Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Barry Bonds is a jerk.
There I said it.
But he is also one of the greatest baseball players on Earth. Past and present.
However, a large majority of white baseball fans seem to feel that he is the worst human alive because he is under the suspicion of having used steroids. One of the problems here is that the majority of players believed to have been using steroids were PITCHERS, not batters.
What everyone seems to forget is that we ALL knew people were doing steroids and we didn't care because we got to see 50+ home run seasons from a variety of players across the league. So why all the hate for Barry?
Some feel that he sucks for charging for autographs. That does suck.
Some feel that he sucks for cheating on his wives and having mistresses all over the place. Yea, that's kind of crappy too.
Barry is not the best person, but he is a fantastic player. And that is what counts here. It seems that some white folks are okay with jackass white players as long as they created milestones.
Ty Cobb was a vicious racist.
Babe Ruth was a druggie and alcoholic that was rumored to have a violent side.
The Yawkey family (owners of the Red Sox for much of the last century) deliberately kept the team all-white even when it was clear that having black players might have improved the team.
But the Yawkeys are still revered in Boston and Ruth and Cobb are like baseball gods.
We all know that black males operate with a double-standard. You can be successful as long as you smile all the time and appear to be humble.
Don't celebrate in the end-zone.
Don't do spinning dunks in mid-air.
Just do your damn job and keep the seats filled. Bonds does that in great numbers. People will pay for expensive seats just to be close enough to the field to yell at him. That's power.
But Barry doesn't eat humble pie. He has a bunch of white women on the side. He doesn't kiss ass. He doesn't play the games the media want him to play. And worse, he just broke one of the most hallowed records in sports history.
Just like Henry Aaron received death threats for breaking Ruth's record, Bonds is dealing with a character assassination through the media. He doesn't help matters by not being "Wil Smith" if you catch my drift.
In closing, I wonder if the same people who threatened Aaron are like the same guys who now "cherish" his record?
Monday, August 06, 2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
While much of our country is obsessed with the celebrity crackwhore of the week, there is another incredibly huge problem facing everyone single person living within the borders of our country (legally or otherwise).
America is falling apart. Literally.
Actually the INFRASTRUCTURE of our society is slowing falling apart (sewers, power plants, roads, bridges, public works, etc.). I had heard about this recently but never did any real research because -- like most of us -- I had assumed that it wouldn't affect me.
That was, until I read this article:
FDR put America to work building courthouses and dams, planting windbreaks and arbors, creating music and plays--jewels that are still with us. Ike, a fiscal conservative, saw the need to launch the Interstate Highway System. Lyndon Johnson fought for crucial investments in hospitals, schools, water systems, and parks.Then as if that wasn't enough:
From the early 1950s into the 1970s, total public spending on America's physical plant (including money put up by local, state, and federal agencies) amounted to about 3% of our Gross Domestic Product. In the 1980s and 1990s, however, this investment in the public good fell victim to posturing budget whackers and dropped well below 2% of our GDP--a cut of more than a one third.
- Road and bridge conditions all across the country aren't just a mess--they're deadly. ASCE reports that bad and congested roads are a hidden tax that runs us $54 billion a year in car/truck repairs and excess operating costs, forces us to spend an average of 47 hours a year stuck in traffic (burning 2.3 billion gallons of gasoline in our idling vehicles), and--worst of all-- causes some 13,000 highway deaths each year. Bridges, too, are a threat; ASCE finds that 27% of America's spans are now structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, requiring $9.4 billion every year for the next 20 years to repair the deficiencies.
The bursting of even a small dam can be a disaster. We regularly drive over dams, but we can't see the internal structures, so we don't give dam safety any thought-- until a dam fails. Then the TV has saturation coverage of the issue-- but soon it disappears again. Since 1998, the number of unsafe dams in the U.S. has risen by a third to more than 3,500, with the number of "high-hazard" dams up by 1,000. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) reports that $10.1 billion is needed over the next 12 years just to fix dams that are in such critical shape they pose a direct risk to human life.
So in other words, we are in deep poop the next time something major happens, like... I dunno... a thunderstorm.
Bush & Co. refuse to spend the money on rebuilding our national superstructure for the upcoming population boom as well as to just maintain it for the 300 million currently living in the U.S.
Imagine if all that stuff failed at once?
The toilet flushes but fills with the backlog of waste from the broken sewer lines.
You run out side, and the sidewalk cracks in half because of overuse.
