Another Convention, Another Banning Over Politics

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In the most absurd instance of this kind of discrimination by conventions yet, East Coast Comic Expo has banned creator Larry Higgins from exhibiting his books at their convention. in this banning, he wasn’t accused of doing anything wrong himself — but the accusation involves him TALKING about a controversy which has nothing to do with the convention.

Higgins streams on youtube talking about comics and pop culture quite a bit, it’s a part of his strategy toward crowdfunding his comics. The Expo however, has no cause for any public concern over Larry, who is a small time creator almost everyone at the convention probably wouldn’t have heard of. His channel only has a few hundred subscribers. They have no reason to go after him.

But they did anyway. Higgins alleges he was at a convention and heard a conversation about voice actor Vic Mignogna, talked to a man about the actor, and the man disliked Higgins’ opinion about Vic so he took to Facebook to try to rile up a mob against Higgins. The man allegedly became angry, flinging a term at Higgins calling him an “MRA” – or Men’s right activist. The term is a dogwhistle by the extreme left to point outrright wing men and shame them.

Vic Mignogna is a popular anime voice actor who’s come under a lot of fire lately by feminists and left wing activists to try to destroy him. He’s recently come under fire, getting removed from jobs, conventions over similar online mob allegations, but with him over harassment. It appears the attacks on Mignogna were also partly politically motivated, as Mignogna has voiced he’s a Christian, and upset the radical LGBT activist community by refusing to sign pornographic homoerotic images of characters he’s done voice acting for (a “genre” of fan-based art known as Yaoi), resulting in accusations of homophobia for the actor. Accusations of sexual harassment then started appearing on the internet about Mignogna.

Higgins has no connection to the actor, nor has he spoken with the actor. Someone pushed a political agenda and tried to rile up an online mob against this poor comic creator, someone who’s just getting his career started and finding his audience. The East Coast Comic Expo allegedly then called Higgins and told him he’s no longer welcome to exhibit.

This kills a budding comic career, as creators need to get to these conventions to sell their wares. Having “wrong opinions” should not be the purview of a convention to go after a writer. It shouldn’t even have to be said. Casting a shadow on Higgins is destructive to his career, and he has little recourse in this matter as the convention has not made any public statement about him.

The tribalism of these conventions is killing fandom, making it so right wing or centrist creators who disagree on ANY topic have to be fearful about any opinions. It’s fascism in culture, and exactly what we’ve been fighting here for a couple of years. However, this has reached an absurd level, where a small time creator can’t even have an opinion about a voice actor.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for how to support HIggins in the next couple of days, as I do not believe he has a campaign up as of current, but we will definitely be looking out for him and trying to help him with his career as these conventions try to kneecap him over politics.

If you are fighting the culture war and are sick of people getting banned from these conventions for no reason, read my books! For Steam and Country is the first in a multiple award-nominated and award winning series. You’ll love it if you love heroic characters who display loyalty in a time of crisis. Read it here: 

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Revolutions Need A Purpose Or They Will Not Last

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Waging the culture war is often like beating your head against a wall on repeat, hoping eventually the wall will fall down. It requires a hard head for one, but you’ll find more often than not that people you thought were on your side will attempt to put walls around you.

It sounds like a vague analogy, and it is to some extent, but it’s also what I’ve encountered since doing everything i can to start a cultural revolution in comic books in 2017. As we know, my movement I began is called ComicsGate. And since that time, it’s morphed from what it was supposed to be into a club of grown men acting like a high school mob.

And it’s not healthy. I’ve done everything I can to try to get it back on track, and still am working toward that end, because there’s a huge real battle out there.

But we have to have purpose, and remember what the roots were. I’ve been hamming on this point for nearly a month because there is a subset that won’t listen and is continuing with the same ways that are stagnating the growth and making it so no normal person would join up if they’re in their right minds.

The purpose has always been this:

  • The mainstream industry is blacklisting conservatives
  • We are opposed to that
  • We want great comics that aren’t pushing an identity politics narrative

That’s it. It’s pretty simple and a great base to start producing and getting going. I’ve put my money where my mouth is and produced 3 full graphic novels in this time to try to counter the industry, making the equivalent of monthly books with my hard work.

