Tagged: Glenn Hauman

Mike Gold: Neal Adams’ The Brave and the Bald

Would you like to know how to make a baby boomer fanboy’s head explode?

O.K. That was a trick question. There are plenty of ways to make a baby boomer fanboy’s head explode. It’s our fault, really. Many of us had children. But I digress.

One way to make a baby boomer fanboy’s head explode is to ask him (well, I said fanboy) which Neal Adams’ project is his favorite. My knee-jerk response would be Green Lantern / Green Arrow #80 for personal reasons, and The Spectre #3 (the one from 1968) to prove I’m still a fanboy at heart.

That is, until last week. Now I’ve got a clear favorite. And it’s not a comic book… although it is about a comic book. And a damn good one at that.

Last week, our pal and mystical production overlord Glenn Hauman, who occasionally writes something or other here at ComicMix when he’s not busy being killed off in New Pulp short stories (we’ll tell you about that some other time), sent “us” a link. In this case, “us” is the Imperial Council of ComicMix Wizards and Schleppers (ICCWS). The link was to something that was just getting some traction in the ethersphere. And, obviously, it concerns Neal Adams.

Background: About a month ago, DC Comics released their second set of super-hero crossovers with the famed Warner Bros cartoon characters, due to their common ownership. Maybe we’ll define “common” some other time. Among these new titles was a one-shot produced by Tom King and Lee Weeks titled Batman / Elmer Fudd Special #1, implying someday there will be a second issue.

And maybe that will happen. I hope so. It was terrific. I ran around telling people – and co-workers – that they should read it. It had a real story, it was clever as all get-out, it was perfectly drawn, and if the reason you passed on it because you thought it was stupid… you were mistaken. It is the opposite of stupid. Of course, my fellow comics readers looked at me as though I had two heads. Whereas this may be the case and I got used to it decades ago, I don’t think I ran into anybody else who read it at the time.

Except Neal Adams.

And Neal didn’t simply read it and take it up as a cause. Nope. No way. Neal actually turned it into a full cast audio play that was illustrated with Weeks’ art from the Special. I didn’t do an A/B comparison, but I think Neal used all the art in the book. And, in its own way, Neal’s production was just as clever as the comic book.

Neal did much of the voice work, and it’s first rank. As a radio guy since shortly after Nixon’s inauguration, I think I’ve developed something of a trained ear for this sort of thing. I’m no Mark Evanier (Mark directed voice work from the likes of June Foray, Stan Freberg and Frank Nelson), but I know good. And Neal’s good. So good he might have made a serious career mistake.

Well, no. That’s crap. Neal’s a well-respected and much-desired cartoonist for good reason. But his “adaptation” of the Batman / Elmer Fudd Special was an absolute delight. So was the comic book. Enjoy them both.

Whereas it would be wrong for me to reprint the comic book here – something about copyrights – I can make it easy for you to see and hear Neal’s adaptation.

Neal did justice to Tom and Lee’s story. And to Batman and to Elmer Fudd.

Go figure!

 

Mike Gold: Randomonium™

As I type these words, today is today. Usually, today is yesterday or a day before or so, and if any of our other columnists pulled this stunt I’d be bitching my brains off. But, to paraphrase stand-up philosopher par excellence Mel Brooks, “it’s good to be the king editor.”

I do have an excuse, and a good one at that. I just got back from Manhattan Island where we had a wonderful dinner with the classy part of ComicMix, The Tweeks, a.k.a. Maddy and Anya Ernst. Oh, yeah, their mom Jen was there as well – even in New York City, letting even adult-looking underagers wander about is frowned upon. The “us” part consisted of four members of the ComicMix crew – Tweeks’ producer and associate editor Adriane Nash, columnist Joe Corallo, utility infielder Wizardly Glenn Hauman, along with the amazing Brandy Hauman who hangs around with us to show us what it’s like to have a real job, and the oft-aforementioned geriatric boy editor.

Yeah, that’s my superhero name. Geriatric Boy. It fits me like a glove. And if it don’t fit… But I digress.

We had a wonderful time. Well, at least I did, but I don’t think the others were faking. We stayed so long the restaurant manager sorta suggested they wanted the opportunity to make money off of some other folks. We stood in front of the place jabbering for another hour.

We talked about the stuff you might think a gaggle of ComicMixers would discuss: Star Wars, Doctor Who, food, architecture, theater, improv, opera (a little bit), comics… Jen and I talked about Chicago because that’s what people who lived in Chicago always do. Hell, we do that when we’re only around New Yorkers as well. It seems to annoy the pettier of our east coast clan.

