Tagged: Greg Rucka

Ed Catto: Baby Got Back

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but in comics we do. That’s what sells it. Oftentimes, comics retailers need to make pre-ordering decisions based largely on just a comic’s cover.

Comics, like people, should be enjoyed for what’s on the inside. Corny but true. But like the B-side of a vinyl record, sometimes there’s glory on the flipside, like with comic book back covers.

Emil Novak, Sr. runs a great store in Buffalo called Queen City Bookstore. It’s overflowing with comics and lost treasures, most reflecting Emil’s ravenous appetite for great comics. During my last visit there, I stumbled across The Spirit: The First 93 Dailies reprint comic from 1977. The front cover sported a heroic Eisner Spirit image, but the back cover, showing an exhausted Spirit collapsed in the snow was the cool part. And the courageous use of negative space really stood out. I really liked that back cover, and that sparked today’s topic.

We need not only reach back into the past for examples. There are so many clever back covers on comics today. Two, in particular, come to mind:

  • Cliff Chiang’s creating some gorgeous wrap-around covers for his Image Paper Girls series, written by Brian Wood. Essentially the back cover is part of the front cover, but with Cliff’s strong sense of design and deliberate use of color, the back covers have a life of their own,
  • Greg Rucka and Michael Lark swing the pendulum far in the opposite direction for their brilliant Lazarus This is a series set in the near future that provides a stark look at the impact of wealth concentrated amongst the few. The creators provide faux back cover advertisements each issue. The back cover adds to the story as if one of the storyline’s companies or ‘governments’ has created an ad. World-building via the back cover, if you will.

Back Cover Advertising

Advertisements can also create memorable back covers. I have fond memories of Silver Age back covers selling Aurora superhero model kits. The best ones leverage Curt Swan or Murphy Anderson art for on-the-nose authenticity.

And while Land of the Giants, Rat Patrol or The Invaders weren’t TV shows I was watching back then, I sure was fascinated by their back-cover model kit ads. The Aurora monster model kits back cover ads probably deserve an entire column devoted to the creepy thrill and chills they inspired a generation of readers.

Toys ads could be hit or miss. I never warmed up to – or even understood – Skittle Bowl, despite ads illustrated by Murphy Anderson or featuring Don (Get Smart) Adams, I really loved the back-cover ads for Mattel’s Hot Birds and rrRUmblers. They must have worked. All the kids on my block collected these toys for about half a minute.

Professional Backstory

Over the years, my fascination with back covers has spilled over to my professional career. I’ve helped develop a few back covers of which I’m proud. A few examples:

  • Pagemaster was the movie that had everything going for it – a great message, hot movie stars, and a top pop music performer. It was a “can’t miss.” I was excited to lead Nabisco’s promotional program with the picture. But then, the hot movie star got weird (Macaulay Culkin) and the pop music performer (Michael Jackson) got weirder. The picture fizzled, but not before we created a great comic ad for the program. We used one of the young actors from the TV ad and we ran on the back covers of Marvel Comics for a couple of months in 1994.
  • At Bonfire Agency, our geek-focused marketing firm, and GeekRiot Media, we ran quite a few ads on the back covers of comics from lots of different publishers: IDW, Boom! Studios, Archie, Dynamite, Aspen and more. It was invigorating, and personally fulfilling, to get big brands partnering with publishers beyond the “big two”.

Coming Next Issue

I think there’s something special about advertising the “next issue” on the back cover. I could go on and on about how we live in an anticipatory culture, always looking ahead to what’s next. Have we lost the ability to live in the moment? I don’t know. That’s a whole ‘nuther topic.

No matter: I still like using the back covers for next issues, or other comics by the same publisher. Recently, publishers like Titan and Black Mask started embracing this tactic.

Some of the best “coming next issue” back issues were on the flip side of Pacific Comic’s Somerset Holmes. It was a gorgeous comic with a gorgeous female lead, based on a gorgeous real-life female creator. (There’s an epic tale behind it all that I’d like to get into one day.) Somerset Holmes’ back covers were creative and memorable – some of my favorites.

Advertising experts used to say that the back cover of any magazine is valuable real estate, as there’s a 50% change that a magazine will be put on a table with the back side up, I’m not sure if anyone ever truly believed that, but there’s no denying the charm of the oft-neglected comic book back cover.

