The Mix : What are people talking about today?

USC Gets Collection of 180,000 Comics With First Avengers, Justice League, X-Men

University of South Carolina Gets Collection of 180,000 Comics With First Appearances of Avengers, Justice League, X-Men

And you thought you had a large collection to organize…

The collection, worth an estimated $2.5 million, includes first editions and first appearances from the Avengers, Justice League, X-Men, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Hulk as well as a number of comics rom the so-called Golden Age covering the 1930s through the 1950s.

The collection contains non-superhero comics from romances (Boy Meets Girl) to religious stories (He’s The Greatest), science fiction magazines and Mutt and Jeff books that date back to the early 20th century.

University library officials have gone through about 100 of the 500 long boxes donated by Gary Watson, a retired Columbus, Ohio, nurse who has never visited USC but whose life’s work now sits in a vault inside the school’s library.

Originally at

So yeah, you’re not getting access to all of it right away. On the other hand, if you were considering whether or not to accept that admission to USC, this may be an important factor to consider.

Batton Lash: The Best of Us

I have a long running tradition of giving my readers a gift on my birthday. That gift was usually a piece about an amazing person. Yesterday was my birthday— this was to run then, though I wish it would have never run.

It did not post yesterday because I was killed on my birthday and that noise would have cheapened a very rich legacy. 

Batton Lash was among the best the comic book industry had to offer.

As an artist or writer, he could hold his own against anyone and outclassed most. His masterwork Supernatural Law is a rarity in any media, an original concept which maintained its originality from its early beginning as Wolff and Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre in 1979 until its transition to a web comic in the early 2000s.

In 2019 there are still few ideas as original as Batton’s series about the law practice of Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd, whose focus is defending monsters and other supernatural beings in court.

That was a brilliant idea, and almost 40 years since its creation it’s still just as excellent. Batton’s career featured many unique ideas I won’t go into here just know his body of work would be sufficient enough reason to say Batton Lash was among the best the comic book industry had to offer.

Impressive as his work is it is not the first reason, I think Batton Lash was a shining light in the industry.

That reason is the kind of man Batton Lash was, a brilliant kind and genuine soul.  That’s rare and hard to believe nowadays even rarer to a man who believes less and less about the milk of human kindness.

Batton passed away last January it’s now the last days of April; regrettably, I didn’t notice until a few days ago when I tried to call his wife, Jackie Estrada before I could I had to make another call first.

Long story short: for well over a year a hacker has disrupted most of my organization with a vicious personal assault. Yeah, someone really hates me that much. As Prince said in his song “Let’s Go Crazy”, there’s something else… and the hacker isn’t even a close second of things I worry about. I’d often thought about people who unplug from the world with envy; therefore, I did what some may consider a nuclear option, wiping or replacing all computers cell phones tablets, and no social networking.

I left it up to a tech company to make sure vital files and contacts was purged, that meant I no longer have my contact info readily available; moreover, no one has my new information, not even my management.

A smart BRILLIANT move…for an idiot.

Batton helped me realize just what an idiot I was, and that’s not the first time. The first time was 2 decades ago during a ‘elevate the industry’ discussion at Pro Con.

The audience of creators, publishers, and vendors were debating ways to elevate the comic business to bring in more women readers. To some that meant less superpowered plotlines, women characters drawn and written without the mandatory T&A 15-year-old boys crave. Lastly the curtailing of needless violence.

I agreed with all that.

In fact, I stood and agreed with a short but elegant (so I thought) speech.

That way the entire audience would know what a forward-thinking man about town I was. “We need less superpowered plotlines, women characters drawn and written without the mandatory T&A 15-year-old boys crave and a curtailing of needless violence.”

When I sat down, Batton got up turned towards me (no doubt to co-sign my greatness) and said, something like “Michael, with all due respect your new line of books are filled with superpowered plotlines, women characters drawn and written with T&A 15-year-old boys crave and plenty of needless violence!”

Yeah. I’d forgotten about that tiny bit of truth.

I’d met Batton, but we were far from friends at the time and lightyears from “let me school you in front of everybody” terms. I was pissed and knew I’d stay pissed forever.

Took about 10 minutes for my fury to flutter away.

I caved because Batton came over after the panel with that copyrighted Lash grin, that smile was so sincere I could not stay mad, and I knew when he spoke to me “with all due respect” wasn’t just lip service. Batton defended his point of view without insult while respecting mine which he knew differed in my work at the time. In short, he was a throwback to a time when integrity was commonplace.

Years ago, I received a call from an African American website asking me to comment on a “racist” cartoon on a far-right website featuring our last President and his wife.

I’d take a bullet for the Obama’s faster than the Secret Service could yell “gun”, so I was ready to get my “OH NO THEY DID-ANT” on. After looking at the cartoon, my quote for the website was; “The cartoon was silly satire, not racist” because that’s what it was.

The website didn’t use my quote.

Batton co-created the cartoon. I’m Black and there was a better chance of me becoming Grand Wizard of the KKK than of Batton Lash being racist.

I’ve been in no hurry to reconnect with the world so instead of re-joining my network if I needed a contact, I’d call my manager when I called to get Jackie’s number my rep told me Batton was gone.

To show my appreciation for people who have shown me kindness I often gift them a painting. It’s the greatest show of love and respect I can give a person. I’ve lost all my immediate family learning the hard way to let people know you care as soon as possible. A few years ago, to celebrate Batton’s and Jackie’s anniversary I did a painting for them.

Fed-Ex delivered to the wrong address and took months to find it.  Once found it was sent back to me damaged. I’d just finished reworking it thus the call to Jackie to get the correct address.

Batton’s death and the amount of time passed before I was aware was an agonizing ordeal for me. So determined was my desire to avoid any life occurrences I purposely made it impossible to reach me.

Batton made me realize what a self-centered thing I did.

Batton Lash was significant, he mattered I should have known and paid my respect to his memory and condolences to Jackie long before this.

I really liked and admired Batton for sure as a creator but suffering from depression, my focus was his humanity.

In my opinion, Batton Lash was the best of us.

Jackie, I don’t have the words to convey how sorry I am for your loss. Please know I will honor Batton’s memory and value the friendship of you both for the rest of my life.

THE LAW IS A ASS Installment # 439: Bouncing Ideas Off Superman

In the immortal words of Dorothy Parker… Err, maybe we shouldn’t go there.

Sorry it’s been a while. September until May constitutes a while, cause it’s a bit longer than a little while. Between out of town comic book conventions, trips to Chicago, family vacations, trips to Chicago, holidays, even more trips to Chicago – including a lengthy one to help my daughter when, first, she pulled a rib muscle and couldn’t lift her two-year-old and another lengthy one when she gave birth of my grandson – and various and sundry other sundries that I can’t talk about quite yet; I just haven’t had much time to write a column.

But I’m back with a vengeance. The vengeance being what the fine and patient folks at ComicMix will demand if I go this long between columns again. So, as the Prufrock is in the puttin’ words together; “let us go then, you and I…”

…And then they throw their guns at him.

Seriously, how many times did we see that scene play out in the Adventures of Superman TV show with George Reeves? Superman confronts some two-bit thugs – the show’s budget didn’t allow them to spend more than twenty-five cents for extras – the thugs would shoot at Superman, and the bullets would bounce off him harmlessly. Then, after the bad guys emptied their guns at Superman without effect, they’d throw their guns at him believing guns thrown at maybe 50 mph will do Superman harm when projectiles moving at 1,067 feet per second had already bounced like their last rent check.

An oft-repeated scenario which prompted one Ron Hartley to tweet me with a question: under this fact pattern, would the criminals be guilty of a crime? Not some silly low-grade crime like illegally discharging a firearm or an excessive noise violation, are they guilty of a major crime?

To which I answer, it depends. No, not because lawyers are constitutionally incapable of answering a yes or no question “yes” or “no.” I answer it depends, because the answer actually does depend on a few variables.

First, let’s zero in on of what crime might the criminals be guilty? Not murder. Superman didn’t die. But by firing their guns the criminals did commit an act which, if successful, would have resulted in killing Superman. That’s attempted murder. Then there’s some type of assault. What type? As a bar-be-cue chef who’s fond of Shakespeare might say, “Ah, there’s the rub.”

I turn to the Model Penal Code, a document written by the American Law Institute in an effort to update and unify the penal laws throughout the country. Toward that end, the MPC contains model statutes which define crimes and penalties. Since it’s first publication in 1962, more than half the states have modified their criminal codes to incorporate language of the MPC in their penal codes. So the MPC is about as close to a universal criminal law of the land as we’re likely to get.

The MPC defines aggravated assault as causing, or attempting to cause bodily harm to another with a deadly weapon. Note that attempting to cause part, that means the criminal doesn’t have to cause actual injury, the criminal can merely attempt to cause injury with a deadly weapon. So if a criminal shoots at you and misses, you’re lucky. The criminal, not so much. The criminal attempted to cause physical injury with a deadly weapon, and so is guilty of aggravated assault, even though you’re peachier than a peach cobbler washed down with peach schnapps.

To get back to our question, if criminals shoot at Superman and the bullets bounce off him, the criminals still attempted to cause bodily injury or death. So they would be guilty of aggravated assault and attempted murder. Right?

To which I say, not so fast there, Speedy Gonzalez. Like a man who leapt into a brick wall, you’re jumping to contusions.

There’s one additional matter that must be considered. We must also answer the question did the criminals know the bullets would bounce off of Superman when they shot at him?

In the law, an attempt crime – such as the attempted murders or aggravated assaults we’ve been talking about – is what the law considers a specific intent crime. In order to be guilty of an attempt, the criminal must have specifically intended to commit the crime he or she was attempting. In our Superman question, to be guilty of either attempt crime, the criminals must have either intended to kill Superman or to cause him physical harm when they shot at him.

Now we know that killing Superman with bullets is impossible, they bounce off him like raindrops on roses. (Don’t complicate the matter with hypothetical Kryptonite or magic bullets, we’re not talking about the Kennedy assassination.) So killing Superman with bullets is impossible. The law recognizes the possibility of an impossibility defense to attempt crimes. If a criminal is attempting to commit a crime that is impossible, then the criminal could not have intended a specific result, because that result is impossible.

So there you are, if the criminals were attempting the impossible crime of shooting Superman, then they can’t be guilty of attempted murder or aggravated assault. Right?

Of course, not right. Not only can’t the law can’t answer a yes or no questions “yes” or “no,” it can’t even answer it with a definite maybe. It’s got to throw in a few depends along with a perhaps or two to muddy up the maybe.

Let’s look at a classic example law schools use to explain this conundrum. A man – the criminal – shoots another man – the victim. But what if the victim was dead at the time the criminal shot him? Obviously, it’s impossible to kill a man who’s already dead. So the criminal can’t be guilty of murder. But can the criminal be guilty of attempted murder, or does the impossibility defense come into play?

The answer to that question depends on what the criminal knew at the time he shot the dead man. If the criminal knew the man was dead, then the criminal knew killing the victim was impossible. The criminal couldn’t have specifically intended to kill the victim, so the impossibility defense would apply, because the impossibility negated the defendant’s specific intent.

But what if the defendant didn’t know the victim was already dead? What if the criminal believed the victim was alive when he shot and did intend to kill the victim? Then the impossibility defense doesn’t apply.

The law reasons it out like this, if the criminal attempts an impossible crime but doesn’t know it’s impossible, then the defendant would have been successful in the crime, had the facts been as the defendant believed them to be. So, because the defendant intended to cause a specific result, the defendant is still guilty of the attempt, even though the crime attempted turned out to be impossible. If our hypothetical would-be murdered cum corpse abuser didn’t know his intended victim was already dead, he would be guilty of attempted murder.

Or, to get back to the original question, if the crooks shot at Superman knowing the bullets would bounce off of him, they might be guilty of littering for spreading spent bullets all over the place, but they wouldn’t be guilty of attempted murder or aggravated assault. They knew murder and assault was impossible so didn’t specifically intend either. If, on the other hand, the mugs didn’t know the bullets would bounce off Superman and believed the bullets either kill or injure Superman, then they’re not only stupid, they would also be guilty of attempted murder and aggravated assault.
Is it any wonder that I retired from the law? After almost three decades in that morass of maybes and trying to make sense of laws that have more depends in them than a nursing home, my hair turned whiter than snow on the Night King’s butt.

UPDATE: Michael Davis victim of prank death hoax

UPDATE: Michael was hacked badly, with messages sent out to family and friends. He’s alive and well.

We are incredibly sad to report that Michael Davis, longtime columnist for ComicMix, committed suicide one day before his birthday.

We can list all his accomplishments in the comics field and go through his history and impact in the field, from his mentoring of numerous up and comers in the industry to his co-founding of Milestone Media and Motown Animation & Filmworks AND The Guardian Line AND The Black Panel at San Diego Comic-Con AND… but the best way to hope to understand and know Michael is through his words and his works.

There will be more to say later about him, but right now we’re too shocked to be coherent. Please, if you or someone you care about are considering self-harm or suicide, contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline.

We’re sorry we couldn’t have helped you more, Michael. Rest easy.

AVENGERS: ENDGAME Just Earned An Astonishing $1.2B At The Worldwide Box Office

AVENGERS: ENDGAME Earns $350MM Domestic Opening Weekend

However, as Dan Slott noted, “To be fair, the only reason Avengers: Endgame broke all those box office records is because Doctor Strange alone watched it 14,000,605 times.” At $25 a ticket, it must have been IMAX in New York City.

Avengers: Endgame opened to $350M at the domestic box office, shattering the record previously established by Avengers: Infinity War (which opened to $257.6M last year) and a number of other opening-weekend records in the process. In other words: not only did the Russo Brothers and Marvel Studios top themselves, they did so by almost $100M.

Originally at

Netflix’s Lost in Space finds a DVD Home in June

LOS ANGELES — Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment presents LOST IN SPACE, The Complete First Season, arriving on Blu-ray™ and DVD June 4.

Set thirty years in the future, this epic reimagining of the original family space adventure ­finds the Robinsons torn off course en route to what they hoped would be a fresh start on a distant space colony. Against all odds, but with endless hope and extensive training, the family bands together to survive on a dangerous alien planet.


Eisner Award Nominees For 2019 Announced!

The Eisner Award nominees have been announced! Congratulations to every single person and publisher that received these prestigious nominations!

As per the SDCC website, “Voting for the awards is held online, and the ballot will be available at All professionals in the comic book industry are eligible to vote. The deadline for voting is June 14. The results of the voting will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 19 at a gala awards ceremony at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. Jackie Estrada is the Eisner Awards Administrator.”

If you are a comic book industry professional, please make it a point to vote in these awards. Every vote counts! Voting opens on Monday, April 29th.

Here’s the list of every category with their respective nominations below:


REVIEW: Justice League vs. the Fatal Five

I have always been a big Legion of Super-Heroes fan and early on, designated Star Boy as my favorite Legionnaire. Maybe it’s because he was an underdog hero, but I’ve always liked him so was thrilled to see he would take center stage in the just-released Justice League vs. the Fatal Five. I admit to being a little less than thrilled they were going with the mentally unbalanced Star Boy as depicted in the Brad Meltzer run of Justice League. But, by pairing him with agoraphobic Jessica Cruz, I could understand the larger themes at work, I was fine with it.

I just wish their final product lived up to their intentions (and all the high-faulting hype seen on the bonus material). Instead, we get an over-stuffed, under-edited work that makes very little sense.

As best I understand it, Mano, Tharok, and the Persuader were going back in time to free the Emerald Empress and Validus from the sciencells on Oa in the 21st Century because apparently 31st Century prisons suck. To free the pair, they need to steal a time bubble from the Legion and Star Boy is brought along by mistake.

In the 21st century, Star Boy, without his meds, is considered a lunatic and assigned to Arkham Asylum for ten months. Meanwhile, the Fatal Three-fifths are seemingly trapped for a while until they get free then commit a lot of mayhem before leaving for Oa.

Said mayhem brings in the Justice League with trainee Miss Martian along for the experience, although so little background is given about her that if you weren’t familiar with Young Justice she’d be an anomaly. The League needs their Lantern, despite Jessica still struggling with the PTSD inflicted on her after witnessing her friends being gunned down two years earlier.

Seeing the villains on the news, Star Boy (or Thomas Kallor –why go from Thom to Thomas?) frees himself and finally begins making sense to the League.

What makes less sense is the villains making it to Oa with a coerced Jessica to breezily access the vast prison cells and free the final pieces of the puzzle. And of course, the Guardians of the Universe would allow the Empress to keep the powerful Eye of Ekron in the cell. When Salaak and Kilowog show up, they’re easily dispatched but apparently the devastating prison breakout doesn’t alert the all-powerful Guardians, who allow the Eye ro drain the Central Power Battery’s energy.

That doesn’t stop Jessica from finding her Green Lantern mojo which marks a nice turning point. I wish they left her ring as a snarky companion, ala the comics, along with Jessica’s early struggles at forming constructs but you get the idea.

They then threaten the Earth’s sun to end the age of heroes, creating a future without heroes to defeat them. The JL must make a desperate last stand to save the future and Earth and a few other things.

At least, that’s what I think the story is about. The fight scenes are too long and poorly choreographed (too often heroes stand around to get zapped). That said, there are some great lines of dialogue and nice character buts sprinkled throughout complete with a tear-inducing ultimate sacrifice and funeral scene. But it’s all too little to really make this, the 34th film from Warner Animation, truly enjoyable.

It’s certainly nice to see the JL Unlimited art style once more along with a cadre of familiar voice artists but this is disconnected from that series as well as the budding animated universe so this is ab odd stand-alone, produced and directed by Sam Liu, who has done better work. The script by Eric Carrasco, Jim Krieg, and Alan Burnet need a strong story editor’s hand.

The film is released in all the usual combo packs complete with the 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital HD edition. What already looks sharp o Blu-ray looks even brighter and sharper on the HDR10 disc. Technical fans will appreciate the improved colors, attention to detail and higher resolution. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track is even better so you won’t miss the Dolby Atmos that usually accompanies these releases.

All the bonus features can only be found on the Blu-ray disc and they’re a fairly standard assortment. We begin with Audio Commentary with Executive Producer Bruce Timm, Director Sam Liu, and Screenwriters Jim Krieg & Eric Carrasco and they provide a lot of behind-the-scenes details.

There’s also A Sneak Peek at Batman: Hush (9:18) which lionizes a beautifully drawn but bloated serial that’s finally being adapted and Battling the Invisible Menace (8:05), which nicely addresses the mental health issues found in the film; Justice League vs. Fatal Five: Unity of Hero (15:11) pats DC on the back for being so diverse these days.

Packed into the disc as repeated Sneak Peeks for Justice League Dark (8:12) and Justice League vs. Teen Titans (11:31). From the DC Vault we get Legion of Super-Heroes, “Man of Tomorrow” (22:44) and Justice League Unlimited, “Far From Home” (22:57).

REVIEW: Apocalypse Taco

Apocalypse Taco
By Nathan Hale
128 pages, Amulet Books, $14.99

Nathan Hale is a popular, creative graphic novelist, bouncing between historic tales and original stories. This is the latter and while the theme of science gone wild is a good one, along with being responsible with your experiments, there is so much that doesn’t plausibly work that the fantastic elements fail to engage the imagination.

Let’s start with the fact that a high school production of Brigadoon is so far behind schedule a parent willingly remains with the entire crew to finish the sets in an overnight marathon (permission slips included). That’s irresponsible on the parent’s part as well as the school’s.

At 1:30 in the morning, she sends her 11-year-old twins Axl and Ivan out with Sid to go get the crew food. While out, things get weird. Strange creepy crawlies begin appearing out of nowhere and there’s a Taco Bear drive-thru where there previously wasn’t one.

Creatures, both vaguely familiar and terrifyingly unique, emerge and threaten the trio. Apparently, they are the only ones still unaffected by whatever is ailing their city and run screaming from point to point. It’s not until we’re halfway through the book that they meet multi-armed Wendy who finally explains what is happening.

We get flashbacks and flashbacks within flashbacks and there’s some interesting underlying issues emerging, but no way does a college kid have the ability to access tools to build the nanotechnology behind the grotesque threat, but being able to perform his experiments unchecked. There are ethical issues raised, which is good, and a distinct lack of smart decisions made by adults, which is a bad message in a middle school graphic novel.

There’s more running, screaming, transformations, and threats which Hale briskly paces, using a black, white, and tones of orange to create an interesting mood. But really, there’s not enough content here to sustain 128 pages. While there are some witty lines of dialogue, our trio of protagonists are fairly underdeveloped.

If you’re a fan of Hale, then try it. Otherwise, there are far better choices out there.

New ‘Grateful Dead Origins’ Graphic Novel to Come with Unreleased Early Music

‘Grateful Dead Origins’ Graphic Novel to Come with Unreleased Early Music

Z2 Comics has announced it is teaming up with the Grateful Dead to release a new graphic novel chronicling the band’s early days, Grateful Dead Origins, which will come with an accompanying selection of Dead music, including previously unreleased early-era material that will ship with a deluxe edition of the comic.

Z2—which has previously partnered on projects with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, Japan’s BabyMetal, DJ Paul Oakenfold and more—writes in a press release that Grateful Dead Origins will feature an original story, written by Chris Miskiewicz and illustrated by Noah Van Sciver, that presents “an in-depth and personal look at the formation of one of the most important American rock bands of all time, exploring the early days of Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Pigpen, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart…the story of the band’s transformation from a bar band performing as the Warlocks to becoming the creators of their own sound and forefathers for the jamband culture.”

Originally at