And finally, Lorenzo Semple Jr., creator of the 60′s Batman TV series and writer of such films as Never Say Never Again, King Kong (1976), Papillion, Three Days of the Condor, and The Parallax View, passed away in his home in Los Angeles Friday of natural causes, a day after turning 91. Without him, Batman may not have even had a 30th anniversary and here we are now at 75 and counting. The New York Times has his obituary. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Anything else? Consider this an open thread. (Poster art by Tom Whalen)
Paul Smith asked one question last week that would have been answered an entirely different way if not for a call where it was made clear that the only way Milestone will get any damn respect is the way I’ve gotten respect all my damn life.
What I’m about to say is my opinion and does not reflect the opinion of Denys Cowan and Derek Dingle both of which told me to calm down and ‘not do anything stupid.’
Paul, you my friend are about to become a very real part of Milestone history. It’s doubtful that after this that history will include me but just think what a story you will have to tell.
Paul, you wanted to know if I thought Milestone would be better off away from DC?
Yesterday morning the answer was no.
Yesterday late morning the answer was oh, HELL YEAH.
There’s a new editor at DC. She’s a woman and a person of color she has been given an editorial position which includes overseeing future Milestone projects.
How is that anything but great for Milestone?
I’ll tell you why: because she’s about as knowledgeable of the Dakota Universe as the Pope is about who killed Tupac and Biggie.
From the very little I could understand she headed up a pretty successful comic book company in India and was been hand picked by Jim Lee to head DC’s new diversity push.
The new head of diversity at DC had no idea Static was Black.
But wait—there’s more!
The new head of diversity and DC’s new Milestone point person is spearheading the Milestone Audio Books being announced at this year’s Comic Con.
Did I let that tightly guarded little secret slip?
I’m overreacting right? So what if she did not know anything about the Milestone universe? Who cares if she didn’t know Static was Black? She could learn all those things right?
She could and very well will. However there’s another and bigger reason I’m FURIOUS!
It’s impossible to understand her!
She has the thickest accent known to man; of this I’m positive. She sounds like a freakin’ customer service rep from the lowest bidding company in the history of India an American company ever outsourced to.
That was the extent of most of the Milestone side of the conversation. I swear at any moment I just knew she was going to ask me for an account number—and who knows, she may have.
I’m sure this is a knee jerk response to Marvel’s recent success with diversity. Marvel’s timing on the Black Avengers, Black Spiderman and Muslim Ms. Marvel seemed perfect. Perhaps DC thought they were running out of time to make a big diversity splash and couldn’t wait until Comic Con when the series will be announced.
Sometime timing isn’t everything. I wrote an entire damn article apologizing for missing my ComicMix Tuesday deadlines and yes I’m well aware its freakin’ Wednesday but you can still understand what you’re reading, can you not?
The head of diversity at DC Comics should not have to be told Static is Black. Anyone charged with a product where SOUND is the single most important element MUST be heard loudly and clearly.
Having spent the past four days in Baltimore attending my favorite comics convention – the one that’s actually about comics – I had the opportunity to spend some serious conversation time with a lot of my friends. However, because the show is a four-hour-plus drive from La Casa Del Oro, the best conversation is with my daughter and ComicMix cohort Adriane Nash. Whereas much of her work is behind the scenes, Adriane is the one who kills here each year on April Fool’s Day and at least one of her hoaxes has graduated to the level of Urban Myth.
As her dad, this makes me very proud. But (sing along, folks), I digress.
After returning from Baltimore Monday night, while cuing TiVo for Ricky Gervais’ appearance on David Letterman, we had one of those “let’s tie-up everything we’ve been talking about” conversations. This one was about how, given time, them younger generations eventually discover the really great stuff that was done before they were born. Adriane started with Jack Kirby, which, of course, made me feel even older than my present dotage. Younger readers have to discover Kirby, the most influential creator in the history of American comics. And they do… with a little help from their friends.
There’s nothing wrong with that. When I was about half Adriane’s age, I interviewed disc jockey Bob Hale (WLS, NBC, and the guy who emceed the Iowa concert the day the music died). Bob said he didn’t despair for those kids who like crappy rock’n’roll because they eventually grow up and discover the Good Stuff. That was an important lesson (thanks, Bob!), one I’ve remembered for the past, ummm, well, 45 years. And so it is with comic books.
As it stands today, no less than three major comics publishers are reprinting various aspects of the canonical EC Comics. Will Eisner’s The Spirit stays out there on the racks, as well it should. Carl Barks – same thing. Because Jack Kirby’s output was so astonishingly massive, it seems there’s a new reprint of his stuff about every six weeks.
This is true with the classic newspaper strips (I define The Spirit as a comic book that was published in newspapers), these days largely through the efforts of the gifted and knowledgeable Dean Mullaney and our friends at IDW. Milton Caniff, Alex Raymond, Chester Gould, Al Capp… you can bust your back dragging out all those massive hardcover tomes of Terry and the Pirates, Flash Gordon, Dick Tracy, and Li’l Abner, and that’s a small price to pay for the thrill of such discovery. And then you go over to Fantagraphics for Walt Kelly’s Pogo, Roy Crane’s Captain Easy, Charles Shultz’s Peanuts and Elzie Segar’s Popeye.