•     •     •     •     •

Oh, and in the spirit of “coming next time”: my next column builds off my recent Back Issue article on the 80s comic Thriller! I’ve finally caught up with author Robert Loren Fleming and we’ve got some long-lost secrets to reveal!

 

Ed Catto: Inside the Gold Mind

I’m a sucker for crime fiction, whether it’s served up by Raymond Chandler or by Harlan Coben. As a kid, my passion for adventure stories started it all. But like a Chevy Impala on a rain-soaked highway, my interest slid all over the road. I’d devour mysteries, detective novels, pulps and crime thrillers.

In the world of comics, lately we’ve been treated to outstanding fantastic crime thrillers. Ed Brubaker leads the way, of course, with his various crime noir and spy series. Greg Rucka’s stuff is always fun and I hope Oni publishes more Stumptown soon. And other publishers, like Dynamite, IDW, and Boom! Studios have been providing strong contributions as well.

In the traditional book world, Hard Case Crime has been on the forefront of hardboiled crime fiction. Charles Ardai is the man behind it all, and he combines his love for this genre with a great eye for pulpy artwork to create some of the best crime thriller books and paperbacks out there. Some of the books are new, others are lost classics.

It’s been refreshing to enjoy favorite classic detective authors, like Brett Holiday and Mickey Spillane as Hard Case Crime re-publishes their works. Newer favorites, like Max Allan Collins and Lawrence Block are there too. I like to try new authors too. I enjoyed John Lange’s newly re-printed Zero Cool… but then I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a pseudonym for Michael Crichton.

Recently, Hard Case Crime has teamed with their distributor Titan Comics to create a line of comics. Like Hard Case paperbacks, these comics’ covers, titles, and premises all grab readers by the throat and pull ‘em in.

Fay Dalton’s stunning Normandy Gold #1 cover piqued my interest when I first saw it in Diamond Previews. It’s a hauntingly beautiful illustration evocative of every paperback and movie poster you saw in the 70s. Titan offers a number of others #1 variants by other artists, including a quiet, but menacing, portrait of the heroine by interior artist Steve Scott.

Normandy Gold is a fish-out-of-water story. A small town sheriff hunts for her sister’s killer in the big city. The big city, in this case, is Washington, DC. And it’s set in the swinging seventies.

The retro-cool seventies vibe is important to this series. I almost wish there was a suggested soundtrack. All the tropes are here: the big cars, the dorky men’s sports coats, phones with cords, bushy mustaches and women’s fashion. But they are presented with a stark authenticity and effectively immerse the reader into the story.

That’s in a big part due to series artist Steve Scott. He’s a gifted artist with a great line, top notch rendering skills, and a natural pacing. You may have seen his mainstream work, including a few Batman stories a few years ago. Here, Scott effortlessly presents all those big gas-guzzling cars, opulent office buildings and Sonny-and-Cher vintage fashions with a natural ease that keeps you in the story and keeps you hungry for more.

The other creators are a big deal too. The creative team of Megan Abbott and Alison Gaylin write the series. I’m not familiar with their work but after this, I want to read more from them.

This past week there was some outrage – Outrage!, I tell you – over the fact that the talented James Robinson, obviously a man, was taking over DC’s Wonder Woman comic series. As the Wonder Woman movie was such a hit and was driven by a female director and a female lead, some outraged fans assumed a female writer should helm the comic.

Look, we need diversity in all areas. Culturally, we’re all at a point where we all understand that everyone benefits from hearing lots of different voices. But that shouldn’t mean that only women write female characters or only Chinese-American writers write Chinese-American characters. In fact, just last night I had a passionate “front porch’ discussion with my wife and long-time comics expert John Cresco. And no, no wine or beer was involved. Maybe next time.

But it is fantastic when new venues open up to new voices. So here we have a female detective written by female writers. I tend to think, however, that Abbot and Gaylin got this writing gig because they are damn fine writers, not because of their sex. Normandy Gold #1 is crisp storytelling with just enough hints into a complicated character’s background. The reader is intrigued, but not rushed.

I hope fans concerned about finding opportunities for female writers give this series a try, and/or pick up back issues of Chelsea Cain’s recent Mockingbird.

Be warned, as, with so many hardboiled detective stories, there are a few salacious scenes. But they are important to the story and almost expected in this genre.

