A choice of Romney or Obama means the American People Lose

Here’s the thing.

The lesser of two evils, is still evil.

I voted for Obama four years ago, though his voting record in Congress, and the big-business backers to his presidential campaign, raised serious questions for me, whether his deeds as president would live up to his words.

Four years later we can see they have not.

Those eloquent speeches, riding into the office on the quotes of men who fought for civil liberties, have been lost in a presidency that has seen sweeping expansion of state powers and infiltration of big-business interests at the expense of civil liberties and the citizenry.

We live in a ratcheted up cointel-pro state.

Ah, yes… you don’t know that term.

It’s used sparingly these days. It’s a doctrine, it’s a doctrine, and a plan of action… for keeping things the same. It’s in many ways just a retrofitting of the doctrine of manifest destiny.

It is a doctrine that has been used in this country that consists of the state sanctioned murder of movements contrary to the status quo, be those movements the Native American or the Black Consciousness movements of the 60s or Move in the 80s


(MOVE? You don’t know the name… Ahh— I forget how little of the world the press let’s anyone see these days.

MOVE was people wanting to live, their way, in the cradle of Liberty, the city of Love, and finding themselves in the way of interests…virulent.

It’s my 9-11.

Philadelphia Mayor requested it, the bombing, and the Pennsylvania Governor ordered the dropping of a bomb, in the heart of the city, on American citizens, to settle an issue of homesteading, gentrification, and because he didn’t like the way they lived.

Look it up.

Take a few minutes away from playing Angry Birds, and you will find a story… to make a right man wrong.

The tax-dollar paid bomb killed men, women, and children. We dropped a bomb in the heart of an American city, and not a station mentioned it.

Welcome to the war.

And yet there were survivors.

Surviving is what we do.

And they had the survivors incarcerated… for having the temerity to have survived. They are still 30 years later, incarcerated, unwanted truths… locked away.

It was the story that a young reporter called Mumia was covering, before he was shot down by Philadelphia police bullets, and thrown on Death Row for not having the good manners… to have died quietly.

That… is MOVE. That is a story of a great wrong, and it waits… to be righted.)

or the Branch Davidians in the 90s (a multi-racial, an multi-ethnic group, whose massacre at Waco has been coopted by militant and hate groups that share none of the interests of the Davidians).

And that increase in surveillance, control, and punishment of citizens for exercising their rights as citizens, that cointel-pro that has seen the massacring of American citizens and American Liberties for years, has received a new rubber stamp approval by Obama. He has signed and trumpeted every erosion of civil liberties put in from of him in the last four years.

His presidency in effect has been in many ways a continuation and mirroring of the Bush years, which is not surprising considering the backers are the same.

What I’m saying is I voted for the lesser of evils 4 years ago, hoping the words and the promises were the man.

They were not.

They were just rhetoric. Having watched his administration, two things have become clear to me…both Democrats and Republicans are not about the issues, they are about the tribalism.

I say that because in ways deep and true Obama’s presidency has been a staunch ‘conservative republican pro-big business, anti-civil liberties, pro-corporate welfare anti-citizen’s welfare’ presidency.

So people, conservatives who defended Bush’s presidency, should have for the past four years been defending Obama. And liberals, who berated and opposed Bush’s presidency should have been equally vocal in their opposition to Obama.

But oddly enough that’s not what happened. And it’s because it’s not the issues staunch do-or-die Republicans or Democrats, and much of the press care about, it is the football game. It is cheering for your colors, right or wrong.

And that way, that tribalism, that excuses wrong if it is done by your team, and hates right if it is done by the other team… has no place in a sane world. Which is obvious by looking at our world.

You have to be able to call wrong, wrong, regardless of the color it wears. And you have to be able to call right, right, regardless of the team it is on.

At the end of the day, such pointed tribalism, is the height of irrationality and the height of self destruction.

I voted for Obama four years ago, because he was the lesser of two evils, and I hoped he would live up to his pretty speeches and his word. He did not.

Romney and Obama are backed by the same corporate interests, they are a rigged game, spouting diatribes on inanities at each other, but on the real choices, “do I send troops to kill here”, “do I leave Gasoline companies untaxed”, “do I offset mounting debt by instituting a flat mandatory tax on business generating revenue in the US”, “do we punish companies for off-shoring, and H1visas, and not hiring domestically”, in the serious things where it is about the rights of big business to rape the American people… Obama and Romney are in complete agreement, they are (bs stances on homosexuality aside) kissing cousins. ๐Ÿ™‚

They will do whatever they are told to do.

