Tagged: Jon Sable

Joe Corallo: Share Our Pride

I had other ideas of things I’d write about this week. I’ve been reading a lot of Jon Sable lately, so I was thinking of writing about that. That might be next week’s column. It was also Pride this past weekend, so I decided on a light piece on Pride with some comic and graphic novel recommendations. I’m still gonna recommend some stuff to you, but this piece isn’t going to be as light as I originally attended.

This year was the first year that the New York City Pride Parade here would be televised nationally since the first march nearly forty-eight years ago, a direct reaction to the Stonewall Riots. That is an incredibly big deal.

I attended as a spectator down Christopher Street across the street from the Stonewall Inn. The streets were packed and everyone seemed to be in the right mindset. One of the first groups to walk was the Pulse Nightclub remembrance from G.A.G., Gays Against Guns. They all dressed in white representing one of the forty-nine who were killed by that senseless shooting. This was very powerful both last year and this weekend and I’m sure will be a fixture of Pride for many years to come if not ‘til the very end.

As the parade continued I was able to work my way to a better view. Many floats went by packed with people from all sorts of groups. From pro-LGBT religious groups to Target and Citibank. I did quite enjoy that when the Citibank float was passing by my view that Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” was blasting from said float. The humor was not lost on me. And yes, Citibank, It is too late to say sorry for those Thank You Points I got screwed out of when you changed your policy.

Something happened during the parade that I should have expected, but didn’t.

There was a protest. And it happened just about right in front of me with a few people in the way to somewhat obscure it. At first we all had no idea what the protest was for. No one around me knew if this was an anti-LGBT protest, which was what many of us thought at first, or if it was a far-left protest… which is what it ended up being.

There were twelve protesters. They had an anti-police brutality/anti-corporation banner. Something about no justice, no pride. They intentionally stopped the parade in front of Stonewall and in front of the NYPD band.

The crowd was all over the place. Someone close by was chanting black lives matter, which is important but was confusing while we were still figuring out what the protesters were there for, which was not Black Lives Matter. Most of the protesters seemed to white men or at least white passing. Some of the crowd started chanting for the police to remove the protesters after ten or so minutes. Eventually the police did so to some cheers and some confusion. It was a peaceful process.

Despite this, it still left me feeling odd and conflicted. On the one hand a lot of people were standing around waiting and not quite understanding what was happening, many of the protesters appeared to be on the more privileged end of queer spectrum, and the parade itself is already an act of defiance with a lot of messages regarding resistance and proper representation of the entire queer spectrum. On the other hand, protest is a fundamental right. Telling anyone where and when protest is appropriate is antithetical to the entire process. It is a slippery slope and far too important a right to risk restriction, whether you agree with the protest or not. It was also handled so peacefully that having any criticism of it just seems a bit out of place.

Despite the fact that this was a nationally televised event, I was still nervous at what the police may do and wonder what could have been if it wasn’t nationally televised. And it was all the more troubling that this was right by Stonewall.

I don’t know how I feel about everything that happened there other than conflicted. I don’t have the answers, but it’s the kind of incident we should be discussing together.

I stayed and watched the parade for another a couple of hours before heading out. Afterwards, I swung past Carmine Street Comics, which had some queer comics creators promoting their work. It was a pretty queer day all around.

This year was an important year for Pride, just as every year before it and every year after that it happens. Some places across the world didn’t have as successful a Pride as we had this year and it’s important to know and remember that.

LGBT acknowledgement and respect doesn’t end here though; it’s year round even if Facebook doesn’t keep the Pride react. You can help support queer comics with queer creators by picking up comics like Iceman, America, and Detective Comics. You can pick up new graphic novels like Nothing Lasts Forever and Bingo Love. You can pick up comics and graphic novels from queer women of color like Mariko Tamaki, Gabby Rivera, Tee Franklin, and Vita Ayala or trans creators like Mags Visaggio, Fyodor Pavlov, Rachel Pollack and Lilah Sturges.

There are so many more creators like them out there too. Queer comics is a whole world in among itself and they produce some of the most thought provoking and forward-thinking comics you will ever read.

I hope you had a chance to celebrate Pride this month, and I hope you keep celebrating by reading the works of those creators and a whole lot more.

 

ComicMix Six: Comic Book Characters Who Were in the Olympics

It’s time for the Winter Olympics! That special time every four years where the world tunes in to watch athletes from all over compete for medals. I myself am reminded that perhaps I should take up running or some form of exercise other than getting up to grab myself a new book to read. Until that fateful day however, I bring to you this list of six comic book characters that were involved in the Olympics in one form or another.

