Tagged: Martha Thomases

Michael Davis: “I don’t grab pussy. It grabs me.”

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I was so stunned by the election I just couldn’t bring myself to write a damn thing for the last few weeks. Hell, in the case of Bleeding Cool it’s been months that I blame on my depression and trying to figure out how to fix a problem no one sees yet but with depression I couldn’t care less.

Then something magical happened. Call it a Thanksgiving comic book miracle. It was no less than that. So I hope to be reset at Bleeding Cool, ComicMix and my site Michael Davis World. MDW had an outstanding and loyal following.

I messed that up big time a week after I began talks to partner with a massive site. Shit. That was stupid. 

Stupid, stupid, stupid. My depression was/is a motherfucker.

Once I become fixated on something I just kept at it regardless if I’d achieved my goals. I’d change or add new goals. I’m told this allows me to spend less time thinking about putting a bullet to my head.

I haven’t written for my site in almost three years, and one by one lost every columnist except for Martha Thomases. She singlehandedly kept MDW afloat. I haven’t told her thank you. I can’t muster up the balls to call because (it sounds nuts) but as long as Martha is owed my gratitude I’ve got a marker and I never welch on a promise, a bet and especially not a friend.

Or in Martha’s case… family.

She’ll read this and think it’s a thank you. In a way it is, but to me it’s a promissory note. I’m not 100% well and never will be, but I know I can do a bit better and besides it’s almost Christmas…

I do know that Martha does love a ridiculous MOTU story and Lord knows in three years there has been few. Well, thanks to Joe Illidge here’s one just for you Martha consider it a down payment.

Thanks Joe. BTW – My New Boo, Lois Lane copyright Michael Davis 2016

Joe asked this question on Facebook: As a writer, name one thing you would do with Lois Lane in the comics, if you could do anything.

So here’s my answer:

MY NEW BOO, LOIS LANE

…or how I gots me a white woman

Lois is pissed. Instead of date night with her, Superman choose to save Donald Trump from a crowd of angry maids upset because he said “Cleaning is for losers; those domestics chicks are ugly, fat, most likely Mexican rapist criminals who are responsible for the one missing sock from the dryer. I mean who else could it be?”

Lois would be hurt and Michael Davis the black new owner-publisher of the renamed Mostly Daily Planet (remember, black new owner-publisher) would be there for her.

Then one night listening to her sob stories I would give her the real skinny…

“Why, oh, why didn’t he do what any sane person would do? Let those maids tear his little hands to bits? I mean miss date night??” Lois said this while sipping on what she thought was a wine cooler. It wasn’t. It was 100 proof down right up right Colt 45 I kept next to the wine coolers. She’d been crying, so it was apparent to me with bleary eyes she may mistake one for the other.

No, I didn’t tell her when she did and when asked why it tasted like beer, I said I didn’t know and I don’t. Do I look like a damn brew master?? No idea WTF barley is and if it there is no hip in front of it I could give a fish what a hop is.

“He’s just not into you Lois.” I began while refilling her class with Mad Dog 20 20, the wine cooler of the hood. I continued “I hear, not that I have a problem with it. I just like pussy; he’s into men. I’m convinced he’s doing Clark Kent. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Clark running into a closet tugging at his belt and tie while unzipping his pants. I’m a man Lois, only two give or take situations make us run like that while taking off our clothes it’s the ole S and P index someone gotta take a shit or someone giving up some pussy…or in Clark’s case…well you know.

What? Were you were expecting Standard and Poor’s? You foolish reader, this is a Michael Davis article. There are no standards because I grew up poor.

Yeahhhhhh, that was a pretty broad reach for that yuk.

But I digress. Yeah Peter, I used it. So what?  You killed Jean Dewolf, so what?  Denys Cowan and I killed Jason Todd. Robin! Not only that we did it from a phone in DC’s offices. Gangsta.

But I Digress… Lois inched closer…because I was slowly pulling her now drunk ass towards me. Keep your mind out of the gutter if not she would have fallen on the floor.

I proceeded. “Now, I’ve come close to shiting in a closet only once in my life. Then I decided the hell with that. She said her husband wouldn’t be home, but there he was. I ask you, Lois, why should I have to crap like an animal in a cage when she got his schedule wrong? I simply opened the closet door, picked up my Black and Decker condoms from under her pillow said, “Send me some of those photos,” smiled at her husband and left. I’m not an animal, so unless Clark is one filthy nasty mother sucker, then he and ‘Kal-El’ be knocking them red boots because guess who comes flying out the closet fixing his belt?”

“Yep, the man of ‘steal.’ Yes, Lois. Steal. Why? Because he’s out the door maybe two seconds after Clark runs in. Clark comes out of the closet sometimes minutes sometimes hours later looking like he’s been in a fight and seems like he carrying a weight of massive, dare I say, super load of tension with him.”

“Why can’t I be in love with Batman?” Lois slurred as I poured her some vintage Thunderbird an extraordinarily expensive and rare wine made by Hindu monks but drank only when lighting hits a bird on Budda’s Birthday.

Most of you won’t get that. I wrote it for my boys in the hood. So just assume it’s true. I mean y’all idiots think Donald Trump is fit to be President so what the hell do you have to lose if you don’t get the joke?

“Batman??” I said not believing my luck; I’ve waited years for this moment!

I reached under the couch for a copy of Seduction Of The Innocent. I kept one there as well as under my bed I have a travel copy also.

I found the page where Batman had Robin locked in a deep French kiss (What?? So I took it upon myself to illustrate the damn thing). I then looked at Lois with sad eyes and told her “Oh Bats is ooooh sooooo gay. Not that there is anything wrong with that; I just like a side order of tits to go with my main course of well you know.”

“Oh poo!” Lois spits out while looking at my closet. “Pussy, Lois, not poo, pussy,” I said.  But just in case she meant poo I spoke while pointing to the bathroom and front door simultaneously not taking any chances she was not one filthy nasty mother sucker.

Now she was lit, and I was looking for some matches to do the same in case she was with fart. She looked at me and said “I can’t have Batman?”  Well, she literally said, “Eyes clamp clad atman” but I speak drunk.

“Cope bults dew cam clad blazman.” (Nope but you can have Blackman). I told her and she smiled.

“Clump fluLks zee bigger!” She screamed.

I won’t insult you with the translation. I responded “Oh, shit! You must be out of your damn mind you crazy drunk ass female puppy dog!”

I said that but she heard “I love you and always will.” That’s advanced drunk. It’s harder than Japanese and you have to have game to begin with so no. No fan by, no. So far only Joe Illidge and I have mastered it, so you have no chance nor a girl so you really don’t need it remotes don’t speak drunk.

No, I didn’t take advantage of her that night. Only a punk ass bitch would ply a woman with drinks or regale them with tales of wealth to pry their way into their undergarments, flip a tick tack into their mouth, or kiss a woman without her permission.

I don’t grab pussy. It grabs me.

However telling her someone is gay is perfectly acceptable as is inventing a wife and family he deserted. I don’t use those tactics but Joe Illidge…

Lois and I are doing very well. But damn if that sister, the new Iron Woman don’t be looking kinda foxy. That could be the kind of gal that will make a brother an egg sandwich or Clark some … Martha wait for it… wait for it … wait… for… it

… you know

The End

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What Peter? You feel strong? Bring it!

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Applesauce.

 

Molly Jackson: Loud Voices

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I’ve spent the past week or so in a bubble, apparently hiding from the news of the world. Which is why I was startled by the influx of posts yesterday announcing it was International Women’s Day. A day to recognize all the inspirational women in our lives.

It seems odd that I would miss such a day but it is a funny thing to have a single day dedicated to all women from the planet Earth. Women still make up half the planet, and there are similar days on the proverbial calendar. Still, the necessity of such a day is irksome. The year is filled with days where I can laud women from all walks of life.

Being torn on how to move forward with this column, I decided to err on the side of not nitpicking yesterday’s recognition and to try to enjoy the moment.

Truth be told, women have made strides in comics, both in the industry and in the stories. A few decades ago, I doubt Kamala Khan would have made it to the page. Even if she had, I doubt that she would have the same depth that she does now. The same could be said for one of her creators, Sana Amanat, who is an editor at Marvel Comics. But now we have a character that resonates across cultural and gender lines as a role model to the young and old.

The same exact excitement could be applied to Bitch Planet. Could we have had that book years ago? Of course. Would it have received the same praise it receives now? I doubt it.

However, this is still a small percentage of the comics pie.

Female characters still lead fewer books than male characters. Female creators still make up a small portion of the industry. Now, it is a point of conversation and an area of development. Companies are looking for ways to expand as they realize that courting the opposite sex is a growing market. It will continue to be as long as we look towards the future and remind them that we women are still here and will not be ignored.

On this site, we have amazing women who broke barriers in comics for my generation. For starters, Martha Thomases and Mindy Newell both worked in the industry, creating female-driven stories as they worked in a male-dominated industry. Emily Whitten has written for multiple sites about geekdom, something that isn’t easy as a woman. All of them have been an inspiration as well as a source of encouragement.

So, on this random day, I want to thank all the women who made it possible for me to be recognized as a voice to be heard. Everything you’ve done is helping move us to an equal future.

 

Hey Kids! What Time Is It?

Howdy Doody Birthday

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

This is not the story of that man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Mike Gold: Deadpool Invasion!

Deadpool In Times Square

I am told there are people who are sick and tired of the massive, overwhelming, unending, incessant and redundant Deadpool promotion campaign.

Yeah, I get that.

I found myself in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal this past Monday, on the way to a little get-together with fellow ComicMix columnists Molly Jackson, Joe Corallo and Martha Thomases. I was in a great mood – Molly, Joe and Martha are wonderful people to hang out with, and walking through Grand Central Terminal is always a breathtaking and inspiring experience. I was going to the Times Square subway shuttle, and Grand Central and Times Square combine to become one of North America’s most advertising-congested venues. Just about every square inch of building space is covered in billboards and electronic signs. Even the very steps are decked out in promotional advertising. It’s a colorful, bright, shiny, noisy, and ceaseless experience that you either love, hate or have learned to ignore.

And, last Sunday, it seemed as though damned near all of it was pushing Deadpool.

Add to this the almost-daily release of new trailers, photos, interviews and commercials and you’ve got a promotion going that’s larger than about any four movies combined. It’s pretty easy to appreciate how some folks could experience Deadpool burnout prior to this Friday’s official opening.

Some folks. Not me.

That’s odd given my always-fleeting attention span and my basic anti-capitalist worldview, but, damn it, the whole Deadpool campaign has been very, very funny. Entertaining. Sometimes stupefying, particularly when you compare the theatrical trailers and broadcast commercials to their uncensored Internet equivalents.

Of course, given my vocation and my predilections I would have gone to the Deadpool movie even if the only promotion was a black-and-white leaflet mounted on the wall above a urinal in the back of a seedy bar. However, when it comes to fans and civilians alike, this colossal campaign has inculcated the movie with “issues.”

First of all, it has raised the bar of our expectations. If this isn’t the funniest, most action-filled and visually spectacular movie ever made, some will be disappointed… or, on the Internet, apoplectic. Experience already has taught the average movie-goer that sometimes all the worthy scenes in the film were revealed in the trailers and spots.

Second, it has presented some people with quite a dilemma. You can’t mass market something without (duh!) marketing to the masses. Deadpool is rated R. That means those under 17 (you know, what used to be perceived as the comic book audience) are supposed to be excluded from admission without an “accompanying parent or adult guardian.” That’s going to make it harder for a lot of adolescents to get in, and that’s going to make it harder on a lot of their parents or adult guardians who haven’t seen South Park Bigger, Longer and Uncut.

No matter how much Marvel might despise 20th Century Fox or how much the True Believers (like myself) despised their Fantastic Four movie last year, Fox has injected a lot of much-needed levity and energy into what clearly is an oversaturated superhero media market. They might have wound up extending Marvel’s movie longevity.

If the Deadpool movie is as good as their campaign.

That’s a big if. Stay tuned.

 

Mike Gold: Who Needs Superhero Comics?

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Nope. This is not an old guy rant about how you-all young’uns are ignoring comic books because you’re too busy enjoying the movies and teevee shows being made out of those same comic books. I’m beginning to think that if you lust for heroic fantasy, maybe the plethora of such fare in our theaters and our sundry home electronics will serve your needs.

Back when I was doing public relations for DC Comics, which was so long ago it was well before my pal Martha Thomases was doing public relations for DC Comics, I was fond of telling the press that we had it all over movies because we weren’t restricted by reasonable special effects budgets. We only were restricted by the imaginations of our writers and artists, and that posed no problem at all. We had, and we continue to have, lots of people with wonderful ideas along with the ability to get those visions inside the reader’s brainpan. We could blow up a planet on page one, resurrect that planet on page two, populate it on page three and then blow up the new place on page four.

Today… well… we’ve got computers and brilliant people who never see the light of day to put all that in a movie at a reasonable price and at reasonable speed. And then a bunch of other moloids add music and sound effects and maybe some 3-D crap. Movies – and, now, television – can boldly go where comic books always have been… and get there first.

Better still, the consumer’s cost per minute is far lower in these new venues. Movies and cable bills are expensive, but two hours worth of comic books can run you maybe forty bucks.

This is not to suggest I no longer enjoy comics. To paraphrase a famous ape-fighting gun nut, they’ll have to rip that comic book out of my cold dead hands. And I hope it’s a goddamned expensive one. But this does offer me the opportunity for praise my fellow American publishers that are not owned by mammoth movie studios for moving well beyond traditional superhero fare. Today we can tell virtually any type of story, even true ones, and if that story is well-told and well-marketed we’ve got a pretty good shot at not losing the rent on it.

Maybe we haven’t quite reached the level of selling comics to, say, bored grandmothers who pine for their days of child-rearing. There are very specific comics in other countries, particularly Japan and Belgium, that cater to audiences we rarely think of in the American quadrasphere. But we’re almost there.

Today I am more interested in the new Marvel Netflix series than I am in the post-Battleworld Marvel comics. I am much more interested in the next season of Flash and Arrow than I am in DC’s next reboot – or their previous dozen reboots. That’s where the superhero mojo lives these days.

I see coming up with superhero comics that are more involving than other superhero media as a challenge to our comics creators. Having worked with at least four generations of such talent, I know this will be a wonderful thing to behold. However, right now I’m in the middle of producing at least a half-dozen original graphic novels (editors get to multitask, which is another word for “short attention span”). Some sort of fall into the category of heroic fantasy, maybe, but most do not.

As far as I’m concerned, happy days are here again.

Mike Gold: Airboy Takes Flight – Again

Airboy Cover

This may be hard to believe, but every once in a while the good folks at ComicMix L.L.C. act as though we really are a corporation. Yeah, it’s hard for me to believe that, too.

Last Sunday, our “senior” staff (a phrase that has nothing to do with age, until August 4th) met at Martha Thomases’ plush Greenwich Village condo. Adriane Nash and I were there right on time, but Glenn Hauman was caught in traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel, an all-too-common experience for those trying to escape the land of Christie. Not a problem; Martha’s kittycat Selina (yep; Selina – fangirls, go know) was making a rare public appearance. The conversation turned to this week’s comic books. I started out bitching about Bizarro #1 and Martha defended it nicely. No, I did not complain about internal consistency. I stopped doing that around Adventure Comics #285. Then Martha asked:

“What did you think of Airboy #1?”

“I haven’t read it yet, but it’s at the top of my pile” I lied. Everybody knows I read my comics on my iPad. “I love the character, but I’m annoyed Chuck Dixon didn’t write it.”

Martha was about to say something like “Yes, but James Robinson did” but it is even better known that my opinion of James’ work is so high that if he were writing the back panels of milk cartons I’d sell my cow. So, instead, Martha said “Chuck Dixon could not have written this book.” Then she smiled that smile that would make the Cheshire Cat jealous.

Chuck Dixon has been writing Airboy off-and-on for 30 years for at least three different publishers. IDW has been Omnibusing it lately. Obviously, I like it. Indeed, I like the original Golden Age character. It was Dick Giordano’s favorite as a kid and we used to talk about it on the commuter train after leaving DC for the day, much to the chagrin of our fellow travelers who really didn’t care to eavesdrop on a couple of extreme fanboys.

I told Martha I was really looking forward to it, and she repeated “Chuck Dixon could not have written this book,” this time with a sort of Lauren Bacall delivery.

“Fine,” I replied. “You don’t have to ask me twice to read a James Robinson comic book.” Or a James Robinson milk carton. “I’ll give you a call when I’m done, probably around one in the morning.” Martha goes to sleep when the sun goes down, and she knew I was kidding. She knew I’d email her at one in the morning.

And I did. I sent her a screen dump of just one panel of the issue. I sent her this one.

Airboy panel

The naked guy is James Robinson. The clothed guy is Airboy artist Greg Hinkle. That was my review.

Martha was absolutely right. Chuck could not have written it.

I mean, he still could write Airboy and James even explains why in that very issue. But this one is something else. It reminds me of the script and layouts to the unpublished Sonic Disruptors #11, but only about three people would know that and one of them is dead.

Go buy the book. You’ll see.

 

Mike Gold: The Magic Of Comics

At MoCCA this past weekend – that’s one of my favorite shows, by the way – a surprising number of people asked me about how I felt about DC Comics Entertainment Periodical Publications moving to the Left Coast.

It amuses me to note that only one of these people actually worked at DC, and he was being sarcastic.

In its 80 years DC Comics has moved more frequently than a family of vaudevillians. I worked at only three of their locations; I know many who worked at five or six. Every time DC moves, they relaunch Aquaman. They are now a fully integrated part of Warner Bros., so moving to LALALand is a no-brainer.

And I hope my friends at Marvel are paying attention.

Once Marvel joins Disney out in Hollywood, only one comic book leaflet publisher will be left in New York City proper, that being Valiant. (If I’m missing anybody, forgive me – you really can’t tell the players without a scorecard, and, besides, I haven’t seen Jim Shooter in about a year). If you consider the entire New York metropolitan area, that number grows to… what, two? Archie Comics is in Westchester County. If ComicMix returns to leaflet publishing, and, yeah, we’re considering it but then we collapse in a fit of giggles – then that’ll make three. The combined output of the New York comic book leaflet publishers wouldn’t amount to a fart.

For the record: I think it is absolutely great that we have comics publishers all over the nation. There’s no magic to publishing comic books in Manhattan, despite what lazy publishers told poor cartoonists between the middle of the Depression until the election of Ronald Reagan.  Actually, I think it is great that we have so many comics publishers that they can be all over the nation.

I admit: the first time I dropped my butt into my chair at 75 Rockefeller Plaza – that’s four locations and 40 years ago – I was in fanboy heaven. It was a great feeling. Jenette Kahn offered me the job at a moment when, as they say in the business, I was “between radio stations.” In 1976, stations were changing their pretty much after every third song and I saw the handwriting on the wall. It said “Work for Superman.”

The fact is, most of my best and most enduring friendships have been formed while in the comics racket. I’ve lunched with Steve Ditko, I’ve worked with Will Eisner and Peter O’Donnell, I intervened in a, ah, friendly discussion between Stan Lee and Joe Orlando. Great stuff. ComicMixers Glenn Hauman, Martha Thomases, Denny O’Neil, Mindy Newell, Bob Ingersoll, and Robert Greenberger? These folks have been my friends forever, and I met them all through comics. Yes, they have amazing intestinal fortitude.

John Ostrander is different. (I can’t tell you how much I wanted to end this paragraph right here.) I’ve known John even longer, through our common interest in both theater and comics. I brought him into this business – at his own request, so he can’t complain.

I have absolutely no doubt that there are a ton of people just out of school out on the Left Coast who will put in their time at DC Comics and come out of it exhausted but with plenty of great friendships.

And for me, that is the magic of the comic book racket.

 

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

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

Up: Sales!

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

Down: Pitches!

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

Up: New Fans!

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

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

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

Ups, Down, and All Arounds:

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

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

 

Mindy Newell: Message In A Bottle – Or On A DC T-Shirt

Over the past three decades, there has been a steady rise in the share of women, especially mothers, in the workforce. [Collected data shows that] the majority of women and mothers work, and many work full time and full year. This dramatic increase in women’s working hours has had a substantial impact both on household earnings and the economy more generally. Our analysis finds that middle-class households would have substantially lower earnings today if women’s employment patterns had remained unchanged. Had that been the case, gross domestic product, or GDP, would have been roughly 11 percent lower in 2012 if women had not increased their working hours as they did. In today’s dollars, this translates to more than $1.7 trillion less in output – roughly equivalent to combined U.S. spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in 2012.The Economic Importance of Women’s Rising Hours of Work, A paper presented at the 75 Years of the Fair Labor Standards Act Conference at the Department of Labor, November 15, 2013.

The number of working-age women with a full-time job has surged from 28.6% in 1979 to 40.7% today, and the increase in working mothers in that time is even more remarkable – from 27.3% to 44.1 percent. So why the fuck do corporations go out of their way to alienate women, when all economic indicators point to the power of the dollar in women’s hands? Yep, those crazy people – “Corporations are people, too!” said Mitt Romney during the 2012 Presidential campaign – seem to do it all the time.

Last month it was that cover from Marvel. This month it’s DC Entertainment’s turn, with those t-shirts.

If you don’t know what t-shirts I’m talking about, take a moment to click here and read Martha’s column from Friday. Be sure to clink on the “stupid” link, which will bring you to The Mary Sue website, and the column which inspired Martha’s piece (and inspired this one) and includes handy-dandy pictures of said t-shirts.

Yeah. They piss me off, too.

You might think it’s weird that the woman who didn’t get upset about Spider-Woman’s butt is all pissy about t-shirts that proclaim maxims that belong in the 1950s and not in the second decade of the 21st century. But I grew up in the era of Bella Abzug and Gloria Steinem and bra-burnings. Okay, so I never actually burned my bra, but I sure as hell got the message, and I was all of 15.

And the message was: I belong to myself.

That was 45 years ago. Almost 46, since my birthday is in 19 days. And 45 years later, there is definitely a concerted effort happening. An effort to put women back in their place, back in the kitchen, just back.

On Thursday the United States Court of Appeals (Fifth Circuit, New Orleans) gave Texas “permission to require all abortion clinics in the state to meet the same building, equipment and staffing standards as hospital-style surgical centers,” which forced thirteen Texas abortion clinics to immediately close and leaving the state – “with 5.4 million women of reproductive age, ranking second in the country” – with only eight open clinics.

Listen up, people. Texas is full of crap. This is a total bullshit ruling. The way it reads makes it sound as if these clinics are nothing more than the dirty, dark, “back room” holes-in-the-walls of crumbling tenements in the worst part of the worst neighborhoods and ghettos in Texas, like the one that Natalie Wood goes to in Love with a Proper Stranger. I am here to tell you, truth to power, that abortion clinics must meet the same standards as any “hospital-style surgical center.” They are not staffed by fairy-tale witches holding out poisoned apples to Snow Whites or by cackling crones who haven’t washed their hands or seen a dentist in a hundred years. These clinics are non-profit centers run by caring health professionals whose only aim is to insure the well being of the women who are their patients

Yeah, I know, I went off the rails a bit, but not really. It’s all the same thing, really. Closing abortion clinics, DC Comics t-shirts, it’s all about fear of loss.

The loss of control.

Control of the message.

And the message is:

You belong to me.

Don’t you dare believe them.

 

Mindy Newell Is Jus’ Ramblin’ On

DidioJust a bunch of random thoughts this week, gang…

As I mentioned two weeks ago, Martha Thomases and I go waaaay back to the days when she was DC’s go-to woman for marketing and promotions and I was a naive, newbie freelance writer for the company who always stuck my head in her doorway (“hey, Martha”) whenever I was in the office. We have always been kindred spirits in political thought and our taste in literature, television, and moves have always coincided more than they have diverged, and now Martha’s latest column extends that coincidence to some critics.

Martha, you have more patience than I do; I couldn’t even finish the piece because I got so annoyed. So, yeah, I’m not an A.O. Scott fan, either, although I do think he writes beautifully. In my not-so-humble opinion, Mr. Scott is a bit of a snob and a critic in the Rex Reed mold – meaning that he seems to actually enjoy tearing down anything that smells of popular culture because in Mr. Scott’s world “popular” is a euphemism for a four-letter word.

Martha’s column made me wonder if Mr. Scott would have decried Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and his Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) or Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (1883) and Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (both in 1886) or James Fenimore Cooper’s The Leatherstocking Tales (of which The Last of the Mohicans (1826) is the second book in the series) or Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found (1871) as “the death of adult American culture” if he had been employed as a critic in the eras in which these classics of American literature were published.

Writer Chuck Dixon posted the photo posted above on his Facebook page, courtesy of Iconic Superman’s own FB page. I thought it tied in nicely with Marc Alan Fishman’s column this week about the trials and tribulations of a mother and her Batman-obsessed four year-old. I do agree with Marc that it is not generally the fault of the media but the fault of the parents when children are exposed to things that are “rated M for mature.” Parents should – make that must – be aware of the contents of a book, a television show, or a movie and they must be responsible for the interactions of that child with said media. However, I also feel sad that our comics icons (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) are, for the most part, reflecting the grayness of the adult world, the ugliness that is present in the world.

Yes, I know about the comics and cartoons (excuse me, animation shows) geared towards children, but overall, our four-colored heroes are reflections of us, the adults, and are not the standard bearers of positive ideals they should be – and, yeah, I sound like an old fogey, and not the same person who wrote a column about how she wasn’t bothered by that ass-in-the-air Spider-Woman cover. So am I a hypocrite? After all, as an adult, yes, I love writing and reading stories hewing towards the darker side of heroism and life; hell, one of the best stories I ever wrote was about a young girl who runs away with the “bad boy,” has a baby, and ultimately leaves both the kid and the father because she just can’t stand it any more (“Found and Lost,” New Talent Showcase #13, January 1985).

But as a mother, I once told Alixandra that I didn’t care what she watched or read or listened to, except I didn’t want to hear gangsta rap in the house because I didn’t want to hear songs about how the singer was going to cut up and/or kill his bitch (I also told her that I knew she would listen to it outside the house or at her friends’ houses, but in “this house you are not going to play it.”) And as a grandmother, I once tied an apron around my neck, and ran around “singing” the theme to Superman: The Movie in front of the baby (who just stared at me like I was an idiot – he was probably thinking: “this is a grandmother?”

Outlander (on STARZ) has drawn me into its spell. Much less a “bodice ripper” (see my column from a couple weeks ago) than a really, really excellent time-travel story, I told you before that I originally tuned in because Ronald D. Moore was producing it. I have not been disappointed. The dialogue continues to seem realistic and natural, the history of the period has been well researched, and English actress Caitriona Balfre does a wonderful job portraying the time-displaced heroine, Claire Randall, who, while becoming entwined in the life of the MacKenzie Clan and the Jacobite movement, which aimed to place Bonnie Prince Charles on the throne of England, still aches for her husband and life in 1945.

This past Saturday’s episode, which focused on the wedding night between Claire and Jamie, was not only incredibly sensual and sexy – I mean H-O-T, people! – it also was one of the most mature depictions of two people, basically strangers, thrown into an intimate partnership I have ever seen on the screen, big or little. This coming Saturday is the “mid-season finale” – like many shows on television these days, especially on cable, STARZ has chosen to follow the British style of short seasons – the “leave them wanting more” approach. I get it. And I know that STARZ has already renewed the show for a second season. But just how long am I going to have to wait? (If anybody knows, please leave a comment below.)

Like the rest of us, I sometimes wish there were real superheroes (men and women) so us ordinary people wouldn’t have to worry about things like global climate change and terrorists and war. As if fucking ISIL isn’t scary enough, yesterday I read an article in the New York Times about a Syrian terrorist group, led by a member of Bin Laden’s inner circle who was in on the planning of 9/11, whom the nation’s intelligence agencies deem more of a direct and more imminent threat to the U.S. than ISIL. (By the way, don’t ever use the phrase “protecting the Homeland” around me. There was a political leader in mid-20th century Germany who looked like Charlie Chaplin’s “little tramp” who liked to use that phrase.) And of course with President Obama’s plan to “train and arm rebel groups in Syria” having passed Congress, I’m betting that some our arms and training falls into the hands of these guys.

I have been a big supporter of President Barak Obama, but I gotta tell ya, I don’t know what the fuck President Obama is thinking, getting in bed with groups and nations who either don’t particularly like us or outright hate us. I keep thinking about Franklin Roosevelt and how he knew that we needed to get into the war in Europe to stop the Nazis, but with an isolationist Congress and America the best he could do was the Lend-Lease Act, by which he could supply Britain, the Free French, the Republic of China, and eventually the Soviet Union with arms and other war supplies. Perhaps Obama is trying a 21st century version of Lend-Lease, but the lines aren’t so clear-cut, and the “Allies” aren’t really allies at all.

Yeah, we could use a rollicking cry of Avengers Assemble! right about now.