So no, I won’t be choosing between the lesser of two evils this year. I’ll vote for someone else, an Independent I like, or a write in candidate.

And yes, yes, I know the argument that a vote not for a front runner is a wasted vote.

That argument never held water with me. All a man has is one vote, and the granting of that vote, if it takes the will of other men into consideration, the will of the majority, how then is it his vote?

Let 300 million Americans vote for the same person, the popular candidate, and I will alone spend my one vote on the candidate I believe in. And if he wins not, then he wins not, but he will not lose for my absence.

Let the records at the end of days show that, while all the lions or hyenas roared in unison, that the son of David followed not the sure thing… but pursued even onto defeat… the right thing.

So what candidates am I toying with currently…

Well I’m sure the landscape has more changing to do between now and November, but I’m intrigued by:

Stewart Alexander

and

Gary Johnson

As far as write-in candidates, I like big name stars who go out there fighting for the little guy and aren’t above getting arrested doing so. ๐Ÿ™‚ .

So a write in ticket of George Clooney and Danny Glover, I think would be pretty damn awesome. Neither one being a stranger to international affairs, and really after Bush II, it’s obvious that a real deep understanding of just about anything isn’t necessary to be president. :).

So yeah those are the names I’m researching now, for a list of all 2012 candidates, go here:

Presidential Candidates 2012

And I guess I’ll leave you with a quote, that seems to have value in these valueless times:

“A warrior must focus his attention
on the link between himself and his death.
Without remorse or sadness or worrying,
he must focus his attention on the fact
that he does not have time
and let his acts flow accordingly.
He must let each of his acts
be his last battle on earth.

Only under those conditions
will his acts
have their rightful power.
Otherwise they will be,
for as long as he lives,
the acts of a fool.”

—Don Juan as quoted by Carlos Casteneda

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WIZARD WORLD Philadelphia 2012 Convention! Pt 2 of 2!

Well finally the much prophesied final part of my Wizard World Philadelphia 2012 coverage is here. You can see the first part here.

First some sights of us gassing up and on the road to Philly:

So finally done with the “hard-traveling” heroes bit (i.e. the road trip pics), and I already told you about getting to the con itself, and the lines… so we can get to the meat and potatoes…onto the interviews!!!

One of the first creators I ran into at the convention, was the LOADED BARREL Studios table, which was nicely located near the entrance. Their comic, BRIELLE AND THE HORROR, was one of the first comics I picked up, and was one of the first creators I interviewed at my first convention back in 2007. (that’s a lot of firsts :))

So it was a bit appropriate after being off the convention circuit for just about five years, that the first people I should run into should be LOADED BARREL studios. Kudos to the young lady who called us over, or I would have no doubt walked past obliviously. I reviewed their first issue, on this blog years ago and was quite impressed by it. I’m a fan of photo-manipulated comics, and have never seen it done as well as the team of Jared Barel, Jordan Barel, and Alex Goz do it.

So it’s good to know they have since finished BRIELLE AND THE HORROR, and have a new series THE GREY out as a graphic novel. Definitely looking forward to picking it up and you should be too. It doesn’t appear to be available on Amazon yet but you can order it here. I’m looking forward to what the future brings for this company.

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Next up, after some meandering and wandering, I talked to the gang at POWER COMIX with their new kids comic SAGA OF THE POWER HEROES. Following up on that, Spoke to Jim Demonakos of the band KIRBY KRACKLE, and listened to his latest CD.

This was Jim’s first show at Wizard World Philly, and I thought the portable players/listening section he had setup was a nice touch. However being the founder of his own quite successful convention, Emerald City Comic Con, as well as a successful band, Jim is no stranger to conventions or great ideas. The music of Kirby Krackle being proof on both fronts, and comes recommended. You can sample the music and get your CD here.

On the video front, I met Ryan Cole, the cinematographer and Joe Parascand, who plays Sheriff Tom, one of the stars of the film MARY HORROR. Again a nice setup, with a multi-display arrangement to showcase their horror film. A horror film you can find out more about at MARY HORROR.

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My next interview at the con was Artist/co-creator Frankie B. Washington of the quite impressive web-comic ROBOT GOD AKAMATSU. The series done with writer co-creator James Biggie is a nice take on the Giant Robot genre that I haven’t seen before, and highlighted by great visuals, going by his gray-scale drawings.

