Tagged: Carrie Fisher

Ed Catto: Boost Your Local Comic Shop!

The world is changing quickly, but I think everyone always says that. Back in high school, my fantastic Latin teacher, Mr. Guido, had us read writings of Romans from 2 AD or something. The gist of it was “the kids these days… they have no respect.” Sounds like what my parents said about my generation (they were right) or what adults say now about the younger generation.

But one part of the world is changing rapidly, and that’s the world of retail. On one hand the stores I ventured into this Yuletide Season seemed really crowded. My wife, who works in retail, was working hard as well. And so my parochial experiences didn’t really prepare me for the dire national news about retail chains; specifically, that 100 Macy’s, 108 K-Marts and 42 Sears stores would be closing this year.

That’s a huge number. Having moved back to a smaller community from the Metro NYC area, I can see how a department store closing like this can fundamentally impact a small town.

When we focus the retail lens on Geek Culture, quite a few comics and cards stores ended up struggling during the last few months of 2016.

You’d think that with big movie blockbusters, TV hits, strong merchandising, card game growth and some of the most creative comics being published in years, comic shop retailers would have it made. But they don’t. It’s still a tough business. There are many reasons and they all are passionately discussed. To say that Marvel’s recent comic product has been underperforming is simplistic, but there’s no denying that it’s a piece of the puzzle.

Christy Blanch is an owner of Aw Yeah Comics store in Muncie, Indiana. But she wears a lot of hats. She’s also a comics scholar, an educator, a columnist at the 13th Dimension and a comics writer. She shared her insights on it all.

“I am not really sure why comic shops are having such a tough time right now. It should be the opposite – we should be busier than ever,” said Blanch. “Maybe people don’t want to read about the characters they can see on the television and movie screens. I just don’t know because besides superheroes there are so many amazing books out right now. It could be that other places are selling comics or Amazon is so easy. But for me, the experience of comics is one that involves people. Checking out what’s new, talking to other people about what they are reading – it’s the touch and the smell and the visuals that get me. Comics shops are cultural touchstones – I believe that.”

And as comic shops are cultural touchstones, recent pop culture events spark conversations. “When Carrie Fisher passed, so many people came into the store just to mourn with us. It moved me,” continued Blanch. “People thanked us for being there. That’s why I do what I do. That’s why I don’t plan on going anywhere. As Commander Peter Quincy Taggart said in GalaxyQuest, “Never Give Up. Never Surrender.”

Given these retail realities, I was especially impressed with Ross Richie’s recent Boost Your Local Comic Store campaign. Ross is the entrepreneurial CEO of Boom! Studios. He takes his job seriously and he takes the industry seriously, but he never takes himself too seriously. He’s a big, loud, smiling guy with both vision and a laugh that are both infectious.

Ross Richie must have had an epiphany (right before the liturgical Epiphany) and promptly sat down at his laptop and recorded an upbeat, call-to-action video. It’s not slick. It’s not overly produced. It doesn’t’ look like the executive team at Boom! Studios spent days and days planning it. It does look like one guy took the time be creative and issue a call to arms. The effort is called Boost Your Local Comic Store.

Via social media, it’s easy to see that this idea has caught on. Fans and collectors have been posting their additional purchases and shout outs to local stores.

Sparked by Richie, I visited two local comic shops last night: Larger than Life and Play the Game, Read the Story. During these visits, I bought a couple of comics for two co-workers: A Valiant Comic for a lapsed Valiant reader and Hawkeye #1 for a mom to give to her daughter, who likes archery. Gee, it sure felt good.

“I’m not sure how comic shops will survive but I know we have to survive, for the reasons I said above. Plus I’m not letting my kids live in a world without comic shops. They are the happiest place on earth. I love them,” added Blanch. “All I know is that I will do everything in my power to help comics shops, not just mine, but all of them, survive and hopefully flourish.”


Marc Alan Fishman: 35

I write this article today, on the 35th anniversary of my staging a complex breakout from the prison that brought me life. 6 weeks before I was due for release, I set plans in motion that would force the state to grant me early release — however, I was a fool. Born only 3 pounds, 8 ounces left me with no meat on the bone with which to battle the icy storms of the Chicagoland area in 1981. So, I was hurried off to an easy-bake oven for babies… and set to warm until my pop-up thermometer came out clean. This is my exasperated attempt to be funny about writing today, on my birthday. For the record: it’s December 28th, but as you all know, my articles are your most favorite Saturday reading.

