Tagged: Arkham Asylum

The Law Is A Ass #424: Arkham Makes An Asylum Of You And Me

Albert Einstein once said, “Glix sptzl glaah,” then he turned one and developed his first working model of the Theory of Relativity; “that lady who feeds me is Mama.” Einstein also reportedly said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” By this definition, I am insane, because I keep reading Batman comics and expecting the writers to know the difference between criminal activity and criminal insanity.

In Batman vol. 3, # 9, Batman agreed to do a mission for Amanda Waller and formed his own version of the Suicide Squad. So he went to Arkham Asylum, which, based on the ratio of escapes to days of the week, must have biggest Open Door Policy since John Hay. (Go ahead, look it up. I know, “Homework, bleech!) and recruited his recruits. Said recruits were a veritable who’s who of Gotham City’s finest worst.

Arnold Weskler, the Ventriloquist, found guilty of “Eight counts of murder” and sentenced to “life without parole.” Ben Turner, the Bronze Tiger, “Two counts manslaughter. Twenty years without parole.” Jewelee, “Four counts of murder. Life without parole.” Punch, Jewelee’s partner in crime and lover, who wasn’t actually in Arkham but broke into Arkham to try and free Jewelee while Batman was there; which is pretty crazy so maybe he was right where he should have been. Finally, Selina Kyle, Catwoman, “two hundred and thirty-seven counts of murder. Death by lethal injection.” These were the people Batman recruited out of Arkham Asylum. And I had to ask myself, “Why?”

Not “why did Batman recruit them?” Why were most of them in Arkham Asylum?

Arkham Asylum is an asylum. Even if we didn’t know that already from its name, Batman was right in the story. It is not a prison. There is a difference.

A prison is where criminals who are convicted of crimes are sent to serve out their sentences. An asylum is where criminals who were found not guilty by reason of insanity are involuntarily committed so that they can be treated.

None of the people Batman recruited from Arkham Asylum were found not guilty by reason of insanity. I know this for a fact and I can prove it. Arnold Weskler was sentenced to life without parole. Ben Turner was sentenced to twenty years without parole. Jewelee was sentenced to life without parole. Selina Kyle was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Do you see the common link? All four of them were sentenced to terms of imprisonment. That can only mean that they were found guilty because only people who were found guilty of crimes can be sentenced.

People who are found not guilty are released. Why? Because they were found not guilty. And they can’t be imprisoned for the crimes for which they were found not guilty; at least now without violating the hell out of the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.

In the same way, people who were found not guilty by reason of insanity can’t be sentenced to imprisonment, life imprisonment, or death by lethal injection, because – all together now – they were found not guilty.

If they were convicted – and they were it said so right in the story and I’m taking the story’s words at their word – what were these convicted criminals doing in Arkham?

There is a way that convicted criminals who were sentenced to prison can be sent to an asylum. When people develop a mental illness that impairs their cognitive ability to such an extent that they cannot make decisions for themselves or they present a danger to themselves or to others, a judge can civilly commit them and order they be sent to a mental health facility for treatment.

If a convict in prison develops a mental illness, a judge can the inmate be civilly committed to a mental health facility. Then, when the inmate no longer meets the criteria for civil commitment, the inmate is returned to prison to serve out the remainder of the sentences. The question remains, was there a viable reason for any of Batman’s team to have been transferred to Arkham?

Arnold Weskler had multiple personalty disorder. He thought he was two people; himself and his ventriloquist dummy, Scarface. Only the story said Weskler had “forsesworn his ‘little friend’ and had become an ideal inmate. Sounds like Weskler’s treatment had brought his MPD under control. If that were the case, then as long as he continued to take his medications, he would not meet the criteria for civil commitment. He would have been returned to Blackgate Penitentiary, where the prison hospital would have made sure he continued to take his medication. So Weskler shouldn’t have been in Arkham any longer, but maybe the doctors were keeping him there just to be sure. After all, we wouldn’t want a multiple murderer in prison, now would we?

Ben Turner was diagnosed with delusions of grandeur. He believed he was a former member of the League of Assassins and an agent of various intelligence agencies. A claim these agencies deny. The story didn’t really give us enough information about his mental condition for us to make a definitive assessment of whether he should be in Arkham. In his one conversation in the story he didn’t see irrational, but, as I said, I have insufficient information. So I’ll give Arkham the benefit of the doubt and say he was committed and deserved to be there.

Jewelee’s lover/partner Punch disappeared two years earlier, since then she had been in a catatonic state. She sat on her bed without moving. As such, she wasn’t really a danger to either herself or to others and could have been treated in the hospital in Blackgate prison just as easily as she could have been treated in Arkham. She would not have been committed to Arkham. However, if a court or the prison authorities determined that the hospital at Arkham was better equipped to treat her catatonia that the hospital at Blackgate, she might have transferred to Arkham for that reason.

Selina Kyle, not even going to go there. Why not? Because Selina clearly wasn’t mentally ill. She knew it, Batman knew it, even we knew it. Everything about her presence in Arkham Asylum – from her being in a cell to her wearing a straightjacket and a full-face version of a Hannibal Lecter mask – was nothing more than a plot device used to set up a surprise ending. Oh, and because I’ve reached the end of my column.

– THE END –

See?

The Law Is A Ass

Bob Ingersoll The Law Is A Ass #379

WONDER WOMAN GOES OUT FOR TRICK OR TREATMENT

“Who watches the watchmen?” Not sure that one’s ever been answered. Who judges the judges? Check the byline.

Deborah Domaine, A.K.A. the super villainess The Cheetah, was serving a sentence in Iron Heights Prison. In Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #15, a federal court was holding a hearing on Debbi’s motion to be transferred to the Ohlendorff Metahuman Psychiatric Hospital, because Iron Heights wasn’t equipped to treat her “severe dissociative identity disorder.”

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #41 (2015) - Page 12

The prosecution called Wonder Woman as a court-appointed expert witness on prison security. During Wonder Woman’s testimony, we got all the background exposition they don’t put into captions anymore. Last year, Debbi escaped from the psychiatric facility of Concord Federal Prison and attacked Wonder Woman in the National Air and Space Museum. During the ensuing fight – what’s a comic book story without an ensuing fight? – one hundred thirty-eight innocent bystanders were injured. Collateral damage. Wow, that fight had more collateral than ten bank loans. Anyway, Debbi was recaptured and transferred from Concord to the more-secure Iron Heights.