You look for police, but you can't see because the street lights went out.
You try to get out of town but the one bridge that takes you to a major highway has fallen into the river.
Living in NYC, the idea of any of these things happening on a major level is terrifying to say the least. Even those living in small town America needs running water and power. Maybe we should all start getting serious as a society and call our representatives.
Go ahead, I wait for you to finish watching American Idol.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
From time to time, I am asked to give some advice to my male friends on who and what to avoid. One of my friends desperately needs this advice because he hasn't had sex since the late 90s (no, I am not kidding).
Much of what I am going to say comes from my own horrible experiences with women from a few years back that I sometimes have nightmares about. Fellas, this is what you need to look out for when on a date and then avoid like the proverbial plague.
INSANE TYPES OF WOMEN IN NYC DATING:
1) THE NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME CHICKS: Women who have recently gotten out of a bad marriage/relationship/booty call arrangement and critically over-analyze every thing you do with her. The problem is that it backfires almost immediately because a decent guy (or an @$$hole too) will quickly become frustrated with her endless circular reasoning and double-questioning of his intent and so on.
These women are usually recognized by their constant asking if she is "doing the right thing" or remarking repeatedly "I haven't dated in a long time... blah blah blah." She doesn't understand that the absolute best thing she could do is shut the hell up and listen and trust her gut when meeting a new man.
2) THE REGRETTERS: These are women who had very colorful, exciting but ultimately self-nullifying sexual experiences in the past and regret it deeply on some layered subconscious level. So, whenever they meet a "decent" man who is "worth it" they pull back on physical contact almost to the point of being celibate. In their twisted reasoning, making this new guy wait for sex will somehow atone for the reckless sexual abandon of her past.
What she DOESN'T get is that she has created a kind of sexual marathon now for this new guy. He is no longer interested in her, but he will wait it out until he can sex her, and then its all over. And the cycle begins again. Yea, it sucks that there is such a double-standard for men and women in regards to casual sex. But you ask any self-respecting father what kind of daughter he wants?
Just because we see Lindsay Blohan, Whore Hilton, and Titney Spears acting like stone cold sluts doesn't make it cool. The lesson here is that women should always be careful of whom they sleep with. Giving it away just to fit in is so 90s.
3) THE DO-NOTHINGS: This is my most despised subset of insane NYC women. These are the ladies who have profiles online suggesting that any man who responds to them must have: a good job, an education, a car, live alone, no kids, etc.
However, upon closer inspection of their profiles you will notice that other than their looks, they don't bring anything else to the table. THEY aren't educated. THEY have no career whatsoever or have stupid drone jobs like "medical billing assistant" (WTF is medical billing? Don't they have insurance companies and computers for that sort of thing? I also don't understand the point of Human Resources...anyway).
These women usually live in the worst neighborhoods in the city, or have bizarre housing/roommate situations that will perplex the hell outta you. They also have kids. Very bad kids. And they don't like any kind of advice on how to handle their bastard children (like talking their the kid's teachers, checking his homework, turning off the cable box and videogames).
Avoid these women like a diseased, drunk child molester at a Catholic summer camp.
4) EMO GIRLS: I think this says it all...
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
This is the newest as for my long delayed comic book series called SHADOWLAW.
It is the story of a disgraced soldier who ends up in a concentration camp that turns out to be a feeding center for a race of powerful vampires.
My incredible artist, Scott Kester, added in a giant robot/mecha element (that I had always explained to potential artists but none of them could pull it off) and we have created something that I describe as a cross between VAMPIRE HUNTER D and MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM.
Check out the "raw" image as well...
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The REBUILD OF EVANGELION is a 4-movie series that will "retell" the Evangelion series again, but without all the pseudo-paranormal-sexual-psychological posturing. All that aside, it is simply one of the greatest anime series of all time.
This trailer just premiered in Japan and is set for a September 1st release. This of course means that I will go down to Chinatown in NYC and have it on September 3rd. It looks amazing for a redux.
For more info on the series, check out this FAQ SITE.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Hey gang... I know its been a while since my last post... but I have been ridiculously busy with my comic series SHADOWLAW and teaching and a bunch of other things called life issues.
I missed the Don Imus thing and I had a lot to say about that, but I will come back to that another time.
I also didn't post my pics from the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philly. I did a workshop about writing and so on. That will also come later.
Right now I am a little pissed off about the whole Paris Hilton thing. People are defending her like this b--ch is Mother Theresa or something.
