books under the Image banner. Their publishing deal is as follows authors deliver the book Image manages the publishing distribution and marketing.

When I ran Motown Animation & Filmworks, my comic book division had its publishing deal with Image.

Dark Horse Comics

Dark Horse Comics have lots of success with taking their comics to movies. The Mask, Time Cop, Barb Wire, Mystery Men, and Hellboy to name a few. All of those movies were Dark Horse comics first. Their CEO and publisher also owns a chain of comic book stores. They have the most “Hollywood” take on the comic book business. Dark Horse has a history of working with maverick creators and Mike Richardson publisher is one of the smartest men in the industry.

IDW Publishing

Idea + Design Works (IDW) was formed in 1999 by four entertainment executives and artists, Ted Adams, Alex Garner, Kris Oprisko and Robbie Robbins. They decided to create a company that would allow them to work with a variety of clients on the things they liked: video games, movies, TV, collectible card games, comic books and trading cards. They have produced some of the best-looking books in comics.

NBM Publishing

NBM is a graphic album publisher. They rarely do superheroes but do science fiction, fantasy, horror and what they call Eurotica. They are more of a mainline publisher in the way they conduct business. NBM has published many graphic novels in comics stores with a second window in mainstream bookstores such as Barnes and Noble. Smart people run NBM, and they don’t suffer fools on any level so before you pitch to them, or any publisher make it a point to know what they do.

Dynamite Entertainment

Dynamite Entertainment focuses primarily on comic book adaptations of existing properties, with most of their original holdings being new interpretations of the classics. They hold or have held the rights to publish titles based on films (Army of Darkness, Darkman, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, RoboCop, and Highlander), television series (Xena: Warrior Princess) and literature (Sherlock Holmes, Alice in Wonderland, Dracula, and Zorro). Other properties include Buck Rogers and Sherlock Holmes.

Lion Forge Comics

When Lion Forge added Joe Illidge as senior editor they changed the game. That move should put a certain landmark publisher on notice. Or put another way, you slow you blow.


Crowd funding the second option was at one time something I was not at all interested in attempting. I thought there was no formula to speak of and I don’t do maybe or hit and miss in business.

What many people fail to realize is once funded they assume all the roles that go along with a crowdfunding gig. It’s true that some notable people (Spike Lee for one) have crowd funded projects. It’s easy with that kind of name recognition and people at that level have an existing infrastructure.

Funding must cover marketing creative, printing, and fulfillment of whatever incentives promised those who chip in. That alone is a massive undertaking. To reach a mass market would in my estimate take funding of between $30,000-$70.000.

There is a growing number of companies that will handle the undertaking for you. Some for a small fee some for a huge stake in your creation. I’m rethinking crowd funding mainly because I found a gem of a project which wasn’t moving. Taking a chance, I funded it all myself then brokered a deal for the property at a mainstream publisher. I don’t own it, didn’t create it but the creator can now think about just doing the work and let someone else do the heavy lifting selling.

What do I get? Right now nothing but the future isn’t built on right now.

Next week I’ll break down funding yourself and try and get you out of the box.


Emily Whitten’s New York Comic Con 2016 Round-Up!


New York Comic Con has once again rushed by in a giant, fun, crazy blur, and although I didn’t get to nearly all the things I was hoping to, I did have a rockin’ time and see some really cool things I can share.

The first of these were a few great panels I landed seats for, including, as is my tradition, the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles panel. If you don’t know I love the current TMNT, then what are you, new here? But seriously, I love it. And each panel I have gone to brings something new and different.

This panel (with Andrea Romano (voice director), Eric Bauza (Tiger Claw), Kevin Michael Richardson (The Shredder), Greg Cipes (Mikey), Rob Paulsen (Donnie), and Ciro Nieli (Executive Producer)) was particularly fun, because one of the things they did was a live read of episode #420, “The Super Shredder,” which will air when TMNT comes back on Sunday, November 6, at 11 a.m. ET.  I love watching voice actors do live reads, and I think this is the first time I got to see one with veteran and amazing voice director Andrea Romano actually directing during the read. So this was extra nifty! (Not to mention I caught Kevin Michael Richardson’s script after the panel and he signed it for me. ROCK.) The live read was a fun excerpt from what looks like a really interesting, game-changing episode in which Shredder is healed by mutagen to become The Super Shredder. And happily, I was able to get the whole live read on video, so everyone else can see it too!

Along with a clip from that episode, we got to see another clip that goes into the backstory of Tiger Claw, and I just loved every bit of it, from Tigerclaw and Bebop tooling around town together while they reminisce, to this image of Tiger Claw and Alopex as circus performers, which is just too adorable for words. Speaking of which, a new character reveal at this panel was obviously Alopex, who looks super cool. And another new character we got to see was Kavaxas, a.k.a. Hot Head, who looks fantastic and is being voiced by none other than Mark Hamill!

But the TMNT panel wasn’t through with showing us cool stuff even after that. Anyone who’s been to these panels before knows that Greg Cipes, who really is astoundingly like the character he voices, tends to show up in some sort of costume every time (the hot dog was memorable, Greg). This time, he showed up cosplaying one of my favorite side characters of the show, Ice Cream Kitty – and for good reason. Because lo-and-behold, in his spare time Greg has been writing songs about TMNT, and Ciro decided to actually put the one Greg wrote about Ice Cream Kitty (Mikey’s l’il buddy) into an episode! So we got to see the work-in-progress version of what will eventually be the Ice Cream Kitty music video. And thanks to my trusty video camera, you can see it too.

