Trending Issues

Tue
25
Aug

Gravity Gaming Lounge Looted and Pillaged During Violent Raping of Kenosha Businesses

Gravity Gaming Lounge

It was a long, loud, and violent night for the residents of Kenosha. The citizens of the Wisconsin city on the shores of Lake Michigan, following the news and footage of the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, may have thought they were prepsred for the protests that would come. After all, they had seen what had happened after the George Floyd incident in Minnesota, and in Ferguson after the Michael Brown shooting.

Riots were the expectation.

But sometimes reality overwhelms expectations. Such was the case for Victor Estill, founder of the Gravity Gaming Lounge, which posted the following on their Facebook page in the wake of the devastation.

Thu
13
Aug

Did Bill Willingham Fabricate Embezzlement Accusations Against Stephanie Cooke?

Willingham Cooke Embezzlement

The Short Answer 

No.

The Longer Answer

On July 30, 2020, our esteemed competition in reporting on comics and entertainment, Bleeding Fool, published the second part in their ongoing series of articles investigating the so-called "Whisper Network,"  And while the bulk of that article continued to delve into the secret Facebook group, Women in Comics, it led with a blockbuster accusation that had been completely excluded -- and, in fact, in the case of one website, completely deleted -- from coverage. That accusation came from comic book writer Bill Willingham (FABLES, ELEMENTALS), when he claimed that Stephanie Cooke, working at the time as his assistant, embezzled in excess of $10,000 from his accounts.

Fri
31
Jul

Bill Willingham Reaffirms $10K Embezzlement Claims Against HMH's Stephanie Cooke

Stephanie Cooke Bill Willingham Embezzlement

In the hotly anticipated second installment of Bleeding Fool's exposure of the Women In Comics Facebook group, colloquially referred to as the "Whisper Network" came surprise allegations from FABLES creator Bill Willingham against Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Stephanie Cooke of embezzlement "in excess of ten thousand dollars."

The claim dates back to 2015 and references the period when Cooke was Willingham's assistant. Willingham reconfirmed that this is still an open case, hampered by the fact that Cooke had since moved back to Canada.

Sun
19
Jul

Defused: Dynamite Cancels Crowdfunding Project After Pros Turn Nasty

Defused. Dynamite cancels Cecil, Delay

Dynamite Comics has an interesting side-model to their business of producing monthly comic books starring licensed properties like BETTIE PAGE, VAMPIRELLA, RED SONJA and others. They allow for creators in the industry to create unique covers for already published books, and then crowdfund the publishing of these books. It's a neat way for collectors to get limited edition artwork, and it gives Dynamite some extra mileage from work that's already been done and paid for.

Tue
14
Jul

Twitter Outrage Mob Descends on Sebastian Stan Because His Girlfriend Wore a Kimono

Sebastian Stan and Alejandra Onieva

It seems a day doesn't go by that the Twitter trending list doesn't include a "...isCancelledParty" hashtag. Today it's THE WINTER SOLDIER star Sebastian Stan's turn in the online outrage grinder, as the #SebastianStanIsOverParty tries to gain traction in social media.

The cybermob is stirred up on two fronts.

The tempest-in-a-teapot began when a Twitter user, @angelas550, shared a photo of Alejandra Onieva -- Stan's rumored paramour -- dressed in a kimono, with the caption beneath reading "Asian Night."

That's literally it. Onieva replied to the caption with "Menuda noche de chinos. [What a Chinese night.]"

Tue
14
Jul

Lucifer Faces the Devil Himself in Final Netflix Season

Lucifer Season 5

When LUCIFER was damned to cancellation after its third season, fans reacted globally with an online campaign to #SaveLucifer: and it worked. Streaming service Netflix stepped in to offer salvation to the "police procedural meets theological fantasy" series, based off the comic book series created by Neil Gaiman.

At least, for a time.

The fourth season started answering the questions raised by that season three cliffhanger, where Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) became fully aware that Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) was exactly who he always purported to be, and ended with him having to return to his place ruling Hell in order to keep Decker safe.

Mon
13
Jul

From Depp, Heard Libel Case Arises Heist Story of Staggering $750 Million!

