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Concerns Regarding Disney’s buy-out of Fox

It’s a simple enough concept. Power and trust have an inverse relationship, at least where the human race is concerned. This has been true in government, business, and religion with few exceptions.

Today, Disney purchased Fox Studios. X-Men, Fantastic Four, and I assume everything created by Groening and McFarlane now owned by a single company.

This is reason for concern. Monopolies hurt consumers by limiting choice. A monopoly on art, however, would limit culture.

Imagine it. All geeky movies, all scifi franchises, controlled, filtered, processed, and packaged by a single entity with a single vision. And it wouldn’t stop there, of course. Soon, tv, books, magazines. Everything under one umbrella.

Not just geeky stuff either. All sit-coms, dramas, period pieces. Every historical picture telling only one version of a market-adapted, corporate-approved history.

Imagine new and veteran writers, both struggling to find room for professional publication. How will they gain wider audiences if their voices do not align with the vision of a publishing monopoly?

Sure, there’s blogs and vlogs. Things go viral all the time. But for now at least, the prospect of paid work resides almost exclusively with traditional publishers. The industry is changing, yes. Patreon and self-publishing software and platforms make it easier than ever for artists to go independent. In other words, to flood the market with free and purchasable content.

Guess which is more popular online?

Maybe I’m exaggerating. I hope I’m wrong. But answer me this: Would we as Americans be ok with exclusively state-sponsored, state-owned media?

If so, this is not the country I thought this was.

If not, why are we ok with Disney owning all our movies and TV shows? All our content?

Should one company have final say on what American (popular) culture looks like?

In the meantime, I hope my fellow writers are either busy Disney-fying their voices as quickly as possible or else preparing to hang on to independent thought as long as possible. Let the record show I shall ever belong to the latter camp.

“I bow not yet before the Iron Crown, / nor cast yet my own small golden sceptre down” –J.R.R. Tolkien

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Snowpocalypse III: The Snowening

Hiya, kids! Down here in Georgia, we’re experiencing Snowpocalypse III: The Third One. Eagle-eyed readers will recall the original Snowpocalypse back in 2011, which served as the precursor to Snowpocalypse II: Snowmageddon in 2014. Now the winter weather is back. It’s Snowpocalypse III: With a Vengeance!

All of us at Conq Comix/Optimist’s Umbrella are having a grand day out in the snow.

Here is Darth Vader, leading the troops to conquest:

[Image Description: Snowy hill in the foreground and mid-ground. Background is a snowy forest. Trees are bare of leaves, coated in snow. LEGO Star Wars Darth Vader, wielding red lightsaber, leads two stormtroopers toward the viewer in the foreground. An Imperial battle-tank stands watch at the crest of the hill.]

“I will find Skywalker!”

Uh oh! Looks like somebody crashed on a forbidden tundra!

[Image Description: A snowy plain. LEGO Star Wars spaceship crashed in mid-ground, Yoda and R2D2 walking away from crash site to left bottom foreground.]

“Lost, are we. Find civilization, we must!”

Meanwhile, Mr. Freeze gets his revenge on Batman and Robin!

[Surrounded by snow, Batman and Robin have been thrown back by the force of Mr. Freeze's ice cannon. Mr. Freeze stands in the foreground, facing Batman and Robin, head away from the viewer.]

Here, Vader confronts Luke Skywalker at last!

[Image description: On a snowy hill with a snowy forest in the background, Darth Vader stands over Luke Skywalker's prone form. Vader has his red lightsaber lowered and extends his hand toward Luke. Luke's left arm is raised, as if beckoning his lightsaber to him from its resting place in the snow.]

“Join me. And together we will rule the North Pole as father and son!”

As Batgirl and Mr. Freeze argue over the power of his ice cannon…

[Image description: LEGO Batgirl and Mr. Freeze stand on the ridge of a snowy hill. Behind them is a road, another hill, and a forest, all covered in snow. Mr. Freeze is looking at his gun, concerned. Batgirl has her arms in the air, shouting at Mr. Freeze.]

MR. FREEZE: I think I used too much power in my ice cannon. BATGIRL: You think?!

…Superman enlists John Stewart and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps to help construct his Fortress of Solitude!

[Image Description: LEGO Superman and four LEGO Green Lantern minifigs stand in a snowy field. In the background, one Green Lantern with an alien head has his arms raised and his head turned toward another Green Lantern with a Chewbacca head. The alien's head is blue with red eyes, and the Chewbacca head is brown and furry. LEGO Superman stands between a LEGO Green Lantern with a brown-skinned head, representing John Stewart, and a LEGO Green Lantern with a LEGO Bossk head from the LEGO Star Wars collection. John Stewart is holding a square with plans to the Fortress of Solitude on it, while his head faces Bossk-headed Green Lantern. Bossk-headed Green Lantern has his reptilian, alligator-like face turned toward John Stewart. Superman, seeming chipper as ever, stands with his red cape flowing out. His head is turned slightly to the right, away from the two Green Lanterns, and his left arm is raised, as if indicating direction.]

“And over there is where I’d like to put just an enormous statue of my birth-parents.”

Meanwhile, it appears Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker have resolved their differences.

Snowangel

A redeemed Skywalker and son make snow angels!

And Yoda and R2D2 have repaired their ship.

outtahere

“Be back, we shall!”

Join us after the holidays, when we go to the beach!

 

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Spider-Squad II: Femme Force Five~!

Remade! As a sequel! Black Widow kicks butt with four other women, one of whom is invisible the entire time!

If there’s a problem. If no one else can handle it. And if you’ve already tried the Avengers, maybe you can hire….FEMME FORCE FIVE!

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Real Talk

Gonna talk feminism for a second. Feel free to check out.

Was just thinking about something. In 3rd grade, my friend K wanted me to hold her medication bottle for her because she didn’t want a bulge showing in her jeans on class picture day.

That’s messed up, right? She was freaking 8. Who told her what societal expectations of women were? Who was holding her to them?

Anyway, she went through a LOT as we got older. I hope she’s doing alright now.

I dunno. I got nothin’.

That’s all folks. Read my comic. It’s funny, and there’s aliens and lasers and magic and stuff.

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I Dreamed a Dream


Justice League comes out soon. I, for one, can’t wait. DC took such a risk starting their cinematic universe with Wonder Woman. Now I hear Justice League takes place in a world where Superman’s already dead! Talk about risk.

It’d have been nice to have seen Man of Steel. It’s a shame that project got cancelled. I heard it was really something, but the studio just couldn’t settle on an ending. Why, I heard one draft even had Superman breaking Zod’s neck! 

Still from Man of Steel, never officially released.


I know, right? It’s one thing throwing him into an abyss, but breaking his neck? Is this Superman or Rambo?

Anyway, thank goodness no one saw that Dark Knight Returns adaptation they made. I think it was called Darky Darko and the Space Troll or something? Can you imagine if they’d tried to base a cinematic universe off that? Yikes. 

Batman confronting Superman in Darky Darko, in case you didn’t get a chance to see it during its rather abrupt run.


I mean, it’s an ok film, but there were some major “huh?” moments. I don’t regret seeing it (twice), but I’ve no desire to see it again. I hear Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck reprise their roles from “Darky Darko,” but obviously with different backstories. I mean, a world where Batman and Superman hate each other? Who’d want to watch that? Yeah, in Justice League, they’re gonna be best friends. Well, so long as someone casts a rez on Superman.

But yeah, the new Justice League movie should feature Wonder Woman prominently, as she’s the flagship character for the DC cinematic universe (much like Iron Man is for the MCU). 

Wonder Woman was the first official movie in the DC cinematic universe, setting an inspirational, colorful tone.


Could anyone have predicted Wonder Woman’s success, coming as it did just five years or so after Dark Knight Rises? It was so smart of Warner Bros. to recognize that, while a grimdark tone works great for Batman, not all DC characters should be treated in the same way. I think that’s part of the reason we never got to see Man of Steel: Supposedly, they were going to make it similar in tone to Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Can you imagine? A brooding Superman? Eesh. That may not have gone over well with a lot of people.

Thankfully, Justice League, the second-ever installment in WB’s DC cinematic universe, debuts November 17 of this year. It looks like there’ll be plenty of action, laughs, and drama. I guess we’ll see what happens!

Seriously, though. I really enjoyed BvS, Man of Steel, and Suicide Squad. They may have their flaws, but they are fun movies! May even wind up buying BvS on DVD or Blu-Ray someday.

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Just Messin’

I like to play rpgs with folks online. We were talking about comics and fantasy novels, and I mentioned it’d be cool having a comic about our game. It’d work better than a novel, since we’ve had so many characters show up for 1 or 2 sessions, only to vanish later on. That kind of thing is nonsensical in a book, but it happens all the time in comics. Then you get one of those little captions at the bottom. You know the kind. They were more common in the comics of my youth.
Where is Bloodwing hurrying off to? Check out Dark Riders: The Scourge #1 in stores now! 
That kind of thing.
Image result for bloodwing xmen 2099

I started reading comics in the 90s. Of course, Bloodwing’s a real character!

Anyway, I’ve been thinking it’d be cool to release a comic that started at issue 173. I’ve never understood the obsession over issue 1s. The first couple issues are always the roughest. I like a comic with a few hundred issues in the bag. Shows they got staying power. The comic’s not going to just disappear in a month.

Image result for transformers gen 2

Right, Transformers: Generation 2?

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The Road Ahead

Hiya, kids! Well, Bubblegum-Man #3 is currently updating. We’ll be putting up a page a week until the end of December. That should keep y’all slimy and satisfied. After issue 3 ends, I’ll start putting up issue 4 and 5 as soon as I can. Hopefully, we won’t have as much of a break as after issue 2. Once the current story arc is completed, I’m going to see what we can do to get a store up and running. I’d like to start selling T-Shirts with the Toxic Inc. logo (that fancy smiley-face with skull/crossbones thing up at the top there), but moreso I want to make a full-color graphic novel collecting the first Bubblegum-Man story arc: The Archon Invasion.

I have some ideas of what could come next for the world’s Stickiest Superhuman, but for now, consider the saga closed with the end of issue 5. Should be a fitting conclusion. I may be posting some old In His Spare Time comics up top, so keep an eye out for those as well.

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Bubblegum-Man #3!!

Sneak peek at the cover. It’s gonna rock, y’all. If you’ve never read my comic before, START HERE!

B-Man 3 Cover

Issue 3 drops September 1. Be ready.

(That’s September. Not August. Just in time for Labor Day. Plus, more time to get Issue 4 up here!)

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News – 6/24/17

Hey, kids. Here are some quick updates to what I’ve been doing.

  • Final (?!) revisions to Emerald Sword are underway. Still rethinking that title. At current pace, my fantasy novel will be ready for agents around July 15 or so.
  • Finished inking/coloring Bubblegum-Man #3 on the big paper. Working on #4 right now. Issue 4 may be a double-sized deluxe-edition. Once these are done, the current story arc will end. In other words, you can expect Bubblegum-Man #3 on this website within the next month or so.
  • Working on Iron Man armor for Dragon-Con. I’ll be down on Sunday this year. I spend most of my time in the dealer room, scavenging comics and coveting rare action figures I cannot afford.
  • Posted two new videos to the Youtubes. Here’s the good one:

I forgot to turn off the air conditioning for that first one, so…yeah.

  • Started watching Rick and Morty this summer. Good stuff!
  • Rebecca Cohen and Ethan Kocak still make better webcomics than me.
  • Someone made a Wheel of Time -themed metal song:

So there’s that.

  • This kid on Youtube wants 5 likes. Let’s help’em out:

Adorable, right?

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MTV Is Slaying It

Tonight’s MTV Movies/TV awards making history by not separating Best Actor into male/female (a designation which seems to have only existed to increase the numbers of awards given, as acting ability has precious little to do with gonads). I don’t see any obscenity here (haven’t been watching long) as in the old days. 

Instead, I see honor and respect and a dedication to the best impulses of the human spirit. A little political with the Best Fight Against the System category. Which is good. Some of the best literature, film, and art are born from political fervor.
Beautiful. Well done, kids. Well done.