Why Marvel Studios is Successful and Marvel Comics is Suffering! The Last word on Diversity!

Marvel Studios under the brilliant leadership of Kevin Feige has become an unparalleled success because of amazing producers, writers, directors, casting agents, and actors, who take material made often for a juvenile audience and made it work for an adult and non-comics audience, while also satisfying comic die-hards like myself.

And as movies from the 1st film (IRON MAN) to the 18th film (BLACK PANTHER) show, the reason for this is Kevin Feige’s willingness to embrace Diversity. Diversity is not just the makeup of America, contrary to the Trumpian and XM hate radio mob  who who would preach dissension. and hate, it is the makeup of the world. And when you stop running and hiding and sticking your head in the sand, trying to wind back the clock to a Jim Crow America, you realize it is also the makeup to success.

Marvel Comics however has floundered for decades now and continues to flounder with diminishing sales. And while the vocal minority of morons and closet Nazis and talk show radio supporters would blame diversity.

The truth, that common sense and reason would tell you is, appealing only to existing readership has led to a diminishing readership, that can barely get a hundred thousand people, to buy even their most popular book. The people who grew up in the news-stand and comicshop and subscription model of comics,, is an aging and diminishing audience. We are picking up new readers, in large part due to the diversity initiatives and book store and libraries, MS MARVEL and MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR being some of Marvel’s biggest books in collected format. Doing HUGE in Libraries. However while we are picking up new readers in book format, the periodical format continues to lose across the board, for all comics Marvel is producing, whether they put a White, Black, Asian or other character in the comics, and I would argue Marvel is making quality comics across the board, what they suffer from is pricing.

They have in an age of growing options for entertainment dollars, with options of tv, streaming, video games, virtual, and regular books and magazines, priced themselves out of the market. $4 retail for a 20 page comic, that typically is filled with ads and does not give you a full story… it is for most of us an insupportable expense.

Even Die-hards like me have to pick and choose, and generally speaking, the choice is to not support Marvel in the monthly format, not at their $4 and up retail price point. I have not bought a Marvel Comics in years, only their recent diversity push, a good thing rather than the curse word Rush Limbaugh morons would make it, when they finally had Black writers and artists on staff, got me to buy their monthly books again.

I’m speaking of BLACK PANTHER and the short lived POWER MAN AND IRON FIST which was a relatively self-contained title, by dream creative team of David Walker and Sanford Greene. But I stopped getting it when Marvel decided to try to screw with the success of that book by making it into three books. Trying to over-milk their audience. With BLACK PANTHER they quickly started additional titles and crossovers that you had to get to get the whole story. Better and cheaper to just get the collected edition. And when Power Man and Ironfist ended, so did my buying Marvel Comics.

So Marvel’s floundering sales, is a relatively steady study in decline, and has notching to do with diversity. That they have not floundered more is due to their talented and diverse creators and characters. If someone on Youtube or a blog or the media is blaming diversity, you are dealing with an idiot and a bigot and a liar. And you should unsubscribe from their channel and or feed, because stupid people are a waste of time.

Diversity is not Marvel Comics problem. Their problem #1 is pricing. $4 they charge per issue, or $3.99 as they like to call it, you have gone past the threshold the market will bear, or that even your die-hard already converted audience. Particularly when in comparison to other publishers who give you more for that same $4. Other publishers give you less obtrusive ads, letters pages, back matter. And some like CHAPTER HOUSE comics and even DC COMICS (prior to Bendis, hopefully Bendis doesn’t support the same price hike that he supported at Marvel) realize that $2.99 retail is the breaking point for comic book adoption and growth.

Marvel Comics is also big enough that they can support a price of $2.99 retail for their comics. That would take care of their major problem. their second problem,relying on Diamond totally for their periodical distribution. Marvel used to offer mail order subscriptions at a nice discount, that’s how I got some of my books, you would use the ad in the magazine and subscribe to get your comics in the mail. I loved this model as a kid. I used it in addition to the comic book stores.  I think it is a great model unfamiliar with dealing with the Diamond pre-order model. And the third and most important thing, if a title is successful as a single, standalone title, don’t break it by being greedy and stupid. See previous comment on POWERMAN AND IRON FIST.