Depp Robbed of 750 million

Celebrity divorces have seldom been as replete with salacious details as has been that of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, with each side throwing accusations ranging from physical abuse to purposeful defecation on the marital bed.

However, testimony on Monday, July 12, went into a reason for one of the altercations, in which Depp claimed that Heard had thrown a "haymaker" at him on her birthday (a reference to which was later captured on one of the many secret recordings Heard made of Depp prior to their divorce).

Thu
09
Jul

Busted! Comics' Whisper Network of Female Creators Outed by Bleeding Fool Journalist

Bleeding Fool Busts Whisper Network

Bleeding Fool Writer Outs Secret Facebook Group of Comics Professionals from Inside

On July 8, the pop culture website Bleeding Fool broke the story that a group of comics professionals were colluding in a secret Facebook group (a level higher than 'private' which allows it to evade being found by search results) where they would target and mock male peers within the industry.

Fri
03
Jul

First DC, Now Asmodee. How Many More Hits Can Diamond Take?

Asmodee

While the departure was announced on BoardGameGeeks back in March, the departure of game manufacturer Asmodee from Alliance Distribution has been one that has happened a bit silently.

Alliance Distribution is the games arm of Diamond Comics Distribution, which took a major hit when DC Comics pulled out of their distribution contract this spring, opting to shift their operations to Luna Distribution and UCS, which allowed them to get product to comics retailers well ahead of their competition, who were still hamstrung with Diamond's COVID-19 related shutdown of operations.

Wed
24
Jun

Fear Leads to Codes for Survival in Comics Industry

CCA Pledge overlay image

It was a year of turmoil for comics professionals. Livelihoods were on the lines as those who worked in the industry began to see their peers picked off right and left, as the field of comics was being laid waste by the scythe of a force that had found it ripe for harvest. There were rules, arbitrary and unwritten, that had been broken, and the piper had come with the invoice, stamped "Past Due." In a rush of adrenalin-fueled panic, those still standing cobbled together a promissory note, a token to the aggrieved that they would change their behavior, codified for the world to see.

If you think this is a summary of the events of 1954 that led to the Comics Code Authority, it would be understandable. But it's 2020, and the professionals in comics are circling the wagons to protect themselves from threats internal, not external.

Fri
12
Jun

Blumhouse Hunt a Swiftian Satire Through Modern Lens

The Hunt Blu-ray

When THE HUNT was first publicized, it was received with a tremendous amount of online criticism. The elevator pitch was that it was going to be a riff on "The Most Dangerous Game" except that those hunted would be kidnapped Trump supporters released into the wilds of a private estate, to be chased down and killed in gruesome fashion by powerful elites. It was seen as further persecution of conservatives in some corners, and as the seal of approval or an open season on GOP voters by others. Paranoia, as the bards put it so eloquently, runs deep.

In truth, the film is actually a riff on "The Most Dangerous Game" except that those hunted would be... oh. Okay, so maybe the elevator pitch plot was actually spot on in that regard -- but it was hardly the whole story.

Mon
08
Jun

That's a Stretch: Hartley Sawyer Fired from The Flash for Tweets of Misogyny, Racism, Homophobia

Elongated Man Hartley Sawyer Fired from Flash

The Hollywood Reporter has just announced that Hartley Sawyer, who playes Elongated Man on The Flash on the CW Network, has been fired over tweets that have been deemed misogynistic, racist, and homophobic.

The tweets, dating from 2011 through 2014, were all posted before he began his stint on the DC Comics supehero show about the Fastest Man Alive, and read:

Sun
07
Jun

The DC / Diamond Divorce Dominates Discussion: The LCS Guys

The LCS Guys talk DC and Diamond

The buzz of the comics industry this week has centered around the shocking (or not so shocking) news that DC has ended its decades-long arrangement with Diamond Comics Distributors in favor of splitting their workload over two smaller distributors, Lunar and UCS.

Naturally, that was the dominating topic in this week's round table with The LCS Guys -- Uel Carter of Fantastic Comics, Berkely, California; Dave Dyer of Cosmic Comics in Belleville, Illinois; Michael Tierney of The Comic Book Store in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Ryan Seymore of Comic Town in Columbus, Ohio. Find out how retailers feel about the decision, their hopes and concerns, as well as what's selling this week and what's languishing on the shelves, as we settle in for another bullpen session.

