Category Archives: Politics

Flame Con 2: LGBTQ Activism in Fandom and Beyond Panel

At Flame Con 2, I moderated the LGBTQ Activism in Fandom and Beyond Panel talking about how fans are organizing to make fandom more inclusive AND using their love of pop culture to win campaigns in the world beyond! Panelists included Jackson Bird (Chief of Muggle Relations at the Harry Potter Alliance), Nicole Gitaua (Geeks Out), and J. A. Micheline (Writer).

Learn more about the Harry Potter Alliance and Geeks OUT!.

Cards Against Humanity Gets Political with Clinton and Trump Packs

The Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Cards Against Humanity packs were part of the gift bag at the Concert Against Humanity held by the Cards Against Humanity folks at Gen Con. The two packs are being released to the public as of today and encourages individuals to vote with their dollar for the candidate they support.

Each pack costs $4 and contains 15 cards about the two public figures vying to be elected the 45th President of the United States this November.

Cards Against Humanity has said that they are counting this as votes and when that voting ends they’ll tally up the sales and donate all of the money to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. They’re running a live total so you can see how much as been purchased for each pack.

You can get yours now.

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HBO’s inviting viewers to the launch of a brand new political movement: The GoT Party!

On August 1 (today!), in conjunction with the release of Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season on Digital HD, HBO invites viewers across the land to the launch of a brand new political movement: The GoT Party!

One party that everyone can get behind, TheGoTParty is an unique, interactive and engaging online campaign asking the series’ fans to help select the very first Game of Thrones Party ticket, pledge their support for their candidate and purchase of Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season on Digital HD (or individual episodes) from all leading digital platforms.

Choosing from beloved and controversial GoT leaders including Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, Cersei Lannister and Petyr Baelish (and their potential running mates Tyrion Lannister, Lyanna Mormont, Maester Qyburn and Sansa Stark), voters will have the singular opportunity to shape the very first GoT party and its ideals. On TheGoTParty.com, “voters” can learn more about the candidates, compare platforms and cast their ballots for the leader they feel can carry the GoT Party into the future.

Running until August 31, TheGoTParty.com will be continually updated with original video content, real-time polls and infographics, adding to the interactive excitement.  With a dedicated hashtag (#GOT2016) and multiple social media channels, the electorate (read: fans) will be able to stay abreast of the campaigns, as the GoTParty candidates do pitched battle (at the polls). Then, on September 1, TheGoTParty.com will announce the winners, adding a singular and highly enjoyable chapter to HBO’s record-setting series.

As the winds of change swirl around Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms, GoT fans have, at long last, the opportunity to let their voices be heard loud and clear with The GoT Party.

Concrete Park Creators Make Their Mark at DNC

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The award-winning creative team behind the graphic novel series Concrete Park (Dark Horse), Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander will be in Philly to show their support to Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention this week. Puryear will be continuing his work with art as protest group Comixcast while Alexander will actually be speaking on Tuesday, July 25 at the DNC.

“As a Black artist, I make a comic, “Concrete Park”, featuring people of color in the future. Lately, there are days when I worry we won’t make it there. This is why I was so honored to be invited to be  part of Comixcast 2016.” – Tony Puryear

Comixcast is a diverse group of progressive comics creators, artists and activists joining together with the stated goal of stopping Donald Trump. Helmed by veteran political comics writer Joyce Brabner, their efforts began last week in Cleveland during the RNC, where there were plenty of police and security teams, but apparently, few protestors. Puryear will share his unique perspective with commentary from the convention floor at the Wells Fargo Center from July 25th through July 28th. Using their pens, brushes, cameras and words, Puryear, along with other Comixcasters, including Tim Fielder (Dieselfunk), will contribute to a live feed of political comics, cartoons, photos, YouTube videos and commentary.

Follow Tony on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and his website to stay updated on his DNC converage!

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2008 Hillary Clinton Campaign poster created by Puryear

Puryear is no stranger to the Clintons’ political spotlight. His iconic poster for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign is in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. His wife, the actress Erika Alexander, another Hillary supporter, is scheduled to speak in prime time at the DNC on Tuesday, July 26.

“This is a historic moment for America. It’s awesome. I am honored to have been asked by Hillary to introduce Ryan Moore. It’s a bonus to do so in my adopted hometown of Philadelphia.” – Erika Alexander

Best known to TV viewers as “Maxine Shaw” from FOX’s classic sitcom Living Single, Alexander grew up in Philadelphia, was discovered and began her show-biz career there. On Tuesday night, in an emotional homecoming, she takes the national stage before a packed Wells Fargo Center audience.

Alexander will introduce Ryan Moore. Ryan, originally from South Sioux City, NE, has Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia Dwarfism and has known Hillary Clinton since 1994, when his family came to Washington, DC for an event to advocate for health care reform. Brian Moore, Ryan’s father, lost his job when his employer was unwilling to cover treatment for Ryan’s health condition. Ryan has stayed in contact with Hillary ever since.

About Tony Puryear

In 1996, Puryear became the first African-American screenwriter to write a $100 million-dollar summer blockbuster with his script for the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Eraser. He has written films for Oliver Stone, Mel Gibson, Jerry Bruckheimer and Will Smith. He co-created and co-writes (with Erika Alexander) Concrete Park, 2016 Glyph Award Winner and a Best American Comic, 2013. He also draws the book. Together they have taught comics and graphic novel-making from Los Angeles to Central America to Harvard. He recently contributed illustrations for Dark Horse Books’ new adult coloring book Bait: Off-Color Stories for You to Color from best-selling author Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club).

About Erika Alexander

The role of “Cousin Pam” was created for Erika Alexander on The Cosby Show in 1990 and she went on to a star as fan favorite “Maxine Shaw” in the hit series Living Single in 1993, winning two NAACP awards for Best Actress in a Comedy. She recurs on the ABC Tim Allen comedy, Last Man Standing as Carol Larrabee “The Black Sarah Palin,” on Freeform’s 2017 sci-fi drama Beyond and on Oprah Winfrey’s and Ava Duvernay’s new drama, Queen Sugar, debuting on OWN, September 2016. She also co-stars in Jordan Peele’s horror movie, Get Out. Erika is the co-creator and co-writer of the critically acclaimed, award-winning graphic novel, Concrete Park, a Best American Comic 2013, and a 2016 Glyph Award winner, published by Dark Horse Comics.Alexander is an advocate for women and children and a national surrogate for Hillary Clinton 2007-2016.

MAD Magazine Dumps on Trump with New E-Book

In the midst of the Republican National Convention this week, MAD Magazine has released a new e-book, MAD Dumps on Trump.

The e-book is a collection of MAD’s best satire on Donald Trump throughout the years and the cover is from MAD’s year end issue, which highlighted MAD’s “20 Dumbest People, Things and Events of 2015,” illustrated by award-winning artist, Mark Fredrickson.

The e-book is available now via the MAD website, and is free to read online. There is also an exclusive subscriber version that includes bonus material with famous MAD spoofs on Hillary Clinton.

MAD also recently released a poster with their last issue’s cover featuring Donald Trump and the slogan “Make America Dumb Again.”

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SDCC 2016: The Convention Gets Its First Ever Ever Justice Rally: 7/21

pop culture hero coalitionBack by popular demand — and in light of recent events — Pop Culture Hero Coalition is holding the first-ever Pop Culture Justice Rally to end bullying, racism, misogyny and other forms of hate. Rally Speakers include Representative John Lewis’ Policy Advisor Andrew Aydin and co-author of the graphic novel trilogy, March.

SuperheroIRL! Pop Culture Hero Coalition’s Rally to End Bullying

Thursday, 7/21/166:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Room: 24ABC

Celebs and key press will speak from 6:30 – 7 pm. At 7 pm, experts in psychology and human rights activism will have a panel discussing strategies to use pop culture to navigate harassment, both online and IRL. Join in this topical, powerful discussion on how stories from comics, film and T.V. can mobilize us to overcome hate — and become heroes in our everyday lives.

Panelists include Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley (Founders, NOH8 Campaign), Agent Carter Co-Executive Producer Jose Molina (Castle, Firefly), Janina Scarlet, Ph.D. (Author, Superhero Therapy, Little Brown & Co., 2016), United Nations Association President Bettina Hausmann, Kate Langrall Folb (Director: USC Hollywood, Health & Society); panel features award-winning author and Coalition Co-Founder Carrie Goldman (Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear; #WheresRey), and Coalition Founder Chase Masterson (Star Trek, The Flash).

EW Senior Writer Anthony Breznican, Legion of Leia Founder Jenna Busch, and The Arkham Sessions’ Dr. Andrea Letamendi will speak at the rally.

Pop Culture Hero is the first-ever 501(c)(3) organization that uses the phenomenal popularity of TV, film, comics and games for real-life heroism over bullying, racism, misogyny, cyber-bullying, LGBT-bullying, and other forms of hate. The Coalition works in schools, comic-cons, and communities.

The groundbreaking Coalition was founded in 2013; Partners include the United Nations Association, the NOH8 Campaign, the Anti-Defamation League, and the International Bullying Prevention Association.

Hillary Clinton Joins Valiant’s Faith in Faith #5

In advance of San Diego Comic-Con 2016, Valiant has announced that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for President of the United States, will join forces with Faith “Zephyr” Herbert on November 2nd in Faith #5 – a history-making, 48-page election special teaming the leading female hero in comics today with the first female nominee from a major political party for a special tale written by comics legend Louise Simonson with art by Faith’s own Pere Perez!

On November 2nd, just days before Election Day 2016, legendary writer Louise Simonson and Harvey Award-nominated artist Pere Perez present history in the making with a presidential milestone like no other! Faith Herbert, star of the highest selling independent superhero debut of 2016, is a shining beacon of optimism in a challenging world. Her day job as a blogger and journalist is about to bring Faith face to face with Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton…but it’s her daring alter ego as Los Angeles’ leading superhero that will have to save the day when a new threat emerges to imperil a pivotal moment that has all of America watching!

Plus, also coming in the oversized, 48-page Faith #5 election special: Faith’s adventures continue with an all-new lead story by the ongoing creative team of writer Jody Houser and new series artists Meghan Hetrick and Marguerite Sauvage, as well an exclusive prelude to Harbinger Renegades #1 – featuring the long-awaited return of Faith’s beloved superteam – by writer Rafer Roberts and Eisner Award-winning artist Colleen Doran!

With covers by Eisner Award-winning superstar Paolo Rivera, Harvey Award nominee Clayton Henry, new ongoing Faith interior artist Meghan Hetrick, and more, join an all-star cast of Valiant’s greatest talents on November 2nd for a landmark comics event!

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Artist Tony Puryear Is Here To Make Comics, Stop Trump and Chew Bubblegum and He’s All Out of Bubblegum

Award-winning graphic novelist Tony Puryear announced today that he will be part of Comixcast 2016. A diverse group of comics creators, and activists voicing their opposition to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The artists will join tens of thousands of like-minded protesters in Cleveland at Ground Zero at the Republican National Convention. Using their pens, brushes and cameras they will contribute to a live feed of political comics, YouTube videos and commentary.

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Political cartoon by Tony Puryear

Comixcast.com is a platform for live-streaming video and political cartoons with the urgency and immediacy of breaking news. Puryear joins Joyce Brabner, a pioneer in comics journalism and widow of Cleveland indie comics legend Harvey Pekar (American Splendor) , and their intentions are as clear as the campaign’s slogan: “Here To Make Comics, Here To Stop Trump”. Puryear is no stranger to political activism through art, his iconic poster for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign is in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

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Poster designed by Puryear for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Campaign

“I grew up in a Movement family, (Civil Rights Movement, Anti-War Movement, you-name-it-movement) dating back to the 60s, and street activism was what we did. Now, as a multimedia artist, as a cartoonist, I have a voice, and in this crucial time for our country, I have to speak out against Trump and his politics of fear, hate and division. I have to be out in the street in Cleveland, and I have to share what I’ll witness there.”

Adding his voice to an already loud week of protest Puryear hopes to make s difference. “As a Black artist, I make a comic, “Concrete Park”, featuring people of color in the future. Lately, there are days when I worry we won’t make it there. This is why I was so honored to be a part of Comixcast 2016.”

Puryear will join such respected comics artists as Mark Zingarelli (Second Avenue Caper), Seth Tobocman (World War 3 Illustrated), Marguerite Dabaie (The Hookah Girl and Other True Stories) as well as Tim Fielder (Matty’s Rocket) for Comixcast 2016.

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About Tony Puryear

In 1996, Puryear became the first African-American screenwriter to write a $100 million-dollar summer blockbuster with his script for the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Eraser. He has written films for Oliver Stone, Mel Gibson, Jerry Bruckheimer and Will Smith.

Tony Puryear directed classic hip-hop videos for legendary old-school acts like EPMD, K-Solo and LL Cool J. He co-created and co-writes (with Erika Alexander) Concrete Park, 2016 Glyph Award Winner and a Best American Comic, 2013. He also draws the book. Together they have taught comics and graphic novel-making from Los Angeles to Central America to Harvard. He recently contributed illustrations for Dark Horse Books’ new adult coloring book Bait: Off-Color Stories for You to Color from best-selling author Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club).

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Tony Puryear’s, political, personal and travel writing as well as his cartoons, can be found on his blog, Tony Puryear Out In The World.

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Tony Puryear Out In the World

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Lack of Disclosure Strikes Video Games as Warner Bros. Settles with the FTC

FTC-logoI’ve written pretty extensively about the need for proper disclosure and transparency in the world of geek blogging. Transparency is one of the things this site was founded on and it’s something I take seriously. We probably over disclose in the other end. But, better to be honest and forthcoming than be caught later on. There are pretty clear guidelines the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has laid out as to what blogs/online personalities need to disclose when receiving goods or payments for endorsements, testimonials, and reviews.

It was announced Monday that the FTC has settled with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment over their promotion for the video game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. hey failed to adequately disclose that the company paid influencers. This added up to thousands of dollars to post positive gameplay videos on YouTube and other social media. The game has a score in the mid 80s on Metacritic. The game was released in 2014 and altogether the promotion was viewed about 5.5 million times.

Shadow_of_Mordor_cover_artWarner Bros. through Plaid Social Labs hired the “online influencers” to create gameplay video and post it on YouTube as well as promote it on Twitter and Facebook. Named in the announcement was YouTube personality PewDiePie. It should be noted that his video currently says “this video was sponsored by Warner Brother” in the info section but was not verbally said in the video I watched. However, that specific set-up is specifically mentioned in the FTC’s release. The disclosure was hard to find, if present at all, for the videos on YouTube, Facebook, or elsewhere. Some reviewers only disclosed they received early access and in at least one instance Warner Bros. approved the video itself.

Warner Bros. paid anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars on top of a free advance release copy of the game and told influencers to promote it. They then used those paid promotions to further promote their game without disclosing they were indeed paid promotion.

Warner Bros. is now barred from failing to make sure disclosures in the future and can’t “misrepresent that sponsored content.” They must also educate influencers about sponsorship disclosures, monitor sponsored influencers for compliance, and if need be terminate or withhold payment for non-compliance.

The decision by the FTC is open for public comment for 30 days, through August 10, 2016. At that time the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final. Those who want to submit comments can do so here.

This is the second time within a year that video games have caught the eye of the FTC. Last year Machinima was busted for similar issues and not disclosing payments to promote the Xbox One.

Justin Trudeau, the Latest Comic Political Celebrity

chapterhouse comics summer specialLast week, Chaptherhouse Comics announced that Prime-Minister Justin Trudeau would be appearing on the cover of Chapterhouse Comics Summer Special for Canada Day. Prime-Minister Trudeau has also written a letter on “behalf of the good Captain [Canuck] that will be featured” in the comic.

Trudeau is also featured on the comic in a portrait style drawing by Captain Canuck creator Richard Comely.

To celebrate the occasion, Captain Canuck will appear live at ‘Canada Day 2016at  Queen’s Park’ at 10am, 111 Wellesley Street West in Toronto (south side of Queen’s Park Circle) with bundles of the Summer Special in tow.

The 64-page Chapterhouse Comics Summer Special will be available at comic book stores nation-wide on Canada Day or on their website.

Not afraid to see a good idea and do their own version (and get the credit), Marvel has announced today that Trudeau will grace the cover of Civil War II: Choosing Sides which will be on shelves August 31.

Civil War II Choosing Sides #5That cover is done by Ramon Perez and features the Prime-Minister in the boxing ring surrounded by members of Canada’s superhero team Alpha Flight. Ironically, in the current Marvel continuity, Alpha Flight’s name (and its members) has been co-opted to be a line of defense from galactic threats.

Trudeau’s father Pierre Trudeau was featured in comics himself, such as Uncanny X-Men in 1979.

The idea to use Justin came from Edmonton-born artist Chip Zdarsky who is writing an Alpha Flight story in the comic. In it, the members of Alpha Flight debate about the use of an Inhuman named Ulysses who can see the future with a high degree of accuracy and can help prevent crime/attacks (a take on Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report). The group sees some ethical issues and seek out Trudeau for advice.

The Marvel cover features the Prime-Minister in a boxing ring which plays off his infamous charity match in which he fought Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau in 2012.

Justin Trudeau is an admitted geek and been spotted at comic conventions.

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