Geek in the City

Mixing pop culture news, reviews, and socially biting commentary with mildly amusing entertainment.

Dos Buenos, or…

… Sophomore Superior!

‘Sabertooth Vampire’ & ‘La Brujeria’ unleash second issues at Bridge City Comics signing party Oct. 21

DATE/TIME: Friday, Oct. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m.

LOCATION: Bridge City Comics (3725 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR)

On Friday, Oct. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m., MIKE RUSSELL (“Sabertooth Vampire”) joins forces with AARON DURAN and JAMES SINCLAIR (“La Brujeria”) for a blowout Issue 2 release party at Bridge City Comics.

The creators are teaming up to roll out the second issues of their comics – “The Sabertooth Vampire” and “La Brujeria.”

Writer Aaron Duran ( http://geekinthecity.com ) and artist James Sinclair (a colorist on “Hellboy” and “The Flash”), joined by editor/letterer Jennifer Alvin, will sign Issue #2 of “La Brujeria” — their supernatural comedy about Althalia, a “gifted” temp who gets a job at a pawn shop that’s actually a front for a team dedicated to Fairy Tale Domestication. In the new issue, Golden Bought Pawn takes a job under Portland’s streets as mystical powers rise to shake the city to its foundations. See why Mark L. Miller of Ain’t It Cool News said “LA BRUJERIA is definitely something I want to read more of.”

Meanwhile, Mike Russell signs “Sabertooth Vampire Unleashed,” which collects Season Two of Russell’s webcomic ( http://www.sabertoothvampire.com ) about a tiny vampire hampered by his oversized fangs. Will he pull his teeth out of the ground long enough to actually bite someone? Probably not. Over 56 pages, Season Two frequently contradicts itself as Russell dives into the Saber-Vamp’s personal life — his awkward teenage years, his stints as King Arthur and a caveman, his solo dance parties, and his awkward trip around the world after someone mistakes him for a garden gnome. Lauren Davis of io9.com called the comic “an amazing bit of silliness…. Yes, it’s a one-note joke, but damn if Russell doesn’t milk it for all it’s worth.”

The authors are available for interviews. Contact Michael Ring at Bridge City Comics ( info@bridgecitycomics.com or 503-282-5484 ) to get in touch with the creators.


Comics Crossover Extravaganza!

We normally don’t post press releases’ on the site… But I think for this event, management will let us make an exception!

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Michael Ring, Bridge City Comics
info@bridgecitycomics.com
503-282-5484

For high-rez press images, visit:
http://culturepulp.typepad.com/culturepulp/booksigningpr.html

WE’RE No. 2!

‘Sabertooth Vampire’ & ‘La Brujeria’ unleash their second issues with joint signing party at Bridge City Comics Oct. 21

DATE/TIME: Friday, Oct. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m.

LOCATION: Bridge City Comics (3725 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR)

On Friday, Oct. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m., MIKE RUSSELL (“Sabertooth Vampire”) joins forces with AARON DURAN and JAMES SINCLAIR (“La Brujeria”) for a blowout Issue 2 release party at Bridge City Comics.

The creators are teaming up to roll out the second issues of their comics — “The Sabertooth Vampire” and “La Brujeria.”

Writer Aaron Duranhttp://geekinthecity.com ) and artist James Sinclair (a colorist on “Hellboy” and “The Flash”), joined by editor/letterer Jennifer Alvin, will sign Issue #2 of “La Brujeria” — their supernatural comedy about Althalia, a “gifted” temp who gets a job at a pawn shop that’s actually a front for a team of supernatural investigators. In the new issue, Golden Bought Pawn takes a job under Portland’s streets as mystical powers rise to shake the city to its foundations. See why Mark L. Miller of Ain’t It Cool News said “LA BRUJERIA is definitely something I want to read more of.”


Meanwhile, Mike Russell signs “Sabertooth Vampire Unleashed,” which collects Season Two of Russell’s webcomic (  http://www.sabertoothvampire.com ) about a tiny vampire hampered by his oversized fangs. Will he pull his teeth out of the ground long enough to actually bite someone? Probably not. Over 56 pages, Season Two frequently contradicts itself as Russell dives into the Saber-Vamp’s personal life — his awkward teenage years, his stints as King Arthur and a caveman, his solo dance parties, and his awkward trip around the world after someone mistakes him for a garden gnome. Lauren Davis of io9.com called the comic “an amazing bit of silliness…. Yes, it’s a one-note joke, but damn if Russell doesn’t milk it for all it’s worth.”


