I Hope You're Happy, Internet

Sep 21

“WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but it seems like every party we’ve attended lately has included tarot card readings, or fortune-telling, or some other kind of vaguely witchy entertainment. Plus, when we moved recently, we were given dried sage to burn by just about everyone we know!” — I don’t know about you either, Brooklyn Magazine. Sometimes I think we live in very different Brooklyns. I also don’t know why you keep getting delivered to our apartment. I don’t think either of us subscribed to you?

Sep 02

[video]

Aug 29

DiMillo’s Restaurant on a boat in international waters: where there’s always something on the menu for daddy (at Portland, Maine)

DiMillo’s Restaurant on a boat in international waters: where there’s always something on the menu for daddy (at Portland, Maine)

Aug 25

[video]

Aug 21

An Update on Asking For Money, With Clarifications But No Adorable Story

Hello Internet,

Thank you to everyone who has donated and/or spread the word about $826 for 826NYC on 8/26. I wanted to clarify several things!

  1. First off, thank you once again to everyone who donated. I realize that sending hard-earned digital money into the ether of the Internet for nothing other than altruism is very far down the list of people with means limited or otherwise. I’m very grateful.
  2. There appeared to be some confusion on exactly how to donate. I apologize. Here is the link that will take you to a page where you can donate whatever amount you wish.
  3. And it is indeed whatever amount you wish. The stated goal of this little experiment is to get a lot of our volunteer base to go out and rep for 826NYC and get all of their friends and acquaintances to donate a total of $826. You can donate any amount you wish, even if it’s a symbolic eighty-three cents. I thought $0.826 would be more symbolic, but unfortunately at this time we cannot accept fractions of a cent. 
  4. Some people have asked me about volunteering. We’re always looking for new volunteers! The site is in the midst of a redesign (the snappy new logo above is part of it!) so here is a direct link to information about volunteering. If you don’t live in New York but are interested in working with a very similar education program (sans cape tester, sadly) you can check out 826 National for information about seven other chapters across the nation.

With all of that said, even if you are a New Yorker who wants to neither volunteer nor donate, you should still sign up for the 826NYC mailing list! It’s only one or two e-mails a month, and in addition to hearing more about great programs you should totally donate or volunteer to support, you’ll also be the first to know about the sweet fundraising events we regularly hold, where you get to support creativity and education in addition to attending unique and exciting events. I went to the very first one of these (and recently stumbled across the infosheet for it and subsequently misplaced it again) back in June 2004, mere weeks before inadvertently moving to an apartment a few blocks away from the center.

So anyway, do at least one of these things! Or more than one! One more time, this is the link to donate. I hope things have been sufficiently clarified.

Aug 19

I appreciate that LoLifes think to flyer my local Rite Aid.

I appreciate that LoLifes think to flyer my local Rite Aid.

Aug 16

In Which I Ask You to Donate Money, But Sweeten the Pot With a Story of Learning and Tolerance

Hello Internet Friends and Acquaintances!
If we’ve spoken for more than ten minutes over the past decade, I’ve probably mentioned 826NYC and/or the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. They’re celebrating their tenth year of providing free educational programs and cape testing to folks in the five boroughs, and I’ve volunteered for them for very close to that entire time. You can check out our site for more information about all of the programs: drop-in homework help, creative writing workshops, field trips and publishing projects produced in conjunction with local schools, and even an annual student-made film festival (on August 26th, naturally) where kids get to see their efforts on the big screen at BAM. All of these programs are 100% free for the students and their families, which means that periodically we have to bust out the proverbial-or-literal donation bucket. I’ve never pushed this on my friends and acquaintances because come on, I am a product of public schools and state universities, and I don’t think I’ve even met a hedge fund manager. But this year they’re trying out something called $826 for 826 and how could I turn down participating in something with such a symmetrical hook?
Beyond all of the great stuff 826 does that I listed above — and it is great stuff, I’ve worked on all of it — I thought I would share one of the most incredible things I’ve ever witnessed in the confines of volunteering at 826NYC. 

It was after drop-in tutoring  and two kids around ten years old hadn’t yet been fetched by their parents. One was an 826 lifer who’s been involved with countless workshops and projects. The other was dragged in sporadically by his parents for maybe a year before his sullen eye-rolling brought an end to the experiment. Maybe it’s not important which was which.

The first kid mentions his hopes of getting a dog for his birthday. Or maybe a cat. Definitely a pet. He would LOVE a pet and turns to the second to ask if he has any pets. Second Kid says no, and when pressed on the issue explains because his mother is allergic to dogs.

The first kid is gobstruck. “WHAT? She’s allergic to DOGS? I’m sorry, but that is STUPID. Dogs are awesome. What kind of messed up person would be ALLERGIC to something so awesome? I don’t know man, your mom is DUMB.”

Second kid has absolutely no response to this, and looks at me pleadingly. I attempt to intervene: “Look First Kid, being allergic to dogs has nothing to do with liking dogs. My mother loves all animals, but she’s allergic to cats and a lot of dogs. She can’t help it, it’s just something that happens.”

First kid is deep in thought. “So like you’re born with allergies?”

"Exactly!"

First kid pauses, and busts out an incredible turn of phrase: “Look, what I am about to say MAY BE CONSIDERED CONTROVERSIAL. But I should NOT GET IN TROUBLE FOR IT.” The exact phrasing has obviously stuck with me to this day, and given the gesticulation accompanying I imagine he picked this up from a comedian or something. I still don’t know. For the first time I’m somewhat concerned about being left alone with minors, but I let him continue.

