Tagged: Dean Haspiel

Mindy Newell: Days Of Yore

Presenting two real-life stories from my days of yore, although names have been changed to protect both the innocent and the guilty.

Story The First:

I knew a girl in high school – I wouldn’t say we were friends, but she was someone who had never participated in the Piggy horrors. Sally was an A+ student, on the track to an Ivy League school. Pretty (but not gorgeous) and popular (but quiet about it), she came to me one day and said that she needed to talk to me privately. I was surprised… and a bit suspicious. What did she want? But because Sally had never been overtly mean to me, even though she was part of the clique that instigated most of the callous cruelties upon me, and because I still hoped to be “accepted,” and I wanted to believe for some reason she was about to warn me of some new devilishness about to be inflicted on me – forewarned was forearmed – I agreed. But it had nothing to do with me at all.

Sally was pregnant.

I was, frankly, shocked. Not just about what she said, but also because I was thinking, why are you telling me?

She seemed to be reading my mind about that last part. “I can’t tell Laura, or Toni, or anybody. It would be all over the school in a second. You know how they are.”

Did I ever. Still –

“But they’re your friends.”

All she said was, “I made an appointment with Planned Parenthood in the city. Will you come with me?”

I know exactly why I said “yes.” Out of kindness, certainly. But to be totally honest, I also thought that this could be a way in. Hey, whaddya want? I was a teenager.

We had to cut school the day of her appointment. I met her at the corner bus stop, about an hour after classes started. Sally was very quiet, she didn’t say anything, but I remember she was very pale. As for me, I was sure I would see my father in his car on the way to work. I wasn’t so worried about my mom – I knew she was already at the hospital, where she worked in the ER. At any rate, both of us were very nervous and impatient, waiting for that bus to the PATH train into the city.

At the time – September 1971 – there was a Planned Parenthood in Manhattan on First Avenue between 21st and 20th Streets.  I guess – and I don’t blame her – that Sally made the appointment there rather than the one in Jersey City because Jersey City is too close to Bayonne… too close for comfort. Anyway, I don’t know what either of us was expecting, but it was modern and clean and the staff was professional, kind, and, most importantly, totally non-judgmental.

Sally’s name was called. I sat in the waiting room. It seemed like a long time, but the receptionist at the desk assured me everything was fine when I asked.

Interjection – as an RN in the operating room, I can tell you that the actual procedure takes very little time, especially in the first trimester [as Sally was]. Frequently I’m not even done with my charting before it’s over and I have to assist in transferring the patient to the PACU (Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, commonly referred to as the Recovery Room). Most of the intraoperative period is taken up with other things involved in any visit to the OR – anesthesia induction, proper and safe positioning, emergence from anesthesia, transfer to PACU, and monitoring in the PACU, which lasts about an hour or so on average, until discharge.)

Afterwards, as we had planned, we used our pooled resources and took a cab home. This was well before Uber or Lyft. Sally didn’t’ say much except to complain about some cramping – totally normal, btw – but the “worry” was off her face; she was visibly relieved. The cab dropped us off about a block from her house; I walked her home, and before she went inside, she turned and said: “See you in school tomorrow.”

No, we didn’t become best friends after that; things pretty much went back to normal, actually. Hey, we were teenagers, and there were rules of engagement. But I do remember that Sally was never around when it was time to “play Piggy with Mindy.

Sally went on to graduate in the top 25 of a class numbering 750 (I finished 145) and went on to that Ivy League school. I didn’t see her much after high school, a couple of parties and a reunion or two at the Jewish Community Center. I don’t even know what she went on to become as an adult, though I’ve heard she was “successful and happy.”

Story The Second:

Jack and Jill were my high school’s dream team. Every high school has one. Jack was the champion quarterback. Jill was the head cheerleader. Jack was the president of the Student Union. Jill was the editor of the school newspaper. Both had bright futures. Early admission to the colleges of their choice, with Jack receiving a full scholarship based on his football prowess to a Big Ten school, and Jill planning on majoring in journalism at NYU.