I’m not going to rat anybody out, and I’m certainly not going to discuss Maddy and Anya’s career plans or anything like that. Not only would doing so be rude of me, but I’d also be pre-empting material from The Tweeks’ weekly (if not more often) video blogs. If I did that, Adriane would roll up a copy of the Sunday New York Times and bop me on the nose with it, shouting “bad editor – bad editor.”

Sigh. I hate being a grown-up. Lucky for me, I only do that for a living. And even then, rarely.

Maddy, Anya and Jen live in Orange County, which makes going to that ridiculously overstuffed comic book convention fairly easy – for them. The show is in several weeks, and if you look through the website you can see the high quality of their interviews with celebrities and other people who hire public relations firms. All of them (I believe) are online here at ComicMix, and it’s really fun to watch how they’ve evolved and improved since they started this thing three years ago. When they were eleven. Now, they’re fourteen.

If the Tweeks are any indication, they’re making smarter and more stylish fourteen-year-olds than they did when I was that age. Oh, sure, I was smart all right, but in my case, that word qualified the next word, which was “aleck.”

I’m a big believer in mentoring. Indeed, when it comes to such activity I am a fundamentalist. I’m really proud of Adriane’s work in that regard – and that is the result of her work and not her being my daughter. Which, need I remind you, has been the coolest thing that ever happened to me.

This is not to take anything away from the Tweeks’ parents. Parenting is a different thing from mentoring. Mentors can say “See ya!” when they want to or need to. Parents have their gig forever. I dunno; maybe it’s something to do with “responsibility.”

It was a great evening. It was the reason I really love this job.

Happy summer solstice. If it seems like the longest day of the year… trust your instincts.

 

 

 

 

ComicMix Vindicated in Dr. Seuss Lawsuit Over Literary Mash-Up; Judge Dismisses Trademark Claims, Copyright Claim Will “Boldly Go Forward”

On Friday, June 9, the United States District Court for the Southern District of California partially granted ComicMix LLC’s motion to dismiss the Dr. Seuss estate’s copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit over the book Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!  To prevent publication, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, LP filed the lawsuit in 2016 against the book’s publisher ComicMix, its author David Gerrold, illustrator Ty Templeton, and Glenn Hauman, ComicMix’s co-founder and vice-president.

United States District Judge Janis Sammartino dismissed the trademark claims under the doctrine of nominative fair use, and largely agreed with ComicMix’s position that fair use protects the book from copyright infringement claims. Judge Sammartino found that the book is “a highly transformative work that takes no more than necessary [from Dr. Seuss’s books] to accomplish its transformative purpose and will not impinge on the original market for Plaintiff’s underlying work.” She emphasized that the case has broader significance: “This case presents an important question regarding the emerging ‘mash-up’ culture where artists combine two independent works in a new and unique way. … Applying the fair use factors in the manner Plaintiff outlines would almost always preclude a finding of fair use under these circumstances. However, if fair use was not viable in a case such as this, an entire body of highly creative work would be effectively foreclosed.”

As an example, Judge Sammartino refers to this image:

Plaintiff’s work depicts two similar-looking, fanciful “Zax” creatures arguing in the middle of a desert, with footprints to mark their arrival. Boldly takes the same desert landscape and footprints, and in the fanciful creatures’ place puts two similar-looking beings of seemingly Vulcan descent—one of which is drawn in the same position as his Dr. Seuss counterpart and one of which is transformed from the Dr. Seuss creatures’ aggressive stance into a contemplative pose—deep in the midst of playing some type of alien board game. Additionally, Boldly’s text reveals that the two Vulcan creatures are, in fact, the same person, unlike Go!’s distinct “North-Going” and “South-Going” Zaxes. Boldly therefore transforms the argumentative Zaxes and their corresponding depiction into a cloned Vulcan matching wits with himself over an alien boardgame. One Vulcan is positioned almost identically to his Zax counterpart to “conjure up” the Dr. Seuss work, while the other Vulcan is drawn anew and a board-game added in order to fully accomplish the work’s overall transformative purpose.

The copyright claim survives, awaiting proof of any harm to the Dr. Seuss estate’s licensing opportunities, and the estate was given two weeks to amend its trademark claims.

Dan Booth of Booth Sweet LLP, ComicMix LLC’s lead counsel, said, “I have never seen a case so focused on mash-up culture — and so strongly supportive. Judge Sammartino’s decision implicates not just literary hybrids but music remixes, appropriation art, supercut videos, and more, strongly suggesting that they should be protected from copyright claims.”

Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go began as a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, written by Gerrold, a Hugo and Nebula Award winning science fiction author perhaps best known for writing the Star Trek episode “The Trouble With Tribbles.”  Ty Templeton is a veteran Eisner Award winning comics artist known for his work on Batman, The Simpsons, and as the co-creator of the Vortex Comics series Stigs Inferno.

ComicMix publishes a line of graphic novels by some of the best new and established talent in the industry.  ComicMix Pro Services works with creators to produce, publish and market their work in a competitive marketplace.  In addition, ComicMix runs one of the Internet’s most popular pop culture news sites.

Hey Kids! What Time Is It?

Howdy Doody Birthday

A long time ago in a reality far, far away, a small child was placed in an experimental rocket ship so that he and he alone (sort of) could escape his dying home planet. As such, he became the last of his people (sort of) and, when he landed on the planet Earth he was imbued with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men… as well as several mortal women.

This is not the story of that man.

Today, Glenn Hauman is just three years shy of a half-century. Born barely before the first lunar landing and the Woodstock festival that wasn’t even in Woodstock (and nor was Glenn), the child started growing and as far as science can discern, he has yet to stop.

Armed with a mind that never stops churning that is fueled by the heart of a saint, Glenn took his massive aptitude to the wonderful world of geekdom. He is, has been and someday will be again a writer, and his output includes many Star Trek and X-Men prose stories. (Note: “prose” is like comic books, but they are lacking in art, color and balloons.) He’s a publisher, a website creator, something of an editor, and easily the best production manager the comics world has seen in decades.

He’s also a rabid liberal who, in 1997, sued Attorney General Janet Reno over the Communications Decency Act, an early attempt to impose government censorship onto the Internet. This one went all the way to the Supreme Court, where all nine justices sided with Glenn (and the ACLU) and against the Congress and the White House.

Howdy DoodySomehow, Hauman was lucky enough to convince a woman way above his reach to take his hand, and much of the rest of his body, in marriage. People who have grown tired of Glenn still hang around to appreciate Brandy’s presence.

During his term at DC Comics, he met a handsome and debonair aging hippie who, in the words of Jim Shooter, could sell refrigerators to Eskimos. The record is not clear: either they teamed up or Glenn was kidnapped. Or, perhaps, blackmailed. Most likely, all three. Together they worked to create all sorts of projects that were as befuddling as they were unique.

No one knows that man’s name. Glenn would be well rid of him, if only he could. But the two of them, joined by people such as Brian Alvey and Martha Thomases, found ComicMix LLC, which, since you are reading these words, remains extant.

We wish Glenn the best on his birthday, particularly now that he’s officially pushing 50.

 

Marc Alan Fishman: New York, New Sales, New Aggravation

So Unshaven Comics finds itself once again in the loving bosom of the Javits Center and the New York Comic Con. As I reminded you last week, Unshaven split its booth space with ComicMix in 2013. This year we split with the lovely Jim McClain of the Solution Squad (and subsequently Reading With Pictures). As of this writing ­– literally being written hours before you are likely seeing it posted – Unshaven has had some significant ups, and some hilarious downs. Let’s list them until I’ve wasted enough of your time.

Up: Sales!

It’s always good to see a rise in sales. Given our booth placement (ahem, Marvel-Adjacent) we figured we’d either be in the money or left drowned by lines, crowds, and cheering… and find ourselves in Bone City. Luckily for us, Marvel erected a large wall across from our table. This houses their crowds well enough, and allows us ­­– with a little strain ­– to be heard. And when we have someone’s ear, according to my data, we’re 40% likely to get that sale. We love those odds. And suffice to say since we learned to upsell our typical single comic to a four-book pack (which includes some freebie swag we’re willing to lose profit on to bolster a larger book sale), we’re seeing far more than the 10% growth in books moved that we seek as a baseline for a return con visit.

Down: Pitches!

Data is Unshaven Comics’ friend. It allows us to transcend anecdotal feelings, and instead supply ourselves with factual evidence when it comes to figuring out if a convention is doing us well or kicking our keister. With that being said, I am sad to report New Yorkers aren’t the nicest people we’ve dealt with. In the same amount of time spent on the show floor, Unshaven Comics is pitching about 20% less than we did at C2E2, or Wizard World Chicago. NYCC boasts traffic on the floor greater than both Chicago shows combined. The simple fact is that people are on the move at this convention. More movement means less fine folks to pitch to.

