Category Archives: Politics

Is a Comics Caucus coming to Congress?

Could members of Congress soon be showing off their comic fandom? Congressman-Elect Robert Garcia went to Twitter proposing a “comics caucus” for members. Garcia will represent California’s 42 district and was recently the Mayor of Long Beach, California.

A Congressional caucus is a group of members that get together around a goal. Examples would be caucuses of the political parties themselves, but there’s also others around interests. They can include members of both parties and both chambers.

They must be formally submitted with the name of the caucus, statement of purpose, officers and the employe that works on the issues.

There’s actually a lot of issues a “Comics Caucus” could take on from greater recognition and celebration of the art form to the often complicated rules regarding pay as independent contractors.

Garcia will love the comics scene in Washington, DC. Not only is it the home to multiple conventions like Awesome Con and Small Press Expo, but also boasts a lot of comic shops (about a dozen within a 30 minute drive), many not far from where Congress performs their business.

Get Out and Vote this Tuesday!

This Tuesday, November 8th is the US election and we’re encouraging everyone to get out and vote if you haven’t done so already. Millions have already done their duty and made their voice heard at the ballot box. Today is the official day and the last day to do so. If you haven’t already cast a ballot, you still have time today.

This is the most important election of our lifetime. That is often thrown around but from someone who has worked dozens of elections with dozens of candidates, this isn’t an exaggeration. We have a chance to make our voice heard and say the direction we want to see this country go. Democracy is literally on the ballot.

This is a choice between an attempt to support normalcy or a continued march towards fascism and election interference. The stances of the candidates and parties are clear.

There’s so many elections are every level that are vital and could spell doom for the future of our democracy if the wrong individual is elected.

There are still lots of local races, ballot initiatives, bonds, and more to vote on, and some of these will set the direction of the country!

You still have a lot of time to figure out everything you’ll be voting for. If you need to find your polling place or what’s on your local ballot Vote 411 can help. Vote.org is another site that can help you as well.

If you go to vote and encounter an issue call the voting rights hotline at 866 OUR-VOTE. 

Most importantly, get out and vote this Tuesday!

Captain America Vote

Some of Marvel’s heroes Unite to Save Democracy

With an important and vital election less than a week away, some of Marvel’s heroes are uniting to help “save democracy”. Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Rosario Dawson, Natalia Cordova, and Clark Gregg, with more being added, are coming together for a livestream event to help support the Wisconsin Democrats. They’re not the only Marvel actors to help this election, Paul Rudd recently stumped for Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman.

You can take part by donating here. Election day is Tuesday, November 8th. Get out and vote!

AWA Studios Shines Light on Frontline Workers of Climate Change with a New Anthology, Climate Crisis Chronicles

AWA Studios has announced the digital debut of an all-new comic anthology, Climate Crisis Chronicles. An illustrated feature of ten stories chronicling life on the frontlines of the global climate crisis, this series is from the same team that created COVID Chronicles, journalist Ethan Sacks and illustrator Dalibor Talajić. A unique distribution partnership with NBC News THINK will amplify these timely stories through a digital edition debuting today, with a full print edition releasing in November. 

From a firefighter battling seasonal forest fires in California to a human rights activist picking up the pieces after a pair of devastating hurricanes in Honduras, Climate Crisis Chronicles puts a human face on today’s most pressing and far-reaching global issue. By setting the stories around the world and making them personal, CLIMATE CRISIS CHRONICLES brings home the massive scale, as well as the immediacy that is one of the defining forces of our time.

Episode #1 of Climate Crisis Chronicles is available exclusively on NBC News THINK, with new episodes rolling out weekly. The full anthology will be released as a graphic novel by AWA Studios in November.

David Zaslav’s donations paint a very different political picture

In the last 48 hours Warner Bros. Discovery’s CEO David Zaslav has been painted as a villain. With the cancellation of Batgirl and Scoob sequel, as reports of lack of diversity at Discovery under his leadership, Zaslav is being depicted as a right-wing stooge.

Zaslav himself hasn’t helped matters stating that CNN would feature more right-wing viewpoints planting a flag for the center but what can readily available data tell us about the executive.

While we don’t know his political party identification right now, we can look up Zaslav’s donations to candidates and PACs. That tells us a very different story than what’s come out in the media.

11 contributions have been made in 2021 and 2022 by David Zaslav to very few. In total $48,200 has been contributed to 11 entities total.

  • NCTA – THE INTERNET & TELEVISION ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (NCTAPAC) – $10,000
  • DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS, LLC PAC – $5,000
  • JOBS, EDUCATION, & FAMILIES FIRST JEFF PAC – $5,000
  • JEFFRIES VICTORY FUND – $10,800
  • FRIENDS OF SCHUMER – $5,800
  • JEFFRIES FOR CONGRESS – $5,800
  • ZIMMERMAN FOR CONGRESS – $5,800

That’s only three politicians donated to and all are Democrats.

Robert Zimmerman, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, and Sen. Chuck Schumer. The PAC and Victory fund are also Jeffries’. Zaslav is listed as living in New York and all three are politicians from New York. Zimmerman is running to be elected, Jeffries doesn’t seem to sit on any relevant committees, and… it’s Schumer. These don’t come off as donations involving “business” but might be people Zaslav actually supports. I’d lean Zaslav’s politics aren’t right-wing based on this, he’s just an out of touch suit.

If nothing else, it’ll be interesting to see if the list of donations grows and who might benefit.

Z2 Comics and Dee Snider Capture the Rocker’s Fight Against Censorship and the PMRC in the Original Graphic Novel, He’s Not Gonna Take It

More than 35 years ago, Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider marched into the United States Senate’s Committee on Commerce in a jean jacket and tank top to confront a band of concerned Washington housewives hellbent on silencing the howl of metal and beyond. Co-founded by Tipper Gore, a committee of politicians’ spouses labeling themselves the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) had lobbied to plaster “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” labels on any music that conformed to their definition of sexual, violent, or drug-endorsing. Partnering with Z2 Comics, Snider’s war to preserve the first amendment will be immortalized in He’s Not Gonna Take It, a graphic novel charting the rocker’s passionate battle against censorship alongside writer Frank Marraffino and artist Steve Kurth

The following journey would forever forge the name Dee Snider alongside the battle for freedom of expression—in the arts and beyond. This new graphic novel charts that one-man war throughout Dee’s life. From a childhood where he was frequently silenced, through the early efforts to stifle his band’s music, to the open warfare of the PMRC hearings in Washington DC, and his current efforts on social media, He’s Not Gonna Take It tells the story of why free speech is so important to this man who has perpetually fought for it—even when it endangered everything that was important to him.

Z2 Comics and Dee Snider present He’s Not Gonna Take It in both softcover and hardcover formats, as well as oversized hardcover deluxe, and an oversized hardcover deluxe hand-signed edition. Erik Rodriguez and Josh Bernstein provide cover art. Deluxe editions include retro-comic art prints from Roy BurdineJavier Aranda, and Carlos Olivares, as well as a Dee Snider commemorative coin.

Oni Press and Maia Kobabe sued by Virginia Politicians over Gender Queer

Gender Queer

Gender Queer continues to be a flashpoint in the culture war. Last month, a lawsuit was filed in Virginia Beach, Virginia against a local Barnes & Noble over the sale of the graphic novel. Now, attorney and State Delegate Tim Anderson is suing Oni Press and Maia Kobabe over the graphic novel on behalf of Tommy Altmann, a failed Republican congressional candidate.

Anderson is using the state’s obscenity laws in the suit claiming:

Whenever he has reasonable cause to believe that any person is engaged in the sale or commercial distribution of any obscene book, any citizen or the attorney for the Commonwealth of any county or city, or city attorney, in which the sale or commercial distribution of such book occurs may institute a proceeding in the circuit court in said city or county for adjudication of the obscenity of the book.

It may be a tough battle for Anderson as the law also states the below shall be considered:

  1. The artistic, literary, medical, scientific, cultural and educational values, if any, of the book considered as a whole;
  2. The degree of public acceptance of the book, or books of similar character, within the county or city in which the proceeding is brought;
  3. The intent of the author and publisher of the book;
  4. The reputation of the author and publisher;
  5. The advertising, promotion, and other circumstances relating to the sale of the book;
  6. The nature of classes of persons, including scholars, scientists, and physicians, for whom the book may not have prurient appeal, and who may be subject to exception pursuant to subsection G.

Much of the argument will be around the first point of the above.

Lawyers for Oni have called the lawsuit unfounded stating:

The Petition fails to allege any of the grounds required under Code §18.2- 384. Considered as a whole, and further considered in the context of other literary works, Gender Queer, A Memoir cannot, as a matter of law, be deemed obscene in accordance with free speech principles and pursuant to any clear standards. Petitioner, identifies seven pages of a 240-page book, ignores the context of those selections contained in the book, and asserts that the book is obscene. 9. Petitioner’s conclusory assertions are unfounded when considering the entirety of the work. The petition in this matter grossly mischaracterizes the nature of the subject literary work, and all of the opinions stated in the petition are both irrelevant and contradicted by the content of the book taken as a whole and put into proper context. This can be determined 2 from the pleading itself which states that it includes a copy of the book as Exhibit A.

The Barnes & Noble lawsuit is still pending. Anderson is also behind that lawsuit on behalf of Altman. A new deluxe version of the graphic novel was released this week in comic shops and will soon come to bookstores.

This is another example of the book banning that is being pushed by right-wing provocateurs to make gains politically by stoking “culture wars”.

As has been shown, a dark money network is funding campaigns against “Critical Race Theory”, something not being taught in schools. This book banning is an off-shoot of that showing these pushes are about as natural as an oral bowel movement. The “movement” is being used as a wedge issue to whip up voters by the right since they have nothing else to run on. It attempts to pit parents vs. bureaucrats (and teachers), a match that’s pretty easy to get traction on. The movement has been working for decades and continues the right-wing push to take over at the local level, first at the state and now even lower to get their regressive agenda passed.

Seven Seas Will Not Voluntarily Recognize its Union. Puts it to a vote.

Last week news broke that the staff of Seven Seas Entertainment were making moves to unionize. Dubbed United Workers of Seven Seas (UW7S), 32 of the 41 eligible members have signed union cards. Seven Seas had the option of voluntarily recognizing the union or forcing a vote. They manga publisher has decided on the latter and have hired the anti-union/union busting firm Ogletree Deakins to guide them.

In a statement, Seven Seas said:

We respect the rights of our employees to choose or not choose union representation. While we have been requested by a number of employees to voluntarily recognize the CWA as their legal representative—without an NLRB conducted election—we have decided to respect the right of all eligible employees to vote on this issue. Since unionization would affect more members of staff than those who have already come forward, an election will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn about their rights and the details of this process before they cast their vote through a governed process.

We have notified the NLRB that we are prepared to move forward with an election among an appropriate unit of employees, and we will, of course, abide by the outcome of the election.

 United Workers of Seven Seas (UW7S)

Seven Seas has said they have notified the National Labor Relations Board of the upcoming election, the next step for the formation of the union. More interesting Seven Seas also stated they believe more employees than those who requested voluntary recognition will be affected but didn’t go into details about that.

With 32 of 41 eligible individuals having signed union cards, the likelihood of the votes needed to form the union is high and Seven Seas is pushing off the inevitable. All that’s needed is a simple majority to be successful.

The union’s goals are:

  • Healthcare, paid leave, & pension benefits
  • Paid time off, vacation, & holiday breaks.
  • Increased wages & transparent increase structure
  • Reasonable workloads, no more crunch
  • Secure employment status for all
  • Protections & benefits for freelancers
  • Clearly defined job roles & organization chart
  • Training materials & onboarding
  • A robust scheduling & admin department
  • Management training for all managers & supervisors
  • An end to exclusivity & anti-freelance contracts
  • Anti-harassment/discrimination policies & process for submitting grievances
  • Bonuses & vendor gifts
  • Reimbursement for costs
  • Inter-department communication
  • Increase staff for overburdened departments

Many of the goals are similar to the Image staff and what’s interesting is a theme of lack of organization of procedure seems to be reoccurring.

In January of this year, Image Comics staff voted to unionize and have since filed a complaint over retaliation. In comparison, staff at Paizo Publishing, a game publisher, unionized in late 2021 and was immediately recognized by Paizo.

Seven Seas Entertainment Staff Move to Unionize

United Workers of Seven Seas (UW7S).

One of the bigger stories of this year is the unionization of Image Comics staffers in January. It now looks like another staff for Seven Seas Entertainment will be following them. The staffers have formed United Workers of Seven Seas (UW7S). With the Communications Workers of America (CWA), they are seeking recognition. It would be the first U.S. manga publisher to unionize. The CWA is the same union the Image staff, Comic Book Workers United, are a part of.

The UW7S website states,

The company has grown exponentially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But with rapid growth comes growing pains, and we, the workers of Seven Seas, have been shouldering much of that pain. We find ourselves overworked, underpaid, and we do not currently receive the benefits otherwise typical of the publishing industry.

With reported over 40 staff at the present, 30 have signed the statement on the UW7S website.

United Workers of Seven Seas (UW7S)

The union’s goals are:

  • Healthcare, paid leave, & pension benefits
  • Paid time off, vacation, & holiday breaks.
  • Increased wages & transparent increase structure
  • Reasonable workloads, no more crunch
  • Secure employment status for all
  • Protections & benefits for freelancers
  • Clearly defined job roles & organization chart
  • Training materials & onboarding
  • A robust scheduling & admin department
  • Management training for all managers & supervisors
  • An end to exclusivity & anti-freelance contracts
  • Anti-harassment/discrimination policies & process for submitting grievances
  • Bonuses & vendor gifts
  • Reimbursement for costs
  • Inter-department communication
  • Increase staff for overburdened departments

Many of the goals are similar to the Image staff and what’s interesting is a theme of lack of organization of procedure seems to be reoccurring.

Next steps would be the Seven Seas management voluntarily recognizing the union or requiring a vote which would be overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.

In 2021, staffers at the game publisher Paizo Publishing unionized under the CWA banner.

From Democratic Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate to United Earth President. Stacey Abrams’ Cameo on Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek: Discovery Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams has talked extensively about her love of Star Trek and got to make a cameo in the Star Trek: Discovery season 4 finale as the president of the United Earth.

The former state lawmaker has held fundraisers with cast members of Star Trek to help candidates such as Senators Jon Ossoff (D) and Raphael Warnock (D). She also was part of the “Trek the vote to victory” event to help support then president nominee Joe Biden.

Abrams is known as a voting rights activist who is credited with helping boost the voter turnout in Georgia. She founded Fair Fight Action, an organization focused on addressing voter suppression. She’s also a prolific author with over a dozen books written.

In an interview with Deadline, Abrams said she was excited for the chance to say “Nothing to discuss” as the United Earth was ready to rejoin the Federation in the episode.

Abrams is currently running again for the position of Governor of Georgia where she’ll face either the current incumbent Governor Brian Kemp or former Senator David Perdue who are currently fighting for the GOP nomination.

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