Tag Archives: congress

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Dunks by Quoting Alan Moore and Watchmen

2019 is shaping up to be an interesting year for politics and one of the stars already is newly elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who has taken social media by storm.

The new member regularly uses social media to pull back the curtain of the political process but also has no problem using it to slapback haters.

Case in point, an article released today by Politico talking about how “exasperated” Democrats are trying to rein her in.

She wasn’t having it and responded back on Twitter with a quote from Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

The quote comes from Rorschach who is in jail at this point in the comic and he looks at it as a positive being closer to the criminals he wants to punish…

AOC 1 Establishment Dems 0


Live Long and Run for Congress? Star Trek Actor Running for Congress.

Actor J.G. Hertzler, who played Klingon General Martok on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, is running for Congress against Rep. Tom Reed in New York’s 23rd District which extends along New York’s border with Pennsylvania from the shores of Lake Erie in Chautauqua County to the suburbs of Binghamton in Tioga County. Hertzler filed last week with the Federal Elections Commission to run as a

In the announcement, he said he “disagree(s) with everything Reed supports, including his unrelenting support of Trumpster.”

Hertzler filed last week with the Federal Elections Commission to run as a Demcorat for the seat.

But, there’s a twist!

Hertzler will be making appearances some times as himself and some times as Mark Twain. Hertzler sees this as a “valentine” to Samuel Clemens who used the pen name of Twain. Hertzler sees Twain as a brilliant humorist for all ages.

Hertzler is currently an elected town board member in Ulysses, NY.

(via The Hill)

The Capitol Visitor Center Highlights Comic History

Comics CodeThere’s a new exhibition at the Capitol Visitor Center, the museum(ish) is highlighting Congressional Investigations. The display highlights 200 years of investigations and includes items on Nixon, JFK, MLK and more. One part has some importance to comic fans. In the 1950s, the United States Senate held hearings about whether juvenile delinquency was caused by comic books.

In addition to displaying the documents, the exhibit also explains how the investigations sparked new policies. During the 1950s, Congress investigated how comic books were affecting a “dramatic rise in juvenile delinquency” and conducted televised hearings on the subject. After the hearings, comic book publishers revamped their content standards, though likely to the disappointment of a 14-year-old from Pennsylvania, whose letter displayed in the exhibit argued that comic books deter crime.

“The person or persons committing the crime always gets caught. The fear of this stops crime and stops juvenile delinquency,” the teen wrote in his June 1954 letter to the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. “In fact there is not a sufficient number of the comic books on the book stands.”


The United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency was launched in 1953 and in 1954 its hearings took on the case with hearings. Seriously, the United States Senate debated about comic books.

While we might laugh today at how idiotic this all was, it had massive repercussions including the creation of the Comics Code Authority, which was a self-policing set of rules that laid down what could, and could not, be depicted in comic books. The Comics Code was in use until about 2011, and the impact was felt, resulting in the closing of some comic publishers.

The exhibit at the Capitol Visitor Center runs through September 12.

(via Roll Call)

Vampire LARPing Congressional Candidate Embraces his Gaming Past

rush and wife cosplayYesterday we brought you the story of Jacob (Jake) A. Rush, a 35-year-old attorney and former sheriff’s deputy is running for Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, the Gainesville area. The story became such news that the campaign was forced to respond with a press release and in a bit of a shocker, embraces his gaming past. In fact Rush and his campaign not only embraces it, he points out the positive aspects of his LARPing group (live action roleplaying), and goes on a bit of an attack towards his opponent.

As a straight shooter, yes, I play and have played video games, role playing games, board games, Yahtzee, Clue,and I have acted in dozens of theatre productions.

In the release, Rush owns up to his hobbies and intelligently in the statement above connects activities like LARPing and video games, which have a negative connotation, with positive ones that individuals might be more familiar with like Yahtzee and Clue.

All my life, I’ve been blessed with a vivid imagination from playing George Washington in elementary school to dressing up as a super hero last Halloween for trick or treaters. Any cursory review of the Internet will show that I have played heroes and villains … I have never hid nor shied away from disclosing my hobby activities. When I was hired at the Sheriff’s office, I fully disclosed my gaming and theatre background on the application, and these hobbies posed absolutely no problem or raised any flags. In fact, when applying for undercover work, these hobbies were considered an advantage, so much so my shift lieutenant nicknamed me ‘Shakespeare.’

