Montag, 31. Januar 2011

a masturbation interlude: oils, gels and apple cinnamon

My ‘serious’ blog post has taken 4 hours and I have progressed only 2 more sentences and a headache. So, a masturbation interlude.
I was sent Kama Sutra: Raspberry Kiss Stimulating Gel by Their Toys, yes Adult Toys to review. I had envisioned a disability friendly heat arousing breast action while I played an erotic lesbian anime game on my computer (okay, I am an anime otaku, I love the 2D girls, but I love the 3D ones too).
The point and the problem is this: How does a woman who requires near constant care get her groove on? I still have a libido (oh…..ohhhh……ahhhhh) and while I AM touched every day, it isn't sensual touch but medical for heat, oxygen and health checks. That is not doing it for me. And honestly, I think it if WAS getting me aroused, I would have even greater problems finding health care workers: “Oh yes please, check my temperature again, slowly this time, let those fingers slide up and down my spine….yeah.”

So, either I can get assistance (BUZZZ! Asked and found workers um, ‘creeped out’ by the idea.) or figure a way to get the most action in the least time. Which is really hard because getting ready, or even clothes off takes time. Is there a 'quicky' for someone like me? Plus I am already IN the ‘privacy of my home’ (where the workers get their masturbation done, but are freaked out that I will), and not so much a voyeur that I like people walking in with sandwiches during the ‘ahhh….ahhh….so close….come on!’ section.

I hoped that Sexual Heighteners would do the trick, combined with a good book or an audio visual experience like a eroge anime game (there are hetero ones, Otome ones – girls point of view, lesbian ones, bisexual, yaoi ones – the lot). I got two potential breast tingle products, but the first, Climax Kiss (sounds great, no?), was a peach flavored lube. I was told to add it to my ‘intimate areas’ (that would be the vagina, and the vulva) for a ‘juicy addition’ to sex.

Sigh. So, not really for me at all, then, it is a lube for my partner because peaches are nice and vagina’s don’t actually taste like warm apple cinnamon: When we first got together Linda and I got a basic sex positions book. The book was very 'this is what you should feel' and it clearly stated that the vagina smelled and tasted like ‘apple cinnamon’ This became a common puzzlement and over the years a joke as we were like, “Do you smell the apple goodness?”, “No, not really” Of course, this was before American Pie, which seemed to reinforce that vagina’s are like warm apple.

Rating out of 10 for disabled masturbation: ZERO.

Rating for sex books that say all vagina's smell the same: ZERO

Rating for guys who associate vaginas with the smell of apples: (I give up!)

Linda says that it is actually a form of patriotism, that saying women smell like apple pie is saying they are part of Norman Rockwell's America: baseball, turkey and apple pie. Thus all-american women MUST have the apple pie scent. I guess as a Canadian, that's why I smell like moss, fir trees, and tundra.

The Kama Sutra Gels, also sell a mint flavored DEsensatizing Gel. They don’t mention the practical applications of the gel. And I can’t quite figure them out, unless it is to make the guy last longer? Dunno.

My Sensitizing Gel tried by both Linda and myself on the breasts (several times!), waiting over several minutes for the promised, “a tingly tasty treat for sensual body exploration”. We got no tingles. Disappointment factor: HIGH. Turns out it is another lube, but packaged as a non-lube, and that tingly, is for the tongue of your partner, not your own body. So, another useless masturbation product. I am all dressed up, with the engine at idle. Sheesh, getting naughty can be quite the challenge.
There was a gel ‘Formulated especially for women by women’. These women however must have been a bit high since they decided to title this vaginal gel: WET. Yeah, that’s the product name. So apparently some women though that going, “Hold on, I want to get super WET!” was cool and sexy and what other women wanted to say. “Oh yeah, bring on the WET” – because when you think of romantic, feminine, the dream of the prince carrying you to bed (or butch) the product ‘WET’ doesn’t bring those images, as Linda says, “It just means you got caught in the rain”
So I am frustrated (in SO many ways), the sex shop has failed me. Right now, the closest I have to inspiration is using some pop rocks I keep by the computer, licking them and then sticking them in my bra and hoping for the best. I do think if it works, the ‘Pop Rocks’ method of breast masturbation could be a giant leap forward for teen girls and high schools everywhere, as Principals start doing locker checks for Pop Rocks.
There are a lot of different health conditions which affect women and limit mobility and sensation in the vaginal area (even depression can decrease sensation significantly). So far the best method of success I have had is in being open enough to find what gives you that sexual tingle mentally, whether that is a traditional romance book, yaoi, yuri, traditional romance of being carried off, pirate fantasy, whatever. And who cares if you are like me and over six foot tall and would need a giant viking to carry you off and that would involve being slung over his shoulder. That is why is it called 'fantasy', so put the ‘sensible’ voice aside, put your mother’s voice aside (really, what is she doing in your sex fantasy?), and deal with the fact that you like (whatever it is you like) whether is it furry cowboys or women with swords (nothing phallic in either, of course). Once that is done, you are half way there, high anticipate, enjoyment of experience, and a mental fantasy assisted by
literature or game, or video, or movie that enhances enjoyment. I am still looking for that extra bit of sensation for those who may not have the hand control or the sensation to use a vibrator on and in with satisfaction. A product which works while the mind creates arousal would be optimal. The mind is a fantastic thing, and I just need to connect the fantasy to the physical aspects of orgasms. Female disability neuropathy masturation is a GO!