They were great people.

And they never treated anybody like Piggy.

Anyway, sometime in the late fall of our senior year, after the Thanksgiving holiday, Jill suddenly disappeared from the school hallways. First, we heard that she was sick with mononucleosis (the “kissing disease,” as it used to be called), but as January became March, rumors began spreading, rumors having to do with pregnancy and forced marriages. Especially after Jack dropped out – two months before graduation.

The truth broke free, as truth is apt to do, sometime in the fall of 1971. During the Christmas break when everybody came home from college, it was the talk of the town, the bars, and the parties.

Jill had become pregnant, and, since back in those stupid days, girls “in the family way” were not allowed to finish high school, she had been forced to leave under the cover of the mononucleosis story, though she refused to go to one of those “homes for fallen women” or whatever they were called. (Do they still exist?)  Her parents had gotten her a tutor so she could finish her high school degree, but not only had she disappeared from the school hallways, Jill had also been confined to the house to “hide her shame.”

Worse, when Jill wanted to go to Planned Parenthood for advice – and advice only – her parents would not allow it. They were very observant Catholics and the name Planned Parenthood was as abhorrent as the name Judas Iscariot. Jill’s pregnancy was treated as if it were a monstrous sin.

She had also finally admitted that Jack was the father because her father had beaten it out of her. Her father then called his father, and they decided that Jack and Jill would get married right away.

And in 1971, not only could you not be pregnant in high school, you couldn’t be married, either; which meant that Jack had to drop out, too, meaning, of course, that he lost his football scholarship and any hope for college. And in case you’re wondering – no college for Jill, either.

Of course, there was always the future, but…

After they got married and Jill had the baby, and Jack got some kind of job, nothing much, he started drinking. Drinking hard. And doing drugs. Hard drugs.

And that’s how the story stood that Christmas break, the last week of 1971.

But it didn’t end there. About 10 years later I met one of Jill’s cousins at the mall. We got to talking about high school, and eventually – of course – Jack and Jill came up. I’ll never forget that conversation.

Jack’s downward spiral had continued. He lost one job after another. The drinking continued, and he was chippinghttp://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=chipping on some weekends, too.

Then he started abusing Jill, and it hadn’t stopped.

“But Jill was always so smart. Why doesn’t she leave?” I said.

“Jesus,” her cousin said.

“Jesus?”

“Jill’s become really religious. That’s why she won’t leave. I think she thinks she’s atoning for getting pregnant and fucking up Jack’s football scholarship. “

“Jesus.”

“Yep.”

That was the last time I ever heard about Jack and Jill. I have no idea what happened to them. Or their kids.

•     •     •     •     •

As if this writing (Sunday, September 10) there are five days to reach the $50,000 goal to produce Mine!: A Celebration of Freedom & Liberty Benefitting Planned Parenthood. We are almost but not quite there.

And, look, guys, I get it. This has been a summer and early fall of donating funds. I understand it’s a matter of priorities. I get the feeling of being “donated out,” too. And our hearts go out to the many caught up in the current round of hurricanes.

Even if it’s just $5, hell, even if’s just a $1, just think about what Bernie Sanders accomplished with an average of $27 to his campaign.

When people think of Planned Parenthood, they think “abortion.” But I’m telling you, and now I am speaking to you as a member of the professional healthcare community, the organization does so much more: Counseling and cancer screenings and preventative and maintenance health care. For women and for men.

The anthology features work by:

 And even more.

Just do it, okay? Because one day, you or yours could be just like Sally or Jack and Jill. Because, just when you or yours need it, Planned Parenthood could be gone.

Don’t let that happen.

