Category: Politics

Brainiac On Banjo #061: Charlton Comics Goes To War!!

Brainiac On Banjo #061: Charlton Comics Goes To War!!

The Unknown Anti-War Comics!, by Steve Ditko, Ross Andru, Joe Gill, Denny O’Neil, Pat Boyette and others, edited by Craig Yoe • Yoe Books!-IDW • $29.95, 226 pages

Back when the three of us were laboring over at the DC Comics factory, I was blessed with having my office between those of Denny O’Neil and Archie Goodwin, two of the finest comics practitioners in American history. If they were to be branded A-listers, we would need to invent a new first letter for our alphabet. I’m going to start with Archie, but don’t worry. Denny comes into this story later.

Back around 1992 and 1993, Archie and I started frequenting a swell midtown restaurant where New York Times executives often brought advertising clients. Remember, this was about 16 years before Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau put our beloved medium on the legit. Usually, our passionate conversations revolved around two subjects: frighteningly radical politics, and comic books; particularly EC Comics. To the chagrin of the over-wrought suits sitting within eavesdropping distance, we would conflate the two.

Of all of Archie’s massive achievements as a writer and an editor, my personal favorite is the four-issue run of Blazing Combat, the black-and-white war comic published by Jim Warren with the Frazetta covers and interiors drawn by Alex Toth, John Severin, Reed Crandall, Joe Orlando, Gene Colan, Wally Wood… you get the point. The series was influenced by Harvey Kurtzman’s Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat for EC Comics, and all the above-mentioned artists had drawn stories for Kurtzman. Archie was too young to have written for them, but he was a member of the EC Fan-Addict Club (fan-addict > fanatic, get it?). Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #061: Charlton Comics Goes To War!!”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #064: A Priest, a Rabbi and a Minister…

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #064: A Priest, a Rabbi and a Minister…

This week’s off-off year election continues the trend that started a couple minutes after it became clear that the Electoral College was going to appoint the Great Orange Liar to the presidency. This quaint little anti-democratic system of ours has been kept in place for the past 154 years because some of the people who live in the Confederate States think they might have a shot at bringing back slavery, this time confiscating Hispanic and Muslim lives to fight it out with the Africans for the last bit of stale, moldy bread that once was America.

But it appears the worm might be turning, at least just a bit. 154 years ago, Virginia was home to the Confederacy’s seat of power. This week Virginia became as blue a state as Massachusetts with the governor’s mansion, the state House of Delegates and the state Senate all in the hands of the demon Democrats… which the Trumpublicans in both America and in Russia have defined as a bunch of commies. Both of their Senators are Democrats, as are seven of their 11 Congresspeople. Virginia is so blue now that even dogs can see it shine. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #064: A Priest, a Rabbi and a Minister…”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #063: Presidential Mathematics

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #063: Presidential Mathematics

Another day, another moral dilemma.

Soon, our Senators will be asked to vote on the fate of the current occupant of the White House. According to FiveThirtyEight.com as of October 14, 50.3% would like to see Trump removed, as opposed to 43.8% who want to see Trump stay in office. These number are somewhat volatile depending upon the day’s news, but the removal-to-remain arrow has pointing towards the exit sign since September 29.

America is not a democracy; it is a republic. We elect people to represent us by voting their conscience, but many of us are not stupid enough to expect they will. Those who think this man has been dangerous to the health and security of our nation would like to see him gone as soon as possible. Those who would like to see our government undue that damage want to see the Democratic party take the House, the Senate and the White House next November. These two are not necessarily compatible. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #063: Presidential Mathematics”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #062: Cow Belches

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #062: Cow Belches

I love digging out under-reported facts that go against the grain of common wisdom. It’s the demonstration mode of the old axiom “Live and Learn.”

For example, it is common wisdom that one of the more serious contributing factors to global warming is cow farts. Yes, I said “farts.” Get over it. Of course, the people who most like to perpetuate this wonderful myth – outside of the vegan Morlocks – are people beholden to the energy industry. They don’t want you to cut back on gasoline consumption or get into renewable fuel sources. They don’t want you to maintain the anti-pollution standards that have brought massive reductions in air crap. You know, the very standards that our current president and his fellow Trumpublicans abolished, killing tens of thousands of people each year. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #062: Cow Belches”

Brainiac On Banjo #057: Create A Better Universe

Brainiac On Banjo #057: Create A Better Universe

You might have missed it – there’s a lot going on these days that sucks all the oxygen out of every room – but we celebrated National Coming Out Day on October 11th. You might have missed this as well: this was the 31st anniversary of the event.

That last bit surprised me, but my personal relationship with the time/space continuum always has been a bit iffy. A quick run through Wiki showed me NCOD is also observed in Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It remains slightly controversial, both within the LGBTQ communities and without. That’s because every political activity is controversial, and that’s not entirely bad. Occasionally, people of differing opinions raise some interesting and useful points. Nothing ever pops out of the brainpan fully formed.

This year, our friends at Archie Comics joined in the effort. This is not a surprise: Archie long has been platforming educational issues, and, of course, writer/artist Dan Parent – heir to the Bob Montana chair of outstanding Archie talent – is the creator of Kevin Keller, the first openly gay character in the Archie Universe. That was a big deal in 2010, and it remains a big deal today. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #057: Create A Better Universe”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #061: ENOUGH!

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #061: ENOUGH!

To the best of my recollection, the first time I was embarrassed to be an American was about 40 years ago. There was a severe drought going on in California, and one of their officials proposed we build a pipeline from the Great Lakes to help them out.

Forgot about how Californians would have been reduced to cinders long before such a pipeline could be built and put into service. The United States does not own our vast Inter-Ocean. All that fresh water borders on Canada as well as the States, and much of their population lives within about 20 miles of the live-giving wetness. Even a fairly slight drop in the water level would wreak havoc with the people and the economies of, among other places, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Windsor.

It would severely undermine navigation, traumatize and end navigation on the St. Lawrence Seaway. By the way, it would have a similar effect on the people of, among other places, Detroit, Duluth, Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Erie. If you’re unfamiliar with the map — yes, I’m talking to you, my fellow New Yorkers — check it out. The Great Lakes are directly linked to the Mississippi River, part of a network that includes, oh, the Ohio River, the Missouri River, and much of Mark Twain’s work. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #061: ENOUGH!”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #060: The Man Who Destroyed Time

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #060: The Man Who Destroyed Time

“It starts when you’re always afraid.” – Stephen Stills, For What It’s Worth

At first, I thought it was just another sign of senility. You gotta expect that, I guess. Then, I thought I was having one of those LSD flashbacks I was promised a half-century ago. I briefly considered the possibility I slipped through a hole in the time-space continuum, but, damn, no such luck. I had to face the truth.

Donald J. Trump destroyed my sense of time.

And I am not alone. Not by any means. I might even be in the majority; that’s a unique experience for me. Certainly, you’ve noticed this yourself. If you watch any of the talking heads panel shows, you’ve heard others bitch about this. You’ll hear of something Trump did yesterday – yesterday! – and you’ll say to yourself “Oh, yeah. Damn. I thought that happened a couple weeks ago!”

It’s not disconcerting the first time, but after a while (obviously, sooner than you think) you begin to think of senility, flashbacks – if you’re a geriatric hippie – and that time warp thing. Once to accept the truth, you just shake your head, shrug your shoulders, and wonder if you can hold on until this particular Joker is gone. Even if you’re part of the 55% of Americans who disapprove of him, you’ve got to face this important fact:

Donald J. Trump broke time. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #060: The Man Who Destroyed Time”

Brainiac On Banjo #054: Masks Don’t Kill. Joker Kills.

Brainiac On Banjo #054: Masks Don’t Kill. Joker Kills.

As we await all the violence and mayhem at this weekend’s debut of Joker, theaters all across this great nation are advertising: “If you’re a dejected, pissed off incel who couldn’t get laid on the night they cure AIDS and you’ve got a gun, we’ve got the movie for you!!!”

There are problems we create, and there are other problems we create by trying to fix them. The law of unintended consequences reigns supreme, but that never stops us from baiting the tiger-of-the-month.

In anticipation of the latest DC movie that has little to do with DC Comics, movie theaters are banning their patrons from arriving in costumes, masks and/or make-up. As we all know, the mere sight of a Batman villain in costume causes Batfans to go batshit and reach for their AK-47s.

Now we see the gigantic and fan-favorite Alamo Drafthouse theater chain going to great lengths to promote how they’ll have “additional” security at their sundry Joker screenings. Yeah, that’ll stop shit just fine. A couple thousand people in a dark theater who are physically incapable of exiting the room in an emergency are going to be saved by a freshman rent-a-cop working for minimum wage. Happens all the time.

Give me a break. These measures are so insipid they don’t even qualify as band-aids. They address neither the problem of gun violence nor the problem of wandering vicious miscreants who are looking for an excuse to blow away the masses. All this so-called solution will do is promote the fact that the theater owners think this movie is so violent they should follow their insurance company’s orders and deploy useless measures that actually promote the anticipation of violence… and that little trick does more to foster evil than it does to prevent it while at the same time making a truckload of money.

Is Joker too violent? For that matter, what is too violent? We survived the genius of Sam Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino, Walter Hill, Martin Scorsese, and John Ford. Their movies were violent. They keep on grinding out Evil Dead movies and RoboCop remakes. Brian DePalma hasn’t died for anybody’s sins. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #054: Masks Don’t Kill. Joker Kills.”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #058: Counting Noses.

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #058: Counting Noses.

Willie Sutton

In case you’re thinking about a career in politics – and if so, there might be something seriously wrong with you – here’s the most important skill you will need to perfect. You will need to know how to count noses.

We have exactly two political parties. There is nothing in the Constitution about political parties, and therefore there is nothing in our establishing document limiting us to two. From time to time a new party starts up and takes its best shot but they just wind up splitting the vote. By way of example, if a person with ideals that tend to appeal to Democrats runs for president, it is possible that the newbie will strip away enough Democratic votes to throw the election to the Republicans, or vice versa. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #058: Counting Noses.”

Comic Writer Engaging in Performative Allyship and Inappropriate Behavior- What Now?

Comic Writer Engaging in Performative Allyship and Inappropriate Behavior- What Now?

Without a knowing the bigger picture, you could think he was delusional. But with the whole story, there is no other way of looking at it than he is a manipulator.

Did you insert yourself into someone’s trauma for personal reasons? Are you being a supportive person or just an angry one?

Was that an “innocent flirtation” that you just made, or are your comments actually harassment?

These questions are important. Actions have consequences. Even online actions can lead to real damage.

The world we live in is changing all the time. Sometimes for the worse, and sometimes for the better. One of the ways that our society has been changing for the better over the last couple of years is that there is greater accountability required by people who have preyed upon the vulnerable and engaged in inappropriate personal behavior. The #MeToo movement has made it more difficult for everything from unwanted overly familiar innuendo to sexual assault to be brushed away or excused.

There are two types of goals for exposing unacceptable behavior publicly. The first is punishment. Punishment for the offender. Unfortunately, even though the victims are justified in their desire for some level of retribution, that doesn’t always work out.

An example of that is the public declaration of Chris Hardwick‘s behavior in a past relationship by Chloe Dykstra. He laid low for a short time and made some public statements without admitting guilt, and now he is back on TV and getting paid.

Sometimes, people are cast out from their positions of celebrity. Truly, it should be a privilege to be a public figure and be celebrated. That includes comic book writers and artists. Companies are free to employ whom they chose, and consumers are free to support who they want, but people have a right know when someone is behaving badly, especially if that person is in the public arena.

We saw, last year, that Eric Esquivel was fired following revelations of abusive behavior, and recently Dark Horse Comics stated that they would no longer work with Brian Wood because of multiple allegations of unacceptable actions. In the case of Jai Nitz, comic writer and college guest lecturer, it took the reaction of the University of Kansas banning him from the campus for the comics community to take notice of what had been a pattern of terrible acts.

The second goal for exposing inappropriate behavior is awareness. Awareness that the actions are wrong, and that the perpetrator is engaging in this behavior. We mentioned awareness that the behavior is wrong, and that is the meat of this post.

There are people who prey on the vulnerable and the abused by portraying themselves as an ally. Some people use the trauma of others for their own benefit. They frame the other people’s injuries with their own feelings.

One such person is comic writer C.W. Cooke. He is a pretty well known in the indie comic circuit, especially online. Until very recently, he has been quick to comment and insert himself in the raging at bad actors in the comic community.

There is a difference between being a predator that breaks laws and someone who crosses the barriers of acceptable social interactions. The latter can cause personal pain and often result in very real trauma.

Continue reading “Comic Writer Engaging in Performative Allyship and Inappropriate Behavior- What Now?”