Let me break it down this way -- how many innocent lives are destroyed each year by people driving while under the influence of alcohol?
How many innocent lives are destroyed each year by people driving while under the influence of drugs?
Now, how many of those people who were driving while drunk and killed people have been given many chances to do the same thing repeatedly?
Granted, Paris Hilton didn't kill anyone (yet) with her drunk and druggie antics. But do you believe that I or you or anyone you know would have been given repeated slaps on the wrist for driving drunk?
This isn't about just her "violation" of legal probationary protocol, this is more about the fact that people like her run around truly believing that the law does not apply to them because of their wealth. She is a symbol of everything that is wrong about America's obsession with money and status.
She brings nothing humane or intelligent to the world despite her resources and fame. If anything, she shows the world that rich, dumb, spoiled blonde girls are worshipped by American culture.
Her going to jail shows many people, including those dense enough to defend her antics, that eventually, the law will get you. Especially when YOU DO THE SAME THINGS OVER AND OVER AGAIN without remorse or common sense.
Hilton, Spears, and Lohan have all been seen repeatedly under the influence of drugs and alcohol in public, and somewhere along the line, someone thought that was cool.
Guess what, its not cool. I miss the days when stars/celebs acted like they had class. Even though Hollywood has long been rife with scandals, I doubt you would have ever seen a picture of Audrey Hepburn's private parts as she got out of a car, or pics of Betty Davis snorting coke in a bathroom stall.
Not to say these people didn't do this stuff, but Jesus, have some dignity.
Paris deserves jail for many reasons in my opinion, but for more than anything, she broke the law (a clear set of laws regarding drugs and driving) on more than one occassion despite being given repeated chances to NOT DO IT AGAIN.
I am sorry, I have no patience or sympathy for a billionaire princess who has had every chance become an intelligent and focused member of society but chooses to be a peice of unrepentant garbage.
She had the unmitigated gall to shout "This isn't fair!" as she was being led back to jail.
Try asking American workers in small towns whether or not it was fair to have their jobs move to 3rd world countries because the CEOs wanted to improve their profit margins.
Try asking children being sold into sexual slavery worldwide whether or not it was fair to have their bodies and spirits destroyed by a system of greed and lust out of their control.
Try asking a hard-working kid in the inner-city who never broke a single law in their lives was it fair to get shot because their families couldn't afford to live in an area that wasn't gang infested.
Try asking school teachers who get paid next to nothing whether or not its fair to try to educate American kids with meager resources and a government whose priorities focus on test taking rather than wholistic learning and life skills?
There are things much more important than this inhuman little spoiled piece of filth whose law-breaking ways have finally caught up with her.
I am pissed at myself for even wasting time writing about her.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
I just found a really cool blog online called AfroNerd Radio.
Here is their official description:
"Welcome to Afronerd! A new and needed web sanctuary for people of color with intellectual and artistic pursuits. In this blog we will be addressing interesting and varied subjects, i.e. current national/world affairs, culture, science, religion, politics, entertainment and literature(including graphic novels a/k/a comic books.....yes comics)."
This just was too much for me to ignore, so I contacted them, and within a few hours, I found myself being interviewed on AfroNerd Radio live show.
We talked about the State of Black Men in 2007. Great conversation. The brothas are moderate conservatives, a little further to the political right than myself, but I adore good conversations, so I had a total blast. It has been far too long since I had a good intellectual debate, and I look forward to chatting with those brothas again really soon.
Listen to them here:
AFRONERD RADIO -- I am on the April 1st show.
Pass the word, lets get this to be a big podcast!
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
There are many things I can say about the apparent death of Captain America. For one thing, I might be the world's biggest Captain America fan who is a black man. Not to say that the brothas don't or can't like Cap, but the image and idea of Cap isn't usually associated with black men. (note: I do love the fact that they did the Tuskegee Experiment version of the super soldier serum story called THE TRUTH a few years back.)
Anyway, all day today (March 7th, 2007) I have been deluged by friends, associates, fellow comics fans, and random strangers on the NYC subway who feel that it is necessary to explain to me how they heard of Cap's death on the radio just because they see me reading the damn issue.
I am all for spreading the word of how great the comic book medium is; but sometimes our fascination with the random sputterings from our media-saturated, commercialized lives annoys me.
90% of the folks who talked about Cap's death are just the kind of people who get upset over whomever the hell Flavor Flav sleeps with or folks who really, REALLY cares who wins on American Idol (and if you can't tell by my sardonic tone -- I HATE REALITY TV). If it wasn't Cap's death they prattled about, it would have been Anna Nicole's burial.