A LUBE is not it for solo: first it is going to leave a smear in the book, it is hard to get off the hand entirely and leaves marks everywhere. And second, while a lube might be great if you have a partner to eat you up, a female with a disability statistically does not, so no lube unless you want to ending up frustrated, with oil stains on your favorite erotic book and your bed smelling of peach. Okay, the last might not be so bad.

Body Shop body butter on my torso and breasts after a shower, makes it so that as I heat up, the smell of citrus grapefruit arises, using the body heat to create the scent. I need to find a product that can work with the body heat or just breast rub to create heat and sensativity. And no, I don’t want Ben-gay athletic rub.

Your masturbation reporter signing out: vigilant, horny and with breasts overdue for tingles.

reblog: best dressed at SAG awards

my tops =
5. jayma maysin jenny packham - sooo much more flattering than her globes look!  man she is gorgeous.
4. heather morris in romona keveza.  flawless.
3. tina fey, aka liz lemon, in osca de la renta
2. mila kunis's boho chic look, courtesy of alexander mcqueen
1. julia stiles in monique lhuillier.  because i've been in love with this ombre gown since i first saw the collection [evidence]

go & vote for your fave!

That Time Gene Yang Came To My Grad School And Blew Everyone's Mind

So I think I mentioned this once before on the blog, but I just started making my way towards a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing For Children at St. Paul's Hamline University. And when I say "just started" I mean my first contact of any kind with any person or work connected to school was a ten-day intensive residency earlier this month. In fact, "intense" is a pretty good word for the experience as a whole. When I arrived in the Twin Cities, my plan for absolutely no comics work on the week was crushed when Marvel named Axel Alonso Editor-in-Chief. Meanwhile, they were warning us about the cold weather with phrases like "flesh can freeze in seconds."

BUT, one crazy twist to my first residency at Hamline that made me feel right at home was that one of our required readings coming into the workshop week was Gene Yang's American Born Chinese. And – if you couldn't guess by the post title – Yang played guest lecturer to talk about the creation of the book and generally blow the minds of everyone in attendance.

Think of it this way: the crew that works for and attends my Masters program write kids books for a living (or are trying to). That includes classic picture books, chapter books, and novels that range from zany middle grade and tween tales on through some provocative and smart Young Adult stuff. But the majority of these people had ZERO experience with comics before reading Yang's book. So much so that "comics" didn't even break into the vocabulary for a lot of the folks. The writers at the school were introduced to our medium (if they'd been introduced to it at all) through the term and category of "graphic novel" which might not sound like too big a distinction but really stood out as the week went on.

I mean, there were a few comic woks that were familiar to members of the residency – all of them produced and promoted through the lens of the book industry. I heard more than a few people mention David Small's Stitches. Everyone was passingly familiar with what Bone is. Neil Gaiman is a rock star and a half in this world for reasons other than comics, but I think most people knows he wrote them before blowing up as a novelist. But most importantly like I said, anyone at least partially interested in kids book publishing these days understands that graphic novels have spent the past few years as the super hot category. They think of what we do as the "cool new thing" in general and want to know more about it even when they're a bit confused by it.

