Tagged: Comic Book Resources

Martha Thomases: Rape Is the New Black

The front page of a newspaper is usually reserved for the most important news. So you can imagine my surprise when, on Saturday (admittedly, often a slow news day) the New York Times featured a front page story on HBO’s hit series, Game of Thrones.

As you’ll see if you click on the link, this wasn’t a business story about how successful the pay-cable series is. Instead, the article discusses the many times rape is used as a plot point. Amazingly, the writer for Times, along with a bunch of other people, thinks rape is a bad thing.

You kids might be too young to remember this, but there was a time when rape wasn’t considered to be a serious crime. Too often, the law decided women and other victims deserved to be raped, that they “asked for it” because of their style of dress or previous behavior. Or else a man was so overcome with lust/love that he couldn’t control himself.

Then, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Third Wave feminists started to question this perspective, most famously, Susan Brownmiller. Brownmiller, along with others, redefined rape as a crime of dominance, not lust, a way for men and others to brutally assert their power.

(Her book is important, really good and, while I disagree with some of her conclusions, I very much admire her research and analysis. You could do worse with your time than read it.)

I think that is the perspective the producers and writers and actors et al. have on Game of Thrones. Rape is definitely portrayed as something barbaric. I’ve never once thought, “Hey, that looks like something cool to do. Those must be the good guys.”

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who continue to believe in the old view of rape. This isn’t limited to those we generally define as uneducated idiots, but includes people in power, such as ministers and judges.

And, unfortunately, a lot of people in comics.

I’ve already written too much about a situation that happens way too often in our industry. A woman becomes noticed, whether it’s because she walks into a comic book store or writes comics or draws comics or dresses as a comic book character or writes about comics. Some men, boys and others who feel threatened strike back, metaphorically (and sometimes literally) with their threatened little dicks.

Think I’m being paranoid? Well, if I am, so is Jonah Weiland, the owner of Comic Book Resources. He was so appalled by the threats on his site that he changed the policy on what could run on his message boards. Good for him. It’s his site, and he is taking responsibility for the tone he sets.

I’m urging all of us to be responsible for the tone our industry sets. Others do. Just the other day, the Feminist Majority Foundation staged a demonstration with Jay Leno and others against the Beverly Hills Hotel because it is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, a country that treats women and LGBTQ people like animals. Maybe we can get them to show up the next time a convention fails to protect cosplayers against similar idiots.

In the meantime, I leave you with the example of cartoonist Donna Barr. She’s fed up with the demeaning comments, the threats of rape and other physical assault, and she’s treating the latter like the criminal activities they are. She’s leaving a paper trail with local police departments. Like a lot of old, radical hippies, I don’t always think to trust the police to protect me.

She did, and I can’t wait for some moron to call her bluff.

Captain Midnight #0 Free Preview

Dark Horse Comics shared a free preview of the new CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT #0 comic book.

Piloting a World War II dive-bomber, Captain Midnight—fighter pilot extraordinaire and expert inventor—hurtles out of a freak storm in the Bermuda Triangle and into the twenty-first century, where he’s in for more than one surprise as he enters the modern era! Collects the three stories from Dark Horse Presents #18–#20.

Joshua Williamson (Masks and Mobsters, Voodoo,Uncharted), Victor Ibáñez (Rat Catcher, The Spirit) and Pere Pérez (Aquaman, Detective Comics)!

Cover by Raymond Swanland!

Grab your decoder rings!

Read the free preview here.

Dark Horse reimagines radio, television, and comics’ legendary hero in an all-new ongoing series!

