Today’s news bits have more sociology than comics news at the core; so sue us.

§ SF writer John Scalzi has some sensible comments that apply to any field on convention etiquette:

This does lead to another question: Is there a time at a convention when you shouldn’t say hello to an author? Well, sure. Authors are often rushing from one panel or event to another (con organizers work us like dogs to keep you amused), so if you see an author with a holy crap I’m late and I have no idea where my next panel is look on his or her face, try to catch them some other time. Likewise, if you see an author trying to cram a sandwich down his throat like he’s forgotten about the concept of chewing, it probably means he’s only got a few minutes to fuel himself before he’s off to something else. Give him a break, let him scarf, catch him later.

One other thing: Note the difference between public and private spaces, and public and private conversations. If you see an author at a con party holding court with a crowd of folks around, feel free to join in. If you see her talking very intently to one other person, over in the corner, you’re probably not wanted. Likewise: author in the hotel bar, being loud and opinionated? Say hi. Author in the restaurant, having a quiet meal with spouse or friends? Catch them later. This is all common sense and common courtesy, and I’m sure you know all of this already. But feel free to pass this along to your more clueless friends.

[Link via Neil Gaiman]

§ The Wall Street Journal is alarmed at the newish Batman

In short, Mr. Miller’s Batman, currently gracing the panels of a series of comics called “All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder,” isn’t someone who would make good company at a ballgame or the local watering hole. In one issue, a crook stopped by Batman from assaulting a woman asks: “Why can’t I feel my hand?” To which Batman replies: “It’s called a compound fracture, rapist. It’ll never heal. Not right it won’t. Not nearly right. You’ll remember me every time the air goes wet and cold.” While this all may prove shocking to people who have come to know the character as a reliable do-gooder, it’s also refreshing, adding a much-needed belt of reality to a genre founded on escapism.

§ Maybe Batman is so cranky because his life is endangered? According to Dan Didio in the Boston Rerald, Batman will live:

The mortality rate for comic book heroes is rising across the industry. For example, Marvel Comics killed off iconic flag bearer Captain America last year.

But Dan Didio, executive editor of DC Comics, says Batman isn’t headed for a dirt nap.

“We can’t kill him during a big movie year,” Didio said, referring to the big-budget film “The Dark Knight,” due this summer with Christian Bale reprising his role as one of the best-known comic book heroes.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Batman won’t be beaten, battered, bruised and perhaps even replaced for a time.

Didio was mum about everything but Batman’s survival.

§ The Annual Rube Goldberg prize for complicated inventions was one by a Purdue team that developed a contraption that could make burgers in 156 steps.

§ Has this guy been hired to write comics yet?

§ Moms are taking over from maids in the cafes of Japan:

“We came about because there wasn’t really anywhere that had a library of over 10,000 different manga and also allowed people with a bit of a maniac streak about them to pursue their hearts’ desire,” Mother Cafe’s boss tells Asahi Geino. “We staff our cafe with women who look older than they actually are, but they’re also capable of understanding worries people have and have experience in dealing with people of all ages. Our aim is to become a kind of therapeutic cafe where customers feel at ease enough to be able to open their hearts to staff.”

§ Tim Leong on LARPing via Tom:

LEONG: Trust me, if I was really trying to sell more copies, I’d do a feature on something much more sexy than guys who dress up as lions, tigers and bears, oh my. I don’t think LARPing is a coverline people are really aching for — and wasn’t even a coverline for us. We covered it not because we needed to pad an issue — if anything we had to cut content — it’s because LARPing is a subculture within our comics subculture. And yes, I guess you could call it, as you say, “related heroic fantasy,” but it’s just one issue.

As scions of a LARPing family, we could have told you that LARPing will sell very few issues.


  1. …I’m not sure whether to be amused or horrified that the WSJ thinks ASB&R is “injecting reality” into the Batman mythos. I think I’m… mostly horrified? Just because if that kind of sadism is the WSJ’s idea of “reality”, something is very very wrong.

  2. Okay… “Eat at Mom’s”… A theme restaurant where the waitresses ACT like nice mothers, even feeding the customers. Regular customers can even request a specific waitress, “adopting” the waitress as a pseudo-mother. Kinda creepy.