Archive | February, 2016

Passing From One River to Another

29 Feb

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I was supposed to be posting my newly anointed Comic Book Show Secret Rating Wars Sweepstakes February Sweeps edition – but silly me, I forgot that I won’t be privy to Live + 7 stats until early next week.

So here’s a new blog about some other assorted happenings instead.

First off, today I’ve been appointed my first full on staff job at the SECRET PLACE THAT SHALL NEVER BE NAMED. It’s my first FULL TIME entertainment related position I’ve held without being under the auspices of a third party contractor since March of 2009 when I was let go due to a contract dispute with Sony Picture Television’s syndication department. From 2010 and forward, it’s been a series of mishaps with NBCUniversal Television, Universal Music, SAG-AFTRA, and the DGA. So it’s a triumph for me, and with the reasonable annual salary that I’m getting, it will be good to churn out some new comic book projects at a faster rate, including the long gestated DEPOSIT MAN: PLAYGOD ACT III which has been in development limbo for the good portion of six years now. Approximately eight pages, plus two covers have been in the can for the past year. I’ve been focusing a lot of my spare time on the sequel series being developed by myself and a splendid artist by the name of Rodolfo Valenzuela. Hopefully by the end of this month, I may be able to divulge more about it, but I don’t want to blow crap about it, in case someone steals the snazzy name I came up for the lead character.

Since I’m scrambling to post up something worthwhile this evening, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few words of passing of a wonderful musician, Piotr Grudzinski, lead guitarist for Polish progressive rock band, Riverside under mysterious circumstances. Not much has been revealed as the cause of death for the forty year old musician, but rest assured I considered him to be a vibrant talented force behind the music and has been heralded as the worthy successor to the legacy of David Gilmour in some sense. I certainly praise the quartet’s latest album, Love, Fear, and the Time Machine released last September as the most incredible effort to date, and it was in my top three of last years’ releases, along with Steven Wilson’s Hand.Cannot.Erase, and Gazpacho’s Molok. I sure hope the band under the guidance of bassist and songwriter Mariusz Duda can still forge ahead despite this tragedy. I know it’s really a low key passing besides the greats of David Bowie and Glenn Frey, but nonetheless shocking. Ex-Dream Theater drummer, Mike Portnoy was one of the people to see him alive when he showed up at his Winery Dogs performance out in Poland, so something must have went afoul shortly after he left that gig. So we shall wait and see if and when the band decides to make it public.  Jeez, how many great lead guitarists can you say hail from Warsaw, Poland? Not that many. But bring it upon yourself to pick up their latest album, which is a mixture of great prog music in the vein of Porcupine Tree with a sprinkle and dash of the Cure and Big County, along with other great 80’s style music throughout.

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I wish I could go on a further tangent about them of how I was introduced to them by the same distributor, Dave Mulloy who also turned me on to The Pineapple Thief, but I’ll save that for another blog. Really the only thing that’s nagging about me about Piotr’s passing, is that I missed the opportunity to go see Riverside play their first LA area gig (on the outskirts of Los Angeles) – but I didn’t want to indulge in the long commute to get to Whittier to see them, when they’ve could’ve easily packed the Roxy or the Rainbow instead.

The following is two recent videos of Riverside:

Last Friday, I attended a tribute gathering to fondly remember the last of the great Twilight Zone writers, George Clayton Johnson, at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. Great turn out and there was hardly a dry eye in the house when it was all over. I’m thinking of sending in a dedication about George to this year’s Comic Con International Souvenir book, because he was a special part of it every summer whenever he attended, and I think I owe him that much for all the great conversations that I’ve had with him.  I think I can find the time to squeeze it in.

WHENEVER THAT SADDLE SORE FEELING OF RAPEMAN COMES A CALLIN’

11 Feb

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Another Rejected Coatney Classic editorial submitted to the Comics Buyers’ Guide that’s always fun to revisit from the 1999 or 2000 era around the time when I had my first couple of Deposit Man books out. (By the way I plugging my first Deposit Man book- indications are that this is definitely something I wrote in 2000) I’m posting a few oldies to adjust to a more timely schedule of posting all new blogs on this site- roughly about two a month on a bi-weekly schedule. After this posting, I probably won’t be posting the next all new one until February 29th to focus on the wonderful bevy of comic book based shows on network and cable television and how they’re performing ratings wise.

Hey, remember some time ago when I was venting some hostility towards the media and their misconstrued theories of how we should all point the blame of those horrible Littleton massacres on the all the violent  movies, video games, television, and comic books in the Oh So (?) column a few months back ? Remember how I warned you all that we could be in for a bumpy ride ? Well, something I caught recently on a new fall TV show, although totally fictionalized, could possibly set those wheels in motion, or get us jammed once again in the proverbial pothole.

Throughout my personal 35 year history in the powers of comic book reading observation, I have come to the conclusion that the combination of the television written drama and the comic book culture are as synonymous as oil and water. A wet feather to a fan. A bowl of freshly chocolate dipped Bavarian pretzels after washed down with a bottle of Perrier and a handful of amphetamines. Or, better still, whatever malodorous effort Chris Carter has put into Harsh Realm to ruin all our future Friday nights. If you want the combination of respect in both mediums watch Batman Beyond. Animation is our only salvation.

Now that I have finished dipping my chocolate into your peanut butter with these asinine metaphoric comparisons, I will now state my reason of ire. In fact, allow me a few seconds to rewind for you the tape of this episode of a new fall show, a spin-off, if you will of the hit rated and somewhat provocative, if not sometimes anal retentive format, Law & Order– aptly titled; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Both series are produced by Dick Wolf films and are first run on NBC. The episode we’ll be discussing about will also have a second run on the USA Network in two weeks from whence I write this.

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We cue to a courtroom scene and I do apologize that I am no Bob Ingersoll, so my mechanics on courtroom procedures or legal terms may be a little on the untechnical side. (Bob Ingersoll used to have a weekly column in Comic Buyer’s Guide called the Law is An Ass in which he would compare comic book court room scenes with real life courtroom scenarios.)

(Look, it was the 1990’s. You just had to be there, ok?)

A young black female, a Detective Jefferies testifies before a jury on a rape case. The lawyer for the defense states in her argument that the detective has sufficient evidence to charge a father with rape under the parental responsibility code, even though his thirteen year old son committed the crime while the father, who has never met the victim, was at work.

The detective stresses that evidence found through a warrant served at the residence showed that the child was raised in an atmosphere which condoned rape.

The lawyer continues mockingly to inquire further about what the warrant turned up: Did they find Playboy ? Did they find Penthouse ? Any sort of X-rated video tape ? No, none of the above. What was really found at the residence were some comic books. Comic books. Can you believe that ? Please allow your gasp of surprise, right at this moment, for there are none to waste.

The prosecutor then rises to cross-examine the detective; holds up a copy of said perpetuating manga style periodical and asks if detective Jefferies recognizes the book that was seized at defendant’s home.

‘Yes, she responds, ‘it is called Rapeman.’

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And what kind of stories are you likely to read in Rapeman?” inquires the prosecutor.

The detective goes on with her assumption that “it is about the adventures of a high school boy who by night becomes a masked superhero he settles old scores with women by raping them” ( So far, I see it as a hit potential as an Image comic).

But, it’s in Japanese.” remarks the prosecutor, making an odd revelation, since she is of Asian ethnicity herself. (And why they employ an Asian actress to utter such a line with such mindless naiveté is beyond me.)

It’s pretty clear by the imagery what’s going on there. The stories all end with women being beaten and raped by the hero” rattles the detective. (However, please note that famed British comic book writer Alan Moore had already beaten these manga posers in the pages of Watchmen a decade or so before with the Comedian– yes, that is a name of a superhero – having his way with Silk Spectre bent over on a pool table pulling her leotards down around to her ankles to have his way with her poopy hole before getting a few good smacks in to the face.)

And it is here, that The prosecutor goes in for the final wrap up; the clincher, you might say: “And you thought by these pictures that it was proper to charge the father with accessory to rape

Yes Ma’am” says Detective Jefferies with a pilfering smugness you could practically eat with a fork. Before the act bamfs into the next scene (the main story dealt with models being found murdered and all
suspicion pointing to an agency being run by Bebe Neuwirth), it seems that there is a glow of triumph on Detective Jefferies’ face. It’s too bad that we all don’t get to share in on the joke.

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Was that supposed to be entertainment? Beats me because throughout the rest of the hour, there is no more mention of the case. Mainly the episode dealt with getting actress, Bebe Neuwirth in handcuffs. It was a smattering of an idea gone to waste that first winded up on the cutting room floor and changed its mind to be reinserted in. No rhyme. No reason. No indication in last week’s teaser that the theme of ” dirty comic books ” was going to be explored. If you were flipping through the channels and didn’t know what was on NBC, it could have been easily mistaken for one of the those ” the More You Know ” spots that feature prime time cast members usually trying to smack us on the side of the head about the pitfalls of drug abuse, child abuse, or educating yourself in a public library. You would have thought Detective Jefferies was doing a community service warning us about the dangerous influence of manga. If it had been dragged out past the three or so minutes, I would have been interested to find out if the corpus delicti in question ( i.e, Rapeman comic books ) were responsible for any other crimes in the tri-state area.

Could be that some producers are harboring some sort of hidden agenda on comic books. Maybe because comic books are becoming less and less of a disposable product that television execs are too busy shifting blame over the debacle concerning the Columbine High School massacre, that they’ve resorted to be taking potshots at what they may consider a ” lower class of art form ” If that being the case, then I suggest that they try to explain how super heroics and rape have become synonymous with each other? It sounds like a rejected idea of a pitched plot to the He-Man Woman’s Hater’s Club.

Or, the possibility of mind control could exist in a New York state of mind it could be a gesture of appreciation for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s no holds barred approach conservative clean-up and crackdown on the city’s spotty activities such as the rebirth of Times Square and the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition of the Virgin Mary with dung all over her face. Maybe the producers are dropping hints or trying to help steer him in the next directional vendetta: cleaning up those filthy Marvel Comics. Either that, or Dick Wolk Films are planting subliminal messages in all the parents’ heads, telling them to how to start chaperoning their children’s buying habits.

Of course, in our realm of Marvel What Ifs and DCElseworlds scenarios Rapeman could very well be a top seller. A million plus sales to helm stem the tide of the industry’s self spiraling tailspin in a world where Danzig’s Verotik Comics once ruled supreme ! But’s it not, it is now a Pokemon friendly world and I implore anyone working on Law and Order: SVU to please somehow get in touch with me or this publication and explain what that tiny segment was all about. I just can’t let something so insipid like this pass beneath my notice.

You realize if Frederic Wertham were alive today, he’d be out on a wet soggy playing field, kicking around a soccer ball and then succeeding at his damnest to scoring a goal. All I know is, that writers of episodic television’s preconception of what comics books are better start shaping up ! Do some research ! If we’re all going to be holding hands and be building a bridge to the next century ( because maybe Clinton has somehow managed to slip over the railing ? ), we’re going to have to stop with these silly degenerate generalizations once and for all.

(Lock your windows and doors ! Cary Coatney’s Deposit Man Kaleidoscopic Medicine Freak Show will be heading your way someday soon!!)

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To whom it may concern: Maggie, Brent, Or John Miller: I’m trying to pitch this as an editorial.

101 Dishonorable Deaths To Pikachu

5 Feb

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(Cleaning out the draft inventory in my Yahoo! files and I had happened to have stumbled upon this little ditty – of which memory serves was written intentionally for a magazine called Comic Retailer which was edited by the same team of John Jackson Miller (he of best-selling Star Wars hardback fiction fame) and Maggie Thompson amongst a host of others who edited all my other soapbox comic book rantings in the weekly publication called the Comic Buyer’s Guide. I was trying to stretch my boundaries at the tail end of a business venture going belly up called Rookies & Allstars, a comic book and baseball card store I used to serve as purchasing manager and silent partner in the wooly wilds of North Hollywood, CA – known the world over as where that massive shoot out Bank of America bank robbery occurred with the idiots in Kevlar armor just a mere couple of blocks away. Anyway, I don’t think this one quite made the audition, seeing as how I don’t remember ever getting paid for it – but it’s definitely me on a highly biased opinioned maniac roll before jumping full ship on concentrating on developing my Deposit Man series in the early ‘aughts. I still hate these dumbass card games.)

 101 Dishonorable Deaths To Pikachu
An editorial
By Cary Coatney

     By now, every child has pestered or has threatened to bludgeon their parents if demands are not met by standing in long lines over the most embarrassing phenomenon ever beheld by mankind called Pokemon. A stupid pitiful card game that suckers mom and pop to put up a mortgage over their soon to be cardboard box houses all in the name of a cheese ball slogan:  ” gotta catch ’em all “.

Yeah, you’ll catch ’em all, all right, straight on in to the poor house as well as the leave of all your motor coordination.

The phenomenon still continues to grasp more momentum in all time lows in shove it in your face marketing. Not even chain chewing ex-lax can save you from all the happy meal constipation that awaits before you. Is your intestinal tract worth the sacrifice ? Is the price of a bargain matinée for a family of three or four and going back ex-number times just for another package of flimsy cardboard worth the misery and aggravation to see other boom generation parents such as yourself resort to infantilism when these theater and restaurant chains are close to completely forever running out of them ? Your kids couldn’t give a rat’s mousetrapped gangrene rotting  poophole, not while they’re trying to make out like cock-fight trainers or junk bond traders with your living wages! In groups of tens and twenties, nonetheless!

How much of an idiot are you to fall victim to such tomfoolery ? I mean, look at you, you are just as dumb and naive as your parents were in the fifties and sixties when a date at the drive-in meant spending wads of cash on the concession stands for coke and hot dogs just because of subliminal little adverts inserted in between frames of ” My Mother was An Alien Homemaker “.  All this suppressed gullibility is only going to worsen when you allow your children to sit like mental retards in front of the idiot box with their glued and glazed little eyeballs velcro to Pokemon, like say, maybe 13 times a week!

And it’s all accredited towards what the children  confirm as ” hype “.

Now, let us pause briefly for a bit to ascertain where good and bad ” hype ” come from. In terms of good hype, I present to you Exhibit A: ( no, not the latest issue of Batton Lash’s Supernatural Law, you dolts ) Here we have an advance video copy of the Blair Witch Project which was handed to me approximately two months before being released in theaters. The person who handed me this copy told me it was the most horrifying ” documentary ” he had ever seen, even more horrifying than Faces of Death.

Faces of Death ? Geez, what could be more worse ? His little pitch worked, not long after viewing it, I went on the internet, invaded numerous chatrooms and was culpable myself in festering in another flock of believers. That misleading brazen word of mouth advertising is regarded as ” good hype ” and went on to prove that ” independent films can be blockbusters too “. Blair Witch Project broke astronomical box office records for its genre of film, and currently is in video sales. Now that it’s come and gone in the space of five months, it hasn’t left a slime trail in its’ wake. There does not lie a threat of overkill.

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 Then there’s J.K. Rowling touting her Harry Potter books all over the world despite death threats made against her from religious head-on wanting to ban them from classrooms, expressing their dismay that all three books she has written each promote witchcraft, black magic, Satanism, tooth decay you name it, while others praise her for her literal genius and encouraging children to read for their lives once again. Others, like me realize it’s all bad hype is because no one has the heart to tell these people how J.K. Rowling blatantly plagiarized the character of Harry Potter from Tim Hunter’s DC Comics ” Books of Magic ” series. I can just smell the whiff of greased fatty lawsuits now. Won’t be long.

(2016 update. 17 years later………Yeah, any minute now)

And yet, the artificial hype of Pokemon conquers all. And the reason I say it’s artificial, because it’s all based on a foundation of corporate lies and needless proletarian allocations, just pushing to make you pucker up for the biggest kiss-ass of the 20th Century as you allow these Wizards of the Coast playing card panhandlers to play capitalist pigs and further dictate to you how many and how much, or better yet, where you can spend money on your child through those insipid useless mall outlets they own called the Game Keeper. They even have radio spots proclaiming themselves as ” the Pokemon Experts ” Keep that in mind as you hear associates lie through their teeth when they tell you they’re fresh out come back tomorrow – when you know full well that they’ve got four more cases squirreled away for the next day and the day after that (how many distribution chains get in their merchandise in on a Sunday ? )- for the greedy reason that they have to keep a precise day-to-day selling quota, let alone a certain level of control over how much your kids can have while they meticulously continue to stretch or bend federal trade laws. Game Keeper must be the only ones obstinately profiting off the retail price, while us little guys like Rookies are forced to jack up the price just to keep in the Pikachu rat race and there have been times when some of those associates have recognized us as ” outside selling parties ” and refuse to sell to us at all because we bear the mark of the consummate ” limit of ten per customer ” each day and out.

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      In my observation, Game Keeper can harbor a harsh mistress when it comes to the physically challenged. Case in point: I was called in yet again (this whole phenomenon bloody wrecks havoc with my personal life you practically have to have a police band radio tuned in once word spreads that a Games Keeper gets a shipment in) by Rookies and Allstars to jump in a vehicle and race over to Northridge Fashion Mall one Saturday morning, a morning usually reserved for taping Batman Beyond and Avengers cartoons, (and even those precious minutes of sanctity has been violated ) just get my but on-line. Others seem to have gotten the same tip: the line stretched across the entire length of the right-wing of the mall. But, the associate from Rookies who had also accompanied me has a physical handicap- and could not stand a long length of time without the use of a cane. Certain people in line sympathized that my associate should be exemplified and stand in front of the line. Others weren’t as sympathetic. So when it came time to open the doors, the Game Keeper staff took sides with all the minority of thou not in favor.

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Regardless of blocked passages access to other mall shops and fire exits, the money I had in my pocket to pay for the Fossil booster packs was not my own and my time was being compensated for. The handicapped associate and I had to wait for more than an hour during which we were constantly reprimanded by mall security that my partner in line could not lean on the neighboring store windows for support. Afterward, we got these stupid cards to our customers who were too lazy to wait in line to pay a buck fifty less than what we were selling them for. Rumor has it, that the Game Keeper/ Wizards of the Coast’s day-to-day changes in the rules of customer conduct have led to a few of their associates to quit and sell what they squirreled away with their 20% discount and are making a killing with their impromptu ” severance pay “.

What is it about having crudball knock offs such as Digimon and Monster Ranchers airing on the opposite FoxKids Network- preempting other new children’s programming such as Spider-man Unlimited and Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot for the unforeseeable future? Why must they air two or three of these shoddy looking dreadful episodes in one morning ? Don’t these networks realize that prolong exposure leads to poor attention spans ? Now someone corrected me the other day concerning the fact that both Digimon and Monster Rancher were around way before Pikachu was in anime Pampers but, who cares ? it’s still the same asinine premise!

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       Now mortgage companies and museums are wanting a piece of the action. A LA realtor actually gave out free family movie passes to the movie’s premiere as an incentive to buy a few acres. Children recently attending the Pompeii exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art were offered the opportunity to make Romanesque medallions out of supple metal, but rather than have the children come up with swell engraving designs of their own, they had a choice of pictures featuring Pikachu to trace on the sheets of metal. Which goes to show, if you want to heighten a child’s development in creative awareness, just pop on  a video or load up a Pokemon game cartridge it’s already way too late to eschew the one hundred and fifty-one icons already buried deep inside within their social conscience once they follow the Nintendo breadcrumb trail right out of that museum or public library right on past the echelons of those gathered for Burger King trade night.

It amazes me, how parents these days are all bragging to the media of how their children are able to display a cognitive ability to memorize all the names and characteristics of each Pokemon, yet are deficient in basic learning skills such as reading and writing as if they have been graced by God. When I was a teen ager, I had the rare natural talent of memorizing at least all titles and plot lines of 150 issues of the Amazing Spider-man comic book and I never got a gold star on the refrigerator for my pain-staking effort. Here’s a suggestion for parents: instead of sitting down and investing long tedious hours in the game that pays tribute to much ado about nothing, why not use these same cards as flash cards for reading and learning, instead of reciting goofball names such as Donphan, Snubbull, Grabass, or Marill?

I’m sure that there are some who are in agreement with me this fad is getting way out of hand. There are just too many self-serving jerks out there with outrageous auction internet sites who keep feeding the frenzy to those tricked in losing, close enough, their Ben Franklins just so junior can achieve his half-baked aspirations to be the coolest kid on the block. And as  long as you keep falling for it, it will just go on and on until you cry Uncle Pog or at least, beg for drawstring pants to come back in style.

In recent months, some school administrators have already banned Pokemon cards and games from schools as disruptive elements, some parents have filed lawsuits, partially in San Diego, over the supposedly pernicious effects of trading the cards, especially on school grounds. Wars are fought on playgrounds and some of the kids wind up losing their shirt because they are not aware of the perpetual value that these internet wheeling dealers place on them. You can’t even escape reading the morning edition without hearing honorable mention in even the most tragic of stories:

A mother shooting her three sons in the head in Ventura County. A Los Angeles Times reporter just had to make light of the fact that one of the victims was a ” hardcore addict of Pokemon “. Like this sudden revelation is going to serve as a detrimental blow in her upcoming prosecution. In time, gravestone prices will soon escalate due to those who play with Pokemon and run afoul of first degree manslaughter.

       Isn’t this magazine about comic readers and retailing ? And aren’t you (the retailer) supposed to encourage to support literacy by selling and reading comic books ? Then what are you doing selling Pokémon?

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Let me tell you; you may be having a Merry Christmas right now (at least I know Rookies is, because we’re clearing in almost a $ 1000.00 a day), but what is it going to mean in the long run when Pikachu’s profits start to pummel like lemmings off a cliff ? By your constant procrastinating in competition to have the best Pikachu boutique in town, you may have been more successful sacrificing away your loyal comic book customer base, the ones who matter the most, the ones who show up loyally every Wednesday to lick the dirt off your carpet with their tongues just for the privilege of having a subscription service suddenly notice your selling interests are lying elsewhere. Frankly, I don’t appreciate walking in a comic shop myself and seeing big furry yellow rodents barring my path from my true purchasing goals. Either get out of the comic book selling business or open a boutique that only sells Pokemon exclusively and witness it die a quick death. It has become impossible for the two to co-exist.

      One of the owners of Rookies is perplexed about my animosity over this whole nauseating fad. He suggested, that I should sit down and learn how to play the card game, and get a grasp on understanding it. I have no hidden desires to even glance at the instruction manual (I’m afraid I’ll pass out, just like I do through most of the current Marvel Comics rooster). I refused to comply, but corrected me to say that is where I’m wrong. By standing in line for long hours waiting just to drop forty to fifty dollars a pop, I’ve already served as a willing contestant in the game of supply and demand like the kind of corporate game Wizard of the Game and Nintendo wants everyone to play.

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Cary Coatney
November 15-December 15, 1999

Personal notes to self while composing essay.

6. Burger King, Warner Bros- trading card nights why are major corporations putting so much stock in
such a product that causes ill mental health amongst people. The animation is choppy why aren’t masses
of children exposed to Princess Mononoke ?

7, Why are parents crapping out by yanking their child out on a school day, just to collect cards at a
movie theater ?