Joe Corallo: The Rule of Threes

ruleofthrees5

Last week we saw the passing of Florence Henderson, Ron Glass, and Fidel Castro. This is a collection of three different names I never thought I’d be talking about together, but this has been an odd year to say the very least. What might be more odd? They all have a comic book connection.

ruleofthrees2Florence Henderson was best known for her role as Mrs. Brady in The Brady Bunch. Though the Bradys were almost exclusively a TV family at the time, the now-defunct Dell Comics put out not one but two comic books about the continuing antics of the Brady family.

She was also the first woman to host The Tonight Show, albeit as a guest host. That has much less to do with comics, but it’s important. And if you haven’t seen The Paul Lynde Halloween Special from back in 1976, I know it’s out of season but do yourself a favor and find a copy. Or better yet, click here .

Ron Glass is primarily known for two roles. One of which was his character on the TV show Barney Miller. That TV show also got the comic book treatment back in the 70s. This time it was only one issue and it was put out by the also-defunct Gold Key Comics.

ruleofthrees1The role he’s better known for by science fiction aficionados is the role of Shepherd Book on Joss Whedon’s short lived TV series Firefly and movie Serenity. Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly lives on in comic book form at Dark Horse Comics. They even did a Shepherd Book focused miniseries that’s been collected as a trade, Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale. If you’re a fan of the series and haven’t picked that up yet, now’s a perfectly good time.

Neither Florence Henderson or Ron Glass come close to approaching the amount of time and energy that the comics industry has put into depicting Fidel Castro. From satirical magazines like Mad to being depicted in comics from the big two, to biographical comics, Fidel Castro has been everywhere. He was even depicted in the 80s DC Comics event Invasion that helped set up Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol and will be adapted to the small screen in a crossover for DC’s CW programs.

ruleofthrees3One of the most important depictions of Fidel Castro in comic book form is Cuba: My Revolution by Inverna Lockpez and Dean Haspiel with Jose Villarrubia. The story is based on true events experienced by Inverna Lockpez as a 17-year old when Fidel Castro came to power and what unfolded over the next few years.

I had picked up this book from Dean Haspiel at a signing he was doing at Carmine Street Comics a few years ago and I absolutely loved it. I’ve always been attracted to Dean’s artwork, and to be perfectly honest I hadn’t read much about day to day life in Cuba before that. I dual majored in history and political science for my undergrad, but I never really read about day to day life in Cuba in this way before. Inverna Lockpez and Dean Haspiel bring to life the horrors that took place in Cuba after the revolution in ways few people have before.

Though we rarely see Castro depicted in the graphic novel, his influence casts a shadow over everyone and everything. As the reader, we slowly watch the unraveling of everyday life in Cuba. We’re shown businesses getting taken over by the government slowly at first then rapidly. We see the citizens have their money taken away in part to make escape from Cuba nearly impossible. We watch a charismatic leader rise to power who commands audiences of hundreds of thousands of people. We witness the rise of professional protesters pushing Castro’s agenda as dissidents go from being harassed to being put in camps or killed. And all from the point of view of a young woman who was filled with hope for the future. It’s an incredibly powerful and heartbreaking story.

ruleofthrees4It’s also a story that with Fidel Castro’s passing this weekend may be just a little more hopeful than it was even a week ago.

After hearing about Castro’s passing I found my copy of Cuba: My Revolution and began skimming through it. I ended up rereading it in its entirety in one sitting. If you haven’t heard of this graphic novel or simply haven’t gotten around to picking it up yet, now is the time. You may even be taken aback by some of the eerie similarities we are seeing today in American politics compared with the early days of Castro’s revolution. I don’t mean to say that in a way to diminish the countless lives lost and ruined under Castro. That doesn’t mean we should ignore history and allow it to once again repeat itself.

We lost three people that were no doubt celebrities and were no doubt incredibly talented and trailblazing individuals. Some more than others, for better or worse.

And in just a few more weeks we won’t be able to blame 2016 for these celebrity deaths. I’m about ready for 2017. How about you?

Martha Thomases’ School Daze

peanuts

The week after Labor Day is the traditional beginning of the school year. Yes, #NotAllSchools, but enough.

When I was in elementary school, the first day was a big deal. My mom and I had spent a lot of time over the summer selecting my new clothes, usually an activity that included lots of arguments. (I hated wearing uniforms at boarding school, but it did reduce the fighting at home.) On that first day I wanted to show off my favorite selections, so I usually spent all of my class time sweating through my lovely winter jumper with coordinating turtleneck sweater.

Naturally, I wondered how superheroes would fare. I don’t mean those lucky enough to have classes that catered to their specific mutations or skills, but regular school, with tiny milk cartons in the cafeteria and bullies at recess.

I remember Superboy and Supergirl stories from my youth where they would be stuck in class while their super-hearing picked up some disaster that needed their attention. They had robots available for such occasions, although I do not remember any stories in which those robots had to take tests or get punched in the face. Today, we can read about Moon Girl and her issues with being smarter than her classmates (as well as trying to keep a dinosaur secret). Her powers are the least of her problems.

As usual, I wonder about superheroes with more esoteric powers. Mind-readers like Saturn Girl could cheat on tests simply by barging into the thoughts of the teacher. She could also get completely icked-out simply by walking past the boys locker room… but that also happens to girls who aren’t telepathic.

Matt Murdock could avoid bullies by sensing when they were planning to punch him out. He could probably also tell when the lunch lady lost a hair (or worse) in his food. Matter-Eater Lad could avoid cafeteria problems altogether. He’d have no reason to fear  mystery meat when the tray would be a satisfying substitute lunch.

Truly, there are few situations in which it is not amusing to imagine Matter-Eater Lad.

Individual problems and opportunities for individual students might present story opportunities, but the conditions of our schools, physically and structurally, are the real outrage. Public schools are constantly forced to do more with less. No matter how much money any particular municipality might budget towards them, an insufficient percentage trickles down to individual teachers in individual classrooms.

Even worse, there is increasing pressure on students to pass specific kinds of tests that purport to measure their learning but are more likely to measure their ability to take tests. Some groups want to eliminate arts education to focus on science, math and technology, as if math and science don’t benefit from people with artistic imaginations.

Children, even those without super-powers, are each unique. I know there are those who don’t like it when someone points out that everyone is special, but they are wrong. I learn at a different pace and in a different way than you do. Schools should take this into account. No, we shouldn’t lower standards and pass kids from one grade to the next purely for social reasons. Diplomas should indicate a level of accomplishment, and we should have a nondiscriminatory way to measure this… although I don’t know what this would be.

I was always good at taking standardized tests, usually placing in the 99th percentile. This helped my parents with their bragging rights but did nothing to indicate that, for example, I was terrible at memorizing, especially foreign language vocabulary words. If there had been a way to catch that earlier, I might be able to spend more time in Paris.

My point (and I do have one) is that schools don’t have to be places of boredom and terror. We could treat our kids with more love and respect, appreciating their differences in a way that celebrates their victories and nurtures them when they fail.

I thought of this while listening to Dean Haspiel give the keynote address at the Harvey Awards last weekend. Dean talked about the challenges of being a freelance artist in a culture that values neither art nor freelancers. After a lifetime in New York working with colleagues in a studio in a building with loads of other artists, Dean admitted that he is considering leaving.

New York City drew me here because it was a place where one could meet artists and writers and rock stars and poets and radical activists. It was a great place to raise my kid, who went to public school with kids who spoke Spanish, Russian, Chinese and lots of other languages at home, and who might live in shelters or brownstones, projects or penthouses.

That doesn’t happen anymore.

Those of us who value each other’s special abilities should consider finding a town in decline and moving in en masse. We could work together to provide the services we want, and we could live close enough to each other so we could ease the trauma of moving. We could volunteer at libraries and schools and summer camps so all the kids who feel like mutants would know we think that’s a good thing.

And we could install air-conditioning in the schools so that, if I show up on the first day, I can wear my best new outfit.

Martha Thomases: A Family Affair

Sunday Comics

Getting old isn’t for quitters. I’m just back from Baltimore Comic-Con which is a lovely show in my time zone and I was chauffeured back and forth door to door by the lovely and talented Glenn Hauman and even in these non-stressful circumstances I’m exhausted.

Baltimore Comic-Con is, as I said, a lovely show. For one thing, it is almost entirely about comics. Yes, there are media stars signing autographs. There are dealers selling things that are not comic books (including some great jewelry that I wish I had a chance to eyeball more) but they are on the fringes.

Comics are the heart and soul of the show-floor. Comics are the heart and soul of the show.

Comics are among the few mass media to have a heart and soul. Because they can be produced on (relatively) small budgets compared to movies television and popular music and because the profit potential is (relatively) small they attract creators with more personal passion than greed. Yes, we can alcove up with our own list of exceptions but I’ll stand my my statement as a generality.

ComicMix shared a very large space with Insight Studios and The Sunday Comics. I’ve known Marc Hempel and Mark Wheatley of Insight for more than 25 years, longer than the Sunday Comics crew has been alive. I enjoyed standing around mouthing off to my old friends. I loved loved loved! watching the new kids show off their big beautiful paper comics to new readers.

Speaking of heart and soul I kvelled like the Jewish mother I am watching Vivek Tiwary host the Harvey Awards. Vivek is relatively new to comics as a creator and he reminds me every time I see him of the simple joy I feel when I get a good story in a four-color cover.

This was only the second time I’ve attended the Harvey Awards presentation and I have to say sitting in that banquet room at the Hyatt I felt very much like I was attending a family celebration. It wasn’t a wedding or a bat mitzvah but it had that same combination of vague bitchiness but overwhelming love that (my) family celebrations have. Instead of DNA the comics business shares a love of graphic story-telling as well as a sense of ourselves of outsiders.

It’s a beautiful thing. Even if I didn’t get to see Dean Haspiel without his shirt on.

On a completely different note I enjoyed the first episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t Jon Stewart whom I’ve adored since before he got that gig but I like the new host and I like that he has a different perspective than I do.

It’s fun to watch a show where the host appreciates indoor toilets.

Emily S. Whitten: Baltimore Comic Con – Another Great Year!

HaspielI’ve said before that, despite liking to attend all flavors of fandom and comics conventions, including (clearly) the media guest-focused cons, I really love Baltimore Comic Con because it has stayed so focused on comics and comics creators. I’m happy to report that this has not changed.

I had a great time in Baltimore this year, doing some of the things that make me happiest at comic cons, like walking the exhibit hall and wandering Artist Alley to see what new things old friends are up to, meet folks whose work I know but whom I’ve never chatted with, and flip through the work of creators I haven’t ever encountered before. Amongst the fun things I discovered were this nifty accordion-style comic by Christa Cassano and Dean Haspiel; a gorgeous limited edition coloring book by Charles Vess, whose work I’ve loved for a long time but who I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting before; some great art and collaborations by Tony Moy and Nen (I want Tony’s Vitruvian Totoro woodblock print so much!); these excellent interlocking covers for Amazing Spider-Man #17 and Spider-Gwen #3 by Mike McKone, which I hadn’t previously seen; some new pieces from Francesco Francavilla, whose work I never tire of; and this print of Poison Ivy by Tom Raney.

I also enjoyed watching the always-talented Barry Kitson work as he completed a striking She-Hulk commission; getting to know writer Amy Chu; running into longtime friend and artist Kevin Stokes, who I didn’t even know was going to be at the show; and catching up with other great talents like Cully Hamner and Clayton Henry. And of course it’s always great to hang out with my fellow ComicMixers, and this year I was delighted to finally get to chat in person with John Ostrander, whose work and columns I always enjoy. Good times!

An event unique to this year that I was able to attend and had a blast at was the opening of the exhibit “75 Spirited Years – Will Eisner and the Spirit” at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. I hadn’t been to the museum before, and it was really fun to walk around through all of the exhibits; and especially fun to be told stories about certain Eisner pieces by Denis Kitchen, cartoonist, publisher (of Eisner and many others), and founder of the CBLDF; and by Diamond Comic Distributors founder Steve Geppi himself. It was also great to see the covers current artists such as Mark Wheatley and John K. Snyder III had done as interpretations of a concept sketch that had been created by Eisner but never before finished, which were on display; and they were also on hand to sign their work.

I also really enjoyed another staple favorite of my BCC experience, The Harvey Awards, hosted this year by the heartfelt and engaging Vivek Tiwary, creator of The Fifth Beatle (a signed copy of which we received in our swag bags along with many other great selections, yay!). It’s always a pleasure to attend and see the industry honoring its creators (and shout-out to Mark Wheatley for his Harvey’s art and work on the media presentation for the ceremony); and of course the afterparty ain’t bad, either! It was fun to sit next to first-time Harvey winner Chad Lambert and experience his reaction to winning, to chat with BCC Guest of Honor Mark Waid (and covet his awesome Legion ring), and afterwards, to nerd out with Vivek, catch up with the likes of the super-nice Thom Zahler, hear some great industry stories via Dirk Wood and Paul Storrie, chill with fellow comics journalists like Heidi MacDonald; see Charlie Kochman’s historic Jules Feiffer button live and in person; and more. So glad I could make it, and congratulations to all of the award-winners this year!

Despite enjoying the focus on comics guests, I was still excited to see Baltimore hosting very quality media guests  – i.e. Paul Blackthorne, Katie Cassidy, Ming-Na Wen, Edward James Olmos, and Raphael Sbarge. It was cool to see them at the show, and the panels were very entertaining. I hope they had a great time at the con, too, and decide to come back again!

And until then (or next week!), I hope everyone who was at Baltimore Comic Con with me can catch up on some rest (I know I need it); and Servo Lectio!

Mike Gold: Sweet Home Comicon

Mike Gold Boba Hawk

Last week, I reported in this space I was about to leave for Wizard World – Chicago, well-known to readers as my home town and the first love of my life. I got back late yesterday, when I wrote (or will write, depending upon your concept of consensual reality) these fabled words, a heartbeat before deadline.

We ComicMixers (Glenn, Brandy, Marc and me) had a swell time, some of it actually at the convention. We met all kinds of people who were interested in ComicMix Pro Services, which gives me hope, and I got a chance to catch up with a whole lot of friends. Unbelievably awesome meals with; Wednesday, Alex Ross, Hilary Barta, Monte Beauchamp and Jim Wiznewski; Thursday, Dean Haspiel, Danny Fingeroth, J.J. Sedelmaier and Rivet Radio’s Charlie Meyerson; Friday, Ty Templeton and KT Smith; Saturday, if I told you I’d have to kill you; Sunday, The Unshavens. Nothing makes me happier with my clothes on than fine conversation, and I was truly lucky to break bread with all these folks. Including the people I can’t tell you about. Yet.

I was on two panels – a ComicMix Pro Services Tells You How To Get Press For Your Comic Book panel where we got to meet even more talented indy writers and artists, and the Chicago Comics History Panel with Danny and J.J., Larry Charet, Ron Massingill, and the completely wonderful Maggie Thompson. It dawned on me that I’ve been going to conventions since 1968 and Maggie has been going to them… well, longer, but this is the first time we were on a panel together. That simply defies the odds. I’d crawl over a mile of broken glass to do a panel with Maggie.

That latter panel provided the opportunity to do a nice and extremely well-deserved tribute to my former partner, First Comics Co-Creator Rick Obadiah. That was very cathartic, and Rick would have enjoyed it. He wouldn’t have believed it, but he would have enjoyed it nonetheless.

