Tagged: Marc Alan Fishman

MARTHA THOMASES: Copyrights … and Copywrongs

MARTHA THOMASES: Copyrights … and Copywrongs

Last week, ComicMix, along with most of the Internet, protested against SOPA and PIPA, two bills that would have seriously compromised our ability to use the web to share information … and gossip … and pictures of cats.

The protests were so widespread that Congress backed down and sent the bills back to committee. It was a victory for those of us who spend all day enthralled by our computer screens, and, more important, it was a victory for the free exchange of ideas.

Still, I can understand the motivation behind the bill, despite how crudely and ham-handedly it was written. The purpose was to protect intellectual property. As a writer, I enjoy getting paid for my work. It would make me grumpy if someone else made money from my efforts and didn’t include me in the payday.

If anything, this hubbub shines a light on our wonky and unfair copyright laws. The purpose of copyright is not only to protect the rights of creators, but also to encourage creativity in a capitalist system. If my writing can make me money, I’ll be encouraged to write more. The same is true for songwriters, artists, choreographers, filmmakers, and comic book crews.

Unfortunately, our particular version of the capitalist system doesn’t work that way.

Songwriters, for example, collect royalties from those who record (and then sell) their songs. In many, many cases, they are not able to get their work published without giving away a large percentage (usually as a co-writing credit) to the publisher. As a result, a lot of musicians don’t care if their work gets downloaded illegally, because it increases their audience and they can make more money – which they don’t have to share – on tour.

On a larger scale, this is true in movies and television. We’ve all heard the stories about actors, directors or screenwriters who supposedly have profit participation in their films, but the studios claim there are no profits.

In comics, at least in so-called mainstream comics, the price for a chance to work for a company that would distribute your creation was your copyright. The most famous example is Siegel and Shuster’s Superman. Things have improved, and if you work for Marvel or DC as a creator, you can now get health insurance and a contract (so you can get a mortgage), but you will still most likely have to agree to work for hire.

The major media corporations try to defend their anti-piracy efforts by saying they are protecting creative people. If only. As Kyle Baker  recently explained, the entertainment conglomerates treat creative people as interchangeable widgets. If one artist wants a living wage, ship the job overseas.

The Internet should make it easier for artists to communicate directly with their audiences, without paying the toll of working for a Disney or a Murdoch. It should level the playing field for all entrants.

It should also reduce the price of an admission ticket. Just ask Louis CK.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

MARTHA THOMASES: Grimm – Once Upon a Time

As I wrote a few weeks ago, this is a great time to enjoy non-realistic fiction. Technology has evolved to the point that, even with no budget, people can tell the most fantastic, unimaginable stories without spending millions of dollars.

As an example, there are two different broadcast network television shows this year based on classic fairy tales. They’re very different, appealing, I suspect, to different audiences. Let’s discuss.

NBC’s Grimm is, in my opinion, the better show. It’s premise is that there is a race of people, Grimms, who hunt down supernaturally evil creatures from folklore, like trolls and ogres and giants. The last Grimm is a young married police detective, Nick Burkhardt, played by David Giuntoli (who looks a lot like Brandon Routh). He is helped in his investigations by a charming werewolf, Silas .

As you might expect from that premise, this series owes a lot of its structure to Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. So you won’t be surprised that the producers worked on Buffy show and the spin-off, Angel, as well as movies. The other two producers have experience in comedy.

The show is paced very much a police procedural, with a crime committed at the beginning of the show that must be solved by the end. The only difference is that the criminals are almost all supernatural, and Burkhardt is the only one who knows. There’s also a continuing story about some kind of conspiracy against the Grimms, one that the chief of police seems to be in on. The relationships among the characters seem real, the town seems like a place where people actually live, and the hero is happily married (at least so far), which is refreshing. Too many shows rely on the sexual attraction between two characters and a “will they or won’t they” dynamic to provide suspense.