And meanwhile, a lot of other folk are meandering and stirring up drama with cosplayers on YouTube, muddying the points above because it’s more about their personal YouTube clicks than anything else.

Yet more are taking to blacklisting conservatives because they are trying to appeal to a “centrist” core that they imagine exists. They act like the mainstream industry only label themselves ComicsGate. It flies in the face of everything we’ve tried to create.

It’s ugly and unfocused. And it’s time for change.

We need to get back to our purpose. And those who can’t are showing themselves, because they want a few short term dollars from outrage. It’s not sustainable, and doesn’t do anyone any good. Those are the people to look out for in the movement, the ones that will do anything to maintain a buck while not producing much of anything.

Join me in fighting against the mainstream that’s in lockstep and looking for any reason to hold us down. But we have to stay with those bullet points above. Otherwise, we’re just here flailing and yelling for no reason.

My book’s now up on BackerKit for people who missed out on the campaign. Join a lot of readers who are moving comics forward in a positive direction.

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#HimToo – Sexual Abuse Of Men Is Real, But No One Talks About It

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Bonnie Randall, a paranormal romance author, stops by to talk about male victims of sexual abuse in conjuction with her new book, Within The Summit’s Shadow. Sexual abuse of men is much harder to talk about societally because there’s no “cool trendy thing” around it if you’re a guy. Bonnie is a social worker in child protections, dealing with abuse and addiction on a regular basis. She knows how dark it is out there and has a unique view on the topic. Hopefully we can raise a little awareness and help her book. 

#HimToo

You didn’t really think it only happens to females, did you?

I won’t tell you the details and spoil my own novel, but I will say this: women haven’t cornered the market on #metoo . Men—boys—get victimized too, yet males are socialized to stay stoic and silent. Sometimes even encouraged to rewrite their own histories, to claim that they liked the experience.

As in: “C’mon. You secretly wanted it—didn’t you?”

Where have we heard that before?

That’s right. It isn’t just gals who get their backs slapped by some no-minds who want them to believe they actually wanted their body to be used like a play toy. Seems to me we, as human beings, have such an inner moratorium on sexual violence that we seem to like to file through our internal rolodex of reasons why rape can’t possibly be rape.

We’re cowards that way.

Sexual violation is an earthly version of Hell for its victims—all its victims—and not every man who’s been victimized turns out to be a studly alpha such as Christian Grey, the oversexed hero who still casts quite a wide-reaching (and profoundly perplexing) spell over a whole lot of women who otherwise call themselves ‘modern’ and ‘liberated’. <squints> My experience (not as a writer, but instead as a counselor for more than 25 years), tells me that most male vics don’t turn out to be d*ck-swinging romeos. On the contrary—most become sullen and scared and uncertain how to build normal relationships. They are confused and alone and self-medicate because it hurts: so booze, dope, work, gambling, and—ironically, perversely—sometimes sex become their solace. Then there are others, like my character, Andrew Gavin, who bury themselves in even more trauma by diving into first responder careers because misery and turbulence are states they are used to.

A detective who’s seen a lot of gore and has secrets he just cannot tell, Andrew isn’t just prickly on the outside. Internally, he carries a companion only he can see: The Dead Boy, a sewer-made mass of shadows, a delusion that taunts him and goads him to just pick up his sidearm. To feel all of it…and then none of it, anymore.

Andrew is my testimony to all the traumatic stories that have been my privilege (and heartache) to hear in all the years I’ve counseled people on the front line. It is the experience of all of these people who never chose to be broken—and who are both female and male—who not only inspired this novel, but also its dedication:

To anyone, anywhere, who has ever said “Don’t! Stop!”

#HimToo. It’s a thing.

Buy Bonnie’s new book here.

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Sparks are FLYING! It’s the Last Day

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We hit $15,000 this morning! Which makes me so happy because it means all backers are going to be getting the Meta-Girl: Origin short comic as a PDF. People have asked me to detail out her origin forever and it’s nice to finally get it done. Here’s a sample of the first page of that if you haven’t seen it:

So excited. Jethro’s gotten so much better at art as we’ve gone along, much more detail and consistency. It’s a joy to keep working with him, and this success means we will for sure be working together for at least a Volume 3 and Volume 4 of the series.