I haven’t done too many shows this year, far fewer than usual. That was fine, but it was great to see fans and old friends and about twelve thousand cosplayers dressed as Deadpool. Next show: the Baltimore Comic-Con, in Baltimore (hey, Wizard World – Chicago was in Rosemont) September 25 through 27. I love that show.

One more thing. Shortly before Wizard World closed on Sunday, I was handed the opportunity to take the above picture with Boba Hawk. As a lifetime Chicago Blackhawks fan, that was… well, you can see for yourself in the photo. No, Svengoolie wasn’t there, but I wore his t-shirt anyway. It glows in the dark, and at a comics convention, one can never tell.

Mike Gold: Archie – WTF?

I know it says “Dark Circle” on the cover. In the past the cover has said “Red Circle” and before that “Archie” and before that “MLJ.” But it’s all Archie Comics to me, and I mean that as a compliment.

I think their first “Dark Circle” comic book was The Fox, by Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid. I loved it. I say “I think” because comics publishers do reboots faster than elves make shoes. Maybe the next Fox by Haspiel and Waid will restart the series again. But, for conversation’s sake, let’s say last week’s Black Hood #1 by Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos was the second Dark Circle title.

And that’s where I got confused.

First, for the record, I liked this latest Black Hood. Like most contemporary comics, there wasn’t enough story in the first issue for me to make a real commitment, but I enjoyed what I read, deployed some clever concepts, and I look forward to the next issue. I can’t say that about a lot of costumed superhero comics these days.

But… well… damn… it’s still an Archie Comic. It says so right there on the copyright notice. And it was Archie Comics (as opposed to “Archie comics”) that heralded “approved reading.” It was Archie’s cofounder John Goldwater who created the Comics Code. In fact, after all the other publishers dropped the Code, Archie was the last publisher at the table. Briefly. They drank the last survivor’s wine and dropped out. That was in 2011.

I started reading comics about the time the Code came along, so forgive me when I say I’m a bit taken aback when I read an Archie Comic and encounter the word “asshole” twice, “shit” three times, and “fuck” seven times.

Yes, I counted.

Don’t get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using such language. It’s been commonplace for a long time, and using the real words is much better than using stupid euphemisms that simply implant the censored word into the reader’s mind anyway. Fuck hypocrisy!

But… damn… it’s an Archie Comic! Does this mean they’re going to hire S. Clay Wilson for their Fly-Girl title? Hey, that would be great!

But it does make me wonder. Archie Comics is about to reboot Archie comics with the melodious words of Mark Waid. How many cans of Tree Frog Beer can Reggie Mantle chug? And what’s the real reason why they call Forsythe Pendleton Jones III… Jughead?

Maybe they’ll give a new answer to the time-old question “Are you a Betty, or a Veronica?”

 

Mike Gold: Hipsters, Inkwell Divers, and Misfits at MoCCA!

Last weekend I was with my fellow ComicMixers Glenn Hauman, Adriane Nash and Martha Thomases at the annual MoCCA independent comics convention. And by “independent,” I mean web comics, self-published comics, small press comics, and what Ms. Nash refers to as “I’d rather be hand-stapled” comics. It’s one of my favorite shows for one simple reason: the enthusiasm in the room is tremendous.

Gold Art 140409

I’d say that the average age of the creators who weren’t paying for one of the few corporate booths (Fantagraphics, Yoe Books, Abrams, etc.) was about 25 years old. Which means there was a lot of dyed hair and hipster hats in Manhattan’s Beaux-Arts 69th Regiment Armory. These are folks who, by and large, couldn’t care less about capes and masks and thought Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a fun movie but not necessarily a justification for one’s choice of vocation. They probably aren’t making a living off of their comics work, and they might very well be losing money. They are in the medium for the love of the medium, and they are taking the medium down roads undreamt by the folks at Disney and Time Warner.

