If there is a comedy line, THE LEAGUE has crossed and then some. we talk to they cast and creators on how improv takes the FXX show to new levels every week. Meanwhile, actress Jacqueline Bisset is part of an all star cast on the new Starz mini-series, DANCING ON THE EDGE. She talks exclusively with us about this role and recalls some of her most memorable parts.
Did you catch the premiere of The CW‘s TOMORROW PEOPLE? WE take you backstage with the cast and creators to talk about where the series will be headed over the next few weeks, plus we preview some of the cool secrets coming up at New YorkComicCon.
From time to time, I find myself in a sort of comfy-awe of our neighbors to the north. Of course, that’s pretty easy this week – Canada’s government is still in business and while it provides its share of amusement, at least it’s not littered with a handful of bratty children who decide to bring everything to a halt because they can’t get their way.
But, as we often say here at ComicMix, I digress. And another respectful shout-out to Peter David, who wishes he could have trademarked that phrase.
The good folks in Canada decided to honor one of its greatest innovators, Toronto-born Joe Shuster. My J-School training obligates me to point out he’s the guy who co-created Superman, but if you didn’t know that you wouldn’t be reading ComicMix.
To commemorate Joe’s existence and his contributions to our global culture, Canada released a limited edition set of silver and gold coins incorporating Superman art (not just Joe’s) and logos. There’s even some Kryptonian lettering on the coins; roughly translated, it says “Bite my Twinkie, Americans!”
The gold coin, which you see above, has an irrelevant face value of $75 (so it’s a real coin) and was put on sale for $750. 58.33% gold (14k), 41.67% silver, proof finish, about a half-inch across and weighing in at a little less than a half ounce. They made 2,000 of these puppies.
And… they sold out faster than a speeding bullet. A quick check at eBay shows them offered for between $1500 and $3700 dollars. That’s in U.S. currency. But, as a comics fan since the age of four (back when all the continents were just one huge land mass), I’m hardly one to bitch about collector’s pricing. Perhaps you’ll make the comparison between the price of these coins and the price Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster got for creating The Man of Steel, but, to be fair, we must do so in constant dollars. That means Jerry and Joe got paid approximately $2500 in 2013 dollars. So they could have taken that payment and purchased one coin. To share. Between them.
The United States doesn’t honor the creators of our culture in this manner. Oh, sure, a few get commemorative stamps, but thus far Jerry and Joe haven’t received their props. The rule of thumb is 10 years after death; Jerry Siegel died 17 years ago, and Joe Shuster went to his Phantom Zone five years before that. But a set of silver and gold coins – that reeks of permanence. It’s really cool.
It would be nice if the United States chose to honor its top comics creators in this manner. I don’t see the Treasury Department aping Canada, but I think a Jack Kirby coin would be in order. Maybe even a Batman gold coin, noting Bob Kane.
I’d buy that… but only if Jerry Robinson’s face was on the coin instead of Kane’s.
C’mon. You can trust me, you know you can. Just tell me your secret – whisper it in my ear…
Secrecy is a’riding the autumn air. Bradley Manning, who revealed hush-hush information while in the Army, was sentenced to 30 years; Edward Snowden, who leaked details of government surveillance programs to the press, is hiding out in Russia; and the lid has been pried off J.D. Salinger’s long reclusion.
We all be watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., an ABC show based on Marvel’s 60s-era secret agent comic book. At least, I think the SHIELDers were supposed to be secret, though I don’t know how secret the organization could have been since its HQ was a giant helicopter held aloft by a pair of oversized rotors fore and aft. (And how did they ever keep the thing fueled?) S.H.I.E.L.D fills the spyguy hole in televisionland left by the end of Burn Notice. Now Covert Affairs’s Annie Walker won’t have to bear the burden of televised espionage alone.
