Friday, September 30, 2016

Social Workers Upset Over Portrayals of Profession on British Sitcom, "Damned"

Remember "Damned," that British television series that was premiering this week on Channel 4? It's a comedy about the social work profession that had many of my social worker friends excited about fair representation of our profession. Sadly, I've only been able to watch clips of the program. It's not licensed for broadcast outside of the UK. I haven't even been able to find bootleg episodes of the program -- which is just as well as I don't want to get in trouble! But I still really want to watch this program!

That said, I heard more negative reactions to "Damned" than positive. Keep in mind that I've only heard reactions from those who are social workers. I've heard nothing from anyone who isn't in the profession.

Here were some of the chief complaints:
The pedigree was there with a cast of familiar faces including Jo Brand and Alan Davies. Brand, whose mum is a social worker, talked the show up in her promotional interviews by sharing her worries about child protection professionals being demonised in the press. How disappointing it was to then see her character use the term ‘balls deep’ in conversation with a client, flippantly discuss her past use of Class-A drugs in the office and act in a terribly unprofessional manner during a home visit that reeked of collusion. 

When it comes to social work humour there’s a fine line between crass and clever. Sadly, the first episode of this show veered on the crass side by relying on swearing, unprofessional behaviours and inept workers to get a laugh from the audience. Watching it with a group of non-social workers, not one person laughed and their attention soon drifted from the screen to their mobile phones. When I found humour, it was in the familiarity of seeing the character ‘Al’ dressed like me and hearing the word ‘quorate’ (a term I’ve only ever heard used in child protection conferences) on the telly.
Reactions from an online social work forum generally agreed that "Damned" failed to portray our profession as anything resembling professionalism. It was noted that the characters were cookie-cutter concepts with little depth or originality ("the mean boss, ditsy secretary, jaded radical").

On the other hand, others pointed out that it wasn't a documentary about social work, but instead a sitcom. One comment noted that sitcoms typically highlighted "inept and failing" personalities.

One Facebook commenter made an observation earlier this week that hadn't immediately occurred to me -- but I find myself agreeing with her:
I found it refreshing that it was poking fun at us rather than the service users! I think it showed the humourous, confident and fun personalities of the people who work in this crazy but rewarding profession! The only time I thought "OK that wouldn't happen" was the full scale personal phone conversations in front of service users and taking on a visit to a family who are personally known to you, you'd surely flag that one as a conflict of interest from the get go?! But apart from that I thought it was enjoyable and I am interested to see where it goes
Personally, I think people were expecting too much about "Damned." It's clear to me that they approached the social work profession with good intentions, while also acknowledging the warts of this profession. However, these folks are also trying to create something that will entertain the public. Hopefully they will find a good balance over time as this show matures.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Johnson City, TN: ETSU Student Charged with Intimidation for Wearing Gorilla Mask to BLM Protest & Passing Out Bananas and Nooses to Black Students

I watched the most bizarre Facebook video earlier today. It took place at East Tennessee State University down in Johnson City, TN. There was a Black Lives Matter protest happening on campus. It wasn't huge. It wasn't out of control. It wasn't raucous.

Some counter-protester showed up barefoot and wearing bib overalls. And wearing a gorilla mask. And carrying a bag with Confederate imagery. Containing bananas that he would then pass out to the black BLM protesters. And little tiny nooses.


To their credit, the BLM protesters didn't react. They took pictures of the guy and they filmed him. But they supported each other and assured each other that he was just being a jerk.

The police eventually came and took the guy away. But not before unmasking him in front of everyone.

His name is Tristan Rettke and he's a fellow ETSU student. He came to the protest wearing the gorilla costume hoping to provoke a fight, if the police report is to be believed:
The report said after his rights were read Rettke said he found out about the protest on the social media platform Yik Yak. 

Rettke told officers that he went to the store on Tuesday and purchased the rope, bananas and the gorilla mask. The suspect then stated he went to the protest with no shoes on with coveralls "in attempt to provoke the protestors."
Rettke has been charged with one count of civil rights intimidation.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Christy from "Little Women: LA" Sued on "The People's Court"

I was poking around YouTube today and discovered an episode of "The People's Court" from earlier this year featuring Christy Lynn Gibel (or is she Christy McGinity??) from "Little Women: LA." Keep in mind that I like "The People's Court," but I cannot stand "Little Women: LA."

Here's the gist. A woman named Alexandria Pham claimed that her car was struck by reality TV star Christy Lynn Gibel on the way to work, causing just over $3,500 in car damage. Turns out that Gibel had let her car insurance lapse, so she wasn't covered at the time of the accident.

Unfortunately for Gibel, she admitted that she admitted in court that she coasted through a red light turn without paying attention to the oncoming traffic. Fortunately for Gibel, Pham's car was 16-years-old and its value exceeded the cost of the necessary repairs.

Gibel lost the court case and had to pay $2,528 for the damage that she caused.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Carroll, Iowa: Football Team Being Investigated for Online Bullying Against Gay Student // Updated Below

Originally written on 09/13/16The football team at Carroll High School in Carroll, IA, is under scrutiny today following reports that they engaged in anti-gay bullying on a group chat against another student:
The football players were in a group chat and were upset that another student, who is gay, was voted to the homecoming court. Superintendent Rob Cordes said the players already regret what he calls a stupid mistake. 

“Well I certainly think this gives some individual students a black eye, as well as the football team,” Cordes said. 

Cordes discovered a copy of a group chat in which players used slurs against the gay student on the homecoming court. 

The football players’ chat happened Friday night. One player's text said the gay student should kill himself, or go die. Another said he would drop out if the gay student stayed on the homecoming court.
It doesn't appear that the gay student was in the group chat. According to KCCI News, he indicated that this "should be a teachable moment for the entire school, not just the football players."

No punishment has been meted out against any of the football players at this time. Most likely, there will be a school assembly held to promote the message of tolerance to the student body.

You can watch a news segment about this story here.

Updated on 09/24/16: The Daily Times Herald of Carroll, IA, published a follow up article this week about this situation. The 17-year-old gay student was identified and we finally heard his perspective. It was interesting to read about his response to this news cast, particularly one of the interviews where the superintendent appeared to cast the bullying football players as partial victims in this situation:
The players have said they already regret the slurs. “And I can tell you for a fact there is a lot of them hurting,” Cordes said. “And some of the ones hurting are the ones that caused the problem.”
Here is how the Daily Times Herald reported the teen's response to the superintendent's attempt at damage control:
He watched Carroll Community School District Superintendent Rob Cordes on the screen, saying how sorry the texters were and that it was simply a stupid mistake — they were hurting, too. “It felt like everything in me from head to toe drained out,” Loew said. “I was numb.” He didn’t sleep that night. He changed his mind. He wasn’t going to let this go.
Incidentally, four of the football players were suspended from playing during at least one of the games for their involvement in the online bullying.

And the gay teen ended up being crowned as homecoming king.

Friday, September 23, 2016

CIVIL WAR II: Guardians of the Galaxy Stranded on Earth after Ship Blown Up

We accidentally picked up a copy of CIVIL WAR II #5 this week. That's right. We haven't been purchasing this latest comic book event by Marvel Comics.

Here's what it's about. A new Inhuman named Ulysses has visions of the future. Captain Marvel has seized upon this opportunity to advocate for new laws that allow SHIELD and Earth's superheroes to arrest people for pre-crimes.

So Ulysses tells everyone that Hulk will kill everyone. They all confront Bruce Banner -- who's been Hulk-free for months -- and Hawkeye ends up shooting Banner in the head. He claims that his trained eye picked up a bit of green and he knew that he had to act. Not that Spider-Man's spidey-sense picked up any danger.

Hawkeye walked and now Captain Marvel and SHIELD are going crazy with pre-crime arrests. This leads to a huge battle between the Captain Marvel (alongside the Ultimates, Alpha Flight, the Extraordinary X-Men, and the Guardians of the Galaxy) versus Iron Man (alongside the All-New Avengers, the All-New X-Men, Old Man Logan, Doctor Strange, Captain America, and the other Captain America).

I won't reveal the big spoiler (though it's hardly a spoiler anymore), but there was one development that promises to affect the Guardians of the Galaxy for the foreseeable future. Vision blew up their starship and effectively stranded the team on Earth.

That's right. Fans of the Guardians of the Galaxy will be treated to several months of Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, Drax, Angela, and Groot complaining about that backwoods planet called Earth. However will they cope?

It's too bad that they don't have a starship anymore or access to anyone who could get them to a starship or a place where they make starships!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Coming Soon to Channel 4 in the UK: "Damned" // Dark Comedy about Social Work

If I lived in the United Kingdom, I would be watching this new program called "Damned" on Channel 4 next Tuesday. It stars Jo Brand and Alan Davis and features of team of children's services social workers.

I've seen a couple different clips online (at this link) and have discovered an intriguing dark comedy that apparently highlights the elements of social work that I rarely write about on this blog -- because it's too close to my workplace!

In interviews, Brand has noted that her mother was a social worker and she has long been interested in spotlighting this profession and shining a little light on these good folks:
Damned is Brand’s attempt not only to tap into an underexplored area, but to counter negative portrayal of social workers by showing them as real people faced with complex decisions. The title is a nod to the no-win situation social workers invariably find themselves in. 
Brand believes the public “love to hate” social workers because, although in reality they are a mixed group like any profession, they cannot shake the image of “middle-class”, “do-gooders” telling people how to live their lives. 
She says: “Psychiatrists have a similar job to social workers because they have to predetermine how much harm someone is going to do, but when they make mistakes, they are not castigated in the same way… 
“…when a social worker does a good thing you never find out because it’s classified information. You only find out when it goes wrong.”
Too true.

If you live in the UK, you can watch "Damned on Channel 4 on Tuesday, September 27th, at 10:00 PM.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ghost Rider Makes His Debut in "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

I normally don't get to watch "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." because of my part-time job. But I've not been working this past week, plus the show just shifted back an hour. So I actually get to watch this program again!

Season Two began tonight and introduced Ghost Rider to the program. Up until now, the program has consisted of super agents and Inhumans. As far as I can tell, Ghost Rider is the first supernatural character for this program

Ghost Rider (AKA Robbie Reyes) is the Spirit of Vengeance. He is bonded to the Devil and occasionally flames up when in the presence of people whose souls have been soiled by sin.

The main battle in tonight's episode featured Ghost Rider versus Quake. It ended up resulting in a bit of draw -- though more in Robbie's favor.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Coming Soon to Archie Comics: REGGIE & ME Ongoing Series!!!

I learned some great news earlier today: Archie Comics will be publishing a new comic book series featuring Reggie Mantle. REGGIE & ME will feature writing by Tom DeFalco with art by Sandy Jarrell, Kelly Fitzpatrick, and Jack Morelli!

Here is how the series is described:
There is no one more loved, revered, admired and adored in Riverdale than... Reggie Mantle? Well, at least Reggie doesn't think there's anyone as loved and admired as himself. And his best friend can back that idea up -- his best friend, of course, being his dog, Vader. The unstoppable duo is known around town for pulling the funniest pranks, getting the hottest dates and throwing the best parties. And if anyone even dares to compete with them, there is going to be hell to pay. Come take a look at the life of your hero, the handsome, hilarious Reggie Mantle.
I have to admit that I'm a bit sad to see Runty replaced by Vader. But they're essentially the same dog. Maybe they decided that Vader sounds more bad-ass than Runty. Which is dog. Still...

ARCHIE, JUGHEAD, LIFE WITH KEVIN, BETTY & VERONICA, JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS, and now REGGIE & ME. I'm pretty excited these days with all of the new titles that Archie Comics is publishing these days.

REGGIE & ME is scheduled for publication is early December.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

"Z Nation" Shouts Out to Riverside, IA, and Trek Fest in Season 2 Episode!

As you might know (or not), I like to binge-watch programs on Netflix. My latest binge is "Z Nation," a show that currently airs on Syfy. In fact, I just found out that a season 3 "Z Nation" just premiered on Friday. So I'll need to keep my eyes out for that.

I'm like a pushmi-pullyu when it comes to zombie programming. I'm definitely drawn to them, but they inevitably repel me due to the fatalistic nature of these programs. I'll track spoilers online for episodes of "Walking Dead" and "Fear the Walking Dead," but I rarely watch them anymore. They're just too depressing!

With that in mind, I avoided "Z Nation" when I first learned of the program on Syfy. Just another apocalyptic program. But -- for whatever reason -- I decided to give the show a chance when I saw it show up as a suggestion on Netflix.

I did indeed find a program about yet another zombie apocalypse. And it's one of the worst ones, in my mind. Not only do the zombies attack and eat people, but they're fast-running zombies -- not shufflers. And not only do the zombie bites spread the disease, but it's the type of apocalypse where everyone comes back. You could die from a heart attack and still come back itching for human brains and flesh. But this zombie apocalypse isn't limited to people. Everything comes back from the dead. We're talking people, horses, dogs, foxes, monkeys, bears, sheep, snakes, birds, etc.

Frankly, I don't see any coming back from a zombie apocalypse when it affects all of the animals. The zombie birds should be dive-bombing everyone. The undead bugs should be creeping in from every crack. Once all of the animals come back from the dead, it should be game over.

Fortunately I'm not writing this show. So you only see animal zombies when it's convenient for the plot. And they don't seem to cause too much trouble for anyone -- except for the Sisters of Mercy.

But "Z Nation" has something that most other zombie shows lack -- humor and oddball antics.

So things might seem hopeless, but we can still sit back and watch them take on "Sharknado." Or we can see what happens when zombies turn into compost at a marijuana research facility. Or we can visit Roswell, New Mexico, and see if aliens made it out of the apocalypse alive.

Speaking of Roswell, I was watching one of the season two episodes and found an unexpected shout out to nearby Riverside, Iowa, and (indirectly) Trek Fest! Check this out:

(Incidentally, when did we lose the ability to take screen grabs from Netflix? I could do it as recently as last Saturday, but now it just comes out all black. I found an annoying way around the black-out, but this was frustrating.)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to finishing up with season 2 of "Z Nation" and then tracking down the movie that just premiered on Syfy. If you haven't seen "Z Nation," you owe it to yourself to check out the show and enjoy the zombie show that maintains hope through humor.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Remembering "Degrassi Junior High" Episode 32 ("He Ain't Heavy...")

It's been nearly a month since I shared any of the favorite "Degrassi" episodes. This week's show is episode #32 of "Degrassi Junior High" AKA "He Ain't Heavy..." The episode made its debut on 12/05/1998 and it introduced viewers to Snake's older brother, Glen.

Here is the summary:
Snake's older brother comes home and reveals that he is gay, which Snake finds difficult to accept. Joey takes a job as a janitor at CRAZ radio in an attempt to get his band discovered.
For the record, we won't be focusing at all on Joey's subplot here. Just the parts dealing with Snake and his brother.

This episode starts off with an AIDS education class. Because you might as well talk about AIDS when you're going to introduce the first gay character to "Degrassi," right? All of the students were told to randomly shake hands with four other students. The end result, Snake got infected with AIDS.

Not quite. Actually, Snake had a card with a letter "A" on it. For AIDS. He "exposed" four other students to the AIDS virus. And, of course, they had each exposed four other students. In other words, pretty much everyone in the classroom had been potentially "exposed" to AIDS. Fortunately, three of the students had cards with the letter "C" on them. For condoms. So they managed to protect themselves.

Don't get me wrong. It's a clever way of highlighting how a disease can spread through a community. But it's still eye-rollingly obvious to place an AIDS message within a coming out message. Then again, it was the 80s and the height of the AIDS epidemic so I get it.

After class, Snake, Shane, BLT and some other guys went off to play basketball, but not before riffing on each other, talking with stereotypical high-pitched, lisps.

Enter Glen Simpson. He is Snake's beloved older brother that we've never met before. He was a star athlete on the school's football and basketball teams. He was also the valedictorian of his high school class. He's now going to med school -- on a scholarship, no less!

He's left med school for a few days to share some important information with his family. Snake immediately jumps to conclusions. Not the correct conclusion, but he's on the right track: "I know -- You're getting married, right?" "No." Snake: "No? Too Bad. Mom can't wait to have grandchildren."

Snake Simpson: Forever twisting the knife of poorly timed observations...

No, Glen has come home to tell his family that he's gay. He has a boyfriend named Greg and their relationship is getting pretty serious. Serious enough that they now live together.

Snake doesn't take the news very well. He freaks out and pretty much ostracizes his brother for the rest of his visit. Much like Caitlin back in Season 1, Snake is fearful that he might be gay if he has a gay brother. Glen assures him that it doesn't work out that way. You're either gay or not.

Things go badly when Glen comes out to his parents. They tell him to leave and that he's no longer their son. He leaves, but not before getting to see Snake one more time. Snake apologizes for his earlier reaction. He asks when Glen is coming back home. "When I'm welcome."

Which apparently never happened. This is the only time that we met Glen Simpson. Snake is the one "Degrassi" character from the 80s who continues to appear on new episodes of the program. We've seen him get married. We've seen him become a father and stepfather. We've seen him battle leukemia. We've seen him struggle with depression. We've seen him wrestle with various challenges at work and at home.

And yet he's never spoken again about his beloved older brother Glen.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Carroll, Iowa: Residents Upset Over New City Manager Because He's a Gay Dad

The people of Carroll, IA, are quickly developing a reputation for themselves. The week started out with news that members of the football team were upset about a gay classmate being selected for this year's homecoming court. They gathered on an online group chat and vented a bit, saying that the gay student "should go die" or that "he should kill himself," among other things. Someone printed out the content of the group chat and left a copy on the football coaches windshield and now the school is left trying to figure out how to move forward.

Now we're learning about community push-back against the man who's been picked as Carroll's new city manager, because he's a gay dad:
Days after the students’ texts flew, a Carroll resident, Nick Topf, 88, spoke to City Council Monday evening against the hiring of Fort Dodge native Michel Pogge-Weaver, who has a husband, Jonathon, and a 3-year-old daughter, Jane. Pogge-Weaver is expected to start as Carroll’s new city manager in October. 

The hire doesn’t jibe with Topf’s decision three decades ago to move to a city he believed would always “do the morally right thing” — legality aside, he said during the meeting. “We shouldn’t spend tax money on someone who’s deliberately chosen to take a young child and deny them a mother,” Topf said. “I think all of us had a mother in our life. Should my tax money be used to support a system like that? I don’t think so.” 

In an interview with the Daily Times Herald, Topf reiterated his belief that a child should have a father and mother. “You don’t deliberately go out and set a child up without both parents,” he said. “It’s a form of child abuse, as far as I’m concerned.” Topf said he’s not the only person in Carroll with this belief and added that he wouldn’t comment on whether Pogge-Weaver’s family and personal life would affect his work as city manager. City Council members have received a few calls expressing sentiments similar to Topf’s, Councilwoman Carolyn Siemann said, but she added that Pogge-Weaver’s sexual orientation didn’t play into his hiring and won’t play into his work.
Frankly, Topf doesn't know anything about Jane's relationship with her mother. I don't know anything about her relationship with her mother, nor do I know if their family came about through an adoption, through surrogacy, through a co-parenting relationship, through a prior heterosexual relationship. We don't know if either man is biologically related to their daughter. And it's really not my business, nor is it Topf's business. But I guarantee that their relationship makes sense to them and to their daughter and that's what's important.

Georgia: Two Arrested & Charged with Making False Police Reports about Creepy Clowns

Two people were arrested in LaGrange, GA, and charged with making false reports about clowns attempting to lure children into a van:
Brandon Moody, 26, and Rebecca Moody, 27, were arrested and sent to Troup County Jail for obstruction and unlawful conduct during a 911 call. 

Brandon Moody called 911 and reported seeing clowns around a white van, a statement he later said he made up, the Troup County Sherriff’s Office said in a news release. He then advised Rebecca Moody to call 911 and make the same report, even though she was not in the area at the time. When officers arrived at the scene, they spoke to the driver of the white van, who said he ran out of gas, and searched his vehicle. 

"There were no sign of any costumes in or around the vehicle," police said in a statement.
Apparently, the community has been inundated by calls about creepy clowns recently. A nearby school was placed under a "soft lock down" because of these reports.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Vegas Takes Center Stage in WORLD OF ARCHIE COMICS ANNUAL #62

I was pretty excited to read WORLD OF ARCHIE COMICS ANNUAL #62 this week, largely because it included a brand-new story featuring Rex Lindsey! Rex Lindsey was the regular artist on JUGHEAD for years. That title was wrapping up by the time I got back into Archie Comics, but I've had the pleasure of reading several of his books after the fact. Very much worth revisiting! But I haven't seen too much new work by Lindsey coming out of Archie Comics, so this was a pleasant surprise -- even if he didn't re-team with Juggy in this story!

The story is called "Happiness is a Wagging Tail." It features scripting by Alex Simmons, art & lettering by Rex Lindey, and coloring by Digikore Studios.

By looking at the first page or two, you might think that this story was about Archie and Dilton. After all, they're mentoring a young boy named Denny. Dilton taught young Denny how to build a webpage. Turns out that Denny knows how to code, but he's pretty shy. Is there a way to help him overcome his shyness?

But this story is really about Vegas -- Archie's rescue dog! He discovers a bunch of homeless puppies in need of a home. Vegas sees the pups, but is unable to get his human friends to rescue the dogs so he takes it upon himself to rescue them himself! He leads the puppies to Denny's home and manages to get the boy to come up with a rescue plan!

Denny uploads pics of the pups onto his website and figures out a unique way to make friends at his news school!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

"Holy Hell": Looking Inside a Cult

I just finished watching "Holy Hell." It was on CNN a few nights ago and I'd heard a pre-show interview on the radio, which snagged my interest. So I decided to check it out tonight after I noticed it on Netflix.

It's a documentary about a group of people who spent years -- some decades -- in a cult called the Buddhafield under the guidance of a guru known as Andreas (AKA Michel). Andreas used a warped understanding of Buddhism to help teach personal growth and enlightenment. Through the Teacher, those in the Buddhafield were able to bliss out and experience something huge and powerful.

Those in the Buddhafield lived for the Teacher and for the group. When they weren't working, they were performing service for the group, or they were serving the Teacher. They exercised daily and obsessively and abstained from caffeine, alcohol, and sex.

The Buddhafield gradually became more insular and more focused on praising Andreas and less about teaching spiritual enlightenment. Then, after 22 years, the Buddhafield imploded after the Teacher's sinister secrets errupted and the scope of his abuses became commonly known.

It was really interesting to see the ex-members' stories on how their involvement with the Buddhafield began, how it got crazier and crazier, and then eventually how it all fell apart for most of them.

It's definitely worth checking out if you haven't seen it yet.

ALL-NEGRO COMICS #1: Remembering Lion Man & Bubba!

I was reading old comics from the Digital Comic Museum last night. DCM is a collection of public domain comic books -- typically from the 30s, 40s, and 50s -- that have been scanned for our enjoyment and to preserve classic golden age comic books for future generations. I came across book called ALL-NEGRO COMICS #1, which turned out to be a great collection of black characters!

This comic book was published in 1947 by All-Negro Comics, a small-press company that featured comic book stories and characters created solely by African-American writers and artists:
African-American journalist Orrin Cromwell Evans was "the first black writer to cover general assignments for a mainstream white newspaper in the United States" when he joined the staff of the Philadelphia Record. Evans was a member of the NAACP and a strong proponent of racial equality. After the Record closed in 1947, Evans thought he could use the comic-book medium to further highlight "the splendid history of Negro journalism". Evans partnered with former Record editor Harry T. Saylor, Record sports editor Bill Driscoll, and two others to found the Philadelphia publishing company All-Negro Comics, Inc., with himself as president. In mid-1947, the company published one issue of All-Negro Comics, a 48-page, standard-sized comic book with a typical glossy color cover and newsprint interior. It was copyrighted July 15, 1947, with a June 1947 issue date, and its press run and distribution are unknown. Unlike other comic books of the time, it sold for 15 cents rather than 10 cents. 
Evans attempted to publish a second issue of ALL-NEGRO COMICS, but struggled to obtain the necessary newsprint, presumably being blocked by distributors and competing white-owned comic book publishers. Which is unfortunate, because I would have loved to read more stories featuring these characters!

ALL-NEGRO COMICS #1 contained stories featuring Ace Harlem, a private detective; the Little Dew Dillies, a children's story featuring a mermaid and angel; Lil' Eggie, a henpecked husband and his toxic wife; Sugarfoot & Snake Oil, a pair of traveling musicians; and Lion Man & Bubba, the feature of today's blog post!

Midway through ALL-NEGRO COMICS #1, there was a story featuring Lion Man and his adoptive son, an African orphan named Bubba. Lion Man was an American-born, college-educated scientist who'd been sent by the United Nations to watch over Magic Mountain on the African Gold Coast. Magic Mountain contained the world's largest deposit of uranium. It was enough to make an atom bomb powerful enough to destroy the planet! Why they chose to protect Magic Man with one single costumed defender is beyond me, but that's why I don't work for the United Nations!

Lion Man discovers evidence early in the story that indicated that strangers were heading towards Magic Mountain. After using his radar equipment to confirm the presence of two strangers, Lion Man races into the jungle and confronts Dr. Blut Sangro, an evil government official, and his guide, Brosser the Beachcomber!

Lion Man was nearly overcome by his enemies, but quickly saved the day -- no thanks to Bubba! Brosser didn't survive their battle. Unfortunately Dr. Sangro managed to escape with promises that he would return someday to Magic Mountain with promises to return for the uranium!

Lion Man reminds me a lot of Black Panther -- jungle warrior who spends much of his time protecting Wakanda's stockpile of Vibranium. But Lion Man's no prince -- as far as we're aware --, and he certainly doesn't have the governmental resources or riches to help him defend Magic Mountain's uranium. But he still manages to do pretty well!

Bubba is problematic. Lion Man might have adopted him, but he certainly fails to demonstrate any love or affection to his young sidekick. Granted, Bubba causes more trouble than not. Then again, a little guidance might help reverse that trend!

As noted above, I really would love to see more stories featuring Lion Man and Bubba. Why was Lion Man chosen for this mission? Does he have any other abilities? How did he connect with Bubba? Lion Man and the other All-Negro Comics characters are all public domain characters, so it's possible that someone could pick up where this one comic book story ended. Just a thought...

"Lion Man" was drawn by George J. Evans, Jr.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Missing a Pony?

Iowa City Animal Services reports that they found a stray pony wandering on the edges of Iowa City at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area on Tuesday, September 6th.

The pony was captured and its health was assessed before taking it to a safe place while it waits for its owner to claim it.

You should call Iowa City Animal Services at 319-356-5295 #7 or the Iowa City Police Department at 319-356-6800 if the pony belongs to you or if you have any information about the pony and/or its owner.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Kevin Keller Dates New York City in LIFE WITH KEVIN #2!

It wasn't that long ago that Archie Comics was resistant to depicting any same-sex smooches by its infamous gay teen, Kevin Keller. It didn't matter if Kevin was kissing his husband in LIFE WITH ARCHIE or if he was kissing another boy in the old KEVIN KELLER series or any of the others Archie Comics comic books. They eventually got over it and milked Kevin's first same-sex smooch for all it was worth, but the memory of this "controversy" is still fresh in my mind.

Which makes LIFE WITH KEVIN #2 -- which was just published digitally earlier today -- so jarring. Kevin literally dates every gay man in New York City in this issue. Not really, but not for trying!!

For the record, we got some same-sex smooching between Kevin and his handsome neighbor Chris, but we got some hints of action to come later on:

But check out all of these dates that Veronica cock-blocked:

And then there were the guys that Kevin found online. I'll admit that these dates were problematic, but mostly because Kevin apparently has a problem with bigger guys (and unicorns):

But here's the guy that Kevin actually gets some off-panel action out of:

I think that Kevin dated more guys in LIFE WITH KEVIN #2 than I've dated in my entire life! Not that I'm judging!

"Room for Change" features script, pencils, and colors by Dan Parent plus inks by J. Bone and letters by Jack Morelli.

Monday, September 5, 2016

LAPD Locate Woman in Playboy Model's Fat-Shaming Social Media Post

Last July Playboy model Dani Mathers caused a stir for taking a picture of an overweight woman in the shower at an LA Fitness gym and publicly posting it on Snapchat with the following caption: "If I can't unsee this then you can't either." Mathers' LA Fitness membership was permanently revoked and she ended up deleting her Twitter and Instagram accounts after receiving tons of negative feedback.

TMZ reports today that she now faces up to six months in jail now after locating the woman in Mathers' Snapchat pic:
The LAPD has finally tracked down the woman Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers body shamed and they'll ask prosecutors to nail her. We've learned the woman -- in her 70's -- wants Mathers to feel the full force of the law for taking a pic of her while she was changing clothes in the locker room of an LA Fitness. The woman is more than willing to testify and cooperate in any way she can to bring Mathers to justice. As for the likely charge ... we're told it's Dissemination of Private Images, a misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in jail.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Goodbye Rivderdale Podcast!

The final episode of The Riverdale Podcast landed today. It's Episode #235. Jonathan Merrifield hung up his hat after roughly 4 1/2 years of Archie Comics-related podcasting.

Jonathan started out the program with a future book-of-the-week: JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #1. It was a spoiler-free review for a title that will be debuting in a few weeks. Jonathan loved this title and strongly encouraged everyone to pick up this title when it gets released.

He reviewed a series of phone messages, Facebook messages, emails, and Archie Fan Forum comments. He then reviewed some trivia and fun-facts. He mentioned that roughly 150 downloads every week. I also learned that Jonathan has a ton of Archie Comics cut-out standees, which were featured in this video, in his home!

I've been a huge fan of The Riverdale Podcast. I rarely miss an episode. And I've been honored each and every time that I've been asked to appear on the program.

Thank you Jonathan for all of your hard work and for contributing to my growing interest in Archie Comics!