  1. Cover to Jon Sable Freelance #7. Art by Mike G...

    Cover to Jon Sable Freelance #7. Art by Mike Grell.

    First on the list is Jon Sable.  A now freelance mercenary who previously was an athlete in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. After having witnessed the terrorist outrages in the Munich games, he married a fellow athlete and moved to Rhodesia. Becoming a game warden and a tourist guide for safari tours. Unfortunately however, life did not go so simply and he returned to the USA to go freelance.
    Not the happiest of Olympic tales to start out on, I know. But it is interesting to say the very least. You can also catch up on the latest Jon Sable right here, with Jon Sable: Ashes of Eden.

  2. (more…)

Mike Gold: Truth, Justice, and Spinelessness

Just as life is drifting into a lull, I can always count on Fox News to provide entertainment by going disproportionately apeshit. Case in point:

DC Comics made a big whoopdeedoo about one of their top characters coming out of the closet. Immediately, our friends at Fox said “It’s the end of the world! Superman is gay! Superman is gay!”

They were subsequently told Superman is not gay. Don’t tell Rick Santorum, but that caped dude Lois Lane’s been sleeping with is actually a strange visitor from another planet.

So Fox thought about it for a nanosecond and started braying “It’s the end of the world! Batman is gay! Batman is gay!”

They were subsequently told Batman is not gay. Perhaps they were also informed that psychiatrist Fredric Wertham beat them to that bullshit story over 60 years ago.

DC finally came clean and, as you undoubtedly know – particularly those of you who have been to your friendly neighborhood comic shop today – it’s Green Lantern who is gay. No, not the guy from last year’s unwatchable movie or the guy from this year’s better-than-expected CGI teevee series, not the black guy who was in the Justice League teevee show and has his own comic book and has been around for several decades, and not the guy with the Moe Howard reject haircut who was in the Brave and the Bold teevee show and also has his own comic book. Nor is it one of the hundred thousand or so space alien Greens Lantern. Nope. None of them.

It’s Alan Scott. The original Green Lantern. So original he predated the Green Lantern Corps by almost 20 years. The old dude who was ret-conned out of existence last year. Now he’s been reintroduced as a gay man.

The story received some press, much of it just shy of ridicule. Each piece I read was careful to point out that Alan Scott was not the guy in the comic books or in the movie. Each piece I read tried to justify its newsworthiness but came short. For good reason.

Showing the fourth-string (at best) Green Lantern to be gay is less than no big deal. Hal Jordan, yes. That would be a big deal. Barry (Flash) Allen, certainly. Wonder Woman, absolutely. Any one of what Warner Bros. refers to as the “family jewels” would have been newsworthy.

Gay characters in comics are no big deal. We introduced an ongoing, major gay character in Jon Sable Freelance in the early 1980s; having super-macho Sable deal with the revelation was unique for its time. A few years later, Marvel’s Northstar came out. Not a household name (nor was Alpha Flight – but the X-Men were), but a big deal for the time. Last week, Northstar got engaged, which was pretty cool. Over at Archie Comics, they introduced a gay character that Veronica Lodge fell for. That was an amazing story, a very courageous move for Archie because it is almost totally dependent upon newsstand sales and therefore was taking a risk of tainting its brand. Quite the opposite happened: Kevin Keller graduated from supporting character to mini-series star to his own title, all within a year.

In the face of growing acceptance of same-sex relationships, DC revealed its spinelessness by outing a character few people have heard of (you’d have to have been collecting social security for years for you to have been a reader of All-American Comics) and even fewer people care about. There was no risk of an Alan Scott movie or television series, no action figures at Toys R Us or Wal-Mart, no ancillary revenues put in jeopardy.

This is not a knock on the creative talent involved: James Robinson has been one of the best writers practicing the craft today and he’s held that status in my fanboy brainpan for quite a while. I don’t know if Alan Scott’s still got those kids; there’s no reason why he shouldn’t but that would show more guts than DC has offered thus far.

It is not DC Comics’ job to bring truth and justice to the American way. But making such a big deal over such a small event is just pandering.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil talks comics’ survival

 

MICHAEL DAVIS: Who to Blame, part 3

Please read last week’s article before this final installment.

Maybe, just maybe Grell wouldn’t ask me. I mean he had yet to speak one single word to me in the two plus hours I was in his room.

No such luck. After Grell asked everyone in the room he turned to me.

“What did you think?”

All I had to do was lie. Why didn’t I? I didn’t because lying to me is never an option. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I think lying is such a terrible thing, it’s because I have a horrible short-term memory. I’ll never be able to support a lie once I’ve committed to it.

In other words, if I lie about something and the subject ever comes up again I won’t remember what I said originally.

“It’s not like me to sleep with a man on the first date,” said the very beautiful woman.

“It’s not a first date if I’ve known you forever.” I said with my best Billy Dee Williams voice.

“We just met yesterday.”

“But in my dreams I’m known and loved you forever.”

“You…you love me?”

“Yes.”

The next morning I said goodbye and said I would call later that day so we can have dinner and talk about our new life together. 

Two weeks later…

“Why haven’t you called me??”

“Who is this?”

Now, here I was faced with lying to Mike Grell a man whose work I loved. I thought long and hard about simply saying I liked the movie. I mean what did I have to lose? I’d most likely never see him again. He was not nice to me at all when we first met and the show did suck.

Then I thought about what Denys Cowan told me about Grell when I told him I was invited to watch Sable in Grell’s room. “Mike Grell hunts.”

“Really? What does he hunt?” I asked wanting to know every thing about the idol I was about to meet.

“It’s not what he hunts.” Denys said. “It’s what he hunts with.”

“What’s that?”

“Grell hunts with a bow and arrow.”

Shit.

I didn’t (still don’t) know a lot about hunting but I instantly recognized just how bad ass you have to be to hunt with a bow and arrow.

So now I’m scared as shit to lie to Grell.

What would happen if I said I loved the show and then someone asked me the same question later and I told them the truth and Grell found out, hunted me down, choked the life out of me and then shot me with an arrow?

Hey, stranger things have happened to me.

I decided not to lie. He asked again, “What did you think?”

“I like the comic book better.”

Yeah, sometimes I’m a fucking genius.

“So do I.” Said the man who would soon become my close friend, he added, “Let’s get something to eat.”

So, there I was at dinner with Mike Grell (sitting right next to him) John Ostrander, Kim Yale, Denys (who finally showed up) and tons of other comic professionals that I was totally jazzed to meet.

I was in Heaven. During dinner, Mike and I talked and after finding out I was an artist he asked to see my portfolio.

The next day changed my professional life.

I showed Carol Kalish my portfolio and she gave me a cover assignment for Marvel’s Open Space anthology. I then met with Mike Grell and after showing him my work he made a call to Mark Nevelow. Mark was the brand new editor of Piranha Press, DC Comics new mature reader imprint.

I’ve always been smart when it comes to seeing and seizing opportunities. That doesn’t mean I have not blown some opportunities. Just because I have a knack for spotting them and acting does not exempt me from screwing something up. Been there done that…often. Not this time.

I was to spend another two weeks in Ohio hanging with Denys at a friend of his house. I cut my trip short so I could get back to New York to work on the Open Space cover and meet with Mark Nevelow. I met with Mark and was commissioned to do Piranha’s first project, ETC.

I mentioned in part one of this series that I was about to accept a position running the Art Department of a prestigious prep school. When Mark gave me ETC I changed my mind. It wasn’t just the project that changed my mind, it was the people I met at that Mid-Ohio Convention and my unchanged love of comics I’ve had since I was a kid. The people I met were so wonderful to me that I decided to take a leap towards the dream I was right about to simply let go.

Denys Cowan invited me to The Mid-Ohio con. I met Carol Kalish who gave me a cover assignment and became a great friend and adviser. I met John Ostrander who invited me to meet Mike Grell. Kim Yale kept me from fleeing Grell’s room. Mike Grell called Mark Nevelow on my behalf. Mark Nevelow gave me the ETC series.

I decided to stay in New York and work in comics.

The people above are whom you can blame for me working in comics.

I wrote this with young artists and writers in mind.

Most of you have no idea what I’ve done in comics because I don’t illustrate many comics. The fact is I’m known mostly as a deal maker in the industry. You may not know me but I’m quite sure you know some of the creators that have come out of my mentor program or some of the work I’ve done in TV or The Black Panel.

Or maybe not.

Here’s what you should know if you really want to have a career in comics.

Talent is great.

Desire is wonderful.

Having a dream and sticking to it, priceless.

But…

None of the above will matter if you don’t try and build relationships with good people. I’ve said it a zillion times, I know good people. I’ve pulled off some unbelievable shit in my career but without good people in my life it most likely would have still been shit but that’s about all.

Myr. Grell, Mr. Ostrander and Mr. Nevelow my sincere thanks to you kind sirs.

Ms. Yale and Ms. Kalish, you will never be forgotten and my thanks to you as well.

To every young creator, I leave you with this:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”

Mark Twain

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold

 

Blatant Award Shilling

Blatant Award Shilling

Yes, the Muppets are pushing to win Webby awards in the “Viral Video” Category: http://bit.ly/MupViral and in “Music Video” Category: http://www.youtube.com/webby?x=music

What, you thought that we were pushing for our own books for Harvey Award nominations? Perish the thought.

Although, if you haven’t voted yet, since this is the last day to vote, you obviously need some suggestions, so we highly recommend:

BEST WRITER

John Ostrander, GrimJack: The Manx Cat

Mark Ryan, The Pilgrim

Robert Tinnell and Mark Wheatley, Lone Justice

BEST ARTIST

Dick Giordano, White Viper

BEST CARTOONIST (SINGLE WRITER/ARTIST)

Mike Grell, Jon Sable Freelance

Trevor Von Eeden, The Original Johnson

BEST LETTERER

John Workman, The Original Johnson

BEST INKER

Frank McLaughlin, White Viper

BEST COLORIST

Jason Millet, The Pilgrim

BEST COVER ARTIST

Trevor Von Eeden, The Original Johnson

MOST PROMISING NEW TALENT

Johanna Estep, Munden’s Bar

BEST CONTINUING OR LIMITED SERIES

GrimJack: The Manx Cat, IDW/ComicMix

Jon Sable Freelance: Ashes Of Eden, IDW/ComicMix

BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM – ORIGINAL

The Original Johnson, Volume 1, IDW/ComicMix

BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM – PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED

Hammer Of The Gods Volume 1: Mortal Enemy, IDW/ComicMix

BEST SINGLE ISSUE OR STORY

The Original Johnson, Volume 1, IDW/ComicMix

Lone Justice, ComicMix

BEST DOMESTIC REPRINT PROJECT

Hammer Of The Gods Volume 1: Mortal Enemy, IDW/ComicMix

BEST ONLINE COMICS WORK

ComicMix, https://www.comicmix.com

Lone Justice, https://www.comicmix.com//comic/comicmix/lone-justice/1/

SPECIAL AWARD FOR HUMOR IN COMICS

Andrew Pepoy, The Adventures of Simone & Ajax

SPECIAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRESENTATION (ART DIRECTION / PRODUCTION)

The Original Johnson, Volume 1, IDW/ComicMix

BEST ORIGINAL GRAPHIC PUBLICATION FOR YOUNGER READERS

The Adventures of Simone & Ajax, IDW/ComicMix

Rene Russo returns to comic book adaptations, from ‘Sable’ to ‘Thor’

Rene Russo returns to comic book adaptations, from ‘Sable’ to ‘Thor’

After twenty-two years, Rene Russo is coming back to properties based on comics.

She’s joining the cast of Marvel Entertainment’s film Thor, taking on the role of Thor and Loki’s mom, Frigga, the Queen of Asgard (Odin’s wife). Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the movie also stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster.

Wait a minute– back to comics?

Yes, Rene Russo’s first acting job was in the 1987 ABC series, Sable, based on Jon Sable Freelance by Mike Grell, playing the role of Eden Kendall, complete with 80s hair. If you’ve never seen it before, well– why should we suffer alone? Take a look for yourself. First, here’s the credits:

Second, we have part one of the pilot.

After that, I’m amazed she came back, I wouldn’t think twenty-two years would be enough time away.

The comic series is much much better. But don’t take our word for it, you can read the latest series, Jon Sable Freelance: Ashes Of Eden, either online here or on sale now from IDW, or you can order the trades of the original series. They make wonderful Christmas presents.

#SDCC: IDW Publishing panel – digital comics, Bob Schreck, Danger Girl and Bat Boy!

#SDCC: IDW Publishing panel – digital comics, Bob Schreck, Danger Girl and Bat Boy!

Through the lens of IDW’s tenth anniversary, founder Ted Adams and IDW editors and creators addressed a packed room about a wide variety of new projects. Adam Schlesinger liveblogged it, and we also got other info (funny about that)– here are the highlights:

  • Jeff Webber talked about the iPhone comics. IDW already has 80 titles available on iTunes now, with much more on the way. Webber talked about the power of the iPhone as a distribution
    system to capture non-comics fans, which is natural, given the changing
    nature of comics distribution out of comic book shops and into
    bookstores and the internet.
    Apparently, non-typical comic readers enjoy slideshows, rather than a
    zoomed in page, because it’s easier to read. Also, the swiping from
    panel to panel increases the interactivity of the medium, which draws
    non-typical comic fans in. Chris Ryall concluded that 20% of top 100% of book sales on iTunes have been from IDW.
  • Bob Schreck has just been announced as part of the IDW editorial team. They announced a book called Black Roads, written by Bill Willingham
    (of Fables fame) and illustrated by Gene Ha (Top 10).
  • J. Scott Campbell brought Danger Girl from Wildstorm to
    IDW, following long time editor Scott Dunbier.

Upcoming projects:

  • Hammer Of The Gods by Mark Wheatley and Mike Oeming will be collected– first the Image series, and then the sequel that debuted on ComicMix.
  • Also from ComicMix: miniseries of GrimJack and Jon Sable Freelance.
  • A hardcover version of Winter World
    by Chuck Dixon and Jorge Zaffin (original never-collected miniseries
    and unreleased sequel).
  • Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer “Deluxe” collections
    with all new coloring, and to celebrate they gave away vintage 1980’s
    Dave Stevens prints to everyone in the panel (pictures to come).
  • A new
    Star Trek series about Nero, the villian in the movie.
  • Seduth by Clive
    Barker, with art by Gabriel Rodriguez with 3D effects.
  • New comics from Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer), Brea Grant (Heroes), and Billy
    Martin, the guitarist from Good Charlotte.
  • A Weekly World News book,
    including Bat Boy, Ed Anger, Manigator, PhD Ape (simian
    psychologist to the stars), and lots of other Weekly World
    News-inspired stories.
  • An adaptation of Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn.
  • A Harlan
    Ellison project called “Phoenix Without Ashes.” Ellison fans will remember that as the original title of the pilot episode of The Starlost, a series that Hollywood mucked up beyond all sorts of recognition in the 70s.
The return of ‘The Pilgrim’ by Mark Ryan & Mike Grell coming soon

The return of ‘The Pilgrim’ by Mark Ryan & Mike Grell coming soon

No, it’s not impossible.

We have more of The Pilgrim, the groundbreaking series written by Mark Ryan (Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen) and drawn by Mike Grell (Jon Sable Freelance), with colors by Jason Millet and letters by John Workman, coming out soon. The artwork to the left is from an upcoming page… we just wanted to make sure we have a few more pages in hand before we resume a regular publishing schedule.

It also may not be a surprise that recent events in the Middle East have also caused us
to rewrite some of the material– it’s the drawback of writing this
close to the real world.

But if Warren Ellis can get away with showing a page from Planetary #27 two months ago as proof, we can show a panel here.

We also have footage of Mark Ryan and Mike Grell explaining some of the backstory of The Pilgrim:

But we’re telling you when we could be showing you. So start reading The Pilgrim from the beginning.

IDW’s #3!

IDW’s #3!

IDW Publishing, home to Star Trek, 30 Days of Night, Transformers, Doctor Who, G.I. Joe, Fallen Angel, Locke and Key, and ComicMix’s upcoming line of print graphic novels and comics, today announced the 10 year old company hit the #3 spot in the monthly Diamond sales figures. That places them ahead of Image Comics and Dark Horse Comics, a remarkable achievement for a "back-of-the-catalog" publisher.

"This is a huge milestone for us, and the culmination of a decade of hard work by the many different people to have contributed to IDW over the years," IDW CEO Ted Adams stated. "This is clearly a great beginning to our second decade."

Last week, the company received no less than five Eisner nominations, and is just coming out with their 10th anniversary history. It’s been a hell of a week for the San Diego based publisher, and to celebrate the staff went to the Los Angeles Dodgers / San Diego Padres baseball game.

"IDW has always focused on producing quality comics and books, and it’s gratifying to see fans enjoying our books so much," IDW publisher and editor-in-chief Chris Ryall noted. "There is definitely a lot more great things to come for the company and our readers," no doubt referring to the upcoming release of GrimJack: The Manx Cat, Jon Sable Freelance: Ashes of Eden, and Demons of Sherwood.

Among other ComicMix projects, of course!