Up: New Fans!

As I mentioned above, seeing such a high closing rate is compounded by the fact that 90% of our sales are to new faces. New faces to me, proves several fun notions. It stands to argue that seeing new folks continually buy our li’l rags proves our product (and likely our passion and pitch) are worth their mettle. It also stands to consider then that the audience for sequential fiction isn’t on the outs like some would have you believe. While yes, I’m sure DC and Marvel and the like aren’t thriving on the racks like they used to, with the continuing growth of the convention scene, we’re seeing a real change to the shape of the market at large. While fans may not flock to the local comic shop every Wednesday as we’d all hope… New York Comic Con continues to instill in me the idea that maybe the fans are just more apt to explore and sample when they can meet creators face to face.

Down: Our Old Friends! Buses! The Price of Tater Tots!

OK, call this my little rib and stick at those we know and love (and New York at large). We’re two days into the convention, and no one save for Media Goddess herself, Martha Thomas, has made pains to say hello. While our editor Mike Gold dined with Debutantes and Dames at the Puck Building Party, and other East Coast Corroborators did whatever it is they do, they’ve not even waved a “Hi, and go ­hug­ yerself!” to we bearded lads. And on top of it, tonight I paid two dollars to upgrade my fries to tater tots, only to be given five of them as a serving. Sorry New York, Chicago understands portion size. And before some crazy Yankees fans point me to Manny’s or what-have-you, Mid Town and sore asses aren’t conducive to jaunts elsewhere. But I digress.

Ups, Down, and All Arounds:

Ultimately, New York Comic Con thus far has been everything we’d hoped it would be. Our sales are tracking on point as desired. Matt and I have enjoyed a few commissions. Our tablemate Jim is learning some valuable lessons (and apparently eating a hell of a lot better than us). And our hosts, the lovely Glenn and Brandy Hauman have been nothing short of perfect inn-keepers. We remain hopeful with two days left on the show floor, the best is yet to come.

Once again, Unshaven Comics would like to remind you they are at booth 1361, and could sure use some extra business to make life dandy. Stop by and mention this article? And Marc will personally thank you, and toss in some free swag with your book purchase.

 

Mike Gold: The Internet – Meet Your New Boss…

Doctor DoomThe thrill is gone / The thrill is gone away / The thrill is gone baby / The thrill is gone away – Roy Hawkins and Rick R. Darnell

I was going to write about something else today. Actually, I had several topics to choose from. Then I had a conversation with Glenn Hauman, the invisible hand of ComicMix, and then this screed shot out of my fingers.

As this new medium flourished, I was excited about the opportunity for anybody to communicate in virtually all ways (print, audio, video; instantly, eventually, historically) and to do so directly without outside interference. As I’ve said before, I am a first amendment absolutist: people should be able to express themselves the way they want, in the form they want, using the language they feel most appropriate. The Internet, I felt, allowed all of us to communicate without these ridiculous and unwarranted barriers.

Sure, there’s a price to pay. There’s a lot of bullshit out there, options and outright lies presented as fact. And the rush to judgment that we see on cable’s 24 hour “news” channels (which, oddly, don’t offer very much in the way of news) is exceptionally prevalent. I literally come from the “If your mother says she loves you, check it out” school of journalism. But those are growing pains, and the outrageous lies and distortions generally are limited to sites where they wear their prejudices on their sleeves. I don’t except a eulogy about the three teenagers Hamas slaughtered in Israel to appear on an American Nazi Party website. Or vice versa.

I don’t want or need big business or the government – any government – to tell me what I cannot say… to the extent that there’s a difference between the two. But it didn’t take very long before big business did exactly that by banishing that which they find objectionable from their services.

Ironically, for me this started with Apple. They do not distribute magazines or books that they find violates their standards. Do they have the basic right to do this? Of course. It’s their tubes and wires. But they enforce these standards in a hypocritical manner. There is a ton of music, television and movies for sale on iTunes that Apple would not sell in electronic print form on iBooks, had that content been presented in that medium. And if the object in question is from a big name author or has an enormous amount of buzz about it, well, often it manages to be listed on their service anyway.