The Rush campaign accused his opponents of game playing with their false characterization of what LARPing is, but even says it’s a deflection of his opponents failings.

Bottom line-There is nothing wrong with being a gamer. It’s kinda nerdy, but North Central Florida deserves a legitimate debate on the issues instead of Ted Yoho’s usual sideshow distractions.

In the release Rush and his campaign promote the positive community aspects of the Minds Eye Society (the LARPing organization) and the charities they’ve helped including:

  • Wounded Warrior
  • Houston Area Women and Children’s Shelter
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation
  • Redwood Rehabilitation
  • Operation Homefront
  • ALSAC/St. Jude
  • Child’s Play
  • Sanctuary for Families
  • American Diabetes Association

While we have no issues with Rush’s past, and in fact thing we need more gamers as elected officials, our only question was about comments made on a message board by Rush’s game character. We actually have an answer to that as well. According to the Washington Post:

Another LARPer, Lee Snyder, emailed the Rush campaign and said he had made the comments while gaming as one of Rush’s preferred characters.

Well that answers that question.

There has been numerous recent attacks on gamers seeking office, including a World of Warcraft player who ran for State Senate in Maine, and won. Expect more as the next generation steps up and runs for office.

Congressional Candidate Comes Under Fire for Vampire LARPing Past

jake rushIt’s April Fools Day, so I did a double take on this one before reporting, but it’s also news out of Florida, so this shouldn’t be a shock at all. Jacob (Jake) A. Rush, a 35-year-old attorney and former sheriff’s deputy is running for Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, the Gainesville area. He’s hoping to unseat Representative Ted Yoho, a first-term Tea Party member, in the Republican primary.

While Rush, in his announcement, touted his Constitutional conservative credentials, even with his hand on a Bible in his announcement video, what he didn’t mention is his time as “Chazz Darling” among other persona during his time as a member of the Mind’s Eye Society, you might know them as Vampire/Werewolf/Changeling/Mage LARPers. Larping, Live Action Role Playing, takes the table top game experience and has members act out the story through real actions such as actual sword fights (with foam swords) and play acting. Think of it as a live story that’s made up on the go.

Vampire became a popular roleplaying game when it launched in 1991 by White Wolf Publishing, and has since lived on as a popular LARPing choice with events being held regularly throughout the country. Rush was active in this as of last year and is a founding member and “main staff member” of the Gainesville chapter. The chapter’s name is the “Covenant of the Poisoned Absinthe.” Rush has done his best to scrub online evidence of his past, but nothing ever really goes away on the internet leading to numerous news sites dredging up photos of him in his various characters as well as throwing in more incendiary (to conservatives) imagery.

Though some of Rush’s writing is disturbing (including stories about rape and drugs), Florida news articles have wasted no time painting the game as part of the “occult,” “Satan,” and “witchcraft,” mimicking the moral panic of Dungeons & Dragons decades ago.

While Rush hasn’t responded to various media inquiries, his father did equating the hobby with dressing up for Halloween. Since the initial stories hinted that they found out about Rush’s history through anonymous tips, it’s likely either attacks from his opponents, or someone with personal issues with Rush. The campaign said they would issue a statement, but haven’t yet done so as of this article.

While I’ll admit his writings are a bit over the top, even for Vampire LARPing, should his extracurricular activity be held against him? Sound off below with your thoughts.

(via SaintPetersBlog)

Top Shelf Donates Rep. John Lewis’ civil rights graphic novel to every member of Congress

Now that his new graphic novel has launched to bestseller status and even triggered a rerelease of the 1950s comic book that sparked the idea, Rep. John Lewis has another surprise: his publisher is donating digital copies of both books to each of his colleagues in Congress.

After more than five decades of activism, US Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis has made history once again this year. His new memoir March: Book One, co-written with Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell, is the first ever graphic novel by a member of Congress. It debuted in August to great acclaim from critics, TV hosts, book festivals, schoolteachers, and young readers alike, not to mention #1 status on both New York Times and Washington Post bestseller lists. That incredible launch was recently followed by a re-release of Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, the groundbreaking 1950s comic book which galvanized Lewis and his generation of civil-rights activists, now available for the first time in digital format as well as a new reprinted edition.