S.H.I.E.L.D., the comic book, debuted when James Bond was early in his career and television had The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and yes, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., and on a somewhat grimmer note, Secret Agent and, for laughs, Get Smart. Who am I forgetting? Oh yeah, one of my favorites: Modesty Blaise, who appeared in a movie or two, a series of novels, and an excellent adventure newspaper strip. And more comedy: James Coburn in In Like Flint and Our Man Flint.
The tools these patriotic good guys used aren’t much like what real life snoops are using, maybe on you, as you read these words. That technology would have been science fiction when the entertainments first appeared, and pretty dull science fiction at that, nowhere near as much fun as James Bond’s tool kit. Nor could the creators of spy fiction, back in the day, have anticipated just how much snooping would be going on, by both government and industrial snoops, as civilization duck-walks into the twenty first century.
It’s become pretty hard to be a reclusive introvert, if only because somebody wants to sell you something. Occasionally, though, somebody does manage it, not always beneficially. A guy named Ariel Castro kept three women prisoner on a residential block in Cleveland for 10 years. There are probably other Castros out there.
And the late J.D. Salinger ducked hordes of journalists, academics, curiosity-seekers and plain old fans for 40 years. Now, though, his privacy seems to be gone. A book and a related movie are revealing information about one of my favorite writers that I don’t necessarily want to know. Unlike you and I, Salinger did not always behave appropriately, it seems. Unlike you and I.
I don’t necessarily want to know the dirt, but if the movie crosses the Hudson into Rockland County, I’ll pay the admission, and if it doesn’t, I’m sure I can borrow it from Netflix or Blockbuster. I might even decide that the book deserves a place on my Kindle. Salinger, I’m sure, would not approve of my snoopery, and I’m not sure I do, either. But what I wrote at the beginning of this paragraph isn’t true. I do want the dirt, dammit, andI wish I didn’t.
CHICAGO FIRE kicks into its second season tomorrow (Tuesday) on NBC, and we talk to the cast and creators about the show’s origins, how they get fresh stories and how they’ve all changed the way they look at first responders. Plus it was a night with a boatload of sadness and a lot of surprises. Yes it was The Emmys. Better yet, we are finally getting more FIREFLY,
I believe a person has the right to commit suicide. No matter who says what, suicide might very well be our only inalienable right. Sixteen religious leaders, your entire family, all of your friends and all of your enemies can get together, kidnap you and hold an “intervention” (that’s sort of a pop-psych séance), and when all is said and done, you can still jump off a cliff.
But even I would admit that holding a suicide-themed contest is gauche. And, hey, I’m a punk rock fan.
Our friends over at DC Comics (who are now looking up “friend” in their online dictionaries) decided to run a new talent contest. According to their own web page “Harley Quinn is no stranger to a little breaking and entering for a good time and now, she’s going to help one talented artist break into comics with DC Entertainment’s Open Talent Search. That’s right, we’re looking for someone to draw one page of Harley Quinn #0 alongside some of comic’s most amazing talents, including Amanda Conner, Paul Pope, Bruce Timm, and a few other surprises, maybe even you!… If you think you’ve got what it takes to be published in this special issue, then put on your working hat and start drawing now, because an opportunity like this doesn’t come along very often.”
And, from that same page, here’s part of what they want you to draw: Page 15, Panel 4 – “Harley sitting naked in a bathtub with toasters, blow dryers, blenders, appliances all dangling above the bathtub and she has a cord that will release them all. We are watching the moment before the inevitable death. Her expression is one of “oh well, guess that’s it for me” and she has resigned herself to the moment that is going to happen.”
Actually, being familiar with both the character and the issue’s creators, I get the gag. Maybe that’s because the concepts of suicide and death doesn’t horrify me. Or maybe I’ve just got the same perverted sense of humor as writer Jimmy Palmiotti, artist Amanda Conner, and Co-Publisher Dan DiDio. But if you don’t frequent the Comic Book Donut Shop, it’s possible you just might not get it.