The authors are available for interviews. Contact Michael Ring at Bridge City Comics (  info@bridgecitycomics.com or 503-282-5484 ) to get in touch with the creators. For high-rez press images of the event poster and other materials, click here: http://culturepulp.typepad.com/culturepulp/booksigningpr.html

So, About That Womanthology Book.

First article on comics in darn near a year and what is the first thing I do? Dive into the Womanthology “controversy”. Screw it, I didn’t start this site to make friends anyway.

Relax, this won’t be some Captain Flame Arms rant.

A little background. Womanthology is a wonderful concept put together by Renae De Liz; being a platform where non published female creators from all over the globe can work with published female creators and produce a complete graphic novel. Knowing there isn’t a whole lot of money in comics, Renae turned to Kickstarter and put together a campaign to generate production funds. They were initially seeking $25,000 to cover production costs and ease some of the burden on IDW Publishing.

To say the comic community responded positively is a huge flarking understatement.

By the end of the Kickstarter campaign, Womanthology raised $109,301!

There was much rejoicing and celebrating by the women involved and by fans of the comic book medium. The final donation amount is truly a stunning accomplishment. As of this posting, it’s the 25th most successful Kickstarter campaign ever, and the single best comic book campaign. That right there is something to be proud of, for all those involved and those that supported the book. Comics are going through some rough times right now and to see something this positive was inspiring.

Of course, this is 2011. Nothing is ever crystal clear and the ability to spread information (and disinformation) in an instant kicked in.

“You guys raised all this money, when am I getting paid?”

Before the people involved even has a chance to read and reply, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr accounts gathered the pitchforks and lit the torches. Hell, I found out 10 minutes before sitting down to record our weekly podcast, Geek in the City Radio. Readers, listeners, and some Womanthology contributors were asking if I was going to call out Renae and everyone involved for “taking advantage” of their work.

Well. No.

For all my rambling and deserved reputation of having a big ass mouth, I try not to comment on events without looking for more information. I did what I had hoped those throwing accusations had done.

I talked to some published writers and artists working on the book.

I asked the women making the book.

The news was partially correct. Contributors are not receiving any form of financial compensation. A fact everyone was made aware of when they agreed to take part in the project. This lack of compensation isn’t limited to the non published contributors. No one involved in Womanthology is receiving payment for their work. That includes Renae De Liz, the architect of the book. That includes Laura Morley, the admin for the project. That includes the seasoned professionals that want to see the book succeed. No one is getting paid. And, from reviewing multiple sources and talking with multiple women involved, everyone knew they weren’t getting paid.

But they only needed $25,000, aren’t the women submitting work deserving of that extra $75,000?

No.

Okay, maybe that isn’t fair. Yes, everyone deserves fair compensation for their hard work. However, everyone knew going in that they were doing this work for exposure and experience alone. That any and all profit garnered from Womanthology was going to the Global Giving Foundation charity. Some contributors were upset that they weren’t going to receive a complimentary copy of Womanthology once the book hit shelves. Again, from information gathered, that was also not part of the deal struck between creators and those behind the book. That isn’t all that surprising, I know people that write for the Big Two and even they have to pay for their own book. Womanthology has since said that book contributors will receive a complimentary copy of the book and are free to use it as they wish. Complimentary copies that will eat into the money raised on Kickstarter. For anyone still thinking, “come on Aaron, they raised over 100 thousand dollars, they can kick back some money to the ladies providing content.” Here is an estimated breakdown of that 100 grand from the Womanthology blog:

$109,000 Kickstarter Final

$6,000 Kickstarter “errors” such as bad card numbers, faulty pledges
$9,000 Fees (Kickstarter is %5, Amazon takes another %3 – %5)
$40,000 Printing for around 5,5000 Womanthology books (may change)
$20,000 Postage for 2,000 books (overestimate labor, postage is at least $5 a book/ may change)
$3,000 Printing/postage of 1000 Sketchbooks
$2,000 Postage of other rewards
$20,000 Taxes, for me, a self employed person, overestimate, may change

That alone is around $100,000 of the $109,000. But because of overestimating, I am guessing there may be $20,000 left over, if there are no refunds, or extra fees.