All those three points come down to Marvel Comics being better managed and better run, if not, no amount of crossovers or character changes or fabricate storyline outrage, will correct Marvel Comics dwindling sales.

 

Here endeth the Diversity Discussion.

:).

 

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Marvel Studios BLACK PANTHER in 3D – The Verdict?

I just came from a sold out upscale theater showing of Ryan Coogler’s BLACK PANTHER for Marvel Studios.

I’m going to try to be brief. As someone who went into this having avoided all trailers, and spoilers, and special feature exposes (that in my experience is like pre-chewing your food before sitting down to eat, making it impossible for fan or reviewer to truly be surprised by a film) I was… blown away.

 

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In terms of look, performance, direction, pathos, and humor, and rock solid action, it is without argument one of the best of the EIGHTEEN Marvel Studio Films released to date. I saw it in 3D and it is worth seeing in 3D. You don’t get the things flying into the audience effect, but the sense of looking down, and into chasms and waterfalls, plays up to 3Ds strengths. So I recommend seeing it at least once in 3D. I say once because like the original AVENGERS film, this is a film that deserves to be seen more than once.

I plan to see it in 2D when I go back next time.

This BLACK PANTHER film, released during Black History month, in my humble opinion is in a three way tie for the #1 Marvel Movie of all time; tied with the original AVENGERS by Josh Whedon and CAPTAIN AMERICA WINTER SOLDIER by the Russo Brothers. Those three movies share one shining exquisite truth; they are not just great comic-book movies, they are great films… FULL STOP.

Okay that should be all you need, go see the film now.

Okay still here, the following contains minor spoilers.

Black Panther Movie Poster

BLACK PANTHER is a great film from first frame to last. It is masterfully done; weaving effortlessly between drama, pomp, circumstance, humor, horror, tragedy, and heroism and hope. Chadwick Boseman is astonishing as the titular character, playing him with understated grace and elegance, that carries effortlessly the weight of the film. He is the rock upon which our tale is moored.

Writer/Director Ryan Coogler in three films has catapulted himself as one of the defining directors of our age, and BLACK PANTHER is that talent writ large. This is the tale of the death of kings, of fathers and sons, and things lost in the fire, this is about nothing less than the fate of the world, and about nothing more than the grief of boys for their fathers, a beautifully developed thread in all of Coogler’s films, but never done so well as here.

Coogler takes the admonishment of Hamlet ‘The common theme of life, is death of fathers’ and uses it like a lover and a lance, to both caress and break your heart. And he takes King Henry’s complaint in THE LION OF WINTER ‘I could have conquered Europe all of it, but I had women in my life.’ and here makes of it the saving grace of the protagonist, the film, and the world.

It is the women in this film who save the world, who save the men from their self extinguishing thirst for conquest and vengeance. And taking that line from LION OF WINTER, to also mean parental and familial influence, the difference between T’Challa and Killmonger then ultimately is in their relations to their fathers, even to the structure of their afterlives, one is defined by the inspiration of his father, and one by the lack of his father, and both of them have become completely extraordinary men in staggeringly different ways because of these relations.

It makes for a film of unexpected emotional intensity and depth. Coogler as a filmmaker has my number, as tears unbidden came to my eyes in places in this film. But I would argue he has everyone’s number, if you have the heart to feel, be you Irish or Korean or Ethiopian or American, Coogler will find those places that bind us all,… and squeeze. And then he’ll hit you with the action, then the humor, and sometime when you are laughing, he will squeeze again, and the tears will rise and you will know this is a filmmaker.

And it is wonderful when a director finds his muse, and an actor finds the director that gets him, brings out his best. Coogler and Michael B. Jordan are that combination.

They join legendary director/star pairings such as:

  • Ford and Wayne
  • Hawks and Wayne
  • Kurosawa and Mifune
  • Hitchcock  and Grant
  • Lee and Washington
  • Scorsese and Dinero
  • Scott and Washington
  • Woo and Yun-Fat
  • Ayer and Smith
  • Fuqua and Washington (It is not lost on me that Denzel Washington’s name appears with three different directors. It just shows the kind of fantastic actor he is, the longevity of his career, and that he can embody for many directors, the perfect actor).

Black Panther Movie Poster

Those pairings when they happen are the source of cinematic gold. And it happens in BLACK PANTHER with Coogler and Jordan, two of the respective best of their generation.

Simply a masterful film, with a stunning cast, and great performances. And Kudos to Kevin Feige who with 18 films under his belt, is not just producing films that transcend the source material, he has proved himself the most successful and influential film producer, in the history of the medium.Supplanting such names as Zanuck or Lewton.

It is a success richly earned.

That said, a lot of fans and reviewers care about the numbers, how much a movie makes. I do not. I could not care less if BLACK PANTHER made $1 or 1 Billion Dollars. In this day where studios own the films and the theaters; that is money that is being taken out of local economies. It is good the movie is successful in that we get more such movies from that director, that producer, those actors, but as far as making Disney richer, that does not concern me.

Now should we go back to the days of local and community owned theaters, then that matters, that we should support, because those dollars are staying in the community.

So I’m happy for the movie not because it does this much business, or that much business, I’m happy for the movie, because such visions raise us all, and the success allows such visionaries to keep telling stories.

Grade: An unqualified A+.

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Black Panther (#18 of 23)

If you like this movie I recommend the following:

The following movies are too good, to trust in the ‘cloud’ or ‘streaming’ to always have them available, or always have them available in unchanged, unedited, or unaltered versions. The below movies deserve to be owned in physical form, in the age of digital.

Chadwick Boseman in Message from the King (2016)

Chadwick Boseman’s excellent A MESSAGE FROM THE KING
LION IN WINTER
http://amzn.to/2CtUltq
HAMLET
http://amzn.to/2C6aEk6
AVENGERS
http://amzn.to/2C5Lx0W
CAPTAIN AMERICA : WINTER SOLDIER
http://amzn.to/2C3M97v
CAPTAIN AMERICA : CIVIL WAR
http://amzn.to/2szGli8

Best & Favorite of 2017!!!

This is a bit belated but I think you will find a nice overview to 2017 and pointers to 2018 in the ramblings below.

Favorite movies seen in the Theater in 2017:

KONG:SKULL ISLAND

LOGAN

 

I only saw two movies in the theater in 2017, so looking to improve on that in 2018. Nothing in January had me jazzed to pay theater prices for, however I am looking forward to the following in 2018:

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EQUALIZER 2

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FAVORITE TV SHOWS IN 2017:

  • LEGION
  • TAKEN
  • POWER
  • AMERICAN NINJA
  • CHOPPED
  • AMERICAN PICKERS
  • LOVE IT OR LIST IT
  • LETHAL WEAPON
  • THE GRAND TOUR
  • GODLESS
  • RUNAWAYS

FAVORITE STREAMING TV CHANNEL IN 2017

The one two punch of AMAZON PRIME and HULU gets this award. NETFLIX that was riding high in 2016 with LUKE CAGE and other shows, had a disappointing 2017. With a non user friendly interface compared to Amazon Prime and a selection of shows and movies that weren’t as interesting or well curated as either HULU or AMAZON PRIME, I cancelled my membership at the end of 2017. The last straw being the overhyped and ultimately lackluster PUNISHER series, as well as news of the studios pulling their content from Netflix.

In 2018 the TV shows that I am or will be watching are:

CASTLE ROCK

GRAND TOUR

TAKEN (I think the new showrunner made a mistake getting rid of most of the cast from season 1, but hopefully he can course correct and fix it)

STRIKE BACK and ELEMENTARY return after long hiatuses

LONGMEYER went out with a bit of a whimper, so looking forward to YELLOWSTONE

JACK RYAN

LETHAL WEAPON

CHOPPED

IZOMBIE

BLACK LIGHTNING

AMERICANS

And lastly looking forward to Season 2 of what, without question, was the best, most inventive TV show of 2017, Noah Hawley’s LEGION.

