Tagged: The Beat


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

Meet the new Wizard World chairman, Mike Mathews

Meet the new Wizard World chairman, Mike Mathews

201112151733 SCOOP: New chairman talks about the new Wizard WorldWizard World without Gareb Shamus. The entire idea would have seemed ridiculous until just a few days ago when an SEC filing revealed that Shamus, the owner and founder of the company, had been removed as CEO. It was startling news which left everyone wondering what would become of the Wizard brand—once mighty in both media coverage and entertainment shows.

Answers are beginning to emerge. In an interview with The Beat, Wizard’s executive chairman Mike Mathews revealed that a new era has already begun at Wizard World, which will include outreach to the entire industry in a move to repair damaged relationships with both other industry players and fans.

In one of the most notorious examples of the bad blood which the old Wizard had given rise to, subscribers to the print magazine had not been given any make-up subscriptions for issues paid for but never mailed. However, according to Mathews, a letter is being sent out to old subscribers offering them a $100 credit towards Wizard shows.

Steve Rude Arrested; Selling Artwork To Pay Legal Fees

Steve Rude Arrested; Selling Artwork To Pay Legal Fees

Steve Rude

Steve Rude, co-creator of Nexus, was arrested last night in a dispute with his neighbors. The charges are assault and failure to comply with a court order.

He’s out on bail now, but will still have to raise legal fees. Mark Evanier notes:

This means you have one of those great opportunities to simultaneously help out a deserving guy and get yourself a great bargain. Go to his website and buy something. In fact, while you’re there, buy several somethings.

via news from me.

The Beat notes that the Rudes live in Maricopa County is the homebase of Joe Arpaio, “America’s Toughest Sheriff”, who’s known for housing inmates outside in 145 degree heat, feeding them spoiled food, and other practices that have gained notoriety and lawsuits from organizations such as the ACLU and Amnesty International, and rulings from federal courts over various violations of the US Constitution– you know, cruel and unusual punishment, violating civil rights, racial profiling, election law violations, and abuse of power.

And just to tie it back into comics, Arpaio created an armed illegal immigration operations posse in 2010, to help his deputies enforce immigration law. One member of the posse? Lou Ferrigno.

More information as we get it.

Why Is Marvel Laying Off So Many People?

Why Is Marvel Laying Off So Many People?

Over the last two weeks, Marvel has laid off lots of people, from Bullpen staffers and editors to COO Jim Sokolowski. Heidi MacDonald may have tracked down the main culprit:

The budget slashing is the work of Marvel’s CEO, Isaac Perlmutter, an executive of legendary stinginess whose fanatical devotion to saving money —an increased interest in being hands on at Marvel — has led to the layoffs and other draconian measures inside the company.

Perlmutter and his then partner Avi Arad rode in to save Marvel from bankruptcy when they ran ToyBiz back in the late 90s. Keeping an eye on the bottom line was key to turning the company around. Bold moves like setting up their own $500 million movie studio took Marvel from penniless publishing company to a Wall Street darling with numerous stock splits. And of course, it led to Disney shelling out all that cash for a ready-made, boy-friendly franchise factory.

Although he no longer owns Marvel, Ike still runs it. And rather than sit back and enjoy his sunset years—he’s 68—with his $1.7 billion fortune, he’s chosen to keep a very active hand in running the company. In recent months he’s become even more active, showing up at the office daily. And it seems the only way he knows how to run a company is by increasing profits — not by investing in new businesses, but simply squeezing the bottom line for every last penny by any means.

If Ike thinks an expenditure is unnecessary, there’s no way around it, and anyone caught doing it is in danger of losing their job.

via Marvel Layoffs: The cheapskate is coming from inside the House of Ideas!  | The Beat.

From Ike’s point of view, why not? The single biggest financial contributors to Marvel’s bottom line are movies based on stories that are up to fifty years old at this point– seventy, if you count Captain America. Why should you bother creating anything new, when there’s so much to be squeezed from the old stuff?

Heidi also speculates that this may be to impress Disney and get Ike a seat on the board, now that he’s Disney’s single largest shareholder. What Ike doesn’t realize is that Disney already tried this tactic, squeezing every last drop out of their previously created works and riding on coattails. It was called “the seventies”. But Disney realized that it couldn’t go on forever, and that new properties had to be created, new stories had to be told. That required Disney to buy Pixar, which gave them access to some of the greatest visionairies on the planet, both the animators and Steve Jobs.

Jobs was an innovator. Perlmutter is an accountant.

It was Perlmutter’s tight grip on facts, figures, and accounting that got him control of the company from Ron Perelman and Carl Icahn, drag it out of bankruptcy, and build it to something that could be sold for four billion dollars. But really, you gotta spend money and get new fans sometime. DC’s new initiative and spike in sales should get Marvel worried.

It’s almost like you’re begging to be hassled by the 99%… or as we like to think of it, almost everybody else who works for Marvel.

Disney is generally pretty good about supporting the brands that support them, such as Pixar and ESPN. But if Perlmutter is keeping tight control and tighter purse strings, you have to wonder if Disney is getting the full news from the front line.

Crazy 8 Press Releases Second Preview of ‘The Camelot Papers’, On Sale July 8th

In a case of the shoemaker’s children going barefoot, we didn’t mention anything beyond the teaser on Monday, but: ComicMix contributors Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, and Aaron Rosenberg have joined with comic book writers Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, and Howard Weinstein to form Crazy 8 Press, while we saw numerous writeups from The Beat, Bleeding Cool, and io9.

However, we can advance the story a bit further: a second preview of the first book, The Camelot Papers by Peter David, has been added to the Crazy 8 Press Facebook page. Just go there and like the page, and you’ll get access to Chapters 2 and 3. (Chapter 1 is still available on the Crazy 8 Press website.

The Camelot Papers will officially go on sale on July 8, both to tie in with the “8” and the Shore Leave convention in Hunt Valley, MD, where all six founders will be in attendance– and doing a special comic related project together which we’ll tell you about when the time comes.

Xeric Announces Grant Winners

This year’s spring Xeric grant recipients have been named, writes Heidi MacDonald at The Beat. Strangely, the Xeric site doesn’t have the news yet.

The grant winners are:

Gary Scott Beatty – Jazz: Cool Birth
Marek Bennett – Breakfast at Mimi’s Doughnuts
Eroyn Franklin – Another Glorious Day at the Nothing Factory
Jason Hoffman – Mine
Jack Hsu – 8-9-3
Jenny Jaeckel – Spot 12
Dave Kiersh – Dirtbags, Mall Chicks and Motorbikes
Alex Kim – Wall City
Stef Lenk – TeaTime (art at right)
Justin Murphy – Cleburne
Felix Tannenbaum – The Chronicles of Some Made

ComicMix Goes National, Part 2

Where were we this morning?  Ah yes, it was actually noontime on Saturday, where we headed upstairs to the Hotel Penn’s Sky-something ballroom for the Mark Evanier-moderated panel "Marvel in the 60s and 70s."

Just look at those luminaries.  Gary Friedrich; Dick Ayers (in his old Army outfit that still fits!); Herb Trimpe; Joe Sinnott.  Truly amazing gentlemen, with the usual stories you’d expect.  But the best anecdote may have been one in the making, as Mark received an email from Stan Lee during the panel, emailed him back that he was currently moderating a panel and did Stan have something to say…

…which of course, about a half hour later, he did.  It went something along the lines of "Tell those gentlemen they need to get out of that hick town and come to Los Angeles, where they can join me for a real Marvel panel!"  Mark should have the exact text up on his blog shortly, I’m sure.

"But," you say, "you promised us purple pants!"  Well, here’s a Wizard to warm you up:

The bearded gent on the right, come in all the way from Israel, is Mike Netzer.  Or is he the one on the left?  I’ll never tell.  Purple pants aplenty below!


DENNIS O’NEIL: On The Road Again

DENNIS O’NEIL: On The Road Again

Jack Kerouac’s novel On The Road is 50 years old.

“And this has exactly what to do with comics?” demands the snotty guy in the corner. Well, actually, not much, but maybe if we stretch, a little something. Patience, please.

If you know people my age, or a bit younger, you may have heard On The Road stories. Mine is pretty banal: I was fairly unhappy at school (I was always fairly unhappy at schools, except when I was actively miserable) and I read and had my mind altered by Kerouac’s book which is, among other things, a paean to travel and the highway. So, one morning, I went down to breakfast, borrowed about forty bucks from my father and, blowing off university exam week, got on a bus for New Orleans.

Once there, I didn’t do much: checked into a Y, hung out, walked around, had a friendly lady on Bourbon Street offer to teach me everything about life for only five dollars. I kind of guessed what she was talking about and, being the Good Catholic Boy that I was, politely declined. Then I boarded another Greyhound and went home. No hitchhiking, not that trip, though there was plenty later. (And, by the way, don’t try this at home. Hitchhiking in the 50s and 60s was not without hazards, but not nearly as dangerous as it is now.)

“Did someone mention comic books? This column, this whole dern website, is supposed to be about comics.” The snotty guy in the corner again. Okay, be at peace, brother, and give me another paragraph or two.

Kerouac was, as I’m sure everyone except the guy in the corner knows, the most famous and visible member of a loose confederation of novelists, poets, and musicians that became known as The Beat Generation. I’ve never heard, or read, any of them even evidencing knowledge that comics existed. But they were contrarians that believed that most conventional wisdom was erroneous, that genuine American values involved peace and understanding and, incidentally, that maybe mainstream literary and critical folk – the Establishment – did not own the last word on artistic matters.

Jump ahead a few years to the mid-60s and here we are, on college campuses, and what are the bright rebels reading? Well, a few – those who still wear ties on Sunday – are still delving into Catcher In The Rye, and a few more are grokking Stranger In A Strange Land, but the real nonconformists, the bright ones, are into comics, particularly Marvel comics.


Beat the heat and read

Beat the heat and read

This little homebody has had enough of running around in The City.  Sometimes you just have to stay home and collapse before facing another workweek, and what better way to relax than with another reading of some fine ComicMix columns?:

And some listening to Mellifluous Mike Raub‘s most recent podcasts?:

And by phrasing everything in the form of a question?

Your all-in-one convention report

Your all-in-one convention report

He’s been Gaiman’ed, Beat’en, and now he’s ComicMix‘ed. Your must-read for today is Lee "Budgie" Barnett’s pre-Bristol all-purpose con report boilerplate. Like MadLibs for those of us more exhausted than mad. Hope Budgie gets his energy up in time to co-host his popular annual Hypotheticals panel!

By the way, the Bristol International Comic Expo, being held this coming weekend, is a wonderful socializing convention, particularly in the hotel pub, and it’s a short and inexpensive bus ride from the train station to the shopping plaza — but be forewarned, bring sunscreen, that caught us unawares last year…