Tagged: Friends

Win a Copy of Family Guy Vol. 10!

family-guy-season-10-300x300-6298247Family Guy’s tenth season saw the family travel through time and space, from revisiting the very first episode to crossing the Atlantic Ocean. They met famous folk like Ryan Reynolds and Robin Williams and had the usual assortment of antics.

Family Guy Season 10, containing all 14 episodes, is coming out on DVD and thanks to our friends at 20th Century Home Entertainment, we have three copies to give away.

You must live in the United States or Canada to be eligible to participate. To enter to win, tell us which era or location the family should visit this coming season – no repeats. We want your best ideas no later than 11:59 p.m., Monday, September 24. Prize winners will be selected on the 25th and prizes will be shipped directly from 20th Century Home Entertainment. The decision of ComicMix’s judges will be final.


By Riana Telgemeier
Scholastic Graphix, 233 pages, $10.99/$23.99

Despite being an adult, Raina Telgemeier has not forgotten what it was like to be an eighth grader when everything, from your body to your relationships, change with startling regularity. She demonstrated this in the wonderful memoir Smile and returns with Drama, a story across a school year.

Callie adores the theater and while isn’t comfortable on stage given her horrible singing voice, relishes her backstage work. This year, the final one of middle school, she’s now charged with the set design for Moon Over Mississippi. Her devotion to Broadway fills her head with larger-than-life ideas, almost impossible to pull off with a school budget coupled with her inexperience at things like hammering. What she does excel at is making friends  and she forms some new attachments during the course of the production.

She’s gaga for Greg, the older brother of her best friend Matt, but he has eyes for someone else. Then she meets twins Justin and Jesse; one wants to be the star, the other is equally good but more comfortable working behind the scenes. Their integration into the school’s theater culture forms a large chunk of the story, especially as it becomes apparent one of the twins is out and proud. Of course, drama kids tends to be more accepting of gay friends, but in middle school it’s never easy and Telgemeier doesn’t shy away from, ahem, the drama inherent in this.

The entire graphic novel is set within the framework of a play with opening and closing curtains and even a brief intermission. Aided with subtle and effective coloring from Gurihiru, Telgemeier’s accessible style makes this an easy, entertaining read.  She doesn’t crowd her pages and makes her characters look and speak in distinctive ways, yet retaining that youthful exuberance we all recall from those years in school.

There is plenty of tension during rehearsals and performances and Callie’s attempts to perfect a cannon going off is a metaphor for the entire experience. There is a lovely rhythm to the character arcs as things go from complicated to easy and then veers into the “it’s complicated” territory. By the end of the play, bonds have been forged that helps prepare all of the cast members for the leap into high school. Growing up is never easy and you survive school thanks to your friends and Telgemeier sees to it Callie is well loved as people respond to her devotion to theater and all its trappings.

Michael Davis: Frankly my dear, they don’t give a damn.

The title of this article is a variation on the most memorable film quote ever. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” spoken by Rhett Butler to Scarlet O’Hara in the immortal film, Gone With The Wind is the number one movie quote of all time, according to The American Film Institute.

After over two hours of actual time and years of movie time Rhett had finally had enough of Scarlet being a bitch and let her know how he felt. When Rhett finally let Scarlet know he was sick of her shit she came to a realization that she did indeed love him.

If Rhett and Scarlet were from the hood that conversation would have went a little something like this:

Scarlet: Rhett, don’t go. I love you!

Rhett: Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn…bitch.

That classic movie in so many ways reminds me of the San Diego Comic Con and Hollywood. How so, you ask?

This so. Every year Hollywood comes to SDCC and every year Hollywood studios, agencies, stars and starlets throw parties. There are as many Hollywood parties as there are reasons to hate Mitt Romney.

That’s a lot of parties.

Every year it seems that little or no comic book people are invited to those Hollywood parties. I know of what I speak as I get invited to a bunch of those parties. I stopped going a few years ago. I got sick and tired of being at a party and the only mofo I knew from the industry was whoever was my plus 1.

Yes, there are exceptions. I’m sure that Len Wein and his creative peers get invited to any studio party that is making one of their characters into a movie or TV show. I’m sure Len gets to bring a few of his peeps but a room full of comic book people you will not see at a Hollywood party.

Except at my parties. Yes, I always have a cool ass celebrity host, this year it’s Jamie Kennedy, and yes I have big name Hollywood types attending but the majority of my guests are good old fashion SDCC and comic book folk.

