Tagged: White House

Dennis O’Neil: The Super-Villain In The White House

Barack Obama ComicsSo our national fingerwag has found its way through the mire of newsprint and cable television and into the Land of Comics. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you won’t hear it from me because I’m not joining the fray, my children, but it’s Obama’s fault.

Just like that rewarring in Iraq is Obama’s fault – obviously a plot to distract us while his armies of Kenyan invaders gather for the Big Strike. Or this global warming bushwah… more distraction. I mean, global warming? Last winter – that long and brutal season, remember? – as you were struggling to start your car in sub zero weather, did the globe seem warm to you then? Yeah, I thought not.  And those pictures of melting ice caps: in the first place, do you really care if some ice melts? Doesn’t it happen every day in your lemonade glass? And in the second place, how do we know it’s really happening, even? Anyone actually believe that the White House doesn’t have access to Photoshop?

Of course, Obama’s real triumph was the destruction of Pompeii in 79 CE. How can that be? you might ask. Wasnt Pompeii destroyed when a volcano, Mount Vesuvius, erupted and buried the city under tons of ash and rocks and stuff? How, youmight continue with just the tiniest edge in your voice, could our monster-in-chief be responsible for that?

Ah, the innocence of the naive! You underestimate the power of the monster’s evil – an evil so great that it shattered the constraints of time and hurled back through the centuries until it emerged by chance, unless Obama had something against the locals, in the heart of Vesuvius, arriving with the momentum gathered as it veered through the millennia, again shattering time. Obviously, the unexpected arrival of a gigantic lump of malevolence from the future upset the area’s cosmic balance and the poor volcano had to do something! I mean, wouldn’t you erupt?

By the way, none of this is depicted in the recent Pompeii movie and I don’t remember any of it being part of The Last Days of Pompeii, which I saw when I was a little kid. Of course not! The recent film? Well, You know Obama and Hollywood! As for the earlier movie, the one I must have seen in rerelease in the 1940s…maybe the backward-speeding malevolence stopped in 1935, the year the movie was first shown, just long enough to obliterate any traces of the truth that may have been lying around. Or maybe the movie guys just didn’t know about the Obaman meddling with geochronology.

I mean, we’re reasonable people here. We can’t blame everything on Obama.

How do I know about all this? Well, I’m not making any claims, but just suppose an angel came to me in a dream and told me what I’ve been telling you and maybe I believe the angel because I believe in angels.

Can’t quarrel with that!


Mindy Newell: The Day Of The Doctor

Newell Art 131125 “Great men are forged in fire.

It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.

Whatever the cost.”

The Warrior Doctor (John Hurt), The Day of the Doctor, November 23, 2013

After all the press, after all the hype, after a week of BBC America’s Doctor Who Takeover, I was really afraid that actual episode was going to suck, that I was going to be miserably let down, wretchedly disappointed.

I. Was. Absolutely. Completely. Totally. Utterly. Positively.

Blown. Away.

The whole wide world became the whole wide Whovian world yesterday, as the BBC simulcast The Day Of The Doctor in over 75 countries – Angola, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde Islands, the Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, the Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Honduras, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania & Zanzibar, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

I mean, seriously, has the United Nations ever been able to bring about such a coalition? I mean, seriously, I think the last time so many countries and their citizens came together to celebrate and raise a glass or two as they did on Saturday was for the end of World War II 68 years ago.

I mean, seriously, think about it, people. So many of these nations are embattled and torn apart by violence and terror and war—and yet the Doctor, fictional character though he may be, hits such a powerful chord of hope and peace and unity among the peoples of this Earth, is it possible that even in places like Somalia and Myanmar and Colombia and the Congo that a truce was called for one hour and twenty minutes on Saturday, November 23rd, 2013?

Once before has the world been stopped on this date. 50 years ago President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was shot dead in Daley Plaza, Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, and the world held its breath for the next four days as his body was returned to Washington, where it laid in state, first in the White House and then at the Capitol Rotunda, to finally come to rest in Arlington Cemetery across the Potomac River in Virginia – and so in England no one, or very, very few, saw the BBC’s debut, on November 23rd, 1963, of a science fiction television show about a grandfatherly man and his niece and her two teachers adventuring in time and space in a contraption called the TARDIS, which was an acronym, the niece informed us, for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space, and which looked like an English 1950’s police box.

But the BBC reran the premiere episode of Doctor Who and its ratings took off, and when William Hartnell, the first actor to play the Doctor, became too ill to continue, an innovative idea was born to explain the introduction of Patrick Troughton as his replacement—regeneration.

And now Doctor Who, the series, has regenerated.

I won’t go into depth, so as not to spoil it for those who were unable to see The Day Of The Doctor this past weekend, but I will say this – the driving force behind the Time Lord has been changed.

It was quite a day.




Mike Gold: The Lenticular Corridor

Gold Art 130403Well, this is fun.

As I type these words – 20 hours prior to posting – ComicMix is in the following situation. Glenn Hauman is about to board a plane taking him from WonderCon to San Francisco to Newark, New Jersey. We should see him sometime late next year. Martha Thomases and Arthur Tebbel are wandering around Japan hoping the whole North Korea is-gonna-nuke-us thing is a joke. Bob Greenberger is somewhere vaguely north of the White House staring at boxes and wondering how he got so old so fast. Adriane Nash is floating around North Haven Connecticut holding a candle. Vinnie Bartilucci is in Who Heaven studying the 50th anniversary show read-through photos pixel by pixel. Marc Alan Fishman is trying to come up with a way to spend more time with his son Bennett without having to go to Japan. Some of the above are planning on this weekend’s MoCCA Arts Fest.

That leaves me here at ComicMix Central. Always a dangerous thing.

And then my iMac started acting up.


I’ve had more than 29 years of experience with all things Macintosh, so I should be able to fix things while Wizardboy Hauman is on the Left Coast. And, while I’m at it, I should be able to shoot down flying monkeys with my psionic death rays.

Turns out that psionic death rays thing might have been easier to pull off. I’ve spent 24 hour doing PRAM zaps and SMC resets, swapping cables, connecting and disconnecting USB cables (2.0 and 3.0), connecting and disconnecting USB devices, fussing with Bluetooth and WiFi, blowing off sundry start-up apps and rebooting like a cobbler on meth. And I still get five copies of the “You’ve got a USB device that’s draining too much power, asshole” error messages cascading across my screen on the average of every 20 seconds.

OK. Every once in a while computers, cars, and human beings break down and I’m way, way past my due. When Adriane isn’t wandering around New Haven county, we’ve got a zillion machines here including iPads and iBooks and iBalls. Unfortunately, Adriane is wandering around New Haven county with some of the above equipment, so I can’t boot my machine as a target disk.

Which means, in English, that I can’t do squat until I’ve fixed it. I’ve got to post Michael Davis’s Tuesday afternoon column (this wouldn’t have been a problem if I got the column on time, as opposed to just past midnight Monday morning; Michael’s got an excuse and it’ll probably be next week’s column) and I’ve got to write and post my column and do all kinds of other important stuff. I can do a lot of this on my iPad and I have, but in order to edit art and post properly, I need that iMac.

And then, literally 55 minutes before Michael’s column is to go up, I find it. Well, maybe not “it” but something that, if disabled, seems to cure about 90% of the problem. That’ll do… and maybe that other 10% will disappear when I reboot.

Or maybe the iMac will go Nagasaki on me: that’s how computers, cars and human beings tell us they want to be replaced.

But at least I’ve got a column out of it.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases


Dennis O’Neil: It’s Like A Kind Of Torture

The Cookie Monster finished duct taping Kermit to the chair, stepped back, removed a cattle prod from somewhere within his fur and growled, “Where cookie?”

“I don’t know where your cookie is,” Kermit whined.

The Monster brandished the cattle prod.  “Last chance.  Where cookie?”

Then he jammed the cattle prod into the part of Kermit’s anatomy that would have sported genitals, if puppets had genitals, and pressed a stud.


“Ow!” Kermit complained.

“One last time,” The Cookie Monster said.  “Where friggin’ cookie?”


Emily S. Whitten: 1600 Penn Putting the Personal Before Politics

Whitten Art 130115There’s a lot to love about Washington, D.C., but let’s be honest: living in such a political town it can be easy to get tired of politics. Rather like the way I wasn’t big into watching legal shows while in law school, my first inclination, having lived in the D.C. area for going on ten years now, surrounded by politicians and government buildings and workers, wouldn’t necessarily be to watch a show about the President.

But when I saw the description for 1600 Penn in a media event alert in The National Press Club newsletter a couple of weeks ago, and then saw that Bill Pullman would be playing the President in this NBC show about the First Family in the White House, I knew I’d have to give it a try. I mean, come on – Pullman was a win last time he was President (not to mention his roles in two favorite movies of mine, Spaceballs and While You Were Sleeping), even before he made that speech on the airstrip. The scene where he’s looking after his young daughter in the White House in Independence Day has always been a favorite, as one of the moments that adds heart to an all-out alien invasion movie full of explosions.

As I’ve discovered after watching the pilot for 1600 Penn and after a Q&A with the cast and producers of the show, 1600 Penn may have a slightly different kind of President, but its goal is also to be full of heart. The show is premised around “an average American family living under one big roof as the nation’s First Family and dealing with everyday struggles inside the Oval Office,” and thus far, I think it delivers reasonably well.

I’m always wary of reviewing any show based on just the pilot (my preference being to give a show two or three episodes to make an impression), but after a half-hour of President Gilchrist and co., I can at least say that I would definitely watch again. From the first episode, the show has a warmth and humor to it that catches my interest, even if it occasionally struggles to find a balance between the seriousness of politics and wackiness of comedy. Though there are some moments of fun situational comedy, where it does best is when it finds humor in the deeper dilemmas (and frequent awkwardness) of raising a family in such an unusual situation as this.

It also finds humor in the skill of its cast members, notably co-creator Josh Gad, who plays blundering oldest son Skip. From the publicity photos and description, I had misgivings about Josh’s character at first. Such a character could easily go too far and either steal or ruin the show; but as written and played here, thus far there’s a balance of good-hearted sweetness and warmth to the ineptness (which is apparently one of Josh’s hallmarks) that actually plays well. It seems it will work to “build the show” around Josh, as the creators have intended, as long as his character doesn’t lose that balance.

Jenna Elfman, who plays the somehow believably competent but also zany stepmom and First Lady Emily Gilchrist, also acquits herself well in the pilot, managing to humorously juggle several pieces of a problem in a way that just barely keeps it together so it all works out in the end. Bill Pullman also delivers, but the onus of trying to play a believable President in a situational comedy doesn’t yet seem to give him many of the humorous moments we know he can do so well; although the heart is there, and he does have one quiet little comedic line with press secretary Marshall Malloy that is perfectly done.

Yet one thing I like about the show so far is that it is somewhat believable – and that may be due to the fact that co-creator and executive producer Jon Lovett served as an Obama speech-writer (and joke-writer) for three years prior to leaving the White House for full-time comedy writing. Joined by Gad, Jason Winer, and Mike Royce, he’s created a show that’s an amalgam of that reality and the wacky-but-well-meaning world that Josh Gad’s characters generally inhabit. According to Lovett, he always wanted to write a comedy, but when he left the White House, he wanted that comedy to be about “anything but the White House.” As if on cue, Gad and Winer approached him about…a comedy set in the White House. But after all, they do say to write what you know, and after Winer explained the concept to him, Lovett says “we got so excited about the ideas and stories and twists we could come up with for a show centered around the Oval Office, the world’s most famous home office. After all,” Lovett says, “President Obama says all the time that one of his favorite things about the White House is that he gets to ‘live above the store,’” and the setting offers a lot of potential for unique approaches.

While Lovett has some prior experience with what life at the White House is like, to make the show more authentic he spent time researching what family drama would look like “under the prism of a twenty-four hour news cycle,” studying how this has played out in previous administrations. Other show members also prepared in various ways. Jenna Elfman, to get ready for her role as First Lady, read about former First Ladies, looking for a common denominator or standard for embodying the role – and discovered that there really isn’t one, as each First Lady makes her own mark on the office. Elfman expressed admiration during the Q&A for current First Lady Michelle Obama, and her “energy and participation and warmth, and her contributions to health…and her role as a mother.” She also cited the feisty and determined Eleanor Roosevelt as a past First Lady she admires.

Bill Pullman, in getting into his role, apparently had some difficulties leaving it behind on the set, occasionally citing his (fictitious) military history at home and saying, “nobody get up yet!” while he was sitting down. (There’s a scene in the pilot in which the President is meeting with his military advisors and, properly, they only stand after he has stood up to leave.) Martha MacIsaac, who plays 22-year-old daughter Becca, and is discovered to be (unmarried but) pregnant in the pilot, had a sister who was also unmarried and pregnant at around the same age, so drew from that in her acting.

The creators of the show discussed other instances in which they drew from their own experiences, taking “a kernel of truth from our lives and seeing how that takes on new life in the dynamic of this family.” One example given is of an upcoming episode in which Emily, as a former political consultant who was instrumental in the President’s rise to the White House, gets carried away with “helping” her youngest stepson Xander as he runs in a middle school election. (And in answer to my question at the press event, upcoming episodes will feature a further look into what led to the President and family getting to the White House, which is definitely a storyline I’d find interesting.)

What’s sort of fascinating about listening to the cast and producers talk about this show is how much they are aiming to root this in what it would “really” be like for these characters to be the First Family; while the other goal of the show is, of course, to entertain and amuse. It would be so easy for a premise like this to lose its integrity for a quick laugh or just-slightly-too-unbelievable premise, or to be just a tad too serious for the audience to really get behind as a fun show to keep watching. However, as it stands from the pilot and plot examples from upcoming episodes (including one in which Josh’s character Skip engages in discussions with protestors outside of the White House, with predictably humorous and unexpected results), it looks like this show might just succeed in hitting its mark. I’m planning to tune in to find out if it does.

1600 Penn airs Thursdays from 9:30 – 10:00 on NBC. Give it a watch!

And until next time, Servo Lectio!



The Point Radio: 2012 The Year Of TV Comedy Gold

We begin our look back on the Pop Culture that was in 2012 as Media Mogul Ric Meyers (ricmeyers.com) runs down the vast array of great TV comedy from the year. From CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL to HAPPY ENDINGS to SUBURGATORY, it’s been a damn good twelve months. Plus what show was downloaded illegally the most in 2012 (we are talking millions here) and how iPads are killing the toy business.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: NBC Elects For Laughs With 1600 PENN

NBC kicks off the new year by launching a new comedy from the producers of MODERN FAMILY. It’s hijinks in the White House on 1600 PENN and we talk to stars Josh Gad, Jenna Elfman and Bill Pullman on why critics have already elected this one a hit. Plus WALKING DEAD has a win and a loss, digital comics are red hot and we’re celebrating a birthday!

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.


Linda Pendelton has announced the return of pulp author Don Pendleton‘s science fiction adventures in both paperback and Kindle formats.


Earth is being invaded by treacherous aliens and Terra 10, the earth’s only hope, is in the enemy’s power! Zach Whaleman, the Gunner of Terra 10, was moving fast, out into the darkness. A long-dormant instinct had arisen in response to his urgent need, a very human and entirely “natural” response of a life-mechanism in a survival situation. He had a weapon now! Let them catch him. Let them. He would kill them! He would do everything he had to do to save the super-secrets of Terra 10.

The Guns of Terra 10: A Space Opera originally published in 1970. Now available in paperback and Kindle formats.


The United States government’s executive intelligence gathering agency, the Inter-agency Intelligence Group, has largely supplanted the clumsy machinery of the CIA as a direct tool of the U.S. President. Patrick Honor, a top member of the Intelligence Group, is the one skilled enough to find answers to mysterious events taking place, in which the number 9 has significance. Members of a top secret psychic investigative team, the PPS, Psychic Power Sources, are in harm’s way, as is the President. Patrick Honor believes there is a Rogue God. Is he right? Do the answers to the mystery have anything to do with sex being taboo down through the ages? Who is Octavia? Will answers be found in the symbology of the Nines? Can Patrick Honor insure the safety of the President while unraveling the psychic events, all before it is too late for humanity? Intended for mature readers.

The Godmakers: Fantastic adventure into cosmic consciousness and the unknown….originally published in 1970 under pseudonym Dan Britain, soon after by Don Pendleton. Now available in paperback and Kindle formats.


Political newspaper reporter, Richard Hunter, is questioning the upcoming presidential election and the insufferable Electoral College, wondering if, for all these years, had it been some grand political game? Was billionaire Brian Donaldson buying the votes of the Electoral College? Did he believe himself to be an Olympian and hide away on a mountain top in Wyoming, while manipulating the election for his own gain? Was the United States headed to a coup attempt? Could Richard Hunter stop a coup, or was he ignoring the dangers to the country while enjoying the social and sexual activities of this isolated “Olympian” group. Who would end up in the White House as president of the United States of America, and with the power to change the world—for better—or for worse?

The Olympians: Science fiction alternative history…first published in 1969. Now available in paperback and Kindle formats.

Don Pendleton was creator of the long-running action/adventure series, The Executioner; Joe Copp Private Eye Series; Ashton Ford Psychic Detective Series; and other fiction and nonfiction books. Learn more about Don Pendelton at www.donpendelton.com.


New York Times Bestselling Author Jonathan Maberry has shared the title and cover art for the 5th book in his pulpy Joe Ledger novel series, Extinction Machine.

EXTINCTION MACHINE -Joe Ledger #5 -coming March 2013 (hardcover, trade paperback, eBook and audio) from St. Martin’s Griffin. The President of the United States vanishes from the White House.

A top-secret prototype stealth fighter is destroyed during a test flight. Witnesses on the ground say that it was shot down by a craft that immediately vanished at impossible speeds.

All over the world reports of UFOs are increasing at an alarming rate.

And in a remote fossil dig in China dinosaur hunters have found something that is definitely not of this earth. There are rumors of alien-human hybrids living among us.

Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences rush headlong into the heat of the world’s strangest and deadliest arms race, because the global race to recover and retro-engineer alien technologies has just hit a snag. Someone—or something–wants that technology back

Joe Ledger #5: Extinction Machine is published by St. Martin’s Press Griffin.

Learn more about Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series here.

John Ostrander: Writing Fiction – You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Back in 1986, I was selling DC Comics on the idea of the Suicide Squad. At the time I proposed it, the Squad would be a relatively subversive idea: the U.S. government would use supervillains on covert ops that were deemed in the national interest. Unofficial, unseen by the public, doing dirty work.

Between the time I sold DC on the idea and when the first issue debuted (May 1987), the Iran-Contra Affair, also known as Irangate, broke out. In it, the Executive Branch of Ronald Reagan’s White House were illegally selling guns to Iran and using the proceeds to fund the Nicaraguan Contras that had been banned by Congress via the Boland Amendment. So the U.S. government was engaged in illegal covert action already. Once again, reality made me look like a piker.

Reality has a way of doing that. There are things that happen in so-called “real life” that I would find it hard to sell to an editor.

Let’s take Rep. Todd Akin (Republican, Missouri), who is running for the Senate seat in that state. He famously said last week that, in the cases of “forcible rape” that pregnancy isn’t likely because “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” (The New York Times covered the whole incident pretty well here. This is not some backwater goofball; he’s a six term congressman and is, or was, a member of the House Science Committee.

I don’t think I could sell an editor a character who believed something that fundamentally flawed. It is too much of a caricature. And yet it’s real.

Let’s take another case. Back in January, Tennessee State Senator Stacey Campfield, a Republican, claimed that it was virtually impossible for heterosexuals to get AIDS. I guess he never heard (or cared) about how AIDS has ravaged Africa – or, for that matter, America. Okay, this one I might get past an editor but again I’d be close to caricature and parody.

And down in Texas, Judge Tom Head said if President Obama is elected to a second term, it could cause a civil war. “He’s going to try to hand over sovereignty of the United States to the U.N. We’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.” He added: “Now what’s going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want ’em in Lubbock County. OK. So I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say, ‘You’re not coming in here.'”

The judge says he was quoted out of context but you can see a video of it here. He was quoted exactly. And he wasn’t foaming at the mouth or kidding; he’s was very matter of fact about it. And the interviewer is just sitting and nodding and going “Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.”

Again, I don’t know if I can sell him as a character to an editor of fiction. I’m not sure I could sell his scenario to an editor. There are too many logic flaws in it. A fantasy should have a least some element of reality in it and this is just paranoia.

What links them all? They’re all right wing Republican conservatives with strong Tea Party connections. Individually, they are incidents. Link them together and they’re a narrative.

We’ll talk more about that next week.

MONDAY: Mindy Newell