According to Debbi’s lawyer, Iron Heights’s medical staff adjusted Debbi’s medication and Debbi’s behavior had stabilized. So Debbi filed a motion to be transferred to Ohlendorff where she could receive the treatment necessary to cure her of her mental illness. Wonder Woman opposed the transfer and testified Ohlendorff’s security protocols were too lax to insure that Debbi would remain incarcerated there.

Why was Wonder Woman called as a court-appointed expert on prison security? I guess because her foes escape incarceration every alternate Tuesday that gave her expertise on which DCU prisons are secure. Personally, I’d question Wonder Woman’s expert status unless she said none of them are. DCU prisons have the biggest Open Door Policy since John Hay.

Unfortunately for Wonder Woman but not for the story – this was only page 4, something had to fill out the remaining pages – Judge Holzman transferred Debbi Ohlendorff. Then, short story shorter; Debbi escaped, Wonder Woman captured her, and Debbi went back to Iron Heights.

You might be wondering how Ohlendorff, a psychiatric hospital dedicated to treating metahumans with mental illness problems, could lack sufficient security to make sure its extremely dangerous patients all stayed on the grounds. I know I did. Seems a bit counterproductive. But, then, so does making a hotdog that’s bigger than the bun and it’s not like that never happens.

I wondered even more about defense counsel’s argument that neither Iron Heights nor any other metahuman prison was equipped to treat Debbi’s mental condition. The Eighth Amendment’s cruel and unusual punishment clause requires prisons to supply inmates with adequate medical care. The US Supreme Court said so in Estelle v. Gamble. Federal courts have applied Estelle’s rule both to physical health and to mental health care. When prisons show an intentional indifference to the mental health issues of its inmates, they violate the Eighth Amendment. Among the ways prisons can show indifference are a failure to have an adequate, qualified mental health staff on-site and the failure of large prisons to have a licenced psychiatrist on staff.

We know Iron Heights, like other DCU prisons, locks its cell doors on the honor system, so it might also consider viol-Eight-ing the Amendment to be as a badge of honor. Maybe it didn’t have on-site psychiatric staff, either. In that case…

Wait. No. No. Defense counsel said that Debbi received medications in Iron Heights, that Debbi’s medication had been adjusted by Iron Heights, and that the medication had stabilized Debbi’s behavior. Someone on Iron Heights’s staff was administering those meds. More important, someone on staff was competent enough to evaluate Debbi’s medications and adjust them by prescribing a proper dosage which had stabilized Debbi. That someone had to be a doctor. Debbi was receiving some treatment in Iron Heights, treatment that seemed to be working. How was Iron Heights not equipped to handle her mental disorder?

But for the sake of argument, let’s assume Debbi’s argument was valid. There is a case which held the failure to transfer an inmate from a prison to a hospital when the prison could not adequately treat the inmate was deliberate indifference; lending support to Judge Holzman’s ruling. But transferring Debbi to a hospital the judge knew couldn’t keep her locked up, that’s a different matter.

Mentally-ill inmates may have the right to be transferred to a hospital, but they don’t have the right to choose which hospital. Courts have ruled prisons must give inmates medical treatment, but they don’t have to give the exact treatment the inmate requests if other treatments are adequate. In addition, the government’s responsibility to protect its citizens means mentally-ill inmates should be hospitalized in an environment that is consistent both with their treatment and with public safety. If the defendants demonstrate a threat to public safety – by, say, escaping every alternate Tuesday and injuring one hundred thirty-eight innocent bystanders – courts are justified in having them hospitalized in a more restrictive hospital than the one the defendant might choose.

Judge Holzman might have granted Debbi’s motion to be transferred to a hospital. But in light of her past record, I find it doubtful that Judge Holzman would have transferred her to a hospital that a court-appointed expert on security testified wouldn’t be able to hold her. Hell, Judge Holzman didn’t even let Debbi into his courtroom; Debbi attend the motion hearing via closed-circuit television. If Holzman thought Debbi was so dangerous that he didn’t want her in his courtroom; he would not have sent her to an insecure mental health facility. He would have sent her to a hospital but one that was more secure. Like Concord or Arkham Asylum. Then Debbi could receive the treatment she required and the public would be safer, because Debbi was in a more-secure facility.

One where she might only be able to escape every third Tuesday.

The Law Is A Ass

BOB INGERSOLL: THE LAW IS A ASS #346 THE EMINENT MR. WAYNE LOSES HIS DOMAIN

arkham-manor-612x968-f3e97So in Batman Eternal #29

What? No I didn’t promise that I wouldn’t write about Batman Eternal this week, I promised I’d try. Also I’m not really writing about the year-long Batman story that is certainly living up to its name, so chillax. (Chillax. How is that even a word? Sounds like a murder weapon in Alaska.) This week I’m writing about what came after Batman Eternal #29. With a little of what came after Batman Eternal #34 thrown in. Which means what I’m writing about is Arkham Manor #1.

In Batman Eternal #29, Arkham Asylum – the hospital for the criminally insane located on the outskirts of Gotham City that houses Joker, Two-Face, Mister Zsasz, and most of the rest of Batman’s rogue gallery – blew up. Although how and why isn’t really important what the hell, I’ve got some time to kill. To put it succinctly, Deacon Blackfire, a magically delicious villain was using his magic in a fight with Jim Corrigan in the tunnels below Arkham Asylum. Blackfire was attempting to pull the Spectre, the ghostly spirit of God’s vengeance that lives inside of Corrigan’s body, out of Corrigan’s body. But Blackfire wasn’t adept enough for this kind of magic and in Batman Eternal # 29, his attempts resulted in …

SPOILER WARNING!

Usually, this is where I’d warn you I’m going to tell you how Batman Eternal #29 ended. This time I’m not. Arkham Manor #1 came out about a month before Batman Eternal # 29, even though it takes place after that story, and it gave away the ending to Batman Eternal #29. If DC didn’t mind spoiling its own story, why should I?

… an explosion. An explosion which caused Arkham Asylum to collapse in on itself in Batman Eternal #30.

Hundreds of people died when Arkham Asylum came tumbling down. But wouldn’t you know it, they were incidental deaths. Collateral damage, as it were. Somehow Joker, Two-Face, Mister Zsasz, and most of the rest of Batman’s rogue gallery survived.

Arkham Asylum’s destruction left Mayor Hady and Gotham City with a big question, where to put “the city’s most dangerous lunatics.” Any time someone suggested a possible new location for all those dangerous lunatics, the citizens of Gotham City basically responded, “Not in my backyard.” Even the ones who lived in brownstones and didn’t have back yards.