Does this differ from, say, Wal*Mart? No… except that Wal*Mart (et al) is consistent. If it doesn’t meet Wal*Mart’s standards, popularity or mass-salability doesn’t enter into it. Playboy could have an interview with Jesus Christ and Wal*Mart wouldn’t stock it.

And then we have Google.

Google may very well be the Doctor Doom of the Internet. They have so much information on each and every one of us that the National Security Agency actually tapped (taps? who’s to know?) Google’s files in their spying-on-the-citizenry jag. That’s bad and ugly and evil, but for the purpose of this particular column it illustrates their corporate culture.

If Google divines what you’re posting is objectionable, they de-list you. In fact, this almost happened to ComicMix. If you’re de-listed by Google, you are screwed. You are left alone in outer space, where nobody can hear you scream.

There’s a good graphic novel in that. But I doubt Apple and Google and their fellow travelers would allow you to use their tubes and wires to sell it.

“Meet your new boss,” Pete Townshend famously wrote. “Same as your old boss.”

And I won’t get fooled again.

Marc Alan Fishman: I Am Hook, LaForge, and Wolverine.

Every so-often, the social media circuit regurgitates little worthless surveys. Perhaps your news feed is clogged with them? While I appreciate Facebook’s hide feature… frankly, I just scroll past then without a thought. Except when I – the ego-driven ne’er-do-well I am – determine that yes, indeed I must know which Disney Villain I am. And a few minutes later, I’m delivered output as thorough, reputable, and savory as a strip-mall psychic’s buy-one get-one reading. I figured as I had nothing to bitch about this week (unlike the feminists, legends, and/or afrofuturists that share column space with me) I might as well take a few of the quizzes for you, my adoring public. Allow me to help you figure out the absolute amazing enigma that is Marc Alan Fishman.

 

I am Randy Savage. Faced with the notion of Which Old School Pro Wrestling Legend Are You? I was quite pleased to be told I am the Macho Man. Aside from being the single greatest pitch man for salty meat sticks ever, Randy Savage was widely known amongst wrestling fans as the smart-mans Hulk Hogan. I’d like to think that I too am more a technical talent – suited more for the thinking my way out of a situation rather than with brute force – and that my passion seeps out of my pores. That… and I’d look amazing in a rhinestone cowboy hat and matching robe with wings. OH YEAH!

 

I am Michael Stipe of R.E.M. That’s me in the corner. That’s me in the spot. Light. Losing my relig– sorry. When faced with Which 90’s Alt Rock Dude Are You? quiz,  it’s fitting I’d get someone considered tame in comparison to the others I could have been. Stipe is a thinker, not a drinker. He and his band represented a shift toward arty music videos, and lyrics that might make you think. He was angsty, which I can be from time to time. But beyond much else? Michael Stipe is a man of solid convictions. I’d like to think I’m getting there. I should note he also wrote a song about Andy Kaufman, and I loved Andy Kaufman. So, there’s that.

 

My Disney Best Friend is Pascal from “Tangled”. Well, the Internet can’t be right all the time. Or maybe it is? Frankly, I’ve not seen the Disney flick in question. According to the results though “You’ve got a dream and you just want to explore the world and live a little.” And you know what? That’s actually very true. I do have a dream that The Samurnauts, and my lil’ company, Unshaven Comics, would be successful. And through that success we might just get to see a bit more of the world than we currently do on nights, weekends, and occasional holidays. And if that means a weird spiral tailed lizard is along for the ride? So be it.

 

I am Ron Weasley. Well, I don’t have a ton of siblings (in fact I have none). But I did wind up with a detail oriented muggle, and our child is adorable. I’d like to think my parents could provide better for me than a busted-ass wand, and rat for a pet. At the end of the semester though, I am a loyal friend, and fierce in defense of them when the going gets tough. Per the quiz I am “the funny one in your group of friends, but sometimes you use humor to hide your insecurities.” And well, what can I say? I am Michael Stipe. So, I’m sure there’s times when I let my insecurities be buried. But hey, Everybody Hurts.

I am Comic Book Guy. Look kiddos, I swear, I didn’t plan this. But in the grand scheme of Springfield? Well, I can’t complain. I am sarcastic when push comes to shove. I covet trinkets, gadgets, and the like. And if I were to have a heart-attack, I imagine I too would envision how to best pose dramatically before kneeling before Zod. Cheeseburgers and loneliness do make for a terrible combo. Lucky for me I married my own Agnes Skinner long ago. I must hope though, that my scion turns out better than Seymour. Best. Outcome. Ever.