Here’s a couple thousand people who don’t get it: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Psychiatric Association and National Alliance on Mental Illness released a joint statement saying this whole thing sucks. To wit: “We believe that instead of making light of suicide, DC Comics could have used this opportunity to host a contest looking for artists to depict a hopeful message that there is help for those in crisis. This would have been a positive message to send, especially to young readers.”
Young readers? Really? Drop by a comic book shop sometimes, you cloistered shrinks.
The fact that the contest was announced a few days before the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Week probably didn’t help one bit. The story achieved national attention. You’d think Harley Quinn had just covered Ice-T’s “Cop Killer.”
DC Comics issued the typical mealy-mouthed apology “to anyone who was offended” (I hate that phrase; it sounds like being offended was the object’s fault and not the culprit’s), and Jimmy offered a much more sincere and explanatory apology, which was the right thing to do.
There are a lot of things one can’t rationally discuss in the commercial world without provoking kneejerk overreaction. After a lifetime in youth crisis intervention work, I can safely express the informed opinion that just about everybody who would have read Harley Quinn and then offed themselves already was a basket case waiting to take the pipe. You cannot bring down our mass media to the lowest common denominator.
However, given the fact that we live in a world where parents of a teenage suicide would sue a rock band for being responsible for their kid’s death despite the fact that literally tens of millions of others routinely and safely listened to that same song, DC’s move was unwise.
This column first appeared Monday at www.MichaelDavisWorld, a wonderful place where people speak their minds and everybody but Martha Thomases swears a lot.
Mike Gold performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, www.getthepointradio.com, every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check the website above for times and on-demand streaming information. Mike Gold is cool. No, wait. That’s fezes. Fezes are cool. Until the end of the year.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love going to cons that also put a lot of focus on media guests. As you can tell if you’ve read my column, I have a great time attending panels about Battlestar Galactica or Warehouse 13, or interviewing the cast of Psych, the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (coming soon!), or the voice actors behind Animaniacs or Futurama. But sometimes, it’s nice to go to a comic con that’s still all about the comics – and that’s Baltimore Comic Con.
At Baltimore Comic Con last weekend, I did one of my favorite things to do at a comic con – which is to simply wander Artists Alley for much of the weekend, looking at everyone’s art and comics offerings, saying hi to some brilliant friends, and meeting some new comics folks. I got to catch up with the awesomely talented Bill Willingham, Barry Kitson, Francesco Francavilla, Tom Feister, Cully Hamner, and more. I met a guy named Dave McDonald, who does a cute children’s comic and made a Lunar Dust Bunny puppet to go with it. (Come on, how cute is that? So cute.) I chatted with Matt Sturges, a kindred spirit and fellow TV Tropes addict. I also finally met fellow ComicMixer Martha Thomases and got to catch up with the other ComicMix folks and the Unshaven Comics group, which is always nice.
And then there was the shopping. Ohhhhh, the shopping. Every comic/genre con has a Dealers Room or area, and I always enjoy looking around them when I get a chance; but at a lot of cons, there’s so much going on that I sometimes miss the Dealers Room entirely. In Baltimore, though, I had the time and energy to wander through the wares, and thus came up with some awesome finds, like this little Donatello that I’d been wanting ever since Rob Paulsen (voice of Donatello on the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) tweeted a picture of it. And then there was the My Little Pony Applejack purse (complete with pony!) which was adorable in its own right, but even better since I’d forgotten a purse to go with my red dress for the Harvey Awards. Not only did I luck out in finding a geek purse that matched at the last minute, but then it just so happened that Thom Zahler, who’s recently done some MLP issues, was nearby, so of course I ran on over and got it signed. And then off I went to the Harveys!
Baltimore Comic Con is a great home for the Harvey Awards, which honor “excellence in the comics industry.” Sure, the awards ceremony can get a bit long (I think several babies were conceived and born during this year’s), but I tend not to mind, because I actually thoroughly enjoy seeing creators who have produced awesome comics getting their moment in the sun. (And I enjoy the swag bag. And the tasty desserts. And, of course, I really thoroughly enjoy the pre-and after-partying.) I also enjoy the MCs, who have included folks like the hilarious and geeky Phil LaMarr, and, this year, the super-talented Bill Willingham. Bill did a great job discussing the history of pictorial storytelling from cave paintings to now and reminding us that “We in the comic book industry have to content ourselves with being the stones upon which all of civilization was built.”
Amen to that! He’s so right, and there are so many great comics out there; and that’s why I like going to Baltimore Comic Con, a con that’s big enough to attract excellent comics guests, relaxed enough to still feel friendly and a bit familial, and wise enough to really celebrate the comics that are the cornerstone of so many things we enjoy.
Baltimore Comic Con has already got their dates set for next year (September 5 through 7), so if you’re looking for a good comic con to go to, I recommend putting it on your calendar; and until next time, Servo Lectio!
I was sent the accompanying image by a fan that asked me, as co-creator of the character, what I thought of it. The image is of Virgil Hawkins (Static) making out with his best friend Richie. Frankly, it didn’t bother me and I was much more concerned with how this woman got my personal email.
Turns out I gave it to her at the end of my Black Panel at the San Diego Comic Con, which struck me as suspect because she’s not Asian.
Shit, I said I would no longer do Asian girl joke references. OK, let me try that again… turns out I gave it to her at the end of my Black Panel at the San Diego Comic Con, which stuck me as suspect because she’s not pretty.
Actually she’s very pretty so let me try that one more time, turns out I gave it to her at the end of my Black Panel at Comic Con, which struck me as suspect because she’s fat as shit.
Frankly I don’t remember what she looks like and I don’t care. She could have had one eye and weighted 500 pounds. I still wouldn’t care. I see the person I don’t see anything else but the person. I don’t see color, sexual orientation or
religious beliefs. She must have been way cool because I gave her my personal email.
I guard my personal email like my social security number. There are people who think they have my personal email but they don’t. I answer every single email I get from every email address but some take a lot longer than others. In my mind giving my personal email to everybody would be like giving my social security number to a telemarketer.
Speaking of stupid, I posted the image on my Facebook page with the following caption:
Sooooooooo, someone asked me what I thought of this image of my character Vigil Hawkins (Static) kissing his best friend Richie.
It’s fine with me and if it’s not with anyone else I could give a fuck.
A few people assumed I was saying Static was gay. I never said that. In fact one of my friends posted the following, so let me get this straight, Static is gay? To which I replied, no, but I’d be cool with it if he was.
Still even after that a few folk thought I said he was gay.
Nope, never said that.
Just so we are clear Virgil is not gay just so we are crystal clear, when he becomes Static he doesn’t become gay. That would be… wait for it… wait for it… Wait for it… a shock.
Damn, I’m witty.
Derek Dingle, Denys Cowan, Dwayne McDuffie and I created Static. I was lucky enough to be chosen to write the Static bible. That means I created most of the major and supporting characters for the series. There is an expression, writers write what they know and that’s what I did. I based Static on my childhood and my family.
My mother’s name is Jean, father, Robert, sister, Sharon. The family name “Hawkins” is my cousin’s, most of Virgil’s friends were named after members of my Bad Boy Studio mentor program mine, Brett, Kevin and Thor. Their real names were Brett Lewis, Kevin McCarty and Thor Badendyck.
Yeah, I had a student named Thor.
All of those guys are fantastic creators now. Don’t take my word for it, Goggle those Bad Boys (damn, I’m witty) and see for yourself. Brett & Thor’s work will be easy to find, Kevin on the other hand will take a bit more effort. Kevin is like me, you need a key word like “comics” or “Dark Horse” if not then you will end up with about a zillion murderers all named Kevin McCarthy.
Bad Boys Studio has an alumni like that you will never believe. One day I’ll write about it just as soon as I have a heart to heart with Brett about some stuff.