“Dark Horse and writer Joshua Williamson are reaching a bit further back, pulling the titular Golden Age hero from his roots in World War II and post-war America into contemporary culture.”—Comic Book Resources

REVIEW: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
By H.P. Lovecraft and I.N.J. Culbard
128 pages, SelfMadeHero/Abrams, $19.95

CharlesWard_CoverI never could warm up to H.P. Lovecraft’s prose. It was turgid and overly descriptive, so on the one hand, he had a tremendous imagination but put me to sleep as he conjured up the unimaginable horrors. His visual imagination gave birth to the legend of Cthulu which remains all he is remembered for by the mass populace. Still, people turn to his works for inspiration or, in this case, adaptation. INJ Culbard has adapted Lovecraft (1890-1937) before with At the Mountains of Madness and has also done some noteworthy versions of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Domestically, he probably best known for his collaboration with Dan Abnett on Vertigo’s imaginative New Deadwardians.

Now he tackles The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Lovecraft’s 51,000 word short novel written in 1927, streamlining the story and bringing the dialogue heavy tale to life. SelfMadeHero has released this in Europe and now it comes to the United States through their relationship with Abrams. Originally a short story expanded to novel length, Lovecraft was said to have disliked the longer version but it gave Culbard plenty to work with. In short, this is a two-person tale, Ward, has become fascinated with his relative, Joseph Curwen, known for his regular visits to local graveyards. Curwen seems ageless and Ward tries to replicate the experiments that prolonged the man’s life and of course, things turn out differently. Now incarcerated, he tells his tale to Doctor Marinus Willet. As a result, Culbard is given a chance to take the reader from the past to the present and back again, as the story unfolds and the horrors are revealed.

CDW_BIZARRE_9811The words may be Lovecraft’s but the storytelling and pacing are all the artist’s and he brings a nice variety to the visual narrative. Given how dialogue-laden this is, he mixes things up nicely and takes us on the journey. The heavy black borders on each page along with the somber coloring adds an atmosphere of dread to the proceedings.

This is a story of mistaken identity and Ward’s perception of reality is altered, and Culbard drops much of the descriptive narrative to focus on the images and it’s less effective than hoped for.

Where he falls down is in depicting the monster, brief as it is. Considering this is the debut of Yog-Sothoth to the Cthulu mythos, it should be far more momentous.  It just isn’t frightening so after all this build up, you’re left thinking, “Is that it?” He told Comic Book Resources, “Often, his characters aren’t there for you to invest in them; they’re there to guide you through a nightmare because the horror is often so much bigger than the individual. But this is partly why I think Lovecraft’s work lends itself so well to a visual medium like comics, because the minute you draw a face, you’re entering into characterization. Really, to some degree, Lovecraft provides you with a blank slate. The trick is really determining what you show. Quite often, Lovecraft would only really give you a glimpse of the horror, because to see it in its entirety would be too much for the mind to comprehend.” While he’s correct, he didn’t pull this off as successfully as intended.

Still and all, the ambitious adaptation is more successful than not and for fans of Lovecraft’s output, this will be well-received.

Eisner Awards 2013 Nominations Announced; “Hawkeye”, “Fatale”, “Building Stories” Lead

Comic-Con International is proud to announce the nominations for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards of 2013. The nominees, chosen by a blue-ribbon panel of judges, reflect the wide range of material being published in comics and graphic novel form today, from crime noir to autobiographical works to cartoon adventures. Three titles lead the 2013 list with 5 nominations each.

Michael Davis: Aftermath

I’m back from another San Diego Comic Con.

For almost 20 years (since I was five, Jean) I’ve given a party, a dinner, or both. For nearly that long I’ve hosted the Black Panel.

I’ve had some fantastic events to be sure, but I must say 2012 was my best event year ever. My best party, my best dinner and my best Black Panel.

That, if I say so myself, is saying something.

The party and my panel were reviewed by many news outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Comic Book Resources and the powerhouse Machinima.

Every year after the Black Panel, the haters come out in force. There are black people that hate the panel; there are white people that hate the panel.

Guess what? I win.

Until you haters get your own panel at Comic Con, throw your own party and get reviewed by some of the biggest news outlets in the world you are more than welcome to hate me.

I will endeavor to do what I can to continue to give meaning to your small life. I will continue to do great things so that you can go on the net and bitch that way you will feel important and in your mind you are.

