In Memoriam



Watch out, mister! Here comes the twister! This is Rudy Ray Moore–yeah, I’m the Human Tornado! I chained down thunder and handcuffed lightning! I’m so damn strong it’s sometimes frightening! I grabbed a star traveling a million miles a minute and slowed it down to the state speed limit! Yes, I’m the Human Tornado! Winnin’, grinnin’ and sinnin’! I used an earthquake to mix MY milkshake! I eat an avalanche when I want ice cream! I punched a hurricane and made it a breeze! I swallowed an iceberg and didn’t freeze! The Human Tornado! Flingin’ cash and talkin’ trash! Delayed, relayed, mislaid AND parleyed! Jumped, stumped, bumped AND mugwumped! THE HUMAN TORNADO!

–Radio spot for the Human Tornado, 1976

Ten-Four, Snowman



In 1967, Reed notched his first chart hit with “Guitar Man,” which Elvis Presley soon covered. Presley had come to Nashville to record in 1967, and one of the songs he was working on was “Guitar Man,” which Reed had written and recorded. “I was out on the Cumberland River fishing, and I got a call from Felton Jarvis (then Presley’s producer). He said, ‘Elvis is down here. We’ve been trying to cut ‘Guitar Man’ all day long. He wants it to sound like it sounded on your album.’ I finally told him, ‘Well, if you want it to sound like that, you’re going have to get me in there to play guitar, because these guys (you’re using in the studio) are straight pickers. I pick with my fingers and tune that guitar up all weird kind of ways.'”

So, Jarvis hired Reed to play on the session. “I hit that intro, and [Elvis’s] face lit up and here we went. Then after he got through that, he cut ‘U.S. Male’ at the same session. I was toppin’ cotton, son.”


Because It Needs To Be Said

Under normal circumstances, this is where you’d find my half-joking reviews of the new comics, but this week, there’s something that’s a little more important that I wanted to draw everyone’s attention to, courtesy of Friend of the ISB John DiBello.

Don’t worry: I’ll be getting back to the more lighthearted stuff soon enough, but while I hate that it’s at this point, the kind of things that John talks about in the following piece make me so angry that I can’t see straight, and every once in a while, you have to take some time to remind people to not act like thoroughly reprehensible slime.

Fortunately, John’s done a better job of articulating the problem than I ever could’ve:



Overheard at San Diego Comic-Con while I was having lunch on the balcony of the Convention Center on Sunday July 27: a bunch of guys looking at the digital photos on the camera of another, while he narrated: “These were the Ghostbusters girls. That one, I grabbed her ass, ’cause I wanted to see what her reaction was.” This was only one example of several instance of harassment, stalking or assault that I saw at San Diego this time.

1. One of my friends was working at a con booth selling books. She was stalked by a man who came to her booth several times, pestering her to get together for a date that night. One of her co-workers chased him off the final time.

2. On Friday, just before the show closed, this same woman was closing up her tables when a group of four men came to her booth, started taking photographs of her, telling her she was the “prettiest girl at the con.” They they entered the booth, started hugging and kissing her and taking photographs of themselves doing so. She was confused and scared, but they left quickly after doing that.

3. Another friend of mine, a woman running her own booth: on Friday a man came to her booth and openly criticized her drawing ability and sense of design. Reports from others in the same section of the floor confirmed he’d targeted several women with the same sort of abuse and criticism.

Quite simply, this behavior has got to stop at Comic-Con. It should never be a sort of place where anyone, man or woman, feels unsafe or attacked either verbally or physically in any shape or form. There are those, sadly, who get off on this sort of behavior and assault, whether it’s to professional booth models, cosplayers or costumed women, or women who are just there to work. This is not acceptable behavior under any circumstance, no matter what you look like or how you’re dressed, whether you are in a Princess Leia slave girl outfit or business casual for running your booth.

On Saturday, the day after the second event I described above, Ipulled out my convention book to investigate what you can do and who you can speak to after such an occurrence. On page two of the book there is a large grey box outlining “Convention Policies,” which contain rules against smoking, live animals, wheeled handcarts, recording at video presentations, drawing or aiming your replica weapon, and giving your badge to others. There is nothing about attendee-to-attendee personal behavior.

Page three of the book contains a “Where Is It?” guide to specific Comic-Con events and services. There’s no general information room or desk listed, nor is there a contact location for security, so I go to the Guest Relations Desk. I speak to a volunteer manning the desk; she’s sympathetic to the situation but who doesn’t have a clear answer to my question: “What’s Comic-Con’s policy and method of dealing with complaints about harassment?” She directs me to the nearest security guard, who is also sympathetic listening to my reports, but short of the women wanting to report the incidents with the names of their harassers, there’s little that can be done.

“I understand that,” I tell them both, “but what I’m asking is more hypothetical and informational: if there is a set Comic-Con policy on harassment and physical and verbal abuse on Con attendees and exhibitors, and if so, what’s the specific procedure by which someone should report it, and specifically where should they go?” But this wasn’t a question either could answer.

So, according to published con policy, there is no tolerance for smoking, drawn weapons, personal pages or selling bootleg videos on the floor, and these rules are written down in black and white in the con booklet. There is not a word in the written rules about harassment or the like. I would like to see something like “Comic-Con has zero tolerance for harassment or violence against any of our attendees or exhibitors. Please report instances to a security guard or the Con Office in room XXX.”

The first step to preventing such harassment is giving its victims the knowledge that they can safely and swiftly report such instances to someone in authority. Having no published guideline, and indeed being unable to give a clear answer to questions about it, gives harassment and violence one more red-tape loophole to hide behind.

I enjoyed Comic-Con. I’m looking forward to coming back next year. So, in fact, are the two women whose experiences I’ve retold above. Aside from those instances, they had a good time at the show. But those instances of harassment shouldn’t have happened at all, and that they did under no clear-cut instructions about what to do sadly invites the continuation of such behavior, or even worse.

I don’t understand why there’s no such written policy about what is not tolerated and what to do when this happens. Is there anyone at Comic-Con able to explain this? Does a similar written policy exist in the booklets for other conventions (SF, comics or otherwise) that could be used as a model? Can it be adapted or adapted, and enforced, for Comic-Con? As the leading event of the comics and pop culture world, Comic-Con should work to make everyone who attends feel comfortable and safe.

John DiBello
Crossposted From Here



Comments for this post have been turned off. If you want to discuss it, do it elsewhere: talk to your friends, your retailer, or on your own blog. Get the word out.

In Memoriam

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Mark Evanier reported that Dave Stevens died yesterday from leukemia.

Stevens has always been one of those artists that I’ll forget about for a while, then I’ll suddenly see something he’s drawn and instantly be reminded of how absolutely amazing he was. Like a lot of people my age, I first became aware of him from the movie version of The Rocketeer, which combined my love of jetpacks with my hatred of Nazis. I haven’t seen it in a while, but I vividly remember the accompanying strips from Disney Adventures and–as I’ve mentioned before–the Peter David adaptation where Russ Heath drew six panels of Jennifer Connelly putting on her stockings. That one will always hold a special place in my heart, but when I was finally able to track down some of Stevens’ originals, he pretty much kicked in the door and let me know that soon, I would become a man.



Let’s hear it for Dave Stevens, everybody. One of the greats.

¡Parada! ¡Un Ladrón!

Aside from the issue where Batman chucks a car battery at a thug in a junkyard, another one of my childhood favorites was a story from a couple years earlier where a psychopath was going around Gotham City dressed as Batman, using his techniques and methodology to further his own sinister, murderous ends.

Well, not to get all melodramatic here or anything, but tonight, I know exactly how Batman felt about that.



See, thanks to the ever-vigilant Adam Ford of Monkey Punch Dinosaur! fame, it’s come to my attention that there’s a guy down in Argentina who has made it a habit to take ISB entries that I’ve written, translate them into Spanish, and then post him over at his own site without any form of credit whatsoever in a pretty amazing example of wholesale content thievery.

And I’m not talking about just lifting an image, or discussing the same issue or something. This is the Internet, after all, and that’s bound to happen a little bit. But this is different: He’s outright stealing ’em, to the point where he even took my “Diagram of Computo” (originally posted August 4, 2006)…



…and photoshopped one of his own:



I mean, seriously. He even copied Brainiac’s signature. What the hell?

And from the looks of things, adding a couple of arms to a drawing is about the most original thing he’s managed to come up with. Clicking through the archives reveals that an overwhelming majority of the posts he’s done have been lifted entirely from the ISB, right down to the alt text for the images, which, for me, is the equivalent of the Grinch taking the very last can of Hoo Hash.

You can check out the archives for yourself, but rest assured: Even the one-panel gag posts I’ve done aren’t safe, and perhaps the most telling is this entry, where he–in a moment characterizing him as a truly epic douchebag–apologizes for not having the time to update as much as he wanted, and then offers a set of “best of” links, three of which are mine, one of which comes–I’m reasonably sure–from Dial B For Blog, and one of which “borrows” liberally from a piece I wrote for Prism.

And then he posts a picture stolen from the ISB. Which I recognize from the way the lettering’s been cleared up. Because, you know. I did that.

Which brings up another point: It’s not just me–although to be honest, my content provides the source for the majority of “his” stuff. He’s ripped off Dial B, MightyGodKing, Kevin Church, Jake Bell, Random Panels, and many more, I’m sure. Feel free to look through yourselves: It’s like a Comics Blogger Trivia Game, except that a normal game wouldn’t make you pissed off that somebody stole a piece you wrote eulogizing Arnold Drake.

Interestingly enough, as near as I can tell, he hasn’t once stolen from Dave Campbell, thus proving that even the scum of the Earth has standards.

Needless to say, I’m infuriated. Whether it shows or not, I put a lot of work into what I write here, and to be honest, I wouldn’t even mind if he was taking my stuff and translating it into Spanish if he’d bothered to credit any of it. This goes far beyond the standard annoyance and into something both shameless and disgraceful.

And here’s the kicker: The South American Bootleg version of the ISB just won an award, and that… Huh. I was gonna write a joke here, but it looks like I’m too darn mad.

So why tell you guys? Well, in theory, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you like me enough that you don’t wish me specific harm, and while I certainly wouldn’t advise you to follow my example of letting “Franco” know what a tool he’s being in his comments sections (although I’d certainly consider such thievery “objectionable”), I’d like to remind you of one thing:

Peter Parker once let a thief get away, folks. And I think we all know how that turned out.






You know, it’s pretty comforting to know that I can identify a problem, go to work, and then come home later to find that you guys have focused yourselves like a laser and scoured said problem from the face of the Internet. I mean really: After this, I’m seriously considering going into cult leadership.

Yes, as you’ve probably noticed if you tried to follow any of the links in the above post (or if you’ve read the comments section below), my Argentinian doppelganger has shut down his blog after a veritable tidal wave of ISB readers crashed into him, and I’d just like to offer a heartfelt thanks to everyone who left a comment here or sent an email. I thought about explaining just why I was so mad one more time, but from the looks of things, you guys already know pretty much how I feel.

Anyway, like I said: Thanks to everybody (including Mondo Comics for bending spacetime itself to retroactively award me their Blog of the Day), and if there’s anybody out there showing up from South America to enjoy the ISB, you’re more than welcome and I’m glad to have you, but I’m sorry to say that my grasp of Spanish starts and ends with “¡Dios Mio! ¡Un esqueleto!

When you get right down to it, though, doesn’t the sight of a man punching out a polar bear transcend language?





Ah, the wonders of serum.

Mom had her surgery yesterday and everything went just fine. It turned out to be a triple bypass, but she’s doing well and recovering nicely.

Me, I’m relieved of course (I finally got a good night’s sleep last night), but even more than that, I’m just amazed 24 hours after a team of Catholic surgeons were screwing around with her heart, she was awake, chatting, eating breakfast, and walking down the hall. I think we can chalk that up as a win… for Science!

Anyway, my thanks goes out to everyone who left a message or sent an email, you guys really helped to cheer both of us up. She appreciates it, and I know I did too. Regular updates will probably get the ISB back on schedule once she’s back home and settled in.


The panels above are still from Amazing Spider-Man #33, and it’s still the greatest Marvel comic ever printed. To be more specific, those panels are actually from the Complete Collection DVD-ROM, which is worth it just for the insane amount of Peter Parker PDF it contains, fresh from Danny Fingeroth’s collection to your computer.