Also (and these are the people who really get me pissed) the internet comic book message boards have been lit up by fans who take comic books entirely too seriously. I love comics and can geek out with the best of them, but there comes a point where I am painfully aware that this is yet another one of those perfectly calculated marketing stunts that garners just the right amount of financial return and possible growth from said media saturation.
First off, CAPTAIN AMERICA IS NOT DEAD!
Sure, he might not be around for a little while, but the Steve Rogers character and the Captain America license is simply too lucrative to permanently shelve. Considering the fact that there is a Captain America feature film in early development in Hollywood, I can see Cap making a ceremonious return in the summer of 2009 right in time for a July 4th film release.
Second, Captain America has been nicely positioned as a cypher for all kinds of beliefs. For example, there are extreme right-wing types who buy the comic book who believe that Cap is standing up for their rights to believe that gays, blacks, and jews deserve to burn in hell just because.
And then you have the centrist-lefty folks like me who believe that Cap's role in the Civil War storyline was a thiny-veiled strike against the Bush administation trampling on the Constitution.
And you know what? We are both right.
That's what makes Cap so different and strongly resonant with many fans than other heroes. Spidey, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, X-Men, and even the Hulk don't fall within that schism. They are ideological extremes that are popular because they are so. The Hulk is an unstoppable machine of destruction. Spidey is the loveable loser who never stops fighting the against the odds.
Captain America is someone who is supposed to represent what we COULD be. Strong, resolute, intelligent, understanding of what the Constitution actually means, aware of history, politically tolerant, and willing to defend the rights of people who can't defend themselves.
Of course, that is a far cry from what many Americans have become: weak, wishy-washy, non-committal to a set of beliefs, ignorant of history and our place in it, casually intolerant, addicted to electronic media/gadgets, and unaware of suffering that doesn't immediately impact our lives.
However, when I was in Midtown Comics in Times Square, it was a virtual mob scene. I hadn't seen a comic book store this packed since the Death of Superman back in the day. All kinds of people were in there -- and honestly, many believe that they are going to "cash in" on the death craze in the short term -- but I saw the faces of some fans who appeared to be bothered by the death of their favorite hero.
I won't make a cynical remark to that. Our society is tailor made to trash naive idealism.
So on a brighter note, its certainly been a fun ride Mr. Steve Rogers. Thanks to the work of Joe Simon/Jack Kirby (creators of Cap), Mark Gruenwald (the definitive Cap writer from the 1980s), Mark Waid (wrote some killer stories a few years back), and the current writer Ed Brubaker; I have a ton of Cap comics to keep me entertained until your inevitable return.
Au Revoir Mon Capitane...
Monday, February 26, 2007
I had a few people who came up to me while I was at the UVC Magazine booth that were very open to listening to my endless pitching of my series and would buy the preview copies. As someone who has been out of the biz since 2003, could not get anyone to take me seriously from 2004-2006, and went through five different artists to get this project done, every single issue I sold provided a deep kind of validation that is difficult to explain.
I will not in any way delude myself into thinking that I have "made it." However, I am certainly much further along than I was 2 years ago, and back on the road to legitimacy that was sidetracked by the end of my Dreamwave debacle.
Saturday is sometimes known as "hell day" in the industry. Even though it is the day when you will most likely make the most money and have the most exposure to fans, the sheer wall of humanity can be overwhelming and stifling if you don't know how to deal.
As much as I love dealing with fans and professionals, there are always those who desperately need to realize that filth and comic book fandom are not synonymous.
Now, onto the fun stuff:
THIS IS WHY I love cons. The only place in the universe that you will see two people of color dressed as Jedi or Sith Lords fighting each other with plastic lightsabers in the middle of a massive hall.
I only wish that I had captured this as a video file because these two dudes were really going at it like Darth Maul vs. Obi Wan at the end of the Phantom Menace. Except that this black dude wasn't as agile or fast or strong as Obi Wan.
Even so, it was a sight to behold.
Here is where things got a little bit interesting. Pay close attention to this pic. As the two members of the NAACP chapter of the Star Wars expanded universe go head-to-head, there is a lonely white Jedi in a Mets cap who has no idea how to ignite his lightsaber. No, I am not making a racial joke.