The campaign is wrapping up today, so if you haven’t backed yet please get on board! These books are statements both to the industry and to our movement’s community so running these numbers up does mean a lot.

To promote the end of the campaign, as well as Chuck Dixon’s Airboy #51 which is currently running on IndieGoGo, the two of us are going to stream today. It’s been awhile since I’ve talked to Chuck, you won’t want to miss this.

Make sure to subscribe to the channel too. Getting those numbers up costs nothing and ends up having a big impact for me. Once we get to $1K I can start monetizing the youtube as well.

All around exciting though. Flying Sparks 2 hitting this $15K threshhold is a big deal, especially since I cut the prices and didn’t offer all of the tertiary items on the main page like I did last time. This book is my pride and joy so I hope you’ll check it out!

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A Retrospective Look At Matt Kindt’s X-O Manowar Run

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One book is responsible for getting me jazzed about comics again after I’d been unexcited for several years. I’d been burned far too many times by Marvel/DC with event after event, retcon after retcon, and just a lack of fun or wonder coming from them.

X-O Manowar by Matt Kindt and Tomas Giorello changed that for me. Its bright yellow cover with an art homage to the original Star Wars poster drew me in. I didn’t buy it the first time I saw it. I looked at it, thought “wow this is cool,” and it took my 3rd week into the comic shop to give it a shot.

When I looked inside, I saw the interior art was even better than the cover. Giorello did such amazing work I was shocked to see it in comic form. It really was like watching a science fiction movie unfold in front of me.

I didn’t know much about Aric or his armor at the time. I just saw a haggard man, beaten down from war, wanting to escape it all, living with some smokin’ hot blue chick and being depressed. He gets forced into service and it becomes relentless epic battles for four issues.

Each arc breaks down very neatly and the titles of the graphic novel volumes really give an insight as to the character study as a superhero is looked at in a different lens each time: Soldier, General, Emperor, Visigoth, Barbarians, Agent, Hero.

Kindt loves to do this in his writing, I’ve noticed. Take a character, dissect him, and peel back the layers so we can see a study of what’s going on character wise. In this volume of XO, he also did it with the roldbuilding of the planet Gorin. The first 12 issues build up this whole planet in a way that’s a mastery of science fiction, that I loved to see and it really made me sad to see Aric leave the world, even though it was inevitable during the story.

Now artists rotated, and the tone changed, but it was mostly pretty good up until this point.

I feel like the shift when Aric was attacked by Bounty Hunters and decided to leave the planet after his ascendancy created an intense blowback of unintended consequences (a nice anti-war narrative despite the hero being such a master, and done in a subtle way that it didn’t overwhelm the book). The art teams weren’t quite as good from this point forward and the book felt like it struggled directionally, as well as diving into “we’d better answer the questions that were left from the prior run and how we got here.”

There were points that just didn’t flow quite right with the narrative, and that’s okay. Over a 26 issue run one would expect some issues, I don’t think it detracts from the overall work.

The most jarring was the reveal of why Aric left to begin with. This provided a full stop character reset for Aric, really undoing everything that was done in the first run of new Valiant XO. I was pretty upset when I saw the issue, but it also made a lot of sense with the main story. There was some content put in here clearly for diversity points too which makes me roll my eyes to see in comics, but it’s small enough that it didn’t overwhelm the run thankfully. I still wish this whole aspect of the storyline wasn’t done because I think breaking up families and tearing all that apart at this point really ends up a cliché thing in comics, and I’d prefer seeing a family stay together with a heroic, honorable character like Aric.

But, it was done. It broke the character. It was the worst possible thing to happen to a character, and creating those low points creates excellent drama. We watch Aric recover and go back to what he was before, working for secret agencies against alien threats because as an alien threat himself, he’s the one weapon who can stop them.

The series then wrapped up by bringing the consequences of Gorin to Earth, as Aric gets hunted. The hero isn’t left in the dust with his family gone, but we see the hot blue chick Schon come to Earth to stand by him, which is fulfilling for the arc. Aric is firmly back on earth and ready to be a superhero again. We also got a nice return to Giorello’s art to close it out. I wish they would have used him more for consistency, but I understand why Valiant would put him on book launches and events with how talented he is.