Yep, good old comic book geeks. Friends of mine, creators I just meet at the con, retailors, mega fans, moms of mega fans and random hot Asian women who I just so happen to find invites for after I have no more invites. Go figure.

Speaking of moms, last year I met this woman who brought her grown ass son to the convention but could not get a pass for her self. We got her a pass to the con and she spent a great deal of my party hanging out with Wayne Brady. That, if I say so myself, was cool.

I’m not knocking Hollywood because that’s just the way they operate. I’m still amazed at the people that got mad at the tiger for mauling Roy. Don’t blame the tiger for being a tiger. I can’t blame Hollywood for being a selfish self-congratulatory entity that sees the comic book industry as an ugly stepchild.

But I’d like all my comic book and SDCC friends and colleagues to remember one thing…

The San Diego Comic Con is our house.

We build it. We own it. We live there.

I do believe that one day soon Hollywood will fully accept us for what we are: an industry without which they would be banking on films like My Left Foot to do 100 million in a weekend.

Yeah, like that shit is ever going to happen.

I hope to see you guys at SDCC and perhaps at my party Friday night.

Oh, and Hollywood, get your shit together, don’t make us go all Rhett Butler on your ass.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Emily S. Whitten Speaks Enlightenment

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Marvels Now and Again


Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one. Every asshole has lots of opinions. What comes out of assholes frequently is a load of shit. Check the GOP Presidential debates for verification.

I say this, of course, in the middle of an opinion column sitting in the middle of lots of other opinion columns here at ComicMix. ComicMix, of course, sits in the middle of the Internet which, of course, is comprised mostly of opinion. So – which opinion matters? Outside of mine, of course. How can you tell?

I encountered a fan (well, not really a fan of mine) who wanted to tell me why I sucked. My basic response was: I should care because –? This offended the would-be critic; s/he had bought a book of mine and had a right to his/her opinion. I didn’t dispute that; the real question was – why should it matter to me? The fan got huffy; he/she/it thought I should want to hear that opinion.

Some fans – yes, I do. Others – not so much. One of my primary rules:  not everyone’s opinion matters. Not everyone’s opinion should matter. If everyone’s opinion matters, then no one’s opinion matters. How do you tell the difference?

Experience is a good place to start. Has the person giving you the opinion any experience in the field on which they are opining?

Does the opinion expressed have any facts to back it up? Real, verifiable facts, not ones made up to fit the circumstance (again, GOP presidential candidates; hell, all political candidates). Does it have some thought behind it? If they just want to express how they feel – okay, it’s how they feel but there’s no reason I should listen to it because there is no reason in it.

What is your experience with the person giving his/her opinion? Is it your history that you can trust, to a greater or lesser degree, what they’re saying? If I go to a movie and I read a review that mirrors my experience, then I know I can trust that critic’s opinion. It’s not that their perfect or that I am but I know our tastes are similar enough to make it less likely that I’ll waste my money.

Friends, relatives, colleagues – I know who they are and how trustworthy their opinion is on a given subject. We don’t have to agree, but I can listen with confidence. What they feel about it may be important to me but it’s because I know them. A stranger – well, not so much.

Also, just because someone knows something on one subject doesn’t mean they know anything on another. Come to me for an opinion on writing, story, or comics and I may have some thing useful to say. Ask me about NASCAR – well, I saw the Pixar flic Cars. Take anything I have to say on the topic with a lot of salt.

Editors – if I want to stay employed, I’d better listen to their opinions. I may disagree and I may express my disagreement but, in the end, the editor represents those who own the property or the rights so, unless that owner is me, I need to heed their opinions – even when I disagree.

One editor I had said I couldn’t use thought balloons because, after all, movies didn’t have thought balloons. I disagreed – I pointed out that they were different mediums telling stories in similar but different ways. To start with, movies moved. I couldn’t convince the editor; I worked without thought balloons.

Listening to opinions with which I disagree is important in general. I may not change my mind (or change the speaker’s mind) but I often walk away with a better insight into the opposing view and it can hone my own thoughts and opinions; I know better why I have the opinion that I do. These days, fewer and fewer people seem to do that. We look for only those who reflect our opinion, who agree with our dogma. Dogma is easy; no thought required.