"There are people in our community who are… I don’t want to say the word… it’s like when a boy likes a boy or a girl likes a girl."

"You mean people who are gay?"

"YES! Now… I know that being G-A-Y isn’t a big deal, it’s just how some people are born, and it’s not weird, and no one should ever make fun of them for it. I shouldn’t get in trouble for saying this!"

"You haven’t said anything that will get you in trouble, First Kid. And if you’re just stating a fact it’s okay to say gay."

"I don’t want to get in trouble. But like… Second Kid’s mom was just BORN allergic to dogs?"

"Right."

"Okay, so being allergic to dogs is the same thing as being gay?"

"I mean… yes?"

"Second Kid, I’m sorry I made fun of your Mom for being allergic to dogs. It’s just like she’s gay or something, she’s not stupid."

Second kid begrudgingly accepted the apology, and seconds later his mother came in to pick him up. First kid felt a little bad for being prejudiced against allergic people, but I told him he’s fine. And he is.

Beyond watching sullen eight year olds who hate homework growing into high-achieving teenagers who will patiently walk a second grader they barely know through multiplication even if it interrupts their own studies, beyond watching kids discover their hidden love of acting, poetry, claymation, or fashion design, beyond even getting to walk through A SECRET PASSAGE HIDDEN BEHIND A BOOKSHELF multiple times a week, this is why I volunteer at 826NYC and want it to continue to flourish. It’s a safe space for people to ask questions, explore topics, and learn tolerance for people with dog allergies. 
If you can, please donate whatever amount you feel appropriate to support 826NYC. And regardless, if you are ever in the need of a cape and are in Brooklyn, I can hook you up.

Jul 30

Why Image Comics and Creators Need to Stop Demonizing Editors Now -

I think this article could have used some revising to reflect there are at least four levels of “editorial involvement” at the Marvel/DC level:

  1. Actual line-editing, i.e. “You misspelled these words and you might want to work on your transition between scenes here, it’s not clear.”
  2. A creative sounding-board/story editor, i.e. “You might want to flesh out this character’s motivations more, and hold off on resolving [plot point] until after [event]. Maybe you could explore this?
  3. Continuity/Character Cop, i.e. “Namor wasn’t an Avenger until long after when you’re flashing back to. Martian Manhunter probably wouldn’t call anyone a “stupid douchebag”. You’re drawing red underwear on Superman, and Batman doesn’t sit.”
  4. Editorially Driven Content, i.e. “Hey drop what you’re doing. Your next three issues need to tie into our linewide event. Stop using Character A, I know you’re halfway into a yearlong story, but someone has dibs on her. You’re using this other character now, to set up a mini-series someone else is writing. Also we’re replacing you on this book, you’re writing an entirely different thing or nothing at all. Also goddammit, we told you Batman doesn’t sit.”

I am reasonably certain every single Image book (and indeed, every book published in the world, even self-published ones) have people doing Jobs One and Two. You might have a few hardcore auteurs bristle against Job Two, but they’re few and far between.

Job Three is a necessary task — I wouldn’t even call it a necessary evil, though some might and I can see where they’re coming from — but I honestly don’t see a lot of it evident from most Big Two books, and where I do it’s usually something silly like the Batman Doesn’t Sit business. 

Job Four is probably seen as a necessary evil, and is almost certainly where 90% of complaints about editors originate. I think a lot of times this involves shooting the messenger, since the assistant editor on Doctor Strange or Doom Patrol isn’t deciding when a marquee character turns into a [black person/woman/corpse/talking horse]. It’s frustrating as a reader to see stories you enjoy get derailed, so I can only imagine how it feels to the creators. It may be the cost of doing business, but it’s also a completely valid motivation for someone to want to stop doing that business, and to call it “demonizing editors” is wack.

Jul 29

Well I mean, her name is Scarlett Johannson, not Lucy. Right there we’re starting on some faulty scientific principles. Birth certificates are signed by doctors, who are scientists.

Well I mean, her name is Scarlett Johannson, not Lucy. Right there we’re starting on some faulty scientific principles. Birth certificates are signed by doctors, who are scientists.

Anonymous said: Just curious: You mention "every time" you announce Greg Land is drawing a book, you get the same types of passive aggressive "I don't want to support" messages. Do you get these messages with any other artists?

brevoortformspring:

To clarify, I get the same type of passive-aggressive message from the same small group of fans who don’t like Greg’s work. But that’s not indicative of the opinions of the audience as a whole. It’s just the same guys who have an axe to grind writing the same things regardless of what assignment Greg happens to have. Just one step short of #FIREGREGLAND territory.

I’m not someone who goes around writing to editors about what books I’m not going to buy, but I’m definitely someone who isn’t going to buy a book that has Greg Land art. I’m not sure if that means I have an axe to grind or I’m in borderline #FIREGREGLAND territory, but when did it become inappropriate to express negative opinions about creators you’re not a fan of?

Especially in a collaborative medium like superhero comics. I enjoy Kieron Gillen and Al Ewing as writers, but if their work is going to be drawn by someone I feel misses the essential points of storytelling, I would just as soon read their scripts and not have them misdirected and ruined by bad art. That’s just an opinion, of course, but I think it’s a valid one.

I may like The Rock as an action movie star, but if I don’t like Brett Ratner I’m not going to see his new movie. If Brian Eno announced he was producing the new Limp Bizkit album, I wouldn’t want to buy that. If this means I’m some passive-aggressive malcontent trying to take money out of Limp Bizkit’s kid’z mouthz, so be it.