I write tonight after a truly uneventful day. As is the case for a Jewish suburban kid whose birthday comes three days after everyone is stuffed and sick of partying, and three days before everyone is set to do it again to ring in the new year… I’m not often one for making a big deal about the day. In my lifetime, I think I had an actual party two or three times. Suffice to say: seeing the dozens and dozens of Facebook friends wish me a pleasant day is as joyous a thing as time spent cutting a cake and opening presents I don’t actually want. Maybe if people read my article about gift giving I wouldn’t be so sour about getting a useful block of CD-R’s. Natch. But I digress.

2016 for many reasons was a year people would love to forget. The loss of Prince, George Michael, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Florence Henderson, John Glenn, Alan Thicke, and most recently Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds… combined with the electing of Donald Trump certainly squashes a lot of the joy that came over the last 363 days (as of this writing). But I’m not one for staying down. 2016 was a year of great joy personally for me. For starters? My second son, Colton Mikel, was born. He’s healthy, happy, and a babbling brook of teething delight. My older son, Bennett Reed, has taken to pre-school like a total champ. He’s curious, energetic, and truly the light of my life on the darkest days. And hey, the Cubs won the World Series. Of course, had we all known the cost of that win apparently came with all the aforementioned loss…

I wouldn’t earn my keep on this site if I didn’t mention pop culture and comic books though, right? 2016 saw the rerise of DC. By stabbing the New 52 in the crotch with Rebirth, Dan DiDio finally earned back my business (speaking only of pulp and paper). At the movies, we got Civil War, a new Star Wars, a new Harry Potter (sorta), and Deadpool. On TV, Agents of SHIELD continues to be a worthwhile romp, alongside Flash, and the entire CW comic-based menagerie. They event launched a new Justice League cartoon my 4 year old and I can both appreciate. Note that I’m saving my son for the real animated DCU when he turns 9 — the same age his old man was given access to it. Suffice to say: amongst the litany of dour dolts rising to power, in my 35th year on this mortal coil… pop culture provided me with a breadth of quality content I couldn’t have fathomed even half a decade ago.

Professionally, Unshaven Comics remains my truest love (beyond that of my wife, sons, and family, of course). 2016 saw our return to both Dragon Con and the New York Comic Con. While we were unable to complete work on our last issue of Curse of the Dreadnuts, I can confidently say that the book itself will be worth the (incredibly unprofessional) wait. When it debuts in February or March of 2017? I will be very proud of it. While the year stagnated for Unshaven as a whole, it was amazing to see our resident writer and sales-machine Kyle Gnepper release his own graphic novel. To see my brother from another mother complete a project from stem to stern (on his own dime to boot) filled me with a joy I’d never had the pleasure of feeling before. Pride by proxy if you will.

And allow me a final indulgence to share here unrelated to any pop culture. Back in May, I’d reached an impasse personally, where I was truly sick and tired of my physical self. Without announcement, I decided to make significant changes in what filled my food hole, and what physical exertion I would force upon myself. Over the course of 6 months, I have dropped more than a significant amount of me, and have entered a new strange phase of my life. A phase where I purposefully watch what I intake, and go to a gym to improve the parts of me not bearded. With a new lease on life (and a serious goal to meet May 8th, 2017), I am proud to state here in my little corner of the internet that I am a better Marc Alan Fishman at 35 than I was at 25. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Comicly.

As They Might Be Giants have long said:

I’m older than I’ve ever been. And now I’m even older.

Michael Davis: A Long Time Ago In A Hood Far, Far Away…

It was 1977. Lee Speller and I had just hopped (read: rode free) the subway to Manhattan. No easy feat at any subway station. You’re gambling an undercover cop won’t be among the passengers watching you break the law. You run the risk of getting an expensive ticket or getting arrested, but in Far Rockaway, Queens, you can add getting killed to that list.

The trains are elevated, so we had to climb the outside of a three-story stairwell, jump down onto the platform which was going the wrong way, and cross the tracks. Now being the geniuses we were, instead of simply going downstairs and crossing over to the right side of the platform, we crossed the tracks which included the 50,000-volt third rail. One slip, just one touch, and we were dead.

It never occurred to us that the tollbooth attendant would never have known if we just climbed onto the platform.

We thought little of the third rail on any of our trips to Manhattan. We were going to the movies and needed all our money for a ticket and snacks. Lee and I couldn’t wait to see the film we had been talking about since we saw the commercial on TV.

We saw the 8 pm show; and afterward, we hung out a bit on 42nd street so we could look at hookers. (Look, we were kids from the hood had no money and these women had on next to nothing. Hell, people, this was our cable TV.)

It wasn’t long before this beautiful Latino lady started talking to us. “You looking for a date?” she asked.

“Sure, but I only have a dollar,” I said.

“A DOLLAR?” she said, while motioning her fellow ladies of the evening to come over. This always happened. These girls would be bored so they would look for some young gawker to ridicule to bide away the time. Lee and I had been the tool more than once.

This time we were ready.

“He’s only got a dollar, girls!” she shouted this so everyone could hear and join in our verbal beat down.

I waited a few minutes allowing some in the crowd to join in with the usual remarks about being poor, small penis, etc.

Then it was my turn.

“Yeah, I only have a dollar— just wanna make sure you have change,” I said.

“Yeah. Lee joined in. Seventy-five cents way too big a tip.”

Lee and I cracked up— the ladies? Not so much. In fact, they were so unhappy they summoned this huge guy over to kick our ass. We took off running and this gorilla looking mofo did so also. Unfortunately, the ladies were posted in front of our subway station, and the baboon didn’t look like he was tiring.

After a few blocks, Lee and I saw a long line of people waiting to get into a movie theater. The guy most likely was just trying to scare us, OR he was going to bust a cap in our asses. Regardless, he wasn’t about to do anything in front of a group. The crowd started moving into the building. Lee and I smoothly joined the front of the line and with a few ‘hood looks’ dared someone to say something.

No one did, well no one but us. “THAT GUY JUMPED THE LINE!” We pointed out our pursuer who was quickly stopped by ushers. We had no idea what movie we were going to see and were fully prepared to jet (leave) if it was some On Golden Pond type of shit.

It was Star Wars.

The moment Princess Leia showed up on screen any thoughts of leaving vanished. “DAMN SHE FINE!” I said way too loud but couldn’t care less because she was. That woman that movie that night changed my life as I was young stupid and reckless way back when. I often think about risks I took— stepping over 50,000 volts and pissing off a pimp were just two in a long list of foolishness. Hindsight, they say, is 20/20, and I do regret most of the near life ending acts I participated in growing up.

Yeah, most.

That night Lee and I risked death twice but saw Princess Leia?

Totally worth it.

Joe Corallo: Gotta Have Faith

Before I get started, I wanted to say I hope you enjoyed or are continuing to enjoy every Holiday you may have or are celebrating. I had a merry Christmas myself despite some people simply wishing me a “happy holidays!” I don’t know how I got through it either. And since this is my last column of 2016, a preemptive happy new year to you all as well.

Now that we got that out of the way, these last few days or so have been rough for science fiction, comic book, and music fans. Carrie Fisher, who has been enjoying a career renaissance, had suffered a massive heart attack and as of the time I’m writing this is in stable condition, but is still in intensive care. We wish her a full and speedy recovery.

Peter David, one of my favorite comic book writers as well as a seasoned novelist and TV writer who co-created a favorite TV show of mine as a kid, had a fall in his home last week. While we weren’t sure exactly what was causing his health issues, he has since been released from the hospital and just in time to celebrate Christmas with his family. Again we all wish Peter David a full and speedy recovery.

As far as music goes, 2016 has been devastating. David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Paul Kantner, George Martin, Phife Dawg, Merle Haggard, Vanity, Prince, Maurice White, Joey Feek, Dale Griffin, Pete Huttlinger, Sharon Jones, John Berry, Leon Russell, Frank Sinatra Jr., Greg Lake, Alan Thicke, Rick Parfitt and more were joined by George Michael on Christmas day. His passing was not only that of an incredibly talented musician who sold over 100 million records in his lifetime between Wham! and his solo work, but of an unapologetically gay icon.

Both Carrie Fisher and Peter David have a lot of work in comics. Though Carrie Fisher isn’t in comics herself, her likeness as Princess Leia has appeared in hundreds of comic books for nearly four decades. George Michael doesn’t have much of a connection to the world of comics outside of some spoofs in Mad Magazine. That’s soon to change as Valiant Entertainment is planning a variant cover based on the album jacket for George Michael’s hit album Faith for the first issue of their new ongoing comic of the same name. The proceeds will go to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, an important protector of first amendment rights for comics and their creators. I’m encouraging everyone to pick up that cover. If that’s not your thing, but you still want to support the CBLDF click here to learn more.

While looking up instances of George Michael appearing in comics, I uncovered a comic series I was unfamiliar with called Wham!. The comic was created by Leo Baxendale and published by Odhams Press in Britain between 1963 and 1968. It ran for 187 weekly issues. Leo Baxendale created strips for Wham! that were seen as rip-offs of his work-for-hire strips back at The Beano which he wrote for year beforehand and is still being published to this day. In a way, Wham! was kind of the Image Comics of British children’s comic strips in the 60s.

It’s funny what you accidentally learn sometimes doing research. That said, I’ll be mourning the loss of George Michael this week while trying to hold out hope for a better 2017. It’s not looking too promising right now, but I’ve got to try to be positive to get through it. I gotta have faith.

Mindy Newell: On Being Fucked Up

new-york-108The President: What’s his plan? Ohila: I think he is finishing his soup. • Hell Bent, Doctor Who Season Finale, Series 9

“Sometimes I think about what my mom told me. How I was really, really sick when I was first born and the doctors thought I was going to die. But there was this one doctor who wouldn’t give up. And sometimes, when things are really bad and fucked up, and I’m just so fucking tired of hauling myself out of the abyss one more goddamn time, I wish he had.” • Mindy Newell, On Her Depression

18 October 1990

Dear Ms. Newell,

Thanks for the letter and the story, which I liked enormously. I’m glad you liked my little book and that it may have helped in some way.  I’m sure you’ll avoid your Jack the Ripper and pull through with grand success; remember that most people do. I did. So will you.


William Styron

Postcard I received from William Styron after I sent him a copy of “Chalk Drawing” along with a personal note after reading his “Darkness Visible.” I treasure it.

I recently had the fun experience at my day job of assisting with ECT – electro-convulsive therapy. While the procedure has come a long, long way from the days of One Flew Over The Cuckoo Nest, it ain’t – to put it mildly – pleasant.

Oh, the patient is put under general anesthesia with a hit of succinylcholine to control tonic-clonic activity, so it’s not exactly Torquemada’s House of Medieval Torture, but there’s still something ugly and uncomfortably sadistic about purposely sending an electrical charge through a brain, isn’t there? Even if it has proven to be a successful intercession against intractable depression. And something profoundly impersonal that disturbs me, too, in the way a human being is treated like a slab of meat on the grill. “How would you like that, sir?” asked the waiter. “Well done,” said the diner, to twist W. C. Fields.

Or is that I feel it more deeply because of my own acquaintance with the Darkness Visible, as Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Styron titled his memoir of his own battle with the disease.

At any rate, as I stood looking down at the patient as the doctor was about to go to Defcon 5, I couldn’t help thinking…

There but for the grace of God go I.

At the time I co-wrote “Chalk Drawings” (Wonder Woman #46, September 1990) with George Pérez, I hadn’t told anyone about the depression since I hadn’t been officially diagnosed with it; in fact, I didn’t even know that I had it, only that something was “off” and “wrong” and had been for a long time…a very long time, actually. IIRC, the only one I had ever even mentioned my anxiety episodes to – which are frequently symptomatic of the condition, though they can stand “alone” – was my editor Karen Berger, and even that discussion was on a friend-to-friend basis one night over dinner in a restaurant on Columbus Avenue (I think) in Manhattan, and only because I was in the midst of having a giant panic attack over my plate. So the story of teenage depression and suicide was a bit – well, the word serendipitous comes to mind, but I usually use that word connoting something good happening, as in good karma.

So I can’t say that the depression made the story easy to write – I only know that it came pouring out of me like milk from a carton. At the time I guess I thought it was because of my empathetic ability – not in the way of Betazoid Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation, of course – to get inside the head of my characters. At least, that was what everybody (editors, fellow writers, and so forth) was telling me.