You are a legend in your own mind.

I’ll be happy to comment on your success if in fact you were successful at anything except being a legend in your own mind.

So, haters continue to hate, because I win. Why do I win?

Because you are talking about me.

Who is talking about you?

Tuesday Afternoon: Emily S. Whitten and the Civil War

Wednesday Morning: Mike Gold, Creators’ Rights, and One Big Wrong



MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Voldeshamus – The Dark Wizard

Once upon a time there was a powerful Wizard who had evil in his heart. He saw the comic world as a place he could bend to his will. And for a time, publishing companies flocked to him as loyal lap-dogs. Their best artists and writers were doled out to him to make appearances at his traveling circus. He was gloriously powerful, but feared his mortality. Soon, his spells… terrible fluff charms with no bite or news illusions presented way past their prime… weakened his power. The Wizard flailed madly to stay relevant. The people of the comic world simply stopped paying attention. His power dwindled. His traveling circus became a geek show of tired acts. He was left with no choice. He took the few followers he’d kept a grasp on, and sucked their life force… and ran into the forest. And there he stayed, seething, and cursing the public for abandoning him. When a court jester dared make fun of him, he shot from the darkness! But the shot was less than even a first year spellcaster’s magic missile. It fizzled, and died before it could even hit. He-who-everyone-knows has quit magic altogether.

There was a time when the word “Wizard” was synonymous amongst comic book fans as a glorious thing. Wizard Magazine was the zeitgeist of the comic community. Wizard also put on amazing shows featuring top talent, insightful panels, and legitimately helpful workshops. And then the Internet became a thing.

Slowly Wizard became more and more out of touch. As comic book news was published more frequently, its articles became old hat by the time they reached print. The helpful price guide that anchored the last third of the magazine ceased to be of any value. And their shows? I think anyone who has long frequented my writings here know all to well that a Wizard Convention fell from grace harder than Lucifer. Most recently, Wizard shut down its publication arm. It took subscribers’ cash, refused to refund it, and started publishing an e-magazine. No one read it. It shut down too. And should the Internet be believed… the now resigned CEO, Gareb Shamus, perhaps attempted to get an artist fired from his day job for making a scathing webcomic about him.

Shamus reportedly attempted to get an artist fired from his day job for a webcomic published on The Gutters. No other details aside from the strip’s writer (and Gutter EIC Ryan Sohmer) are available, aside from his post on the subject. As he said:

“Should you find yourself the subject matter of a Gutters page, and take offense to it, don’t go after my artists. Should you be so offended that you attempt to get someone fired from their day job, don’t be a coward.

“Come after me.”

Let’s pontificate on this, shall we? If this is to be true, Gareb needs his head checked. Last time I looked, the Internet is a place built on the idea that anyone can say anything they want about anyone else short of legal slander or accusation of murder or rape. I don’t actually know if that’s true, but it sounds right, doesn’t it?

Perhaps Shamus forgot he once ran a magazine that sent quite a few barbs towards Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, and anyone else in the pop culture arena. Half the fun of Wizard, in its hey-day, were its jokes crammed in the margins and in word balloons to article’s pictures. And not once did I read of them getting reamed by Rob Liefeld for drawing pretty man boobs… let alone have an artist potentially fired for drawing a commissioned strip. It’s mind-numbing if this indeed happened.

It’s a sad tailspin the Wizard corporation seems to be in these days. I’ll be honest. I subscribed to their e-mailed magazine when it came out. I gave it three issues. And then it was junked, I unsubscribed, and moved on with my life. For all the good they used to represent, they simply never figured out a way to make their content current. Suffice to say with the utter glut of talent around the edge of this industry just waiting for a chance to write a nice op-ed piece, or jam on a funny strip… Shamus and company truly can’t see the forest for the trees. Well, I’m a nice guy.