But we’re still not quite done! Because after that the panel announced that the Turtles have been paired with wresting stars (no, really) in some new merchandise…and among them Raph had been paired with Sting. Who actually came to the panel! (And pretend-fought with Greg Cipes, which was cute .) So that was crazy and unexpected! (And I confess that even though I’m not really into wrestling, I kind of want the Donnie as the Undertaker toy, because it looks so cool.) And I think that’s finally the end of what was a panel packed with super-cool stuff. Oh, except that I also caught one of Greg’s Ice Cream Kitty gloves and he signed it, and now clearly I have to cosplay Ice Cream Kitty next con. If I can figure out how to get the other glove from Greg, that is, because I have no idea where he got them, and one’s Ice Cream Kitty cosplay gloves must match.

Another great panel I attended was the Trollhunters panel. Trollhunters is an animated Guillermo del Toro project (created with Dreamworks Animation and Cha Cha Cha Films) which had apparently been a long time in the works in various formats before finding its home as a TV series with Netflix. The show is about a fifteen-year-old boy named Jim, who finds a magical amulet that turns him into the Trollhunter, tasked with defending both the troll and human worlds from evil trolls. We got to see the first episode, and it’s a really cute, sweet, fun show. I definitely want to see more of it when it airs on December 23.

Trollhunters also features a character del Toro described as “me, as a boy,” a.k.a. Jim’s best friend Toby (voiced by Charlie Saxton), who was my favorite character of the first episode. Jim is also great, though, and was voiced by Anton Yelchin, in what was unfortunately his last work before his untimely passing. Other voices of the show include Kelsey Grammer and Ron Perlman as the main good trolls, and Steven Yeun (Glenn of The Walking Dead) as Steve the bully. Yeun was very excited to play a role so different from Glenn, and talked about it in this clip here. And Ron Perlman was happy to have worked on what is about his seventh project with del Toro, and talked (and sang!) about that here. And then Perlman abruptly left the stage…and came back with a birthday cake for del Toro, because it was his birthday. And then we all sang, because awwwwww.

Directly after Trollhunters we rolled into a completely different kind of panel: The Walking Dead! After ages of being behind on this show I have finally caught up, so I was super-psyched to finally be able to go to a panel. And despite the panel being delayed by over a half hour – possibly because there were a million billion cast and crew members to round up – the wait was well worth it. (I could make a joke about how at least Negan’s antics with Lucille have cut down on the wait time at their next panel, but it’s probably tooooo sooooooon. Oh wait, I did it anyway. Oops.) AMC keeps a pretty tight control over what information can be shared before an episode airs, and obviously, with this panel leading into the Season 7 premiere where a key character was slated to die, there weren’t a whole lot of spoilers going on. But this cast overall is just a ton of fun to watch interact – in a way similar to the cast of Gotham, in that both shows are very dark but the casts (perhaps because of the intensity required when on camera) come off as a tight-knit bunch of friends who joke around in between takes and genuinely like each other.

It was great to hear a little bit from all of the cast members, but I’m an unabashed longtime fan of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, so one of my favorite parts was definitely Jeffrey Dean Morgan talking about Negan. And the other, of course, involved Norman Reedus, an actor I’ve loved since The Boondock Saints, and who is just so. much. fun. to watch on panels and talk shows and pretty much anywhere. (I know, I know – everyone loves Daryl, it’s such a cliché; but he’s just so entertaining – what can I say?). I also love Andrew Lincoln, although I wasn’t familiar with him before the show – and the friendship he and Norman seem to have thanks to The Walking Dead is super cute.

There’s also an ongoing prank war between the two, which is possibly the funniest behind-the-scenes stuff I’ve seen in some time. So far, it’s involved Andrew sending Norman a package of glitter which exploded in his face; Norman telling Andrew the wrong thing to say in Japanese; Andrew arranging for a fan of the show to prank Norman as a zombie in Tokyo; Norman replacing Andrew’s license plate with one featuring an airbrushed Daryl Dixon which Andrew didn’t notice for months; Andrew changing Norman’s window-tinting-in-progress so that it said “Andy’s B—ch”; Norman filling Andrew’s trailer with live chickens; Andrew sending a blow-up doll riding Norman’s motorcycle out into the middle of a lake on a boat; Norman filling Andrew’s car air conditioner with glitter; and Andrew glitter-bombing Norman in revenge at the SDCC 2016 panel. Unfortunately Andrew Lincoln couldn’t make the NYCC panel, but in his absence he sent a letter that Norman was to read aloud. It was, predictably, hilarious, and also another escalation in the prank war, as you can see in the video here. Those guys!

The last panel I saw for the weekend was actually a live recording of two episodes of the podcast We Got This!, with Hal Lublin and Mark Gagliardi. The podcast often has celebrity guests, and takes “the dumb issues in life,” and debates them until a clear victor emerges. The first episode we saw featured Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer of The Venture Bros., and the second featured John Hodgman, Jean Grae, and John DiMaggio. Both were really fun! You can listen to the first one on the site, and I’m sure the second will be up soon. I recommend!

Of course, there’s more to NYCC than panels. One of my other favorite things to do is wander Artist Alley – saying hi to old friends, meeting new ones, and, most importantly, checking out the art and new things from comics creators. I’m also currently (finally!) working on filling a sketchbook with cool commissions from artists (something I meant to start two years ago, oops!). This con, I commissioned Janet Lee to do a Deadpool in Shakespeare piece for me, and it is even now making its way back through the mail to my home. I can’t wait to see what it looks like!

This year in Artist Alley, highlights included finally meeting Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza after missing him at several cons we’ve both attended, and having him sign my New Mutants #98 and a favorite issue of Cable & Deadpool. I also got asked by friend and rad comics creator Dennis Calero to serve as a photo reference for a Raven and Harley Quinn commission, and then happened back to his table just in time to meet the person who commissioned it and see the results, which was pretty neat! And then I picked up an issue of My Little Pony which had a great cover by Sara Richard that I fell in love with.