We also should consider why we are being gifted with this person’s opinion. It’s the basic question a writer asks of his/her characters – what do they want? What’s the reason behind what they are doing? Does the person giving you their opinion care about you, do they want something from you, both, neither, more?

My mother was always of the opinion that I should get a teaching degree so I would have “something to fall back on” if my theater or (later) writing career didn’t pan out. I loved my Mom and I knew she was trying to look out for me but underlying that suggestion was her opinion that I wouldn’t make it in the field I chose. I knew that if I had something to fall back on, I’d fall back. Sometimes you have to perform without a net.

We are constantly bombarded with opinions these days and it becomes easier to take someone else’s opinion for our own. The issues are so complex and there are so many compelling issues vying for our attention that it’s easier to latch on to some pre-made opinion than to form our own. The times, however, demand we do the thinking necessary or, at the very least, know whose opinions we listen to and why.


Monday: Mindy Newell Offers Her Opinion

JOHN OSTRANDER: Comics Lied To Me!

I’ve had some medical tests recently. Seems I have heart palpitations; lordy me, Ah do seem to be a swoon and mint julep away from being a Southern belle. (Hm. Wonder if they make chocolate mint juleps?) It means that my heart skips a beat every so often.

So I went to a cardiologist and he set up a battery of tests to see what this all means. In the first one, they injected a radioactive tracer so they could then do X-rays of my heart from different angles and see what’s going on.

I was ready. I knew the score. If comic books have taught me anything, it’s that radioactivity triggers a DNA change and gives you super-powers. Prime example is Spider-Man – got his powers from a radioactive spider, right? The Hulk got his from gamma radiation, which is a type of nuclear radiation, right? And it was a stress test, okay? What happens when you combine radiation and stress? The Hulk.

So I figured the radioactive stuff would combine maybe with X-rays and I’d get X-ray vision whenever I stressed out. Or maybe a bug might creep into the machine and I’d get X-ray and bug like powers. Spider-Hulk.

All I got was a bill. Not a duck bill. Or a goose bill. I received a financial statement saying I owed them money. What a rip off!

They also did what is called an “Echo Test” a couple of days later. It’s like when they do a sonogram for pregnant women using ultrasound only they do it for the heart. Ultrasound, eh? Okay, that could become something. Something ultra. I know the Ultra line was a failed bunch of comics for Malibu that Marvel bought up and forgot they had until recently… but it could maybe work, right? Combine ultrasound with the radioactive particle and the stress test and maybe I wind up with ultra hearing and X-ray vision. Add in any Hulk-like side effects and now we’re getting somewhere!

Zap. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. That’s what I’ve gotten. So far.

When they did the second part of the stress test, I had a choice. I could climb on a treadmill and get my heart rate up to a certain point or they could do it via an injection of chemicals that would also make my heart beat faster. Of course, some of the shots of the naked Scarlett Johansson – soon to return as the Black Widow in The Avengers flick – that popped up on the web would also probably do the trick but I wasn’t offered that option.

It was a hard choice. We all know about the treadmill in The Flash and how he uses it combined with his superspeed for time travel. Maybe being on the treadmill would combine with an increased heartbeat and would trigger the change. Seemed reasonable.

I opted, however, for the chemical version for three reasons. One – that seemed more likely to interact with the other events and convert my DNA to complete the change. Two – if I got superspeed and went back in time, I might change a little something that would induce a reboot of reality and DC just did that and it resulted in a skinny Amanda Waller. Third – I could do the test lying down. At my age, if you can do something lying down, that’s the option you take.

So I got the chemicals injected, waited forty minutes for them to travel through my system, and went back for more x-rays. I had high hopes for this one. I’d seen Captain America – The First Avenger and that’s more or less what they did with Steve Rogers: injected him with chemicals and bathed him in rays. That turned out pretty spiffy, right? Not only did he get turned into Captain America but it was a pretty darn good superhero film to boot.

SPOILER WARNING: There are no spoilers. You already can guess the outcome. I just got test results is all. They said I was normal. Normal. Since when?

I go in to see the cardiologist next week to get the findings. Friends have suggested that all I’ll get told is that I have an overheated imagination.

If there’s a cure for that, I’m out of a job.

MONDAY: Mindy Newell

DENNIS O’NEIL: Superman, Captain Midnight and Me

Yeah, that’s him, little Denny, aged six or seven (or maybe even five), dragging the kitchen chair across the linoleum and putting it next to the icebox. He climbs up on it and then he’s close to Mom’s radio. He knows which knobs to turn, he knows how to find what comes from the speaker, what is very important: his programs.

Every weekday afternoon, after school, from 3:30 to six – dinner time, Dad’s nightly return from Work (and work is also very important, though Denny doesn’t know why) – Denny listens to Tom Mix and Superman and Hop Harrigan and Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy (what other kind of boy could there be?) and what may be his very, very favorite, Captain Midnight. Mom has her programs, too – Ma Perkins and Young Doctor Malone and some others – but Denny thinks they’re no better than okay. But his programs…danger and excitement and air planes and fighting and now and then goofiness: a wonderful world coming from the top of the ice box into Mom’s kitchen and Denny’s mind.

Denny has other things he likes. On Friday night, Mom and Dad let him walk alone to The Pauline Theater to see a cartoon, some previews, and two pictures – usually but not always pictures about cowboys. And there are the comic books, the ones that Dad buys at the little store on Union Avenue along with milk and bread after Sunday Mass, and the ones he gets by trading Dad’s gifts with other kids who also have comics. Sometimes, the same people are in both comics and programs and its fun to hear what Superman sounds like and to see what Captain Midnight looks like.

But comics and picture shows are once-in-a-whiles, and not completely reliable: he didn’t know what comics would be on the Union Avenue rack, and maybe The Pauline would be showing one of his favorites – Tim Holt, Sunset Carson or the King of the Cowboys himself, Roy Rogers (and his golden palomino Trigger and, oh yeah, Dale Evans, the Queen of the West)–or maybe the pictures would be about cowboys or detectives Denny didn’t care for as much, picture-people he might forget about entirely in oh, say, 66 years if he were an old man writing about a child. But he knew when the radio programs would be on and how to find them and that was certainly good, did little Denny.

And that old man…might he be a mostly retired comic book writer, you think? And might he not wonder if the radio broadcasts influenced the work he stumbled into more than the comic books he consumed on the front room floor or the back porch? Because listening to the programs, he had to supply his own imagery, to imagine how the battles were being fought, the planes flown, the horses galloped. He had to puzzle over words and ideas he couldn’t quite understand. The world that came from the radio into Mom’s kitchen became his world.

Then, some 20 years later, in another city, he sat down to write a comic book script…

ADDENDUM: If you enjoy vintage radio drama, or are just curious about it, let me call your attention to the annual Friends of Old-Time Radio convention, to be held this year on October 20, 21, 22 and 23 at the Ramada Plaza in Newark, NY. Email: E-mail: JayHick@aol.com

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

Webcomics You Should Be Reading: Ctrl-Alt-Del

Webcomics You Should Be Reading: Ctrl-Alt-Del

Years ago, I was at a comic convention where Jimmy Palmiotti told a story about the most vocal fan he ever encountered: A fellow who apparently was constantly sending letters and posting to message boards about how he read the latest thing Palmiotti had done and it sucked, sucked, sucked. At first he was annoyed, but then Palmiotti realized, hey, this guy buys and pores over everything I ever write or draw. This guy is my biggest fan. So he sent him a Christmas card that year.

Tim Buckley, creator of Ctrl-Alt-Del, must have a really impressive Christmas card list. (Just look at the comments on this review for an example.)

Ctrl-Alt-Del follows the misadventures of Ethan, whose hobbies include gaming, slacking, completely misinterpreting normal human interactions, flashes of engineering brilliance, and forming gaming-related cults. The vibe is sitcom-esque—imagine Friends if everyone played video games, Chandler was a robot built out of an Xbox, Ross had a pet penguin, and Phoebe was the main character. (It really plays better than it sounds. Kinda like Friends, actually.)

Buckley also produces an online animated series which can be downloaded via subscription, or purchased on DVD. There are three compilation books available at the CAD Store along with shirts, magnets and posters. And Buckley has organized an annual massive LAN party called Digital Overload in Providence, RI.

Notable moments:

From the very beginning, CAD set itself apart from the pack, though this distinction eventually disappeared.  
Ethan invented the gaming holiday, Winter-Een-Mas. The holiday later became a tradition
Ethan also established a gaming religion.
Early storyline breaks feature Chef Brian, a humanoid acid trip who cooks.
The recent “serious” storyline.

Drama: Low moving towards moderate. Early strips are disconnected and included some cartoon-style violence. Recent strips have seen several more serious plot arcs and dramatic situations, broken up by non-continuity video game parody strips.

Humor: Appeals to the 18-25 male demographic. Heavy in the video game jokes and geeky sitcom-style plans that cause hilarity to ensue.

Continuity: Moderate to high. Plot arcs will run for several weeks, and be broken up by stand-alone bits. The earliest comics stand alone the best, and set the stage for the running gags and character arcs in the later ones.

Art: Buckley has been criticized for his characters looking similar, though that’s a criticism of his style; you’d never have a problem telling them apart. Panels tend to be a bit static

Archive: Six years of four-panel comics (1000+ strips) plus several months of daily black-and-white “sillies”.

Updates: The main comic updates Monday-Wednesday-Friday. Sillies update daily. Buckley is excellent about keeping his update schedule.

Risk/Reward: Buckley’s recent increase in continuity is a very acquired taste for the audience—if you like it, then it’s easy to get into the “I must keep reading so I know what happens next!” trap. If you don’t, then you can obviously pick up and drop the comic at your leisure. Though the lives of the characters can and will obviously go on for some time, Buckley is very good about wrapping up individual plotlines and creating points where the story stops for a while. It’s fairly safe to assume that if he decided to abandon the comic, there’d be a passable ending.


ComicMix Goes National, Part 2

Where were we this morning?  Ah yes, it was actually noontime on Saturday, where we headed upstairs to the Hotel Penn’s Sky-something ballroom for the Mark Evanier-moderated panel "Marvel in the 60s and 70s."

Just look at those luminaries.  Gary Friedrich; Dick Ayers (in his old Army outfit that still fits!); Herb Trimpe; Joe Sinnott.  Truly amazing gentlemen, with the usual stories you’d expect.  But the best anecdote may have been one in the making, as Mark received an email from Stan Lee during the panel, emailed him back that he was currently moderating a panel and did Stan have something to say…

…which of course, about a half hour later, he did.  It went something along the lines of "Tell those gentlemen they need to get out of that hick town and come to Los Angeles, where they can join me for a real Marvel panel!"  Mark should have the exact text up on his blog shortly, I’m sure.

"But," you say, "you promised us purple pants!"  Well, here’s a Wizard to warm you up:

The bearded gent on the right, come in all the way from Israel, is Mike Netzer.  Or is he the one on the left?  I’ll never tell.  Purple pants aplenty below!


Women of Color at MoCCA

Women of Color at MoCCA

As mentioned previously on ComicMix, last night’s "MoCCA Monday" panel was held in conjunction with Friends of Lulu and the Ormes Society, and featured three enterprising women of color working in the comics field.  Moderator (and Ormes Society founder) Cheryl Lynn Eaton interviewed Rashida Lewis, Jennifer Gonzalez and Alitha Martinez about their various projects, experiences in comics as both fans and creators, and hopes and expectations for the future.

The event was so well-attended that MoCCA volunteers were putting out extra rows of chairs to accommodate the crowd.  This seemed to speak to comics fans’ need to see and support images represented in their favorite hobby, both on the page and behind the drawing board, that aren’t always the white male default.  Even so, the very talented women seemed to want to keep an arm’s distance from the mainstream comics scene.  Lewis has a nice portfolio of work for Marvel Comics but felt constrained by corporate dictates, and is following her muse by painting and working on her upcoming manga title Yume and Ever.  Gonzalez takes her inspiration from Mad Magazine, underground and even horror comics to continue in the alternative world with Too Negative and her other dark humor works.  And Lewis has expanded her Sand Storm series into a downloadable game soon to be available for mobile devices, and is intrigued by the world of animation in general.


Ford memorial auction raises over $4000

Ford memorial auction raises over $4000

Following up on our earlier post, auction coordinator Deb Geisler writes: "We’re delighted to tell you that the auction raised $4,030, which will be donated to the special fund set up by the Friends of the Minneapolis Library in Mike’s name. We had so many donations (more than 70!) that we divided the auction into a voice auction (the extravaganza portion) and a silent auction following that. NESFA will be sending the proceeds of the auction to the Friends of the Minneapolis Library shortly, and we hope it helps to engage people in the love of F&SF literature for many years to come."

To learn more about the John M. Ford Book Endowment, click here.