By contrast, Once Upon a Time is much more of a soap opera, which is appropriate, given that it’s the lead-in for Desperate Housewives. The premise here is that the fairy tale characters have unknowingly left their dimension because of a spell by the Evil Queen, and now live Storybrooke, with no memory of their true identities.

As with Grimm, every week there is a mystery to solve. The sheriff, Emma Stone, is a former bail bondsman who was brought to Storybrooke by her long-lost son, Henry, who was adopted by Regina, the Mayor. As you might expect from that name, Regina is the evil queen.

Appropriate to a series with a queen, Once Upon a Time is campy fun. There are lots of knowing winks to Disney films, and the comic book rack at the drugstore has only Marvel titles. The child psychologist who works with Henry is, in the fairy tale universe, Jiminiy Cricket. Hilariously, his name on our world is Archie.

Best of all, the mysterious Mr. Gold is played by Robert Carlyle, an actor who can do anything. In Trainspotting, he was a scary psychopath. In The Full Monty, he was adorable. He was a Bond villain. He was Hitler. This show doesn’t give him enough to do.

The Evil Queen is always evil. The good guys are always good. The characters are not as complex as those on Grimm. However, half the time, they get to dress up like royalty.

As I said, I think Grimm works better overall. If you can only watch one, choose that. I can’t imagine why you would have to so limit yourself. Maybe that will be next season’s fantasy series.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

 

 

MICHAEL DAVIS: Shock To My System

I’ve spent the last few months praising the DC New 52 in one form or another. Months before the books came out, I was debating those who thought the reboot was anything from a simply bad idea to the end of the world, as we know it.

I defended the idea then and in fact over the last three weeks right here on ComicMix. I’ve supported the idea and got into a heated battle with Marc Alan Fishman over the new 52.

Yesterday was Marc’s lovely wife Kathy’s birthday. Happy birthday Kathy and here’s your present…

Marc was right.

The DC New 52 sucks.

Everything about the New 52 is horrible.

I’m going to take a random decision made by DC, a totally arbitrary completely chance judgment they have made to make my point that the entire New 52 is the worst thing to happen to comics since Fredric Wertham and the Spirit movie.

Now. What completely indiscriminate, unplanned, hit or miss just off the top of my head move has DC made with the New 52 that has made me see the light of their atrocious affront to the entire comics, nay, the entire entertainment industry!

Let’s see, lets see, what needle can I grab in a haystack of bad moves?

What?

What?

What??

Got It!!!

DC comics cancelled Static Shock!!

Full disclosure: I co-created Static Shock and wrote the original Milestone bible and named all the characters after my family but that has nothing whatsoever to do with my deciding to use Static Shock as an example as to why I changed my mind about the DC 52. My history with the character is beside the point.

No, I did not like the new Static Shock book after John Rozum left and no, I did not say I didn’t like it before DC cancelled the book for fear that the opinion of one of the creators would affect the sales but that’s besides the point.

The point is DC cancelled Static Shock and that’s just one of the reasons I was wrong about the New 52.

My other reasons?

That’s beside the point.

The little support from the millions of Static Shock fans out there is no reason to cancel something I created! The reason it’s no reason is beside the point. Losing half the sales from issue one is no reason to cancel a book where my Mom was the inspiration for Static’s mom. The sheer audacity of DC comics to cancel a book where I have a vested interest in is why the DC New 52 is horrible. Why that matters is beside the point.

Why not cancel the Justice League? So what if the book is selling in the hundreds of thousands? I don’t like it anymore! The fact that I liked it (loved it) before they canceled Static Shock is beside the point.

There that is my unbiased and completely unprejudiced reasoning behind my change of heart regarding the DC New 52.

You were right, Marc. What was I thinking? Happy Birthday again Kathy, you are married to a very wise man.

WEDNESDAY: Now Mike Gold Takes On John Ostrander

MIKE GOLD: The Batman Family Feud

I’m enjoying the back-and-forth between my fellow columnists Marc Alan Fishman and Michael Davis regarding DC’s New 52, but now it has come to the point where I must give Marc, ComicMix’s own Snapper Carr, some love.