Being the resident "comics guy" in the group (a position I happily played up perhaps too much by weeks end), I fielded a lot of questions and comments through out the week because of that. Common things I heard:

"I was trying to read this, but some times I was confused on what I was supposed to be looking at. Am I following the pictures? Do I read the text first?"

"So the difference between a comic and a graphic novel, what is that? A comic is silly, but a graphic novel is like a real book, right?"

"I'm really interested in writing a graphic novel myself. How would I go about doing that?"

I don't mention these as a put down to any of the supremely intelligent and creative people who I learned a whole hell of a lot from about writing in those ten days. I just wanted to express how strange it was to be in a position where I'm talking about the thing I spend my entire working day talking about but where I can't assume any of the basic knowledge or terminology I rely on. So it was pretty tough at times for me to try and speak on comics without sounding super jargony or super nerdy or both.

Luckily, Gene Yang is the straight up Jedi Master of talking comics in front of book people. I can't imagine how many times he's had to talk about ABC in front of librarians or school groups or teachers or traditional YA writers, but his behind the scenes breakdown of what cultural and visual influences shaped the book was as engaging and accessible and well rehearsed as any talk on comics I've ever seen (and I've seen art spiegelman speak on comics like four times so I feel pretty confident saying that Yang was on his #%@&!ing GAME).

The real defining moment of the whole experience was Yang's breakdown of Cousin Chin-Kee, the highly over-the-top caricature of Chinese stereotypes who plays a central role in ABC's story. He took a lot of time to explain the cultural references that influenced Chin-Kee's creation from early racist political cartoons about Chinese immigrants and railroad workers to Long Duck Dong on through to the recent response to/debate over the sudden popularity of "American Idol" reject William Hung. Over the days following his speech, I heard several classmates confess that they'd initially been put off by American Born Chinese because they felt uncomfortable with Chin-Kee's role in the story until they heard Yang place the satirical elements of the caricature in context. The act of cartooning as satire and commentary rather than just being broad stereotyped comedy hadn't even occurred to them.

And on a nuts and bolts craft level, there were so many ideas about how comics are made that came out and caught the audience totally by surprise. The idea that Yang would script pages before drawing was revelatory for some. Others asked about why someone else would color his work for him. And even the briefest mention of the punk rock respect comics self-publishers get had people looking around going "Whaaaaaaa?"

[I should note that the kind of "THAT'S how they do it?" experience hit me in the reverse sense later in the week as we discussed the ins and outs of picture book creation. I had to have it explained to me several times that the authors and illustrators of something like 95% of picture books have no creative interaction or collaboration. You write some words, you send it to a publisher, and they get it drawn by someone. In fact, pitching picture books as a writer/artist team is really frowned upon...which is INSANE to me still today. One professor told us a story about a woman who wrote a picture book manuscript meaning for the characters to be two children, but the illustrator decided to make them cats, and that was that. Writers in comics would go apeshit if they experienced that lack of control, which is saying something.]

Finally when Yang read his NY Times Magazine strip turned First Second graphic novel Prime Baby and his incoming Level Up, I began to see people really "get" what comics could offer on their own as a medium. The rhythm of his in-panel jokes, the power his page turns held and the raw emotional information given off by his cartooning had everyone completely pumped by lecture's end. In fact, for the rest of the week I don't think I heard one person refer to Yang without some variation of "And Oh My God...Gene Yang!" being uttered. why the hell am I doing all this anecdotal blathering on my comics blog? I guess partially I just wanted to illustrate for any comics folks out there how big the gulf between what we assume and understand about the medium and what even the most literate and engaged "general audiences" think about comics. Even a decade or so into the graphic novel book store boom, our status amongst readers and publishing professionals is still very new and not at all assured in a long term sense. Just because Comics Project X earned Major Accolade Y recently doesn't mean that the book publishing world will continue to find comics a necessary part of their business model.

And it would be TERRIBLE at this point to lose the interest and resources of that market. Even with book stores in general in rotten shape, the kinds of material that have a chance in those outlets but have such a harder time in the Direct Market can have a fighting chance at big publishers. And while we all know that artists looking to work in that segment of publishing should know how that game is played, I think it's of equal importance for us core comics folk to reach out to traditional book people and open channels of discussion on why comics are rad.