I swear, when I took this pic, I don't remember this guy being there. But I can see why he was so forgettable. I sometimes wonder what a person's backstory might be. For some reason, I conclude that this man has had an awful morning. He left his Jedi outfit home, his friends didn't want to be seen with him without the costume, and to top it off, the knockoff lightsaber he bought in Chinatown doesn't work.
Sucks for him.
This is me -- the big guy -- and LeSean Thomas. I worked with LeSean on the series Arkanium with Dreamwave Productions back in the day. I broke into the industry with this cat, and even though we hadn't hung out in almost 3 years, it was like old times.
Currently, LeSean is the lead animator and a director on Aaron MacGruder's hit series The Boondocks. He also had a series called Cannon Busters out that will return in the form of a graphic novel sometime this year. He has come a long way in the biz in a relatively short time. Despite minor disagreements over the years, I have learned a great deal about animation and comic book storytelling from him and greatly respect his opinion.
Cool costumes. People really like Star Wars. I mean, really, really like Star Wars. I don't even know the name of the character in the black robe. I know it is from the videogame called KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC II.
People really like Star Wars.
There is a part of me that finds this young lady very attractive. Only because I had a bizarre fixation upon Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) in my pre-pubescent years. The saddest thing here is that she is a cutie whose sexually inadequate boyfriend forced her to come out to the show. Despite endless sexual frustration, she supports her boyfriend and his bank account draining hobbies.
The only reason she stays in the relationship is because her parents are relieved that she isn't a lesbian and she stands to inherit a lot of cash when her dad drops out of the scene. Provided she is married to an "upstanding" individual.
The part that boggles my mind is which one is her man? Is it the Burger King Stormtrooper or the overweight rebel pilot?
Dope ass costume! Too bad its from an overrated anime series called The Guyver that stopped being cool in 1993.
This little bastard ran up on me at the DARKNESS booth. For a second, I was about to swing on this %##@$% until I figured out that it was probably a kid or short teenaged girl in the suit. For a comic book convention, these little guys (there were two) were very aggressive in running up to people and jumping into your face.
I noticed later that they were much more subdued. Maybe they pissed off the black Jedi master from before.
I have one more set of pictures I will upload in the next day or so.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Busy with work and my comic book series ShadowLaw. If you don't know what that is, click on that link.
I just got back from the NYC Comic Con -- a convention tends to be the place where the comic book, video game, genre novel, and genre film industries come together to show what they have to sell within the coming weeks, months, and years. Its a great place to network, make new friends (although I have never really made a new friend at a convention), and get about 20 pounds of free swag in the form of books, posters, dvds, games, and toys.
This was the 2nd annual NYC Comic Con and it seemed to be a success. I have some gripes with how the convention was organized in terms of their security and use of space, but overall it was a good show that was a long time coming. NYC has been totally ignored as a place to hold sci-fi, fantasy, comic book, or any kind of convention that deals with cool stuff. I guess the outrageous fees AND TAXES for renting convention space can easily put off organizers.
In any case, I had a blast. Take a look at a few pics:
This obviously was the entrance.
This was just a tiny portion of the floor. See those blue banners hanging high in the background? Those are aisle markers, you only see aisles 1 - 5, they had about 10 aisles, an entire section underground for all the panels, and an upper level for the artist alley and celebrity signings. The Jacob Javitz center is a damn large spot.
This was the booth for the brand new UVC Magazine -- Urban Voice in Comics. I have heard it described as "Vibe" meets "Wizard Mag." At long last, there is a magazine specifically devoted to chronicling the exploits and achievements of Black and Latino comics creators considering the fact that just about every other bit of comics-based journalism completely ignores us (Comics Journal, Comics Buyers Guide, and of course, Wizard Magazine).
Creator and Publisher Ron King (the black guy in the pic), hands down one of the nicest people I have ever met in comics, has a winner on his hands and judging by the massive support and interest the book recieved, UVC looks to have a fantastic future.
And if you weren't there on Saturday, the UVC booth had a live DJ spinning the best in old school hip-hop, soul, and R&B. These guys knew how to throw a party.
I went to the Con to promote my series ShadowLaw and to talk to the guys who publish the book at Arcana Studios. The Arcana booth was awesome, except that the entire group of 10-12 creators showed up at the Con and most of us were at least 6 feet tall.
Big dudes + small space = bad idea.
I spent the majority of the show at the UVC booth connecting with people and handing out flyers. I even sold a good portion of my preview copies!
I have much more to share, but I will continue in part 2 when I finish loading up all my pictures.