So… as you age you’ve got a responsibility to pass along the good stuff, to educate the young’uns to the great stuff that provided not only the foundation for our great medium, but the first half-dozen floors as well. I guarantee you that just about every talented artist and writer impressing the hell out of you today has devoured these folks and many others possessing equal gift: Alex Toth, Joe Kubert, Mort Meskin… the Internet doesn’t have enough bandwidth for me to list them all.
It is our responsibility, our duty to pass along the good self.
In a landmark proceeding, the American Nazi Party has sued Marvel Comics and its owner, The Disney Company, over the latter’s use of the character Adolf Hitler as well as their use of the stylized “swastika.”
The American Nazi Party is claiming trademark violation, a claim attorney Frankie Abbott perceives as “vacuous.” The renowned First Amendment and Title 35 lawyer believes both Hitler and the swastika are in the public domain. Hitler was a historical figure who ran “The Third Reich,” an alternate name for the German Empire in the early 1940s. “The use of the so-called swastika dates back over a millennium,” Abbott notes, “and has been used in Asian and Native American culture ever since.”
Nonetheless, the American Nazi Party has filed in the United States District Court, Central District of California, seeking $45 million in damages and a permanent injunction ordering a cease-and-desist on the use of their alleged trademarks, including in reprints of previously published materials. Further, the American Nazi Party seeks an additional $250 million in damages from the motion picture Captain America: The First Avenger, produced by Marvel Studios, a division of Marvel Entertainment. The Party claims contractual representation for the estate of the German Führer und Reichskanzler, and is taking these actions on their behalf.
Neither Marvel nor Disney attorneys responded to ComicMix by deadline.
Another April Fool’s Day has come and gone, leaving in its wake a trail of confusion as comics news sites posted fake news article after fake news article in an attempt to hoax their audiences into believing things that couldn’t possibly be true.
All the same, now that we’ve had a day or two to process, there have been six recent happenings in the comics world that stood out as so weird, so unlikely, that we were completely floored when they turned out to be true. But don’t take our word for it, take a look below.
Stan Lee and Arnold Schwarzenegger are teaming up for The Governator, a comic and TV show detailing the adventures of the ex-Governor of California, ex-King of Aquilonia as he teams up with a precocious pre-teen hacker to fight crime. This is a thing that’s going to happen. Not a joke. We couldn’t believe it either. You’d think after Peter Paul and the Clintons Stan would stay clear of politicians.
Either let us drag you willingly into the future, or be impaled upon the shiny, metallic spikes of our awesomeness. We will bludgeon all resistance with our second generation Kindles and Sony PRC 505s, slicing and dicing holdouts and naysayers with our sleek, sexy MacBook Airs. Now bow before our awesome new lögö. Note the umlaut—it’s totally Spinal Tap, “but way cooler,” according to our latest focus group, a culturally diverse assortment of popular sixth graders (twelve-year-olds being widely recognized as the eternal harbingers of Cool).
It must be understood that we’re not cutting ties with the geek community—rather, we like to think of ourselves as ultra-modern alchemists, painstakingly turning geek into chic. We would never attempt to trivialize the concerns of fandom. At least the fandom we care about—the kind that hangs out at the Apple Store, and look like those kids from Twilight. Young, pasty, sexy, tech-savvy, secret vampires…yes, that pretty much sums up our new target audience.
The Philadelphia Science Fiction Society (PSFS) is now changing its name to usher in a new era of unlimited imagination, exceptional experiences and greater entertainment that paves the way for it to truly become a global lifestyle brand in Philadelphia. The new name chosen to let everyone know that the group is about Science Fiction, is in Philadelphia, and is a group that welcomes in young hipsters, is: The Science Fiction of Philadelphia Youth Set (SFPhilYS).
When it comes to April Fools Day on the ‘Net, I’m not sure where I stand. On one hand, I’m endlessly entertained by the creativity various companies show in their efforts to pull the digital wool over readers’ eyes. It’s also an amazing promotional opportunity, providing websites that normally wouldn’t be players in the viral marketing scene a chance to flex their creative muscles and attract new readers.
On the other hand, however, it’s an editor’s worst nightmare. Every story is likely to be a hoax, and it’s damn near impossible to break any authentic news due to the inherent skepticism of online readers for a 24-hour period.
It’s a bit of a personal hell for me, too. Every year, I wake up on April 1 and remind myself that anything I read that day is probably an April Fools Day prank. And every year, I end up getting excited about a story anyways, only to realize that it was just another joke — more often than not, this happens after I go public with my excitement, adding to the embarassment. In the end, I’m reminded of Charlie Brown trying to kick that football time and time again, even though he ends up on his back in the dirt every time he makes the attempt. I feel his pain.
So this year, I’ve put together a list of some of the highlights from this year’s April Fools Day on the Interwebs. It’s nowhere near a complete list, just some of my personal favorites from the world of comics and comics culture, as well as a few notable non-comics pranks. Feel free to add your own to the ‘Mix (pun totally intended) by adding a link in the comment section at the end of this article.