It’s well known that many creative people have suffered from depression, and you can Google “creativity and depression,” or “writers/artists and depression” and get a zillion hits. While the psychiatric community is still out on the actual conclusive evidence, i.e., the biological/genetic/chemical linkage, there is a lot of subjective support out there. And while by no means am I putting myself in the category of writers like David Foster Wallace or Virginia Woolf or F. Scott Fitzgerald or William Styron, I do somehow just know that my illness, while certainly fucking up my life in so many god-awful, totally horrible ways, has also led me to that oft-touted “empathetic ability” to get inside my character’s heads

But can I get into my head?

I have a dream, a dream to write a “personal memoir” in the form of a graphic novel (of course, I can’t draw worth a damn so I’ll have to find an artist) about my experiences with the “darkness visible” of depression.  It won’t be a “my mommy and daddy fucked me up” account, as in Prozac Nation or in Girl, Interrupted, although, dearest family, you’ll be in there; you’ll have to be. I think, rather, that it will be more along the lines of Carrie Fisher’s Postcards From The Edge, vignettes or short-short stories.

Like the time, way, way back in 1976 (I told you it’s been around me for a long, long time) when I ran from my dorm room at nursing school through the streets of the Lower East Side of Manhattan to the L train subway station because I thought the clouds were falling down on me. And if you know the L train subway line, you’ll understand just how crazy I was, that the L train subway station at 14th St. and 1st Avenue could be a sanctuary.

That’s a great visual, isn’t it?

•     •     •     •     •

Holy Shit! Holy, Holy, Holy Shit!

Awesomely Amazing!

Abso-fucking-lutely Brilliant!

That’s my review of Hell Bent, the Season 9 finale of Doctor Who.*

SPOILER ALERT! As I told editor Mike Gold on the phone last night after the broadcast, I though that Stephen Moffat was about to pull some time-winey stuff when the Doctor and Clara stole the TARDIS – taking us back to the very beginning of the story, with Clara “renaming” herself Susan, i.e., the Doctor’s “granddaughter.”

Dennis O’Neil: Are We Crowded Yet?

We’ll be at the big convention in Indiana this weekend. First con of 2015, which means that, for us, the comic book year has begun. ( or guys like me, the comic book year is like the school year is for a kid, the time when the action really begins.) The highlight of the convention may be interacting with another guest, Carrie Fisher, who once worked briefly with my chief DNA sharer. I mean, at least we’ll have an excuse to speak to her and Marifran might well do that, extravert that she is. I mean, don’t put it past her.

You might get to interact with her, too. She’s usually sitting beside me asking fans, in her nicest-teacher-you-ever-had way, to donate something to the Hero Initiative, which is a good idea and which you should do.

For those of you for whom comics are merely an interest, as opposed to a passion or, heaven help you, a lifestyle, the summer looks to provide the usual ration of superheroic pleasures, mostly in the form of huge movies. You know what they are, probably, and if you don’t, you should have ample opportunity to find out before you need a bathing suit.

If you attend either of the Rockland County NY multiplexes, you might see an old couple near the front. That’d be us. I’ll be the bald one.

Elsewhere, there’s television. Last week, we mentioned Daredevil, a show that Netflix will stream next month. And CBS has a Supergirl series ready to go. And I’m sure other costumed wrong-righters will pop up here and there. You superhero fans – you’ll be okay.

Are we nearing a saturation point? Are we already there? I shrug. A network executive recently said that no, we aren’t overstuffed with superheroes because every show and movie is different. Well… every cop show is different, too, in that they use different casts, characters, sets, locales. But they all feature dedicated public servants, some of them maybe a tad quirky, who, dammit, make the system work. Who bring what they call “justice” and what a nitpicker might call “vengeance.” Most superhero stories have a similar dynamic, with a quasi-mythic super person replacing quirky policemen.

It’s how ancient themes are expressed in our post-industrial Earth and I’m not complaining. Catch me on a sunny day and I might even cheer. But this particular way of expressing them, with the costumes and flying and the double identities and all the rest of it? Too much, yet? The obvious parallel genre is the westerns, once an absolute staple of screens large and small, now rare. But the world has changed since the cowboy heyday and the parallel might not be valid. We’ll see, eventually, maybe.

Meanwhile, we can all enjoy the spectacle of Iron Man kicking Ultron butt and, convention goers can breathe the same air as the talented folk who enact our favorite fantasies.