I had some good chats with the likes of Michael Golden, Fred Van Lente, Greg Pak, Aaron Kuder, Joyce Chin, Arthur Adams, Thom Zahler, Chrissie Zullo, Cully Hamner, Tom Raney, Mike McKone, Jim Calafiore, Tony Fleecs, Christopher Jones, Jamal Igle, Sanford Greene, Chris Claremont, Billy Martin, David Gallaher, Steve Ellis, Joe Harris, David Lloyd, Simon Fraser, and Mark Brooks. I ran into a couple of my favorite other comics journalists, Edie Nugent and Patrick Reed. I saw an adorable Jubilee cosplay, a hilarious Walking Dead cosplay, and another Starbuck while I was cosplaying Starbuck, and with whom I exchanged cosplay tips. And then of course sometimes during the con one needs a little time to sit, so I spent some time chilling behind the table with one of my favorite Deadpool artists, Reilly Brown (and we totally didn’t actually want to fight each other, I promise).

Oddly, I didn’t make it to the Exhibit Floor as much as I sometimes do (which was good for my wallet and the weight of my going-home suitcase, undoubtedly) – but I did, of course, go to the TMNT poster signing at the IDW booth, which was great fun (and the first time I’ve met Kevin Michael Richardson, yay!). And although the party scene at NYCC isn’t comparable to, e.g., SDCC, I did hit up a few late-night gatherings, including the Sonicboombox/Image After-Party. Apparently my brain wasn’t in a “remembering to take pictures” mood that night; but the one photo that did happen, of me and the fabulous Sorah Suhng, pretty much sums it up. The party was great, in that tons of comics pros and friends were there; although as with the previous year, they could definitely have used about four times the bartenders! Other nights were dedicated to much more low-key dinners with fantastic friends like author Esther Friesner (who brought along the wonderful Jody Lynn Nye and Bill Fawcett, and better company for dinner couldn’t be had!) and to chilling in bars with industry pros and excellent fan friends.

All-in-all, I had an amazing time, even more of which is memorialized in my full photo album here.

So check that out, and until next time, Servo Lectio!


Joe Corallo: Raising GWAR


Crowd funding has been a great starting ground for many comics projects. One of the latest to hit Kickstarter is GWAR: Orgasmaggedon. Yes, that GWAR. The heavy metal icons are teaming up with comics professionals to bring us their signature mayhem off the stage and into your comics. Here’s an excerpt from their press release:

Just launched on Kickstarter – GWAR: Orgasmaggedon, a blasphemous and blood-drenched 4-issue full-color comic book series by shock rock legends GWAR, writer Matt Miner (Toe Tag Riot, Critical Hit), artist Jonathan Brandon Sawyer (Welcome Back, Critical Hit), colorist Marissa Louise (RoboCop, Escape from New York), letterer Taylor Esposito (The Paybacks, Red Hood and the Outlaws) and editor Brendan Wright (Archie vs. Predator, Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight).

“Having already violated the art, music, and film worlds, now infamous scumdogs GWAR are coming for your comic books! Do you need to be a GWAR fan to love this series? Hell no! There’s loads of laughs, violence, fun, and irreverent social satire for everyone to enjoy!”

I got the chance to chat with writer Matt Miner and editor Brendan Wright about this exciting new project.

RHOODO_28_01JC: For over 30 years (on Earth, at least) GWAR has brought us unapologetic metal music that’s rich with story and satire. Your latest story is coming to us in comic book form. Could you tell me about the early days of this project and which came first – wanting to a do a comic and crafting a story around that or having a story and wanting to craft a comic around that?

MATT MINER: Joe, I’ve wanted to make GWAR comics since before I started making comics at all. When I got into writing comics this, what we’re doing with GWAR: Orgasmageddon, was one of my major goals – to get the band onboard and write GWAR stories. Most folks who get into comics want to write Spider-Man or Batman, but I wanted to write GWAR. Really, really, bad. So I had ideas for stories, but once I started collaborating with the band, and Matt Maguire specifically, my ideas were fleshed out, expanded on, and made better.

JC: I understand you don’t need to be a big GWAR fan to pick up this book and enjoy it. How did you balance making an accessible comic while also making it a special experience for long time fans?

MATT MINER: I try and keep in mind “Will my wife understand this comic? Will she enjoy it?” Until a few months ago she thought GWAR was pronounced like G-WAR (“Gee War”), so to say she’s not a big fan already would be an understatement. Me, I’ve been into GWAR for more than half my life – her, not so much. So if I write it to be fun for her but still put loads of nods in there for longtime fans like me, I think we’ve got a hit.

BRENDAN WRIGHT: I’m new to GWAR – though now that I’ve been checking them out, the lore fits right in with my tastes and things I’ve edited like Grindhouse and Archie Vs. Predator – so part of my job is to be the relatively fresh set of eyes that can raise a flag when it feels like I’m missing something. What I’ve brought to GWAR from editing a lot of comics licensed from things I wasn’t previously familiar with is the idea that you include just enough explanation in the comic so that everything is clear, but don’t sweat it too much if a couple details go unexplained. As long as they don’t get in the way of the story, those details actually draw readers into the world, making them curious enough to want to dig into the source material rather than feeling like they have to. It’s not that different from when we all discovered superhero comics, which have tons of previous stories that simply can’t be referenced all the time. But ideally most of that goes by unnoticed for first-timers, who just get an over-the-top, funny story, while giving dedicated fans something extra.

standard-cover-jonathan-brandon-sawyer-josh-jensenJC: Who are some of the comic creators that inspire you and what are some of the comics and graphic novels that influenced you as creators while working on this project?