With movement toward animation and merchandising, this is a series and a creative team to watch. And you can do so here! (One word regarding the site, the artwork there is colored a little dark, maybe even a bit muddy, so you lose the sense of the great line work and gray-scale artwork that they had on display at the convention. So my only caveat to the creators would be think about showcasing their linework/gray-scale art a bit more on the site or work on tweaking the coloring, as I feel the artist’s work gets completely gutted by the current coloring process. Other than that, well worth a look.)

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One of the other interviews of the day, and one of my few purchases was from Shawn Alleyne’s PYROGLYPHICS Studios. PYROGLYPHICS consists of creators Joseph Currie, Koran Curtis, Stanley Weaver, Charlie Goubile, James Mason and the aforementioned Shawn Alleyne and together they’ve just launched a title called STREET TEAM. Highlighted by simply gorgeous art, their post-modern comic is equal parts martial arts, manga/anime tinged, masked heroes, video-games and good old fashioned action. Toss in they also offered a special that included two huge prints, magnets, and postcards, and it was an easy buy.

Now the comic looks like it may just be a one-shot and a spring board for the video game, but I hope not. I hope we can look forward to quarterly or annual issues of STREET TEAM. Well to get your copies of STREET TEAM and find out more go bug Mr. Alleyne himself here or the Street Team crew here.

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I also had the chance to meet the talented husband and wife duo of Jerry and Penelope Gaylord. They have very distinct styles to one another, but very complimentary and very good. See for yourself at IDENTITY COMICS! Tell ’em HT sent ya!

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One of the joys for me of going to these shows is discovering a talent, an artist I was unaware of. So it’s with great pleasure that I came across the artwork of Laura Guzzo (kudos to her friend, Michael I think, who did a great job promoting her and singing her praises). Not only is she an ASTOUNDING artist, but her print prices are ridiculously reasonable.

You need to run, don’t walk to her website (well considering this is the web you don’t have to walk or run, try clicking here :)) and see her great artwork and purchase some at her Etsy store. She’s definitely going to be working for the big comic companies in no-time. Specifically she has an interesting and unique vision, that would make her a strong cover artist. I look forward to seeing her upcoming work.


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Well kids, that’s a wrap for this installment. All in all a fun convention, and I hope I’ve pointed you to some talent to familiarize yourself with. And if I do help turn you on to some new talent, just let them know that Heroic Times sent ya! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks again for visiting and I’ll leave you with a couple pictures from the con, most notably the Philly version of Black Widow,, which I have to tell you… is a pretty awesome version. Grrrowwlll. ๐Ÿ™‚

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In closing huge kudos to Jerry Milani of Wizard World for a fantastically well publicized, and well organized show!

And lest I forget, for anyone who I didn’t cover, please chalk that up to my head and not my heart, more than likely I didn’t have your complete contact info when time came to put this together. Just leave me a comment here, or email me if I gave you one of my business cards and we’ll get that corrected asap.

Thanks to everyone who made the show a great time for all involved! That’s all folks, go out there and be good to each other.

RATING THE DOCTORS: The Best & Worst Doctor Who Companions Pt. 1 of 2!

Update:

Okay waiting for my trusty photographer to send me the pictures from Wizard World Philly, and then the 2nd and final part of that convention coverage will go up. Part II of the Pulp article, and the Charles Saunders MONARCH OF MAYHEM are both being worked on.

And working on WEDNESDAYS WORDS for tomorrow, Have not missed a Wednesday yet! (Knock on pixels)

So in the interim of all that heavy lifting I’m doing, here’s an easy, breezy post…

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THE BEST AND WORST DOCTOR WHO COMPANIONS

This year I made it through watching all 30+ seasons of Doctor Who, counting the old (with the exception of lost episodes) and the new.

I first ran across Doctor Who as a kid watching the Tom Baker episodes on PBS. Incredibly low budget even by my childish standards of the time, it was okay. Quirky, not something I really made a point of following, but would watch if nothing else was on.

Re-watching the entire 30+ year series in a matter of months, I have a far better appreciation and understanding of the series as an adult.

There were some really smartly written and exciting and imaginative episodes in the show’s 30+ year history, and we’ll get into those. But in this post I wanted to discuss the barometer for what is best and worst in Doctor Who… namely the companions.

If you dislike the companion, or find them annoying, or their dynamic with the Doctor just doesn’t work, the show seldom rises above your assessment of them. ie bad Companions translating to bad and annoying episodes. This is very subjective of course, but informed by the context of watching 30+ seasons of Dr. Who. So informed subjectivity if you will. ๐Ÿ™‚

So without further ado the five best and worst Dr. Who companions:

We’ll start with the negative in this post, and do the best next time at bat.

WORST

Adric – played by Matthew Waterhouse from 1980 to 1982 with Tom Baker and Peter Davison – The character of Adric was an annoying whining and joy eroding albatross stuck on the end of Tom Baker’s tenure and throughout Peter Davison’s tenure by the long running and both creative and stifling producer, John Nathan Turner. John Nathan Turner was a hit and miss producer, responsible for an equal share of Doctor Who successes as he was missteps and failures. His choice of companions being one of his most obvious. Adric being the worst of Nathan Turner’s lot of disagreeable companions. “Wow we are getting to travel in space and time, so instead of being thankful or awed let’s just bitch and be upset all the time, and wear the same stinking clothes for no apparent reason”. The reason for wearing the same clothes, was another Nathan Turner misstep, wanting the companions to wear a consistent uniform, which just came off as stupid, and eschewed the fun brilliance of the first companions who every episode carried over pieces of clothing and garb from their adventures through time and space. Quite a fun idea if you think about it. So the character of Adric, was the most egregious of Nathan Turner’s bad decisions, but not, unfortunately, the only flawed bit of casting and character.

Turlough – played by Mark Strickson from 1983 to 1984 with Peter Davison, along with the characters of Nyssa and Tegan and Adric, he was part of Nathan Turner’s whiny, unlikeable companions. Which is a dig against the producer and writers rather than the actors. Despite Tegan being written unnecessarily combative and whining, and the character of Nyssa being completely underwritten, I didn’t find them too grating, or ‘turn off the show to avoid’ bad. However I did feel that way to a great degree by the character of Adric, and to a lesser, but still unsatisfying, degree, Turlough. So hence him making my worst list.

Mel – played by Bonnie Langford from 1986 to 1987 with Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy- In her defense she’s bubbly. But beyond that she just seems an odd choice that never quite works for me. She is not as bad as the others listed, I don’t dislike the character, I just don’t care for the character.

Amy Pond & Rory- I found her from the first incredibly annoying and uninteresting. Her whole pouty thing, and the Rory/Amy show… not remotely interested. Stopped watching after the first season with them.

Mickey Smith- Ugghhh. A Shakespearean trained actor and you have him doing a bitchy step&fetchit neutered character. Just annoying from the first episode of the revived Doctor Who series. I disliked the character so much, that it would not be until many years later, when given the chance to view the whole series cheap, that I would go back to Doctor Who. A character that defines the negative connotations of the term ‘Black faces, White messages’. Russell T. Davies who is to be applauded for reviving Doctor Who and making it a world-wide phenomenon had some very negative uses of male characters of color in his first few seasons, and Mickey Smith was that dynamic at its worst. Ironically with the character of Martha Jones, he would introduce a fantastic female companion, and a fantastic character of color; Davies issues relegated seemingly only to the male. Whatever the reason Mickey Smith was an awful character, redeemed only marginally in his last few appearances.

Those are the five worst companions in no specific order, though I think you can tell by my descriptions, my personal ranking of them. See my rating for the five best companions here!

WIZARD WORLD PHILADELPHIA COMIC-CON 2012 Convention Coverage

Just back from the Wizard World Philly Con. Due to pure economics (factors external to Wizard World, sold out hotels, exorbitant remaining hotel and parking prices) one day, Saturday, was the sole day I could be there.

But it was by all appearances a packed event, well attended. They had people lining up inside in one of the upper floors which is a nice change from other Conventions I’ve attended where the line is outside.

That said the line/lines were quite confusing and quite full. Luckily the con is staffed with helpful volunteers who are on hand to direct the stymied. Plus the lines while packed, seemed to be moving, In the future I would just suggest a clearer designation of what each line is and where it is, as they tended to run into each other and be a bit of a cluster.

However their organization for press/attendees was excellent. A helpful volunteer directed us to the press sign-in, and we were able to walk right up, get our credentials, and walk right in. It’s obvious Wizard World Philly has put some thought into their entrance process, and the interior queuing station, and the press/attendee entrance are huge improvements over your father’s con. ๐Ÿ™‚

Once entered the hall itself is quite large, filled with a nice mix of retailers/resellers, artists, celebrity signings (The big draw of the Convention floor. The lines for Chris Hemsworth and Stan Lee were getting substantial even before 1030am), and a smattering of costume wearers (Cos-players as they are known). Two of the most impressive were a Blade and a Black Widow. Both really looked the part, the guy playing Blade would have given Wesley a run for his money, and the woman playing Black Widow, definitely had the assets to pull off the skin tight costume. ๐Ÿ™‚

There was a 1960s era Batmobile there, recreation or real, and it was manned by a suitably out of shape TV era Batman, he made Adam West look positively herculean. But at least the female Robin and the Batgirl with him, were well fit.

But overall there were less costumes there than I expected, though to be fair, it was just cranking up when I was taking off, and people were still pouring in.

The big draw for me however was just walking through artist alley. The legendary George Perez was there, and from door open, had a line. Greg Capullo, was another one who was mobbed from moment one. I tended to leave the big draws alone, and was more interested in the under-patronized artist.

Next installment will bring you some of those discoveries.

But all in all WIZARD WORLD PHILADELPHIA COMIC-CON is a good local convention. If you are in Philly, it’s no reason not to show your face, unless of course you have to deal with the inexplicable gridlock caused by some good old boy/frat boy street demonstration that was bringing traffic on the way to the convention to a standstill. ๐Ÿ™‚

But for people coming from out of town, unless money is no object, the combination of tolls, parking and inflated hotel and everything else prices, may make it a bit of a money pit. Which even the best of Conventions are, though the location and prices of downtown Philly ratchets that up into the stratosphere.

But external costs aside, which is beyond the control of WIZARD WORLD ,(with the exception of tickets, which are reasonable) it’s a well organized event. Check back for part II as I cover some of the intriguing creators met at Wizard World 2012.

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The 2nd and Final Part of the convention coverage has been posted and you can find it here! Enjoy, I had a blast putting it together!

UPCOMING COMIC CONVENTION: Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con!

UPCOMING COMIC CONVENTION: WIZARD WORLD Philadelphia Comic Con!

Join tens of thousands of fans as they converge on the Pennsylvania Convention Center at Philadelphia Comic Con Wizard World Convention to celebrate the best in pop culture. Philadelphia Comic Con brings it all – Movies, Comics, Toys, Video Gaming, Games, TV, Graphic Novels, Horror, Wrestling, MMA, Original Art, Collectibles, Anime, Manga & More! Philadelphia Comic Con is brought to you by the group who produces the most widely attended Comic Con tour!

โ€œBringing together the five Captains from the iconic โ€˜Star Trekโ€™ series, capped with the addition of the legendary Sir Patrick Stewart, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our fans,โ€ said John Macaluso, Wizard World CEO. โ€œThey and other standout guests like Chris Hemsworth, William Shatner and Stan Lee make Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con a canโ€™t-miss event.โ€

A four day event that runs Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (31 May 2012 to 3 Jun 2012) at:

PENNSYLVANIA CONVENTION CENTER
1101 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107.

I’ll probably do Saturday, to catch all the actors panels, Q&As I’m interested.

View full list of programming here!

Urgent Request! Haiti Liberte

8_11_4
I want to forward this urgent update I just received from HURAH. I’ve spoken of them and the Haitian situation before. If you can give, please do.

It’s a complicated situation in Haiti.

I’m always inclined to side with the man willing to take up arms to protect his own. His hearth and his home.

Because I can understand the need for Militancy. Militancy in the face of oppression is what freed Haiti in the past. Demanding on their feet, not asking on their knees.

But there is a difference between Militancy, and anarchy.

And at the same time, if a non-violent approach can win the day, can save lives AND liberty, it should be, with all effort… pursued.

So, I choose my charities… with care.

You look at a lot of charities and 90% of what you give goes into “administrative fees” which is a fancy way of saying in the pocket of the people who don’t need it. I look for a charity that answers your questions, and actually uses the bulk of your donation for the people you’re trying to help. Also one that is communicative about how the funds are being used.

I like charities like that.

I like this one.

Check out the website, and when you’ve satisfied yourself you can say the same… give.

Give.

I know the battles are many, and the resources few.

But the winning is not won in our high days, but in our low. When you have nothing left to give, and nothing left to fight with, is when the fighting and the giving matters most.

Victory only promised, to those who will not, ever, ever, content themselves with defeat. Not their own. And not their brother’s.

To those who will never surrender.

Not even to themselves.

From LA to Philadelphia to Baltimore to Haiti.

To Haiti.

A country, one of the first to crack the shackles of the slave trade, that is owed a debt of gratitude by an entire hemisphere; and that debt has only been repaid with bloody horror by our governments.

But increasingly that’s all governments have to give. To give to others and their own.

Horror.

I ask more of myself.

And I ask more of you.

Now is the time to fight.

Now is the time to give.

Today you can give just money to help another’s problems, and perhaps avert a quickly descending tomorrow… where you must pay in blood to resolve your own.

The request is as follows:

LIVES ARE ON THE LINE: GRASSROOTS NON-VIOLENT DEFENDERS

Dear Reader,

While 15 of the members, children and wives, of the Grand Ravine Human Rights Council (CHRC-GR), are hidden away in safe housing because of death threats, other supporters of the CHRC-GR who want its mission to continue have come out to help. (Photos: temporary replacements for the leaders-in-hiding attend a special meeting Tuesday, 2.17.09.)

Those in hiding as well as these others who have stepped up to do the work need our help. Financial always. Back-up work like helping to raise money, write grants, to do the tasks that keep Hurah, Inc. viable (serving on the board, doing database management, website maintenance) more than ever. E-mail me to volunteer: president@hurah-inc.org

AUMOHD is a champion defender of the poor anonymous champions on the grassroots who want to promote a peaceful way of striving for their rights, all their community’s rights. They need help. They have worked without pay and with a small ($200 per week) grant from Hurah, Inc. to help out with communication, transportation, court expenses, etc.

NOW IT IS RENT TIME! THE RENT IS DUE ON MARCH 15 OTHERWISE AUMOHD LOSES A PRECIOUS RESOURCE, THE OFFICE. The office has served as a neutral place away from the battlegrounds of the inner city neighborhoods for victims to meet. It has a large meeting room, a reception area, a courtyard for large gatherings. The rent has been raised to $3000USD annual. Any gift you can give will be appreciated. Go to our website and click on DONATE (2008 has been a horrible disaster with multiple storms, famine. All Haitians have been majorly strapped on top of being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Later in the month in our regular bulletin we’ll publish a startling, ground-breaking report of negotiations, face-to-face meetings between AUMOHD/CHRC-GR and armed men who have given the death threats to the CHRC-GR. Because of Atty. Fanfan’s reputation for really working for the poor, these men have asked to meet with him instead of threatening him also. A brief dialog was entertained where each side laid their position on the table.

The nature of things in GR as in the past is that politically motivated turf battles are waged with guns, even massacres, to control voters. Sometimes the police are involved. Right now the police seem to be incapable of dealing with the murder of two policemen in the area.We are working on an inter national campaign to put the spotlight on the lawlessness in Grand Ravin and to get the State involved in constructive ways to re-establish order–instead of the violent campaigns waged in previous years.

The CHRC-GR was instituted by AUMOHD to pioneer a path to another approach, non-violent advocacy for justice. The armed men are objecting to Franzco and the CHRC-GR working with the police to control criminal behavior because they have been accused of crimes. They think that AUMOHD is tied to foreigners with lots of money. They think that Franzco and the CHRC-GR promoting non-violence is a disservice to the community. A very, very complicated and delicate state of affairs.

Please consider helping us support these non-violent champions of human rights!

Thank you,

Tom

Tom Luce, President
Hurah, Inc. – Human Rights Accompaniment In Haiti
In Partnership with AUMOHD, a Haitian Human Rights Advocacy Group 800 US Advocates – a Vermont 501(c)(3) 1515 Fairview St. Apt. 3
Berkeley, California 94703-2317
E-mail: president@hurah-inc.org
Web: http://www.hurah-inc.org
To donate (tax exempt org 501(c)(3))
Joan Rae, Treasurer
P.O. Box 418
Fayston, Vt. 05673

The Philadelphia ECBACC Con has come and gone! Verdict? NOT TO BE MISSED!!!!

Silly rabbit, comics aren’t just for kids ๐Ÿ™‚ !

I could never really figure out the appeal of a comic con, even being a comic reader. I mean I’m not into getting things signed, I’m not really a people watcher or someone interested in standing in line to say I met someone, and you can generally buy books anyplace, so the real need of a con was lost on me, until I started up this blog and got serious about writing again.

The New York Comic Con… Two months ago, my first con ever… showed me the beauty of a con.

I’m not a big people person, but there’s something great about being around like-minded men and women. I heard other people on various podcasts say that, but it’s true; it’s a great thing to be in a venue, to be among people who you don’t have to educate or justify or explain that comics can be for adults as well as kids.

Great to be around people, writers, artists, fans, that GET it’s a valid medium, like any other medium… as juvenile, as adult, as horrific, as funny, as romantic, as historic, as insignificant, as important as any other medium. So it’s beautiful to be in that environment with creator and fan, networking, sharing a common language and discovering new voices and new visions.

And as great as the NEW YORK COMIC CON was for all that, the EAST COAST BLACK AGE OF COMICS CONVENTION, sans the three days, and sans the Star Wars stuff, and the Video Game stuff, was just as great (and without the horrendous waiting in line, that was part of the NY con).

Hosted at the stunning Temple University in Philadelphia, I had a blast. The show stayed crowded and packed the whole day, with creators an attendees all sharing that common language and common love of a medium. The sixth year for the event the place was jammed, it is DEFINITELY going to need a bigger space next year, and they really need to consider making it two days for the con. Saturday and Sunday. And moving the award ceremony from Friday (when most people are working and can’t get there) to Saturday night.

That and the space issue aside (the aisles were too small, the space was too small, it often became bumper to bumper traffic. **Note to con, bigger space, much more room between tables**) the con was a hit. Many creators I’m happy to say sold out of books, and I think for everyone it was a great experience.

Everyone was in a good mood, fun approachable, nice, self effacing. That’s generally the thing about comic book people, creators and readers, specifically Indie Creators and Readers, they tend to be people I want to be in room with. Comes back to that common language.

A lot of California and New York Creators were represented, but also Baltimore, Detroit and everywhere in between.

And it was a great con for fans to meet creators, as well as for creators to network with each other.

The con offered me the chance as fan and blogger and always mild manned freelancer ๐Ÿ™‚ , to speak to well known greats such as:

Kyle Baker (NAT TURNER, THE BAKERS, KING DAVID fame) and Dwayne McDuffie (MILESTONE, STATIC, JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED fame),

As well as brilliantly talented under the radar creators such as:

Masheka Wood (DEEP DOODLE), Ayo (80 GUN), the lovely Mikhaela Reid (ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT MIKHAELA), Robert Garrett (GALTOW), Akinseye Brown and his beautiful wife whose name races away from me (SANNKOFAMAAN:PET THE BEAST), KENJJI and his beautiful Fiancee (sorry, me and names, if it’s not written down it goes in one ear and out the other) creators of WITCHDOCTOR, Tdreerah who introduced me to the work of Turtel Onli.

As well as other Amazing creators who cover all points and mediums in between, including art, toys, children’s books, games, and of course comics:

Keith Knight. His K CHRONICLES series continues to justly win awards and acclaim. I own DANCES WITH SHEEP and FEAR OF A BLACK MARKER and recommend them. Keith’s work manages to be funny, irreverent, smart, and somehow universal. As he with deft crosshatching, makes the moments of his life into a rich, funny, and often courageous mirror… of all our lives. This is a great age we live in when you have artists like Aaron McGruder, Masheka Wood, and Keith Knight all producing brilliant comic strips. And all available in collected versions direct from the creators, or from better bookstores everywhere.

Larry Fuller (aka A Christian White): Award winning, acclaimed and influential underground comic writer/artist, from the swinging early days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It was my definite pleasure and honor to stumble upon him, He’s a walking trove of information about the history of this medium.


And more than that he remains a vital proponent and active participant in the medium, and embraces the new technology of Wacom tablets, and various 3D programs. Check out some samples on his site: http://webs.lanset.com/lfuller

A site which I highly recommend. But make sure you’re a mature viewer, it does contain some sex and nudity, but it’s an invaluable look at the heyday of underground comix. Look at EBON 1, a very early effort, but there’s some strong storytelling chops there that holdup. And his adult comics, not typically my cup of tea, from the samples on his site are funny, and brilliant, and amazing.

And he has an art style, that particularly in his later adult work you see a nice, Toth like sensibility. Unfortunately the work is out of print, but it’s work I’m on a mission to collect. Like similar underground artists Crumb and Robt. Williams, Fantagraphics should collect Fuller’s work in one over-sized tome. His work is an important and influential part of the medium, that helped birth the current Indie scene.

As a struggling creator I’m definitely learning from his site, an definitely look forward to seeing more work from him. MARVEL/DC if you’re out there listening, you should be knocking on his door to write for you.

Also I was able to record, with Mr. Fuller’s permission, much of our conversation. It’s a very informative, and interesting audio interview. I’m in the process of cleaning up the audio now, but will be posting soon!

Eugene Randolph Young Has a great kids book and puzzle, which you can find at http://www.leslurn.com. A great resource for parents and teachers seeking positive, entertaining, and educational materials for all children, but specifically for children of color. But what floored me about ERY was the AMAZING!!! sketch books of art he brought out! Phenomenal artwork, and a wonderful vision that you can see samples of at http://www.eurayo.com and http://www.artwanted.com/artist.cfm?artid=7930.

Think Wayne Barlow meets Alex Schomburg (not his comic work, but his painted work, and book covers) meets Luis Royo meets Giger, but all filled, fueled with an aesthetic, a meaning, a story, a richness that is uniquely his.

If you need a GREAT comic or book cover, you would do well to snatch this guy up. highly recommended.

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So lots of detailed reviews and audio interviews to bring you, but for right now, some quick recommendations:

Masheka Wood’s DEEP DOODLE is a book collecting his extremely well illustrated, and extremely insane cartoons! I loved it. I was trying to think who to compare it to, and I really couldn’t. While the art has a little Jim Woodring in it, it definitely has its own voice, and the humor and sensibility is uniquely Masheka. Strong recommendation!

I also wanted to give attention to Masheka’s fiance the talented Mikhaela B. Reid who I mercilessly teased, and she has now put out a hit on me. The hit aside, pick up her book ATTACK OF THE 50FT MIKHAELA. Buy enough copies and she may drop the hit on me. Thanks!

For me, the find of the con is a tie between two books. The first is:

WITCHDOCTOR PROTECTOR OF THE PEOPLE is a 3 part 2002 Xeric Award Winning series that I somehow missed when it initially came out, but thankfully Kenjji the writer/artist was at the con with the whole series for sale.

About a Haitian Doctor coming to terms with ghosts of his past that still haunt him into his present, it is absolutely phenomenal story and art. This is the kind of fresh energy the medium needs, and the mainstream is lacking.

And I really look forward to more from Kenjji and GRIOT Publishing. He has an anthology in the works to address Japanese/Black relations and the stereotypes that are perpetuated in their media. Negative images of people of color, that are primarily there because those demeaning images have been, and continue to be… the number one export of corporate America. Images of Division, Derision, and hate. So I think Kenjji’s project is an incredibly important one, and will definitely do all I can to support it.

That said, I really want to see more WITCHDOCTOR from this creator. So people, publishers, everyone… please support this guy.

It’s a crime for an amazing talent like this to be unknown. It’s analogous to a world where Jack Kirby had never been given work at Marvel or DC, the loss would have been everyones.

Kenjji’s website is appropriately enough entitled http://www.kenjji.com and if Marvel and DC don’t run over there and hire this guy, they’re even more out of touch than I thought.

That said Kenjji, don’t take too many jobs, cause I have work for you. See it’s this comic with a lady in black, and… okay we’ll talk. But seriously, a Highly recommended book by a highly recommended writer/artist.

The other best of the con comic book, just may be the most important comic currently being published… by anyone!

The significance of this comic is pretty akin to someone in 1939 America (a period when much of America’s wealthy were in favor of Hitler), doing a comic addressing Nazi atrocities and concentration camps.

This comic I’m discussing deals with an issue as current as that would have been, and as horrific.

It deals with the continuing genocide in Nigeria of an entire people, to steal their oil. The hiring of paramilitary neo-nazi and south african death squads by oil companies, to enforce their theft of natural resources, enslavement of workers, and destruction of the environment.

The book is called AKINSEYE’S SANNKOFAMAAN: PET THE BEAST by Akinseye Brown, and it uses the familiar tropes of the costumed hero to address real world issues, and does it brilliantly, being didactic (which is a great thing, following in the footsteps of the Pan-African movement which did the same thing for film, using films such as HOUR OF THE FURNACES, BATTLE OF ALGIERS, GOD AND THE DEVIL IN THE LAND OF THE SUN, and even relatively recent films such as HYENAS and DARESALAM… to bring the continuing horrors of colonialism out of the shadows), while still managing to be entertaining and rousing and uplifting. Our fictions perhaps being the ultimate place to change our facts.

Akinseye writes and stunningly illustrates this series, and it boggles my mind that I had never heard of this comic or this writer. I’m going to do my best to change that.

I went to his site for more info, but couldn’t get in because his site must use Flash or Javascript, and as all long time readers know… I don’t surf with either one of those turned on.

I HATE Flash, Active X, and Javascript.

Sites need to offer a plain HTML entrance for those of us who don’t dig the bling bling and potential security issues of flash, active x, and javascript. My biggest pet peeve, sites that aren’t easily navigable.

But that caveat aside, the book is Highly, Highly Recommended!

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Stumbling across the work of Mr. Brown and Kenjji and Eugene Randolph Young and so many others, is one reason that this is a convention I will be attending every single year.

Talent like this should be sought out, and books like this should be supported.

Come back next installment for yet more reviews and interviews from the great ECBACC con!

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