Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sports as Entertainment: When Assholes Act Out, what do you do?

Carolina Panthers Defensive End Greg Hardy throws a woman upon a couch which is covered with guns and ammo, threatens her with various violent acts and refuses to let her go.  The woman does leave, eventually, calls the police, and her injuries are described as scratches and bruises.  Hardy has already been found guilty.  He has not been suspended by the NFL.

Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice hits his fiancĂ© and knocks her unconscious.  He is suspended for two games and is given a path to relief from criminal charges with a diversion program where men are taught not hit or abuse women.  When the general public see the whole of the event, via a security camera video from the hotel, not just mutual combat and a bigger stronger opponent striking a smaller attacker, they see the lies told, and the cover up.  Whether it was a lie or cover up is not the point.  As a result Ray Rice is indefinitely suspended, and is essentially banned from Football in the NFL (or CFL as the case turns out).

Adrian Peterson, Running back of the Minnesota Vikings punishes one of his children by a spanking using a stick.  He leaves cuts and bruises, and force the child to have a mouthful of leaves.  The child returns to his  home in Texas.  The child's mother takes the boy to a doctor, who considers the marks and wounds to be a result of child abuse.  The results are sent to a Grand Jury and returned with no indictment.  Then it is resubmitted and a felony charge of Child abuse is leveled, causing the player to be charged, and placed in jail, until he makes bail and returns to Minnesota.  The case is pending, and the smoking gun is not a video, but actual bruises and wounds upon the child.

The NFL has taken a hit from these events, but there is an article with a headline/title that says it all. 

So in other words, they don't mind ignoring abuse towards women, they don't mind the abuse towards a child.  They believe it is in their best interest to make money.

I am not mentioning all of the above to suggest that you do not watch it.  Nor am I saying do not support their sponsors.  I am saying this:  The NFL does not produce sports so that the players are moral, and they are meant to be role models.  The NFL produces football for one purpose, to make money.

If you can live with that, then I suggest you keep watching.  If not, you can enjoy your Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and whatever else, doing whatever you choose to do.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Top Shelf ProductsWelcome to the 2014 Top Shelf Massive $3 Graphic Novel Sale, where you can pick up the year's greatest graphic novels at incredibly low prices by ordering direct from Top Shelf!

Note that this year, we’re offering our digital add-on program as well — when ordering a physical book, you can spend a couple more dollars and download the digital version at the same time.

For the next two weeks — through Friday, September 26th — Top Shelf is bringing back our world-famous $3 sale. When you visit our web site, you'll find 180+ critically acclaimed graphic novels and comics on sale — with over 125 titles marked down to just $3 or $1!
Each year Top Shelf uses this sale to help spread the word about our incredible recent releases, and raise funds to “kick start” a full rollout for next year. With your help, we'll keep publishing some of the most beloved graphic novels on earth — from award-winning geniuses and exciting new talents (and yes, even heroes of the civil rights movement!). By loading up your cart with a pile of books, you’ll be supporting a great independent publisher and expanding your graphic novel collection at the same time.
(Plus, for the first time ever, you can complement your order of discounted PHYSICAL books with add-on DIGITAL copies! Simply visit your shopping cart and you’ll see the option to add the DRM-free digital edition of any eligible book for just a couple extra dollars. This add-on option is available on over 180 titles!)

To go directly to the list of items on sale at the Top Shelf website, just click here:

But here are a few examples to get you started:

Slashed prices on brand-new releases & beloved perennials!

-- Slashed Prices: League Century HC, Nemo: Roses of Berlin / Heart of Ice, and more!

-- Slashed Prices: March, MLK & the Montgomery Story, A Matter of Life, and more!

-- Slashed Prices: Pinocchio Vampire Slayer, Alone Forever, We Can Fix It, and more!

-- Slashed Prices: Blankets, From Hell, Lost Girls, God is Disappointed in You, and more!

-- Slashed Prices: Essex County, Infinite Kung Fu, Swallow Me Whole, Super Spy, and more!

-- Slashed Prices: Lost Dogs, Crater XV, Heck, Alec, Night Animals, and more! 

-- Slashed Prices: Maddy Kettle, Monster on the Hill, Korgi, Johnny Boo, and more!

Acclaimed graphic novels from world-class talents for $3!

-- $3 Titles: The Underwater Welder, League Century 1910/1969/2009, and more!

-- $3 Titles: Will You Still Love Me?, The Ticking, Gingerbread Girl, and more!

-- $3 Titles: Ax, Voice of the Fire, Unearthing, Hey Mister, The Surrogates, and more!

-- $3 Titles: Liar's Kiss, Lucille, The Lovely Horrible Stuff, Undeleted Scenes, and more!

-- $3 Titles: BB Wolf & The 3 LP's, Three Fingers, The Troll King, and more!

-- $3 Titles: Owly, Upside Down, Pirate Penguin, Incredible Change-Bots, and more!

Discover a new favorite with these great $1 books!

-- $1 Titles: From Hell Companion, Stuff about Sex, Pistolwhip, Mephisto, and more!

-- $1 Titles: Tales of Woodsman Pete, The Playwright, Sulk (Vols 1/2/3), and more!

-- $1 Titles: Van Helsing's Night Off, Lone Racer, Regards from Serbia, and more!

-- $1 Titles: SuperF*ckers #1-#4, The Surrogates #1-#5, Dang!, and more!

-- $1 Titles: Comic Book Artist, Hutch Owen, Okie Dokie Donuts, Yam, and more!

-- $1 Titles: The Octopi & the Ocean, Tales of the Great Unspoken, and more!

-- $1 Titles: Black Ghost Apple Factory, The Man Who Loved Breasts, and more!

Please note that Top Shelf accepts PayPal, as well as Visa, MasterCard, Amex, and Discover — all secure — and that this sale is good for retailers as well (and comic book shops will get their wholesale discount on top of these sale prices):

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Going to War with a Sword of Wood: Chuck Dixon's new Kickstarter project

Chuck Dixon is a talented writer with an abundant imagination.  Here is your opportunity to support a project he is doing from the early stages.

What the hell is a Sword of Wood?  It would be hard to kill an enemy without an edged weapon, no?

It's a medieval horror epic. The sword of the title is very significant though that significance is a key reveal in the story so...

Satan’s army is a term you’d hear from a warrior or priest in the Crusades of history.  How related would this fictional army be to the enemies of the Crusaders in reality?

These are more spiritual, eternal enemies of Christianity taking physical form.

Writing a tale that takes place around or during the Crusades immediately raises questions about the current culture’s discomfort regarding Christian and Muslim relations.  That would even be true setting a modern work in the Middle and Near East.  My question is, do you anticipate problems with the reader responses?

I'm not writing this to be controversial. The Crusades are a backdrop. Most of the action takes place in Norman Britain.
Tell us about the story, what is the short story of the work?

A knight of the Crusades returned home to his manor and holding to find the land stripped of every living human. He learns of an army of the damned sweeping across the countryside while most of the best and bravest are away in the Holy Lands. The knight's family is gone and he's not certain if they're alive or dead or have joined this hellish host. He and his squire go in pursuit of them and find themselves in a war between the undead and the living.

Who is the artist and what artist who you have worked with before do they most remind you of, with regards to the art?

Esteve Polls is an artist I've worked with quite a bit. We did man With No Name and the Lone Ranger together and he's working on an upcoming arc of Winterworld. Esteve will do the homework and shares my interest in making this world of the past come to life. I guess the closest comparison would be to John Severin.

Are supporters of the kickstarter supporting a film, or a graphic novel, or, both?

These funds are to get the graphic novel finished.
Why Kickstarter?  What publisher would be utilized?   Or is that part of the Kickstarter, you are self publishing through the proceeds?

There are publishers interested. But in these days, the only way a creator owned project gets done is by self-funding like this.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A New Power Girl?

Last month, Marvel Comics stirred up a lot of comment by announcing that there was going to be a new THOR, who would be female; and almost immediately following that up with the announcement that the new CAPTAIN AMERICA would be black.
Well, DC Comics is not one to pass up a possible marketing gimmick, and this week an interview with writer Paul Levitz on the comics website Newsarama reveals that the new version of DC hero Power Girl is going to be... flat-chested.
I'm kidding, of course.  She has a perfectly normal bust-size so far as I can tell.  Smaller than the original Power Girl's Most Prominent Super-Powers, but then it would be hard to get much larger without becoming ridiculous.  Oh, and the new PG is black, which I suspect might be a reaction to the criticism DC had gotten over the past year over its "whitewashing" of black characters.
Who is Power Girl and why should you care?  I probably don't have a good answer for the latter question.  The former one will take a bit of explaining.
For starters, you can blame Roy Thomas.  Roy was a writer at Marvel and later at DC during the '70s and '80s who loved the Golden Age comics he grew up with, and loved bringing elements from them into the comics he wrote and later edited.
Years earlier, DC had established that it's Golden Age Characters, such as the original incarnations of the Flash and the Green Lantern, existed in an alternate universe which they cleverly named "Earth-2".  (Although you'd think that since the Golden Age came first, that they'd get to be "Earth-1"; but nobody asked them, I guess).  For a while there was a kind of tradition that every year the Justice League would cross over into the other dimension to have a team-up with their older counterparts in the Justice Society of America.
Since the Earth-2 heroes were a generation older than the heroes of Earth-1, Roy began playing around with creating a next generation.  His comic INFINITY, INC. was a team consisting of descendants and newer versions of the older heroes.  Huntress, the daughter of Bruce and Selina Wayne (yes, Bats and Catwoman got married in this universe) was one of these.  
Another was the Earth-2 analogue to Supergirl, who was named Power Girl.   She had shorter hair and a different costume, but the same basic powers.  She also was an outspoken feminist; (or at least what a male writer in the '70s thought of as feminist).
According to legend, Wally Wood, who was drawing the comic at the time, and who was very good at drawing sexy girls, started making Power Girl's bust a little bigger, and the decolletage of her white costume a little bit deeper, each issue, to see if his editors would notice.  The adolescent fanboys buying the comic certainly noticed, and Power Girl's bustline became her most noticeable feature.
At some point, I'm not sure when, her costume became modified so that instead of having a low scooped neckline, it sported a "boob window."  Possibly because the scoop front had already gotten silly and this was the only way to show more cleavage.
In the mid-'80s, DC decided that  it's multiverse of Infinite Earths was getting too confusing, and so they created a huge mega-series to clean it all up.  This was the infamous CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS; (it's title a reference to the old JLA/JSA team-ups which had titles like "Crisis on Earth-2" or "Crisis on Earth-X").  The end result was that all of the redundant Earths were folded into the one and there were no more alternates.  Theoretically, this was supposed to make the DC Universe less complicated; in actuality, DC spent the better part of the next decade or two trying to chase down loose ends created by their house-cleaning.
One of these loose ends was Power Girl.  She was the younger cousin of the Earth-2 Superman, (as Supergirl was the kryptonian cousin of the Earth-1 version).  Only there was no more Earth-2 Superman.  What's more, as part of the re-vamp it had been decreed that Superman would be the only survivor of Krypton, and that there would be no Supergirl at all.  (Supergirl was killed off during CRISIS and probably the iconic image from the series is the cover depicting Superman crying in anguish as he cradles her lifeless body in his arms).
So where did Power Girl come from?
Writer Paul Kupperberg came up with a convoluted backstory in which Power Girl only thoughtshe was Superman's cousin, and that actually she was the granddaughter of an Atlantean wizard named Arion (a sword & sorcery character Kupperberg created in the '80s inspired by Michael Moorcock's Elric) who had been placed in suspended animation for several thousand years.  But pretty much everybody ignored this origin story.
In the late '80, she joined JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE, a spin-off title from JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL.  Her strident feminism got ramped up in the name of comedy, and she became cursed with a succession of bad costume changes, each one of which kept the boob window.
In the late '90s, she was treated with a bit more respect and began appearing in BIRDS OF PREY, a very good team book with a female cast.  She also re-joined the Justice Society, which had gone through a couple deaths and revivals of its own.
That was about when I dropped out of comics, so I'm a little fuzzy on what happens next.  But some years back, DC decided to give the Multiverse another spin.  Instead of having potentially an infinite number of Earths, though, they said there would be exactly 52.  Because 52 is DC's special number now.  Because... reasons.
So now there is once more an Earth-2 adjacent to the mainstream DC Universe, and DC publishes a couple books set in it.  One of them is WORLD'S FINEST, featuring the adventures of Power Girl and Huntress.  Remember Huntress?
Apparently in a recent storyline, Power Girl and Huntress become stranded on Earth Prime, the main DCU.  (Although back in my day "Earth Prime" was the name of our universe, not the DC Universe and... dang kids.  Sorry.)  There they meet a brilliant 17-year-old girl named Tanya Spears who helps them figure out a way to get back home.  Somehow in the process, Tanya gains super-powers of her own, (writer Paul Levitz is not yet revealing where her powers have come from), and before Power Girl returns to Earth-2, she "bequeaths" her hero name to Tanya.
Levitz says that DC has "Special plans" for Tanya.  Levitz is a good writer and I'll be interested to see what comes of this.  You can read the whole Paul Levitz interview and take a look at Tanya at the Newsarama site
I just hope they can resist giving her a boob window.

Monday, August 18, 2014

ICv2 Announces "Hobby Game Market Wins As It Hits $700 million"

Hobby Game Market Wins As It Hits $700 million

(August 18, 2014-Madison, WI) Pop culture experts ICv2 released today the results of their study on the hobby game market and it shows that the North American market totaled $700 million at retail for 2013. Breaking down the estimate for the total industry by category shows that collectible games was the largest at $450 million; miniatures second at $125 million; boardgames were third at $75 million; card and dice games fourth at $35 million; with RPGs coming in last at $15 million. “Hobby games” are defined as those games produced for “gamers” and are most often sold in the hobby channel or game and card specialty stores, but these items are not limited to sales in that market.   

ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp commented, “A $700 million market is a significant geek culture market segment. With the growth it’s been experiencing, a billion dollar market is within reach in the next few years, and hopefully this kind of industry analysis will help us get there. I cannot thank enough the industry insiders who helped us compile these estimates. Without their willingness to speak frankly with us about their own estimates of market size and the reasoning behind them, we would have been unable to complete this project.”

The hobby game industry remained strong in the Spring season of 2014, according to information compiled by ICv2.  In collectible games, WizKids' Dice Masters was the red hot and hard-to-find item due to high demand. Magic: The Gathering led the pack, but not as strongly as previous seasons.  Boardgames continued to grow with support from hard core gamers and an influx of mainstream gamers coming over from other markets. The heat in the miniatures category came from Star Wars X-Wing and Star Trek Attack Wing, with any extra space filled by anticipation of the new edition of Warhammer 40K. The big news in the Card and Dice Game category was high interest and quick sell-out of both Boss Monster and Adventure Time Card Wars. The largest change overall in the RPG category was the failure of Dungeons and Dragons to hit the Top 5 list for Spring, before the release of the new edition. This change is a first in ICv2's decade long history of sales reporting on the hobby game industry.

About ICV2.Com:For the people on the front lines of the pop culture business, staying ahead of the trends isn’t something that can be left to chance—it’s a basic necessity for being successful. That’s why ICv2 is the #1 source of news and information for the buyers, gatekeepers, and tastemakers on the front lines. ICv2 is where trend-watching has become a science
Follow us on Twitter at
Like us on Facebook at