The original target print run of this book was only 1,500 books. That’s just about enough to cover the people that donated to the Kickstarter project thus earning a book, and maybe 1 or 2 copies for US comic book shops. Now they can produce more. Now they can get books into schools, into libraries.

Into the hands of the contributors.

I totally understand wanting your perceived fair cut of the pie when you see huge numbers like $109,301. Except no one was promised financial compensation, regardless of how successful the Kickstarter campaign turned out. Remember, if they hadn’t hit their goal, Kickstarter would have kept the whole dang thing. (EDIT – That isn’t true. The project simply would not have happened. Sorry for the error – AD). Maybe the people involved in Womanthology could have written a clause that allowed for payment should the campaign reach a certain level. They didn’t. They still aren’t making a dime off this endeavor either. Since the beginning Womanthology has been about showcasing wonderful new talent, and I think they’ve been pretty transparent in their attempt. Both creatively and financially.

Breaking into comics is hard. It is quite possibly one of the hardest of the creative industries to break into. Having the opportunity to present your work, if only a single page among hundreds, is wonderful. Hell, it’s one I wish I had a chance to participate in. I know this makes me sound like your grumpy grandpa, but be happy for what you’ll soon have…

That being the opportunity to work with, and learn from, some of the most successful female comic book writers and artists in the world.

Having the privilege to present your work to thousands of people from all over the world.

Even better?

You’ll have the opportunity to inspire a whole new generation of girls and boys to write, draw, and tell their own story.

Which brings us back to Renae’s original idea and the very reason behind Womanthology

If you ask me, not a bad deal.

Of Themyscira and Mascara

Like many red-blooded America comic fans, I have constantly evolving emotions regarding Wonder Woman. As a little kid, she was just another member of the Superfriends that flew an invisible jet and saved the day. In my teen years, thanks to syndication, she was Lynda Carter. With those stunning blue eyes and jet black hair in her red, white, and bloomers; she could swoop in and save me from the bad guys anytime. I entered college and looked for ways to justify my love of comics with fellow academics whose approval I foolishly desired. I studied Wonder Woman’s literary origins and how she was so much more than Superman with boobs. Though truth be told, part of me simply wanted to sound smart in the ways of feminism. As a means of getting into bed with said feminists. Yes, you are free to shake your head and laugh at the pathetic desperation of that statement. Hey, at least I’m being honest. (Albeit ten years later). How do I see DC’s Amazon Princess now? A little combination of the three. That is one of the beautiful things about a character that has endured for so long. Wonder Woman stands for as many different beliefs as she has fans. It is these varying beliefs that make the reaction to this MAC Cosmetics commercial so very interesting:

Where to begin, right? Well, if I’m being honest, the very first thought that popped into my mind was “Damn, I love me some Mike Allred art”. Any messages aside, the commercial looks fantastic. His lines are deceptively simple and you’d be hard pressed to find an artist that draws a more elegantly powerful Wonder Woman. Then I started thinking about the message. Women can’t be beautiful unless they drench their face in powders and oils like so much dried turkey in a gravy bowl. Only Wonder Woman, in her fully painted ways, can save the poor Plain Janes of the world. She bests the vile Medusa, a savvy villain choice from a mythical stance, when you consider Medusa is her one villain that can never benefit from make-up. (Being the love and attention from others when they gaze upon her). The Plain Janes are again free go out and earn attention from their adoring fans. The commercial isn’t offensive to Wonder Woman as such. It isn’t Wonder Woman’s fault. First, we need to remember she isn’t real. True, she’s a symbol of power and independence to so many women and yes, men as well. But, she’s still an imaginary character and maybe it isn’t a good idea to imprint so many of our own desires and self-worth on a fictional character. That isn’t to say a work of fiction or a character can’t inspire one to better themselves and others. Indeed, that’s a driving goal of many creative endeavors. But only as a spring board. Something you can start from, not end at. The MAC commercial points to deeper issues within our youth and beauty obsessed culture. That’s a topic for more educated commentators to discuss. This is all about Wonder Woman.

