Category Archives: Politics

While We Talk “Power Rangers” Breaking Down Barriers, How About Haim Saban’s Islamophobia?

With the new Mighty Morphin Power Rangers film opening up this weekend, the full court press is on to show the film is updated and fresh with one Ranger being autistic and another figuring out their sexuality. While the changes have been met with glowing articles, the reality is they overlook the darker side of the Power Rangers. I’m not talking about the on-set homophobia experienced by actor David Yost (the original Blue Ranger) during the original Power Rangers show; my focus is a bit different.

If you look at the logo of the 2017 big budget film reboot of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers you’ll see the word “Saban’s” is subtly located in the advertising including television and posters. “Saban” is a reference to Haim Saban, the individual credited with bringing the popular kids show to the United States after coming across the concept during a trip to Japan. Saban was able to make billions off of it all and has parlayed that into political capital.

“I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.”

Saban is the Israeli-American who is one of the largest donors to Democratic causes and campaigns. He not only runs an entertainment empire but also is a very politically influential individual who is able to shape policy. It was in a letter to Saban that Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton came out against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel. Her opposition wasn’t a surprise, the fact she did so in a letter to her biggest donor instead of a press release or speech was and suggests Saban’s influence within political circles and the parts of the Jewish community.

Saban vehemently describes himself as a one-issue person, and that issue is Israel, where he has shifted from a more left-leaning view a decade ago to more of a hardline right-wing hawkish view today. That view also includes disturbing statements about Muslims.

As reported by Haaretz, Saban is quoted as saying in November 2015:

“I’m not suggesting we put Muslims through some kind of torture room to get them to admit they are or they’re not terrorists,” he is quoted as telling The Wrap in a story posted Wednesday, “but I am saying we should have more scrutiny.” Suggesting that some civil liberties may need to be suspended in the face of security threats, he asked rhetorically: “You want to be free and dead? I’d rather be not free and alive.”

He later walked back some of those statements, but doubled down on the threats to civil liberties and opinions on policy that eerily echo President Trump’s logic for his Executive Order regarding immigration.

“I believe that all refugees coming from Syria – a war-torn country that ISIS calls home – regardless of religion require additional scrutiny before entering the United States. At this moment in time, with hundreds killed in Paris and thousands more around the world, freedom as we know it is under existential threat. And while in contradiction to our country’s principles in time of peace, I’m comfortable with the government taking additional measures, including increased surveillance of individuals they deem suspicious. Our first priority is to protect the lives of our citizens and no liberty is more valuable than our safety. I regret making a religious distinction as opposed to a geographical one: it’s about scrutinizing every single individual coming from a country with ISIS strongholds.”

Saban was also a leader in the organized effort to smear Congressman Keith Ellison during his recent bid to be the chair of the Democratic National Committee. Ellison is a Muslim Congressman who has criticized the foreign assistance to Israel when some of their actions make peace difficult and run counter to requests made by the United States.

During the Brooking Institution’s Saban Forum, an annual gathering, Saban unprompted called Ellison an anti-Semite saying:

“If you go back to his positions, his papers, his speeches, the way he has voted, he is clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual,” the Israeli-American said Friday about the Minnesota lawmaker. “Words matter and actions matter more. Keith Ellison would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party.”

What Saban, and other Democratic Jewish donors like Alan Dershowitz, were hinting at is donations. This was a veiled threat to pull vital dollars that’d otherwise be donated to candidates and the party if Ellison became chair.

When CNN researched claims against Ellison, they turned up nothing. As CNN acknowledged when digging up old Ellison quotes:

“None of the records reviewed found examples of Ellison making any anti-Semitic comments himself.”

The attacks on Ellison led to numerous Jewish organizations and individuals such as American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, J Street, and Senator Chuck Schumer to defend Ellison. In a statement, J Street said:

“It is time to retire the playbook that aims to silence any American official seeking high office who has dared to criticize certain Israeli government policies.”

In reality, Ellison is a pretty average liberal Democrat supporting a two-state solution and advocating for peace. But, the damage was done, the toxicity thrown towards Ellison was a factor in his loss as DNC chair.

But this wielding of influence shouldn’t be a surprise. At a Saban Forum event, Saban laid out his three-pronged approach to influence American politics: fund political campaigns, bankroll think tanks (Saban is the founder of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, a foreign policy think tank that’s part of the Brookings Institution and a supporter of the conservative pro-Israel organization AIPAC with their Saban National Political Leadership Training Seminar), and control the media (as part of a group of investor Saban Capital Group is a partial owner of Univision).

Interestingly, Saban was rebuked during the DNC chair race. When asked if Saban should apologize, those running generally agreed he should.

“There were some fireworks. When asked whether billionaire Democratic donor Haim Saban should apologize for smearing Ellison as an anti-Semite, everyone on stage but Ellison and Greene agreed ― a rare rebuke from political aspirants directed toward a deep-pocketed supporter.”

Greene felt the question was a “gotcha” moment attempting to divide the party from its donors, showing where Greene’s loyalty lies. Turning the other cheek, Ellison said the following:

“I just think everybody should know that Haim and I did have a phone call, I won’t disclose what we talked about, but it was amicable, and we’re going to get together and build on our relationship. So I don’t want everybody to think that that was the last word, it wasn’t. And I think we’re on the road to recovery in that regard. So I just wanted people to know that.”

Keep in mind, the DNC chair is a leadership and management role, it doesn’t decide on policy. But, the damage was done with Saban sending one of the loudest messages. Ellison’s bid was sunk… because he’s Muslim and due to Islamophobia.

So while all the article praise the Power Rangers update they overlook a disturbing few recent years where an ugliness has reared its head. As seen in the DNC chair race and the President Trump’s actions, Islamophobia is alive and well. The advocating for profiling, the support of curtailing civil liberties, and unfounded attacks on a Muslim Congressman who wants to serve his party and nation, all in the “support of Israel.” For someone whose show espouses teamwork and bringing together individuals of varying backgrounds as a team, Saban’s statements and actions are divisive and refutes the lessons the show teaches. Go go Power Rangers?

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From the Comics to the Streets: Join #PopPoliticsChat Weds 8:30pm EDT

Fans and activists are alike in that we’re all advocates. We promote characters who’ve empowered us and recruit people to join our causes. Sometimes that effort is one and the same.

When a tyrant comes to power by dehumanizing Muslims and Latinx people, telling stories with Muslim and Latinx heroes is essential.

While Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, and Ms. America, America Chavez are punching Hitler and stretching the boundaries of whose superpowered stories are told, real life Muslim women, latinas, and other Queer People of Color are leading mass mobilizations in their communities.

What makes this imagery so powerful? How are these stories both real and imagined changing pop culture and politics?

On Wednesday, March 22, we’re inviting twitter users to dive in and discuss, 8:30 EDT to  9:30pm by visiting #PopPoliticsChat on Twitter.

#PopPoliticsChat, is a hosted online conversation series between pop culture fans/influencers and social movement leaders discussing a topical theme in pop culture and politics.

Our first topic is Marvel ComicsMs. Marvel series, and the newly released America comic, starring former Young Avenger and leader of The Ultimates, America Chavez. Kamala Khan and America Chavez’s powers make them immune to border walls and bathroom laws. Both characters are explicitly American and heroic in their stories, and useful vehicles for considering what patriotism and heroism means when Muslims, immigrants, and LGBTQ people are being targeted by the government (and when Captain America Steve Rogers is revealed to be a Nazi Hydra Agent).

We’ll also discuss how to engage in Marvel fandom while remaining critical of problematic issues, including Marvel/Disney’s participation in Trump’s Economic Advisory board, and a lack of support for creators of color and women.

Our goals are to bring together pop culture fans, social movement community members, creatives, and more in a fun and inspiring conversation, and to connect them to new ideas and opportunities to take action. We hope you’ll spread the word about the event and participate with us!

Go to Twitter, visit #PopPoliticsChat and join our featured tweeters for the conversation:

  • Desiree Rodriguez (@boricuadesiree) is a columnist and Editorial Assistant for Lion Forge Comics’ Catalyst Prime. Desiree also writes for The Nerds of Color and Women Write About Comics.
  • Nelini Stamp (@NelStamp) National Membership Director @WorkingFamilies. Lover of sci-fi & wizards. Troublemaker with @ResistHere, #ResistTrumpTuesdays.
  • Ardo Omer (@ArdoOmer)  is a senior editor at Women Write About Comics and a contributing writer at Book Riot. She has bylines at Comics Bulletin, Hyperallergic and Slate. Batman goes to her for advice.

And I, @elana_brooklyn will be moderating the conversation, coming to this from the perspective of someone who is a comics fan and critic, but also works for an immigrant-lead community organization whose members and leaders are leading the resistance against immigration raids, over-policing, and other forms of systemic oppression (and have been since long before Trump).

See you then! And if you are Tumblr share it there!


Cultural Pulse (an initiative of the Culture Lab) connects social justice movements to pop culture stories, trends and fan organizing efforts to help them more deeply engage with the stories and people that are changing hearts and minds.

Goodbye Arts? Thanks Trump!

President Trump has unveiled his proposed budget plan, named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” and it calls for a sharp increase in military spending with sharp cuts across the rest of the government.

Those cuts include eliminating future federal support for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Sorry Big Bird, looks like you’re flipping burgers.

While Winston Churchill is often quoted as saying “then, what are we fighting for?” when asked about cutting funding for the arts during World War II (he didn’t say it), he actually did say the below in 1938:

The arts are essential to any complete national life. The State owes it to itself to sus­tain and encour­age them…. Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the reverence and delight which are their due.

The National Endowment for the Arts was started in 1965 by President Johnson, it’s dedicated to “supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and provided leadership in arts education. The organization has made over 128,000 grants totaling over $5 billion. Its funding makes up just 0.004% of the federal budget. 40% of its funding goes to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations. With a budget of about $150 million that’s about two months of comic sales at local comic shops. The NEA generates more than $600 million annually in additional matching funds and helps to shape a $730 billion arts and culture industry that represents 4.2% of the nation’s GDP and supports 4.8 million jobs.

National Endowment for the Humanities also began in 1965 and is an independent federal agency. It too has a similar budget as that of the National Endowment for the Arts. It provides grants for humanities projects to cultural institutions such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars. The “Treasures of Tutankhamen” and Ken Burn’s The Civil War documentary were both funded by this. Its also sponsored 15 Pulitzer Prize-winning books.

Both organizations have funded research and spotlighted comic books at times bringing an academic perspective to the entertainment we love. Check out this podcast with Mike Mignola or essay by Gene Luen Yang for examples.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was founded in 1967 and is an American Private non-profit corporation whose mission is to provide non-commercial, high-quality content. 70% of its funding goes to 1,400 locally owned stations. Its budget is about $445.5 million (in 2014) which is about 0.012% of the federal budget. It helps supports television like PBS and radio programming. Series like NOVA and Sesame Street are available and accessible because of this. Programming that might not be commercially viable, but provides quality and educational entertainment to Americans and programming where you’re not bombarded by advertisements. If you’ve watched Sesame Street, you’ve benefited from this.

This isn’t the final budget that we will eventually get. Congress needs to still pass it, reach a separate agreement over a temporary funding bill, and raise the debt ceiling. But, what this does is lay out the Trump administration’s priorities, and the arts is not a part of that.

This is a wake-up call that we must defend the arts. March 20-21 is an Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. If you’re unable to participate you need to call your Congressman and tell them to support the arts and not defund these three vital organizations.

Lucha Comics Releases Statement About James A. Bretney’s Islamophobic Comments

Lucha Comics is a small press company out of London, Ontario Canada and while you won’t find them in the pages of Previews, you will find them on comiXology and DriveThruComics. James A. Bretney is a comic creator published by Lucha Comics whose comiXology bio says:

An American film director, screenwriter and producer, James decided to pursue a career in the arts after 12 months with the U.S. Army in Iraq. James is an outspoken conservative and very active in politics.

Bretney is also Islamophobic spouting out enough reprehensible things to get his Twitter account suspended. While Bretney regularly posted anti-immigrant/conservative Tweets, two days ago he went after lawyer, author, and Harvard Islamic Studies Fellow Qasim Rashid telling him “go home. We don’t want you here” and “Qasim, your troll Army will not save your soul. Love Jesus or go to hell. You have been warned.”

Things exploded from there.

Tweets began to be directed towards Lucha Comics in protest and threatening boycotts. Yesterday the company responded to a lot of the Tweets generally responding it was a person’s “right” for the boycott and that they were looking into the issue “closely” so as to not make a “rash decision.”

Today Lucha Comics released a statement about the incident.

The company called the comments and content “disturbing” and “upsetting” but as an individual, it’s not something the company has control over. He’s not an employee but releases his comics through the publisher. They also emphasize the often repeated line that boycotts don’t just impact Bretney, but the “artists, cover artists, letterers, and more”

The company isn’t “cutting” him off as they feel that “does not address the root problem,” but they will be putting Bretney’s next two projects which have been written with no art on hold.

Lucha Comics will be “posting further thoughts” after a planned family vacation.

Fusion Spotlights Thi Bui the Creator Behind The Best We Could Do

The Best We Could Do is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.

The graphic novel by Thi Bui is out March 7 and Fusion has a video highlighting the creator and graphic novel.

Punisher Logo with “Blue Lives Matter” Gets Removed from Police Cars

The Punisher is a vigilante who uses murder, extortion, torture, kidnapping, and threats of violence in his war on crime. He’s also apparently what some police officers look up to. The Catlettsburg Police Department in Eastern Kentucky added the Punisher skull logo to eight police cars with the words “Blue Lives Matter.”

The design was spearheaded by Police Chief Cameron Logan who worked with a vinyl decal shop on Louisiana to print the decals (was there no decal shops in Kentucky!?). A similar decal is being sold by David Klotz Enterprises out of New Jersey. There it’s listed as the “Thin Blue Line Punisher Skull Window Decal.”

The design was approved by the city council and Mayor Randall Peterman. One member objected, but he was elected after the approval. His criticism is over the cost, not the message. The idea was to “give back to the police officers.” Which begs the question what is this “giving back?”

The Punisher is a vigilante who breaks the law by killing criminals, making himself judge, jury, and executioner. A veteran, he’s exactly what the police are being accused of, abusing the rights of individuals. The police chief sees it as a “warrior logo.” Which makes one wonder if he endorses what that skull logo represents.

This is the latest example of the mainstreaming of the Punisher who debuted in 1974 and has starred in numerous films and appeared in the second season of Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil with his own solo television series soon debuting.

The character is the antithesis of the law and order police are supposed to represent. He has in fact murdered police officers in his “one man war.” Not to mention the irony of appropriating intellectual property without permission. You know, theft.

This isn’t the first time controversy over police using the logo has arisen. A Georgia SWAT team used the logo in a video showing off their militarization. The military has often used the symbol in units. If the Punisher is someone that police look up to, it’s no wonder so many citizens are being murdered by police.

(via Lexington Herald Leader)

President Luthor and President Trump are More Similar Than You Think

lex-luthor-for-presidentThe most controversial election of all time!” That was a marketing line for the storyline run by DC Comics that saw Lex Luthor elected President of the United States in the DC Universe. Collected in the “President Lex” trade paperback, the story ran through the various series of the time from an impressive collection of creators. Having recently reread the collection, it’s a frighteningly prescient story far ahead of its time, primarily because it could have easily been talking about the recent election of Donald Trump.

Opening up with “The Why” by writer Greg Rucka and artist Matthew Clark, we get the motivations of Lex Luthor’s run as he makes an announcement about his decision to run. Surrounded by the Superman logo, we’re presented with a Lex Luthor whose ego has clearly been hurt and driven by a need to be in the spotlight. In a mostly wordless six pages we get a sense that Luthor is driven for his competition with the Man of Steel and needing to be in the spotlight and in charge. That sound familiar?

In 2012 it was reported that Trump’s decision to run was made partially due to his humiliation at a White House Correspondent’s dinner. According to Republican trickster Roger Stone, Trump’s motivation was partially an “I’ll show him” attitude to President Obama and the shade thrown Trump’s way at the event. It’s ego to him, and we’ve seen from his outbursts and Twitter tirades, the man is all ego. But that simple coincidence isn’t all when it comes to the Presidential run, and win, for the two celebrity businessmen turned politicians.

One of the biggest decisions a Presidential nominee can make is their Vice Presidential choice. In Trump’s case, it was Indiana Governor Mike Pence. In Luthor’s it is former Kansas Senator Pete Ross. In a weird coincidence, a real life Pete Ross ran for Shadow Senator for Washinton, DC. So, in both cases we have a “big city” businessman choosing a mid-west politician as their running mate.

As part of the story Luthor is accused of harming Atlantis with some technology and after “going to trial” he talks his way out of it with a settlement and offers to pay reparations for the damage done. Trump has at least 75 lawsuits against him and his businesses and infamously settled the Trump University case during his Presidential run.

While lots of empty talk continues, action hasn’t been taken to help the people of Flint, Michigan and the water crisis occurring there. Due to neglect and outright criminal action, the water is poisoned for the people and damage done to those who have already ingested so much of it. The people of Suicide Slum in Metropolis too have been hurt with water poisoned from Luthor’s upgrading of the city with alien technology. While some areas benefit, Suicide Slum is left behind by those in charge, the people left to rot.

Luthor’s business is much like Trump’s as well. Lex Luthor has Lex Tower, Trump has Trump Tower, both ruling out of it. Luthor turns over his company to Talia Head (actually Talia Al Ghul), but he doesn’t really give up control instead dealing with Talia directly.

The election itself has many parallels. The outcome isn’t a blowout, resulting in a close election going on well into the night, a reality of the Trump/Clinton race. Luthor, like Trump, plays the media to not just make over his persona but deliver his message to the people with free air time. Perry White on the other hand, ponders if there was more they could have done as the fourth estate during the election itself, a similar introspection that existed within the media after Trump’s election.

perry-white-fourth-estate

That hand-wringing extends to Superman and Batman. Both at a point debate if they should intervene to dig up dirt on Luthor. Superman is the the one who doesn’t want to, believing in the process and letting it play out, an attitude reflected by many who say we need to “stand with the President” and “give him a chance.”

aquaman-head-of-statePost election there are similarities. Luthor’s election is met with protests and he threatens to out Batman and his allies’ identities by using the NSA, FBI, CIA, and more. While we haven’t seen Trump directly do that, there’s some oddness concerning the current issues between the Trump administration and the intelligence community.

But, there’s a foreign policy move that’s odd. In one issue as part of the collection, Aquaman tells Superman that Luthor is the first world leader to reach out to Atlantis and take it seriously as a nation. The extended hand is something reminiscent of current talks with Russia and Trump’s willingness to praise the country so many see as an adversary. It’s a break in the previous foreign policy and one might argue, the right policy. Today, it would be easy to see the parallels, but this was originally published in 2000 and 2001.

What does the story tell us about President Trump’s future? President Luthor was impeached due to his going insane and trying to kill Superman. This was after a fairly competent run though. We haven’t seen that same competence out of President Trump, but talks of impeachment swirl about a month into his Presidency.

The Comics Are All Right: Now’s The Time to Be Political

greater_coat_of_arms_of_the_united_states-svgI began “The Comics Are All Right” feature to explore the inner workings of the comic book industry and give a take that’s focused more on data, facts, and examples, not opinion. And for the most part I’ve succeeded diving into actual sales numbers and trends, throwing out hypotheses as to the direction of the industry, giving examples of publishers and stores that are breaking the marketing mold, and more. And, I think I’ve done a decent job of staying away from opinion (Yes that is an opinion. The irony is not lost). But, this one is going to be opinion, sort of. Here we go:

The comic industry needs to get political!

Now, this particular column isn’t what you think it is. I’m not going to debate that politics and comics go hand in hand (they do and have a long history together). No, this is a call for the industry and publishers to become aware of possible legislation and policy changes over the next years and how it’ll impact them.

For almost seven years I worked as the Online Advocacy Director for the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA). During that period we monitored legislation and built campaigns to allow video game consumers to have a voice in the political process about legislation and proposals that directly impacted them. At times those campaigns overlapped with the needs and wants of the video game industry itself. We tackled issues ranging from censorship, broadband expansion, a Supreme Court case, video games and health, Net Neutrality, broadband caps, and more. I’m proud to say, we never lost a battle.

The comic industry will face legislative issues (they always do beyond censorship) and it’s time we recognize this, and do something beyond it. Here’s just a sampling of what we’ll likely have to deal with in the years to come and why it’s important.

Repeal of the ACA aka Obamacare – The pay for comic creators can be pretty low and add on top of that a lack of benefits and it’s clear that eeking out a living as a creator isn’t the easiest or most rewarding career there is. Freelance creators are forced to purchase their own healthcare through the ACA, from a union, a spouse, or through another job. That first option is currently at risk with threats of a repeal which will cost an estimated 18 million people their insurance in the first year.

Our insurance system is flawed, that’s not what this is about, this is about ensuring an easy way for self-employed individuals to gain insurance, not be discriminated against due to pre-existing conditions, and benefiting women and helping with their choice of birth control.

A repeal would increase costs by either putting some individuals in a high cost “risky pool,” deny coverage outright, or increase out of pocket benefits. It’s estimated that women will have to pay $1.4 billion in copay for birth control for instance.

That’s less money in the pockets of creators. More freelance jobs needed to take. Possibly greater cover prices due to the need to charge more by freelancers. Decreased health. Less money means less traveling for conventions. Less interaction because time spent online is time not spent earning money.

Quality of life will decrease for those in the industry.

What this means is the industry needs to start thinking of solutions. A guild through which freelancers could purchase insurance or publishers offering ways for creators to buy into their offerings are both solutions. Now is the time to think this through before it’s too late.

Import Tax – The Trump administration has threatened to create an import tax, the theory of which is it’ll force manufacturers to produce items in the United States. I’m not going to go into the legality of this or how flawed the economic theory is (that’s for another post). Instead, if it goes through, the import tax won’t be paid by corporations, it’ll be paid by the consumers. That $3.99 comic will now be $4.99 or $5.99. Nothing changes except higher retail prices which equates to fewer items sold, stores struggling further, and publishers cutting back or going out of business. No one gains in this scenario, from the consumer through to the publisher, we’re all screwed.

Repeal of Net Neutrality – If you sell digital comics or use the internet to market, you should care about this issue. At it’s basic core, Net Neutrality is the concept that like content online should be delivered at like speeds (it’s more complicated than that, but we’ll stick with the basics). If Comcast offers you internet and voip phone and another service offers voip, Comcast wouldn’t be able to slow down the competitor to benefit their service.

If Net Neutrality goes away the internet becomes pay for play with content producers shelling out money making it more difficult for upstarts to get noticed. It would allow internet providers to outright block content and websites. It could slow down connections making it more difficult for creators to talk to fans, their publishers, or fellow creators to work on projects.

That’s not even getting into data caps.

The Return of SOPA/PIPASOPA/PIPA is online censorship. The legislation was first put forth in 2011 and threats of new versions rear their ugly head every year. We beat it once. It doesn’t mean we will definitely beat it again.

European Rules on Copyright Infringement – Lets not focus on a “what if” and instead focus on the now. A current proposal by the European Commission would adopt new rules requiring platforms to scan and filter user uploads for copyright infringements.

Want to share that cool art? Yeah, not happening. Want to upload a gif? Nope.

SOPA/PIPA was a similar plan and was defeated here in the US, but this is one that’s being discussed, today. As is, the copyright system and its tools are broken. The DMCA is used in ways it wasn’t meant to and the one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing. A rule like this is an affront to the rule of law and freedom of expression and if you’re in Europe, this should concern you.

Immigration and Travel – The Trump administration that has put out an Executive Order that has thrown our immigration and border system into chaos. Individuals are being asked to hand over their phones and unlock them even if they are US citizens. Not to mention the disturbing questions being asked and social media being mined. The EO threatens all of us, but if you’re a foreign creator or US creator (citizen or not) who has to return from overseas, I’d be nervous right now. Do you enjoy creators being flown from overseas to conventions? This could impact that, at a minimum.

Publishers, creators, and we the fans, need to organize and be aware. These issues will impact our enjoyment within the industry and the ability for publishers and creators to deliver. Now is the time to band together. Now is the time to build an apparatus to lobby and help speak on our behalf. Now is not the time to sit on the side and watch it all pass us by.

Seattle Comic Book Retailer Comics Dungeon Goes Non-Profit

c4c3Seattle comic book retailer Comics Dungeon has announced that it is getting rid of its for-profit status becoming a non-profit corporation. Comics Dungeon, Inc. will be changing its name to Comics for Community, Compassion and Culture, C4C3.

C4C3 will focus on raising money to bring more comics and graphic novels to libraries and the classroom. One hundred percent of all profits will be given to schools, educators, and libraries through a new grant program. The initial profits will come from the operation of Comics Dungeon, but there will be an expansion with fundraising programs to accept cash donations as well as comic aA nd related donations.

The store has been in operation for 25 years with the current owners Scott and Lainie Tomlin owning the store for 11 years.

In the announcement Scott Tomlin, C4C3’s president said:

After being part of the community for over 25 years, we wanted our focus to be giving back to the very community that built our success. The Comics Dungeon retail store name will remain the same.

Lainie Tomlin, the company’s vice president said:

Our goal is to encourage more willing readers, including English language learners, and across many topics and genres.

Joining them on the board of directors are Kazu Kibuishi, 15-year comic creator of the bestselling Amulet, Flight and Copper series, Rob Salkowitz, educator, columnist and author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture”, Tracy Williams, education activist, experienced educator and curriculum director in Washington state public schools at Walla Walla School District, Spokane School District and Seattle Pacific University.

Congrats on the change and looking forward to seeing what you all do with the new status!

Raise $ for the ACLU by shopping with Birdcage Bottom Books

Birdcage Bottom Books is committed to ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard and that everyone is treated fairly and equally. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has worked for over 100 years to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

For the month of February, when you buy any products from BBB or any of the following artists/publishers, 50% of the sales will be donated to the ACLU:

ALCHEMY COMIX/Jonathan Baylis Jeffrey Lewis
Pat Barrett Jesse Londergan
Josh Bayer Alec Longstreth
Marek Bennett Jonas Madden-Connor
BIGUGLYROBOT PRESS/Adam Pasion Daniel McCloskey
BIRDCAGE BOTTOM BOOKS/J.T. Yost Justin Melkmann
Kevin Budnik Ben Mitchell
ASTRO PLUS PRESS/Josh Burggraf Chris Monday
Kevin Cannon Hazel Newlevant
William Cardini NINTH ART PRESS / Dan Mazur
Aaron Cockle Alabaster Pizzo
CZAP BOOKS/Kevin Czapiewski Ansis Purins
Glynnis Fawkes Desmond Reed
Hugo Fitzgerald RETROFIT/BIG PLANET COMICS/Box Brown
Mike Freiheit ROBOT PUBLISHING CO./Robert Goodin
Katie Fricas R. Sikoryak
Tatiana Gill Holly Simple
Delaine Derry Green Sam Spina
GRINDSTONE COMICS/L. Nichols Whit Taylor
Ayun Halliday Meghan Turbitt
HIC & HOC PUBLICATIONS/Matt Moses Sophia Wiedeman
Paul Hoppe Jess Worby
Gideon Kendall Eddie Wright
KILGORE BOOKS/Dan Stafford Jeff Zwirek

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