And for those keeping score… LUKE CAGE tied with FARGO Season 2 (Also by Noah Hawley) were the best TV shows of 2015, and DAREDEVIL Season 1 was the best TV show of 2014.

 

BEST MUSIC OF 2017

I loved everything binaural in 2017, adding many great CDs to my collection. THE HEAVY and GREGORY PORTER remained in heavy rotation. Gregory Porter being my favorite live performance of 2017. And I added new interests RAG N BONE MAN, Andra day and Brian Ferneyhough. With Spotify to allow me to try before I buy, I’m looking forward in 2018 to discovering more great music, both old and new.

BEST READS OF 2017

I didn’t read as many novels, or listen to as many audio books in 2017 as I did in previous years, so I definitely hope to turn that around in 2018.

I did do substantially better with Art Books, Graphic Novels, Reference Books, and comics in 2017. Some of the standouts:

 

MATT BAKER THE ART OF GLAMOUR

CREEPING DEATH FROM NEPTUNE

THE WOLVERTON BIBLE

ARTIST EDITION BASIL WOLVERTON (This and the other two previous books having to do with Basil Wolverton, I went all in on him in 2017. Still absorbing these three books here in 2018)

JACKIE ORMES

THE SIGNATURE ART OF BRIANSTELFREEZE

SEX AND HORROR THE ART OF ALESSANDRO BIFFIGNANDI

In 2018 writers I intend to go all in on are Percival Everett, Victor Lavalle, Colin Whitehead and Walter Mosley, as well as revisiting work by Ligotti, Lebbon, Ellison, Stephen King, Clive Barker and Bennett.

 

In 2017 Marvel had a great POWER MAN AND IRON FIST series I was reading, the only thing I was buying monthly from Marvel Comics. And Marvel letting greed get in the way of common sense, killed a series everyone was loving, with a creative team everyone was loving, David Walker and Brian Stelfreeze, to instead both dilute audience attention and oversaturate the market with multiple books, almost all of which are ready to be canceled. So going into 2018, with Marvel sticking to their insane $3.99 price point per book, there are no titles I pick up from Marvel Comics.

 

In 2017 DEATHSTROKE by Christopher Priest was the only DC Comic I was getting on a monthly base. It’s arguably the one series that you can just pick up and enjoy without having to read any other title, or care about any other title. Priest has been able to just do… what he does best, create a fantastic read; month in and month out. So it is the only DC book I’m reading in 2018. However, greed rears its ugly heads and the idiots who get paid to make stupid decisions have decided to add DEATHSTROKE to their floundering team book… JLA,  basically gutting the standalone nature of the comic that allows Priest, to do his magic. Basically the same poor decision making that happened last year with POWER MAN AND IRON FIST.

 

I figure the conversation went like this… ‘man everyone is talking about this book, let’s put the characters in multiple other books, and then they will be talking about all those other books too.’ No, you EFFING morons! The reason people are enjoying POWER MAN AND INRON FIST or DEATHSTROKE is because it is well drawn and well written and not part of your insipid crossover infested universe. Your very attempts to duplicate that success, without understanding it, will kill the character in the new book, and kill interest in the character in the original book.

So yeah here’s hoping someone with brains over at DC, vetoes the horrible idea to put DEATHSTROKE in the JLA, because I’m not going to read the JLA, and you’re editorial interference will create a character that no longer works in his solo book. You have therefore killed the golden goose and have nothing to show for it.

 

The good news is when you get sick of the stupid decisions and overpriced ad laden product at DC and MARVEL, you have great content from other publishers to enjoy. Publishers that give you more for your money. Publishers such as IMAGE, AFTERSHOCK, DARK HORSE and many more.

As far as where to buy new comics from, a lot of people will steer you to DCBS. I personally in terms of pure customer service and ease or ordering prefer LONE STAR COMICS. You can order comics in advance from the at http://www.mycomicshop.com at a discount.

 

They are highly recommended, and I use them myself, and this is an unpaid recommendation. Tell them Heroic Times sent you.

 

And wrapping this up, favorite podcasts of 2017:

 

11OCLOCK COMICS

COMIC GEEK SPEAK

WTF with Marc Maron

BLACK TAPES

GEEK SYNDICATE

 

To name a few. Okay that is it for my 2017 Pop Culture overview. Thanks for bearing with it and if you enjoy, spread the word. Enjoy WEEK #6 of 2018!!!

 

 

 

 

 

CBS vs Paramount? Old Star Trek vs Confused Star Trek? ST Discovery = Epic fail? and JUSTICE LEAGUE?!

 

Some Times you wonder how what is seemingly obvious  is utterly lost on people in positions of power.

VALERIAN movie? Great concept on paper , great visuals, the leads are as interesting as watching paint dry. I would not in a million years have chosen those two people to helm that movie. They have no visual interest.

The latest Universal bomb in THE MUMMY, completely predictable. White Egyptians, unless they are Boris Karloff, just never a good idea.

Casting and visuals and chemistry is still a HUGE part of what makes a film or show work and why it is dead on arrival.

It is one reason the JUSTICE LEAGUE movie is despite everything they are trying to course correct and do right, can’t fix intrinsic issues they have done wrong. The comic book decided to put CYBORG in the comic, not because he is a good character, but because he hit three demographics they throught would make for both multiple diversity streams and good merchandising. He was a Black crippled robot.

TRANSFORMERS has proven that robots sell, all day long. On top of that being able to add a character of color to the blindingly white DC universe, ticks that box, and making him a cripple, ticks the handicapped audience. A lucrative and growing segment condsidering how many young men and women this country sends overseas to mutilate and get mutilated.

Here is the issue though. It doesn’t make sense for CYBORG to be in the Justice League, beyond tokenism and a blatant money grab.

From a story point it makes NO SENSE in the comics, and it makes no sense in the movies. I’m all for characters of color toning down the lilly whitness of the Justice League, but not awful characters. The JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED cartoon has shown a great character of color that deserves to be in the Justice League and works great in the Justice League… John Stewart, The Green Lantern, And you know what, he also has kick ass powers and is more than a walking toaster. The late great Dwayne McDuffie made John Stewart a great character, and the Justice League a great AND diverse team without sacrificing quality or common sense. They were great BECAUSE of that diversity and love that Dwayne imbued that series with, that made it great.

Greatness is a thing that seldoms gets said in the same sentence as JUSTICE LEAGUE. Unlike the AVENGERS that has a few notable stories you can hand people to sell them on these characters for live action movies, most notably Mark Millar’s THE ULTIMATES  followed by Steve Englehart’s, Gerry Conway’s, Jim Shooter’s and Kurt Busiek’s runs; the JUSTICE LEAGUE has very little that holds up, or is of appeal to a movie going audience. Outside of deconstructive and apocalyptic stories, the twilight of the Gods type mythology such as KINGDOM COME, and some Morrison work, there are almost no great JUSTICE LEAGUE comic stories. The best the JUSTICE LEAGUE has ever been is in the McDugffie helmed cartoon.

The current comic and the current movie unfortunately, has learned nothing from the late McDuffie’s lead.

Add to that the Cyborg and Flash costumes are crap (didn’t you learn anything from the GREEN LANTERN train-wreck about CGI costumes) and you have a movie that could have been great, crippled by by people who are going to lose dollars to save pennies.  People ignorant or uncaring of the part visual chemistry plays in whether a thing works or not.

And that brings us back to Star Trek.

 

Looking at the cast photo of Star Trek Discovery… that cast has no visual interest, no chemistry. The same issue suffered by THE ENTERPRISE cast, and to a lesser degree the VOYAGER cast. There was no joy or interst or chemistry in this combination of people.

Watching  the latest STAR TREK DISCOVERY Trailer, I find the trailer interesting, however the jury is out on whether that translates into good. There was no excitement in that trailer, a bunch of uninteresting looking people, no visual chemistry or excitement to them, and a general air of uninterst and lack of joy in the whole.

You are in effing space, that should be awe-inspiring to the cast and to the viewer. But all that comes across in that trailer is how dreary everything is. The one male lead, who I know to be a good actor, he perhaps has never been the most rousing actor, and whether lead or not, you need somone immediately that grabs your eye, and you can say, yep, here is a hero or man of action, or somone who can command a screen and command the attention of viewers. Without a doubt great scenery chewing actors is the hallmark of great Star Trek, whether it is William Shatner, or Leonard Nimoy or Patrick Stewart or Johnathan Fraker or Avery Brooks or Michael Dorn.

The star of this series, is a lead actress, and she is clearly charismatic, but you can’t act in a bubble, without that chemistry  of clicking actors around you and fun plots, it is just dreariness. And that’s what came across in the trailer… dreariness.

And a lot of changes for change sake.

The change to the Kilngons… strikes me as… foolhardy at best. THE NEXT GENERATION hit a home run in being able to make an interesting but crude visual race of the Kilingons… better. Not just better, but a rousing transcendent success.  The way the Original Series hit a home run with the Vulcans and the Romulans, the Next Generation hit that Home Run with the Klingons.

You don’t fix what isn’t broken. And in this case DISCOVERY’s redesign of the Klingons just seems change for change sake, that tears down a success, and what could have been an easy inroad to the series for fans craving the popular Klingons, becomes instead a detriment.

Just poor, poor thinking.

Along with that the idea of trying to make American audiences pay to see this series that initially needs as much groundswell of support it can get, is just idiocy. Out of the gate you set an antagonistic relationship between show and audience.

I will, needless to say, not be paying for this show, no more than I had any intest in paying to see VALERIAN or THE MUMMY.

But I will keep abreast of it through online reviews and podcasts, and I hope it can prove me wrong. But if Paramount stick to the visuals and that tone and that cast, that seems clearly set in stone for the first year….you may have an interesting SciFi show, but you arguably wont have a good show, and you definitely won’t have a great Star trek show.

Paramount instued of suing the AXANAR fan film, should have gone with that filmmaker to produce their new show. It is obvious that the fan films have more heart, intelligence, and fun, and understanding of what makes good Star Trek than Paramount has.

PARAMOUNT’s rebooted STAR TREK films, a case of diminishing returns, from the excellence of the first one, to the too self indulgent but still great second film, to the atrocious third film; points to a company that is in desperate need of course correction. And that same folly and arrogant stupidity that highlights their dealings with the fans, mars their handling of this latest television show.

For more on this, I want to direct you to a MIDNIGHT’S EDGE YouTube video, that revealed some of the reasons for Paramount’s mishandling of the latest Star Trek property and where CBS fits in. It’s a riveting and informative bit of reporting.

 

 

 

 

 

My All Over the Place Rant… Beware, there be Dragons here

It’s 0330 dark of the morning and I’m listening to Disaster-Piece’s IT FOLLOWS film score on CD (not something I would particularly recommend if you are in the house by yourself at this time of night), and I’m thinking…we are all adrift in the fields of the Lord.

That’s what I’m thinking.

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And I’m thinking of Carlos Castaneda and a Yaqui Indian called Don Juan and truths and fictions, and how the one becomes the other and the other the one.

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I’m thinking of the quality of person that would have actually voted for Resident Trump and be not ashamed.

I think the clinical term would be somewhere between fool and sociopath.

I’m thinking of seas relatively unspoiled by man, and islands far from this benighted shore.

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I think…

I think there are other worlds…

but this one is not quite done with me.

I think of duty and honor and truth and justice and loyalty, words co-opted by the venal to keep a nation of young men killing and dying and being mutilated and maimed for the 1%ers’ Dubai pleasure nations.

I’m listening to track 9 of IT FOLLOWS, the stereo panning in my Avanti Headphones, is working for me. Left, right… left, right. My brain relaxes, and formulates something beyond questions and answers.

It is a truly brilliant album, to accompany one of the standout horror films so far this 21st century.

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I’m thinking I can’t get down with media lynchings, especially by a notoriously untrustworthy and historically lynching obsessed nation as America. So the more they tell me to demonize anyone, whether a Cosby or Simpson or insert famous Black male target of the day, the more I have to question it. In a world full of evils to fight, it’s funny to me how the press never tackles the evil that really controls and infects their viewers lives.

Like the evil of Pharmaceutical companies that are getting rich selling you not ready for human use drugs that have more dangerous side-effects than the conditions they are created to combat. “Oh you have acne, oh use our product, but oh, it might sterilize or kill you. Heehee… but we told you up front so we’re not liable.”

No you pieces of offal, that’s not how it works, if someone buys a hamburger from me and it is laced with arsenic, that may make them very sick or kill them, that’s called attempted murder. Even if the burger was a good tasting burger, did its advertised job, side effects of food poisoning and possible death are not acceptable or allowable risks to eating a hamburger.

So that burger is not ready for human sale or consumption and is recalled, pulled from the market.

The pharmaceutical companies instead market you these not ready for human usage products, and lawyer up against their products being filled with arsenic.

The actions that would get an individual arrested for attempted murder, these companies are using to get rich on the sick and desperate . Now that is something the press should for 3 decades be raging against. Not a suspect celebrity murder case, and not an even more vacuous charge of sexual assault.

So when the press avoid the crimes of their rich corporate sponsors and overlords instead to pile on with, ‘what Black celebrity can we pull down today’, well that’s a train I’m not going to board, and that is a Dachau I’m not going to populate.

There are lots of racist cops walking around free that have committed worse crimes than either Simpson or Cosby have been accused of. There are lots of you judging them, Cosby, Simpson,… that should be wary of casting that first stone.

Simpson I don’t care about, except that the fact of a white owned media embroiled in demonizing him over 2 decades after his acquittal shows clearly the new face of lynch mobs. We have young men and women coming back from parts of the world we didn’t even know we were still fighting in… damaged, and having damaged, for reasons that stink of lies, and true evil, and rather than the press demonize the real monsters that fill our nightly news with blood, they want to waste energy on cases that in the scheme of things while significant to the families of the victim and the families of the accused, to the larger body of society, are not of import.

As far as Cosby, Cosby I was raised on, and in a world that would have you be less, he was one of the ones breaking barriers and opening doors so that a whole generation of young Black men and women could be more. There are very few people drawing breath on this planet that can claim to have done the good that Bill Cosby has done, and if you can not equal a man’s good, you are unfit to judge his evil.

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If he committed a crime, that is to be determined in a court of law.

But a man’s falling down does not erase his standing up, including the many times he stood up for a castigated people. So to take arms against him now is beyond ungrateful, it is cowardice of the highest order.

To let yourself be so crudely used, in this war of Black and White.

Now transitioning to another rant…

Why is local autonomy in nearly every walk of life being replaced by autonomy of these very few companies and oligarchies and families.

Once a blockbuster movie meant not only the studios did well but the regional independent local theater did well. These days theaters are mostly studio owned, so we have this incestuous chain of the studios getting paid in every part of the process, and local economies are obliterated by it. Reduced to only the most minuscule piece of the proverbial pie.

AVENGERS makes a billion Dollars, I don’t really care.

I care that it is or isn’t a good movie, but do I care if a Billion dollar studio make more millions and billions? Not in the least.

As it stands now these studios such as Disney and Fox and Warner Brothers (pieces of larger snakes) should have been broken up years ago and their anti-competitive and local economy suppressing monopolies ended decades ago.

The best thing that could happen to America is a nation where all the Disney Properties, most of which are over 50 years old went into the public domain where they belong so everyone can legally make money off of them and be enriched by them.

An America without the endless shadow of Disney and its lie of family values would suit me fine.

The album is over, the clock has moved on, and my rant…

My all over the place rant… ended.

For now.

“Come back and throw stones later, Mother will be more receptive”

—LION IN WINTER

The Annotated Stephen Bissette : SWAMP THINGS & TABOOS & TYRANTS

During my formative years I discovered this comic SWAMP THING by relative newcomers Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, and John Totleben.

I was a kid, but old enough to realize even then that this was something special. Alan Moore’s words and Bissette and Totleben’s visuals even at the time, and it was a strange time because everything felt in flux and on the brink of changing, even at the time, getting these off the stands, the combination of these three men working together felt like greatness.

And some things are hot in the moment, but some things, some work that is rushed out for the masses, to meet deadlines for a castigated medium, some work screams greatness from the go, and time only makes it more great.

More Hallowed.

From pioneers like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway and Steve Englehart and Chris Claremont and Kraft and Giffen and O’Neil and Neal Adams and Jim Steranko and Bernie Wrightson there was a new generation building on the foundation they laid down.

Creators such as…

Don Lomax (who I had the pleasure to interview) would give us VIETNAM JOURNAL.

Doug Moench, a pioneer in his own right, off of MASTER OF KUNG FU (issues 38 and 39 remains the best two parter ever) would do some of his most heartfelt work in Moon Knight (that first 21 or 22 issues is gold, everything from dealing with the death of John Lennon, to familial abuse)

Frank Miller would give us DARK KNIGHTS and RONINS and YEAR ONES.

William Messner Loebs would create a frontier masterpiece, unfotunately a hidden gem to most, with JOURNEY.

Bruce Jones – With his TWISTED TALES would almost singlehandedly give birth to a new EC inspired golden age of Horror Comics, but making comics that were horrifying to a Reagan era age.

and of course… Alan Moore.

Alan Moore would birth many such works, particularly in the waning decades of the 20th century. SWAMP THING was one of his earliest successes and remains one of his most iconic works. And for me one of his most beautiful works, working with the art team of Bissette snd Totleben, they were visual storytellers that could really add and evolve and enrich the scope of Moore’s script, throwing in their own ideas and visuals.

It is very much the work of three young men riffing on their loves, and remains now 30 years later still very seminal work.

Bissette in the years since has become one of the most respected instructors, teaching at the celebrated Center for Cartoon Studies in vermont.

One thing you may not know about him, and I first discovered listening to an Indie Spinner Rack podcast episode (that great now defunct show) is he is a FANTASTIC speaker. He is such an engaging and erudite and interesting wealth of information on this beloved hobby and artform and the personalities behind it.

And I love podcasts to begin with, so combining this walking encyclopedia of not just comic lore, but film and film journalism, books, the art of creating, of self publishing, of blogging, and for me… that is entertainment.

So ever since I’ve listened to him, whenever I catch him interviewed on a podcast.

So here without further ado is hours of audio greatness with one of the best artists in Comics, and one of its most engaging speakers.

INDIE SPINNER RACK #79 8 May 2007 – My first introduction to Stephen Bissette post SWAMP THING, this put him on my radar as just a fantastic and informative speaker. A great interview/conversation.

Talkcast #102 8 Oct 2011 – Very annoying hosts makes this one almost unlistenable, but fast forward to where Bissette finally gets to speak about fundraising and HP Lovecraft.

LOST IN THE STATIC #99 -25 Nov 2013- Fun informative hosts lead inro a really compelling interview on Bissette, that includes Edgar Allen Poe, Greg Irons, Skull #6, Moore, Veitch, Totleben and the Saga of the Swamp Thing. Indie work on Gore Shriek, Shriek, and the ground breaking Dave Simm funded TABOO. Structure of TABOO inspired by Harlan Ellison’s brilliant DANGEROUS VISIONS and AGAIN DANGEROUS VISIONS. Bruce Jones TWISTED TALES, X-MEN’S Brood Saga. TABOO designed by Bissette to be taken seriously, and push the envelope and make people ‘drop it on the ground’. Kirby Awards. A must listen podcast.

Adam Greenfield’s great podcast MAKING COMICS has had Stephen Bissette as a guest three times, and all three are brilliant, with nice Vincent Price/Poe Intros. Well worth hunting down. Oct 2014,2015, & 2016.

DECONSTRUCTING COMICS #465,#500 – Sept 2015, June 2016

POD SEQUENTIALISM #2 – October 2015

TV GUIDANCE #228 – May 2017

RADIODROME #323 – Mar 2017

UNDER CONSTRUCTION – Come back as I flesh out the content in all the interviews and conversations!

Best BATMAN BLACK PANTHER WONDER WOMAN Statues Collectibles! Make Great Gifts!

 

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