§ Nice Art: Well, we had a week. Veering between lying in a fetal position, stress cleaning, heavy drinking, and dancing in the streets. But hopefully we can heal up and get back to normal business, like covering comics and not catching COVID-19. Memba that? Pia Guerra sums it up for me — and many.
§ Of course, I know what you are all asking now that the dust is settling and the election is over: Where do I get my Four Seasons Total Landscaping merchandise? This nondescript small business in a North Philadelphia commercial area captured the imagination of the world after it was chosen as the location for Rudy Guiliani’s press conference regarding voter fraud. Although many have tried to capture the magic, we still do not know exactly how Four Seasons was plucked from obscurity to become the big laugh we all needed.
However, artist/cartoonist Shing Yin Khor, was right on the spot and made the T-shirts we needed, with the added thrill of Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers’ terrifying mascot.
I am several celebratory mimosas in and made myself the Four Seasons Total Landscaping shirt I desperately wanted in my life. If you want it too, I'm tossing all profits to the Georgia runoffs. https://t.co/hK7mvcLr1I pic.twitter.com/NyjaNj39Ko
— shing yin khor (@sawdustbear) November 7, 2020
These shirts were way more popular than Khor expected! After selling $28,000 in merchandise, they were left with a tax issue and more complications.
1. We raised $28k+!!
2. This is now a tax problem for me!
3. Please be patient as I sort accounting, and wait 2 weeks for Threadless to actually send/transfer money.
4. Here are my max contribution receipts for the Senate runoff campaigns.
5. Shirt comes down at 2pm PST. pic.twitter.com/KsC6iRjwF4
— shing yin khor (@sawdustbear) November 8, 2020
Luckily, they were able to work it out with Threadless and – HALLELUJAH – the shirts are available again, including one in neon Gritty orange – that is the version that I purchased.
SHIRTS ARE BACK! I will be working directly with Threadless to get money directly to voting charities(the ones mentioned earlier)!! However, I am still refusing to offer shirts on black, out of respect for the beautiful oranges of Gritty's fur. Thank you. https://t.co/MWykjzblgY pic.twitter.com/BA4vH9r8Fc
— shing yin khor (@sawdustbear) November 9, 2020
You can get your indie Four Seasons Total Landscaping merchandise right here.
HOWEVER, in the spirit of can do small businesses across America, the owner of FSTL has opened up their OWN merchandise shop. The products they offer — a hoodie and T-shirts — are a bit less flamboyant than Shing Yin’s, but if you are thinking of going green, this one is nice.
There are also American flag versions if that’s how you roll.
The moral of the story? Small businesses and independent artists have to remain nimble in these times. Also, Gritty is WILD.
Fallout Comics is an escape that created its own universe — a much, much bigger one. The long-time business now occupies a new store, located at 1482 Apalachee Parkway, next door to its old one. With 10,000 square feet, Fallout Comics tripled in size. It’s now the largest comic book store in the region and one of the largest in the state. “It’s quite daunting to customers because they walk in and remember the old one,” Wilkens said. “I like to tell the joke, ‘They didn’t have a medium size store. It was either small or large, so I had to get this big one’.”
In the photos it looks totally vast! Good news in these tough times for comics shops.
§ NYC’s beloved children’s book store Books of Wonder has also moved to a new location:
The lease for the 17th Street location is for only three years. “Landlords don’t want to get into long-term leases at the current rate that people can pay,” said Glassman. “Maybe in a few years we will be able to pay higher rent, or we’ll close it down. That is where we are right now. The rent on 17th Street is half of what we were paying on 18th Street, which is a space we were supposed to split with a tenant.” Books of Wonder has a second location on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and Glassman reported the future of that location is uncertain as he is at an impasse with the landlord over rent.
§ CBR alerted me to this list of the Best Graphic Novels as defined by GoodReads. It seems that Maus and Watchmen vie for #1, depending on the time of day. It’s a solid list of what you would expect – lots of Alan Moore and Brian K. Vaughan, along with Persepolis and Blankets. Oh yes, I edited one of these books. Tee hee.
§ The X-Men were in comic book promotion jail for a long time because Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter didn’t want to promote them while Fox had the movie license. But now that everything is united and Disney owns Fox they have been free to flourish at Marvel once again. The current Jonathan Hickman-led revival has boosted their place as a symbol for many marginalized readers, most notably queer readers. Mother Jones’ Dan Spinelli has a nice round-up of their current state.
Then, last year, Marvel changed everything. Under a new branding initiative called Dawn of X, mutants shunted off to an island in the Pacific, formed their own country, and were left to grapple with the mechanics of nation building. The stories were enthralling. Comics reviewers and online fandom, responding to the hype of a new era, began to build a critical community that mirrored the chosen family seen on the page. A new wave of writers has convincingly made the case for a modern “mutant metaphor” that encompasses disability activism, queer subcultures, and, yes, resistance to the Trump administration. Given that a major X-Men villain is a deranged narcissist who’s obsessed with cable TV, it’s not actually much of a stretch!
Martin said, “I often think, ‘I don’t have another idea in my head, I don’t, and I’m fine if I don’t have another idea, I’ve got plenty to do. It’s completely fine.’ And then you realize sort of something’s going on, like with the cartoons. You go, ‘Oh, I guess I did. I didn’t even realize it.’ And I also really like, I guess there was a little bit of proving myself to myself, by being able to come up with these little pinpoints of comedy.”
§ I guess it’s time to get back to daily reports on the expanded Justice League that Zack Snyder is making, and here’s the first rumor! It seems there is a fan theory about hot Robin was brutally murdered by the Joker, and Snyder “liked it” — as in he hit the like button.
Taking to his social media network of choice, Snyder liked a fan theory pointing at how Robin may have been killed. The Vero post in question used screenshots of a tweet where a fan theorist explains Grayson was probably killed by Joker in Wayne Manor, before the villain set his body on fire. The theorist explains that’s why Wayne Manor is but a shell of its former self in the DC Extended Universe. Snyder “liked” the post, so at the very least, the theorist is on to something.
If there is one thing we need, it’s more brutal Robin slaying.
§ NO THAT IS A LIE! What we really need is more MATT BERRY. And Vulture has figured that out! They’ve just debuted a column about roles Matt Berry should play, and first up, is, of course Batman. I concur!
Matt Berry should play Batman. It’s what the character needs, and it’s what the world needs. It may seem like an odd casting choice at first. Batman, after all, is a famously self-serious character, a hulking, somber figure who seems like the opposite of Berry’s jovial, sometimes impish energy. There are perhaps some logical obstacles, too. Berry is afraid of heights, a tough situation if you’re playing a character fond of gazing down upon the glittering expanse of the city from the roof of a skyscraper. Berry’s acting history also suggests he doesn’t have tons of experience with elaborate, comic-franchise-level fight choreography, so he might need some time to really lock that in.
In case you aren’t up to speed on Berry, he’s a British comedy actor who played Dr. Lucien Sanchez in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, and Douglas Reynholm in The IT Crowd, and about a million other hilarious roles, including, most recently, Laszlo Cravensworth in What We Do In The Shadows. He was also the star of Toast of London, a Britcom about a dissolute voiceover actor, and many times in these uncertain days, I have watched this video to buoy my spirits.