Category Archives: Random

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Graphic Policy is always on the hunt for talented contributors. If you’re interested in becoming involved with one of the internet’s most unique, fastest-growing entertainment and pop culture websites, now’s your chance!

Please note that all of the positions offered by Graphic Policy are volunteer positions. Our staff runs this site because we love comics, politics, pop culture, games, movies, television, and geekdom.

We can not guarantee anything but your name in the writing credits (perfect for someone building a portfolio), but we will work with you to help you cover and write about the things you’re interested in.

Graphic Policy will open up its ability to obtain review copies, press passes and more for those who regularly post to the site. Your posts belong to you and you are free to post them here and other sites as well!

All applicants must be over the age of 18 years old and have excellent writing skills.

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Underrated: Valiant Masters: Ninjak: Black Water

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Valiant Masters: Ninjak: Black Water.


Ever since I’ve started to collect Valiant comics, I’ve been picking up the hardcover deluxe editions here and there as a way to catch up in bulk on some of the series I’ve missed, and also because I just like the look of them. A while back I did a cost analysis as to whether it was worth buying the deluxe editions verses the softcover trades or single issue floppies at cover price; generally the savings were negligible depending on the size of the book (less than $5, I think) between the hardcovers and soft covers, but the difference between the hard covers and cover price floppies varied greatly depending on how many books were collected (and it didn’t factor in the cost of the floppies after they’ve been on the market for a while, as they can fluctuate higher or lower depending on different trends).

This is relevant only because the Valiant Masters hardcovers generally contain the first eight issues of the original Valiant series (either 1-8 or 0-7 depending on the stories within), which means that for $25 you end up paying about $3.25 a comic. Whether that’s a good price for the early Valiant books depends on which book you’re looking at; I’ve paid $20 for the first appearance of Rai, $6 for the first appearance of Ninjak and around $1 for others, so it’s largely a crap shoot, but for the most part the individual issues collected in the Valiant Masters are going to be cheaper than the hardcover itself depending on which one you’re looking at.

The point I’m making here is that while I’m talking about the hardcover today, in reality I’m really looking at the eight issues within the book (Ninjak #1-6, before giving us his origin with issues #0 and #00), and those you can probably find easier than the hardcover which may be out of print now. The floppies will likely be cheaper given how out of print Valiant hardcovers tend to sell for higher than cover price.

Perhaps my favourite aspect of these Masters editions is in comparing what I know about the characters from their 2012 relaunch and the versions that appeared in the 90’s. The Ninjak of the 90’s had his differences from the modern version; born to English parents as part of an experiment to grow enhanced humans, he grew up in Japan and learned the ways of the ninja from a temple he sought refuge in after his father was murdered. The rest, his technology and such, differ only in what was conceivable to the writers of the time.

Black Water has the titular ninja taking down an international conglomerate. It sounds fairly cliche now, but the story’s echoes of Batman and James Bond set it apart from the general run of the mill hero vs corporation stories. The story is only the first two issues of the series and , but by the time that story had wrapped I felt like I’d read a full trade – one of my favourite things about comics from the 90’s and before has always been the amount of content packed into each issue. The first six issues we get are wonderful. Reading these, and the other early Valiant, I can understand why the publisher gained such a strong following over the years. Compact, exciting, and with some truly exciting art (I acknowledge that comic art has come a long way since the 90’s, but these issues of Ninjak hold up very well even today).

There may only be a limited number of folks left who, like me, want to explore the original Valiant comics of the 90’s that haven’t already done so, but these hardcover editions are a brilliant gateway to the past, and great encouragement to go hunting for the comics that haven’t been collected – and may never be at this point. That’s why I think these books are underrated; because so few of you will be looking for them. Which is a shame because those early Valiant stories are fantastic.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Multiple Individuals Accuse Jason Latour of Harassment

Jason Latour is the latest creator to be named regarding harassment accusations. The incident that kicked things off occurred at the 2017 Thought Bubble Festival.

Shared on Twitter/Twitlonger, artist and designer Lauren Tracey recounted Latour approaching her at a bar during the first day of the festival and his pursuing her throughout the festival:

This is my story of when I met Jason Latour. This is not about a rape or assault, but rather about harassment in the industry and the toxic environment surrounding it.

In 2017 I attended Thought Bubble in Leeds where I met Jason. Our first meeting was on the first night of the con, at the bar where everyone from the convention mingled. He approached me and asked me did I know who he was, and when I said no he asked me did I know any of the titles he worked on, including Spider Gwen. I said I really didn’t know who he was and he responded by saying he would give me free comic books if I came to his hotel room with him. I declined, and after a brief conversation went back to the group I had been sitting with originally.

I was a little shocked when this happened. Jason was twice my age while I was in my very early twenties at my first international con. I tried not to think too much of it as I didn’t expect to see him again after this, and joked about it with the people I was with even though I was uncomfortable. The next day when I went to the con I passed by his table, and although he was doing some signings he put up a sign saying he was on a break and approached me (this kind of thing would continue to happen throughout the con). He said he had been a little drunk the night before and offered to get me a coffee. I accepted thinking the whole thing would blow over and I appreciated that he attempted to make amends.

When we went for the coffee he asked me for my email, my number, etc. and said he wanted to be friends. He said he could introduce me to whoever I wanted, that he was good friends with my favorite comic artist and he would introduce me to her, and he said he would still like to give me some comics. He mentioned he was sleeping with a girl in England casually, and that he was in Ireland quite a bit for conventions as he liked the Irish scene there. He suggested he could come see me if he ever came to Ireland.

When we got back to his table he gave me a few comics, which I ended up giving to friends at the con who admired him instead of reading them myself. I started to avoid the side of the con he was on as I knew he’d approach me if he saw me, and at the bar in the evening he would also be looking for me. Another woman who was in the group I was hanging out with at the convention told him to leave me alone and stop harassing me and later a comic artist intervened when he approached me at the bar. The people I was with knew he was a pest, and did their best to help me avoid him when possible. I spent my days at the con having the group ask if he had approached me that day yet, when I should have been focused solely on having a good time and connecting with people.

I left the bar on the last night very stressed. I had Jason on one side at the bar, and another guy I didn’t know on the other side who was also trying to start a conversation with me, saying he knew me from the con when he clearly did not. I found myself crowded in at the bar and started to panic. A comic artist came over and took Jason’s attention away from me, and I left and got a taxi back to my hotel. Jason text me asking why I had left early the next day. He said sorry if he made me uncomfortable. I again tried to brush it off, appreciating that he apologized. I also made sure to let him know I wasn’t interested in seeing any guys in my messages. He asked if we could stay friends, to which I said yes. Despite me telling him I wasn’t interested, he still text me on three separate occasions, once asking if he could sleep on my floor in Ireland and other times asking if I could come visit him at cons, joking that he would lend me the money to come when I said no to him. The last time he asked me about coming to a con, he text, ‘Last chance for you to come hang out. (Actually it’s not).’ I stopped replying to him altogether after this and blocked him on some social media platforms. At that stage I knew his apologies weren’t real and that he wasn’t actually interested in any form of friendship with me.

I had spent my first international con feeling uncomfortable, having to avoid a guy while I was at the convention itself and also while I was relaxing at the bar with my friends afterward. I had a few small bad run-ins with different guys at Thought Bubble, but Jason’s is the one that sticks out in my mind the most. When I first arrived at Thought Bubble I was bright eyed and excited to network with people in the industry. When I left, I felt thoroughly disillusioned with comics and decided it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It seemed to be a place where this type of behavior ran rampant, and everybody knew about it but you just had to deal with it. I felt like I had seen behind the scenes of how the comic community actually worked, and there wasn’t a place for me there. I dropped my dream of being a comic artist shortly after and fell into a depression while I tried to figure out how I could have my future still be art related. I’ve hardly read a comic since.

I originally wasn’t going to name Jason or mention any of this, but the reason I’m posting it is because a statement Jason wrote about recent allegations against Cameron Stewart came up on my Twitter timeline, and he said some things that really got to me. He said he had been in situations with girls where he thought the ground was level, but failed to realize at the time that it was not. How can the ground be level when you’re approaching a young girl asking her to come to your hotel room for free comics, based solely on your name and your works? He also mentions how women want the time they invest in the comics space to be rewarding, and then goes on to say that sometimes they are looking for love, intimacy and casual sex out of it. I feel he completely missed the mark on why people have been coming forward about the problems that are happening in the comics community and is also putting the onus on women. Women aren’t coming forward right now to fight for casual sex in comics. They’re coming forward to fight for their right to be respected as equal coworkers and not to be seen as mere sexual objects to their male peers.

I’m not writing this with any intention to ‘cancel’ Jason or harm his career. I’m writing it to bring awareness to the fact that young girls are coming into the comics community and being treated like this by people who are more powerful than them and have more leverage in the community. There has to be a complete overhaul of this kind of behavior in comics. We need to look out for each other and put a stop to bad behavior instantly when we see it. There’s no place in comics for harassment, sexual or otherwise. And the men in comics need to shape up and take responsibility for the fact their actions have a far more negative impact on women than they realize.

Thank you for reading,
Lauren.

Latour’s statement referenced is one he made concerning the recent allegations made against Cameron Stewart.

Latour attempted to apologize and took responsibility in now deleted Tweets.

Numerous other individuals spoke up about encounters and experiences with Latour.

Latour joins other recent individuals within the industry who have attempted to use their position and influence over women.

Join Our Team!

Graphic Policy is always on the hunt for talented contributors. If you’re interested in becoming involved with one of the internet’s most unique, fastest-growing entertainment and pop culture websites, now’s your chance!

Please note that all of the positions offered by Graphic Policy are volunteer positions. Our staff runs this site because we love comics, politics, pop culture, games, movies, television, and geekdom.

We can not guarantee anything but your name in the writing credits (perfect for someone building a portfolio), but we will work with you to help you cover and write about the things you’re interested in.

Graphic Policy will open up its ability to obtain review copies, press passes and more for those who regularly post to the site. Your posts belong to you and you are free to post them here and other sites as well!

All applicants must be over the age of 18 years old and have excellent writing skills.

Please fill out the form below and let us know more about you, and what you’d like to write about and cover.






Underrated: X-Men: The Shattering

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way.

This week: the multi-part crossover event X-Men: The Shattering.


If I’m totally honest, my Golden Age of X-Men comics is from the mid 90’s to the early 2000’s. This wasn’t exactly when I first started reading the X-Men, that was around 98/99, but because I was largely reading UK reprints, I wasn’t reading the current comics – they were probably always a good two to five years behind what was being published and sold in comic shops depending on the story being presented in the magazine. The reprint magazine had space for three comics in it – this wouldn’t always be three concurrent issues, but was often an issue of Uncanny X-Men and X-Men that were published within the same month and an issue of Uncanny from the 60’s or 70’s). These reprint magazines are actually responsible for the weird dichotomy in my head of knowing the stories very well, but having no context for what issue they came from (yes, the reprint did tell you what comics they were reprinting, but it was much like a tpb; you don’t really notice unless you look in the fine print if the covers).

Over the years, I’ve slowly been picking up and working on completing a run of X-Men comics from issues 100-500, though my focus for years was around 250-400, but because I’ve been largely focused on Uncanny X-Men, I don’t have a lot of the issues that form the giant crossover – if I even have all the Uncanny issues (look, I was often going by cover art and price when picking books up, not sequential numbering, so I have holes everywhere in my collection), so for a story that I really want to read I’ve been picking up cheap collected editions just to be able to read or reread them. And because I have no intention of risking damaging the early Uncanny issues I own, I’ve also been looking for collected editions of The Dark Phoenix Saga and so on.

The Shattering was a story that came out just as I was transitioning away from reprints and into the single issues for most series, and so where parts of the comic is familiar to me, a lot of it is relatively fresh – or fresh enough. I’ve got an obvious soft spot for this period of the X-Men, but I acknowledge that not everybody will enjoy the way that Alan Davis tells the story here – though this isn’t the end of the story by any means because the book ends on a cliffhanger that’s already got me scouring online retailers for the next volume (my LCS didn’t have it – I picked this book up from them and didn’t see any others), because I feel the need to follow up on just how this tale ends and I don’t have all the single issues just yet.

I remember reading bits and pieces of this years ago, and was shocked at the time about the revelation on the final page; I won’t reveal it here in case you’ve never read the story and choose to, but reading the trade knowing what was coming does give you an interesting insight into what’s to come.

Oddly, despite my love of the X-Men from the 90’s, I’ve got a lot of holes to fill, which should be pretty easy given how many are in the back issue bins. After all, 90’s comics aren’t all bad, there’s just a huge number of them in longboxes across the country because so many were printed. That just makes them worth less than the comics from the 70’s and 80’s, but it doesn’t mean they’re not any good.

X-Men: The Shattering leads into The Twelve, a story I am reasonably sure I’ve never read, but seems to be full of all the characters I loved the most when I first started reading about Marvel’s merry mutants. Something I was more than happy to do with a story that is far more Underrated than I ever expected.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Join Our Team!

Graphic Policy is always on the hunt for talented contributors. If you’re interested in becoming involved with one of the internet’s most unique, fastest-growing entertainment and pop culture websites, now’s your chance!

Please note that all of the positions offered by Graphic Policy are volunteer positions. Our staff runs this site because we love comics, politics, pop culture, games, movies, television, and geekdom.

We can not guarantee anything but your name in the writing credits (perfect for someone building a portfolio), but we will work with you to help you cover and write about the things you’re interested in.

Graphic Policy will open up its ability to obtain review copies, press passes and more for those who regularly post to the site. Your posts belong to you and you are free to post them here and other sites as well!

All applicants must be over the age of 18 years old and have excellent writing skills.

Please fill out the form below and let us know more about you, and what you’d like to write about and cover.






One:12 Collective’s Superman – 1978 Edition Figure is Up for Order

“You’ll believe a man can fly.”

Based on Richard Donner’s Academy Award nominated film Superman, the Man of Steel joins the One:12 Collective.

The One:12 Collective Superman – 1978 Edition is outfitted in his iconic suit from the film, which proudly displays the ‘House of El’ family crest and features a cape with an integrated posing wire. Two head portraits are included depicting Christopher Reeves portrayal of Superman. The Last Son of Krypton comes complete with a Fortress of Solitude base that features a light-up function which can be activated by the specific placement of the included Kryptonian crystal, or via an on/off switch.

Superman comes with a range of Kryptonite accessories including a fragment which can be held in his left hand, and a Kryponite pendant with a real chain, as used by Lex Luthor in the film.

Sent to Earth from his dying planet of Krypton, Kal-El is raised by farmers Johnathan and Martha Kent who name him Clark and raise him as their own. Discovering he has extraordinary powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, Clark soon becomes his adoptive home’s first and greatest hero – Superman.

THE ONE:12 COLLECTIVE SUPERMAN FIGURE FEATURES:

  • All-new One:12 Collective body with over 28 points of articulation
  • Two (2) head portraits
  • Hand painted authentic detailing
  • Approximately 16cm tall
  • Nine (9) interchangeable hands
    • One (1) pair of fists (L&R)
    • One (1) pair of flying hands (L&R)
    • Two (2) pairs of posing hands (L&R)
    • One (1) of Kryptonite shard holding hand (L)


COSTUME:

  • Fitted suit with authentic detailing as seen in the Superman movie
  • Cape with integrated posing wire
  • Waist belt
  • Knee-high boots


ACCESSORIES:

  • One (1) Fortress of Solitude base with light-up function
  • Three (3) Kryptonite crystals (activates light-up function)
  • One (1) Kryptonite fragment
  • One (1) Kryptonite pendant necklace with real chain
  • One (1) One:12 Collective display base with logo
  • One (1) One:12 Collective adjustable display post

Each One:12 Collective Superman – 1978 Edition figure is packaged in a collector friendly tin, designed with collectors in mind.  The One:12 Collective Superman – 1978 Edition is available for preorder.

Join Our Team!

Graphic Policy is always on the hunt for talented contributors. If you’re interested in becoming involved with one of the internet’s most unique, fastest-growing entertainment and pop culture websites, now’s your chance!

Please note that all of the positions offered by Graphic Policy are volunteer positions. Our staff runs this site because we love comics, politics, pop culture, games, movies, television, and geekdom.

We can not guarantee anything but your name in the writing credits (perfect for someone building a portfolio), but we will work with you to help you cover and write about the things you’re interested in.

Graphic Policy will open up its ability to obtain review copies, press passes and more for those who regularly post to the site. Your posts belong to you and you are free to post them here and other sites as well!

All applicants must be over the age of 18 years old and have excellent writing skills.

Please fill out the form below and let us know more about you, and what you’d like to write about and cover.






Underrated: X-Cutioner’s Song

The cover of the trade I don’t own.

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way.

This week: the multi-part crossover event X-Cutioner’s Song.


The first chapter of X-Cutioner’s Song was published in November 1992 in Uncanny X-Men #294, with subsequent eleven parts coming in issues of X-Factor, X-Men, X-Force and Uncanny X-Men. With the series being billed as revealing the origin of Cable (it didn’t – that came in 1994), there was significant hype and buzz around the comics when they were hitting the shelves nearly thirty years ago, but because I wasn’t into comics at the time, I never heard any of it.

Instead, I noticed a cover when restocking the boxes at my LCS and decided to pick up the arc after the shop owner gave it a quick recommendation. Fortunately, we had a full set (or seven) in stock, so I grabbed the individual issues rather than hunting down a collected edition (partly because I am also building an X-Men and Uncanny X-Men collection, but also because I wanted to read it as it was originally presented in comic form. Complete with the polybags still sealed for some off the comics (I won’t lie, I was tempted to leave them sealed, but at only a couple bucks a comic it didn’t seem worth it.

Plus, I wanted the feeling of cracking those bags and getting to be the first person reading these comics.

I forget sometimes how much dialogue and text there used to be on pages in comics.

Without question, comics from this era were technically published before I started buying single issues, but that doesn’t mean that these issues didn’t kickstart a sense of nostalgia for the old UK reprint magazines that I first came across this arc in. The first issue felt oddly familiar, but beyond that…? It was pure 90’s joy.

After all, 90’s comics aren’t bad. There’s just a huge number of them in longboxes across the country because so many were printed. That just makes them worth less than the comics from the 70’s and 80’s, but it doesn’t mean they’re not worth reading.

“If mankind waited for the ‘right time’ to address the winds of change it’s unlikely we’d ever have crawled from the primordial ooze.”

Scott Lobdell, Uncanny X-Men #294

I don’t know if I had forgotten about the amount of times characters within X-Men comics in the 90’s spouted pearls of wisdom, but I was less than halfway through this first part of X-Cutioners Song and I already had enough one liners to make me sound like I a semi professional couch philosopher thanks entirely to the less than subtle messaging. Messaging that seems just as relevant today as it ever did (and I’m sure we’d all hoped that would be different).

The main plot of X-Cutioner’s Song isn’t fully revealed in the first issue, but there is more than enough information here to reel you in hook line and sinker. The crossover cost me less than $20 to put together, and it was worth every penny to do so – not only because of the nostalgia factor, but primarily because this is a damn good story that holds up today (even the funky fashion choices for the street clothes the X-Men wear don’t detract too much).

With any story crossing over four series, the creative team is, as expected, pretty hefty. There are names that at the time were relatively new faces to the X-Men, but now… well now we consider them as creators who have made significant contributions to the comicsphere, frequently drawing large crowds at conventions;

  • Writers: Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza and Peter David.
  • Pencillers: Brandon Peterson, Andy Kubert, Jae Lee and Greg Capullo
  • Inkers: Terry Austin, Mark Pennington, Al Milgrom and Harry Candelario
  • Colorists: Mike Thomas, Marie Javins, Glynis Oliver, Joe Rosas and Steve Buccellato.

But despite the big names, the characters and import associated with the story, it’s an arc that can easily get overlooked when when you’re looking in the longboxes because the story came in the early 90’s, before the big bust in the comics market. Despite having heard a little about it over the years, largely through comments in UK reprints, I had never actually read the book before. Something I was more than happy to do with a story that is far more Underrated than I ever expected.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Black Lives Matter

I’ve struggled for the past few days as to what to write and do. For my own personal social media and life, it’s easy as my day to day job is to support the many amazing organizations and individuals who are fighting injustice. I help make sure the can do what they need to do and I share today’s reality with my own personal network to raise awareness of the crimes being committed. While that’s appropriate there, it doesn’t fit this site’s focus.

But, what can we, and I, do here?

Based on the traffic to the site and interactions on social media, individuals are looking for escape and distraction and I myself can understand that. It’s risen steadily since the beginning of the pandemic and continues to be consistent. This site is my way to distract myself for a few hours each day and “unwind” from the stress of reality. It’s my mental health break. But, a distraction doesn’t solve issues.

I knew no matter what I wrote these past few days it wouldn’t be enough or right. I could write about the social injustice that has plagued our nation or wax poetically about how we need to learn from the heroes whose adventures we read. But, in the end, those are just words and it’s a history far better being told by people directly impacted by it. One person who has benefited in many ways from that injustice through the systemic issues isn’t a voice to lecture. While I’ve experienced Anti-Semitism and outright discrimination due to being Jewish, I generally don’t live in fear day to day. When most people look at me, they see a white guy and I benefit from all of the privileges that brings. So, to talk about something that’s not my experience didn’t seem appropriate. I at least knew what would be wrong, which was “business as usual” today and going forward.

My job is to listen and help. To amplify those voices and shine a spotlight on the wrongs, the crimes, the abuses. And when it comes to the comics community, help lift those who are overlooked for a myriad of reasons.

When this site was founded 13 years ago, it was “where comics and politics meet.” And it had that focus for quite a while slowly expanding to general news. That underlying original launch goal was there but put to the side in many ways. The site remained, and remains, a platform for those who want to speak. For marginalized voices who may not be able to contribute elsewhere or whose opinions are too controversial elsewhere. We are, and remain committed, to being a progressive voice.

Today is #BlackoutTuesday where many are going silent on their sites and social media to protest what’s going on. While I debated participating I kept coming back to the simple idea that silence right now is wrong. We need our voices heard. We need to amplify the anger. We need to share where we want this nation to go and the ideas in how to fix it. We need to call out the “leaders” who are failing us. Changing an avatar to a black box for a day and remaining silent to me felt hollow and I asked myself what it accomplished? I couldn’t find an answer. I believe in direct action and not remaining silent so that wasn’t it.

This is a platform. We have an audience. And I, and we, can use that.

So today, it’s simple. For the rest of the day, the site will be focused on amplifying voices. It will be focusing on ways you can get involved. It will highlight individuals who are running auctions to raise money for worthy causes like Black Lives Matter. It will spotlight charities you can give to.

The day after and the day after that, I’ll figure out where to go from there and how to get back to our roots. We already highlight a diverse voice of creators from a diverse team of contributors. We can still provide a site where some can escape for a brief moment but also make sure we don’t lose sight that we can do more than just that. The sight was created to do more than just that. We can use our abilities to entertain and do some good. To fight the negativity, spotlight the wrong, and highlight the good.

We can do better. We can always do better. We must do better.

Brett Schenker
Founder/Blogger in Chief – Graphic Policy

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