Tagged: San Francisco


The latest Fight Card has been released and it looks to be a knockout. You can find Fight Card: Golden Gate Gloves at Amazon.



San Francisco 1951

Conall O’Quinn grew up at St. Vincent’s Asylum For Boys, a Chicago orphanage where he learned the sweet science of boxing from Father Tim, the battling priest. After a stint in the Army, Conall finds work on the docks of San Francisco – a place where his fists make him the dock champion. Soon, however, he gets on the bad side of a union boss and is set up for a dock side brawl designed to knockout his fighting career. When Conall comes out on top, things go from bad to worse when he is framed for the docks going up in flames.

Along with Benson, his best friend and trainer, Conall heads for the hills in search of a lost treasure in the vicinity of a mine controlled by the union boss. However, where Conall goes trouble follows and he is quickly embroiled in a heated grudge match between fist-happy miners and lumberjacks.

Championing the miners in an all out slugfest, Conall is about to find out there is more to fighting than just swinging fists… giant, hammer-fisted lumberjacks, the mine owner’s beautiful daughter, union flunkies, and mob thugs all want a piece of him… and when the opening bell rings, the entire world appears to be against him…

You can learn more about The Fight Card series at www.fightcardbooks.com.

Dennis O’Neil: We Can Be Heroes

In my moment, it’s Labor Day. (In your moment…watch me shrug.) That being so – that Labor Day reality – it seems appropriate to think of unions and a cause dear to my heart.

Unions have not been consistent, not in my limited experience. An anecdote? Right after graduating from college, my friend Don Tonelli and I went to San Francisco. No agenda, just a long ramble to somewhere we’d never been. While in the Bay Area we visited my uncle Oscar, whom I’d seen once very briefly when I was a tot, and who was the subject of a bemused mention at clan gatherings. Oscar was a marvelous old man who kept us entertained and fascinated for most of a week. Among his entertainments were stories of the early days of the unions, when he and other skilled craftsmen went to meetings in large groups, armed with rifles, defying the fat cat bosses and their goons, demanding decent wages and working conditions. Back then, unions were the good guys.

But by the time Don and I shared wonderful hours with Oscar, unions had changed. Not for the better. The story went like this: unions had been infiltrated by criminals and had becomes nests of bullies and mobsters. Pretty damn shady enterprises, all in all. We baby blue staters grouped them with society’s ills. We didn’t consider that they provided insurance plans and pension plans and sundry other benefits, including a sense of the pride in working for a living. We were young. We were slow to look at both ends of a question. And, besides, it felt righteous to be pissed off.

Lately, I’ve grouped unions with the good guys again. They are among the few sources of campaign financing that can compete in fund raising with the billionaire-favored superPACs, and so they help blue collar voices to be heard. And they still provide those benefits. Those benefits are important.

We comics guys have never had unions. The closest thing to a union in our world was the Academy of Comic Book Arts, created by a motley crew of freelancers in 1970. ACBA, as we fondly called it, didn’t attempt to negotiate with the publishers, though that was discussed at early meetings, and in the end, did little to provide those important benefits. What it did do was present yearly awards for exemplary work, and that is no small task. But those awards weren’t of much use if your kid was sick or the rent needed paying.

No unions, no benefits. Good luck.

And this brings us to my heart’s dear cause: The Hero Intiative. Which is what, exactly? Here’s a paragraph from the organization’s website:

The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays’ creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.

If you get a chance to help H.I., you should take it.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases Goes Gangnam Style


ERROR 451: This Page Has Been Burned

It’s just another average day of internet browsing. You’re doing your thing, checking the news, maybe taking a detour to your favorite webcomic. Then, WHAM (or rather, the internet version of said sound effect).

ERROR 451.

What happened? Did the servers overload? Did the connection crash? Is the address wrong?

No; this page has been burned.

Error 451 is a new HTTP Error status code proposed by Google developer advocate Tim Bray. The code would pop up the same way an Error 404 code does — except instead of being told a page could not be found, a viewer would be informed that the site is being censored.

The number is an homage to Ray Bradbury‘s Fahrenheit 451, which takes place in a dystopian future in which firemen burn books because the government has declared reading illegal.

According to Wired’s WebMonkey blog, the biggest advantage of the 451 code is that it would explain why content is unavailable — such as which legal authority is imposing the restriction. This would let visitors know that the government, not the Internet Service Provider, is the reason for the page’s malfunction.  Currently, 403 errors are most often used when blocking access to censored pages.

Error code 451 would pop up in situations such as the Indian government’s censorship of the site Cartoonists Against Corruption, which was blocked because its critique of the government was deemed “defamatory and derogatory.”

The biggest problem with the code, Bray admits, is that many governments are not fond of the idea of transparent censorship. So, if we’re lucky — or not? — this code may be popping up in our browsers in the future.

Please help support CBLDF’s important First Amendment work and reporting on issues such as this by making a donation or becoming a member of the CBLDF!

Becca Hoekstra is studying journalism in San Francisco, California.


Master Class in Cartooning with “Zippy The Pinhead” creator Bill Griffith tonight

Tonight, a Master Class with Bill Griffith, creator of Zippy The Pinhead:
The Daily Life of a Working Cartoonist: Pencilling, Inking and Making People Laugh, Maybe.

Single session: Wednesday July 25, 7:00 PM-9:00 PM. Tuition: $60. For more information and to register, call 212-228-2810 or go to: http://sohodigart.com/Calendar.html

Subjects discussed by legendary comix creator BILL GRIFFITH in this class will be: Creating a cast of characters (one of which may be yourself) and learning the language of comics (writing, humor, pacing, finding your voice, understanding panel and page composition as well as specific hints on drawing in pen & ink).

Attendees may bring photocopies of a small sample of their work, which Bill will critique after the class via email. There will also be a question and answer period at the end of the class. Feel free to ask anything except how to draw superheroes.

BILL GRIFFITH is the creator of the “Zippy the Pinhead” daily comic strip, seen in over 150 newspapers and newspaper websites. “Zippy” has been nationally-syndicated since 1986, by the first and oldest comics syndicate, King Features. Griffith got his start in the underground comics scene in New York and San Francisco in 1969, contributing to dozens of comic books and magazines throughout the last four decades. Fantagraphics Books has just published a collection of Griffith’s early underground work, [[[Bill Griffith: Lost and Found: Comics 1969-2003]]].


(831) 869-9995          www.audiocomicscompany.com          info@audiocomicscompany.com 



AudioComics’ first Pulp Adventure now available on iTunes and Amazon Mp3

The AudioComics Company’s first production in its Pulp Adventures series is now available as a digital download through iTunes and Amazon Mp3: The Domino Lady: All’s Fair in War was released May 1, and has now gone worldwide through iTunes and Amazon, with Rhapsody, eMusic, and Nokia to follow.

Written by Rich Harvey, directed by Lance Roger Axt, and recorded in San Francisco, CA, The Domino Lady’s first-ever audio adventure takes us to 1935 San Diego, CA where she investigates the disappearance of an actual one million dollar bill from an International Exposition. Already the program has garnered excellent reviews from Airship 27’s Ron Fortier, who called it “a superb audio treat with great writing, perfect acting, especially by Karen Stillwell as Ellen Patrick/Domino Lady and Peter Carini as (Roge) McKane,” and comics legend Steve Englehart: “this is not a scratchy MP3 made from an old acetate – this is radio drama at its finest, with real actors and real writers.”

The cost for the twenty-minute work is $2.97, and can be found by entering “The AudioComics Company” into the provider’s search engine. AudioComics’ productions of Honey West, The Batsons, and Titanium Rain will follow before month’s end; also available through iTunes and Amazon Mp3 is the Company’s premiere work, Starstruck


A Domino Lady Audio-Book
Written by Rich Harvey
Directed by Lance Roger Axt
Engineered by Piper Payne
Recorded at Broken Radio Studios, San Francisco, CA
Post Production by The AudioComics Company
One of the truly wonderful and totally unexpected results of the new renaissance in pulp fiction has been the resurgence renewed interest in old time radio dramas.  And what better subject matter for these new audio outfits then the classic pulp heroes of the 1930s and 40s.  Several companies have started producing audio books from the original pulp magazines and now for the very first time pulp fans can “listen” to the adventures of the Spider, Secret Agent X and many others.
Of course as all pulp fans know, there were very few lady avengers and the clear cut leader of that small group was writer Lars Anderson’s Domino Lady.  Now Audio Comics out of San Francisco, directed by Lance Roger Axt, has produced a truly marvelous original Domino Lady radio drama written by Rich Harvey and acted by a truly inspired cast.
In San Diego for the new Pacific Coast Exposition, Ellen Patrick, daughter of the former State Attorney General, is only too willing to contribute financially to the mega event which will bring much needed revenue to the popular seacoast community.  When someone breaks into the aptly named Crime Does Not Pay pavilion and walks off with a unique one million bill printed by the Federal Reserve, it spells disaster for Mayor Benbough and his planning committee. Unless the bill can be recovered, the insurance company will demand restitution from the city and in the process bankrupt it.
Once again, the beautiful and audacious Miss Patrick dons her gown, cape and as the  Domino Mask slips into the fair grounds to do her own investigation.  She is nearly captured by her former paramour, private eye Roge McKane, on duty as the exposition’s chief of security.  The inter-change between these two is pure sauciness with double-entendres flying left and right and had this listener laughing aloud.
ALL’S FAIR IN WAR is a superb audio treat with great writing, perfect acting; especially by Karen Stillwell as Ellen Patrick/Domino Lady and Peter Carini as McKane.  The blues/jazz soundtrack is also a gem and easily sets the story’s atmosphere.  If we have one complaint is that this is only the opening chapter in the series and ends much too soon, leaving us wanting a whole lot more.  Axt and Audio Comics have produced a top-notch audio recording that is pure pulp goodness.  We recommend you order you copy now.  You thank us later.
Cast & Crew –
Karen Stilwell as Ellen Patrick/The Domino Lady
Peter Carini as Roge McKane
Mandy Brown as Dottie Jaster
Peter Papadopoulos as Dan Carley
Kevin Donnelly as “Moxie”
Bill Chessman as Samuel Benton
Lance Roger Axt as Mayor Benbough and your Narrator
Christine Marshall as your Announcer
Additional roles portrayed by the members of the Pulp Adventures Acting Company
www.audiocomicscompany.com is the URL for purchasing direct: also, we will have links to where All’s Fair in Warcan be purchased via iTunes, Amazon Mp3, Zune, Rhapsody, Nokia, and eMusic starting next week (or I should say, when it’s up on  iTunes, Amazon Mp3, Zune, Rhapsody, Nokia, and eMusic). Thanks!

Martha Thomases: Pekar’s Cleveland

The Avengers opens today. As near as I can tell from the Internets, I’m the last person in the world to see it. The New York Daily News reviewed it on Monday, since apparently everyone in the city has the option of going to a screening.

I hope to catch it this weekend, like a rube from the sticks.

Which brings me to the graphic story that has me most excited right now. Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland. Written by Harvey with fantastic art by Joseph Memnant, was just published by ZIP in collaboration with Top Shelf.

Cleveland, Ohio is a large, midwestern city, and, like many large midwestern cities, is a shadow of its former self. Unlike Chicago, it is not the City of Big Shoulders, nor is it the Hog Butcher of the World. It’s not like San Francisco, Miami or New York, a portal to the international scene. Cleveland is kind of schlubby, most famous these days for the fact that the Cuyahoga River caught fire… over a dozen times.

To me, Cleveland was the Big City. Growing up in Youngstown (about an hour and a half away), Cleveland to me was a place that was big where my town was small: the airport, the art museum, the library, the department stores. My father’s work took him more often to Pittsburgh (also about an hour and a half away), and he liked the Pirates and the Steelers. My mother liked the shopping better in Pittsburgh.

For me, there was no comparison. Cleveland was the city where Superman was born. Cleveland was the more rock’n’roll town, and had the best radio stations to prove it.

Pekar loved Cleveland for some of these reasons, and more. It’s his hometown, where he grew up and worked and married. He revels in the seemingly contradictory traditions of progressive politics, union membership, and racism.

The mix of history and personal reminiscence is both seamless and magical. Reading this book, you feel Cleveland as a place, not just a spot on a map, but a city where people live and work, dream and comfort each other. You root for the mass-transit system and the used book stores.

I was lucky enough to meet Harvey a few times, although never in Cleveland. I don’t have that chance anymore. Still, there’s a chance we might be able to keep more than his spirit in the city he loved. If you haven’t chipped in on this project, think about it. I’m told they could use more money.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman



TIPPIN’ HANCOCK’S HAT- Reviews of All Things Pulp by Tommy Hancock

by Andrew Salmon and Ron Fortier
Cover by Chad Hardin
Interiors by Rob Davis
Published by Airship 27 Productions

Even though Pulp, both Classic and New, runs rampant over a myriad of genres, there’s no doubt that a personal favorite of mine and indeed of many Pulp fans of all shades and types is the tried and true Hero Pulp.  A strong central ‘lead’ character surrounded by able bodied, skilled, and interesting teammates off on an adventure against over the top villains with a larger than life plan to take over some corner, or pray tell  even the entire world.   There’s just something about those stories that endear themselves to me and to Pulp Fans as a whole.

I really enjoy it when I find such characters in a New Pulp work, one that effectively tips its fedora to what came before, but also brings enough modern sensibility and nuance to the Hero genre to make it stand out, to make it more New than Rehash.

That’s why I really, really enjoyed GHOST SQUAD: RISE OF THE BLACK LEGION from Airship 27 Productions.

Co-written by Ron Fortier and Andrew Salmon and originally released in 2008, GHOST SQUAD opens with a story known to many of a man once dead returned to life by Jesus Christ.  This opening segues into another introductory sequence showing the same man now working the front lines of World War One.   This unique way of setting up the central character of the team we get introduced to in later chapters quickly endears the reader to said character, who currently, in this title, is using the name John Lazarus.

The uniqueness of utilizing the biblical character adds a touch of fantastic imagination to a story that also comes replete with a two fisted pilot, a beguiling lady stage magician skilled in real magic, an elite group of Nazis led by someone nearly as long lived as Lazarus and very much his opposite number, and so much more.   GHOST SQUAD moves with a pacing in the first 12 chapters and from chapter 14 on that is top notch and would serve as a great blueprint for New Pulp writers on how to pace a Pulpy tale and utilize both rapid fire action and balance throughout.

There are times, however, when one section, one chapter, even one page of a book can threaten to derail the whole process, disengage the reader so completely that they almost don’t finish the tale.  GHOST SQUAD has just such a stumbling block.  Chapter 13, which highlights a car chase involving Hale, one of the Ghost Squad members, and a very special guest star from the era of the Classic Pulps through the city of San Francisco, is a complete waste of time.   Well, not the whole thing necessarily, but the chapter, 23 pages in length, drags on after about the tenth page and carries the heroes and villains through a series of twists and turns that, although possibly intended to add tension and excitement to the story as a whole, does just the opposite and weighs the story down so much that it made it hard to stay invested in the tale.   Fortunately for the book and for me as the reader, Salmon and Fortier return to the dead on pacing and storytelling they exhibited in the first 12 chapters with Chapter 14 and do not let up or fall back into that Chapter 13 trap again at all.  

Although the cover to this book isn’t typically what I enjoy stylistically, Hardin’s work fits this piece extremely well and the image cast by the cover works perfectly.  Add in Davis’ top of the line interiors, some of his best New Pulp work I’ve seen to date, along with his equally excellent design work on the package as a whole, and GHOST SQUAD definitely stands as one of the best looking New Pulp offerings out there.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE TIPS OF HANCOCK’S HAT- This book came out in 2008.   Far too long since Lazarus and crew have seen light, if you ask me.

Introducing John Strain as…The Black Bat!

Introducing John Strain as…The Black Bat!

From http://audiocomics.wordpress.com/


The AudioComics Company is pleased to announce the casting of San Francisco Bay Area stage actor John Strain in the title role of The Black Bat, part of the production company’s Pulp Adventures anthology series, and a pivotal character in the forthcoming Moonstone AudioComics offering, Battle for LA. As with The Domino Lady, The AudioComics Company’s world-premiere productions featuring The Black Bat will mark the first time that the pulp character has graced the airwaves.

The Black Bat first appeared in the July 1939 issue of Black Book Detective, in the origin story “Brand of the Black Bat” written by Norman Daniels under the house name G. Wayman Jones. Both the Black Bat and Batman hit the newsstands around the same time, and both Thrilling Publications and National Comics (respective publishers of the characters) claimed the other was a copy. National (now of course known as DC) editor Whitney Ellsworth, who had previously worked for Thrilling’s head Ned Pines, negotiated an arrangement between the two companies, allowing both characters to exist (staving off potential lawsuits).

The world believes that District Attorney Tony Quinn is blind from a gangster’s attack. In truth, he is able to see, the result of a secret operation where the corneas of a murdered small town sheriff were grafted onto Quinn’s eyes. To everyone’s surprise, not only can Quinn see normally, but he can see in complete darkness. While blind, he had developed the necessary skills of the blind, all of which stay with him after he regains his sight. Posing as a blind man to throw both cops and criminals off the trail, “Special District Attorney” Anthony Quinn, armed with a pair of .45’s, becomes The Black Bat, a vigilante determined to bring those who slip through the system to justice…by any means necessary. For this reason he is wanted not only by the underworld but by the authorities as well. Aiding Quinn is his “girl Friday” Carol Baldwin, daughter of the slain sheriff; Butch O’ Leary, the over 6’5” giant with fists of fury; and Quinn’s “valet,” one-time hood-gone-straight Norton “Silk” Kirby.
John M. Strain holds a BA in Literature with an Acting minor from San Francisco State University, an MFA in Acting from UC Irvine, and a Teaching Credential from Chapman University. Some of his Bay Area roles include Bobby from David Mamet’s Bobby Gould in Hell, Feste from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and Mendoza in The Politics of Decay. Southern California roles include Linder in A Raisin in the Sun, Eddie in Fool for Love, and Zarius Michaels in the short film Hold On! (Semi-finalist, Triggerstreet.com).  Most recently, John played Robert in the AFI short Morning Latte, and Adolf Hitler in the premiere stage production of Disney in Deutschland. John currently teaches English, Study Skills, Journalism and helps run “Read Aloud” public speaking tournaments for young adults in the city of San Francisco.
As mentioned, John will first suit up as The Black Bat in a San Francisco recording studio this spring, when the character appears alongside The Phantom Detective, G-8, Secret Agent X, and The Domino Lady (Karen Stilwell) in Battle for LA, based on the Moonstone one-shot by CJ Henderson and Mark Sparacio.

National Cartoonists Society Adds Webcomics Award

ncs-logo-300x265-9483854Nation Cartoonists Society president Tom Richmond announced this week that the venerable organization was adding a web-comics division for this year.

According to Richmond’s blog post, he and Awards membership chairman Sean Parkes had been working on this for some time. They received feedback from several industry experts including Dave Kellett (Sheldon, Drive), Andrew Farago (curator of the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco), Michael Jantze (The Norm, Professor of Sequential Art and Animation, Savannah College of Art and Design).

Richmond went on to explain that the category, Best Online Comic Strip, will be narrowly focused and based on the following criteria:

  1. Comic-strip format only (no single panels, long-form narrative. etc.)
  2. Must be web only publication (any syndication in print would make it eligible for the Best Syndicated Comic Strip Division)
  3. Must be at least a weekly
  4. Must have shown consistent publication based on determined time-schedule (i.e. it being a daily, twice-a-week, weekly, etc.) over the course of the 2011 calendar year
  5. Creator must earn the greater part of their living directly from the strip/property

Submitted work itself must be:

  1. No more than 12 samples, submitted as physical prints along with submission form and bio or as PDF with 2-4 strips per page and including bio/submission form
  2. Work must have been published (posted) during period from Dec. 1, 2010 to Dec 31, 2011 (archive.org links must be provided for each strip for verification).