The Mix : What are people talking about today?

GLENN HAUMAN: John Scalzi for SFWA President

GLENN HAUMAN: John Scalzi for SFWA President

John has announced he’s a Write-In Candidate for President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and I’m supporting him, mainly for this:

"I don’t believe that Michael Capobianco, the fellow running for SFWA President, is at all the right person for the job. Let me note again that this is not a reflection on his personal character; I’ve not met him outside the online SFWA newsgroups and a few other online venues, so I cannot speak as to whether he is a nice guy or whatever. I’m sure he is. Likewise, Mr. Capobianco is a past president of SFWA and has won the organization’s service award, which suggests that in the past, at least, he has been viewed as a reasonable choice for leading the organization. The question in my mind is not his past service, of which I have no experience (it was before my time) but whether he’s the right person to lead SFWA forward now.

"I don’t think he is for two reasons. First, he hasn’t had a novel published in this century; his last published novel, White Light, which he co-wrote with William Barton, was published in hardcover in 1998. Essentially, he’s a decade out of practice with the practical aspects of publishing science fiction. This matters if one believes, as I do, that SFWA should primarily be a professional service organization; it particularly matters if one believes, as I do, that the publishing world in the 21st century, even this early on, is manifestly different than it was in the 20th century. I have books professionally published in both centuries; I know how much it’s changed, and I deal with the publishing world on a daily basis.

"Second, I believe that based on what I’ve read from him Mr. Capobianco is fundamentally afraid of the changing publishing world, and the changes in the world of speculative fiction, and that this fundamental position will cause him to make his tenure as SFWA backward-facing and defensive, rather than forward-thinking and innovative. This will make SFWA even more irrelevant to working writers — that is, the people who are shaping science fiction — than it already is.


Bechdel goes to college

Bechdel goes to college

Alison Bechdel reports in her blog, "I just finished a two-day visit at Miami Dade College, sponsored by the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, where I talked  about Fun Home to a staggering array of classes, from Art to English to Human Growth and Development to The Graphic Novel." 

No fair, why couldn’t there have been Graphic Novel classes back in ancient times when I was in college?

Bechdel also spoke at the Gay-Straight Alliance meeting (whence this photo comes) and did a reading at the Broward County Public Library, which she details as one of her more interesting experiences in the Fun Home tour.  And speaking of libraries, she’s very happy to hear that the Marshall (MO) PL has voted to return Fun Home (as well as Craig Thompson’s Blankets) to their shelves, as are we.

Buffy wows ’em

Buffy wows ’em

The notable part of Dark Horse’s announcement about selling out its initial print run of Buffy: Season 8 #1 is that it actually announced how large that print run was.  It’s common to hear about sell-outs these days, but hard to tell whether they’re actually puffed up to look more important than they are because companies never say how many comics a sell-out constitutes.

So congrats to Dark Horse that this much-anticipated success lived up to the hype, as did the movie based on that little book of Frank Miller’s that they published a few years back.  Over a hundred thousand issues of any monthly comic book periodical these days is very welcome news, even more so when the book is presumed to have wide appeal beyond American comics’ usual demographic.

Needless to say, Dark Horse is going back to print.

Disney animates black princess

Somewhere, Ororo Munro is yawning.  And even the folks at Warner who parodied Snow White are wondering what took them so long.  But Disney is finally getting around to creating its first black princess to star in her own animated movie.

The protagonist’s name is Maddy, the fairy tale (which will debut in 2009) is to be called The Frog Princess, and the setting will be New Orleans, where Disney’s annual shareholders’ meeting is currently taking place.  It also marks Disney’s return to 2D hand-drawn animation.  John Musker and Ron Clements wrote the story and will direct the film (they co-directed The Little Mermaid and Aladdin so not too shabby there), and in a real shocker, Randy Newman was announced as doing the score.

Lest we forget the real reason the company makes these announcements at annual shareholders’ meetings in the first place, Disney assured the happiest crowd in the world that Maddy "will be added to its collection of animated princesses used at the company’s theme parks and on consumer products."

California dreamin’

California dreamin’

Winter may still have the northeast US in its icy grip this weekend as many NY-area sf aficionados take in Lunacon (see Glenn’s item below), but in southern California it’s as sunny as ever, and the warmth will be felt by fans and pros alike at WizardWorld LA, the first of this year’s four WizWorld conventions.

The con gets underway today, and special guests include Jeph Loeb, Michael Turner, Mark Silvestri, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley (doing that KISS Comics thang), plus there will be a number of actor-types on hand as you would expect given the venue (ooh, Lisa Loring looks lovely!) and plenty of comics creators like Peter David, Paul Jenkins, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palimiotti, David Mack, Todd Nauck, Tim Sale, Dwayne McDuffie, Bill Sienkiewicz, about half the Wildstorm studios folk.  Not a lot of female comic creators listed, I count only four, but I’m sure there are lots of uncredited folks attending.

One of those is the swellerific Brad Walker, who mentions on the members-only photo section of his MySpace that he’ll be there selling prints of a Superman he pencilled and his buddy Livesay inked.  Marv Wolfman will be on a few panels and will probably have copies of his new book Homeland: The Illustrated History of Israel (more about which here).  Len Wein has confirmed he’ll definitely be on hand tomorrow and most of Sunday.

As usual, Heidi MacDonald has all the WWLA press releases (scroll down to yesterday’s items), and ComicMix hopes to hear from our left coast moles this weekend as far as any breaking news, so stay tuned, and stay warm!

ComicMix at Lunacon 50

ComicMix at Lunacon 50

ComicMix regulars Bob Greenberger and Glenn Hauman will be speaking at Lunacon 50 this weekend in Rye, NY. Glenn will be there all three days, Bob will be there Saturday and Sunday, and there may be other ComicMix folks lurking about. Feel free to come up to any of them and say "howdy".