I've been thinking a lot about how to do this lately in terms of my writing about comics here and at CBR as well as my work in the Hamline MFA program. As a first step on the latter front, I put together a suggested reading list for my classmates and profs at the end of residency which included ten comics aimed at the kids-to-YA market and five more from the literary publishing spehere. I won't post all the descriptions and stuff I gave the Hamline crew, but the books I suggested were:

1. Blankets by Craig Thompson
2. The Comics of Hope Larson
3. Owly by Andy Runton
4. Smile by Raina Telgemeier
5. Selections From The TOON Books Line Edited By Francoise Mouly
6. Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
7. Mouse Guard by David Petersen
8. Saltwater Taffy: The Seaside Adventures of Jack And Benny by Matthew Loux
9. Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane by Sean McKeever, Takeshi Miyazawa & David Hahn
10. Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

1. Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid On Earth by Chris Ware
2. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
3. It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken by Seth
4. Wilson by Daniel Clowes
5. Love & Rockets by Los Bros. Hernandez

Was there anything I missed? I will say that so far, my playing comics pusherman seems to be working as thanks to the help of my comics-literate classmate Peter Pearson, some of the folks on the staff went right out and bought Blankets, and my advisor for the semester – the super awesome Anne Ursu – got Understanding Comics on my recommendation the week we were at school.

In any event, let me know what you think in general in the comments, and I'm sure we'll swing back around to this topic sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I'm blogging about my grad writing and reviewing a metric ton of kid lit at my Rockopolis blog if you're interested.

[Note: Props to my rad classmate Tracy Pagel Wells for snapping the shots of Yang lecturing at Hamline.]

pretty pictures: curtain call

photos from elle, feb 2010, featuring model natasa vojnovic & the talented dancers of american ballet theatre. photographed by carter smith and styled by mario grauso.

i'll never get enough of ballet dancers in fashion editorials!

images via -- go here to see more

Matt Kimble covers The Phantom Stranger 14

Original cover by Neal Adams; DC 1971. Matt Kimble's website is here.

quotation: dr. seuss on truth

i have always loved this dr. seuss quote.  
so i seriously love this bright green poster.

image via
[no idea where i got i can buy this but man do i want it!]

Sonntag, 30. Januar 2011

Self loathing, mirrors, and tomorrow.

I don’t know what percentage of people self-loathe some aspect of themselves, some part that they can’t seem to change, and can’t accept either. But that part used to include about 95% of me. Ironically, it the best, the most empathetic, the most sensitive, the most dependable people who get stuck in a box constructed of themselves. My GP of old told me if I could learn to accept and instead of trying to change who I was to be what others wanted, to change how I saw myself, so I could start looking up, and not always down, or in the twisted mirror I seemed to carry around with me.
So I did. I went to therapy for abuse, and I took medications, and I found an equilibrium which didn’t require that I be busy ALL the time. I was busy so I didn’t have to think and so I could stack up accomplishments which were never, ever going to be good enough for the voice inside my head.

Because the voice was me.

I have been working all day, morn, night and morn again and the day before to write a blog about discrimination within communities. Because there is nothing better and nothing worse than finding some group where you belong. It is great because during the honeymoon period you are connecting to so many people and you have so much in common. And then, over time, you see the cracks, how this person doesn’t talk to that person and how this group thinks they are ‘more’ of whatever than you are, and thus better. It was like with a lesbian group we joined. To be able to dance, or to go to dances in a group and defend each other from attacks, physical attacks was great. But then it turned out there were ‘real’ lesbians, which were the ones who knew they were lesbian from age 4 or 5 or as one declared, from age 2. And then the little comments from the butches about femmes, or lipstick lesbians. And those who had invisible disabilities were excluded and those who had mental illnesses were avoided in case people thought we were like ‘them’.

And so, the more we needed to be together the more things would split apart and then people would put on ‘the face’ and pretend they weren’t hurt or angry or excluded. And this is what I came out for? To lie? And I ended up feeling more isolated than before.
I go on, but not just pretending not to see. So not lying often means that writing what I see, or even when I talk about myself, that seems enough of a mirror for people to get bothered. And people say, “That isn’t me.” Really? Because it has always been me: the person deliberately not looking at myself as I work to make sure I was in the ‘right’ group, the subgroup which wasn’t thrown out, or excluded. And it made me insane. So I stopped. But the truth is that I am probably a bigot in some way, and so are you.

I find that some people, when they look into a mirror, and don’t like what they see, they avoid that place. I know all about that, as I didn’t have any mirrors in my apartment for over 15 years - that's not a metaphor (You see, I was fat, fat, fat, disgustingly fat!). Then there are those who smash the mirror and the person holding it. That is easy, because often it is easier to make people run away than to change. Because that is the third option – to change what you and I see. And what is the point of driving people away? To prove to yourself that you are unloveable? I know that feeling too. ‘No one can love me, and so I will show this people the REAL me, and they will leave.’

Well, except that I have always seen the real you. Did you think those distractions worked? No. And I’m still here.

And I’m still going to hold up mirrors. And I still get emails that emotionally hurt me every day. EVERY DAY. Because people don't like change. I don't like change. And yet I must change.

Change is terrible, change is wonderful, change is unavoidable.
My father told me a story: how at a party people kept saying to the piano player, “Oh, I’d give anything to be able to play like you.”

And the piano player said, “You can. You just practice eight hours a day.”

My father wanted me to understand that I needed to dedicate myself to perfection, to being ‘godly’, to being a perfect human being. Of course, the more I looked, the more I found I was not a perfect human being at all but full of flaws in action and emotion.

So I amended the story and I tell people the secret to playing like that: it is to get a piano lesson. If you want to play the piano, if you want to change, if you want to accept yourself, if you want to learn a language, if you want to do anything, the thing that stops it is….you. Tomorrow start with day one of playing the piano. And in a year, you will have played the piano for a year. And in five years, you will have played the piano for five years. All it takes is a day where you start.

So tomorrow I will have my post done. Because I work on it day by day. And because it is the things which are NOT said which are the very things that need to BE said. Like how there are no ‘muggles’ in the world of Harry Potter, and there are no ‘Neurotypicals’ in this world. Because if relationships have taught us anything it is that we all think differently and there is no way to know what another person feels or thinks without them letting us know. Six billion brains and no ‘typical’ among them. And that is tomorrow.

Oh, the self loathing, there is no one else with the potential you have, the contributions you have to share. If we could only put as much energy and focus into that as we do building our cages of the mind, we might feel that all so elusive and unique emotions: contentment, happiness.

Why super speed beats flight

If you ask most people what super power they’d like to have, most will say flight. Yes, some pervs will say telepathy and Tim Dillon will say the ability to generate and manipulate ice, but seriously, on the whole, two out of three times, you get flight. Not entirely sure why, but so it goes.

Not me. Hands down the answer has always been super speed.

It’s been this way for me since I was little. I always thought being able to whiz by everybody on the ground seemed much cooler than hovering thousands of feet above them. Perhaps it’s because I crave human companionship and feel flight would be an extremely lonely super power? Maybe it’s that while being in a plane doesn’t fully simulate the experience, it comes closer than, say, a car being able to replicate true super speed? Whatever the initial reason, I dressed up as The Flash when I was five, not Superman.

But of course, there’s the rub: Superman can do more than fly. Really there are very few comic book characters that can only fly because while it seems initially neat, it’s fairly weak in terms of the offensive capabilities it can provide. Guys like Superman or Martian Manhunter or Captain Marvel (either one) or dozens of others have flight as their “showiest” power, but then always have the requisite super strength plus loads of other stuff piled on to make them more formidable.

The traditional “flight only” characters in comics, Hawkman and Angel of the X-Men, even got beefed up when it became evident just being able to kick a guy from slightly higher up wasn’t much of a tactical advantage, getting centuries of weapons training and razor-tipped killer wings in the bargain.

But getting away from super heroics and back to as close to real life as a post like this can get, super speed has it all over flight in the practicality department, and that’s the reason I’ve stuck with it beyond my formative years. There would certainly be a “wow” factor in terms of being able to go up into the clouds the first few times, and no doubt you could elicit some attention from members of the opposite sex (provided you don’t drop them), but once the novelty is gone, you’re going to get bored among the birds, so to say.

However, if you’re incredibly fast, your life will always be better. You will never be late again. You will be able to travel lengthy distances without being bored or inconvenienced. You can acquire awesome gifts and goodies for your friends, loved ones and the objects of your affection in an eye blink.

And that’s just with running!

Per the lame joke I have made many times to groaning response and once for the world to see when I interviewed the Motor City Machine Guns and asked this very question (Alex Shelley said he’d want Jamie Madrox’s powers for similarly convenience-minded reasons—truly a man after my own heart), I would not want to just run fast, but do everything fast, except that one thing (kids, ask your parents). That’s how guys like The Flash have always rolled, and so it would be for me in this fantasy land I have constructed for myself.