(Hey, Snapper, just swallow it. We’ve already got Johnny DC writing here. No kidding.)

For a third of a year Marc has been singing the praises of the New 52 Batman to me. I’ve been reluctant to read it despite the fact that I enjoy friends’ recommendations and I respect Marc’s opinions. I’d respect Michael Davis’s opinions as well, if he ever had any. No, my problem is that Batman was one of my favorite characters until the rank and file turned him into a guy who was just as psychotic as his cadre of evildoers. That created a domino effect: the villains became psychoticer. This is the exact opposite of what happened to Mickey Mouse in the 1930s.

Fans of this stuff attacked me as an old fart who wanted the Bat to be like the 1960s teevee show. No; I’m older than that. I grew up a precocious reader during the waning days of Bill Finger and Dick Sprang and stories that were geared to a solidly pre-adolescent audience. If I had my druthers I would wipe out the past 10+ years of Bat-tales and go back to the approach best presented by (in alphabetical order) Adams, Aparo, Englehart, O’Neil, Robins and Rogers, et al. Barring that, I’d take my lead from the Batman of the animated show as professed by (in alphabetical order) Burnett, Dini, and Timm, et al. Of course, some of those efforts were adaptations of the works of Adams, Aparo, Englehart, O’Neil, Robins and Rogers, et al.

Besides, I thought “the New 52 Batman” referred to the number of Batsmen who currently inhabit DC’s new universe. How many Batmen are there today? I have no idea. I can’t count how many were there the day the previous DCU got itself ignored. Evidently, somebody thought Photoshop was for ideas and concepts as well as art. So, with all this hoo-hah between Messrs. Davis and Fishman, I decided to read the New 52 Batman. Keep in mind: I italicized “Batman,” so I’m onlyreferring to the Batman title per se. I have yet to read Detective Comics, Batwing, Wolverbat, or Batpool.

Damn. Score one for our Earth-ComicMix Snapper Carr. Batman has a Batman that isn’t an asshole. That, alone, goes a long way to restoring my faith in the character, DC Comics, and the concept of “the child is father to the man.” Like the rest of us, I have no clue how this ties into that which may or may not have gone before, but Bats is more human and less lunatic. He – or rather Bruce Wayne – is the subject of a deadly conspiracy by something called the Court of Owls (please don’t tell me that’s going to tie into the forthcoming and ill-advised Watchmen prequel). He seems a bit high-techier than he was before, and Alfred has less need to play off of Batty’s psychoses and is a better character for that.

Most important, the Batman Batman is a hero. Hero is a term of respect we bestow upon those who have earned it. A hero need not be a nice guy, but he/she/it should be, at heart, a decent human being. So far, after four issues, this Batman is a hero.

Thanks, Marc. Michael… your turn. Make a heartfelt recommendation.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

MICHAEL DAVIS: Why I Still Like the New 52!

Because Marc Alan Fishman doesn’t.

A few days ago Marc wrote that he doesn’t like the New 52 and he took me to task over a few things I wrote in my Why I Like The New 5 article last week.

It seems that Marc, or he who is Dead To Me, or simply Dead To Me as I now call him, doesn’t think DC went far enough with the reboot.

I said in my article that I liked a lot of the books but what I really liked about the New 52 is that DC had the balls to do it in the first place. I also said that as fans of the DCU it would be hard to satisfy everyone with the massive undertaking.

A lot of people hate the New 52. I get that. It’s easy to hate from the sidelines. I do it, you do it, everybody does it. My point was, love it or hate it you have to respect the people that put it all on the line to do it. A lot of people don’t think that matters because to them it sucks and it will always suck because change is bad.

Change sucks. The DC comic reboots sucks. I suck for liking the DC comic reboots. And let me not forget to the GOP, Obama sucks.

Mar…  I mean Dead To Me, thinks the reboot was an easy out. He thinks DC didn’t go far enough.

Really? Let’s see how you would have rebooted the DCU. You who are Dead To Me. Here’s how I would have done it.