Fortunately for Mayor Hady and the city fathers, in Batman Eternal #34 the federal government seized control of Wayne Enterprises and all of its assets. I talked about the how and why of this three weeks ago, so you can go there to read about it, if you don’t already know. (BTW, I really recommend that you go to my old column to read about how and why the Feds took over Wayne Enterprises rather than reading Batman Eternal #34. Not because my new web-based home for the column needs the hits, I just think the experience will be more pleasant.)

Anyway, Bruce Wayne was left largely penniless. (Well, he does have this one giant penny sitting around doing nothing, but I’m not sure it’s negotiable.) Bruce had moved out of Wayne Manor and was living in an apartment in Gotham City. So Gotham City used eminent domain to take over Wayne Manor and make it Arkham Manor, the new home for Gotham’s criminally insane.

Eminent domain, the process by which the government may take private property for public use, is not a new concept. The concept dates back to biblical times, when King Ahab of Israel, offered to purchase the vineyards of one of his subjects, Naboth. Naboth declined Ahab’s offer, so Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, framed Naboth for blasphemy and had him stoned to death. After which Ahab got the vineyards. Since that time, they’ve refined the concept of eminent domain. It’s a little more fair and a little less killy. After the French Revolution, the French formally adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789. Among it’s provisions is the sentence, “Property being an inviolable and sacred right no one can be deprived of it, unless the public necessity plainly demands it, and upon condition of a just and previous indemnity.” The Founding Fathers drafted similar language in the Fifth Amendment of Constitution of the United States, “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” Like I said, a little less killy. (Yes, there’s a bit of a history lesson here, but history is important. To paraphrase George Santayana; those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Usually in summer school.)

So Gotham City decided to take Wayne Manor through eminent domain and convert it to Arkham Manor. In order to invoke eminent domain, the government must prove four elements” 1) there’s some private property, that 2) the government plans to take, for 3) a public use, after 4) making just compensation to the owner of the property.

Wayne Manor is clearly the private property of Bruce Wayne. Yes, even though the federal government seized Wayne Enterprises’s assets, Wayne Manor would probably still have been Bruce’s property. Remember, Wayne Enterprises was a corporation. The reason a business incorporates is to protect the property of the owners from lawsuits. After the corporation is created, it becomes a legal entity of it’s own and is solely responsible for its actions. If the corporation is sued, those harmed by the corporation can seize the corporate assets but not the assets of the corporation’s owners, that is to say the shareholders.

When the Wayne family established Wayne Enterprises, none of their lawyers would have allowed the Waynes to transfer ownership of Wayne Manor over to the corporation. Such an act would have completely negated the whole reason behind creating the corporation in the first place, limited liability. An attorney would have to be the Chief O’Hara of lawyers to let a client do something that stupid. So let’s assume, even after the Feds seized Wayne Enterprises, Bruce Wayne still owned Wayne Manor.

The government wanted to take Wayne Manor and convert it into a hospital to house the criminally insane, which would be a public use. The only question left would be the just compensation element.

Usually the just compensation happens this way. The government makes an offer which it considers to be fair market value for the property. Generally it’s a lowball offer, because we all know the government never overpays for anything. The property owner rejects the offer as too low and makes a counter offer of what the owner thinks is fair market value. Generally it’s high. The two parties negotiate over what is a fair market value for the property. If they reach an agreement, that amount is paid and the government takes over the property. If the two parties can’t reach an agreement, then they go to court and there’s a condemnation hearing during which the court will determine fair market value.

Sometimes the property owner doesn’t want to lose his property. So he might argue that the taking isn’t for public use. Again there’s a condemnation hearing, this time to determine whether the intended use is really a public use. If the judge rules it is a public use, the condemnation goes forward. I’ve never been able to figure out why these are called condemnation proceedings. No one is condemning the property, they’re just putting it to a new and different use.

None of those steps happened in the case of Wayne Manor. Why not? It wasn’t because the story got the law wrong. It was because Bruce Wayne knew he presently didn’t have the assets needed to maintain Wayne Manor or, in all probability, pay its property taxes. Bruce also believed his father, a doctor who advocated for better treatment of the mentally ill, would have given Wayne Manor to the city in the face of this emergency were he still alive. So Bruce voluntarily agreed to the condemnation proceedings and gave up Wayne Manor.

Bruce apparently believed in the old concept of noblesse oblige. And that makes him a better man than I am. Me, I would have held out for some money from Gotham City. Maybe I wouldn’t have soaked them, but if I just lost my personal fortune and was sitting on a house that was easily worth ten or twenty – and more probably thirty or forty – million dollars that the government wanted to buy, I would have wanted a little something something to get myself back on my financial feet.

But Bruce asked for nothing. He let his ancestral home go not for a pittance, not for a song but for nothing. Because he felt it was his duty. With a sense of noblesse oblige that strong, had Bruce lived back in the times of Caesar, he would have been the noblesse Roman of them all.

The Law Is A Ass

BOB INGERSOLL: THE LAW IS A ASS #327: GOTHAM’S RIDDLED WITH INCOMPETENCE

8039971943_4211f4754e_zSeriously, where were these judges when I was practicing law?

In the real world, evidence can be suppressed when it is seized illegally. But in the real world, judges hate suppressing evidence and do it infrequently. No make that very infrequently. In comic books, TV, and the movies; judges seem willing to suppress evidence if it’s a day that ends in Y.

Same is true with the mental health docket. In the real world, juries don’t like the insanity defense and virtually never find criminal defendants not guilty by reason of insanity. And even that may be an overstatement.

Before the trial of John Hinkley, the man who was obsessed with Jodie Foster and tried to assassinate President Reagan, the insanity defense was used in approximately two percent of criminal trials. And it failed 75 percent of the time. After John Hinkley was found not guilty by reason of insanity, 83 percent of those Americans polled thought justice had not been done. As a result of the Hinkley trial, the United States Congress and two-thirds of the states rewrote their insanity defense statutes to make it more difficult to assert a defense used only two percent of the time and rejected 75 percent of the time. Another eight states rewrote their laws and changed Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity to guilty but insane. Oh, and Idaho, Montana, and Utah abolished the insanity defense completely. That’s how unpopular the insanity defense is with both juries and with judges.

Even though most insanity trials are tried to a judge instead of to a jury, judges don’t like finding defendant’s NGRI any better than do juries. For one thing, that 83 percent of the people that were outraged by the Hinkley verdict; they weren’t just people, they were voters. Voters who were stand to be equally outraged anytime a defendant is found NGRI. Judges don’t like upsetting 83 percent of the people the judges want voting for them by finding defendants insane willy nilly. Or Chilly Willy. Or even Willy Nelson. That 75 percent figure I quoted earlier; that was for all trials – jury trials and bench trials.