MATT MINER: For the GWAR book I’m drawing from a combination of stuff like old underground comics from the 80s, EC horror comics and bonkers amazing graphic novels such as anything Junji Ito does, but GWAR’s such a labor of love for me, that honestly I’m mostly inspired by the music and movies of GWAR, themselves. Speaking more generally, I’m a massive fan of ridiculously violent but full of depth comics like Preacher that cross boundaries and have you going “did they really just fuck a fish?”

BRENDAN WRIGHT: A lot of the stuff I’ve traditionally opened up for inspiration are classic manga like Osamu Tezuka or Takao Saito, 80s Batman, and 90s Vertigo (R.I.P. Steve Dillon), but in recent years the comics I find myself most excited to pick up have been rawer mini comics, stuff like Benjamin Marra, Charles Foresman, Michael DeForge, Katie Skelly, Michel Fiffe, and tons of others. There’s a directness and DIY vibe to these that I love and that speaks to why comics get under my skin – you don’t have to get anyone’s permission to make them, and living in the muck like we do, you can go anywhere with them, content-wise. If you like Marra’s Night Business or Terror Assaulter, GWAR is for you.

JC: What makes Kickstarter the ideal place to take a project like this one?

MATT MINER: I love comics that have cross-market appeal. I love bringing new stories to comics and I love bringing new people to comics with stories that reach outside the “two dudes in tights punching each other” norm. Not that there’s anything wrong with dudes in tights punching each other, of course!

Anyways, Kickstarter gives us the opportunity to run a campaign and target press outside of the world of comics – pop culture, horror, heavy metal and punk rock sites. We can reach a lot of people who might not normally read comics and flip ’em into loyal comic readers. I absolutely love comics, and bringing new people into our world is the only way we’re going to grow and thrive

BRENDAN WRIGHT: Kickstarter is amazing not just for disrupting how creative projects are funded, but also how they’re marketed. As Matt points out, a Kickstarter campaign tends to reach different kinds of press than the traditional PR route for most comics, but it also leads to a different kind of coverage within comics, more focused on the people making the book and the ways in which it’s personal for them. If a GWAR comic comes out from a publisher by the traditional means, there’s no way to know until it’s out if it was really a labor of love for the people who made it or if they were just hired hands. When it’s Kickstarted like this, you know the creative team are truly invested – they care so much they’re willing it into being by themselves.

JC: What makes this comic stand out from everything else on the market?

MATT MINER: The pages are soaked in blood and dinosaur jizz.

BRENDAN WRIGHT: More agony. More ecstasy. More times you’ll say to yourself, “No, they didn’t draw that. Surely there’s a law.”

JC: Favorite GWAR song?

MATT MINER: You’re asking me to “Sophie’s Choice” hundreds of my favorite song babies, Joe. That’s a long list, ranging from Hell-o’s “GWAR Theme” and “Techno’s Song” to Battle Maximus’ “Bloodbath”, with every “Sexecutioner,” “Gor Gor,” “Penguin Attack”, and “Metal Metal Land” in between. I can tell you some of the best videos by far are “Meat Sandwich” where Oderus Urungus dunks a basketball on Jesus, and “Surf of Syn” where a Godzilla-sized baby-eating holy robot trashes the city in an attempt to kill GWAR.

JC: Where can people go to pledge to this campaign and how long do they have?

MATT MINER: Go to to check out the goods! We’ve got all kinds of limited exclusives for comic fans, signed merchandise from the band, stage used props, original art from both the comic team and from GWAR, exclusive T-shirts and much much more. You’ve got until November 25th to make this happen or (see the Kickstarter video for more on this) Sawborg Destructo is gonna cut open me and Jonathan and play around in our guts.

Mindy Newell: Daughters of Hippolyta


On Friday, October 21, 2016, something remarkable happened.

Princess Diana of Themiscrya was appointed an Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls everywhere around the globe by the United Nations in a ceremony led by Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information Christina Gallach. It was attended by the actors Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot. Remarkably, the Princess herself did not appear.

Why is this remarkable?

Princess Diana of Themiscrya is a fictional comic book character co-created 75 years ago by writers William Moulton Marston, his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston, and artist H.G. Peter. She first appeared to the public in All Star Comics #8 (December 1941) and then was given the cover to Sensation Comics #1 (January, 1942). The very first issue of her eponymous book showed up on the newsstands in the summer of that same year.

Don’t recognize the name? Then how about this one…

Wonder Woman.

While DC Entertainment – a.k.a. DC Comics – and its parent company (hmm, is that Time Warner or AT&T or Apple or…?) must be plotzing. Not everybody is happy. Started by fifty United Nations staff members and women’s rights advocates around the world, a petition by “Concerned Members of the United Nations Staff” is now circulating on the Care2 Petitions website asking the U.N. to “reconsider.” As of yesterday (Sunday, October 23) 2,284 people have added their names; the goal is 5,000 signatures. Part of the petition reads as follows:

Although the original creators may have intended Wonder Woman to represent a strong and independent ‘warrior’ woman with a feminist message, the reality is that the character’s current iteration is that of a large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee high boots – the epitome of a ‘pin-up’ girl…

“… At a time when issues such as gender parity in senior roles and the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse of women and girls is at the top of the United Nation’s agenda…[I]t is alarming that the United Nations would consider using a character with an overtly sexualized image at a time when the headline news in [sic] United States and the world is the objectification of women and girls…”

As a former writer of Wonder Woman, and as a fan of the magnificent work by so many others, including George Pérez, Trina Robbins, Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, Cat Staggs, Liam Sharp, and Nicola Scott – and that’s just a quick list off the top of my head as I write this – I totally and absolutely disagree with the petitioners’ assessment of the character as a woman of “epitome of a pin-up girl.”