 

I am Leonard Hofstader. Oddly enough, it seems fitting. When I look to Unshaven Comics as my real-life Big Bang Theory gang, it’s clear to me at least that I am leader by default. That being said, that means Kyle is Sheldon, and Matt is Howard. Which is really strange, since Matt isn’t jewish. Kyle, I should also add, may be particular in his nature… but no where near annoying. But I digress. “Straddling the line between sweet and sarcastic, you can transition between social circles with ease.” I couldn’t put it better myself. Growing up, I was a nerd. Hell, I still am. But within any other circle – be they jocks in gym class, my fellow choir-geeks, or the arty-kids… I was never at a loss for words or good humor. I’d like to note though: I can handle dairy products just fine.

 

I am Kirk. Well, what more would I say to that? Much like Leonard, my Kirk-ness is embolden to my natural leadership qualities. I’d like to think that I tend to surround myself with a talented crew who make me look better. Like here at ComicMix for example. Mike Gold, my Spock – keeping me on the correct path, in his own cryptic ways. Glenn Hauman, my Scotty – always ensuring the ship is operating efficiently (except when he’s stranded somewhere without an internet connection…). And of course, Michael Davis, my Uhura – c’mon, I had to go there.

 

Suffice to say, I am many things to many people. Clearly, you now know though, who I really am. For the record? I am Marc Alan Fishman, and I am not like any fictional being. I am me, and dag nabbit, I’m happy to just be myself.

Mike Gold: The Great Editorial Squeeze

Gold Art 140205Originally I had written something entirely different. I thought it was brilliant. Some of my best writing ever. Then I thought again. Then I spiked it. The piece was… inappropriate. This contradicts one of my personal commandments: thou shalt not edit thyself. Worse still, I’m now so late our ace peefrooter won’t have time to peefroot this. So there are likely to be all kinds of stupid mistakes here.

That’s the biggest hassle in the world of publishing – print, online, or metaphorical. The Dreaded Deadline Doom. I think Stan Lee coined that phrase, maybe Roy Thomas. Whomever. It’s as brilliant as it is accurate. The closer we get to an unmet deadline, the closer we get to tipping over one of those dominos left over from the Vietnam War. There’s a process in producing comics. This process is not written in stone, but it’s based upon two premises that most certainly are: 1) unlike movies, comics is a sequentially collaborative process and there is stuff that happens to a person’s work after it is delivered. If the writer is late, the penciler is squeezed. If the penciler is late, the inker is squeezed… and so on down the food chain.

It all winds up in the production bullpen, and those folks are always squeezed. Just ask ComicMix’s crack production director, Glenn Hauman. He’s been squeezed so hard for so long – he started out in DC’s production department at least a dozen reboots ago – he is often confused for an accordion.

But that’s not just the last place in the chain… it’s also the last place you want to squeeze. Those are the unsung heroes that quietly fix everybody else’s mistakes after the editor painstakingly marks them up. Of course, if the editor is squeezed, more mistakes happen. Making a mistake about correcting a mistake doesn’t balance the situation and you can never predict what’s going to go wrong.

Time is not a cure. Time is a death threat.

As an editor, I never give talent phony deadlines. When we start working, I tell folks I deal the cards face up and the deadlines I give are the real deal. Most writers and artists with any experience do not believe me.

Not at first.

This is not just a plea for efficiency. It’s a matter of respect. I respect the talent to do their job in a professional manner, and everybody should respect their fellow collaborators – including those at the end of the process, the color artist and the production artists.

Deadlines are not set in order to annoy the talent. I realize there’s some confusion on that point, because real editors enjoy annoying the talent – it’s our escape valve from the Dreaded Deadline Doom. You shouldn’t have to be Otis Redding to understand respect.

•     •     •     •     •

A follow-up to Michael Davis’ column , posted in this space yesterday afternoon.

Wait. What? You’re black?

Damn! Go know!

THURSDAY MORNING: Dennis O’Neil

THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Tweeks!

FRIDAY MORNING: Martha Thomases

FRIDAY AFTERNOON: You’ll see on February 14th!

 

MINDY NEWELL: You Say You Want A Resolution…

Newell Art 140106Well, 2014 is six days old, and though I’m not too maudlin about it, I’m glad 2013 is over. It wasn’t my worst year ever – that was pretty much 2006, though 2009 does come close, for reasons that I’m not going into here because some things do have to stay off this page – but 2013 was the year I lost my father. No, he isn’t dead, but he is gone for good, and this is how I know.