And yes, that is artwork by Wally Wood in the logo. When a convention’s been around for fifty years, they pick up stuff like that.

Michael Davis: Model Behavior

Michael Davis: Model Behavior

I have to apologize to my editor Mike Gold for this column upfront. Sorry, Mike, I told you I would write an article about education and empowerment and I will, I promise! But I have to write this article because, well, you will see why…

A few days ago I was at the Sprint store trying to get my cell phone serviced. Some idiot at the Palm Company sent me an email telling me that I needed to download some new software so my smartphone can handle the new daylight saving time.

Well let’s just say my smartphone is as dumb as a brick. When I downloaded the darn software it erased all my information on the phone. By the way, the phone automatically changed the date an hour later.

I went to the Sprint store to get them restore some of what I lost. While I was there a sweet young lady named Azy hooked me up by spending two hours with Palm technical support on my problem. She was cool but I had just wasted two hours of a beautiful day and this was first day in weeks that I had a moment to myself. Need to say I was not happy!

When I left I went to a car dealership across the street. I went there to calm down (hey, nothing calms a dude down like shopping for a new car; ladies – cars are a man’s shoes) When I got to the car dealer there, in all her glory, was a SUPER MODEL! I won’t tell you who it was because this is about to get ugly, but you would know this person. Whenever I see a celebrity, and I see a lot because I work in television, I always ask the same thing, “Can I have some money?”

Well she thought that was funny and we started talking. She was fairly nice until she noticed I had a comic book in my hand. It was the new Blokhedz graphic novel. It’s called Genesis and it’s great! She asked about it and I told her it was really cool, she looked at it for a few seconds and then she said “Comics are for kids, and stupid.”

I tried to explain the rich history of comics; she was having none of this. “Comic books are just silly.” I tried AGAIN to explain about comics. She just gave me a “You stupid” look.


Stan Lee Media sues Marvel

Stan Lee Media sues Marvel

Oh, how I love financial and legal shenanigans. Stan Lee Media has one of the messier histories in the dot-com boom and bust, with tales of stock manipulation and attempted bribes to Bill and Hillary Clinton by partner Peter Paul. And it looks like we aren’t done yet.

Fresh out of bankruptcy, Stan Lee Media, Inc. filed a $5 billion lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment yesterday in US District Court in NY. In the suit, as reported by Marvel, Stan Lee Media claims it is shares co-ownership of some of Marvel’s superhero characters.  Marvel says the suit is without merit.

The suit claims that Stan Lee throughout his employment with Marvel retained the co-creator rights to all his characters, and in August 1998 when Marvel terminated Stan’s employment, he regained those rights. Stan then went and formed the dotcom firm Stan Lee Media as a way to tap into the Internet boom, and on October 15, 1998, he signed over not only his creations to the new firm, but his likeness as well. Then in November, 1998, Lee individually entered an employment agreement with Marvel, signing over his Marvel characters and likeness to Marvel, despite having already signed over the rights to Stan Lee Media. The suit claims Stan Lee Media informed Marvel of their contract and that Marvel "independently and/or in collusion with Stan Lee, intentionally concealed the material terms" of Marvel’s new agreement from Stan Lee Media, the public and its own shareholders, and that Stan Lee Media is entitled to 50 percent of all revenue going back three years and going forward 50 years. (By law, they can only go back three years, not as far as 1998.)

To make matters even more confusing, Stan the Man himself is no longer affiliated with the recently emerged from bankruptcy Stan Lee Media. In fact, Stan and his current company, POW Entertainment (makers of Who Wants To Be A Superhero?) is suing the principals in Stan Lee Media alleging that they illegally took over his former company and infringed on his trademarks and copyrights. Stan has said that, “I do not support this action and believe the suit to be baseless.”

What hath Knight Rider wrought?

How did we get to this story before Warren Ellis did? A man has been found who likes having sex with cars.

The details of mechanic Chris Donald’s alleged romantic vehicular liaisons have been unearthed by The Sun, so take it with a grain of salt. In addition to a large number of cars, Mr Donald claims to have also done the dirty with two boats and a jetski.

"Mr. Donald apparently says that his sexual fetish may have been triggered by formative childhood experiences watching Knight Rider. ‘When I was a young boy I used to see human qualities in cars,’ he says. ‘As I grew up I noticed I was having feelings towards cars and they began catching my eye in a certain way.’ "

Brings new meaning to Super Pursuit Mode, don’t it? We can imagine the dialogue now. "Michael, it’s time for a turbo boost…"

Celebrity News: Prince busts Bill-O

Celebrity News: Prince busts Bill-O

ComicMix wouldn’t be much of a website if we didn’t do at least one story about Anna Nicole Smith, and this one’s a doozy.

Prince Frederic von Anhalt, husband of Zsa Zsa Gabor, has sued Fox News and their big star Bill O’Reilly for defaming him when O’Reilly said he was a fraud for claiming he could be the father of the late late Anna Nicole Smith’s baby.

According to Reuters, on the February 22th episode of The O’Reilly Factor, Bill-O said "Look, this guy’s a fraud. We know he’s a fraud. But let’s – what I want to talk about is – he’s done. His credibility is – is finished."

Get this. Prince Freddy is suing for "at least" $10,000,000.00 in damages because people give him dirty looks when he goes to the grocery store.

Damn, I don’t know who to root for here. I went to journalism school just in the hope that, someday, I would get to use the names Prince Frederic von Anhalt, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Bill O’Reilly, and Anna Nicole Smith in a sentence. And now I’ve done it twice!

Life is good.