But, (sorry Peter) I digress.
As I was saying, I based Static on my life growing up and as far as I remember I did not grow up gay. I am gay now, I’m a lesbian. I do so love me some women.
Damn, I’m witty.
Static is not gay but he is black. I do remember growing up black. Some black people especially those in the church have a real problem with homosexually.
Every single time I write anything in support of gay rights some in the black church take me to task. It’s always an angry email, which almost always mentions “role model” for black boys.
I get it. I’m not mad at people for having their beliefs. Really.
Static is based on my life. Mine. Not anyone else’s, mine. Role model? Gay people can’t be role models? Really, shit I guess I have to stop using Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci as examples of great artists.
If I’m okay with Virgil coming out as gay does anyone really think I give a fuck what he or she think?
I think with all my heart people should be allowed to love whoever they want to love.
With all due respect, if you create a world famous character based on your life you can get as mad as you want when someone draws a picture of your character kissing someone of the same sex.
However, until you create that world famous character based on your life I suggest you get a life.
A young black kid recently asked my reaction to the graphic novel March: Book One. Before I could answer the young man who asked chimed in with this little gem of insight, “I can’t believe there are no creators of color on that book!”
I looked at that young motherfucker like he was a flying monkey.
I’m sincerely sorry about the above language as I was going to try and write this essay without resorting to my trademark swear words.
I tried, really I did, but I was so pissed at the lack of knowledge and history from this guy, hence, I looked at that young motherfucker like he was a flying monkey.
“No people of color? What do you call John Lewis?” I asked fighting the urge to ask if his wings hurt when tucked into his pants. I won’t bore you (or enrage myself more than I am now) with this simian’s stupid response.
From that asinine response it was clear he had no idea John Lewis was a real person and it was his life story being told. He had no clue John Lewis was more than a little responsible for his stupid ass being able to ask me such a stupid question in the first place.
What did I care that the co-writer and artist were both white? He wanted to know.
“Those are some bad ass white boys,” I told him. Translation: Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell are two very talented people.
I’m aware there is some in the black creator community who feel the entire book should have had a black creative team. I don’t share that opinion. John Lewis is a civil rights icon. His fight is what allowed those talented white boys to work with him in the first place.
If the year were 1964 all three creators would have faced real threats if they appeared with each other to promote the books at say a North Carolina comic book convention if they existed then. Jim Crow was still in full effect back in the day.
Hell, Jim Crow is in full effect now in North Carolina. Gov. Patrick McCrory just signed into law a sweeping voter reform bill that imposes Jim Crow like restrictions on guess whom?
Black and poor people.
It’s 2013 and instead of John Lewis being able to sit back and look at his contributions as a shining accomplishment of the Civil Rights movement, instead of him being able to tell his story to a new generation of young brown and black brothers and sisters as a cautionary tale he instead has to continue to fight the same fight he’s been fighting since before that flying monkey was born.
So, my reaction to March: Book One? The book was wonderfully written, the art was incredible and I can’t wait until book two. While I do wait, I’ll pray the second part of the series will be a cautionary tale and not a primer of what’s happening today.
PRO SE PRESENTS: THE PODCAST brings you one of the best known, most prolific authors and creators in Genre Fiction and New Pulp! PSP: TP Host Tommy Hancock welcomes Barry Reese, Author, Creator, Head of the REESE UNLIMITED imprint from Pro Se, and Pro Se’s Submissions editor! Barry discusses what he writes, how he writes, who influences him, and most of all why he writes! Learn the behind the scenes stories about his best known creation, including The Rook, Lazarus Gray, and Gravedigger. Listen as Barry discussed what he enjoys about Classic Pulp, but also why he’s continually trying to push his own boundaries! PRO SE PRESENTS: THE PODCAST Presents Barry Reese! http://prosepodcast.libsyn.com/pro-se-presents-the-podcast-barry-reese-writer-creator-editor-and-more