We (Glenn, Alix, Jeff, and Meyer Manuel) were visiting my parents on New Year’s Day. I had brought my father up to an apartment from the nursing home division; my parents live in a continuous care adult community. We were having either a late lunch or an early dinner, and one thing about my dad, he hasn’t lost his appetite. He eats everything put in front of him, even eggs, which, in fact, he actively disliked. Anyway, my brother made a joke about how there’s nothing wrong with Daddy’s appetite and how, even when he was in a coma last year, somehow if we put food in his mouth he ate it. We all laughed (a sad, kinda bitter laugh, I think), and then all of a sudden my mom started coughing. She kept coughing. Hard. And all of a sudden I realized she wasn’t just coughing, she was choking.

I went to give her the Heimlich, but Glenn had realized what was going on the same time I did and got to her first. It took a couple of too many abdominal thrusts for comfort, but it worked, thank God. Mom sat down, cried just a little bit because she was really scared there for a moment (of course), drank some water… and I realized that my dad had just sat there during all this and continued to eat – no, wolf down – his french fries. He had been completely unaware of what was happening to his wife of nearly 66 years, of what had nearly happened. All he knew was his french fries. He was just staring at wherever it is that he stares at and eating his french fries. “That is not my father,” I thought. “My father is gone.”

So, so long, 2013. I hope the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

And hello, 2014.

What would I like to do this year?

Like Marc Alan Fishman, my fellow columnist here at ComixMix, I’d like to get back to the comics shop this year. Unlike Marc, I stopped going because of the financial blues I’ve been living with for the last couple of years, and I dream of the day I have real discretionary income in my checkbook register again. I’m making inroads, but sometimes the dream is overtaken by the nightmare, if you know what I mean.

I’d like to get off my procrastinating ass and talk to Editor Mike about a story idea that’s been floating in the back of my head for more than a couple of years. It could encompass all sorts of genres if I’m a good enough writer – a little bit of soap opera, a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of thriller, a little bit of romance, but not a little bit country or a little bit rock n’ roll. It can address a bunch of issues like racism and politics and evolution and love and hate and family and madness and sanity. That is, if I’m a good enough writer, which is the fear that keeps me procrastinating.

I’d like to stop thinking that my dreams are merely the flights of fancy of some crazy woman and act on them. Like, what the hell, why not work into a script the story of my father and his sharing a bottle of Scotch with Lord Mountbatten in Burma during World War II to Dreamworks and Steven Spielberg, whose father was a chief mechanic who was responsible for keeping those P-51 Mustangs flying the Hump in the C-B-I theatre during the war? The worse that could happen is that I hear nothing.

Or write it up as a short story and submit it to, oh, I don’t know, where do you submit a war story these days? The web is my best bet, but exactly what site? I’ll have to buy a current copy of Writer’s Digest.

Or maybe I can do in comic form after all, only then I have to find an artist. God, I wish I could draw and just do my own stuff; the toughest part of being a writer only (only a writer?) in a visual medium is seeing everything in your head so clearly but not being able to translate the whole picture onto the page.

Did I ever tell you that artists amaze me?

I’d like to go to San Diego this year. Yep, I’ve never been to the San Diego Comic-Con. I can hear all the groans now from those who have walked the floors of the convention center, hear all the complaints about how it’s not about comics anymore, that it’s now a marketing tool for Hollywood. But I don’t care. I’d like to experience it at least once. I’d like to go to some panels and I’d like to star gaze just a little bit (but not collect autographs because autographs have never interested me) and I’d like to see people I haven’t seen in too many years and I’d like to go to the beach and watch the sun set into the Pacific Ocean instead of rising up out of the Atlantic.

And I’d like to write Wonder Woman again, and do another Lois Lane book. I’d like to sit down over a cup of tea (I don’t drink coffee) or a glass of wine with Gail Simone and meet Kelley Sue DeConnick and hang out with Martha Thomases (I want to pick up knitting again, Martha!). I’d like to be on a panel about women in comics at a convention and talk about the harassment going on and challenge some of these jerks in person – you want me take me on, you’re welcome to try, assholes.

And I’d like to say thanks to everybody who read my column in 2013. Thanks to everybody who wrote in response here on ComicMix and on Facebook and the League of Women Bloggers. Thanks for all the different opinions and the discussions they engendered.

And thanks to Mike Gold and Glenn Hauman and Adriane Nash and everybody at ComicMix who continue to let me open my big mouth right here, every week, every Monday, for better or for worse.