The Armory was built in 1904 and is a grand place. It was built to house and train the 69th Regiment, which traces its roots back to America’s Civil War. I’m sure the idea of filling the space with many thousand young inkwell divers underneath a gigantic helium-filled Charlie Brown balloon eluded architect Richard Howland Hunt (1862 – 1931). Then again, Hunt probably couldn’t conceive his masterwork would also house the first Roller Derby television broadcasts or the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

I truly love the contradiction.

The prestigious Society of Illustrators acquired MoCCA several years ago, and we-all were worried they’d try to make it all frou-frou. And maybe they did try to appeal to their artsy-fartsy crowd a bit. Nope. No way that was going to work. These kids have their own artsy-fartsy crowd, thank you, and they’re very, very comfortable doing the types of stories they want to tell, in the manner they want to tell them.

To my ancient and besotted brain, this is wonderful. It was wonderful back when it started, attracting the likes of then-newbies such as Jessica Abel, Alison Bechdel and Dean Haspiel. These days, Jessica, Alison and Dean are getting comparatively ancient, but they remain lot less ancienter than I am. I’m sure their work inspired many of the young folks at this weekend’s show. Being a mentor is fun, but becoming an icon can be painful.

MoCCA got its start in 2002 and I attended the second show at the urging of Ms. Thomases. That enthusiasm I talked about was there back in 2003, and it revitalized my desire to work in the medium once again. One quick walk through the room and it was clear to me that the American comics medium had a future, one that was far beyond the traditional publishers, the traditional comics shops, and the traditional ways of thinking.

I am glad to say this enthusiasm has grown in the ensuing 12 years. When the Society of Illustrators picked up the show, I was afraid it was going to go on the legit.

Silly, silly me. Comics will never be truly legitimate. There are way too many gifted weirdoes slaving away at their drawing boards and kitchen tables. Some might be trustafarians, some might be downright freaks, and some might not be able to communicate in any other manner. More power to them.

As long as the comics art medium has a large pool of industrious misfits, we will have a wonderful future.

Archie Unleashes the Fox

Cover: Dean Haspiel
Cover: Darwyn Cooke

Archie Comics has tapped an A-List line up of talent to celebrate the launch of their new Red Circle Comics series, The Fox. Award-winning creators Mark Waid and Dean Haspiel craft the story inside the book, which also includes variant covers by Darwyn Cooke and Fiona Staples.

THE FOX #1
NEW RED CIRCLE SERIES!
From the world of the New Crusaders, comes the FANTASTIC debut of the high-flying FOX! Emmy Award winning writer/artist Dean Haspiel (Billy Dogma, HBO’s Bored to Death) and Eisner Award winning writer Mark Waid (Daredevil, Thrillbent) bring the legendary, pulp-style hero The Fox to life in “Freak Magnet, Part One: The True Face of MyFace”! When photojournalist Paul Patton, Jr. donned a super hero costume,

Cover: Fiona Staples

he thought it would be a quick way to make some news—now the strange and unusual just can’t help but be drawn to the freak-magnetism of the fabulous fighting FOX! While working on a puff-piece at the Red Circle Gazette, an evil truth about social media mogul Lucy Fur is discovered, bringing Paul face-to-face with a criminal kingpin! Get in on the ground floor with the hottest new fall series featuring art and story from the biggest names in comics today! Get freaky!

Plot/Script: Dean Haspiel, Mark Waid
Art: Dean Haspiel, Allen Passalaqua, John Workman
Cover: Dean Haspiel
FREAK MAGNET Variant: Dean Haspiel
Running with the Foxes Variant Cover: Darwyn Cooke

 

High-Flying Variant Cover: Fiona Staples

Cover: Dean Haspiel

Shipping Date: 10/16
On Sale at Comic Specialty Shops:
32-page, full color comic
$2.99 US.

Click on images for a larger view.