Fri
29
May

False Statements, Lies Pressure Alterna Into Releasing Police Reports on 2019 Swatting

Tweeted Accusations

In February of 2019, Alterna Comics publisher Peter Simeti was on a live stream broadcast from his apartment, when a knock at the door drew him away from his microphone. The stream was left running, and viewers could clearly hear the police enter the apartment and question Simeti, in response to a 911 call about a violent domestic disturbance.

The violence did not happen. The call was faked -- what is termed a "SWATting" in which the perpetrator calls the police pretending to be in distress or emotional turmoil, specifically the kind that would urge police to enter with weapons drawn. The obvious intent is that the person targeted would thus be harmed by the police.

Mon
11
May

COVID-19 Quarantine an Aggravation for Families, Game Manufacturers, a Payday for Investors

Board Game Shelf

"It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good," the expression goes, meaning that most bad situations are at least good for someone. Thus it is that with most events of impact, a canny person can predict where the money will flow and try to get ahead of it. The greatest example of this would be the baby boom; hindsight shows how this influx to the population caused economic grown in various markets as that demographic reached different stages -- baby supplies at first, fast food in their youth, durable goods in their adulthood, financial planning in their retirement years.

Mon
11
May

Comics Retailers Weigh In on Changes in Distribution Paradigm

After the Great Disaster

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Critical Blast has been meeting regularly with comic shop owners through online roundtable meetings to discuss how they are finding ways to stay afloat. Some stores are in states where business closures have been mandated. Others are in states where they are open but without new product because the sole distributor for comic books, Diamond Comics Distribution, closed down, leaving those stores essentially closed as well.

With new distributors entering the game, thanks to intervention on behalf of DC Comics, we meet once again with Dave Dyer of Cosmic Comics in Belleville, Illinois, Michael Tierney of Collector's Edition in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Uel Carter of Fantastic Comics in Berkeley, California to catch up on how the latest shifts in this new and untamed business landscape have affected them.

Thu
23
Apr

32 Days Without Comics: COVID-19's Crisis in Infinite Comic Shops Continues

32 Days Without Comics

With a large portion of the country locked down economically due to COVID-19 restrictions, comic shop retailers find themselves in an unusual predicament. While many shops are open in states that have not had mandatory shutdowns, they nevertheless find themselves without product due to the shutdown at Diamond Comics Distribution, the lynchpin of the entire direct market system.

Thu
09
Apr

Crisis in Infinite Comics Shops: How the Corona Shutdown is Impacting Retailers Across the Country

No Comic Book Day

Across the country, small businesses, deemed non-essential, have been shut down. And while some states have not issued such orders due to their lack of cases of the coronavirus COVID-19, may are still feeling the pinch.

Fri
27
Mar

Eastwood's Richard Jewell a Captivating Look at a Moment in History

Richard Jewell

Clint Eastwood's RICHARD JEWELL is a compelling look at the actual events of 1996 and the bombing that took place at the Olympic Games in Atlanta Georgia.

When an AT&T security guard named Richard Jewell spotted a suspicious backpack, he insists police investigate it. This was a pre-9/11 world, where people weren't as hyper-aware of abandoned knapsacks and packages. Inside the pack were three very large pipe bombs, and the evacuation of the area is ordered. When the bomb went off, 111 people were injured, and Alice Hawthorne (44, Albany, Georgia) and Melih Uzunyol (40, Turkey) lost their lives. But the devastation could have been much worse. By all rights, Richard Jewel was a hero.

Until the FBI and the media decided he wasn't, and began profiling him as the person who planted the bomb in order to set himself up to look like a hero.

Fri
06
Mar

Blood in the Water: Fowler Double-Scalps Murphy, TenNapel

Blood in the Water Fowler Murphy TenNapel

It's been a while since indie comics pro Tess Fowler has claimed another career in the comics industry. That dry spell may be over now, depending on how events shape up after today's astonishing announcement from DC Comics writer/artist Sean Gordon Murphy, the driving force behind the best-selling BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT franchise.

In fact, reception to the WHITE KNIGHT line has been so encouraging to DC that they gave him the reigns to his own little universe -- the Murphyverse -- with power to hire talent for issues that would appear between extended runs.

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