And Steven Shamus was immensely helpful in getting Unshaven Comics into two very excellent conventions this year. So, here’s my good deed of the season; Wizard (are you paying attention?), here’s how you can fix your tattered reputation:

1. Have Gareb Shamus post an honest-to-Rao apology to the comic fans around the world. We need to know, in detail, why money was taken for subscriptions not filled, and nothing was done to even things up. We need an apology for promising content, and never delivering. If there’s a pool of people’s money sitting somewhere, you need to make it right. Take it, commission some jam pieces from the artists who still may like you. Better yet, get young, up and coming talent and commission them to do some great pieces. Then send that artwork to the former subscribers, with a big fat I’m sorry written on them.

2. Take the conventions you own and put them back in the hands of those who make the industry work. Ditch the aging wrestlers, and D-List sci-fi extras, and find a way to get back the creators who make these shows what they are meant to be… comic book shows. Not pop culture festivals. Mend fences with those you lost over the years. Comp them. Get them back into the buildings by any means necessary (like groveling)… so they can see their fans. Get them to interact in sketch-offs, trivia contests, and wicked debates. Make the conventions a place to be, and be seen; Not just an overgrown flea market, and autograph zone.

3. Take what resources you do have, and create timely content for other people’s more successful sites. The industry doesn’t need another Newsarama, Comic Alliance, Comic Book Resources, Bleeding Cool, or ComicMix. But all of those sites sure like a good article, a snappy comic, or relevant video. Create the content, release it for free, and excite the fans again. Earn back the goodwill you once had by doing what you should have done a while ago; Apologize. Work hard to earn back the trust and respect from the industry you took for granted, and produce something that stimulates the fan base… instead of pandering to your stock holders in an attempt to appear profitable.

We see through the spells, Wizard… and we know all your tricks already.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

Bill Willingham on “Fables” vs “Once Upon A Time”

Bill Willingham on “Fables” vs “Once Upon A Time”

Cover of "Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile...

Cover of Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile

Comic Book Resources gets Bill Willingham to talk about the similarities between the long-running Vertigo comic series Fables and Once Upon A Time:

For those of you who just came in, let’s start with some of the basics. “Once Upon a Time” is a weekly TV series showing on the ABC television network. It’s just over a month old now, having aired four episodes by the time of this writing. It was created by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis.

“Fables” is a monthly comic book series, published by Bill Willingham, the author of this essay.

Both series explore the notion of popular fable, folklore and fairytale characters, native to a fantasy medieval setting, but still living today in modern day America. Let’s discuss.

via Bill Willingham on “Fables” vs “Once Upon A Time” – Comic Book Resources.

The Challengers of the Unknown Join The New DC Universe

The New Challengers of the Unknown.
Cover: Ryan Sook
The original Challengers.
Art: Jack Kirby
DC Comics’ classic sci-fi adventure team the Challengers of the Unknown joins the brand new DC Universe under the creative team of writer Dan Didio and artist Jerry Ordway in February 2012’s DC Universe Presents #6.
The new Challengers of the Unknown feature imagines a new start for the team where the entirety of its membership will play a role…and one where they may not all make it out alive.
Comic Book Resources has an interview with Challengers of the Unknown writer and DC Comics co-publisher Dan Didio at http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=35378 about the return of these classic pulpy characters.
ComicMix Quick Picks – March 6, 2009

ComicMix Quick Picks – March 6, 2009

Happy Watchmas, everybody! Today’s list of quick items:

Anything else? Consider this an open thread.

Mystery Writer Gary Phillips Talks ‘High Rollers’

When I talked to mystery/crime novelist recently about his upcoming comic book series High Rollers, it came across very quickly just how much Phillips knows about his hometown of Los Angeles, where nearly all of his writing projects are set.

You can read that interview, in Publishers Weekly Comics Week, right here.

Now, Phillips is giving a sort of virtual tour of L.A. courtesy of Comic Book Resources, which has posted a video of Phillips visiting some of his favorite haunts in the city.

If you’re curious about High Rollers, read my review of the book in last week’s installment of the Weekly Haul.

 UPDATE: The video’s now on YouTube, which you can check out below.