My room is dirty? Nope, now it’s clean. I need to do some reading? I just did it. Afternoon of errands to run? It just became five minutes of errands to run (albeit probably having stolen multiple items rather than paid for them).

Unlike flight, super speed makes everything in everyday life easier!

And yes, were I somehow to find myself as an adventurer fighting the good fight, I could punch the bad guy 100 times in a second and he’d be done as opposed to staying two feet above his reach until somebody actually useful came along to help.

To end on a poetic note, if super speed is indeed like a Geoff Johns-written Flash comic, it would be pretty neat to be able to literally dance between the raindrops, watching them each as they slowly fall to the ground and the people around me go by in slow motion; actually, that second part sounds somewhat terrifying, but the first part sounds pretty.

And so concludes one of my nerdiest posts to date. Which says something.

Paragraph Movie Reviews: Catfish

If you don't have plans to see this movie, you can check the spoilers here and then come back.

Half hour or so removed from finishing this and still somewhat wrapping my head around what I thought of it, including to what degree I liked it, so this may be a bit less focused than my typical review (if that's possible). A huge part of my viewing experience mirrors most other people, I wager: I was devoting a great deal of effort to trying to figure out if this was a legitimate documentary or not. At first I did not, then started doubting as it went; according to what I looked up after, the creators claim it's legit, though many folks are dubious. The main reason I thought it was fake was what I chalked up as poor acting from Nev Schulman, but apparently he wasn't acting, so I'm not quite sure how to evaluate it then. Indeed it's hard to really quantify the quality of most aspects of this piece given that it (supposedly) is real; even other documentaries I've seen set out to tackle a subject and put a spin on it, whereas this was a case of two guys apparently having the insight and or lucking out in chronicling a fairly interesting story as it developed and sticking around as it became something much more. The stuff I can judge--the editing, the filming, the visual cues--were all well done, particularly the way they incorporated actual Facebook graphics into cuts. Iit was a job well done and can't find any glaring technical faults. The "story" was extremely engaging and they did a good job walking the line between uncomfortable and touching. However, it didn't strike me as revolutionary and I don't have any strong desire to watch it again despite having probably missed a lot while trying to play detective. Going with my gut, I'll rate this above average but wouldn't go any farther than that.

pretty pictre: elie saab spring 2011 campaign

featuring model erin wasson.  photographed by willy vanderperre.
i love what joanna at fashion gone rogue says about this campaign -- "erin is the very picture of strength and elegance as she dons Saab’s contrasting designs of airy and form-fitting silhouettes" 
sooo true.

i want: kate spade date night ring

in every color please!

please please please?!
they would add such a fun POP to my all-black work wear!

buy these gorgeous rings here

Samstag, 29. Januar 2011

celeb style: amy adams in marchesa

i love amy adams.  i love marchesa [exibits: a, b].  i love amy adams wearing marchesa at the 2011 golden globes.  take a look at the original sketch paired with the gorgeous final product ::
  stunning as usual.

Linko! LXIX

Ladies and dudes,

We're back to Linko! It's been a while since I had time to do a lot of these because I was dealing with the back-to-back traumas of the holidays and my first residency at school (more on that later!), and my browser kept crashing and losing all the links I'd been saving (I know, I know). Still, before we get into some recent internet goodness, there's two things I can't possibly let slip by even though they are weeks out of date.

* Man, it's a real bummer that Dirk Deppey is no longer blogging for The Comics Journal or anywhere for that matter. My general view is that I want to see more smart and discriminating minds engage the comics industry online rather than less – even when the more in question enjoy taking the time to call me stupid and shitty. Dirk's Journalista blog seems completely down on right now. That can't remain that way forever, can it? Ugh. In any event, best of luck to him, and I hope the TCJ folks have a pretty radical move on tap for the future of that site. Sean has more thoughts on all this.

* Right before New Years, the ComicsAlliance kids did a great job covering the breadth of the digital comics landscape right now, particularly David Brothers. Take some time to read their essays on censorship/price and reader desires as well as interviews with BOOM!'s Chip Mosher, IDW's Jeff Webber, writer Mark Waid, DC's Hank Kanalz and Fantagraphics Eric Reynolds. I think there's a few more interviews they did I'm missing here. Go to the site and search for "Digital December."