Happy New Year!

TUESDAY MORNING: Jen Krueger

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindy Newell: Stuffing Ourselves

Newell Art 131202I may have been a nice Jewish girl, but my family loved Christmas time. It started at Thanksgiving, when we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and watched Santa on his sleigh welcome the holiday season to New York. We lived on a block trisected by three streets, and in the middle of this triangle was an island. On this island was a tall, beautiful spruce fir. Every year after Thanksgiving all us neighbors went out and had a block party and the fathers hung lights on the tree, making it into our own private tannenbaum.

Every year my mom took my brother, two of our friends and me into the city on Christmas Eve. We skated at the ice rink at Rockefeller Center and then went across the street to watch the movie (I particularly remember Father Goose, with Cary Grant and Leslie Caron) and the Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall, which always included the nativity scene with camels and elephants and horses and donkeys walking across the stage and the angels singing O Holy Night and Adestes Fideles (Come, All Ye Faithful) and ending with the Rockettes performing the “March Of The Wooden Soldiers,” complete with the high kick line.

Sometimes when we came out of the theater it was snowing, and we would walk with flakes falling on our shoulders and our hats and feeling the magic of the night down Fifth Avenue to look at the Christmas windows of Saks and Lord & Taylor, which were always amazing, animated dioramas and for which there were always lines and lines of families enjoying the night, too. And then we’d get home and my mother and father would tuck us into bed and hang up our Santa stockings and my brother and I would go to sleep with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads.

And it all started with Thanksgiving, when we stuffed ourselves on turkey and brisket and family and friends and love.

That was once upon a time.

“I think commercialism helps Christmas and I think that the more capitalism we can inject into the Christmas holiday the more spiritual I feel about it ”

Craig Ferguson

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

“Money’s scarce

Times are hard

Here’s your fucking

Xmas card”

Phyllis Diller

“Thanksgiving openings are the new normal.”

Jose Pagliery, Money, CNN.com, November 30, 2013

Here’s a list of chain stores that were open on Thanksgiving: Wal•Mart. Target. Best Buy. Sears. Staples. J.C. Penney. Macy’s. Toy R Us. Old Navy. Kohl’s. Lord & Taylor. Michael’s. Express. Dick’s Sporting Goods. Abercrombie & Fitch. K-Mart. And most of the larger shopping malls.

I am disgusted.

I thought it would stop after the 2008 death of Jdimytai Damour. Remember him? As the New York Times reported on November 29 of that year, “Mr. Damour, 34, who was known to his friends as Jimbo, or Jdidread because of his dreadlocks, got his job at Wal•Mart through Labor Now, an agency for temporary workers. He had been trying to hold back a crush of shoppers pressing against the store’s sliding-glass double doors, the authorities said. Just before the store’s scheduled 5 a.m. opening, they said, the doors shattered under the weight of the crowd. Mr. Damour was thrown to the floor and trampled

Wal•Mart was fined only $7,000 by the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), the branch of the Labor Department responsible for employee health and safety. And, according to the Huffington Post, they are still fighting that charge – “For a company with sales of $466 billion last fiscal year, the $7,000 fine from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration represents little more than a single store’s rounding error. Wal•Mart would have vastly outspent that sum simply in legal fees devoted to fighting the penalty. But the world’s largest retailer is less concerned with the monetary fine than with the broader implications of the case. A negative ruling could compel Wal-Mart and other retail companies like it to take additional safety precautions for workers or face new liabilities.”

And you wonder why I’m disgusted?

But surprisingly, at least to me, I discovered – after doing a little research on the web – that Wal•Mart, the most succesful “Big Box” store, did not start this atrocity. It was K-Mart, which has opened its doors to Turkey Day shoppers since 1991. Of course many supermarkets and grocery stores have always been open on Thanksgiving, at least for a few hours, to the “Thank God’s!” of all the cooks who find themselves suddenly short on stuffing or cranberry sauce or coffee or any of the numerous condiments used when preparing the big bird. I can remember making a few runs to Shop-Rite and Shelley’s for my mom over the years, and those memories are further back than 22 years. And of course I’m aware of the importance of Thanksgiving weekend to the year’s bottom line being in the black instead of the red for retailers.

But I’m still disgusted.

And I am sure that next year even more stores will be open.

Just so we can stuff ourselves on Thanksgiving.

TUESDAY MORNING: Glenn Hauman

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis