Not my Captain America?

The new Captain America comic came out last week and its caused a bit of a stink.  For those who haven't been keeping up, Steve Rogers, the original Cap, no longer has the Super Soldier Serum in him and has aged.  He chose a successor, his friend and long-time partner, Sam Wilson, the Falcon.  There was a bit of a flap about Captain America being black and diversity running amuck, but for those who have followed the comics and characters for a long time, its actually pretty cool.  Sam Wilson is a great character, and if someone had to step in for Steve Rogers I think he's the best choice.

Now the new comic is out, and its written by Nick Spencer.  I like Nick Spencer.  I think he's a really amazing writer.  I was excited to see what he;d do with the character, and then I read the issue.  Things started out great.  Sam is kicking butt and taking on Hydra goons and Crossbones.  It a lot of fun.  Then we find out that everyone at S.H.I.E.L.D. is ticked at him and so is a good chunk of the public.

And its the reason why where I think Spencer has made a big mistake.

Spencer acknowledges that Steve Rogers kept his politics to himself as much as possible.  He stayed out of partisan squabbling.  I really like the quote that Hickman gave Cap when he was being told his values and ideals were archaic.  His answer was "I don't judge people's lives, I save them." And that's just awesome.  Captain America makes the right choices even in the toughest of situations.  He's an ideal, and I think that's a lot of the ideal of America.  Doing what's right, even when its hard.

But Sam Wilson doesn't seem to be reflecting the ideal of America, but more of the reality of America.  He's come out on certain sides of issues, and its ticked off people who don't agree.  This is so very disappointing.  I saw Sam being Cap and being a minority as a step forward and we can judge characters and people by the content of their character and their actions.  I had hope.  I had hope that Sam, like Steve, would stay above politics and just be a force for good.

Instead I see the like of "You're not my Captain America" which reminds me of those who say Obama "is not my president".  There's other parallels between Sam and Obama in the book.  Its funny because there was hope for him too.  Instead our president has focused on the divides in this country and pushing his side of things.  I really don't want to see Sam go down that same road, but that's kind of how its looking it'll go.

The latter part of the book has Sam coming in to stop people from harming illegal immigrants.  That's good.  Captain America should be stopping those who would harm people unable to defend themselves.  But at the same time, these are people who are willfully breaking the law, and I'm doubting Sam is going to tell them that what they are doing is wrong.

I follow politics, and its a tiring, soul crushing affair.  I read comics to life my spirits and often inspire me as they did when I was a kid.  I used to want to be a good, upright, moral man like Captain America.  Now Captain America saddens me.  It looks like just one more thing that's been sucked up in the political game of demonized and mocking anything or anyone that doesn't agree with you.  Its even to the point that we're being presented characters in this book like Phil Coulson and Nick Fury Jr. who are heroes in other marvel books but are here shady individuals that we shouldn't trust.

But its only the first issue of this run.  Perhaps Sam will learn that he's not Captain Democrat, Captain Republican, Captain Conservative, nor Captain Liberal.

He's Captain America.  And I hope he's one I can admire and respect as much as his predeccesor.

Don't go lion to me! I want the TRUTH!

News has broken in Africa that Jericho, the brother of the now deceased Cecil the lion, has been killed by hunters.  Authorities are looking into this, but so far the "hunter" in question has not been found.  This whole thing reeks of a cunning plot.

Seriously, first a lion gets killed and now not long after, his brother is killed?  There's no way this is a coincidence.  Those lions knew something.  That dentist is obviously a patsy in this whole thing.  The ones behind this obviously have something on him and photoshopped those pictures with him and lion.  I mean come on.  There's only one dentist on the planet that I know of that could kill a lion, and he was well accounted for here in Chesapeake.  

I think perhaps these lion know what's really going on with those Holistic Doctors that have recently turned up dead.  A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and with learning the identity of the holistic serial killed those lions sealed their own fate.  And now they're being used as a distraction to keep our eyes off the ball.  

Its working well.  People are more concerned with a couple of lions that they never knew nor cared about a couple weeks ago than the ghoulish videos making the rounds about Planned Parenthood.  And had any of you heard about those doctors before I mentioned it?  


Because you've been hoodwinked!

By lions!

Which are supposedly dead, but have any of you even seen the bodies?  

Its obviously a Government cover-up.  Obama was recently in Africa, which was a convenient cover for him to bump off those lions to distract everyone from those doctors' deaths.  Those doctors obviously weren't down with the ACA, so they had to go, and the distraction from the Planned Parenthood grossness was an added bonus.

Give it week and Obama will come out and say that if he and Michelle had a cub it would look like Cecil the lion's cub.  Those lions are really alive and have been relocated to a protected site.  That dentist is going to burn because he wasn't down with the ACA either and rumor has it he's part of the eeeeeeeeeeeeeevil 1%!  So, he's getting shipped out of here. and he better keep his mouth shut or his family with get the same.  Or possibly worse, someone might say they saw a picture of someone in his family watching an episode of the Dukes of Hazzard and call for their immediate execution!

And now since I've obviously had enough of watching/listening/being-fucking-bombarded-with the "news" I'm going to go watch My Little Pony with my daughters and get ready to love and respect the shit out of some poor bastard.

Here we go!

I've been busy.  First off, the Zanshinkan demo team has scored a big win at the Battle of the Seven Cities.  Congrats to them for busting their butts and sealing the deal!

The second issue of A-DAY PLUS is chugging along.  If anyone is interesting getting some copies: shoot me an e-mail at and I'll give you all the ordering info.

And I'm promoting it!  If you want to hear me ramble on about the comic and other fun stuff, Ryan and Pooya had me over for the FadCast over at FilmFad!  Had a blast, and hopefully I don't come off as too nervous, because this was a first for me and I seem to have a real problem talking with a microphone in front of me.

Also, I'm going on my "SHUT UP, THIS IS FREAKING LIBRARY TOUR"!  I'll be over at the Portsmouth Public Library for their Mini-Con on June 27th, and following that up with appearing over at Chesapeake Public Library for FantaSci on July 25th!  I may also be doing a panel at FantaSci on a Literary Look at the Superhero Genre, but I'm waiting to here back on that. 

All this, Teenage Mutant Ninja Camp next month and work, work, work.

(Do note, that Teenage Mutant Ninja Camp, is the fourth in our series preceded by Ninja Camp, Revenge of the Ninja Camp, and Ninja Camp 3: The Domination.)

Curse you, Hickman!

For those of you who haven't been following Marvel Comics, there's a massive event going on.  SECRET WARS kicked off this month and writer Jonathon Hickman, is really taking things next level.  He's been building up to this story for years with his runs on AVENGERS and NEW AVENGERS.  This is going to be the event that reboots the Marvel Universe.  

I picked up the first issue in which pretty much everything and everyone was destroyed.  Only a handful of people made it out.  It was brutal.  The proper Marvel Universe and the Marvel Ultimate Universe collided and destroyed each other.  We're left wondering where could be go from here.  Thankfully, we did not have long to wait because Marvel released the second issue the following week.

Unfortunately, I was unable to pick up that issue because I was picking up my own comic book, A-DAY PLUS, from the printers just in time for the recent Tidewater Comicon.  For those who aren't familiar with my current project, four apocalyptic events occur within a 24 hour period.  Chaos and stupidity ensue.  I got my books but had no time to get to Comic Kings to get my weekly fix I comics, including SECRET WARS #2.

Fine, I went the following day to get my books.  They had sold out of SECRET WARS #2, but marked me down to get a copy the next time some came in.  They did have a fancy pants variant cover one, but I figured I could wait.

Tidewater Comicon came and went.  I debuted issue 2 of A-DAY PLUS, and that went well.  I go in the following week to get my comics, and still no second shipment of SECRET WARS #2.  I finally got my hands on a copy yesterday.  I read it, and was really into it... until... we get to the Shield.  

The Shield is a massive wall which separates the relatively sane parts of Battleworld from the horrible parts.  What's in these horrible parts?

Zombies.  Robots.  Horrible creatures.  Replace the buggy Annihilation Wave for something more squidy, and add in some homicidal flying saucers and this gets really damned familiar!

Beyond the Shield is A-DAY PLUS.

Of course, its obvious what has happened here.  Its not uncommon the two different writers come up with really similar ideas completely independently of each other.  In fact it happened to me a few years ago on MERE MORTAL back when I was writing that to the point that someone thought another writer was attempting to rip me off, which it turned out not to be the case.

So the truth is obvious.

That Hickman fella got a hold of my first issue and was so blown away by it, he had to work it into SECRET WARS.  Now, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery aside from showers of cash, and I'm truly honored that he would think so much of my comic that he would so blatantly copy it for his current project.  However, he has not asked my permission to do so.  Not even a friendly hit up on Twitter like, "Hey, mind if I rip off your comic for Secret Wars? k thx"

As such, I'm going to boycott SECRET WARS until I get an apology for Hickman and Marvel comics, or until the next issue of SECRET WARS comes out!  Whichever comes first!

Indiana versus Bandwagonaggedon

Hey!  Guess what!  There's a state called Indiana!  Have you heard of it?

If the answer is "yes" then you've been paying attention to things, which is good, but you've probably been lied to, and that's bad.  There's been a big stink about the state passing a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  Some folks think it opens the door to discrimination towards gays.  That's completely false, but the people making the claims are really loud, so despite facts and stuff they must be right.  Right?

Well, no.  If you have any questions about the RFRA, HERE is a great article breaking the whole thing down.

Now, if you're wondering why this law got passed to begin with and doesn't the First Amendment of the Constitution already cover that, good for you!  Here's the skinny, around 1990 the Supreme Court made a ruling that really took the guts out of the First Amendment.  It set things up so the if Compelling State Interests came into conflict with Religious freedom, the scales were tipped way to heavily towards the State.  There are times when a State's Interests should trump Religious freedom.  

Example: if your religion calls for human sacrifice the State can stop you because of that whole murder being against the law thing.

But the 1990 case created a problem and everyone got together to fix it.  Religious groups, the ACLU, and many secular groups got together to create the Federal RFRA which Bill Clinton signed in 1993 as one of his first acts as President.  Balance was restored and everything was great.

Then it was interpreted that the Federal RFRA only applied to Federal Laws and not State laws in 1997.  Since then 20 States have passed their own RFRAs including Illinois which Barack Obama supported when he was State Senator, and Virginia which current Governor McAuliffe must not be aware of since he's been taking a couple of jabs at Indiana.  Also note that the link provided about the State RFRAs does reference the current situation in Indiana but also states that these laws have NEVER been used successfully to discriminate against homosexuals.

So, why is there a problem with Indiana?  Its been a perfect storm if ridiculousness.  I wrote before about White Knights who run about the internet typing away for their causes.   It seems the Tinfoil Hat Brigade merged with the Magenta Lantern Corp and seeing the law only through the prism of one issue created a whole conspiracy theory around it.  I do wonder if the Governor that passed it had been a Democrat if there'd be the same fuss.  I doubt it.  The false narrative is set that Republicans are bigots.  Then along come the Latter Day Atheists banging their drum that religion equals bigotry.  So we had one target that all three groups of nutters could focus on.  Then a bunch of other people jump on board because it fits with their person narrative of how the world is despite facts to the contrary.

Of course the irony here is that all their screaming just shows who is really prejudiced.  (Hint: they're the ones doing the screaming.)

And now the Indiana Governor has to react because he has people running around upset because they've bought into a lie.  This could have been avoided if people would have read the bill and done a little research instead of just giving into knee-jerk emotionalism.

Moral of the story: do your homework.

Its all over for Marvel.

There's a big battle brewing for Marvel, and its not just a Super Bowl wager.  Marvel is counting down to a new Secret Wars event which will in turn lead to Marvel rebooting its continuity.  This, of course, has lead to much wailing and gnashing of teeth from fans who are quite reboot weary.  The weariness comes from DC Comics being on their, I think, fourth reboot at this point.  This has a lot of fan looking sideways at this and there's still a bit of a bitter air about DC's last reboot which has gotten mixed reviews.

Let's break this on down.

For those new to this concept, a "reboot" is a resetting of the continuity in a fictional world.  This sounds crazy on the surface as one would wonder why you want to ignore stories and risk alienating long time fans.  People spent time and money reading these stories.  They're invested.  But now that investment doesn't matter?

It does matter, but there's a case to be made for reboots and they are necessary on occasion.


* If there is confusion as to continuity.  I'm not just talking about a subject in the continuity that someone can read up on.  If the question is "What happened to Mister Awesome?" and the answer is "Well, this happened to him.  It was in (insert title of storyline here).  You can check it out in (name the trade or the issue numbers here)." then you don't have a problem.  However, if the question is "What happened to Mister Awesome?" and the reply is "Do you mean the main Mister Awesome, the Extreme World Mister Awesome, or the one from the other dimension that's currently being Mister Awesome while Mister Awesome is presumed dead but is really lost in the multiverse with a genetically altered chinchilla?" there may be cause for concern.

* You're planning on incorporating something you've acquired into your main continuity.  Companies merge.  Each have characters that would work great together.  Parallel Earth team-ups are starting to get played out, and it time to properly get everyone in the same sandbox.

*Time has marched on.  If characters have a specific tie to a specific ear they can get dated, and that gets awkward.  Superheroes tend to have fountain of youth going for them, but even that fountain can't explain away a disco inspired wardrobe for a character that couldn't have been born in the 70s.


DC rebooted everything in the mid-80s with their CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.  At the time DC had a lot going on.  Their main characters existed on "Earth 1".  Their Golden Age characters existed on "Earth 2".  Captain Marvel and his buddies had their own Earth as did Blue Beetle and the characters he shared a world with.  That's a lot for keep straight.

So, they had one big event to bring everything together.  George Perez drew just about every character DC every had at some point.  Its a classic story, and well worth reading.  

But the relaunch had a couple of flaws here and there at to the new continuity.  Its a huge undertaking with multiple creative teams that really need to be coordinated with each other.  So, years later DC released ZERO HOUR to try to smooth over some of these issues.  The whole point was to try to streamline things, and it worked for the most part.

Characters moved on and the Silver Age heroes passed torches to a newer generation.  Unfortunately, some people didn't like that and they somehow ended up being in charge.  There ended up being more changes which culminated in FLASHPOINT and THE NEW 52.  This went down because the powers that be at DC wanted their Silver Age heroes back in the saddle and Jim Lee could now bring in his Wildstorm properties over.  It hasn't gone very well. There was an initial sales bump, but  things are waning.  

The reboot just seemed too forced, and the execution on the follow up was kind of haphazard.  Also, some real fan favorite characters got written out.  Fans of Stephanie Brown or Wally West were left shrugging their shoulders.


There's been a lot brewing with Marvel as to build up to SECRET WARS.  Jonathan Hickman's runs on AVENGERS and NEW AVENGERS have been leading up to this directly.  The storyline has been really great.  I haven't felt this gripped by a storyline since Morrison's Batman epic.  The real question is: why is Marvel rebooting everything now?

Marvel released an alternative "Ultimate" line of comics years ago, and they've been a success.  The continuity for the main Marvel Universe and the Ultimate universe are different, and both have their merits.  In fact the Marvel movies have drawn from both as source material.  There's also been other alternate realty stories that have gone on and there's some fondness for some of the characters that have appeared there, but not in the main continuities.

Remember what I said above about why you should consider a reboot?  Marvel is there.  If you ask about Captain America, you're needing to be more specific.  Also, let's look at the Punisher and Ironman.  Those are two characters who have their origins linked to America's adventures in southeast Asia.  Punisher is a Vietnam War veteran.  So, that would make him around 60 now.  Nick Fury is in his nineties easily.

Time has moved on, and some things are needing a polishing.  So, this reboot I'm all for.  


Yeah, everyone else has sounded off, and I'm following the herd.  Moo.

* Ironman being more hero and less villain.  Seriously, he's been shady as hell since that awful CIVIL WAR comic.  It would be nice to put all that behind us and have him back as a proper hero.

* Miles Morales and Nick Fury from the Ultimate universe being in proper Marvel.  These characters are well liked and interesting.  There's plenty of room for them.

* Cyclops not being creepy and Jean Grey not dying over and over and over again.

* New Universe stuff!  Hickman worked the White Event into his line and its was an interesting take on things.  That and I have all the old PSI-FORCE comics and I still think Wayne Tucker was cool.

*That One More Day business being gone forever and ever.  Seriously.  That was just dumb.  I'd even be cool with resetting Spidey back to his high school days.  

* Deadpool not existing.  Yeah, I know that's not going to happen.  I just don't like Deadpool.

That's pretty much it.  I think we've got some really great writers over at Marvel right now, and they'll do a great job with the relaunch.  Just as long as they don't make it a habit.

Mixed feeling on 2014

Its weird for me looking back on last year.

On one side there people going apeshit and screaming "racism" about everything police do to the point that officers are getting threatened and two were murdered.  Never mind the staggering amount of evidence showing no racial components about the two big incidents and so much cognitive dissidence that one has the wonder if the "hands up, don't shoot" people were shipped in from a parallel dimension.

We lost a lot of really talented people in entertainment, and while it doesn't seem terribly important in the grand scheme of things, these were people who made a lot of people laugh ad feel great good with their performances.  The world could really use Robin Williams right now.

We wrapped the year up with that horrible tragedy of people losing their loved ones with a plane crashing into the ocean.

It just seemed like bad news, following bad news, following people can be really stupid, followed by bad news.

On a personal note: everything is freaking great.

Seriously, I had a pretty awesome year.  I put out a comic funded by a successful Kickstarter.  I got promoted to 6th degree black belt and got made a renshi.  I managed to stay employed and the family is still eating and have a roof over their heads.  I got a lot of blessings this year.

It actually leaves me with a feeling of guilt.

A lot of people want 2014 to go away and never be heard from again.  I want to kick as much ass this year as I did last year.

Ultimately, it boils down to a personal level.  I can't change the fact that tragedies happen.  I can't make people stop listen to idiots like Al Sharpton and those who would incite people just for their own personal gain.

What I can do is keep putting out content and hope people enjoy it.  I can keep teaching karate and hope that my students benefit from what I teach.  I can try to be positive even when things suck.

So I'm just going to keep calm and make comics/do karate/keep working.

Because its what we can do that matters.