The final issue was a lot of wrap up, mostly the arc already done and we’re saying goodbye to this run. The art is very pretty, it definitely feels like a closed book now and done. I am just sad to see it go, since this really is what it looks like to read an epic work by a science fiction writing master.

If you like my analysis on Matt Kindt’s writing, try out my book, Flying Sparks. It’s got TWO days left and readers say volume 1 was “the best indie comic of 2018.” I know you’ll enjoy it! Back today! 

 

 

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The Final Countdown

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We are really close too the end of the Flying Sparks campaign!  Right now we’re sitting at a point where everyone’s getting so many indie comics from the community it’s such a great value.

But there’s more immediate stretch goals that are obtainable. This needs to be pushed over the top!

First up is back cover art by Gary Shipman. I’ll get that colored and add that in.

Next is a Meta-Girl: Origins story that’s 6 pages additional Flying Sparks content all backers will receive. Here’s a preview of the first page:

It’s a fun story that shows Meta-Girl’s early work with Professor Fitch. Readers asked me for the origin so I wanted to deliver!

You can back here. There is NO in-demand afterward on Kickstarter so make sure to come in and back now!

 

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Pro-Tip: Always Stay Hungry

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Last night one of the strangest things in sports happened that I’ve ever seen, but I’ve seen it many times before. I know you’re anti-sports here for the most part, but bear with me, because it’s relevant.

The Warriors, for those who don’t follow, are the most dominant team in basketball over the last 5 years. They have 4 all-stars on the court (of a team of 5) at any given moment. They’re the best of the best players in the league, and their arrogance shows more often than not.

Last night’s playoff game started like any other game they play. They went up by 31 points mid-third quarter. There was no way anyone could come back from such a deficit. It was easy rolling. All of the stars fired their best shots.  They were smirking, dragging their feet, resting up, because they didn’t ant to exert themselves any longer.

Then a crazy thing happened.

The end of the 3rd Quarter saw the Clippers make a 12-2 run against the Warriors. But they Ws had been resting Steph Curry the whole time. It was probably just the bench play, right?

The lead was cut to 20….

Then to 10…

Then to 2…

During the course of this, the stars of the Clippers, Green and Beverly, both fowled out. They were playing so hard, so physical that they couldn’t stay in. The Warriors meanwhile were really playing up the fouls, getting calls because they’re the champions. Draymond Green of the Warriors mocked Beverley for getting that last foul (which he barely touched Green) with a little wave and a “bye bye!”

It surely was over for the Clippers.

But their bench worked even harder. The Warriors, overconfident and lazy, just let them get past them. The Warriors finally went down, and couldn’t make up the difference.

It’s a huge lesson for all of us. No matter how well we’re doing, no matter what it looks like, we cannot get overconfident and rest on our laurels.

I’ve seen it happen soo many times in so many industries. There’s such a temptation to say “I won. It’s over” and stop fighting or producing. But life is even harder than sports. If you declare victory while the game’s still on, your loss is going to hurt a lot more than a few points. It could be your whole life, your whole livelihood.

Don’t get overly satisfied with what you’ve already done. Don’t get cocky. Don’t buy your own hype.

It’s the only way to keep winning. Otherwise there’s a lot of sharks out there ready to take you down and do it for themselves.

No matter where you’re at, there’s a lot of work to do. And on the other side — if you’re a “little young guy” like the Clippers appear to the Warriors, your lesson is you CAN do it. You can fight the big monster and win.

It’s all about perseverance and hard work.

My hard work is on display on Kickstarter right now! How many people keep telling me I’ll never cut it in the industry? I’ve got the monolith against me, and they started the game with a hundred point lead. But I’m going to fight and claw my way to victory with my every last breath. Flying Sparks 2 is my best comic work yet. Check it out. Only 3 days left! 

 

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$10K Achievement Unlocked!

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Last night was amazing!

I was out playing worship like I do most Thursday nights, practicing for the weekend with some of the best musicians in the Bay Area, and I come back home, open up my browser, click my campaign… boom! We got there!

This $10K number is one I wanted to unlock for a few reasons on Flying Sparks 2.

One, there’s just a nice perception to five-figures that this feels like a real success. I know that’s perhaps an odd thing to look at, but it definitely gives me a sense of relief on that end.