Wonder Woman ain’t no Bettie Page; when I look at her or think about her or write about her, I don’t see “fantasy sex kitten.” I see “strong” and “proud” and “educated” and “independent” and “smart” and “real.”

As real as any of us.

In some magical and mystical way, there lies within each of us a Wonder Woman. She is real. She lives and she breathes. I know this because she lives in me, and she lives in stories that these women tell me, day in and day out. I see it in the letters and in the stories. I read it on social media. I see it in the tears that fall from the eyes of the women who say it saved them from some awful thing that they endured – because they saw that they could do something great… She brings out the strength every woman has. We are stronger together. We are half the world. We have a voice. We are the mothers of mankind.”

Lynda Carter, The United Nations, October 21, 2016

Ed Catto and The New York Comic Con Newbie


Indian Summer, autumn’s first batch of orange-hued fallen leaves and New York Comic Con have all tumbled away, relegated to that odd intersection of fond memories and the comfortable knowledge of their inevitable return. The New York Comic Con, now the nation’s largest geek culture convention, seems to change each year. And after more than a decade of growth, it’s changing in many weird and wonderful ways.

I’ve been there from the beginning and, during the early years worked, on the show. We had a vision for the convention and it’s succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. And in many ways … it hasn’t.

space-ghostThe Big Picture

Each year on Thursday afternoon as the New York Comic Con bursts to life, ICV2’s Milton Greipp gathers industry leaders together to review the state of geek culture.

Comic Convention expert Rob Salkowitz was one speaker who addressed this business gathering. He spoke about the phenomenal growth of all conventions and attached revenue estimates to it all. “NYCC has grown to become one of the largest pop culture conventions in North America and a key part of an industry that has an economic impact of more than $4 billion,” reported Salkowitz.

That’s a lot of geek culture.

luke-cage-dr-strangeA Matter of Perspective

There are long-time fans who regularly attend conventions and new fans that bravely dive in each year. I routinely hear what long-time fans are thinking, and I felt I needed a fresh perspective. I wanted to hear what a new fan thinks. So this year, I invited my adventurous Aunt Elissa to NYCC. It would be her first time to the show.

Her gateway to comics was through the Archie universe. She ingested a steady diet of Stan Goldberg and Dan DeCarlo Archie comics during the 70s, and has now graduated to geek mainstays like Doctor Who and Tonner Dolls.

Elissa said she had a great time, but I wanted to dive a little deeper and understand what made this show work from a first-timer’s point-of-view.

harley-girlCrowd Control or Controlled Crowds

From Elissa’s vantage point, the huddled masses of NYCC were surprisingly polite. It’s been reported that NYCC broke another attendance record and sold 180,000 tickets. But these supersized crowds didn’t faze her. In fact, she was pleasantly surprised “because everybody was very polite, very pleasant – there were a lot of people, but <they were> not intimidating to me, nor would it stop me <from attending> in the future.”

Unlike a football game, or even a trip to her local supermarket, Elissa found the crowds were a community of like-minded fans. “You’re going to bump into people, not intentionally,” said Elissa. “They’d say, ‘excuse me.’ You don’t even hear that in a store these days!”


At one point I introduced Elissa to my old friend Ivan Cohen. He’s a longtime comics professional and one of his many accomplishments is writing the Green Lantern Animated Show Comic Series. As we talked, and with perfect timing, a cosplayer dressed as Sinestro, Green Lantern’s evil archenemy, came up and charmed us all.

Sinestro took an immediate liking to Elissa. I was afraid it would be overwhelming, but she loved it.

She raved about how impressed she was with all the cosplay. Elissa attended the Let’s Get Serious Cosplay Panel – with panelists from Cosplay by McCall’s and the Overstreet Guide to Cosplay. “They have a pride and professionalism in their cosplay” she said with newfound respect.

Thumbs Up to Archie from a Long Time Fan

Elissa visited the Archie booth and she rendered a ‘thumbs up’ verdict on all the recent changes. She said she understood that the company needed “to keep up to encourage people to continue reading Archie,” and “to change with the times.”

“It’s not the Archie I remember, but also I’m not 10 years old.” She bought the new Betty & Veronica comic from super-retailer Marc Hammond right there at NYCC.

She also bought the new Josie and Pussycats comic. This was a big step as she explained she never liked those characters when she was younger. “They seemed so ditzy”, she said. But she quickly amended her recollections “But maybe that was just Melody.”

gun-guyWas this Best Part of NYCC?

As it turned out, Artist Alley was one of Elissa’s favorite parts of New York Comic Con. We gave her a guided tour, introducing some of our favorite artists: Franco, Art Baltazar, Kevin McGuire, Gabriel Hardman, Corrine Bechko, Joe Staton, Brett Blevins and Tom Gianni were just a few. Before you knew it, Elissa would find an artist who’s style she liked and just walk up and strike up a conversation with them.

“I wasn’t’ quite sure what it was going to be like, “ said Elissa, but once we got there it was very clear.” She explained that she soon realized that each artist has his or her own style. “It’s all fascinating. They are all extremely talented. They’re good!”

Elissa observed that the majority of people outside of geek culture don’t have any appreciation for the artists. Meeting and speaking with artists in Artist’s Alley reinforced the idea that comics “are drawn … not just done by a machine.”

Her biggest take away from the whole show was an increased respect for the artists and creators. “It made me want to read more comics.“ She’s not ready to start collecting per se, but she is eager to read more.

Ready for More

Elissa is looking forward to next year’s NYCC. She realized that as a first time attendee, she wanted to see ‘everything’. On subsequent visits, she talked about how she’d plan better to attend specific panels.

“By the end of the night- my feet hurt. There was so much going on – I wasn’t bored. It held my attention. I wanted to see it all. “

And she’s become a big Artist’s Alley fan. “If I went again – <she’d prepare ahead of time> to know the artists and their work.”

More Respect for Geek Culture

After the show, as Elissa told her friends at home about her New York Comic Con adventure, they looked at her as if she had five heads. “They think these people are weird or strange.” But she explained it to her friends this way, “No, they are very passionate, very talented.”

Seems to me that the crossroads of passion and talent is a pretty good foundation for an industry, and a good place to spend a weekend.

John Ostrander: Listing To One Side

gal-gadotGeek Culture Rules!

We all know that Geek Culture has taken over our American civilization. Young’uns may not realize there was a time when the Geek was looked down on and sneered at and frequently beaten up for their lunch money… which is embarrassing when you’re 24. Now, superheroes have taken over the movie box office and can be found in one version or another all over television.

Further proof: the current issue of Entertainment Weekly not only has Benedict Cumberbatch on the cover as Doctor Strange, the majority of the double-sized issue is taken up with a listing of the Fifty Most Powerful Superheroes. How much more geeky can you get? The very quintessence of geekdom is arguing about which superhero icon is better.

EW set up a rating system and asked staffers to rank the superheroes accordingly. The nine categories were Cultural Impact, Bankability, Design, Modern relevance, Mythology, Nemesis, Originality, Personality, and Powers. They could get up to ten points in each category except for Cultural Impact which was worth up to 20. Total: 100 Pts. The emphasis, I think, was weighted towards superheroes who have appeared in movies; witness bankability. Given it’s EW, that makes sense; they, like the movies, are trying to appeal to the broadest audience.

Their #1 is Wonder Woman. This might surprise more hard-core comic geeks. Given the rise of the awareness of women and Gal Gadot’s appearance as Diana in Batman V Superman, perhaps not so surprising and not unwarranted.

entertainment-weekly#2 for EW was Spider-Man, followed by Batman and Superman with Wolverine rounding out their top 5.

For myself, I would have made Superman at the top of the list by virtue of the fact that none of the others exist without him. Superman was the first and set the standard – the colorful costume, the secret identity, the larger than life exploits – every hero or heroine that followed used that template is some fashion. Bankability? It was the huge financial success of the Last Survivor of Krypton that spurred the other publishers (not to mention Superman’s publisher) to get more of the same out there on the newsstands.

Look, I know that there were other superhero types before Supes or around the same time such as the Phantom and the Spirit or, over in the pulps, the Shadow. In comics, however, it was Superman who set the standard. In feature-length movies as well; the first Superman movie debuted in 1978. The first Batman film followed more than a decade later. As good as they are, none of the other superheroes has had the same cultural impact as the Man of Steel.

Don’t get me wrong; I’d also place Wonder Woman high up on the list. I think Batman is my #2 but WW would never be lower than #3. Spider-Man? Yeah, he’s important enough to be #4 but I think I would make Iron Man my #5 given the fact that the film launched the Marvel Cinema Universe, sometimes known as the Might Marvel Money Making Juggernaut. Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr are its cornerstone; if it had flopped (and some thought it would), it would have been tough to make the others… fly.

But that’s what makes this issue of EW so geeky. Listing the heroes according to some criteria is at the very heart of geek culture. Since every list is subjective, there is no one list that is right and final and definitive, no matter how much some geeks might insist that their own list is all that. I know my list isn’t the final word on the subject; it’s just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

The very fact that EW’s list exists, that they devoted so much time and space and attention to what is essentially a very geeky enterprise, shows that Geekdom has conquered the world.

So – who is stronger? The Hulk or The Thing?

Marc Alan Fishman: Kosmic Serendipity

norah-2I’m a fan of eating crow. Truly a student from the school of tough love. The other day I happened to be perusing my archive of articles here on ComicMix when I hit on the one where I vowed to buy more indie books. That article was published August 14, 2014. Shortly after it hit the site I threw out my mainstream subscription box that was brimming with Marvel Now! and NuFiftyScrewYou floppies.

Blink, and a few years pass by. And my vow? Beaten, battered, and broken. I could spend the entirety of this week lamenting on specifically why I broke my promise. But, that (as Alton Brown would say) will be for a later show. This week, I want to start making good on my promises. You know… a mere 26 months later.

One of the many awesome side effects of being an indie creator is the wealth of newfound friends across one’s social media streams. Enter Kasey Pierce. Whilst trolling my number-one-frenemy (Dan Dougherty, a.k.a. Beardo), a tagged photo on his stream peaked my attention.  Donning a Touching Evil tee-shirt-turned-tank-top with a brawny bicep hoisted up to a nonchalant smirk stood Ms. Pierce. Like all millennial creeps, I clicked her name to see what-the-what. Hanging her hat in the Detroit area had aligned her to a plethora of palookas I had a ton of love for. Hence, I clicked “Request Friend” and sat patiently awaiting the green light to stalk… err… peruse (yeah, that’s the ticket) her timeline.

In doing so, I learned she was a many an important things to me: writer, well-versed in sci-fi, lover of the WWE, and Britpop. I was able to look past her love of Dougherty and came to the conclusion (months ago) that my smart money would be to give her comic series Norah a try when our paths crossed.

piecesEnter the New York Comic Con. On one of the few jaunts I courageously took into the wild (a.k.a. the con floor), I made my way to Source Point Press – the small press publisher of many a Michiganer, dealing wholly in the horror and sci-fi sects. A few pleasantries passed (mainly me attempting to glean if Kasey knew who I was after our back-n-forth bantering over wall posts and what not) and two issues of Norah made their way into my mitts. They survived the journey home, and were consumed with the tepid worry that my friendship with Ms. Pierce might color my often-snarky synopsizing.

Luckily for both of us, my snark remained intact, and Norah was very promising.