Normandy Gold is at least the second comic heroine with that catchy first name. In Milton Caniff’s long-running newspaper strip, Terry and the Pirates, Normandy Drake was the niece of a wealthy man who had captured the heart of one of the lead characters. I hope this Normandy likewise captures fans’ hearts.

The female detective in comics is a small subgenre. Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty’s Ms. Tree was such a treasure. Roy Thomas and Dick Giordano’s Jonni Thunder, A.K.A.Thunderbolt was also a favorite (more on her later). The torch has been passed recently to well-rounded characters like Dex Parios and Jessica Jones. Normandy’s a welcome addition to the club. I’m eager for the next issue.

Ed Catto: Fight Like a Girl

It’s a good time to fight like a girl. The new Wonder Woman movie is a big hit. Everyone from Billy Tucci to my mom seems to like it. Fox News managed to complain about the level of patriotism in the movie, but whatever; every party needs a pooper.

I thought it was great fun, and yesterday’s Biographic strip in sundry newspapers taught me something I didn’t remember. It turns out Wonder Woman’s first animated appearance was on an episode of The Brady Kids. It predated Superfriends by one year! This show was a spin-off of the Brady Bunch series. Even as a young fan, I remember watching this cartoon was pretty painful. At that time, I preferred Marcia Brady to Wonder Woman… but, hey, it’s still cool that it actually happened.

Wonder Woman is very busy in comics right now. Beyond her regular “Rebirthed” series and her DC Super Girls adventures, the Wonder Woman ’77 version of the character has been on a tear with Batman and Bionic Woman team-ups. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed the Batman ’66 crossover in particular. Jeff Parker is adding onto the TV mythology in clever and unexpected ways. Batfans shouldn’t miss these.

Beyond the Amazonian Princess, currently there’s quite a few top-notch comics where the protagonist is fighting like a girl… because she is one… including:

  • Mother Panic – This wonky DC/Young Animal series about features an unlikely, and unlikable, female protagonist. But I really enjoy it and art by Tommy Lee Edwards and Jon Paul Leon has been gorgeous and inspiring.
  • Velvet – Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s excellent 007esque series just ended, but Batwoman is a consolation as Epting has continued onto this series. His art is just superlative there too.
  • Lazarus – Greg Rucka and Michael Lark deliver a world-building drama that continues to ratchet up the tension in each issue. It’s been quite a ride and show’s no sign of stopping.
  • Invisible Republic – Produced by the super-talented, and super-likable, team of Gabriel and Corinna Bechko, this Image series is literally a world-building story. It tells the tale of Maia McBride and her involvement with and efforts on behalf of a revolutionary establishing a society. It’s great creepy fun. A mystery wrapped in an adventure wrapped in an enigma wrapped in social commentary.

While The New York Daily News carries Biographic (I really buy this paper each Sunday for the full page Prince Valiant), The New York Times offered readers a surprise this weekend too. What a treat their all-comics version of the Sunday magazine was! Hope you were able to snag a copy of that, but if not, check it out here.

Their New York Times Book Review section also reviewed The Spectacular Sisterhood Of Superwomen: Awesome Female Characters from Comic Book History by Hope Nicholson.  This looks to be a fun book by a passionate author with an impressive pedigree. Published by Quirk, this is another one of those books in the mold of Craig Yoe’s Super Weird Heroes or Jon Morris’s The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History.

In fact, if vintage super heroines are your thing, I really must be sure you are aware of Mike Madrid’s The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and The History of Comic Book Heroines, Divas, Dames & Daredevils: Lost Heroines of Golden Age Comics. He even gave the “bad guy women” their due in Vixens, Vamps & Vipers: Lost Villainesses of Golden Age Comics.

And this all leads me to another Fangirls Lead the Way Panel. I’ll be moderating this one at Syracuse’s Salt City Comic Con on the first day of the show, June 24th. This is looking to be an engaging convention with wonderful guests. I’m expecting some cool discussions and insights at this panel, mainly because this one always brings out the best in the panelists and the audience.

(Oh, and in case you’re wondering – we can’t announce any panels for San Diego Comic-Con quite yet… so stay tuned.)

My panelists in Syracuse include Sally Heaven of Fangirl Shirts. This entrepreneurial apparel company will be exhibiting on the show floor, and I’m excited to have her on the panel. Sally’s a spitfire and comes to every comic-con with passion, energy…and really cool T-shirts! Connie Gibbs, of Black Girl Nerds always has good insights to share and brings so much to the party. it will be great to see her again. And we’ve got a few surprises too.

This one will be at 2:00 in the “Hall of Justice” on the Saturday of Salt City Comic-Con. I’ll let you know how it all goes.

•     •     •     •     •

For more info on all the panels at the Syracuse show check out their schedule!

Joe Corallo, Year One

uncanny-x-men-600-iceman

younganimal1I started writing a weekly column here at ComicMix a year ago today. The past year I’ve given my thoughts on a number of issues focusing in particular on diversity in comics. Those issues have often involved LGBTQ representation. I’m going use this column to highlight some of the topics I’ve covered, see if anything has changed or if any predictions I had made turned out to be true and maybe add in an anecdote or two.

The second column I wrote for ComicMix was about Coagula, DC Comics first and only trans superhero. A lot has happened this past year as far as Coagula is concerned. She went from being an obscure character created by Rachel Pollack from a still uncollected run of Doom Patrol, a long cancelled series with seemingly little hope of being brought back as a monthly comic to being the flagship title for Gerard Way’s Young Animal imprint. Additionally, Gerard Way has stated he wants to bring Coagula back in his run. I can’t stress to all of you enough how great it’s been see this series of events unfold.

Another early column was regarding Alysia Yeoh, Barbara Gordon’s trans friend, getting married. Though there was a lot of press around that and Alysia Yeoh seemed to be gaining some interest from fans the character, one of the incredibly few trans characters that DC Comics has, faded into obscurity.

I spent no less than two columns discussing my displeasure with Iceman being outed. It’s been a long time since I discussed it so I thought I’d follow up on that. It took until All-New X-Men #13 for Iceman to pursue men and not just talk about coming out to someone. He embarrasses himself in a gay bar, runs out and runs into a guy named Romeo (I’m not kidding) who happens to be an Inhuman. I guess they wanted to make sure that character was named Romeo to make sure you’d get that Marvel is borrowing from Shakespeare here. The poor handling of Iceman being gay would almost be funny if it wasn’t so sad. It’s somehow managed to be worse than I even thought it was going to be, and I came in with low expectations.

beaton-david-bowieBi-erasure came up a few times discussing characters like Constantine who was being portrayed as straight in the now-cancelled NBC series and Marvel’s Hercules being portrayed as straight despite the character’s history of bisexuality. Bi-erasure came up again as Harley Quinn was portrayed as straight in the Suicide Squad movie and most recently with Gal Gadot confirming that Wonder Woman would be portrayed as straight for the 2017 film. If you want a bisexual Wonder Woman, stick with Greg Rucka for now.

I still don’t think Poe and Finn from Star Wars: The Force Awakens are in love with each other.

When David Bowie passed away early in the morning of January 11th, I had tossed out my previously planned column (with editor Mike Gold’s permission) and wrote about how much David Bowie had meant to me over the years. One story I had forgotten to include was the one and only time I was in the same room as David Bowie. I was seeing a Nine Inch Nails at Hammerstein Ballroom here in New York with my friend Jake back in 2005 with the Dresden Dolls opening. After they opened up in VIP balcony seating above us came out Chris Rock, Marilyn Manson, and David Bowie. The standing room crowd started chanting just being in Bowie’s presence. It got so loud and disruptive that he opted to get up and leave until the house lights went off so as not to draw attention away from Nine Inch Nails. Real classy guy. If you’re unfamiliar, give his album Station to Station a try.

Sam Wilson became Captain America in Steve Rogers absence, but now Steve Rogers is back and Sam Wilson has been relegated to being the second class Captain America.

If you haven’t seen that Netflix Pee-Wee Herman movie, it’s good, but it’s no Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.

Eddie Berganza is still group editor of the Superman family titles at DC Comics which has continued to maintain exclusively male employment in the editorial department.

alters-1I’ve highlighted many different creators in the past year including Patrick Atangan, Steve Orlando, Rachel Pollack, Fyodor Pavlov, Howard Cruse, and Caitlin R. Kiernan.

Back in June, AfterShock Comics announced a new series, Alters, written by Paul Jenkins with art by Leila Leiz. The principle character, Chalice, is a trans woman and the hook for the series is “She can only be herself when she’s not herself.” I wrote about my reservations and the red flags I saw from reading the write ups. Paul Jenkins reached out to me and we conducted an interview for the following week. I want to stress that Paul was very polite and agreed to all the questions asked without any hesitation. Now that issue #1 is out we’ve seen the comic be met with mixed reviews, many of which unfortunately reaffirm my reservations based on the initial announcements. Paul Jenkins has done some incredible work including his Marvel Knights run on Inhumans which I can’t recommend highly enough, but the missteps in Alters would be hard to make a course correction on at this point, at least as far as I can tell.

Oh, and I took issue with Simon Pegg making Sulu gay in Star Trek Beyond against George Takei’s wishes even after asking George Takei first. It sounded like a cheap publicity stunt for some free marketing that backfired. Now that the movie is out, it happens that Sulu didn’t even get to kiss his husband in this movie who’s already barely in the film so it turns out I was right to be cynical about it. That column led to the liveliest discussion I’ve had on Facebook about anything I’ve written for ComicMix. Even more than that time I said we don’t need Iron Fist.

That about sums up my summing up of my first year as a columnist here at ComicMix. I’d like to thank Martha Thomases for suggesting me as columnist in the first place, Mike Gold for going with that suggestion, having faith in me to deliver on a weekly basis and for acting as a sounding board and mentor over the past year, and everyone else at ComicMix for being welcoming and supportive over the past year. Most of all, I’d like to thank everyone who’s been reading this column over the past year for your time and support.

I hope you’re as excited for what the next year will bring as I am.

 

Joe Corallo: Wonder Woman Queer; Restrictions Apply

linda-carter

wonder-woman-templetonLast week Greg Rucka, current writer on Wonder Woman Rebirth, confirmed in an interview that Wonder Woman is queer. Whether you agree with Greg Rucka’s approach on the character, it’s a good interview and worth your time. Basically, the ideas delved into are that since Wonder Woman’s home Themyscira is an all woman’s paradise that whereas they may not exactly consider it being queer since same sex relationships are all they could have, we would consider it queer by our standards. And certainly any women that come to our world from there would almost certainly be queer by our standards.

This is certainly important for queer representation in comics. However, there are some factors here that limit this milestone that are worth discussing.

First, Wonder Woman has not always been queer. Some sites like this one make the claim that she always was, and that was always creator William Moulton Marston’s intentions. We have absolutely no evidence that was his end goal. Yes, he was in a polyamorous relationship with two women and enjoyed BDSM. While he clearly drew on some of his bondage experience for the comic, that does not mean he wished the character to be openly queer and to ultimately acknowledge that in the comics. Seeing as William Moulton Marston passed away in 1947, there are little to know formal interviews his creating Wonder Woman. Believe it or not, people didn’t care a lot about comic creators back then.

When it comes to Wonder Woman in comics as well let’s keep in mind that Comics Code Authority. The code as it stood in 1954 banned any reference to sexual deviations as they saw it, so any form of queerness, straight through 1989. While both Marvel and DC had printed a few comics that could not get the Comics Code Authority seal, it was almost always for something related to drug use. Rarely if ever was the seal denied to Marvel or DC for queerness.

gal-gadot-wonder-womanThe companies followed those guidelines so closely that Chris Claremont was forced to drop the idea of a queer relationship between Mystique and Destiny from his X-Men run. As a result, multiple generations of Wonder Woman writers had no intention of writing her as queer as it would not be published. Furthermore, straight cis white men (with the arguable exception of William Moulton Marston being polyamorous) exclusively wrote Wonder Woman for over four decades until ComicMix’s own Mindy Newell got to write three issues in 1985 before George Pérez took the reigns after Crisis On Infinite Earths.

Since 1942, various incarnations of Wonder Woman appeared in comics, on TV, and now Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman in the DC Cinematic Universe. From cartoons spanning Super Friends, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited to the live-action Wonder Woman starring Lynda Carter, Wonder Woman has presented straight or at most warm and welcoming to other women. Her love interests didn’t stray far from Steve Trevor or Superman. With Steve Trevor cast in the Wonder Woman film debuting next summer in addition to the movie having mostly been filmed already, it is highly likely if not entirely impossible she will be presenting as queer in the film. Though I do fear there’s a chance she may appear queer briefly in the film in a cringe-worthy-for-the-male-gaze fashion. I’m hoping that won’t be the case.

wonder-woman-60sIt’s also worth noting that DC has retconned quite a few characters as being bisexual/queer. These characters include Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, John Constantine and now Wonder Woman. All of them are cis and white with only one of them being male. Many of the characters named have appeared in other media recently; when the Constantine show premiered on NBC, the showrunners stated they would not portray him as bisexual. Harley Quinn was just in the film Suicide Squad with no reference to her bisexuality. It’s hard to say you’re pushing for diversity when you’re pushing for it in the medium with the least amount of people engaging in it, while not demanding it with those characters’ counterparts on TV and in the movies.

The characters being cis and white are part of the limitations DC has when they retcon characters. The overwhelming majority of the characters created decades ago were straight cis and white. When you aren’t creating new characters and are retconning queerness into them, the result is a lot of white queer characters and few to no queer POC. This sort of backdoor diversity approach to queerness isn’t the best approach. As I’ve been advocating on this column for a while, we need more new queer characters and to use some of the queer characters who were made with the intention to be queer like Coagula, who granted is white, but would still bring DC’s trans superhero count from 0 to 1. DC needs new characters, not more backdoor diversity.

wonder-woman-race-colorWe have decades of a straight-coded Wonder Woman in our culture. Yes, she has often been a symbol of feminism, but we cannot conflate feminism with queerness. Whether people want to admit it or not, Wonder Woman being queer is a retcon and we need to treat it as such.

We can embrace this news as positive and push for more overt queerness in Wonder Woman, which is what I plan on doing. We can praise Greg Rucka for taking positive steps in this direction and for his handling of Wonder Woman. What we can’t do is go around acting like DC Comics has been progressive on this front for decades and we just didn’t realize it. And we can’t praise Wonder Woman being queer in the comics and not acknowledge how she’s presenting as straight in other media. That’s not how this works.

Mindy Newell’s Shortest Column Ever?

wonder woman rebirth

Some of you who read my Facebook posts might have already seen this, but I think that it’s important enough to repeat the story. It’s from the “See Something, Say Something” school.

Yesterday I was walking down the block to the store and I passed a parked car with two dogs in it and all the windows closed, including the sunroof. It was 95 degrees here in Bayonne, which meant that inside the car it must have been at least 10 degrees hotter. I went into the restaurant on the corner and asked if anyone owned this car. No. So, what to do? I waited about five minutes to see if the owner came back – nope. So I called the police. I’m happy to say they showed up immediately. They went from door-to-door up and down the street, and to the storefronts to see if they could find the owner. I asked them if I should wait by the car, but they said no, they could track down the bitch or bastard who had left the dogs with the license plate if need be, and, if worse came to worse, they would open the car. So I went home, but I am still wondering – no, really hoping – that they gave the unfeeling owner a summons.

I have a bunch of comics sitting on my kitchen table that I just haven’t had time to read. They include the “rebirthed” Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka (writer), Liam Sharp (artist), Laura Martin (colors) and Jodi Wynne (letters); Liam and Laura’s work on the covers alone is just amazingly beautiful. Tomorrow I am bring this comic plus the others (Superman: American Alien by Max Landis and Francis Manapul; Betty & Veronica by Adam Hughes; Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring, and VC’s Joe Caramagna; The Amazing Spider-Man by Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Guiseppe li, Cam Smith, Marte Gracia, and VC’s Joe Caramagna; and the “rebirthed” Superman by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray, John Kalisz, and Rob Leigh) to work to read at break and at lunch…if I get a break and lunch.

I have discovered a new tactic when defending Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, thanks to the New York Times. (Again, some of you may have already seen this on my Facebook page.) It is a video from the Times’ website, and it’s called “Voices From Donald Trump’s Rallies, Uncensored.” And boy, is it! It’s more than uncensored, people, it’s downright sickening. After the various people who are against Hillary watch this, I say, “Do you really want to be associated with people like this?” And then I add, “This time it’s not about politics, it’s about love of our country.” I have gotten various reactions, from nervous laughter to “Oh, shit,” to shrugs.

Seriously, folks…check it out.

Like I said, if you see something, say something.

And before I sign off for the week, I want to give a ginormous hug to my fellow columnist and beloved friend, Mr. John (Johnny-O) Ostrander. Last week John and his bromance-for-ever main man Mike Gold attended the World Premiere of Suicide Squad in the Big Apple, where Mr. Ostrander received accolade and so-long-deserved R-E-S-P-E-C-T, as Aretha sang it. I am so happy for you, John! I am kicking up my heels! I am dancing in the streets….

Simply put, this Jewess is plotzing!!!!!!

Love you, John!!!!

 

 

Ed Catto: Family Reunion – Geek Culture Style

xReunion Comic-Con 3

Reunions remind me that I am definitely in the “Lucky Guy” category. Celebrating recent wins and remembering the good times invigorate me – and I’ve done both at my recent reunions. I may need my time alone to recharge – it drives my creative process and keeps me sane – but deep down, I’m truly a social creature blessed with an abundance of family and friends.

SDCC-LogoBut I’m not the only one who’s been focused on reunions this summer. Choice Hotels’ recent advertising campaign targets all those folks who are undecided about attending an upcoming reunion. The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go? reinforces our natural indecision as a wide variety of people anxiously prepare for their reunions. “It won’t be the same without you, bro”, taunts one bearded man who undoubtedly represents a friend we all have. Take a look here if you haven’t seen it yet.

I’ve always enjoyed my college reunions. I haven’t missed many. I love being on campus without those ‘pesky’ students running off to interesting classes I’d like to follow them to or flaunting their seemingly endless time to relax in the Quad. Reunion is like a private party at Disneyworld without the other customers. Or the Bottled City of Kandor without the Kryptonians.

Reunion Comic-con 1And my family reunion was a fantastic time to reconnect with 25 family members, get some family business done (we’re struggling with the inevitable elder-care issues) and have fun together. It was another opportunity to hand-deliver Archie, Boom! and IDW comics to the upcoming Catto generation. I also played with my young nephew, explaining the story of Thor (via a Captain Action toy) and blaming the thunderstorm later that night on his mighty hammer. Fans of Greg Rucka’s Lazarus comic will understand when I say that my internal mantra for the weekend was “Family First,” a phrase I borrowed from that outstanding Image series.

Reuinon Comic-Con 2I believe that “Comic-Con International,” the event that the rest of the world calls San Diego Comic-Con or #SDCC, is an event with the same kind of reunion magic – generating energy and creativity, support and hope.

I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with Geek Culture for some time now. Business acquaintances have become friends. Favorite artists, writers and publishers, at the core of Pop Culture, have likewise evolved into business acquaintances and friends.

Oh sure, for me SDCC is a time filled with business meetings, panels and interviews. It’s also an opportunity to discover new ideas, new creations and new ways of doing business. But so many of us connect with old and new friends, celebrate shared passions and just hang out.

When I was a Vice President of Strategic Marketing at Reed Elsevier’s Exhibition division, I traveled to conventions across the US and around the world. In most cases, these tradeshows share a congenial element of friends gathering together. Some conventions are more business-like than others. But I don’t think any other industry’s trade show has the unique vibe of Comic-Con. Those other conventions simply don’t have that overwhelming passion baked into the DNA of the exhibitors and attendees at Comic-Con and the connections that come from that passion.

For so many of us, last week’s San Diego Comic-Con was a place to spend time with people that feel like family. Over 130,000 of them. And it was a time to learn news about shared interests and then share it – both within the tribe and beyond to the world at large. But like the mystical cities of Brigadoon or K’un Lun, this magical reunion in San Diego appeared all-too-briefly and then shimmered away. It was a the ideal spot to gather together and I never thought, “Should I stay or should I go?”

 

The Point Radio: The Revamped Mythology of GOTHAM

Of all the comic book based shows headed to television this fall, the one facing the biggest hurdle might be GOTHAM. After all, how can you do a Batman TV show without Batman? Show runner Bruno Heller and star Ben McKenzie shed some light on this and more , plus August was another good month for comic sales, but only two titles crack the 100K mark.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Mindy Newell: Lois Lane – That’s All

Newell Art 131230God bless my friend Corinna Lawson.

Or maybe not.

Though she did nothing wrong, and she’s totally innocent in this.

I was sitting here tonight wracking my brain while absentmindedly watching The Devil Wears Prada for the zillionth time (Meryl Streep just completely rocks as Miranda Priestley, a thinly veiled “version” of Anna Wintour of Vogue magazine) and surfing the web for ideas when I decided to check out Corinna’s column, Cliffs of Insanity, over at GeekMom.com. (Yes, I can multi-task.) Her November 15th column caught my eye, dealing as it does with a woman also close to my heart, though this woman only exists as a trademark of DC Entertainment, nee Comics.

I’m talking about Lois Lane, of course.

Corinna’s column, Lois Lane and Comic Culture, is ostensibly a review of the recently released Lois Lane: A Celebration of 75 Years, and, although I haven’t read it (more on that in a bit), Corinna doesn’t hesitate to point out that Lois has and is a bellwether of the status of women in comics. Quoting Corinna:

When there was a great movement to more independent women, Lois was smart, strong, funny, tough, and worthy of admiration. When there was a backlash after World War II, she morphed into something less admirable. Later, she regained some of her original intelligence and focus on journalism. But recently, not so much.

As society moves forward, the comic industry seems to be going backward.

I cannot help thinking the stories I hear constantly about numerous, well-known comic pros basically running their own version of “casting couches” at conventions, about those employed by the big two companies who create a hostile environment for female characters and creators, and about the ever-present dismissive attitude by a very vocal group of male comic fans who are hostile to women even reading superhero comics, has something to do with Lois Lane’s devaluation of the last few years.

Lois was created at a time when women were starting to have careers. In every telling of Superman’s origin, Lois is there, not necessarily as a love interest, but always as a tough, professional woman…”

Especially in the Fleisher Studio theatrical Superman animated shorts of the mid-1940s, in which Lois was snarky, resourceful, sarcastic, brave, contemptuous of Clark Kent, and didn’t moon over Superman.”

Yet Lois’s history is loaded with stories that are somewhat cringe-worthy.”

Yeah, they were. Especially in the Silver Age: Lois Lane: Bearded Woman; Lois Lane: Conehead; Lois Lane: I Married A Monster From Mars And Superman Was The Best Man!! (*choke*sob*) But those stories, silly as they were, are understandable as part of an era (which Corinna points out in her column) in which it behooved the U. S. government to get Madison Avenue and American industries, including the publishing industry, to make a concerted effort to get Rosie the Riveter out of the factory and back to kinder and kuche.

But Corinna also makes mention of some good stories about Lois, which I remember reading and also enjoyed: Wonder Woman #170, written by Phil Jimenez, in which Lois spends a day with Diana, and they get to talking woman-to-woman; and Adventures of Superman #631, by Greg Rucka, which is “Lois Lane: War Correspondent.”

But here’s where I started seeing red and getting really pissed off.

And I asked myself…

Should I write a column about how pissed off I am that (a) I didn’t even know about this book because no one from DC approached me about it; and (b) apparently, from Corinna’s review and from the book’s Amazon page, there is no mention of my Lois Lane 1986 mini-series, When It Rains, God Is Crying.

I mean, it’s one thing to understand why the press didn’t want to hear that I “beat” Gail – from Gail herself, I must add – at being the first WW writer in the history of the character, because if she isn’t, there’s no story and the DC PR department would have egg on their faces…

But to ignore a “seminal” Lois Lane story, seminal in that it was her book, the first in many, many years, and that it didn’t feature her running googly-eyed after Superman to prove he was Clark Kent, but dealt with an important issue which hasn’t gone away, and if anything, has gotten worse – there’s a reason Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is on television 24 hours a day…

…To ignore a story with absolutely magnificent artwork by the late, great Gray Morrow, who told me he was honored to be part of it…

…To ignore a story that Robert Greenberger, as editor, sweated over as he encouraged and guided me and Gray to do our best work…

…To ignore a story I researched and spoke to the FBI and state children’s services and policemen and doctors and nurses…

…To ignore a story into which I poured my heart.

And I wasn’t going to write about this, because it certainly wouldn’t be a smart thing to do, burning bridges and not “politically” advantageous and all that, but then, well, I figured, hey, I like to think of myself as an honest writer, I’ve written about my struggles with depression, I’ve written about my dad and my mom, I’ve shared a lot of things here, so fuck it, I decided, I’m going to share this too.

Yeah, it really pisses me off, people. And it hurts.

As Miranda Priestly would say:

“That’s all.”

TUESDAY MORNING: Jen Krueger

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold