Saturday, May 06, 2006

It's Free Comic Book Day

It's Free Comic Book Day, so hit your local comic shop for a free comic book.

-by Tegan at 8:36 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Friday, May 05, 2006

Not Much More to Say

Matt Brady at Newsarama has done a fairly good piece on the assault/harassment scandal. I'm still working on wrapping my head around the facts, both accepted and disputed.

I'm not having an easy time of it. Possibly because I can see both sides of the issue, and I really don't want to face what I'm seeing.

What I do know is that there are no winners in this, only losers.

CB's reputation is tainted and will stay tainted... perhaps as long as he's in this business. Whether it was a drunken prank gone horribly wrong or something more sinister, the end effect is the same on his life. There will always be women who look at him askance at conventions, and people who will wonder. He's been tried in the court of public opinion, and he's paying a price. If there is evidence that he's done this to other women, perhaps more will come of it. But I believe that the TS part of it is over, whether TS wants it to be or not.

As for TS... she's hurting. She's hurting bad, and wants CB to lose his job. CB apologized, attempted to make amends, but it wasn't enough. I understand that. But I think she needs to realize that she's hurt him back about as hard as she's likely to be able to short of going vigilante on him. Because no charges were filed that night (whether because she didn't understand what the police were asking or because the police didn't think it was serious enough or some other reason, who knows) she isn't going to get justice through the legal system. TS tried very hard to not hurt the organization that CB works for, and if I understand correctly she wasn't even inclined to report this to the comic book community, Ronee did it without asking permission (I may be wrong on that). And the end result is exactly what TS feared. But at the same time, TS's story has raised awareness of the problem, and put women on the alert about this man in particular. That's the tiny silver lining in it all.

Another loser is Ronee, whose initial reports were vague enough and yet specific enough that they implied the WRONG MAN was the attacker. Ronee's writing unintentionally spread the hurt out to far more people. And while I understand exactly why she did it, moreso than many other folks I suspect, it was still a bad decision to report it the way she did. Being guilty of many bad decisions in my life, including at least one that affected somebody in a slightly similar manner, I'm inclined to be forgiving. I'm sure there are a great many other folks who are not. Ronee's reputation has also taken a huge hit from this.

Let's recap:
Ronee's first column. Started the outrage, accidently pointed people at the wrong man. Implied that the man had done this to other women.
TS comes forward. Taki Soma's report on the assault in Ronee's column. Again, Ronee states that other women have been victimized by this man.
Newsarama reports. This has both TS's and CB's version of events, but little more.
Comics Journal Names Names. Charles Brownstein is identified as the man who assaulted TS. The Comics Journal covers the conflicting accounts of the night, the actions of the organization CB works for, and the reports of other victimized women: Nothing the Journal was able to discover, even among the worst hearsay and online gossip, amounted to more than instances of overly familiar touching and one unwanted backrub allegedly given to a volunteer. Huh. I happen to know that "overly familiar touching" and "unwanted backrub"s can be assault, depending on who you are talking to and the situation they occur in, so I'm not sure I can dismiss them as easily as TCJ can. By the same token, I'm not willing to string up a man based on heresay, and except for TS's report, I've heard nothing solid.

In conclusion, and I'm very bad at conclusions, this passage from TCJ's article hit me pretty hard. Yup, this pegs it:
It was as if as long as the story remained on an abstract level -- brutal harassment, heartless industry cover-up -- the silhouette of the man who had allegedly clutched Soma's breast could stand in for every rumored industry harasser, every unreported assault on a comics creator who was too afraid to make trouble. And there are many such anonymous stories, though they seem to evaporate as one gets close to them. If the online bloodlust that followed Bourgeois' initial column seemed over-the-top, it may be because the posters weren't directing their rage at Brownstein, at a single accused harasser, but at a figure that stood as a symbol of all sexual violence and industry injustice.

-by Tegan at 9:04 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday, May 6th. On that day, head out to your favorite local comic shop, and get one of about 30 possible free comic books. You can check out the list of possible titles at the Free Comic Book Day website.

Now, as usual, I'm going to point out that the comic books are free to the customers, but the retailers had to pay for them (at greatly reduced prices) and so some retailers won't be carrying all the books, and you are most likely going to be limited to one or two books.

In my opinion, your best bets are Owly, Amelia Rules, or Donald Duck. If you want to check out Dark Horse's Conan, go for their offering: a Star Wars/Conan flip book. DC is only offering boring reprints, not even recent ones this year. And the other books are probably going to be hit-or-miss depending on tastes and interests.

If you are in the Seattle area, my own local comic shop is having a neat sale. Come out to Corner Comics and try to find Wolverine's Claws. It's going to be an all-weekend mega-sale, with all back issues on sale for only $1 each, and a Wolverine Claw ticket in each back issue box. If you find a Claw ticket in a back issue you've bought, you might win up to $100 in store credit, or free items. The store did a similar sale last year, where customers were hunting for Golden Tickets. This year it's also Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, so it's bonus fun.

-by Tegan at 2:22 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Rapid Reviews

Yay! I'm up to last week's books! Now I just have to read the stuff that came out yesterday...

26 April 2006

Ion #1: "Torch Bearer Part 1": Kyle's got Jade's powers, and is having nightmares... or is he? I'm not sure what to think about the book. It's cosmic DC, and I'm not really that interested in cosmic DC. Nor does Ion interest me as a character. So I'm just going to have to say this is an average superhero book, and not something I'm keen on. 2 starfish

Villains United Infinite Crisis Special: "A Hero Dies But One": Nicely set-up. I'm not sure when this is supposed to have taken place, since the use of Black Adam in the tower is mentioned, but Black Adam is free. Is this before the events in Infinite Crisis or after? The final showdown is stunning, particularly who the bad guys bring in as their "big gun". I like it, overall. 2 1/2 starfish

Batman #652: "Face the Face part 4": Robin gets some action... no, not that kind. Get yer mind out of the gutter. I very much liked the scene between Batman and Bullock, as well. I'm not sure what's up with Harvey, but that's part of the point now, isn't it? 2 1/2 starfish

Solo #10: "Damion Scott": Definitely not my preferred style of artwork. It's fascinating, and the stories are certainly cool, but the style just isn't quite what I like. 2 1/2 starfish

Warlord #3: The artwork is beginning to irritate me. There are points that I can't really tell who the characters are. That jump right after the fight made me think a new character was being introduced... but it was still the same guy. But I couldn't tell from the artwork, which is just a TAD too sketchy. THere's just not enough story here to get me into this book. 2 starfish

Lullaby #3: It's been so long since the last issue that I can't remember what was happening. Fortunately, the book was gracious enough to remind me. I liked it about as much as I liked the previous issues, which isn't saying too much. It was readable, and there wasn't enough Oz to satisfy me. At least it finally came out. 2 1/2 starfish

Usagi Yojimbo #93: "Chanoyu": I don't think anyone else in the world could have pulled off this book. This is, very simply, the tea ceremony. Nothing else. And yet it's as compelling as any other comic that came out this week. For a rather impressive look at the tea ceremony, just go buy this book. 3 1/2 starfish

-by Tegan at 11:37 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Net Neutrality... yeah, you're going to hear a lot about it in the near future. Here's why it's important:
One of the Internet's great strengths is that a single blogger or a small political group can inexpensively create a Web page that is just as accessible to the world as Microsoft's home page. But this democratic Internet would be in danger if the companies that deliver Internet service changed the rules so that Web sites that pay them money would be easily accessible, while little-guy sites would be harder to access and slower to navigate. Providers could also block access to sites they do not like.
So join the fight. Wil Wheaton has some suggestions for what YOU can do about it. FilkerTom covers it. Boing Boing also weighs in. TPM has something to say. One of the creators of the internet speaks out. Wired talks about it. And here's still more. It might not seem important now, but it might bother you when your favorite website won't load because they didn't pay tons of money to your cable provider.

Yeah, that's one cool window. I want to look.

Get 80 people in dark blue polo shirts together, and send them into a Best Buy. heh. This is my kind of prank. Via Augie.

Stephen Harper eats babies. At least, that's what the signs on Toronto's Transit trains said. And here's another instance of altered signs.

The Star Spangled Banner in Spanish in 1919. Also included are links to German, Yiddish, French, Navajo, and Samoan translations.

The flow of glass... or not.

A bill up for vote will strip women of their health care rights. I'm guessing men will still be able to get Viagra, though.

-by Tegan at 5:56 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Rapid Reviews

I'm pretty much caught up on reviewing now... just in time for this week's books to arrive. I won't be reviewing the Free Comic Book Day books, but I may sift through them and tell you what caught my eye. More on that tomorrow.

19 April 2006

JSA Classified #11: "The Fall and Rise of Vandal Savage part two": More savage tales. I'm mostly enjoying this book. I guess I do like the retro attitude of the JSA over the Justice League's sense of invulnerability. It's a strange little story, let's see how it ends. 2 1/2 starfish

JLA Classified #20: "Conduct Unbecoming": I've never seen Batman's thoughts represented quite like that before. I like it. As for the rest... well, the ending was a shocker. I can't say I liked that. I do wonder what it will lead to. This story has been a bumpy ride. 2 1/2 starfish

Justice #5: Yet less of Aquaman. At least we get to see his apparently lifeless body in this one. And we get hints of Brainiac having a use for Aquaman against Luthor. Still, not enough for me. The story isn't too bad, but the coloring is getting to me in parts of the story. Not enough of a difference between different scenes. I'd be happier with more Aquaman, but it's still a decent Justice League tale. 2 1/2 starfish

Birds of Prey #93: "Gunshot Redemption": The addition of Gypsy to the team is actually pretty cool. She seems to have developed more powers. But for some reason I thought she was dead. Oh well, heroes never stay dead for long. This was another engrossing issue, with a little more emphasis on what's happening to Canary. This is one of the best OYL titles. 3 1/2 starfish

Wolverine: Origins #1: "Born in Blood part one": Why does Wolverine need a sword? Ahem. Promising beginning, but I feel like there's a little too much testosterone floating around in this book. Not really my kind of book at all. 2 starfish

Squadron Supreme #2: "First Steps": Ah... the Voice. I get it. This is a much better issue than the first one, because we get to see the team in action and, more importantly, interacting with one another. I can't quite figure out what the plan was, but the individual bits worked nicely to show us how the team members work. Not bad for a second issue. 2 1/2 starfish

Phantom #10: "Slave Trade part 2 of 2": This issue is all action, as the Phantom fights off the slave traders now chasing his train of soon-to-be-free slaves. There really isn't much story, but what there is works well. This was a pretty good story. 3 starfish

Angel: Old Friends #5: Is this missing a page? I can't figure out why the false Angel stopped fighting Angel. It just doesn't make any sense. Not that much wrong with the story, except for that unexplained twist. A slight letdown, as a whole series, but I liked it anyway. 2 1/2 starfish

Midnight Kiss #2: "Fallen part 2 of 6": Wow, one page in the book and I'm already annoyed. It's "Glinda" not "Glenda". Sheesh. At least the Oz connection on this one starts on the very first page. With some nice exposition to get us up-to-date on the situation in Oz, which isn't pretty. And we also get cool flying monkeys. Not the best book ever, a little too steeped in gore and profanity for my tastes, but not horrible. 2 starfish

Flying Monkeys

Midnight Kiss #3: "Fallen part 3 of 6": I actually got this issue before I got issue two, so I've been holding on to it to review once number two came in. Then, when it did arrive, I didn't really feel the need to read it until the fourth issue came out. Then I figured I would catch up. This book reads a bit like a poor man's Neverwhere. It's not horrible, it's just not that great. We only got it for the Oz bits, and this is as dark an Oz as I've ever seen. The brains that the Scarecrow got were used, and he got nasty as a result. At least this issue had a bit of a twist in it. 2 starfish

Midnight Kiss #4: "Fallen part 4 of 6": Not sure what to think of this series now. I don't hate it, but it really isn't my sort of thing. Looks like the Oz bit is just about over now. We'll continue to get it until the end of the storyarc for sure, just to make certain. 2 starfish

Conan: Book of Thoth #2: "The Serpent Stirs": Thoth brings Set back with him, and starts to climb to the top of the ruling class while killing off his enemies. This is really brutal. Thoth is completely evil, and his actions are nasty through-and-through. I'm enjoying this origin tale. 3 starfish

Conan #27: "The Blood-Stained Crown": The meta-story with the prince from the framing sequence reading Conan stories is just great. I like how the prince eventually outsmarts the vizer, but allows him an excuse. This story ended on a good note. I like the evolution of the prince since the zero issue where he started out the framing sequence. And while I don't want him to be the focus, I hope we get to see a little more of him in the future. 3 starfish

-by Tegan at 1:33 PM Seattle time - Permalink  


Newsarama gets a statement from Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Charles Brownstein about the Taki Soma incident, which is also printed at Lying in the Gutters.

-by Tegan at 7:17 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Comics Journal Names Names

The accused in the Taki Soma harassment scandal has a name now, and apparently not one that people were expecting. I don't know either Taki or the accused, and enough people who actually know what's going on have weighed in that I don't feel like I need to say much. But read the article. I think it covers the situation as well as can be expected.

Where do we go from here?

-by Tegan at 8:02 PM Seattle time - Permalink  


Truth, Justin, and the American Way #1 Free On-line. It's sold out, so they've put it up for folks to read if you missed it.

Is it a license, or a sale? Artists and consumers want to know. If it's a sale, then Sony is illegally limiting what users can do with the music. If it's a license, then Sony is cheating Artists out of money due to them.

Canadian Music Creators Coalition statement. Go read.

Liberal prosecutors let known drug offender go free. Actually, that should probably read "...let known hypocrite go free."

Wires? Music? Must be a BOMB!

Huge Pyramid found in .... Bosnia? Possibly a third taller than Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza. Cool.

Journey to the Disney Vault! This one has a little too much truth in it for Disney fans, I think. Via FilkerTom.

-by Tegan at 3:28 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Visit Maine!

Garrett links to a fascinating story about the Maine Tourism office. In short, the Maine Web Report uncovered massive corruption and incompetence in the ad agency handling Maine's web tourism.

Ed Cone sums up the problems, but here's a summary of the sheer insanity of the situation... basically an ad agency is wasting $3.9 million of Maine taxpayers' money on a badly designed website and ads that list a phone sex number instead of the tourism office phone number.

And now, the scummy ad agency has filed a lawsuit against the blogger who uncovered their corruption, and have been harrassing him. They've contacted the blogger's wife's employer to try to threaten him into silence. They've contacted his clients and tried to ruin his business. And now a libel lawsuit that they clearly intend to win by intimidation and not on merit. If you've got a blog, spread this story around. Even if they take down the Maine Web Report, this is a story that ought not to die.

-by Tegan at 8:44 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

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