Before I dust off my old MichaelDavisWorld chops though, let’s get the elevator pitch of the book into the ether:

Norah Seizhelm is a “Coma Fisher” for hire. With the ability to tap into the mind’s eye, she’ll either find and retrieve you or help you cross to the other side. A mission of peace, to be sure. But how she obtained this skill is a story filled with government secrets, the death of thousands, and a threat of mass genocide.

I picked up the available issues (1 and 2 out of the first 4 of volume 1, for you number types) for a whopping $6. Kasey’s Source Point compatriot upsold me on a horror book I’ve not opened yet for a cool $10 in total. But I digress.

Norah combines Pierce’s love of neuro-science, bio-weapons, and government conspiracy… wrapped in the candy coated shell of a bitch on wheels solo book. In concept? It’s a potent potable of pulp. With a personality that harkens directly to the Jessica Jones stock, combining with a compassionate mission that leverages medical procedural plots, the book is inherently niche in scope. Where it shines the brightest is truly there in the pitch. As presented in media res, we find Norah meeting drifters in infinite blackness… cajoling them to join her as details of their sur-reality come into focus. We grow accustomed to the truth of catatonia as the patient does. It’s neat narrative trick, no doubt.

The biggest positive beyond the pitch comes solely on the mystery of the soul of the titular telepathic. As she reads on the page, Norah is a foul-mouthed malcontent until she reaches the patient du jour. With what feels like a gang member? She is curt. With his absorbed twin residing in his psyche? She softens. In the real-world, she is passive and melancholy. To see this much nuance stacked on someone who is also bio-weapon engineer? Gives credence to a fully-realized heroine far beyond the traditional manic pixie dream girl. The hook of the book is tied totally to figuring out the whole picture of Norah Seizhelm.

Where Norah falters a bit for me comes with the presentation. The striking covers to the series – monochromic kinetic fields balanced under graphic forms — sets the tone for potentially fast-paced sci-fi. The interiors, by Sean Seal, are a murky mélange that counters the covers in stark contrast. Seal’s painted panels are a bit too unbalanced to be beloved as a whole. Some sequences are clearly coated in hours of careful detail. Others are slap-dashed and sloppily strewn across the page. Some faces are rendered in proportion, others are left feeling unfinished. Taken as a complete product? The sparse prose over the unbalanced art creates an inconsistent book. But heed me: Norah is still very much worth consideration.

The beauty of the indie scene is inherent in Norah. It’s an unfinished house with a sturdy foundation. A diamond still stuck under a bit of coal. As a character study and concept, it’s lightyears ahead of standard cape and cowl pulp… and commensurate with the better parts of early Dark Horse Presents… and the like. A mature concept that isn’t gory or salacious for the sake of a sale. Kasey Pierce has a larger point to explore in her heroine, and two issues in has left me desiring the necessary closure she’s selling. While the book may not show the sheen artistically (yet), the prose is more than enough to make my first deeper dive into the indie scene a successful one.

Here’s hoping my next venture down the alley for new reads is as nuanced and notable as Norah.

Martha Thomases: Copycat Crimes



Passionate and principled capitalists believe in the rights of workers, investors and creative people to reap the rewards of their efforts. If you start a business, invent a new product, or plant in your own field, you should get to keep the profits… after paying your workers fairly, of course. We’re talking about capitalists with principles.

In an ideal world, this can be a good system. I’m motivated to work hard because I get paid in a manner that is equal to my effort and my risk. Because I live in a world in which I, personally, cannot do everything myself, I rely on other people to work hard and get paid so that there are goods and services for me to purchase.

In an ideal world, everyone benefits.

We do not live in an ideal world.

In the entertainment industry, it is more than a little common for major entertainment conglomerates to own the work of the artists who create it. While I acknowledge that these studios and record labels are entitled to a return on their investment in distributing and marketing, I don’t think they are entitled to own the work outright.

They are not entitled to all the profits.

I bring this up because Harry Shearer has brought a lawsuit against Vivendi because of their accounting of the profits from the 1984 movie, This Is Spinal Tap.

You can read about the lawsuit here and hear Harry talk about it here. In a nutshell, the corporation claims that between 1989 and 2006 (more or less), the movie only made enough money to pay the creators a little under $200.

That’s right. The movie has been on television, on videotape, on LaserDisc, on DVD, on Blu-Ray, on cable, streaming and On-Demand for more than 20 years, and it’s only made enough money to let the talent buy themselves dinner at a mid-price restaurant in Los Angeles.

It’s clear that Vivendi didn’t come up with the idea of making a Spinal Tap movie, but sometimes issues of ownership are murkier. Comic book fans such as myself might be familiar with the issues surrounding the work of Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. In the 1960s Lichtenstein created a sensation with his paintings that reproduced small comic book panels on large canvas. To quote from the Wikipedia page:

“His most celebrated image is arguably Whaam! (1963, Tate Modern, London), one of the earliest known examples of pop art, adapted from a comic-book panel drawn by Irv Novick in a 1962 issue of DC Comics’ All-American Men of War. The painting depicts a fighter aircraft firing a rocket into an enemy plane, with a red-and-yellow explosion. The cartoon style is heightened by the use of the onomatopoeic lettering “Whaam!” and the boxed caption “I pressed the fire control… and ahead of me rockets blazed through the sky… This diptych is large in scale, measuring 1.7 x 4.0 m (5 ft 7 in x 13 ft 4 in). Whaam follows the comic strip-based themes of some of his previous paintings and is part of a body of war-themed work created between 1962 and 1964. It is one of his two notable large war-themed paintings. It was purchased by the Tate Gallery in 1966, after being exhibited at the Leo Castelli Gallery in 1963, and (now at the Tate Modern) has remained in their collection ever since.”