Now, to celebrate the launch of both titles, March publisher Top Shelf Productions has partnered with the Fellowship of Reconciliation (original publishers of The Montgomery Story) and digital-comics leader ComiXology to share these powerful and timeless works with Rep. Lewis’ colleagues in Congress. Each member of the House and Senate is receiving a complimentary digital copy of both March: Book One and Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.

March: Book One is the first in a trilogy, with the second and third volumes planned for 2014 and 2015.

Congressman Lewis and co-author Andrew Aydin are appearing tonight at Barnes & Noble in downtown Washington, DC (555 12th St NW), at 6:30pm, to speak about and sign March: Book One.

march congress

Congressman Lewis has a #1 Graphic Novel

March: Book One is good, really good, like “best of 2013” good. So, it’s no surprise that Congressman John Lewis, who along with co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell, created March have a number one best seller on their hands. The graphic novel is in the top spot of the New York Times graphic novel list which the newspaper started four years ago. This is the first time a book by Top Shelf has seen the top spot.

The graphic novel had lines waiting to buy it and meet the Congressman at San Diego Comic-Con and Top Shelf sold more copies than any other item before at the convention.

This weekend also marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, with thousands converging on Washington, DC to remember to momentous event.


Promotion of the graphic novel continues this Sunday, August 25 and Wednesday, August 28, when you can catch Congressman Lewis on (deep breath) CNN’s “Newsroom,” CNN’s “State of the Union” with Candy Crowley, NBC’s “Meet the Press” with David Gregory, CBS’s “Face the Nation” with Bob Schieffer, BBC’s “World News America,” PBS’s “Charlie Rose,” and CNN’s “The Lead” with Jake Tapper!

This is an unprecedented promotion for a graphic novel, and hopefully a model that other publishers can follow.

Review: March Book One

March-cover-100dpi.105340There’s been a media frenzy (deservedly so) over this graphic novel to be released soon by Top Shelf. March is a three volume graphic novel that tells the remarkable story of Congressman John Lewis. Cong. Lewis currently represents Georgia’s fifth district in the House of Representatives and is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president. Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. This is an accessible, relatable, and deeply emotional, first person account of our history. A perspective and voice we don’t get enough of when we’re taught our history growing up.

March is a brilliant accounting of Cong. Lewis’ story for new generations and those with similar struggles around the world. This amazing biographical graphic novel is written by Cong. Lewis in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell. The result is one of the best graphic novels in recent memory and an amazing depiction of history that’s accessible to all.

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. While many of us have no idea of the specifics of what Lewis went through, the story is a familiar one that we’re taught in school, though not with a first hand account such as this.

What’s more fascinating is the mechanism of the storytelling, bouncing back and forth between Cong. Lewis’ life and the recent modern day of President Obama’s first inauguration (hopefully that didn’t spoil it for folks, but it lays out the date and what’s going on in the present day clearly). But, what I found interesting in it all is the narrative thread of how far the country has come, when in the back in my mind I’d argue it hasn’t. The Congressman reflects on an early time in his life when he traveled to Buffalo, New York and saw what things could be like. Modern day Buffalo (where I spent most of my life) is anything but an ideal, deeply divided by race with an underlying racism throughout the region. This kept coming back to me in the back of my mind. With two more volumes to go, I think we’d find more on the Congressman’s thoughts on where we are today, but with this first volume, that stuck out to me. And that’s an issue in releasing this in three volumes, we have to wait to see the full story and perspective.

And that’s what’s fantastic about this graphic novel. Not only is it a great depiction of history, very important history, but it also helps better open a dialogue of race in our nation, from where we were to where we are today. The ease of reading, events depicted within and the beautiful art helps foster a discussion that is free from some more sensational aspects that can derail such important discussions. Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1958 comic book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story. Today that classic comic is being used to encourage fights for justice around the world. It’s a comic that is a part of social change for the better. March shares in that tradition by reminding us where we were as a nation not that long ago. And that’s part of the reason the graphic novel is seeing the rabid positive response that it is. The Congressman has been there and part of a movement whose actions still reverberate today and whose struggles sadly continue. This is a leader telling his story for us to learn from our past.

On top of the writing is artist Nate Powell’s beautiful artwork. His style fits perfectly to the narrative, a match made in heaven. The black and white art has you linger on each page as you move slowly make your way through the book picking out details in the dialogue as well as the art.  There’s a reason he’s one of my favorite artists today and to see him get to modern times down the road and how he depicts some of the real life people, will be a treat.

Top Shelf has put together a brilliant and beautiful hard copy with a cover that has a wear about it, the look of a book that children during this age might have used. The autographed copy I purchased had a card within the front cover exactly like you’d find at a library emphasizing the look and design. It’s an amazing piece put together and one of my favorite designs of a printed book this year.

This graphic novel is a piece of history, capturing the Congressman’s experiences testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations. This isn’t just a graphic novel for folks to pick up and enjoy, it’s a work of art and history that should be in every school teaching about our country’s modern struggles. Top Shelf has worked to make that happen with a teacher’s guide to help those that might want to use it for exactly that. Hopefully this graphic novel will serve as a guide and reminder not just for us, but for the many others around the world attempting to find their own justice.

With two more volumes to go, this first release is already a modern classic and strong contender for graphic novel of the year.

Story: Cong. Lewis and Andrew Aydin Art: Nate Powell
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Preview – Cong. John Lewis’ March

We brought you news that Congressman John Lewis‘ graphic novel March will be seeing release by Top Shelf in August. Below is a look at what you can expect when it is released. March is co-written by Cong. Lewis’ staffer Andrew Aydin and art by Nate Powell.


Top Shelf to Release March Co-Authored by Congressman John Lewis

Top Shelf ProductsCongressman John Lewis is an American icon and legend. He witnessed first-hand history in the making and also made history himself as one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president.

Now Congressman Lewis is sharing his story in a new graphic novel, March, coming this August from Top Shelf. The graphic novel will be co-written by Cong. Lewis’ staffer Andrew Aydin and art will be by Nate Powell.

lewis-powell-aydin-1200.115930Aydin works in Congressman Lewis’ Washington D.C. office handling Telecommunications and Technology policy as well as New Media. But this “new media” manager is going very “old media” in the form of a graphic novel. The art is by Nate Powell, a celebrated artist who is no stranger to politics. He appeared before the United Nations in 2011, discussing his contribution to the fundraising fiction anthology What You Wish For: A Book For Darfur alongside some of the world’s foremost writers of young adult fiction.

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights (including his key roles in the historic 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 Selma-Montgomery March), meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

Currently the Congressman from Georgia’s Fifth District, Lewis’ activism began early as he organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee while he was still a student at American Baptist Theological Seminary in 1959.

In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. He was beaten severely by angry mobs and arrested by police for challenging the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the South.

From 1963 to 1966, Lewis was Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). As Chairman, John Lewis became a nationally recognized leader. Lewis was dubbed one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and at the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963.

In 1964, John Lewis coordinated SNCC efforts to organize voter registration drives and community action programs during the Mississippi Freedom Summer. The following year, Lewis helped spearhead one of the most seminal moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Hosea Williams, another notable Civil Rights leader, and John Lewis led over 600 peaceful, orderly protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965. They intended to march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state. The marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers in a brutal confrontation that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” News broadcasts and photographs revealing the senseless cruelty of the segregated South helped hasten the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. After leaving SNCC in 1966, he continued his commitment to the Civil Rights Movement as Associate Director of the Field Foundation and his participation in the Southern Regional Council’s voter registration programs. Lewis went on to become the Director of the Voter Education Project (VEP). In 1977, John Lewis was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to direct more than 250,000 volunteers of ACTION, the federal volunteer agency.

In 1981, he was elected to the Atlanta City Council. He was elected to Congress in November 1986 and has served as U.S. Representative of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since then. In 2011 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The first volume, March (Book One), will appear in stores everywhere on August 13, 2013. Two weeks later, America will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom.

March is a historic first, both for the U.S. Congress and for comics publishing as a whole, marking the first time a sitting member of Congress has authored a graphic novel. Top Shelf Productions is the first and only graphic novel publisher to be certified by the House Committee on Standards.

March (Book One), a deluxe softcover graphic novel with french flaps and black & white interiors, 6.5″ x 9.5″, 128 pages, ISBN 978-1-60309-300


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