Batman

I’d make Batman black and call him Black-Man. He became Black-Man because his parents were shot in a drive-by on their way to Yale where they were both professors of Black History. Oh, I bet you thought his parents were walking in the projects looking for some drugs or some other stereotypical black bullshit storyline.

No! In my DCU there will be no stereotypes.  So Leroy Washington son of Ray Ray and Shaiqua Washington becomes Black-Man!

The Justice League

I’d make the Justice League black and call them the Malcolm X-Men.

Hawkman

I’d make Hawkman black and call him Black Hawkman.

Black Canary

What do you think I’d do? I mean, duh.

Green Lantern

I’d make GL black. His name will be John Stewart and his secret identity will be a talk show host.

The Flash

I’d keep the Flash white. I mean a black guy with super speed? Ron Paul would have a field day with that. “If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be.” Ron Paul said that. Now just imagine if the Flash was black. Nah; I’m keeping Barry Allen a white guy but I’m making him a teen-age criminal who robs people and runs away.

Aquaman

He would stay white too. Everyone knows black people don’t swim…duh.

Wonder Woman

I’d make WW my flagship book. Why make it my flagship book? To make it clear Michael Davis’ DCU avoids racial and any other stereotypical depictions.For my reboot, I’d make Wonder Woman black. Hell ,in my book she’s already a black woman. She doesn’t take any shit and she’s got a banging booty.

So, Dead To Me, where is your DC reboot? My reboot only features classic characters and it’s taken me 10 years to come up with this new universe. Yes, I started 10 years ago when it was crystal clear to all in the industry that I was going to become head of DC.

After waking up I decided to work on the universe anyway and I’m glad I did because it has certainly come in handy today wouldn’t you say? Yes, 10 years of hard work, research, toil and trouble. I lost a wife with my unwavering commitment to redoing the DCU. Well, actually I was going to call it the MDCU but that’s beside the point.

The point is this type of universe building or rebuilding takes some serious balls not serious eggs like you wrote in your column when you thought you were being clever and used Spanish…wrongly.

It’s obvious you don’t regard research as something you need to do when you create something.

Eggs? Really?

So. I await your universe. If you think it’s so easy let’s see you put the time and effort into it and in 10 years we can talk about it. Or you can knock something out by next week because you don’t have the discipline to take the time to do it right.

I’ll leave you what I would do with DC’s biggest character and the biggest challenge for any DC universe do over, the Man Of Steel…

Superman

I would make Superman black and call him Icon.

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold kicks it up a notch

MARTHA THOMASES Catches Cat Fever

The most important story of the new year is not being covered by the lame-stream media. You won’t find it on the more popular blogs. Neither Heidi MacDonald  nor Rich Johnston has the scoop.

We’re getting a new cat. You heard it here first.

In my life, I’ve only had three cats, unless you count the two on the commune where I spent 1974 and half of 1975. My first cat, Toots, came from a friend who found her on the streets of Yellow Springs, Ohio, and brought her to me in college. The second two, sisters Trixie and Midnight, were brought over from a rescue group. This time, I went to the Humane Society. They asked me what I wanted.

Using all available self-control, I did not specify a lightning-bolt marking on the right side. Neither did I specify super-strength, x-ray vision, nor the ability to fly.

Is there a more appealing concept in all of literature than the super-pet? Superman had Krypto, a super-dog, Supergirl had Streaky, a super-cat, and Comet, a super-horse. Batman had Ace, the Bat-hound. Chameleon Boy had Proty, a malleable blob.

I wanted all of them. I also wanted Beppo, the super-monkey, although I was never clear on whose pet he was.

At the time I had a dog, because at the time, I was ten years old and lived with my parents and had a yard. My dog was fairly awesome, but she couldn’t do anything Kryptonian. She couldn’t change her shape. She couldn’t even solve crimes. It seemed to me that having a pet who could take me on adventures, who could perform extraordinary feats for my amusement and, if necessary, for my protection, was the greatest thing that could happen in a person’s life.