For the record, judges don’t much appreciate the legal subsets of criminal insanity, either. Things such as competence to stand trial. Makes judges look soft on crime. Which brings us, at last, to the reason I called you all in today. It was the story “Herded Limits” which can be found in Legends of the Dark Knight 100 Page Super Spectacular # 4.

(By the way, if, like me, you’re wondering about that title – no, not Legends of the Dark Knight 100 Page Super Spectacular; that title is a little cumbersome but perfectly understandable – “Herded Limits” is an anagram for “Riddle me this.” I know, I Googled it. Not important to our discussion, but nice to know.)

The Riddler was facing prosecution for attempting to steal some gold. I said attempted because he didn’t succeed. Why? Because Riddler sent the Batman a riddle, Batman solved the riddle, and Batman captured the Riddler. Seriously, do you even have to ask why a Riddler plan failed? The why of his failures are pretty much a given.

But before Riddler faced prosecution he had to go through a hearing to determine whether he was competent to stand trial. Now I give this story credit, it stated that Riddler had been diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD, which it then correctly defined as, “repetitive behaviors … that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.” That’s a quote directly out of the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders – or DSM-IV, as it’s called for short by the medical field. (Though for future reference, this reference is up to the fifth edition, or DSM-V, now.) The story noted that Riddler’s ODC didn’t manifest itself in the usual ways such as repeated hand washing or counting or all the other things you used to see Adrian Monk do. Riddler’s OCD manifested in his compulsion to inform the Batman of his impending crimes by giving Batman a series of puzzles which contained clues to his planned activities. Because Riddler had OCD, the court had to rule whether he was mentally competent to stand trial.

I give the story credit again, not only did it correctly define OCD, it correctly identified the standards a court must find are met in order to find a defendant incompetent to stand trial. The judge must rule that the defendant’s mental illness affects his or her mental processes so as to either render him or her incapable of understanding the nature of the charges brought against him or her, or renders him or her incapable of assisting in his or her defense. In “Herded Limits,” the judge ruled that the Riddler met those standards and was incompetent to stand trial. He remanded Riddler to Arkham Asylum until such time as treatment could render Riddler competent to stand trial. So the story got the law completely right. But the judge in the story got the law completely wrong.

The judge seemed to be operating under the misapprehension that if someone who’s been apprehended is mentally ill, he’s automatically incompetent to stand trial. But that ain’t necessarily so. In fact, it begs the question you’re begging me to answer: When is someone incompetent?

Say the Riddler suffered from delusions and killed someone he thought was the devil, he might not understand the nature of the murder charges brought against him, because it’s not against the law to kill the Devil. Of, if the Riddler’s delusions made him think his lawyer was the Devil, the Riddler might be reluctant to talk to his lawyer. In either of those admittedly simplified cases, the Riddler would be incompetent to stand trial.

But neither is true of the Riddler. The Riddler has a compulsion to inform Batman of his impending crimes. How does this affliction render him incapable of understanding the nature of the charges against him? The Riddler knew he was going to commit crimes. He even challenged Batman with the task of stopping him from committing the crimes. This compulsion to give advance warning indicates that Riddler would know the nature of the charges being brought against him quite well. He was charged with doing the thing he said he was going to do.

In the same way, the fact that Riddler is compelled to inform Batman when he’s about to commit a crime doesn’t mean he can’t assist in his own defense. To be competent, a defendant must be able to communicate with his attorney, understand and process information, and be able to make decisions regarding his case. Riddler consistently shows, through his riddles, that he can communicate. If anything, he communicates too much. His riddles shows that he can understand and process information so well that he can take information and process it into elaborate puzzles. This combined with his genius-level intelligence indicate that he could make decisions regarding his case.

Nothing, absolutely nothing in Riddler’s rather particularized OCD indicates that he is incompetent to stand trial. I simply cannot understand how 27 different psychiatrists, according to the story, could evaluate Riddler and find he was incompetent to stand trial. I can’t understand how the judges who presided over Riddler’s cases, however many that was, could find he was incompetent to stand trial, either. The judges were more likely to find the 27 psychiatrists incompetent for their erroneous opinions about the Riddler.

But judge after judge has found Riddler incompetent to stand trial and sentenced him to Arkham to be treated until he can be restored to competence. (Really? Arkham? Riddler hasn’t been declared criminally insane only incompetent to stand trial. Judges don’t send a man whose crimes are “rarely violent” and who has been ruled incompetent to the maximum security asylum for the criminally insane. Cleveland, which is a much smaller city than Gotham City, has several institutions for treating defendants in its mental health docket. We don’t normally send people ruled incompetent to the super-max asylum to rub shoulders with all the violent offenders who have been found to be criminally insane. We send them to the lesser institutions. But, I digress.)

Gotham City has seen judge after judge find the Riddler incompetent to stand trial under facts where no judge in the real world would likely find a defendant incompetent. So I repeat the question I posed at the beginning of this column: Where were these judges when I was practicing law? If I had been able to appear before them, I would never have lost a case.

The Law Is A Ass

BOB INGERSOLL: THE LAW IS A ASS #326: BATMAN’S RIDDLED WITH GUILT

Batman_Vol_2-23.2_Cover-1_TeaserWell, there’s no putting it off any longer. I might as well get the unpleasant business out of the way right up front.

SPOILER WARNING!

 I want to discuss the legal aspects of Detective Comics: Futures End # 1 and there is literally no way I can proceed without discussing its ending. So if you haven’t read Detective Comics: Futures End # 1 and you don’t want to know how it ends, stop reading now. Come back after you have read it. If, on the other hand, you have read the comic in question or you simply don’t care that I’m about to give away the ending, then continue reading.

This has been a test of the Emergency SPOILER WARNING! System. We now return you to your regularly scheduled column already in progress.

The story opened five years from now – remember, the DC books coming out in September this year all tie into the weekly Future’s End http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Futures_End series and take place five years in the future – with a scene of The Batman flying through Gotham City. Now it’s not unusual that a Detective Comics story should open with the Batman. Many of them do. What is unusual is that Batman was flying toward a large skyscraper with a huge question mark insignia on the top floor.

Clearly, it was the headquarters of The Riddler. But why would a master criminal have such an obvious and ostentatious headquarters?

It seems that sometime in the five years between now and five years from now when some futures are going to end, Batman helped broker a full pardon for the Riddler. How? I don’t know. Why? I still don’t know. (Seriously, did you think that between writing those two sentences, I went back to re-read the story, and saw something I missed the first time?) The story didn’t reveal either how or why the Riddler was pardoned. It’s one of those great mysteries we may find the answer to in the next five years. Like which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or who’s on first?

Batman needed Riddler’s help. Seven days earlier, Julian (the Calendar Man) Day broke free of his cell on Arkham Island, the new asylum of the criminally insane that was – Will be? – built in Gotham Harbor. Julian was holding several of the Arkham staff hostage.

Julian had one demand and if it wasn’t met, he was going to duplicate the city-wide blackout that the Riddler had cast over Gotham City back in the “Batman: Zero Year” story arc. Excuse me but what? When they built this new asylum for the criminally insane, did they build it over Gotham City’s main fuse box?

Because Calendar Man had hostages, Gotham City couldn’t bomb Arkham Island. And the police couldn’t storm the island because they couldn’t get past the security devices that Riddler built into it. (Yes, sometime in those event-filled five years, the Riddler, a former inmate in Arkham Asylum, designed the new version of Arkham Asylum and all of its security measures. I hope it was good therapy for Riddler, because it sure don’t make much sense otherwise.) So Batman came to Riddler so that Riddler could help Batman get past Arkham Island’s security.

While Batman and Riddler had fun stormin’ da castle, Batman told Riddler what Calendar Man’s one demand was. Several years ago, before he became Calendar Man and was still just Julian Day, Julian’s wife died. Julian started drinking, lost his job, and became muscle for the Gotham crime boss The Squid. He also physically abused his son when he got drunk. So in Detective Comics Annual v. 2 # 3, the Batman defeated all the bad guys Julian was working with, foiled their plans, and placed Julian’s son in a shelter for battered women and children. Now Julian demanded that the man who destroyed his family be brought to him or he would black out Gotham. Riddler expressed some regret at what Batman is doing. After all, Calendar Man and his thugs were going to kill Batman and Batman was the only worthy adversary Riddler ever encountered.

So, cutting to the chase – of whatever it is I’m cutting to, as this story didn’t actually have a chase scene – Batman and Riddler got past the security devices. Then Batman had an obligatory fight scene with Calendar Man’s henchmen, because there hadn’t been a fight scene yet and it was obligatory.

When Calendar Man appeared, Batman explained that Riddler helped Batman get past the security devices, so that they could deliver to Calendar Man the man responsible for destroying his family. Then Calendar Man ordered his men to take Riddler away.

Riddler asked why they were taking him, it was Batman who destroyed his family. Calendar Man said he was a rotten single parent and deserved to have his son taken away. His wife held his family together and it fell apart after her death. His wife’s death is what destroyed his family and she died in Riddler’s Zero Year blackout. Riddler was the man who destroyed his family.

As Calendar Man and his goons dragged the Riddler off to Crom knows what, Batman smiled a smug and oh-so–pleased-with-himself smile and said, “Riddle me this. How do you trap the untrappable? You get them to trap themselves.”

The end of the story and the beginning of the meat of this column, so I guess I should have included a Vegetarian Warning, too. I don’t know what Calendar Man and his goons plan to do with Riddler. Riddler thought they were going to kill and they probably are. But kill Riddler, cut him, or force him to watch Gigli; any way you slice it – or the Riddler – it’s going to be bad for the Riddler. And the Batman delivered Riddler to these men knowing something what was going to happen.

Which makes the Batman a murderer, or assaulter, or a torturer depending on what Calendar Man and his goons do to the Riddler. Let’s go with murder, because I don’t want to keep typing all the possibilities.

How so? Well the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, which defines the crimes for that state, has a statute – N.J.S.A. 2C:2-6 – which defines the crime of Complicity. In New Jersey a person is an accomplice to a crime, and is as guilty as the principal offender, when he or she has the intention of facilitating the offense and aids the principal offender commit the offense. You may know this crime better as name aiding and abetting, which is what it’s called in some other states. But a crime by any other name is still illegal.

If the Batman helped Calendar Man murder the Riddler and if the Batman intended to help Calendar commit that crime, then he’s as guilty of the murder as Calendar Man is. The getaway driver who takes bank robbers away from a bank robbery – or to a bank robbery – is as guilty as the actual people who actually rob the bank, because he helped them commit it. In the same way, the person who brings the victim to some murderers and who knows that they will murder the victim once they get him is as guilty of the murder as the murderers who actually commit the murder. Why? Because he helped them commit the murder by bringing the victim to them, that’s why.

Now I know that this story takes place some five years in the future, but if you think in those intervening five years someone repealed the complicity statute, you’re delusional. They may have been dumb enough to let an ex-inmate of an asylum for the criminally insane design the new asylum for the criminally insane, They may even have been dumb enough to build the new asylum for the criminal insane over the main fuse box of a major city. But repeal the complicity law at a time when the prevailing attitude on crime is you’ve got to be tougher than utility beef? No one’s that dumb.

Martha Thomases: My Take On Affleck

Thomases Art 130830Gold Art 130828Like my colleagues on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I have been confounded by the negative energy directed at Ben Affleck after the announcement by Warner Bros. that he would play Batman in the next Superman film.

The Internets almost always hate every announcement from Hollywood that has anything to do with nerd culture. I remember the howls when Christian Bale was announced to play Batman in the Nolan movies, and how Heidi McDonald ran photo number eight from this slideshow in her defense of the casting. Worked for me.

The objections seem to stem from fans’ displeasure with some of Affleck’s earlier work. They especially cite Daredevil, which I kind of liked, even though it’s overwrought, and Gigli, which I haven’t seen. And don’t intend to ever see.

I love Ben Affleck. I have loved him at least since Mallrats and definitely Chasing Amy. When I had a chance to talk to Kevin Smith at some industry event, I told him I thought Affleck would be a great Superman. He agreed. He even said Warner Bros. wanted Ben for the part. That was more than 15 years ago.

Which brings me to the reason I believe.

I can only imagine that the Internet complainers never saw Hollywoodland. It’s the story of a private detective investigating the death of George Reeves, the actor who played Superman in the original television series. Affleck plays Reeves in a performance that, in my opinion, should have earned him an Academy Award nomination. He not only creates a layered, believable portrayal of George Reeves, the man, but he vividly recreates the Reeves we knew from television. The way he holds his body changes when he is on-camera and when he is off.

This performance alone should tell us that Ben can be both The Dark Knight and Bruce Wayne. I’m not the only fan of the character who thinks so. The actor previously rumored to be the next Batman agrees with me.

So does Patton Oswalt, whom I love very dearly (and chastely, from afar). He said:

“A Batman portrayed by someone who’s tasted humiliation and a reversal of all personal valences — kind of like Grant Morrison’s “Zen warrior” version of Batman, post-Arkham Asylum, who was, in the words of Superman, “…the most dangerous man on the planet”? Think for a second and admit that Ben Affleck is closer to that top-shelf iteration of The Dark Knight than pretty much anyone in Hollywood right now.”

That quote should establish Oswalt’s geek credentials pretty well. And make his point.

Like Denny O’Neil, I have my qualms about a movie that features both Superman and Batman. It could be fun, but I’m not sure that Zack Snyder, the director of Man of Steel, is the person to direct it. He has cited Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns as his inspiration, and that’s not my favorite interpretation of the characters. I like it when Batman and Superman are friends, when Superman’s optimism lightens Batman, and Batman’s realism ground Superman.

I’m less happy when they fight. Especially if they aren’t going to team up and save the world together at the end.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 

Diamond announces August 2012 Best Sellers

Avengers Vs. X-Men #9 from Marvel Comics, the best-selling comic book to specialty retailers in August 2012, according to information provided by Diamond Comic Distributors, the world’s largest distributor of comics, graphic novels, and pop culture merchandise.

DC Entertainment was August’s leading publisher in Retail Dollars, leading Marvel Comics 33.32% to 32.42%. Meanwhile, Marvel Comics edged DC Entertainment on the Unit Market Share for the month, 37.18% to 37.12%.

For the second month in a row, Geoff Johns and Gary Franks’ Batman: Earth One, the original graphic novel that reimagines the early days of Batman, was the best-selling graphic novel to retailers.

Based on Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s best-selling Batman: Arkham Asylum video game, Square-Enix’s Batman: Arkham Asylum Play Arts ~Kai~: Harley Quinn Action Figure was the best-selling toy product to comic book specialty retailers in August.

Earth’s most powerful heroes join the HeroClix campaign with the DC HeroClix: Justice League Expansion from WizKids/NECA, the best-selling games product to comic book specialty retailers in August.

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHER

DOLLAR

SHARE

UNIT

SHARE

DC COMICS

33.32%

37.12%

MARVEL COMICS

32.42%

37.18%

IDW PUBLISHING

5.88%

4.64%

IMAGE COMICS

5.75%

5.37%

DARK HORSE COMICS

4.92%

3.89%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

3.19%

3.16%

EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS LTD

1.83%

0.40%

BOOM! STUDIOS

1.52%

1.48%

VIZ MEDIA

0.96%

0.41%

ARCHIE COMICS

0.85%

0.82%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

9.35%

5.52%

COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

 

DOLLARS

UNITS

AUGUST 2012 VS. JULY 2012

COMICS

6.49%

6.38%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

22.13%

19.48%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

11.23%

7.43%

AUGUST 2012 VS. AUGUST 2011

COMICS

19.27%

14.22%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

14.95%

24.74%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

17.80%

15.09%

YEAR-TO-DATE 2012 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2011

COMICS

20.51%

17.97%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

14.13%

12.78%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

18.41%

17.54%

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #9

$3.99

JUN120592-M MAR

2

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #10

$3.99

JUN120599-M MAR

3

BATMAN #12

$3.99

JUN120177-M DC

4

JUSTICE LEAGUE #12

$3.99

JUN120142-M DC

5

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #692

$5.99

JUN120622-M MAR

6

BEFORE WATCHMEN: RORSCHACH #1 (MR) [*]

$3.99

JUN120129-M DC

7

AVX VS #5

$3.99

JUN120590-M MAR

8

BEFORE WATCHMEN: DR. MANHATTAN #1 (MR) [*]

$3.99

JUN120134-M DC

9

GREEN LANTERN #12

$2.99

JUN120196-M DC

10

DETECTIVE COMICS #12

$3.99

JUN120181-M DC

TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

BATMAN: EARTH ONE HC

$22.99

MAR120234 DC

2

THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 1: DAYS GONE BYE TP

$9.99

JUL068351 IMA

3

SWAMP THING VOL. 1: RAISE THEM BONES TP

$14.99

MAY120280 DC

4

SUPERMAN: ACTION COMICS VOL. 1: SUPERMAN MEN OF STEEL HC

$24.99

APR120245 DC

5

BATMAN VOL. 1: THE COURT OF OWLS HC

$24.99

JAN120300 DC

6

HULK SEASON ONE PREMIERE HC

$24.99

MAY120746 MAR

7

SCOTT PILGRIM VOLUME 1 COLOR HC

$24.99

MAY121234 ONI

8

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS: SITH HUNTERS TP

$7.99

APR120041 DAR

9

THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 2: MILES BEHIND US TP

$14.99

SEP088204 IMA

10

FEAR ITSELF TP

$29.99

JUN120721 MAR

TOP 10 TOYS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM PLAY ARTS KAI: HARLEY QUINN ACTION FIGURE JAN128132 SQU

2

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM PLAY ARTS KAI: ARMORED BATMAN ACTION FIGURE JAN128131 SQU

3

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES RETRO COLLECTOR FIGURES APR121769 PLA

4

MARVEL SELECT: AVENGERS MOVIE ENEMY FIGURE JAN121705 DST

5

ALICE: THE MADNESS RETURNS SELECT FIGURE JAN121700 DST

6

BATMAN BLACK & WHITE STATUE: DARWYN COOKE APR120307 DC

7

AVENGERS MOVIE: IRON MAN MK VII ARTFX STATUE MAR121684 KOT

8

BATMAN BLACK & WHITE STATUE: DICK GRAYSON BY JOCK MAY120346 DC

9

FORBIDDEN PLANET: ROBBY THE ROBOT 12-INCH FIGURE FEB121668 X P

10

MARVEL UNIVERSE ACTION FIGURES JUN121848 HAS

TOP 10 GAMES

RANK

DESCRIPTION

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

DC HEROCLIX: JUSTICE LEAGUE APR121984 NEC

2

MARVEL HEROCLIX: CHAOS WAR BOOSTER BRICK APR121987 NEC

3

DOCTOR WHO ACTION BOARD GAME OCT101791 DIA

4

DC HEROCLIX: JUSTICE LEAGUE FAST FORCES 6-PACK APR121985 NEC

5

WONDERLAND BOARD GAME APR121345 ZEN

6

THE WALKING DEAD TV BOARD GAME JUL112137 CRY

7

THE WALKING DEAD COMIC BOARD GAME JUL112185 Z-M

8

MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: 2013 CORE SET EVENT DECK APR121978 WIZ

9

MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: 2013 CORE SET BOOSTERS APR121977 WIZ

10

PATHFINDER BATTLES: RISE OF THE RUNELORDS BOOSTER BRICK MAY128110 NEC

Data for Diamond’s sales charts — which include the monthly market shares and all top product charts — are compiled by Diamond Comic Distributors from a universe of over 3,500 comic book specialty shops located in North America and around the world. The account base includes brick-and-mortar comic book specialty shops, Internet merchants, and other specialty stores.

Unit and dollars sales are calculated based upon orders invoiced and shipped to Diamond accounts during any given month, which comprises initial pre-orders, advance reorders, and reorders, minus any copies that are received back from a title marked as returnable.

Please note that comics marked with an asterisk have had their reported quantities reduced due to retailer returnability, and thus may rank lower on the charts than their actual sales would reflect.

Michael McKean voices egomaniacal Arkham Asylum psychiatrist Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1

Michael McKean just can’t stay away from the fanboy realm.

The versatile star of film, television and stage continues to deviate from his mainstream roles to appear in all forms of super hero entertainment, this time lending his voice to the egomaniacal Dr. Bartholomew Wolper in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

Frank Miller’s landmark graphic novel, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1, is the next entry in the popular, ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. The film arrives September 25, 2012 from Warner Home Video as a Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD, On Demand and for Download.

McKean is a key member of a voice cast that features Peter Weller (RoboCop) as Bruce Wayne/Batman, David Selby (The Social Network, Dark Shadows) as Commissioner Gordon, Ariel Winter (Modern Family) as Carrie/Robin, and Wade Williams (Prison Break) as Harvey Dent/Two-Face.

McKean is best known for his portrayal of David St. Hubbins in This Is Spinal Tap, a role he’s been perpetuating along with his bandmates for more than a quarter of a century. McKean actually is a talented musician – he’s quite handy with a harmonica, guitar or keyboard. His honor role of movie credits include Best in Show, 1941, Planes, Trains & Automobiles and A Mighty Wind.

McKean initially drew the public’s adoration as the first half of the inimitable duo of Lenny and Squiggy on the 1970s favorite, Laverne & Shirley. He served as the self-centered, sex-driven boss Gibby on one of HBO’s first original sitcoms, Dream On; and he was a member of the core cast on Saturday Night Live from 1994-1995. McKean’s

prime time appearances number in the dozens on series like Friends, Curb Youth Enthusiasm, Law & Order (two different characters, eight years apart) and The X-Files.

Even within those roles, McKean found his way into fanboy fun – playing Perry White during a 1995 SNL. He would revisit the role six years later on Smallville. In fact, McKean is one of only seven actors to appear in both Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Smallville – and the only one to also give voice to a character in a DC Universe Animated Original Movie.

McKean’s been to the Batcave before, too. The New York native voiced the 1950s Joker and a Mutant in the “Legends of the Dark Knight” episode of The New Batman Adventures, as well as voicing Sneak Peek for Batman Beyond. For Justice League, he voiced The Sportsman.

The DC Lineage dips into his personal life, as well. McKean is married to actress Annette O’Toole, who has the distinction of playing Lana Lang opposite Christopher Reeve in Superman III, and as Martha Kent for 10 years of Smallville.

McKean obliged us with a few minutes to chat about his latest animated role, and a few other subjects near and dear to fanboy hearts. Take a read …

QUESTION: How did you come to think of Arkham Asylum psychiatrist Dr. Bartholomew Wolper?

MICHAEL MCKEAN: Dr. Wolper is a very, very good shrink … if you ask him. He’s a guy who likes the sound of his own voice; he finds his ego very soothing, even though it seems a little ponderous from the outside. But he is convinced of his own genius, and definitely convinced that these poor, twisted souls who have been entrusted to his care are redeemable because he knows who the real bad guy is.

QUESTION: And that “bad guy” is?

MCKEAN: Wolper thinks that Batman is a social disease. He thinks that it is, in fact, Batman’s ego that is driving the crime wave in Gotham City. And he sets out to prove it. I don’t think he actually makes the case, but you can’t tell him that (laughs) … or anything else, for that matter.

QUESTION: How did you approach playing this character?

MCKEAN: My first impulse was Dr. Phil, but it didn’t work – it was too folksy. I think that a man whose ego is such a construct that it supersedes everything else around him, that’s kind of an interesting character to portray. There are some great examples in history. And I think a man who plays God – especially when it concerns human intelligence, human psyche, human emotions – he’s kind of like a prestidigitator. He’s the expert in the room, and when he tells you something is so, he expects you to believe it. And it’s only when he comes right up against the real world that it all falls apart.

QUESTION: In addition to acting, you also direct. And you’ve worked with Andrea Romano on a number of projects. What makes Andrea so good at what she does?

MCKEAN: Andrea Romano has a kind of a soothing, friendly personality, which of course masks a tyrant (laughs). Kidding, kidding. I think she’s an amazing talent and I trust her implicitly. Often if I’m directing, I’ll say, “Look, I won’t give you a line reading, but” and then I’ll try to make my case and get you to say what you’re supposed to say. As an actor, I actually ask Andrea for a line reading, because she knows exactly what she’s doing. She’s been doing it a long time, and she’s the best in the business. So I utterly respect her taste and opinion. And she’s also a great cheerleader – there’s never a time when I think “Geez, I don’t know what I’m doing here.” Even if I don’t know what I’m doing, she always convinces me that I do … and then she sets me straight (laughs). It’s kind of brilliant.

QUESTION: Does being part of a Batman film have any personal significance for you?

MCKEAN: When I was a kid, I adored the Bob Kane’s 1950s Batman. I liked the Superman comics and Justice League and Flash and the Atom – nobody does The Atom anymore, and that was a cool super hero – but I did love Batman. I loved the fact that they always found a way to stage the climactic scenes in a warehouse of gigantic toys, or huge oversized stuffed animals. And even as a kid, I sort of knew, “Well, (Kane) is sort of bored. He wants to draw something new other than just a street corner and a couple of guys fisting it out.” So I was a big comic book fan, and I loved the DC stuff.

When I went to college, the ABC series began airing. I was at Carnegie Mellon and I’ll never forget that everyone was looking forward to Batman and it was going to be the best thing ever. In those days, there was only one or two TV sets in the entire dorm. So we went down to the common room at McGill Hall and the show came on – and the minute the “pows” and “bams” and sound effects came on screen, the whole place went insane. Now these were all young men of ages 17 to 23, but suddenly we were all kids again. It was phenomenal. So it is kind of nice to revisit that (memory) by being in this film.

I also had the honor of playing the Joker in one of Mr. Timm’s episodes. Mark Hamill was doing the voice at the time, but they had a flashback to the 1950s, so I got to play the Joker in one episode. That was pretty exciting, too. And now it’s nice to be in a full-scale, class production like this.

QUESTION: With all your years of comic book reading, and your interest in the super hero realm, do you have a character you’d most like to play or voice?

MCKEAN: Comics actually taught me how to read. From the age of 3 or 4, my older sister would help me along with my reading lessons, telling me how to sound out words. Then I’d sit with my comics and really develop my reading. I remember that as I was reading comics, I had voices in my head for the characters. But I honestly don’t think I have one that I’d really want to take on. Maybe Bizarro Superman. That’d be fun to do.

QUESTION: You’ve carved quite the resume of film, TV and stage performances, and yet you find time for a lot of animation voiceovers. For you, is that additional work … or working fun?

MCKEAN: It is an awful lot of fun. The only time I don’t like voiceover stuff is if I have a ton of ADR work to do. I did a film called Short Circuit II, where I had a lot of scenes with a robot. And it was a real robot – it was operated off screen, but it really was a mechanical man. And, of course, they had the motors going at all times, Every move the robot made, there would be a noise with that movement. So every scene I had with this damn robot, which was about half the film, I had to loop everything. And that drives me crazy. But when you’re working with people like Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche – I did a bunch of Animaniacs and a couple of Pinky & the Brain episodes – those guys make it such a great party atmosphere. They’re so funny and so smart – just amazing people to work with. That’s the best part of the job.

QUESTION: With so many memorable roles in your lengthy list of credits, what do people stop and ask you about the most?

MCKEAN: I guess Spinal Tap, just because we keep coming back. We made the movie 25 years ago and occasionally we “tour” and make TV appearances and put out product. So people know me from that. Occasionally somebody will come up and say “You’re Gibby from Dream On,” not very often, but sometimes. Laverne and Shirley – not so much. That’s a long time ago, and we’ve all changed (laughs). And, of course, the last few pictures I made with Chris Guest. People love Best in Show. People always say the same thing to me about that film – they say, “You know, you and your boyfriend had the best relationship of all the couples in the film.” And they’re so totally right (laughs). We were made for each other. So that’s a lot of fun, too.

QUESTION: Dr. Wolper is actually featured in both Part 1 and Part 2 of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Can you give us a little teaser of what to expect in the second half of the story?

MCKEAN: The Joker is kind of Dr. Wolper’s pet patient. He is the most irredeemable, as far as society is concerned, which Dr. Wolper takes as a challenge. He’s thrilled and delighted when he sees the Joker making such progress, and he thinks that he’s done so well that the next step is to bring him out into the public to kind of show off his own work. It doesn’t go well.

MICHAEL DAVIS: Game Change

I’ve seen the light.

I’ve seen the future of comics.

I had a meeting yesterday with a company that is going to change the game on the net and can change for comics and creators. I’ve haven’t been this excited since I was 17 and my very first real girlfriend Yvonne Stallworth said, “My parents won’t be home until the morning.”

At 17you know what that means, right fellas?

Poon tang…yeah.

Or in my case spending the night saying; “Please…please…please.”  Before you think I was begging for poon tang; “Please, Please, Please” is the title of a James Brown song I was singing… as I was begging for poon tang.

I can’t talk about the company or what they are doing…no that’s not true, I can talk about it but I’m hedging my bets just in case I’m wrong…which, by the way, I’m not.

That way if they crash and burn I’m protected and if they succeed I’m golden!

All the above said, I’m at a lost as to what was the last game changing moment in comics.

I guess it was the New 52 from DC.

I guess.

I’m not sure because to say something is a game changer is a big deal. Because it’s such a big deal I started thinking, what does it take to be a real game changer?

This is what I came up with. Areal game changer is a person or event that creates a new way of looking at things and years later that way has become the way.

So, with my personal criteria noted what follows are what I consider the most important game change decisions or people who have done so since I’ve been reading comics. You may disagree and if so feel free to amend, add or challenge some or all of my choices.

This list is in NO particular order.

  • Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man
  • Image Comics
  • Jack Kirby
  • Stan Lee
  • Dwayne McDuffie
  • First Comics
  • Mike Gold
  • Milestone Media
  • Death of Captain Marvel
  • Death of Superman
  • The New 52
  • The iPad
  • The Killing Joke
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths
  • Secret Wars
  • Death of Barry Allen
  • Neil Gaiman’s Sandman
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Kirby’s fourth world
  • Death of Gwen Stacy
  • Dave McKean
  • Bill Sienkiewicz
  • San Diego Comic Con International
  • Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles
  • Alan Speiegal
  • Arkham Asylum
  • Paul Levitz
  • Jenette Kahn
  • Axel Alonzo
  • Howard Chaykin
  • Dark Horse
  • Mike Richardson
  • Len Wein
  • Marv Wolfman
  • The A.P.E convention
  • John Jennings

Like I said the above list is in no particular order. Don’t send me comments about McFarlane being before Stan Lee, the list is in no particular order.

Duh.

Now. Have at it!

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

 

Holiday Comic Gift Guide For Video Gamers

Holiday Comic Gift Guide For Video Gamers

Are you shopping for gamers this holiday season? If so, there are a lot of great comics based on some of today’s most popular video games.  Here’s just a few comic gift ideas that are perfect for gamers:

BATMAN: ARKHAM UNHINGED — Go deeper into the world of ARKHAM CITY with BATMAN: ARKHAM UNHINGED. A weekly, original digital series based on the video games BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM and BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY, each 10-page chapter ties directly in to the continuity of the game and follows your favorite characters through the bedlam.  And don’t forget that the first ARKHAM digital comic series –BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY – is now available as a collected hard cover.

UNCHARTED — The critically acclaimed and best-selling PlayStation 3 video game jumps onto the comic page, featuring an all-new action-packed story written by Joshua Williamson (SUPERMAN/BATMAN) with fantastic covers by the legendary Tony Harris. It’s just in time for the newly released Uncharted #3: Drake’s Deception. (more…)