Trending Issues


Joker and the Myth of Media-Inspired Mayhem

Joker, Dr. Susan Lewis

It's the movie "they" didn't want you to see -- the film that glorified killing to such an extent, it was expected the easily influenced would take it as a training manual and copy the techniques to commit mass acts of violence.

But, thus far, the only reported incident requiring police intervention involved two men arrested for smoking during the film. (No word if the film was at midnight, or if the two smokers watching JOKER were using marijuana. Thank the Steve Miller Band for my going the long way around for that pun.)

So was all the media hysteria for nothing, or was there a predictable risk that JOKER could set in motion a wave of violence among those already suffering mental illness?


The Wait vs The Worth -- CYBERFROG: BLOODHONEY

Cyberfrog: Bloodhoney

In all of comics history, there has perhaps not been a comic so divisive, so defended, and so derided as Ethan Van Sciver's CYBERFROG: BLOODHONEY. And all that before the book was even printed. Seen as one of the hallmark titles of the amorphous ComicsGate movement, the title and creator have taken heat over timeliness and finances. The book raised nearly a million dollars in pre-sales through multiple Indiegogo crowdfunding efforts, and arrived just shy of being one year late of its estimated release date.

This week, the book began arriving in the hands of those who had backed it, and almost immediately new rumors began to pop up: poor paper quality, water damage, digest-sized. None of that is true. CYBERFROG: BLOODHONEY is of standard dimensions, and over 80 pages. The cover is very sturdy, the paper is of better stock than your average floppy, and the ink is smear-resistant.


Gamergate, Too: Zoe Quinn's Statements Undermined by...Zoe Quinn

Zoe Quinn vs Zoe Quinn

Zoe Quinn is no stranger to controversy. One might even argue her entire career has been built on the house-of-cards foundation of accusations of sexism and abuse, setting her up as a heroic overcomer in the male-dominated industries of video games and comic books.

But Internet controversy turned to real life consequences barely two weeks ago when Quinn took to Twitter to make public accusations against former fellow game designer, Alec Holowka, claiming sexual abuse and false imprisonment. The immediate fallout for Holowka -- the loss of his career and the shattered public perception -- drove a man who already suffered from emotional troubles to take his own life.

#MeToo had been successfully weaponized--and the weapon was deadly.


Murder by Media? How Cyberbullying Led to Game Designer's Suicide

Just short of two years ago, Zoe Quinn was being celebrated as having overcome online harassment to go on and become a game designer on a hotly aniticipated indy game project with Chuck Tingle. (Editor's Note: The crowdfunded game has yet to be delivered and is currently over two years late in fulfillment.) She was the model of the underdog who wouldn't give in to online trolls.

Six days ago, Quinn recalled sexual abuse details from an old relationship with fellow game designer, Alec Holowka. Instead of taking these details to the police for investigation, Quinn chose to air the accusations through her Twitter account, @UnburntWitch.


Voice Actor Armageddon: No Sacred Ointment for Funimation's Leaks

Funimation Dragonball Z

Schadenfreude ran rampant today among anime fans who have found themselves at odds these past several months with a handful of voice actors employed and/or contracted to Funimation, a company licensed to provide English language dubs for Japanese animated franchises, including the extremely popular DRAGONBALL Z.

Funimation has been at the core of a controversy surrounding one voice actor, Vic Mignogna, who has been accused of sexual misconduct and summarily fired from doing further voice acting for the studio. Fans of Mignogna have come together under the banner of #IStandWithVic, claiming no concrete proof has been established, and indeed Mignogna has set up a legal fund for the express purpose of filing a defamation suit. Meanwhile, his accusers have organized under the hashtag of #KickVic for the purpose of protesting conventions that continue to host Mignogna as a celebrity guest.


Block Chains and The Mary Sue’s Ethical Quagmire

Eyes Covered

ComicsGate and GamerGate. The boogeymen that allow the geek and nerd communities to partake in outrage culture continues to be the gift that keeps on giving in that regard, despite the fact that most of the world has forgotten what GamerGate was about (for which Zoe Quinn is no doubt grateful) and ComicsGate exists now largely as a hashtag to market the ideology behind the comics they produce and, yes, deliver.

Not that this stops Anthony Gramuglia, writer at large. In a recent piece for The Mary Sue, Gramuglia conducts “interviews” with a handful of people with axes to grind. The Spectre of Hate is raised more than once, and the fearmongering goes into high gear in order to gin up the clicks. He expands his reach from ComicsGate to the more recent AnimeGate, spun out of accusations against DragonballZ: Broly actor, Vic Mignogna, and the resulting defamation suit that followed.


Chrisley Knows Best Stars Indicted on Bank Fraud Charges

Todd and Julie Chrisley - Indicted

It seems no reality show goes on for very long without one or more of the stars making news for reasons other than the show. HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS went through the drama of Joe and Theresa Giudice having to serve sentences for financial fraud. SURVIVOR's Richard Hatch put his time into the system for failing to pay taxes on his million-dollar winnings.

Now the judicial spotlight is on Todd and Julie Chrisley, the leads of USA Network's CHRISLEY KNOWS BEST. The Chrisleys, and former CPA Peter Tarantino, were all charged August 14, 2019 in Georgia’s Northern District. The charges are numerous, and include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, actual wire fraud and tax evasion.

Somewhere, original reality star focal point Al Capone is chuckling: "They never learn."


Not All Parody is Created Equal. Trump's Titans Volume One

Trumps Titans

"You want superheroes? I'm a superhero. People tell me all the time, 'President Trump, you're better than a superhero because you're real.' I should have a comic book. It would be the best selling comic book of all time, believe me."

    -- not an actual @realDonaldTrump tweet

Since the advent of mass printing and cartooning, Presidents have found themselves lampooned through the form of the comic. In more recent decades, presidents have found themselves appearing in the comic books, either devoted to them as biographies, doing guest appearances in a famous supehero's title, or being the questionable hero of a parody, such as Solson Publications's REAGAN'S RAIDERS, which saw the Reagan administration turned into super-soldiers to take down South American drug cartels.


Sina Grace Spills the Tea About Marvel's Handling of Gay Superheroes

Iceman and writer Sina Grace

Sina Grace has been a focal point controversy within the comics community. Not for unprofessional behavior or for unethical crowdfunding efforts, as is de rigeur for the troublemakers these days. No, the attention on Grace has been solely because he is a gay man, writing a gay character, who just happens to be one of Marvel Comics' oldest mutants: Bobby Drake, Iceman.


Animal Rights Activists Get Their Own Heroes with Black Mask's Lab Raider

Lab Raider 1

Sarah and Jeanette have a calling. They are animal rights activists, willing to take things up a notch if it comes to hurting people in their pursuit of zoological justice.

The main story sees the pair breaking into an animal experimentation lab. We don't know why they experiment on animals. We learn they've recently begun to develop weapons for the government -- "Military contract from the new administration. You know." -- but whether they were a drug facility or something else isn't really important and extraneous to the fact that animals are being hurt. Let's assume it's for funsies.

As Sarah and Jeanette make their way through the facility -- conveniently left unsecured by an insider friend -- we are shown bits of their life through flashbacks. Which gets more confusing when the flashback has a flashback. Suffice it to say we are shown that they have had deadly run-ins with hunters, and have used seduction to trap and beat seal hunters for information.


Macri and Zanotti's The Wall Well-Intended, But Problematic

The Wall A Timeless Tale

In a colorful kingdom, the king takes a walk with his advisor, and discovers there are many people in the land who do not look like him. Wishing not to see them, he orders them banished, and when that is not enough, he calls for a wall to be built.

But he has already sent away the wall builders. Finding he needs them, he has them called back to do the work.

And that is the first flaw in Giancarlo Macri and Carolina Zanotti's children's book, THE WALL: A TIMELESS TALE, illustrated by Mauro Sacco and elisa Vallarino.

The story sets out with the noblest of intentions--to instill in children the lesson that people who look different are still people, and that they have talents and skills to be appreciated. Teaching children not to exclude based on looks is something all decent human beings want for the next generation.


Chernobyl: The Incredible HBO Miniseries About a Real Life Tragedy


Mario Petkovski

So GAME OF THRONES had ended, causing quite a riot among fans, and NFL preseason schedule ain’t really enough to keep you entertained through the summer. What about watching an amazing HBO miniseries that is being a success worldwide and will also teach you some history?

The mini-series CHERNOBYL came through a small door and won the hearts of the audience overnight. Since its release on May 6th, people went crazy about it, making it one of the most popular series today. CHERNOBYL became the highest rated series of all time with an IMDb rating of 9.5 surpassing BREAKING BAD and GAME OF THRONES. But everyone is wondering: Why it is so popular?


Capes, Cowls, and Coming Out: History of the Batwoman

Batwoman from then to now

When the superheroes became popular, lo many decades ago, an attempt was made to draw in more readers by adding characters that would be (or so the theory went) relateable to girls. There was already Wonder Woman, Phantom Lady, and others, but none of them had quite the popularity of a Superman or a Batman.

And so the quick-and-easy path seemed to be to create female versions of these characters. It was a hit-or-miss process, with more misses than hits. In the Superman comics, a Superwoman was introduced in Action Comics #60 in 1943. She was easily forgotten (although has resurfaced in one incarnation or another over the years), and largely eclipsed when sixteen years later Kara Zor-El made her debut as Supergirl in the pages of Action Comics #252.


Cyberfrog is Officially Late. Or Is It?

Cyberfrog by Ethan Van Sciver

To date, there's only one comic book hero who, at the mere utterance of his name, has the ability to evoke either dreamlike awe or cold fury from the comics fan who hears it. His name is CyberFrog, and he's the creation of comic book artist Ethan Van Sciver.

Originally created in the 90s, CyberFrog is finding new life through an Indiegogo project which has drawn acclaim for its detailed preview artwork, and criticism for it being behind its self-imposed schedule. To date, CYBERFROG: BLOODHONEY is eight months behind. If this were a car, it would be repossessed by now.


Dangerous Opinions: Facebook Disconnects 250K Fans from Bounding Into Comics

BiC Censored

The landscape of opinion is a shifting mass of quicksand these days. The Internet, once a bastion of free speech -- and all the ugliness that comes with that -- has undergone a transformation to rein in opinions, protecting the eyes and ears of the many from anything that might be deemed offensive by the few.

It began with politics. When the deplatforming of Alex Jones and his InfoWars site occurred, the 1st Amendment let out an "oof" of having been punched in the stomach. No one heard it over all the cheering, however, and the social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter were emboldened to continue their pogrom against information and opinion.

The idea was to stifle politics with which the social media overseers disagreed. The inherent problem with that is this: everything is political. And so we find ourselves at a point where a comic book review website (not this one, yet) loses its presence on Facebook.


Black and White and Cute All Over: IMAX Pandas

IMAX Pandas

This nature documentary pops right off the screen, thanks tot he IMAX filming of the subjects and their lush settings.

Narrated by Kristen Bell, IMAX PANDAS takes the audience into the world of the endangered Giant Panda, and the efforts to repopulate them in the wild. We get to see baby pandas, born in captivity and nurtured at a panda preserve in China, and learn of the efforts to wean the captive pandas back into their natural habitat. But that is no simple task.


Tales to Astonish No One: Parody of Comicsgate Figures Fails to Create an Audience

Astonishing Gaters

If you are a comics fan who goes to your local shop, checks the shelves for new items, spends a few minutes in the back issue boxes, and goes home to enjoy your purchase, you live in the best of all possible worlds.

If you have a social media account, you've shattered that utopia, and have likely been told to pick a side in the ongoing culture wars -- or been forced into a side whether you chose or not. It's called ComicsGate, 

In much the same way an irritant in an oyster causes the generation of a pearl, the mainstream comic industry and the creators who  have aligned with ComicsGate have worked together -- reluctantly, unwittingly, unknowingly, anything but admittedly -- to create some gems (and some malformations) through the crowdfunding platforms that have financed their own comics, several of them to the tune of six-figures.


How Much is That Child Porn in My Comic Book?

Savage Dragon 236

We've seen it happen before in comics and animation. Some artist gets bored, slips in a sly little reference to this or that, just to see how many people it will slip past before it gets caught, if ever. In UNIVERSE X SPIDEY #1, artist Al Milgrom famously hid a secret message telling off his old boss, Bob Harras. NEW MUTANTS had some spicy conversations in it, if one bothered to translate the demon-language substitution cipher of lettering. And don't even get us started on all the rumors about what people think they see in Disney animated films.

But there's no real guessing at what's involved in Image Comics' SAVAGE DRAGON #236, which features the four offspring of the titular character. The storyline, called "Savage Little Dragons" finds they tykes doing various kid activities -- crawling out of the crib, fighting with each other, watching underage rape porn on the television.

Wait. What?


Did Pensacon's Threat Report Just Blow Up in Their Face?

Pensacola Image

The tale of voice talent VIC MIGNOGNA is fascinating in and of itself. But it's one of the spin-off stories that has taken turns more bizarre than the decomposing Jussie Smollett saga.

It's seems that a Florida fan convention, PENSACON, took umbrage at fans who prepared online to stand up for Mignogna, and threatened anyone doing so verbally with arrest. This incensed several people in the fan community, who took to Twitter and YouTube with their own message of support and/or outcry. One of these was comic book artist and upstart YouTube personality  ETHAN VAN SCIVER, whose statements earned replies from the convention itself, stating that they were concerned about far more than just fans saying they were going to question scheduled guest MONICA RIAL, one of those currently accusing Mignogna of sexual misconduct.


The ComicsGate Culture Battle Shifts from Cold War to Hot

Simeti Targeted

Fans of Alterna Comics got more than they bargained for with their nightly livestream. Some time around 10pm on February 12, Publisher Peter Simeti was discussing what was new with the comics from Alterna, when the livestream was interrupted.

By the police.




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