Marc Alan Fishman: New Star Wars? Meh…

Blow out the torches and put the pitchforks back in the barn, kiddos. Any longtime fan of ole’ Marc Alan Fishman knows well that he isn’t much for the lightsabers and midichlorians. I’m not here necessarily to slight a multi-billion dollar franchise that helped spawn a legion of fanboys that in-turn became the heroes of my youth. Instead, I’m here to explain calmly and coolly why I’m skittish that the hype machine that will churn out the next Star Wars will not be the second coming all the wookies and rogues are awaiting with baited breath.

  1. J.J. Isn’t the Messiah

J.J. Abrams is a talented director and writer. But he’s not a miracle worker. While his track record and profit margins have never been snickered at, I look over his IMDb resume and nothing strikes me. Yes, he created cult (and successfully syndicated) hits like Alias, Lost, and Fringe. Yes, he helmed Cloverfield – lauded for its original take on a typically tropey concept. And yes, he successfully brought the Enterprise into our modern cineplexes.

But I specifically look to his Star Trek movies when I attempt to envision an Abrams’ Star Wars joint. And it has me fretting for the future set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Abrams’ Trek was clean to the point of stringency. His lens-flared Apple-esque vision held with it no lasting memories beyond the tepid jokes. While he crammed every spare inch of celluloid with today’s troop of tasteful thespians, can anyone here denote a single performance that was anything more than brilliant pastiche? I love Simon Pegg. I tolerate Karl Urban. Hell, I’ve pined for Chris Pine. But cast as living ret-cons, they all floated on the “close by not quite” vibe for their namesake roles.

“You incredulous Dewback!”, you chortle, “J.J.’s Star Wars is using the original cast and veritable no-names for the new roles!” Too true. And if it’s one small saving grace as to why I think the new movie will be reasonably entertaining and not the new testament, it’s largely because I think Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher have plenty more to pump into their historic roles. But I digress.

J.J. Abrams has the chops to make a palatable port of the seminal series. But, to date, he’s done nothing that screams to me that he was/is/will be the end-all be-all director that will remove the taste of the prequels from my memory. Which leads me to reason two:

  1. Episodes I, II, and III happened.

Preach to me all you want. Rebels, countless in-canon comics penned by incomparable scribes such as our very own John Ostrander, and a litany of extended universe novels may all showcase how amazing the Star Wars universe can be. But in all those aforementioned examples, the target market clearly was always the hardcore Star Wars fan. Not John Q. Averageguy.

The fact is this: Episodes I, II, and III did make it to movie theaters. And sure, they banked considerable cash. But find me someone who walked out of any of those flicks, declaring that they trumped the original trilogy in any way (and “CGI” sure as a Sarlacc don’t count) and you’ve found the village idiot. The prequels were bloated, underwritten, over-produced crap-fests that proved to an entire generation that George Lucas’s original vision had forever been tarnished by the very commercialization that originally made him his fortune. And I’m being nice – we know there’s plenty of people who didn’t walk out of Return of the Jedi singing ole’ Georgie’s praises. The fact remains: the prequels happened, and they’re not going away. Episode VII may end up amazing… but it’s still sitting on a foundation of midichlorians… and of wooden acting.

  1. Hype is a dish best served virally.

I’m wracking my brain to find the last thing in this world that lived up the hype built up over countless marketing ploys. The Dark Knight comes to mind. That’s about it. The fact is Star Wars is a globally recognized juggernaut franchise. When it comes to hitting the multiplex, Lucas and Disney will spare no expense ensuring the world at large knows of the impending Episode VII. Count the coverage of the teaser trailer alone, and then multiply it exponentially as we march closer and closer to the midnight premiere.

Do you remember Episode I? The tent cities that dotted the movie theaters, coated in cosplayers? Do you remember the aisles of every toy store choked with every non-chaser action figure of every background character that would be in the upcoming film? Or how about the happy meal tie-ins. Or the Hostess snack-cake collectible mini-comics. Or the 7-11 collector cups. Or the Pizza Hut Jabba the Hut slice-n-dicer. OK, I made up a few of them, but don’t deny the past (and the inevitable): nothing will stop Mickey and George’s empire from marketing en masse come this December. Santa doesn’t stand a chance.

And if you think Episode VII will be that good enough to forget the sins of the past, and the sins to come… well, I’ll see you at the North Pole.