As I said, my dog didn’t do any of those things. She did, however, love me more than anyone else. She even loved me more than my mother, who fed her.

A companion animal – a pet – is wonderful for a child. A pet won’t blab her secrets, no matter how juicy. A pet, unlike parents and teachers and even school friends, never judges her. A pet is always there, to play in the backyard or to sit in her lap watching television. A pet is always warm and soft and there when she needs a hug. For all these reasons, a pet is also wonderful for adults.

Those are pretty awesome super-powers.

Because the Humane Society has a fairly rigorous process to match animals to humans, I don’t yet have my new cat. I don’t think we’ll be naming her Streaky, because, really, I’ve never seen a cat with markings like that. I’m thinking of naming her Selina, after Selina Kyle. And also after a fairly brilliant singer-songwriter.

And I reserve the right to make her a cape.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

MARTHA THOMASES: Time, Travel, and Me

Over the weekend I started to read Stephen King’s new book, 11/22/63: A Novel. I’m not very far into it, as King writes long and I like to luxuriate in his enjoyment at having a story to tell and his great affection for his characters. And also, I have things to do.

It’s a time-travel story, and so far it’s set in 1958. I was five years old then (King was 11), and some of my memories of that time are clear. As he describes children playing in Maine, I remember what it was like for me in Ohio.

We played Cowboys and Indians, Cops and Robbers. We played House, and School. None of us had Barbies yet, but we had stuffed animals so we could play Zoo. We made mud pies. We played Kick the Can and had squirt gun fights (see above re: Cowboys and Indians, etc.).

What we didn’t have, in our fantasies, was fantasy. Nobody did any time-traveling. No one went into outer space. There were no Ninja Turtles (or ninjas), no Transformers. There were hardly any Princesses.

When I was a bit older and could read, I liked Greek mythology and fairy tales and comic books, but hardly any of my friends did. Like them, I enjoyed Nancy Drew and The Bobbsey Twins and Cherry Ames, but I wanted more. My mom had some of her storybooks from when she was a girl, and I loved them, with their old illustrations. She introduced me to the works of Edith Nesbit,and I discovered a new way to imagine. Instead of gods and goddesses, nymphs and demons, or royalty protected by fairies, this was fantasy rooted in the real world.

Until I read his Books of Magic in which Neil Gaiman thanks E. Nesbit, I’d never met another person – besides my mom – who had read those stories. If you haven’t read The Railway Children, you’re in for a treat.

From there, my local librarian introduced me to Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Not knowing it was a classic, I took it for science fiction and read the short story anthology, Tomorrow’s Children and from there I discovered Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and others.

Again, none of my friends were into these books. We might have shared a love of Salinger because by this point we were going through puberty and no one else could understand our intense psychic and spiritual pain. Still, I was the only one mesmerized by the explicitly alternate realities of science fiction writers.

Things are different now. There are involved fantasies for every age group. HBO offers Game of Thrones for adults, and J.K. Rowling has sold hundreds of millions of copies of the Harry Potter books. Star Wars and Star Trek and Doctor Who are cultural milestones, something every culturally literate person is expected to reference. The Avengers movie and the new Batman movie are expected to dominate next year’s box office. Sometimes it seems like half the bookstore shelves are devoted to vampires and/or zombies. And then there’s that Stephen King fellow.

I’d like to think it’s because we’ve become a more tolerant culture, one open to more different perspectives. I only know that genre fiction has brought me a lot of joy. I hope it has the same effect on the rest of the world, especially as we time-travel into the future.

Editor’s Note: That’s Ms. Nesbit up there, looking back at you.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

MIKE GOLD’s Top 10 Comics Of 2011

It’s the end of the year and everybody’s got their Top 10 list, and since I went to journalism school I’m obligated to list mine. I’m looking at titles that were released in 2011 because cover dates are meaningless. I’m not looking at original graphic novels or reprint projects, even though in dollar volume they constitute the majority of my purchases. Besides, original graphic novels are done to very different standards. Finally, some of these titles are done by friends of mine; I refuse to disqualify them because they just might buy me lunch. Having said all that…

#1 – Life With Archie Magazine (Archie)

Top of my list for the second year straight. Two stories – Archie marries Veronica, Archie marries Betty. Parallel worlds which converge, but that’s not why this book is great. There’s very real character development here, layered on personalities that existed for 70 years without it. We watch them grow, not into adults, but as adults. Better still, the most interesting character in both series is Reggie Mantle! Paul Kupperberg writes this, with art from Norm Breyfogle, Fernando Ruiz, Pat and Tim Kennedy and a host of others.

#2 – Tiny Titans (DC)

If you see this as a kid’s comic, that’s great, particularly if you’re a kid. If you see this as a brilliant loving satire of DC Comics and its convoluted universe, that’s great too, particularly if you’re an “adult.” Art Baltazar and Franco are pushing towards 50 issues here, and there ain’t a clunker in the bunch.

#3 – Elric: The Balance Lost (Boom)

Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion has been in the hands of a lot of comics creators and a lot of comics publishers, and the output has been… inconsistent. This latest series is among the very best: all of the various shades of Elric are here, and interweaved through the storyline are very contemporary elements and environs. Good stuff from Chris Roberson and Francesco Biagini.

#4 – Daredevil (Marvel)

Once again, Mark Waid does what he does best: he takes a well-established character that, like all well-established comics characters, has been covered in paint about a dozen too many times and strips it back down to the wall, preserving everything that made the character work while imbuing it with a contemporary environment. On this series, he’s going just that – and he’s doing it better than ever. Penciler Marcos Martin ain’t no slouch, neither. This is a real superhero book.

#5 – Justice League Dark (DC)

This one’s my surprise of the year. While very little of DC’s New 52 answers the question “why bother,” this one takes a bunch of characters of a somewhat mystical nature and thrusts them, Justice League like, into a trauma vastly larger than any one of them… and maybe all of them. Sort of like The Defenders, with all the style and John Constantine’s wit. Peter Milligan’s DC work has been inconsistent for me (I tend to prefer his U.K. work), but I’m glad I checked this one out. Mikel Jann draws the series. Very different… and very good.

#6 – Fly (Zenoscope)

I reviewed Raven Gregory and Eric J’s series about a recreational drug that gives kids the power to fly way back here. I liked it then, I like it now. Of course it’s out in trade paperback, so if you blew me off in August, give it a shot now.

#7 – Red Skull (Marvel)

Retrofitting a backstory onto a well-established character is a gambit that is often ill conceived and, worse, boring. Not this one. Greg Pak and Mirko Colak take us back to the villain’s adolescence where we learn – definitively – where his allegiances truly lie… and why. The fact that it’s got the best covers I’ve seen on a mini-series in a long while doesn’t hurt, either.

#8 – Batgirl (DC)

I don’t have a clue about how this series fits into any continuity, current or past. I’m told it does. What I do know is that this is a series about a young woman who’s trying to reestablish herself as a superhero after enduring traumas that shattered her body and soul. She’s not necessarily great at being a superhero, but she’s giving it all she’s got. This is exactly what I expect out of Gail Simone, and that is a very high standard. Adrian Syaf offers solid and exciting storytelling.

#9 – Action Comics (DC)

I went here because of Rags Morales’ art – I’d buy Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes if Rags drew the box – and I stayed for Grant Morrison’s innovative and engrossing script. This is the all-new young Superman, before he figured out what to wear on the job. It’s set well before the all-new older Superman in his eponymous title. I don’t know how this leads up to that, and I don’t care. This is supposed to hold up on its own, and it does. I’ll get over the slap in history’s face with the numbering (if such lasts); this is the best-produced Superman title in a decade-and-a-half.

#10 – To my friends who didn’t make this list: each of you came in tied for #10. Now go fight it out.

Notice how there aren’t any teevee or movie tie-ins? I never warmed up to that stuff. Not even as a kid. Which means it took me a while to realize Steve Ditko actually drew Hogan’s Heroes.

I have no doubt that within weeks at least two of the above-named will start to suck. Like all commercial media, comic books are subject to the whims of the lords and ladies of irony. But as a professional cynic, these titles and perhaps another half-dozen meet and exceed my bizarrely encrusted standards. Your opinions might differ, and that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re wrong.

Of course not.

Extra: Happy birthday wishes to fellow columnist Marc Alan Fishman, who turns 30 today and, therefore, is old enough to know better. His son turns 0 in about a month.

Extra-Extra: Thanks to Gatekeeper Glenn for saving my life this year.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

MARTHA THOMASES: Friends With Benefits

Originally I’d thought about putting together a “naughty or nice” list. However, in the spirit of the season (max out your credit cards or we’ll kill this economy!), I thought it would be more appropriate to spread a little cheer in our little corner of the pop-culture community‑ Hence, I’m sending the following:

• To Frank Miller: The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the movie Malcolm X, so he can understand that some people he admires might have a different perspective on the subject of Islam.

• To James Robinson: An extra 25,000 in sales for each issue of his Shade mini-series. This is a gorgeous, elegant comic, and I want it to stay alive long enough so I get to read the whole thing.

• To all the owners of comic book stores: A subscription to the New York Times Book Review. Please notice that there are a lot of books that sell millions of copies that are not limited to one genre or style. If you place orders with this in mind, you might actually be able to grow your audience and stay in business.

• To all the people who work at comic book stores: The thanks of a grateful nation of fans. We probably don’t tell you this enough, but we’d be lost without you. Sorry we’re so surly on Wednesdays.

• To Dan Didio and Axel Alonso: The complete works of Sue Grafton and Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander books so they can see how it’s possible to create exciting stories starring women in the lead roles that sell tens of millions of copies without the heroines having to display their giant breasts at all times – or ever.

• To Mike Richardson: First look at my graphic novel.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

MARTHA THOMASES: Overrun By Comic Books!

It’s that time of year when my comics threaten to take over the apartment. As someone with a serious weekly habit (and no basement), there inevitably comes that moment when there is no more available shelf space. Or table space. Or floor space.

Back in the olden days, I didn’t want to get rid of my comics. Well, at least not all of them. When the stacks got high, I’d go through them, taking out the issues I thought I’d want to read again. I put those issues into long boxes (although not with bags and boards), and sent them away to storage. Then I would donate the remaining comics to the block association sidewalk sale. I felt great watching neighborhood kids ravage the boxes, looking for a something that was clutter to me but a treasure to them.

Once the trade paperback made its entry into the marketplace, I no longer felt it necessary to save my back issues. Almost everything I’d want to re-read would be collected at some point. This saved me a lot of time when it the sidewalk sale rolled around.

And then they changed the calendar, and the block association is much less convenient. I had to find another way to get rid of my stacks.

Luckily (<-sarcasm), we’re in the middle of a horrible recession. In my part of the country, there are all sorts of people selling stuff on the sidewalk. This being New York City, the center (but not the entirety) of the publishing industry, a lot of people sell books. Not only is there a market for books, but selling them on the street is protected by the First Amendment.

So, just as primitive man did before the invention of Ebay, there are tribes of people who look for reading material to sell. I found a lovely man, less than half a mile away, who has a table set up just outside Urban Outfitters (a chain I boycott because the founder donates to Rick Santorum), and he agreed to take my year’s worth of back issues.

I suppose I could just take my old comics down to the trash and let them be part of recycling. However, since I know most of my neighbors, and their kids, I worry that a child might get hold of a comic that is less than appropriate. I’m not a prude about sex, or language, or even necessarily violence, but I don’t want that sweet eight-year old in 5-C to be traumatized by an issue of Animal Man.

It might turn her off comics forever.

Instead, this is a win/win situation. I have a cleaner apartment, and the nice man in front of Urban Outfitters gets fresh merchandise. I feel like one of those job creators that the GOP are always praising.

I wonder what’s actually in my storage boxes. Perhaps, someday, I’ll have the space to unpack them.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman