Category Archives: Politics

Watch Live as Wonder Woman is Designated As United Nations Honorary Ambassador

To celebrate the historic moment when Wonder Woman is designated as the United Nations’ first Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls, the United Nations will live stream the event beginning at 12 p.m. ET/ 9 a.m. PT on Friday, October 21, a day that also commemorates the iconic Super Hero’s official 75th anniversary. The event will be followed by Facebook Live and Twitter Q&As with Lynda Carter, as well as Gal Gadot with director Patty Jenkins.

In her new position, Wonder Woman will move beyond battling Super-Villains to raise awareness of the U.N.’s campaign for gender equality (Sustainable Development Goal No. 5) and the empowerment of women and girls as a critical component for a peaceful and prosperous world.

Leading up to the event, both the U.N. and DC Entertainment have launched websites that will provide regular updates and information about the campaign. Visit the U.N. site and DC’s site.

More details about the year-long campaign will be unveiled during the ceremony by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson. Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman in the beloved 1970s television series and now appears as president on The CW’s Supergirl, and Gal Gadot, who will star in next year’s Wonder Woman feature film, will also be part of the designation ceremony.

The livestream event is slated to run from approximately 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET on October 21.

The event will be followed by Facebook Live and Twitter Fan Q&As with Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins, as well as a Facebook Live Q&A with Lynda Carter. Fans are invited to watch a Facebook Live conversation with Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins at 1pm ET/10am PT at, then at 1:20pm ET/10:20am PT follow @GalGadot and @PattyJenks for a live Twitter Q&A. At 1:30pm ET/10:30am PT fans can watch for a Facebook Live conversation with Lynda Carter.


The Working Families Party’s Brightest Day, Goes Superhero in Email Blast

Politicians and political parties invoking superheroes isn’t anything new. Candidates have done it. Organizations have done it. The Working Families Party sent out an email yesterday with a superhero theme and directly quoting the Green Lantern oath with a twist.

Founded in New York in 1998, the Working Families Party is a political party in the US mainly focused on “jobs, healthcare, raising the minimum wage, universal paid sick days, the student debt crisis, higher taxes on the rich, public education, and energy and environmental reform.”

In the fundraising pitch, the email is a solid one with a focus on individuals at the local level who have helped to make a difference and are now running for office.

You can read the full email below.

In dark Trump times like these, it’s hard to find the glimmer of hope. But wait — look there, Amanda! In hometowns all across the country — Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Salem, Albuquerque, Snoqualmie and more — people are standing up to serve their community.

It’s the Working Families Party Superheroes!

They are taking on the likes of Donald Trump, the NRA, fossil fuel lobbyists, and wealthy donors — without the resources you see in the presidential campaigns.

Meet our WFP Superheroes and then chip in $3 to help WFP turn out the votes they need to win!

WFP Superheroes, from left to right, top row to bottom…

Teresa Alonso Leon runs Oregon’s GED program, helping low-income and working class families fight for a better life. Meanwhile, multinational corporations and wealthy donors refuse to pay their fair share. Now she’s had enough and is running for Oregon State House on a platform of women’s economic equality, public education, and protecting seniors.

Philadelphia’s Chris Rabb is an author, activist and college professor. After he helped over 100 adjunct professors unionize for living wages, he was abruptly “uninvited” to continue teaching. Now he’s running for PA State Assembly to bring the fight for school funding to Harrisburg!

New Mexico’s narrow Republican majority has been passing legislation that benefits big energy companies and ignores public school children. So long-time teacher, mentor and elderly services volunteer, Natalie Figueroa, is running to challenge the Republican Majority Leader and tip the scales in favor of progressive values.

In Las Vegas, middle school teacher Brittney Miller knew that energy sustainability and public school funding couldn’t wait another semester. So she decided to step up and run for State Assembly against a wealthy lawyer who supports tax policies that will help the rich — and leave the rest of us behind.

A family tragedy opened Jason Ritchie’s eyes to the needs of differently-abled residents in Washington state. Now, this Bernie-endorsed candidate wants to fight for working families in the State House. He’s challenging a Trump-like incumbent who opposes women’s reproductive rights, family leave, and raising the minimum wage.

Any one of these WFP Superheroes could be a future Bernie Sanders — but they have to win their elections! WFP is throwing down for down-ballot superheroes leading up to November. You can help elect a new generation of progressive champions all over the country by chipping in $3. Click here to help WFP forge a new future with local progressive superheroes.

POW! Let’s do this!

Amanda Johnson
Working Families Party

Ominous Parallels: a Comparative Analysis of Donald Trump & Norman Osborn

modakWe’re going to make America Great Again!”  – Donald Trump

” I want to weed out the malcontents. I want an army of men and women ready to take back the world. And those who are not ready will be replaced….I want you to take this Starktech Golden Goose of a Helicarrier and I want it scrapped .. You use my designs. You put them into full production. I want this red and gold out of sight” – Norman Osborn

In 2012 I was fortunate to contribute to Blackwell‘s pop culture and philosophy volume on the Avengers. My essay compared the controversial rise to power of Norman Osborn to an arrogant Athenian Noble named Alcibiades in the Socratic Dialogues. Much like Alcibiades, Osborne, was obsessed with accumulating state power for his own benefit, conflating his need for power with national security. To borrow Socrates’ leaky jar analogy, the egos of both men were markedly fragile, causing both to seek an endless abatement of their superficial desires and validations. As a Canadian I have been following the 2016 presidential election quite closely. And I am always given pause when I find instances of art imitating life or vice versa. More and more I am realizing that the current politic drama playing out with my neighbor to the south, seems very much like a landmark story from Marvel called Dark Reign.

donald_trump_by_gage_skidmore_2As of this writing Donald Trump has been formally nominated as the candidate for the Republican Party. This has been achieved despite a campaign with thinly veiled overtones of bigotry, threat exaggeration, Ad hominem argumentation, insecure bluster and unabashed demagoguery.  During Marvel’s Dark Reign, we a saw a similarly unlikely rise to power, one that put the “bad guys” firmly in power, and had most of our heroes on the run. It’s important to note that the Dark Reign came about off the heels of alien invasion, qualifying as a threat on existential terms. Though this threat was credible and resulted in the breakdown of many of the Earths’ protective institutions (i.e. SHIELD, SWORD, the Avengers) the fact still remains that this threat was politicized and weaponized to the benefit of the new established  political and security order. Through five points of comparison I would like show some striking similarities between Mr. Trump and Norman Osborn, in order two show why these similarities should give both Americans and the rest of the world pause. Although I enjoyed the subversive Dark Reign event and the political commentary that came with it, seeing life imitate art so closely in this political election has been a bit disturbing.


Both Norman Osborn and Donald Trump have demonstrated an incredible knack for showmanship. During his stint as the director of the Thunderbolts, a rehabilitating  initiative that employed super villains for heroic tasks, Norman slowly and calculatedly fashioned an image of himself as a trustworthy civil servant. This was  despite his monstrous alternate persona the Green Goblin and his dubious intentions. This showmanship culminated in his strategically timed execution of the Skrull Queen during the final throes of the Skrull invasion, an act taking place before many cameras and ultimately cementing his place at the head of national security.

Similarly Donald Trump’s thirst for fame has become a central pillar of his career. Trump slowly evolved from the real estate mogul symbolic of the 80s to reality personality we know today. That Mr. Trump chose to announce his political ambitions, through his media ventures was of no surprise, as he became quite adept at using any platform afforded to him to further his own goals. In a short span of a few years the currency of Trump’s rise slowly transitioned from real estate to notoriety. What I find so fascinating about Donald Trump’s untrammeled ambition in the mediascape appears  to be sourced from a deep lack of confidence. A classic “Trumpian” mindset seems to be the following whatever promotes or aggrandizes me is trustworthy and good, and whatever criticizes or challenges me is flawed, envious and bad. His recent comments on SNL indicates this, a show he was happy to host recently, which is now unfunny in his eyes and in need of retirement now that he is being parodied. Similarly after Osborn’s rise to power, any degree of opposition or challenges to his order was met with draconian authority. Both Osborn and Trump suffer  from a deep insecurity which brings me to the next point of comparison.



Trump brought the election to new lows, using his newfound political soapbox to defend not only his vaunted wealth, and business acumen but also his physical attributes like the size of his genitalia, fingers, and the authenticity of his hair. This isn’t to say that people shouldn’t have insecurities, however his choice to use his political campaign to chronically redress this that is remarkable. Most politicians can cultivate a degree of thick skinned resolve that allows them to maintain a presence and agenda consistent with campaign objectives. Trump has routinely been veered off course, falling for bait that would typically fall beneath the attention, and stature of your general presidential candidate.


Norman Osborn also shared this personality flaw. In my essay I argued that Norman’s enmity towards the newly outlawed super heroic community, stemmed from his insecurity about independent and self-derived sources of power. Instead of working with those who were seemingly on the other side, Norman worked tirelessly to oppress and subdue them. For Norman this may have been tied to his fragile ego, and dove tailed into his exaggerated view of the world’s threats. The mini-series Dark X-Men explicitly touches on Norman’s inner psyche where super powered opponents are concerned.  It explains a lot of his heavy handedness throughout his tenure as the head of national security.


Threat Exaggeration/Inflation

Both Donald and Norman exhibit an exaggerated understanding of national security threats, however where Osborn’s stems from his insecurity and ego issues, Trump’s is a more opportunistic variety, rooted more in his showmanship.  At the end of the Dark Avengers title we get a final panel of an incarcerated Norman, meandering over all the threats that may take place without his oversight. It’s a telling insight into his fragile mind, a plausible set of scenarios, but obtuse and over the top. This isn’t to say that Norman’s assessment of things was never opportunistic (See blurring personal vendetta with national security) it was just that his reaction to super powered opposition (actual and imagined) overwhelmed him and perhaps fed (and spurred) his Goblin persona.

Donald Trumps’ variety of threat exaggeration, is rooted in bigotry but more heavily on spreading doubt and lack of confidence in the established governmental order. I say this highlighting Trump’s lack of understanding of geopolitical issues (see vague platitudes and agenda) and his complete dearth of viable or coherent alternatives. Trump knows people are scared and he has seized on that fear to bolster support for his campaign.

There are striking parallels here with what took place during the Dark Reign. Both Skrulls and the specter of ISIS are existential threats, both of which can appear as anyone (The Skrulls being shapeshifting aliens) and infiltrate borders and institutions. Both also use religious ideology for a mission of conquest. Although there were peaceful Skrulls living on earth before and after the invasion, and peaceful Muslims who are not radically indoctrinated, conflations are made in both cases. Where Trump has used this to deride immigration policy and pander to the ignorance and fear of his base, Norman used this to take out a clear and apparent threat cement his place as a trusted government official, while eventually moving on to other threats by defining them in a sense.


Voracious Branding 

Both Donald and Norman true to their sizeable egos, need to see their names on everything. During his Dark Reign, Norman usurped and subverted many franchises and established institutions. Norman overhauls S.H.I.E.L.D. replaces it with his H.A.M.M.E.R. and creates “Dark” versions of the Avengers and X-Men staffing them with  controversial villians. The overcompensation here is noteworthy and seems to be subtle taunt to the old heroic guard he was once answerable to.

One doesn’t have to look far to find a litany failed Trump ventures, whether Trump Air, Trump University or his casinos. Trump’s past business ventures, and past grievances attached to them show one who is not just hunger to see his name everywhere, but someone with dubious ethics and integrity. The egos of both men in this regard are strikingly similar here.


Vague Platitudes & Agenda

A noteworthy observation about Norman’s agency H.A.M.M.E.R. is that it was never quite revealed what his agency stood for. I argued in my essay that Norman’s vagueness here was deliberate as he wanted an agency that would latch on to the current zeitgeist of insecurity and lack of confidence in the previous regime’s protective institutions.

This is the main strategy of the Trump campaign.

What I find so striking about Trump is his complete lack of alternatives and general understanding of geopolitics that we’d expect of any person running for the office of POTUS. Another tried and true “Trump-ism” is documented here, when pressed about legitimate foreign policy concern Trump tacit reaction is to deflect and distract, a disturbing behavior for one seeking such a high and important office. Although unprincipled Norman had some concrete objective and policy, Trump apparently has none and this should give everyone pause.

Blurring Personal Vendetta with National Security

“A man that you can bait with a tweet, is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons” – Hillary Clinton

The Dark Reign mini series called “The List” documented Osborne’s draconian tour of the MU, taking out his perceived threats. If my memory serves me well this takes place soon after two of his inner cabal members Emma Frost and Namor, publicly defect from his regime. What follows is a calculated yet somewhat petty show of force. He creates a biological WMD to slaughter Atlantean terror cells, among other affronts to the newly downtrodden heroes of MU. I was reminded of the list Donald claimed very brazenly claiming he would arrange “special prosecution” in order to prosecute Hillary Clinton. Given the rest of the characteristics I used for comparison between the two men, it should come as no surprise that their personal grievances impinge so much on their handling (or approach towards) National Security.

In my analysis of Norman Osborn I wrote that the moral of the Dark Reign was to show the consequences of what happens when people who are unfit for power get it. Osborn’s Dark Reign ended during the Siege crisis, an event that saw a mentally weak Osborn goaded into sparking an international incident by unilaterally attacking Asgard. This wasn’t just done as a show of strength, but to prove to the world that Osborn was not to be trifled with. It was a disastrous outcome that ironically put the world in danger, in the name of protecting it.

Although the prospect of a Trump Presidency remains to be seen, I argue that the consequences  of such an outcome would similar if not more dramatic. Sam Alexander’s chastisement of the fictional POTUS, (after the Dark Reign) would also speak the system and individuals that paved the way  for Trump’s rise should he secure the presidency.

“….You sacrificed honor for expediency. You traded intent for quick action. You were wrong and we all suffered for it”

Cards Against Humanity’s “The Nuisance Committee” Goes After Trump with Overwatch

hanzoCards Against Humanity‘s anti-Trump political action committee, “The Nuisance Committee,” has launched its third campaign: An Overwatch-themed billboard near the University of Central Florida that accuses Donald Trump of maining Hanzo and complaining about his team.

The campaign also will include digital and print ads in Seattle’s The Stranger alt-newspaper.

Unveiled last week, the Orlando billboard plays off of the popular video game, Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch, and targets voters between the ages of 18 and 30.

Winning Overwatch is contingent upon exceptional teamwork, and the billboard and companion website emphasize Donald Trump’s pattern of blaming others for his own failures and shortcomings.

This is the committee’s third committee campaign, following on the heels of (billboard located outside Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport) and podcast ads read by activist and actor George Takei, best known as Sulu from the Star Trek TV series.

The committee’s funds were raised with ongoing sales of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton add-on packs, sales that you can track.

The committee’s name, however, comes from a meaningful piece of Cards co-creator Max Temkin’s family history. His grandfather, Ira Weinstein, was shot down over Germany on his 24th combat mission during WWII and interned in a POW camp, Stalag Luft 1. There Ira and other Jewish POWs banded together to form a “Nuisance Committee” to irritate their captors in ways that wouldn’t get them shot.

The comparison between Trump and Hitler is intentional.

The illustrations were done by Daniel Warren Johnson; the design by Lindsey Camelio.


Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management and Dark Horse Comics Team Up to Teach Tsunami Preparedness

Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management and Dark Horse Comics team up to prepare for the Great Oregon ShakeOut on October 20 and introduce Without Warning: Tsunami, a new comic touting tsunami preparedness. The 16-page comic strip sequence chronicles a mother/daughter camping trip on the Oregon coast when an earthquake and resulting tsunami strike. The duo stays safe and helps others in danger.

Without Warning: Tsunami is the second time that the partners have come together to collaborate on bringing preparedness messaging to youth. In 2013, OEM’s Geologic Hazards Program Coordinator Althea Rizzo approached Dark Horse with a proposal. An avid comic book fan herself, Rizzo knew that it was a good way to reach a new target audience. In August 2014, Without Warning was released, telling a story of an Oregon teen who reunites with her family after a major Cascadia Earthquake.

Rizzo came up with both stories which were scripted and illustrated by Dark Horse team members Jeremy Barlow and David Hahn.

Oregon is located in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 600-hundred mile earthquake fault stretching from offshore Northern California to Southern British Columbia.  According to scientists and other experts, a large 9.0 or higher earthquake could strike Oregon at any time.

Without Warning: Tsunami is available online. Printed copies can be obtained through local county emergency management offices.


The Truth About Pepe the Frog. Fantagraphics and Furie Release a Statement.

boys-clubThe whirlwind controversy around Pepe the Frog might be one of the strangest things about the 2016 Presidential campaign. Created by Matt Furie, the character has been appropriated by racists and far right.

Fantagraphics Books and Furie have released a statement condemning the use of the character’s use by them.

Check out their statement below.

Fantagraphics Books and Matt Furie, the creator of the eternally chill comic book character Pepe the Frog, condemn the illegal and repulsive appropriations of the character by racist fringe groups linked to the alt-right movement and the Donald Trump presidential campaign. Furie’s character has been categorized as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League as a result of these uses, creating significant emotional and financial harm for the creator.

Most media reports now routinely default to a narrow description of Pepe as a representation of white supremacy, ignoring the mellow, positive-vibed frog that he is in the hands of his creator, Matt Furie, within the pages of Furie’s Boy’s Club comics (as collected by Fantagraphics Books). Yet the myriad copyright violations of recent weeks have resulted in Furie’s name now turning up in Anti-Defamation League database search results.

Having your creation appropriated without consent is never something an artist wants to suffer, but having it done in the service of such repellent hatred — and thereby dragging your name into the conversation, as well — makes it considerably more troubling.

Fantagraphics Books wants to state for the record that the one, true Pepe the frog, as created by the human being and artist Matt Furie, is a peaceful cartoon amphibian who represents love, acceptance, and fun. (And getting stoned.) Both creator and creation reject the nihilism fueling Pepe’s alt-right appropriators, and all of us at Fantagraphics encourage you to help us reclaim Pepe as a symbol of positivity and togetherness, and to stand by Matt Furie.

We encourage reporters and others citing Furie as the character’s creator to also note that he condemns these illegal representations of his character. Matt is available for interviews through Fantagraphics. We encourage fans and others who support Furie to block, report, and denounce the illegal uses of the character by individuals and groups pirating him to foment hatred.

ABC News & Marvel Comics Announce Collaboration with Madaya Mom

ABC News and Marvel today announced Madaya Mom, an original digital comic detailing the harrowing true story of one family’s struggle to survive in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya. An extraordinary tale of courage and resilience, the heroic Madaya Mom shows strength in the midst of tragedy, turning an incredibly difficult situation into an opportunity to give a voice to her people.

In January 2016, ABC News profiled a family trapped inside Madaya, communicating with a mother of five through texts and phone conversations to capture the bleak outlook that she and her family faced every day. ABC News posted daily updates from the mother, detailing her descent into anger and despair as she was reduced to breaking apart their furniture for firewood and boiling leaves for food. Since Madaya has been besieged by forces loyal to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, the family has been trapped there for over 14 months and has struggled to stay alive as many starve to death in what is effectively an open-air prison.

Using her own words, ABC News and Marvel created a wholly original digital comic book and produced a graphic documentary to bring the story to life. ABC News has concealed the identity of the family for their own protection.

The digital comic was put together by reporters Xana O’Neill and Rym Momtaz, artist Dalibor Talajíc, and colorist Miroslav Mrva.

madayacover madayapg1 madayapg2

California Has Made Getting and Selling Autographs and Limited Edition Items More Confusing and Labor Intensive

2000px-flag_of_california-svgIn early September Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1570, a consumer protection law aimed at fake signatures on sports memorabilia. The legislation has been the subject of a lot of chatter lately sparked by an impassioned blog post by Eureka Book Sellers. As usual, the discussion is full of hyperbole as to what the law does and does not do, and let me begin by flat-out saying it’s bad legislation that accomplishes little to solve the issue of fraud autographs.

Championed by celebrities like Mark Hamill (who we’ll point out make a decent chunk of change by selling autographs) the law does the following:

  • Expands the definition of “collectible” to mean an autographed item for sale in or from California by a “dealer” to a consumer for five dollars or more
  • “Dealer” is defined as a person who is mainly in the business of “selling or offering for sale collectibles in or from this state, exclusively or nonexclusively, or a person who by his or her occupation holds himself or herself out as having knowledge or skill peculiar to collectibles, or to whom that knowledge or skill may be attributed by his or her employment of an agent or other intermediary that by his or her occupation holds himself or herself out as having that knowledge or skill. “Dealer” includes an auctioneer who sells collectibles at a public auction, and also includes persons who are consignors or representatives or agents of auctioneers. “Dealer” includes a person engaged in a mail order, telephone order, online, or cable television business for the sale of collectibles.”
  • Whenever a dealer sells, or offers to sell, an autographed collectible in or from California, the dealer has to provide a certificate of authenticity at the time of sale. That certificate has some specifics that need to be met:
    • Shall be in writing (does a computer print out count?)
    • Signed by the dealer or authorized agent
    • Feature the date of sale
    • Must be in at least 10-point boldface type
    • Contain the dealer’s legal name and street address
    • The dealer must retain on file a copy of the certificate for no less than seven years
    • It shall describe the collectible and specify the name of the personality who autographed it
    • Specify the date of sale or be accompanied by a separate invoice with that information
    • Contain a warranty
    • Specify if the collectible is offered as a part of a limited edition and if so it has to say how it’s numbered and the size of any prior or anticipated edition. And if that’s not known, it should state that it’s unknown.
    • Indicate if the dealer is bonded or otherwise insured to protect consumers against errors and omissions and if so, provide proof
    • Indicate the last four digits of the dealer’s resale certificate number from the State Board of Equalization
    • Indicate if the item was autographed in the presence of the dealer and if so the specific date, location, and name of the witness
    • Indicate if the item was obtained or purchased from a third-party and if it was the name and address of the third-party
    • Include a serial number that corresponds any identifying number printed on the collectible item, if any. That should also be on the sales receipt and if that receipt is printed then write the number on the receipt
    • A dealer shall not present an item as a collectible if it was not autographed by the personality in his or her own hand
    • You need to post a sign close to where your collectibles are that let consumers know you need to provide them with a certificate of authenticity
    • Mail order dealers have some other things they need to do, especially if they advertise
    • If you plan on selling autographs at conventions you need to displace a “specimen example of a certificate of authenticity”
    • Consumers who don’t receive a certificate of authenticity with the above, or if it’s got false information, shall be able to receive damages equal to 10 times actual damages, plus court costs, reasonable attorney’s fees, interest, and expert witness fees. Plus the court can award additional damages
    • Dealers in the state must have a valid resale certificate number from the State Board of Equalization
    • A dealer may be surety bonded or otherwise insured for purposes of indemnification against errors and omissions

And there’s some things promoters need to do as well, such as warning any dealer about the above with specific language provided:

As a vendor at this collectibles trade show, you are a professional representative of this hobby. As a result, you will be required to follow the laws of this state, including laws regarding the sale and display of collectibles, as defined in Section 1739.7 of the Civil Code, forged and counterfeit collectibles and autographs, and mint and limited edition collectibles. If you do not obey the laws, you may be evicted from this trade show, be reported to law enforcement, and be held liable for a civil penalty of 10 times the amount of damages.

There are exemptions to the law as far as what a “dealer” is….

  • “Dealers” don’t include licensed pawnbrokers
  • An online marketplace that is not primarily in the business of selling, or offering for sale, collectibles, in or from California
  • The personality who signs the memorabilia

Get all of that?

Lets begin with the failure of the law…

johnhancockThe exemptions are the first problem with the legislation. The fraud that exists with online sellers through eBay is rampant and though there’s no numbers as to how bad it is, the legislation begs individuals to move their business online solving nothing at all in reality. But, eBay’s lobbyists are strong and their money flows regularly to California politicians. Check out 2015 through 2016’s donations and I’m sure the company’s donation of $15,000 to Jerry Brown’s run for Governor had no impact at all (and $5,000 to his Attorney General race). In general, the company’s donations to California’s politicians has greatly increased in recent cycles. When it comes to rampant forgery online, California elected officials apparently don’t care.

The exemption of the personality who signs the memorabilia is also hypocritical. I’m not sure if I’d really call this a failure, but there’s irony in the fact the celebrities who have demanded certifications themselves don’t have to provide one. What’s good for the rest isn’t good for them. And, I guess they don’t stand by their autograph, and as a consumer I wouldn’t trust any I didn’t see them sign in person. Autopens do wonders.

Finally, there’s already protections for consumers about fake autographs, this legislation really creates a consumer right to a certificate of authenticity. There’s already laws to protect against forged signatures. In other words, it’s not needed. Those who break the law by selling fake autographs will now likely continue, just with a piece of paper. There’s no difference in practicality of what was and what is when it comes to fighting this issue. Consumers had a right to sue then. Consumers can now sue now for the same thing. What is needed is for celebrities to file lawsuits, not consumers, put the onus on them, but then again, they can’t be bothered by providing a piece of paper themselves for authenticity.

There’s also the weird…

The legislation goes into defining “limited edition.” A consumer can request proof that the films, electronic coding, molds, or plates used to create the collectible was destroyed after the edition is up. It also decides to delve into the debate on “mint condition” to mean an item that must never have been circulated, used, or worn, with no signs of aging, and otherwise free of creases, blemishes, or marks. There’s no use of “mint condition” in the legislation other than to define what it is.

What’s the actual impact to comic dealers and comic creators?

For creators, there’s little impact by the legislation. They fall under that personality exemption so they can continue to go about selling autographs directly.

For dealers, the impact is much greater. There’s the signage that will now had to be had if they’re selling autographed materials in their store or their booth at conventions. In reality, the legislation is worded so poorly it indicates everyone that sells collectibles needs the sign, but I don’t think that’s the actual intent or how it’ll be enforced. If you’re selling autographed items for $5 or more you’ll need to provide a certificate and keep it on file for seven years. Yay more paperwork! I’d also expect more lawsuits by individuals looking to make a good buck. The fact is anyone can sue anyone and there’ll be a nice business coming out of this legislation potentially. Dealers should also be aware of any autographed items they’re purchasing, such as from Diamond, in that they’ll now need to provide a proper certificate of authenticity. I know autographed items I’ve purchased through Diamond in the past have had one, but they didn’t comply with the above.

For consumers, this is a good thing in that, in theory, it should scare off some sellers of forged autographs. It also means you get to keep a certificate of authenticity somewhere, so more items for you too.

The up in the air…

Since this includes all autographed items this now includes greeting cards as mentioned in Eureka Book’s post, something that wasn’t intended, unless that item is less than $5. Then “agent or intermediary” that is defined under dealer isn’t defined as well.

The bigger impact is signings in stores. If a comic creator comes to a comic shop and then signs items before leaving, that may fall under the celebrity exception, but maybe not? If the shop is selling the item at a celebrity signing, like what happens in shops, is one needed?

In reality…

The legislation is a failure of those who drafted and lobbied for it, but also a failure of those in the memorabilia industry for letting it get passed. This has been something that’s been lobbied for quite some time and went through the legislation process. Where was the comic industry speaking up about this when it was going through that? Where was our lobbying effort? We have a CBLDF, is it time for someone to look out for creators, stores, and consumers when it comes to matters beyond free speech?

The biggest reality is the legislation is passed and signed by the Governor.

What can you do?

You can still make your voice heard. Contact Governor Jerry Brown or contact elected officials in the State Senate and the State Assembly. Most importantly, pay attention at your state level to make sure you speak up before legislation like this is even passed.

The law takes effect in January.

Today is National Voter Registration Day – So Register to Vote Here!

Today is National Voter Registration Day. We want you to take advantage and make sure to register to vote so you can make your voice heard in this year’s election and the elections to come! If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain about the state of the country or politics.

I don’t care about your political leaning or who you plan on voting for, just do your civic duty and register to vote. We’ve taken the opportunity to do our part by using Rock the Vote’s handy widget to make it easy for you to register right here or click the image above and get the process started.

As a site, we’ve taken it up as a task to register as many individuals as we can. So, if you’re not, do so and help spread the word!


Fox Searchlight Announces Voter Registration Drive Around The Birth of a Nation

the_birth_of_a_nationTo support National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, Fox Searchlight Pictures will be launching a Nationwide Voter Registration initiative to encourage Americans to register to vote. Fox Searchlight has aligned with theater chains and voting partners, who will hold voter enrollment in theatre lobbies on National Voter Registration Day prior to special promotional screenings of The Birth of a Nation. The initiative will continue opening weekend of The Birth of a Nation — October 7th-9th, 2016.

The acting talent from The Birth of a NationNate Parker, Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Aja Naomi King, and Gabrielle Union—have recorded the following PSA to raise awareness about exercising the right to vote which will be shown prior to the promotional screenings on September 27th:

Fox Searchlight has teamed up with voting organizations who have worked to staff the local theatres in each city: The League of Women Voters; Delta Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc.; National Coalition of Black Civic Participation and its Ohio Unity Coalition and North Carolina Black Youth Vote Network; NYC Votes; and National Voter Registration Day.  The program includes the following participating theatre chains and independent theatres nationwide: Bow Tie Cinemas; Emagine Entertainment; Malco Theatres; Marcus Theatres; Wehrenberg Theatres; Amstar Cinemas; Movie Taverns; The Grand Theatres; Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA; Glenwood Arts Theatre, Overland Park, KS; Little Theatre, Rochester, NY; Midtown Cinema, Harrisburg, PA; Tower City Cinemas, Cleveland, OH; Cedar Lee Theatre, Cleveland Heights, OH; Cinema Arts Theatre, Fairfax, VA; Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, MI; The Neon, Dayton, OH.

The objective for the initiative is to encourage everyone to be a part of U.S. history by highlighting everyone’s right to vote, encouraging registration and underscoring that their voices and opinions matter. Currently, 20% of all people who can legally vote in this country are stopped by technical roadblocks when they try to register. This presidential election will be especially challenging, as many current laws lack the protection of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The act was passed to overcome many legal barriers that individuals faced when exercising their right to vote but section 4 was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

Set against the antebellum South and based on a true story, ‘The Birth of a Nation’ follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher whose financially strained owner Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer) accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities – against himself, his wife Cherry (Aja Naomi King), and fellow slaves – Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.

The Birth of a Nation also stars Mark Boone Jr., Dwight Henry, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith with Penelope Ann Miller and Jackie Earle Haley, and is produced by Nate Parker, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman, Aaron L. Gilbert, and Preston L. Holmes.

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