Second, for readers, this makes the campaign probably the most value-town of any campaign I’ve seen out there.

If you haven’t seen the stretch goal yet, the $10K number means there’s a ton of #1 Issue comics from awesome indie creators that you’ll get in addition to the Flying Sparks book now.

  • Alt-Hero #1
  • Chuck Dixon’s Avalon #1
  • Something Real #1
  • Juanpool #1
  • Sporkman: Conventions #1
  • Punchline #1
  • Nyobi #1
  • The Ember War #1
  • And my upcoming book, the first chapter next crowdfund we’ll be doing, Dynamite Thor #1. You’ll get the first look at this!
  • Plus if you missed the first campaign, an 8-Page Flying Sparks prequel, “Hannah’s Story”

This is a TON of comics. I probably should have split these up into two stretch goals cuz now at any backing level, readers just get a ridiculous amount of awesome books.

But we made it. Now every backer is going to really be in on a whole movement. This is exciting stuff! I can’t wait to get Flying Sparks into your hands.

If you haven’t backed yet, the campaign only has 7 days left. Get in now! 

 

 

 

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Being Content In God

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It’s been awhile since we did some soul searching on here, and it definitely was never the plan to get away from that.

I did some reflecting this morning on contentment. In our current society, we are probably the worst culture in history about this. Our whole model and focus is consume consume consume, new new new, more more more.

It often leads us on a destructive path where this world is our master. I don’t think anyone in America is immune to this.

That drives us to anxiety. The endless comparisons to what others have drive us to depression. Consumerism is the ultimate nihilism.  It’s separation from God. Hell on Earth.

Christ warns us In Matthew 6:

32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
We have to readjust our focus and priorities all the time. It takes conscious thought, and conscious prayer.
All the worldly gains are temporary. They don’t matter. A new collectible will not make you happy past the moment you buy it. A new car will stop being exciting when the scent fades. Only one thing can keep us going and keep us in a perfect state of contentment. There’s a secret to it, but it’s an open one. Paul tells us:
Philippians 4:
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
It’s pretty simple. Not some things, ALL things. We just have to solidify our faith even further.
I definitely feel too weird to sell stuff at the end of this post like I usually do, so I won’t post a link today. Hopefully this helps someone as it has me!
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The Nebula Conference Panels Are Listed And It’s Hilarious

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SFWA posted its schedule for the Nebula Conference, and one definitely expects a program mired with social justice causes of the week, but to the extent that it’s gone for a group that’s supposed to be a professional writers’ group that’s assisting their professional authors… it looks a lot crazier than even most local conventions in the San Francisco Bay Area that are focused on SJW fans and SJW fledgling writers.

We’ll be going over it today on The Lunch Stream. Subscribe so you don’t miss it. I’d definitely say the panel highlight is “Managing a career through Mental Illness” something that is at least very useful for all of SFWA’s leadership from my experiences with them.

What shocks me though is the lack of ANY focus on real business, or anything that an actual professional writer could use. There’s a lot geared toward amateurs as if this were some convention of people who still need to learn how to write. Lots of coaching, topical how to write… if you don’t know how to write, how are you in SFWA to begin with (you don’t need to answer this 😉 )?

But then, since SFWA shuns actual professionals like me who make money at this writer thing, it makes sense they need their conference to not actually enrich the careers of professionals who are making it. After all, we wouldn’t want those types in a professional guild.

The org has pushed itself into an even more worthless category with this event. I’m going to do my best to try to go (assuming they don’t pre-ban me for my existence in an attempt to harass your favorite Hispanic writer). Definitely most interested in the “What SFWA Can Do For You” panel… from the looks oof the convention, it looks like the answer is “take your money”.

I guess the answer is the 20BooksTo50K conference that actually seems to care about building writers’ careers. It’s got useful programming on how to market, what the markets look like, and more. 20Books doesn’t waste your time like SFWA. They’re not here to sit around and braid each others’ gender-spectrum’d hair, they’re here to make money at writing.

I’d say this should be a wake up call for future SFWA leadership, but we all know what’s coming.

Back my latest crowdfund. Going to need to cover my trip down to the Nebulas for the sake of journalism, and this is the best spot to kick in.

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