Thursday, July 31, 2008

DC Comics Are A Stubborn Bunch

(this is inspired by Matt over at

So, when DC Comics did their Sunday Conversation/For The Love Of Comics panels, Marvel had no problem co-opting it to create their Marvel: Your Universe panels.

You see, they're comfortable enough recognizing a good idea that originates from outside of their offices and put it to good use. That's smart. They even give credit where due, as Brevoort has admitted the inspiration came from witnessing the DC Comics panel.

But DC seems to have a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to such things. Have they started to get editors blogging with regularity? No. Make in-house articles publicizing their stuff instead of just relying on what they do with big comic-related sites? Nope. Do they have a regular video log like The Weekly Watcher? Non. Does DC Comics have someone Twittering to bring attention to their projects? Nein.

I know it means possibly hiring another person or two, but I'm pretty sure it would be a worthwhile investment. Think about it: how many more readers are aware of the existence of Marvel or DC Comics online than they are of CBR or Newsarama? Yet DC Comics doesn't even have an easily found section that links to all the articles across the 'net about their products. If it exists, I haven't found it.

Now, don't get me wrong, recording their panels and podcasting them through iTunes is great and all. But how often does that happen...versus the year 'round work Marvel's PR department does? Agent M gets more and more Marvel folks on to Twitter and encourages everyone to follow them. Marvel's new best writer, Matt Fraction, is a Twittering fool.

Marvel embraces new ideas on how to connect with their consumer and grow their base. DC seems to resist many new ways, especially the ones they didn't come up with first. That's a crying shame.

My Take On The Orson Scott Card Thing

If you haven't read it yet, Orson Scott Card posted a diatribe against gay marriage up on the Mormon Times.

There's a lot of talk from people suggesting that everyone should campaign against Marvel continuing to do business with Card and that no one should buy his book. And that's their right.

But I'm not sure I'm going to let that influence me.

Now, I'd feel a little easier about that decision if he was just against gays having the right to be married, but be allowed to have some form of legal partnership with all the rights and protection of marriage. The argument can be made that marriage is a religious institution and not something the state really has the right to apply to any coupling they see fit. Personally, I'd make the argument that the state should recognize all marriages under a secular title, rather than a religious one.

But, no, Card has gone much farther than that.

I'm a muslim. As such, I'm taught that homosexuality is a sin. A long time ago, I wasn't sure I'd buy the work of someone who was openly homosexual.

Then I read Phil Jimenez's Tempest mini-series and an editorial he wrote in the back of DC Comics about the passing of an editor he had worked with at the company. Great mini...and then I find out that the writer/artist was openly gay.

A hypothetical suddenly became a real issue. It forced me to search myself and eventually come to a decision to not let someone's sexuality lead me to not support their work. I even shared this event (while it was occurring) with Phil Jimenez via IM and had the chance to meet him at Wizard World Chicago 1997 (or was it 1998? I can never get the year right). I tried to reach out to him to thank him again for the effect he unwittingly had on my life.

I've gone on to have several close friends that happened to be gay. Despite being muslim, I support gay rights, as I believe anyone who values democracy should at least be open to. Which is odd, I guess, because Card seems to feel that the passage of more and more rights for gays is evidence that democracy is dead in this country.

So, I guess I'm saying that I wouldn't shun Card and his work because everyone is capable of change and...well...who knows what might have happened if things happened slightly different in my life? Might I have been a part of his amen corner if things were just slightly off from how they unfolded? Who knows.

Everyone else can react to his opinions however they want. All I know is that if Phil Jimenez had reacted towards me with animosity instead of understanding, I think the chances of my becoming a more enlightened and accepting soul would have been greatly diminished.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tweets for Today

  • 15:27 @Agent_M Yeah...I just saw that and my first thought was, "arent Fraction & CB still out there?" #
  • 15:28 @Digital_Femme is this about 4L and FBB tempting you back into super-hero comics? ;) #
  • 15:32 @mattfraction You and all the X-summit attendees OK? #
  • 15:32 @jamessime That's a pretty good inbox. Congrats! #
  • 15:37 @Agent_M My favorite days at my last job were when there was some catering leftover from a client visit. Free food FTW. #
  • 15:58 @jkparkin You sure it was a Kurt Angle type move and not a William Kennedy Smith? #
  • 16:00 @templesmith I'd be happier with Biden than Kaine. Nothing really against Kaine, but picking gov not finished with first term will backfire #
  • 16:50 Why does the Star Wars animated film look like a more mature and better done flick than any of the prequels? #
  • 16:59 @Agent_M Thank God for that. I immediately thought of CB and Fract when I heard that (don't know who else is there). Totally forgot my LA ex #
  • 17:01 @hermanos I have a new slot open for "blogger to fight with". I'm sure we could come up with something to fight over. ;) #
  • 17:03 @templesmith Hell yeah. For no reason, even; just for the reaction & idea that it can have a ripple effect on peoples' days. Never done it. #
  • 17:49 @d00gZ' were supposed to keep it about comics. My dad was a great union rep. It's on like Donkey Kong now. ;) #
  • 17:50 @Agent_M What?? How am I just finding out about this now? Popping open iTunes now! #
  • 21:59 @Agent_M I miss my old Power Mac. One day, I'll own an Apple computer again. #
  • 23:11 @TheGeek616 That means, next year, no being the life of the karaoke night at a Chicago bar? ;) #
  • 00:21 @johnwordballoon Well...what are your feelings about Steve Martin and the Pink Panther, then? ;) #
  • 00:22 @tropicalsteve hey, better to not have to wait and wonder at least, right? #
  • 01:20 @mikenorton No shame in picking up a collaborator. #
  • 01:21 @tropicalsteve well then...a quick rejection is better than one that takes forever to roll in ;) and I'm sure one of those will be a winner #
  • 16:11 @p0pisdead the MK characters and DCU villains will perform fatalities. Roles reversed, would any pub have marketable heroes kill dizzy foe? #
  • 16:11 @killkillkill The classics, mon...dey never die. #
  • 16:13 @JoshFialkov Gone awry...or gone AWESOME? #
  • 16:15 @templesmith That's why I don't shop there. #
  • 16:19 @hermanos I don't even know that those should contend. I don't think either rapper particularly fits well with a singer. Gun2hed? Nas/Lauryn #
  • 16:20 @seasonothebitch this tweet is useless without pics ;) #
  • 16:34 @Agent_M I give up. Once you hit rock bottom, you'll get help for your taco addiction. #
  • 16:34 @BrianReed Isn't SDCCI a bit of a tourist attraction? ;) #
  • 18:30 O&A might go back to satellite only based on Sirius XM philosophy from Mel? GREAT! #
Man! What a day, huh? About 90% of these make no sense unless you see what I'm replying to. So, after you go to Twitter to decipher what I said, do sign up and follow me, please. ;)

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Beached Monster In Lawnguylen?

People are guessing it is some sort of viral marketing. Rich Lovatt suggested, via Twitter, that it's probably for Fringe. And that, folks, is "2 Degrees of Comic Book Relevance" I needed to justify putting this up as a blog. ;)

Looking For Something To Do In Chicago This Friday?

(taken from Gene Ha's newsletter; passed along to help get the word out)

SUPERDOGunderdog: "Knuckle-Opera for the Socially Challenged"
Opening Friday, August 1 6-10pm at the Diane Tanios Gallery
3243 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657
Runs through August 30
There's a group of artists I call the Chicago Comics Lunch Group. Every few months,
a group of 30 and 40 something Chicago area artists get together for comics shopping,
lunch, and coversation in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Two of the other artists in the
group, Alex Wald and Tony Akins, invited me to join their gallery show. I don't have a lot
art to sell now, but I decided it'd be fun and joined in.
There are only nine pieces of mine for sale. So why should the dedicated Gene Ha connoisseur show up? Because much of this work has never been up for sale before!
Two pages each from Batman: Fortunate Son and Askani'son are at the gallery. I think they're especially nice pages. I have only given pages from these books as gifts before now.

The secret stash is now for sale!

You'll also get to see some spectacular Jack of Fables pages from Tony Akins, pop culture madness by Alex Wald (I especially like the paintings of Courtney Love and Debbie Harry as kickass superheroes), and thought provoking weirdness by new kids Elisabeth Belliveau and Jeff Zwirek (I'm 38, I get to call 20 somethings kids).
There'll also be free wine and cheese. These are the best wines and cheeses in the world, because the best things in life are free. Eat cheese with me, please!
A special note of thanks to all the folks who bought out my supply of original art. The profits from that gave me the down payment for my lovely Berwyn bungalow home. I thank you, my wife Lisa thanks you, and my dogs thank you!

A backyard to call their own!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Was This Commercial Playing Late Night TV During SDCCI?

Monday, July 28, 2008

MILESTONE: One Reason I'm So Happy

Let me make something clear: my primary reason for being happy that Milestone has returned is the pure selfish desire to enjoy those characters again.

But I have another reason.

You see, recently, a friend of mine was spending time with her god-daughter and, naturally, the child's mother (they're friends and all). The child is black and attends a predominately white school. One afternoon, she told her mom that she wanted to be white.

This caused a stir immediately with the parents. Now, when I was asked what I would do if I had a child say that to me, I said I wouldn't be so quick to jump to a negative conclusion. I've had kids tell me they wanted to be a dinosaur before, so I wouldn't panic right away and fear that the child felt inferior for not being white. But that is a legitimate concern in American society, I believe.

One of the reasons this can happen is due to the images kids see in the media. Popular entertainment is dominated by white faces in this country. I'm not saying there is some insidious motivation behind that occurrence, but it can have damaging effects.

Little girls want a doll? Dominated by Barbie.
Little girls want to be beautiful? Gotta look like Barbie or all the white ladies on all those magazine covers.
Want to be a star? Almost all the big celebrities are white.
Want to be a hero? Well, Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine and almost every popular hero that kids are introduced to at an early age? White.

I know there has to be more diversity these days than there was when I was a young 'un. But every time you see a white star playing what was supposed to be a black character (love that Angelina Jolie, she took a fictional black character (The Fox) AND a non-fictional black role (as the widow of Daniel Pearl)), you know that it isn't THAT much better.

And it doesn't necessarily change as someone grows up and realizes logically that no race is superior to the others. A good friend of mine never fully realized that he could be considered handsome until experiencing how his white step-mother felt about his black father. Seeing how his step-mother felt about his father was a real life-changing moment for him. Of course, now he has an ego the size of Texas, but you have to take the good with the bad when people have a break-through.

So, you know, if the return of the Milestone characters helps a few kids to dream a little bigger because they realize that you don't have to be white to do big things in life...I'm pretty fucking happy about that.

Rockne On Farscape Comic From BOOM!

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE Trailer; Get It While You Can!

(original two video version of the trailer was pulled down; here's a replacement)

Next Bat Flick? Battle Of The Batmans

Was Miller Drunk? You Decide!

Over in my Paint-By-Twitter coverage of the Eisners (which will be bumped up to appear just below this blog), there was the suggestion that Frank Miller may have been drunk when he appeared behind the podium:

jamessime Special surprise Eisner host is drunken slurring Frank Miller. Having a hard time saying 'Spirit.' graemem @jamessime Frank Miller was AWESOME. Drunk old men should always begin award ceremonies.

Now that there's video of it up on the 'net (which Kevin Melrose brought to my attention via his post at Blog@Newsarama), I leave it up to you. You make the call!

Fun With Eisner Award Twitters

(Editor's Note: This was originally posted Friday night/Saturday morning; it has been bumped in order to be easier to come across for anyone hitting the site Monday)

Wading through all the tweets from Twitterati at the Eisner Awards show. So far, the most interesting:

jamessime Special surprise Eisner host is drunken slurring Frank Miller. Having a hard time saying 'Spirit.' graemem @jamessime Frank Miller was AWESOME. Drunk old men should always begin award ceremonies.

mattfraction 5(!!!) kellysue Oh my god, I love Bá and Moon. popcandy Was just touched when Brazilian brothers Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba won for best anthology. This comes after 12 years of coming to Comic-Con.
ronxo Sitting next to Tim Sale, across from Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker is behind me to my left and @agent_m to my right! Comics yay! Agent_M @graemem where are you sitting? I'm right behind @jamessime and @ronxo graemem @Agent_M In the cheap seats. You think I get into the fancy tables at an event like this? Agent_M @graemem ya gotta work your way up!
Samuel L. Jackson presenting an award at the Eisner's on TwitPic

Samuel L. Jackson is here! graemem Kate freaks out that she is in the same room as Sam Jackson. Her jaw dropped. graemem I wonder if Sam Jackson is all "Shit, I am slumming it here." Agent_M - Samuel L. Jackson presenting an award at the Eisner's
graemem Kate on Bill Finger Award: "Is this the award for old people?"
mattfraction jla11 graemem Oh, Brad. I'll be the first person to clap!

popcandy Samuel L. Jackson gave best single issue to Brad Meltzer, who said, "This award is to all the losers," defining a hero as someone who tries.

Then Samuel Mothafuckin' Jackson presents the award for best mini, which, according to Matt Fraction, was:

mattfraction UMBRELLA!!! mattfraction gabriel ba can no longer be called the quiet one edkaye I'm guessing from @fractions non-stop twittering, that Gabriel Ba just won an eisner for his work on Umbrella Academy ivanbrandon multiple eisner award winner gabriel bá popcandy Then Jackson gave best limited series to The Umbrella Academy. Writer Gerard Way (singer of My Chemical Romance) accepted with Gabriel Ba. popcandy "This really means so much to me," a nervous and moved Way said. "I know I had to prove a lot."

Thanks to Matt, Ed & Ivan for reminding me why I should be excited for Umbrella Academy winning. Don't get me wrong: I loved the mini. But it would be hard to get excited for a rock star winning a comic book award. I mean...if he loses...he's still a rock star. But Gabriel Ba? He just rocks.

Best work for teens? Have no idea. Matt and Graeme?

mattfraction laika graemem YAY NICK ABADZIS. Also, yay for person who screamed Hugo Tate. Anyone who wants to publish Hugo Tate, please do. graemem Also also, yay for Nick for namechecking Gina.
graemem Now, I liked Black Metal, but Matt was f'in' robbed. mattfraction chuck bb!! Totally didn't say baba booey ivanbrandon chuntz bon bon wins the special recognition award jamessime Matt and Darwyn rocked the Eisners but were beat out by Chuck BB and Y the Last Man. (sigh) Great company to be in Matt and Dar.
mattfraction cathy malkasian (Percy Gloom)

Best Collection - Comic Strips?

mattfraction terry&the pirates
Agent_M We had two nominees for best collection but lost to" I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets." I'm cool with that. I love that book.
Agent_M Perry bible fellowship won an award. Sweet! mattfraction perry bible fellowship
mattfraction I killed adolf Hitler edkaye @mattfraction well done. Before you were born too. I'm assuming you also invented the time machine?
Best US Edition of International Material - Japan:

mattfraction TEKKONKINKREET! ivanbrandon matsumoto wins
Agent_M Great. So I'm told is down. During comic-con weekend. Super. graemem @Agent_M If it helps, I can get to it fine right now. Agent_M @graemem that does help, actually! Thanks, G-dog! graemem @Agent_M We people in the cheap seats live to serve. Agent_M @graemem there are two open seats at my table... graemem @Agent_M I may take you up on that later, when I'm done writing stuff up for Gawker... If only to actually say hello to you in real life.
Agent_M Aw man, Rocketship in Brooklyn didn't win the retailer award. But I love that shop. Best in Brooklyn, definitely!
mattfraction god bless you Rory root

brave new world
mattfraction john broome and Arnold drake, you are forever in MY hall of fame
Agent_M Sergio Aragones is presenting the hall of fame award. Love Groo. Love his moustache. Mayhaps he'll do some work for Marvel?

Will Matt Fraction be prophetic?

mattfraction john Broome! mattfraction ARNOLD DRAKE! ivanbrandon arnold drake!!!!!!!!!
mattfraction barry Windsor smith made Gary groth say "rape"
ivanbrandon barry windsor smith's hall of fame acceptance speech about rape
mattfraction LEN WEIN!! graemem You know why it's a surreal experience for you, Len? Because of that outfit.
popcandy Hall of Fame inductees were announced, now we're on the "In Memoriam" tribute. (This is kinda like the Oscars, only twice as long!)
graemem Jane Weidlin not appearing to present awards = Best Moment Of Awards. graemem If Bill Morrison doesn't shut up, *I* will pretend to be Jane Weidlin to make him stop. graemem Torn by award: I love Spurgeon, Tim L and Matt B. WHO TO WIN?!? mattfraction newsarama. They also skipped over like four awards mattfraction just to fuck with Brubaker I think Agent_M Seriously? Really? Fail. NewsaramaBlog We won the Eisner! cyberpilate @NewsaramaBlog HOORAH! graemem @NewsaramaBlog DUDE! Congratulations. graemem Len Wein's outfit - Still eyecatching, even the second time out.

Well, hey...Newsarama won the award. Matt Brady, JK & the Blog@ crew, Troy & the Best Shots crew (Mike, Joe, Caleb, Janelle, Sarah, Mean Jeff, Jamie, Tim, etc), mighty Lucas Siegel and the Games section (wish I was still there so I could officially help test online play), Vaneta, Ben OPK (embattled as he's recently been) and too many to mention do great work. Sure do miss working with those folks!

Best Comics-Related Book?

mattfraction reading comics Agent_M Douglas Wolk won for his book Reading Comics! W00t!
mattfraction process recess 2
graemem Go Brube. mattfraction ED!!! edkaye @mattfraction Yes??? Agent_M Ed Brubaker won for Best Writer. Damn. Straight. edkaye Ed Brubaker? Nice one! popcandy Jane Wiedlin came onstage with a group of Stormtroopers. I'm next to Ed Brubaker, who ... just won best writer! Yay! popcandy Brubaker told me he thought Brian K. Vaughan would win for Y: The Last Man. He was actually busy texting someone when his name was called.
mattfraction chris ware

Best Writer/Artist - Humor?

mattfraction Powell again! Hurrah!
mattfraction SUGARSHOCK!

ivanbrandon multiple eisner award winner fábio moon edkaye Sugarshock for best webcomic? That's a bit much! It was good, but there's much better stuff out there. The Joss Whedon effect I assume. Hm!
mattfraction dan clowes for MR WONDERFUL
mattfraction buffy Agent_M Okay, really, Immortal Iron Fist should have won.
Agent_M Gabriel macht is presenting the last few awards. He's playing the spirit in the movie.
mattfraction satchel paige
mattfraction mousegurad

Best Graphic Album - New?

mattfraction exit wounds. And we're done.
jamessime Broke my heart: Jane Wiedlin bombing at the Eisners.