Lichtenstein did not pay Irv Novick when he used Novick’s work. Neither did he pay DC Comics, the corporation that owns the work. I’m pretty sure the painting sold for lots of money. Smarter people than I can debate whether or not Novick should have shared in the success of his image. There is also a school of thought that says Lichtenstein changed the image by putting it into a different medium and context, so that his painting was not a duplicate of the original but a comment on it and the society that produced it.

I’m going to leave those arguments to people who know more about copyright law and art criticism than me. I’m pleased to see that Irv Novick gets credit now, which is more than he got in the 1960s.

A lot of people who claim to believe in capitalism seem to lose their convictions when it comes to the work of creative people. There are publishers (digital and otherwise) who ask for free material, saying the artist will benefit from the “exposure” – but not the profits. There are clothing companies that use artwork without paying for it, figuring the artist won’t find out until it’s too late, the garment is on sale, and the artist doesn’t have enough money to sue.

In my opinion, the most heinous examples of the disrespect shown by capitalists to creative people might be legal. I’m referring to political candidates who use popular songs at their rallies without the permission of the musicians who wrote the music or recorded the hit version. This is not technically illegal if the venue has a general music license from ASCAP or BMI, and the artists might make a few cents in profit. But it is gross.

It implies an endorsement by the musician without actually asking for one. It implies an endorsement where there might not be one. It forces musicians to be in a financial arrangement with a candidate with who they might have profound disagreements. It can also confuse the public as to what the musician was trying to say. The earliest example I remember is the time Ronald Reagan used Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” Clearly, no one in the Republican campaign listened to any part of the song beyond the title, because the lyrics are quite damning of the military/industrial mindset of the party at the time.

Today, we see many musicians objecting to the Trump campaign using their songs. Trump claims to have a licensing agreement that allows him to play whatever he wants at his events. Perhaps he does, but I don’t see why he keeps playing the music when the artists object. I’ve read so much about how Keith Richards hates him, how opposed to his candidacy Neil Young is, and many others. Real fans of the music will see the candidate denounced by artists they admire.

Why not stick to “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood? It’s on message, it’s catchy (I find myself singing it all the time) and I’m willing to bet Greenwood is fine with it.

So what have we learned?

  • People who make things deserve to get paid by people who want those things.
  • People who take a risk and invest in people who make things deserve to get paid, too.
  • Artists are a category of people who make things.
  • Artists deserve to get paid when someone buys their work.
  • Artists deserve to get paid when someone uses their work to sell something else.
  • Martha Thomases is not an art critic.

Tweeks: Steven Universe Interviews

Steven Universe is one of our favorite cartoons ever and so we were really excited to get to interview them at Comic Con.

We talked to Zach Callison (who is not only the voice of Steven, but also of Prince James in Sofia the First), Ian Jones-Quartey (storyboarded/animator), Michaela Dietz (Amethyst), Deedee Magno Hall (Pearl….who Anya has been singing along to since she was 2 years old — no kidding, Deedee was Jasmine in the Aladdin Spectacular at Disney’s California Adventure), Estelle (Garnet), and Rebecca Sugar, the show’s composer & creator, who incidentally was shattering glass ceilings as the first woman to independently create a series for Cartoon Network! What’s really cool about Rebecca, as you’ll find out in our interview is that she’s a bit of a musical theatre geek like us. She not only got a song idea from Sweeney Todd, but she quotes Bob Fosse too.

It’s a long interview, but if you are a fan of Steven & the Crystal Gems, you need to watch this. The whole cast was so nice and fun. Plus they are very funny. And if like Maddy your life’s dream is to be a voice actor on a cartoon, you will love all the inside scoop on how that’s done.

Dennis O’Neil, Bob Dylan, and Temporary Disreputability


I don’t know how or from whom I learned of Bob Dylan. My patches of memory reveal that I was living aboard an aircraft carrier. I must have gone into a city (Boston?) and bought a copy of The Freewheeling Bob Dylan, then taken it to a tiny office below the flight deck, put it on a kiddie-sized turntable somebody had brought aboard, and listened and liked.

Another memory patch: a shipmate, a kid I barely know, typed the lyrics to Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice” and put them on my desk, where I found them later. I have no idea why he did this – he owed me nothing – and I wish I’d been more grateful at the time.

Then some years when the misfits and rebels were constructing a counter cultural matrix from activism, folk music, rock and – yes – comic books. Not a lot of it was openly seditious (except for some of the politics) but virtually all of it was anti-establishment. The nonconformists were not looking for a corporate ladder to climb, nor a cozy nest in suburbia, nor a wife who would supply an acceptable number of scrubby offspring. Whatever that was, we didn’t want it, though I’m not sure why. There were probably a lot of different reasons; everyone carries their own burden. But sometimes the burdens can be shared.

Always, there was Dylan, sometimes figure, sometimes ground, but always, one way or another, present. He acted in a western and was the subject of a documentary film, he performed on Saturday Night Live, he published a memoir, and he wrote songs and made records and toured. He refused to be labeled the voice of his generation, but, I’m sorry, that’s what he was to me and myriads of others.

Now, we rebels are aged, not as spry as we once were, maybe not as attuned to whatever’s revolutionary these days..

I was a comic book writer and editor, content enough to be a bit disreputable in a somewhat disreputable business. But disreputability is temporary and ours faded over the decades, and eventually, without my much noticing it, comics had parity with other narrative forms. And Dylan’s combination of music – some folk, in there, some country, some rock – and his inimitable lyrics, found a home in the tonier venues. Comic books and Bobby D, occupying separate spheres, but related by time and circumstance.

Last week, Dylan was awarded the ultimate establishment accolade, the Nobel Prize. Does this mean that, at long last, we rebels have succumbed to respectability? Maybe. Probably. I guess that the answer is blowin’ in the wind.