The one owned by DC Comics and in turn, owned by Warner Brothers. I know it sucks, but Wonder Woman isn’t ours. She isn’t owned by the various writers and artists that told her tales. Hell, she isn’t even owned by William Moulton Marston anymore. Wonder Woman, just like Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and all the other underwear on the outside crowd are a corporate commodity. Harsh? Sure, but that is the reality. The MAC commercial is no different than Batman and the Joker pushing Hostess Fruit Pies in the 70s and 80s. “Oh Joker, you may be a homicidal maniac, but you sure know a tasty Boysenberry Pie. I can’t fault ya’ chum. Lets eat”! Belly laughs and diabetes for all. If only Barbara Gordon had some Suzy-Qs on hand, the ‘ol Clown Prince of Crime might have thought twice before blowing her through the spine. Okay, so maybe you think the self-worth of millions of women isn’t the same as a pushing some trashy snacks. Well, not to a cosmetics corporation or advertising company. They have a product to sell. DC and Warner Brothers have a character to promote. Both want to make money doing it. In that regard, whether you agree with the commercial or not, the spot worked. We’re all chatting about MAC products and DC gets to keep Wonder Woman high atop the cultural zeitgeist.

Personally, I don’t buy into the message behind the commercial. Plain Janes don’t need any saving from the terrors of, well, plainness. Do or don’t use MAC’s products or any cosmetics I suppose. If your entire self-worth is based about the opinion and demands of others, that points to deeper issues that a site that writes about comic books and Lightsabers can’t help you with. This is about Wonder Woman. It always has been. She’s a founding member of the Justice League of America. She’s a cunning warrior. She’s a loving caregiver. She’s an inspiration to many. She’s a leader. She’s a diplomat. She’s beautiful. She’s frail. She’s strong. And now, she’s a spokeswoman. Pretty sure she can do it.

After all, she is Wonder Woman.

Wizard Needed Readers, Badly…

…or, Tell Me Again Why I Picked Comics as a Career?

Following a press release issued today, Wizard magazine, the self-declared standard of the comic book industry is no more. Zip. Gone. All staff let go, all freelance contracts canceled. To which I can only respond, Michael Bluth style, “her?”. Apart from collectors and completists, aka people that still buy the Overstreet Price Guide, Wizard magazine has been the after thought of the comic fan for many years now. While it sucks for anyone to lose their job in this tired ass economy, the folks at Wizard had to see this coming for miles. Twenty years ago, Wizard magazine served an important purpose. First, it was an often referenced if highly suspect price guide for speculation comic buyers and sellers. Indeed, one could argue Wizard helped fueled the false collectors market that damn near killed the industry om the mid to late 1990s.

Not that I’m bashing on the now defunct magazine for their actions. The publishers saw an opportunity from money-hungry collectors that missed the Cabbage Patch Kids wave and took it. Second, Wizard magazine was the only real source for us comic book fans to see our favorite characters as they made the transition to screen and/or video games. It was also the only way we could read about our favorite writers, artists, and was an insight into an industry we all loved. Or, at the very least, were curious about. Be honest, when Marvel Comics allowed Wizard an all-access tour of their studio, it was the coolest friggen article ever! I mean, that was were Spider-Man cam from. How could we not love it? And we did.

But that was 20 years ago.

Like so many other facets of the publishing industry, Wizard magazine is simply redundant. With real-time news from sites like IGN, Comic Book Resources, and Newsarama; and comic commentary sites like iFanboy or Comics Alliance, a magazine like Wizard just isn’t necessary. Short of the random exclusive article or image (which would often hit the Internet hours before the issue landed on the stands), there simply isn’t a point to Wizard magazine. No longer valid as a price guide, Wizard seemed to solely exist as a 65 page ad for comic book companies… That you paid $5.99 a month to read. Going to 100% online content, perhaps Wizards is just another portion of the ever-changing landscape that is the comic book industry. And yet I can’t help shake the feeling that, unlike their debut in 1991, Wizard magazine online is too little too late.

Just glad one of my professional comic goals is first comic book writer asked to drive in a reasonably priced car, not make the cover of Wizard magazine.