In which apparently these assholes are real

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These are not the assholes to which I am referring.  I’m a big fan of one of them and I’m sure the other one is a perfectly nice person.

The news hit earlier this week: that Brian Michael Bendis had signed an exclusivity contract with DC Comics.  This news probably means precisely nothing to you unless you’re a fairly hardcore comics person; if you aren’t such a person feel free to skip this post entirely as it will hold little relevance to you.

For me, it was really Goddamned bad news.  Now, to be perfectly clear: I don’t begrudge Bendis a single dime of the no-doubt enormous check DC has written him for this; the man has the unquestioned right to do whatever he wants with his career.  He doesn’t have to ask me shit, and he doesn’t owe me anything.  But as Bendis has become, for me, the definitive Spider-Man writer over the seventeen years he’s been writing the character, and as he invented Miles Morales, who for me is now a better Spider-Man than Peter Parker ever was, and as he’s also currently writing both Jessica Jones, which I love, and Iron Man, who is my favorite comic book character of all time… well, the news that he wasn’t going to be writing any of those books anymore is insanely Goddamned depressing.  I’ve been reading Iron Man since I was nine.  He’s had a lot of writers during that time.  Jessica Jones is great but I can live without it.  But the idea that I won’t be able to read any more of Bendis writing Miles is deeply upsetting.

I mean, I’ll get over it.  I’m sure whatever he ends up doing at DC is going to be pretty awesome.  But… shit.


So anyway, I went to the comic shop on Wednesday, as I do.  And I (no doubt as 90% of his customers for the day had done) asked the owner (who, by the way, is the cover artist for Skylights) what he thought of the news, and we got into a brief conversation about it. Now, Casey pulls my books for me every week, and it’s literally his job to know the tastes of the various people who frequent his store, so he knows good and well I’m a fan.  And I’m reasonably sure he is as well.

This dude comes up behind me while we’re talking.  This isn’t unusual, mind you; I’m at the counter, so “behind me” is the place where other people who want comics will naturally end up.  And I hear him mumble under his breath:

“Yeah, maybe Marvel will finally start getting good again.”

I glance at him and don’t respond, opting to continue my conversation with Casey, who gets a very brief pained expression on his face and then also moves on.  I’ve seen this guy in the store plenty of times before, and as much as my physical appearance screams Comic Book Guy to most normals this guy has me beat by at least a few levels.  Anyway, we conclude– I’m not enough of a dick, and Casey is too much of a professional, for either of us to monopolize the counter when there are people waiting.

“See you next week,” I say, as I damn near always do, and I head for the door.  And then this guy starts in on Casey.

“Yeah, he’ll probably end up getting Justice League, and then he’ll make Batman gay, and Superman black, and who knows what else he’s going to ruin…”

…and it hits me.  Bendis is married to a black woman, right?  His kids are biracial.  He was pretty explicit that he created Miles Morales because he thinks (correctly) his kids need superheroes to look up to.  And not for nothing, the person running around in red and gold armor in the Marvel universe right now is a black teenage girl named Riri Williams:

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Holy shit.  This guy is one of those fuckers who thinks Marvel screwed up comic books by getting too much brown in them.  One of those stupid, stupid bastards.  Right here!  Right in front of me!  Trying to argue with me, in fact!  Or at least inflict his stupid opinion on the guy who owns the comic shop, somebody who by definition really can’t argue back, after making at least a halfassed attempt to insert himself into our conversation and being rebuffed.

Most of this is unfolding in my head as I’m walking to my car.  And I resist the urge to go back into the store and start some shit, because part of me thinks that this type of racist asshole needs to be made unwelcome everywhere he goes all the time forever and ever, but the rest of me really doesn’t want to start a row inside this guy’s comic shop.

That said?  Next time I see Casey, I’m asking him for permission.

KOKOMO-CON: The Cosplay

I will be back at this con next year.  I had a blast, sold an entire box of books, and the cosplay was magnificent.  I’ll be annotating some of these tomorrow (a few of them won’t make a ton of sense out of context) but for now here’s the cosplayer pictures I took:

WELL OKAY ONE STORY: I use free Oreos at my booth as a way to catch people’s attention, right?  Toward the end of the con, the guy dressed as Negan waltzed over to me, looked me straight in the eye, and said “You have Oreos.  I’m taking half.”

And then he actually did it.

I laughed my ass off.  This may be my single favorite con moment so far.

Anyway, the pictures:

A stupid good thing

maxresdefaultIt has been a miserable couple of weeks around here.  I just got over being sick and went straight into some major Clark Kent life drama, which combined with an apparent downturn in the local economy (the sales for the store in general have been shit for several weeks now) have not done well for my general state of mind lately.  Unfortunately, while I do like to use the blog as a braindump for said on-my-mind stuff, sometimes shit simply isn’t My Business to share– that would be the family issues– and the other major thing that happened recently and scared the everloving fuck out of me would make it way too easy to figure out certain important things that I’m not willing to share about my kid, even if I just nibbled around the edges on it.  So you all get VaguePosting and I consider opening another blog up and telling no one about it just so I can get the post in my head out and onto paper.  Or, uh, pixels.  Whatever.

It’s a thing, is what I’m saying.

But!  I was fucking unconscious at work yesterday– I literally either sold something to or quoted out every customer I spoke to except for one, and managed to transform a sales week that was utter shit walking into Saturday into a quite-welcome average week walking out.  I’m off today, because the boy turned six on Wednesday and his birthday party is today.  There are lots of sweaty six-year-olds in my future.  (I am tempted to say “and not in a good way,” here, which I think is probably just creepy innuendo for the sheer hell of innuendizing?  What the hell would the good way be?  I dunno.)

But back to that stupid good thing.  And it’s really stupid, so those of you who aren’t video game nerds may just want to go ahead and cut out now; the tl;dr version is I had an utterly minor life accomplishment that has improved my mood.

Anyway: I can’t find when the first mention of Nioh was on this blog, but needless to say the damn game came out in February and I haven’t really played anything else since I bought it.  I have been stuck on a particular boss– that evil ice bitch Yuki-Onna, pictured up there– for, literally, months, to the point where it has seriously affected the way I think about video games.  I want a fucking cheat mode on everything I play now, because paid $60 for this damn game and I want to see the whole thing, and nothing is worth getting stuck for as long as I was.  And it didn’t matter what the hell I did, I couldn’t get her past half her health, and I was still good for a two-second “Nope, not today” one-shot death about every third or fourth fight.  This weekend (which, remember, is Thursday and Friday for me,) being generally miserable and lacking in any brainspace whatsoever that might be useful for things other than video games, I decided I was in “beat this boss or die trying” mode.

To wit: I respecced my entire character, twice, and learned an entirely different weapon, switching my build from sword-spear to kusarigama-spear and adding a bunch of ninjutsu and onmyo mage skills, just so that I could get past Yuki-Onna.  And finally, Friday morning, I managed to take her out after months of trying.  I have been playing video games for a long, long time, guys, and I’m pretty certain I have never once in that time gotten stuck for this long at a specific boss in a game and then actually gotten past it.

I am several stages past her level now, and destroyed all the bosses in between on the first time I fought them, having had to massively overlevel Yuki-Onna’s stage in order to finally fucking beat her.  Which: way to difficulty spike, game.  She’s supposedly only the sixth hardest boss in the game, too, so I have that to look forward to, since I haven’t seen any of the top 5 yet.

But hey: it’s good news, even if it’s stupid good news.  The way shit’s been going lately, I’ll take it.

(Want to improve my mood?  I haven’t sold a book in a few days.  If you have a couple of bucks you don’t mind burning, you could order one.)