* As I was still trying to dig my way out of school-created e-mail hole, my peers were really killing it covering the official demise of the Comics Code Authority. I'm kinda of two minds on this whole thing. I agree and understand that the end of the Code is a noteworthy historical event, but I'm nowhere near the level of jump up and down happiness that some folks seem to have hit (not just that link...I've seen a lot of cheering). I personally think that comics as a whole shook off the whole "Wertham" influence in the past decade and maybe even sooner. It just keeps getting brought up because comic folks as a whole carry their beef around in mylar bags so they can bitch from a position of absolute certainty.

Anyway, there's been some interesting historical digging going on in the wake of all this and even some legitimate news in terms of the state of the organization's archival material. For one, MEGA props to Vaneta Rogers and Newsarama who not only broke Archie's half of the Code dissolution story but also did the lion's share of work in regards to the actual state of the organization and its members. Mark Seifert also did a nice job at Bleeding Cool of tracking down some of the tax records of the Code, Werthaming aside. Finally, Heidi seems on top of the quest for the Code's actual physical records. You'd think if DC was de facto in charge, they'd just issue one release and put all this shit to bed, right?

* And hey...Wizard was cancelled. I'm having a much harder time getting worked up over this than some of my bros, but then again, I expected the magazine to get killed about a year and a half ago. I think I may post a little something on that later this week, but for now you should check out Sean's roundup of responses and his brief follow-up. Also: I thought this remembrance by "before my time" Wizard staffer Doug Goldstein was a good indicator of how one group of editorial employees viewed the company just as my former co-worker and current Dark Horse staffer Jim Gibbon's piece on the Wiz was indicative of how a lot of us felt.

* In other "worthwhile comics reporting" news: Zack Smith's web comic series at Newsarama has been fun. Read his latest with Lucy Knisley here. Shaun Manning did a fine job rounding up the news on Shannon Eric Denton's latest Actionopolis kids initiative. Alex Dueben similarly rocked it in this Jeffrey Brown Change-Bots interview. And hey, if I can talk my own shit up for a moment (it is MY blog), I thought this chat with Alex Ross and Kurt Busiek turned out well (it's about Jack Kirby!), as did this roundup of retailer reactions to the death in this week's Fantastic Four. So there.

* And hey, I don't want to make it seem like I didn't dig on this Graphic Policy interview with David Hine about the response to his French Muslim Batman character, because I did. But the real reason to check it out is to see Hine's official headshot. BAD ASS.

* And hey, I was happy to see Heidi MacDonald (or ANYONE really) taking some time to talk to Ed Catto and then to Steve Rotterdam about their new Bonfire Agency venture. I'm still not quite sure that anyone in the comics reading population gets or cares about this kind of thing, and I'm not 100% that Bonfire looks to be an organization that works much outside the hobby shop establishment of production and promotion...still, good on them for trying something new.

* Dustin Harbin doing interviews? Rad. Dustin Harbin interviewing David King. Yes pleas. (Via Tom!)

* Is it just me, or is it a little crazy that the above is a page from an upcoming Marvel comic book? It's just me? Okay then.

* Love that someone is doing this that's not me: a super in-depth analysis of the history of Tim "Robin" Drake. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Future installments will update at this tag.

* Catch up on the new Tezuka manga coming to the U.S. thanks to Katherine Dacey at Manga Critic.

* EVERY FUCKING YEAR I am reminded that my alma mater of Michigan State University hosts an annual Comics Forum by a random link about a week after it happened. It doesn't help that this year's installment was in January while last year's was in March. Here's the link to the website anyway.

* At least I've still got time to see the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art's comics exhibition tomorrow.

* My buddy Brian Warmoth and his ladyfriend Julia have a new phone app/social initiative in Chicago called Wish State. Looks pretty boss.

* Joseph Gordon Levitt seems like a pretty bright dude. Coulda guessed it, huh?

* William Gibson on modern computer hacking. Autoreblog.

* Carlton Cuse on life after "Lost." Ditto.

* Let's wrap this week with four really interesting (at least to me) info graphics that got forwarded my way this week:

Every actor connection in every Coen Brothers movie.

Every Generation 1 Transformer Autobot.

The 3,400% growth of Foursquare users last year.

Should I work for free?
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