Graphic Novel Classes on the College Level

Hi. I am sure this has been discussed here before. I have dreamed of being in a course dedicated graphic materials and here is what I have learned:

To shut up.

Not everyone is at the same level of understanding of graphic novels. They don't know the history how there weren't shops when comics were first published. Students don't know about shifts in continuity and what it means. They don't know when the published in floppy forms. Don't throw in fun facts when discussing the camp era of Batman comics such as the Adam West reference in the Dark Knight Rises. Let others have the time to think and speak. You have good thoughts but give others a chance to speak. Shut up.

I deserved every comment and it was awful. The ugly truth about a graphic novels course is that some people come in hoping to find people with the same levels of interest and finally feel comfortably talking about the future of Vertigo without Karen Berger at the helm. Others came out of curiosity and were looking for something different. There's a nice group dynamic. The course is taught by librarians and open to students at the graduate level. Don't get me wrong it is a fun course and we have sampled a variety of materials: Sweet Tooth Bone Ghostworld The Arrival (one of my favorite graphic novels of all time). Batwoman is the one I got in trouble with because A) I love the author. B) The artwork is amazing. and C)BATMAN is in it! I knew her history and tried to explain the professor said it was irrelevant and understand that for the purposes of the class.

Has anyone had similar experiences? Different? I'm just moping tonight. I'll be fine by next week.


Loving Comics: You can't "Grow Out of It"

I am now in graduate school for library science. I need to keep my "head in the game." I quickly read through occasional the new trades the library acquires (Side note: DC's "New 52" slogan included the title makes them hard to find in the catalog) but I don't try to make time to get down to the comic shop for the latest issue. I spend 2 minutes at the most looking at this site on a regular basis. Comic news rarely interests me nearly as much as it did when I wasn't attending classes.

Then I am instructed to browse an online journal to learn more about the guest librarian. I look through the list of articles and the term "graphic novel" hooks me immediately. I scan the article for references to my favorite comic books.

I can't help it. Mention comic books and you have my complete attention. A professor say he or she enjoys reading comic books or graphic novels and I am twice interested in getting to know them. From my perspective it humanizes them and shows they don't take themselves too seriously.

I started reading comic when I was bored shelving them while working the library during my freshman year of college. Maybe because I started "so late" that it isn't a fad. I didn't need to grow out of it like barbies to be cool because "dolls are for babies." (I really don't know if how people are going to take that comment so I am expecting a few jokes.)

Part of me would love to leave my love for comics behind because it can get a little time-consuming following all the story lines even from a distance. But the stories mean something to me that I can't quite explain.

Anybody else have similar experiences? Do you come across a group of people discuss what the new Wolverine movie might be about and want to join in? When you're assigned to work with a group of strangers and seeing one of them wearing a green lantern logo t-shirt makes you feel a little less worried?


When Hackers Comfort Each Other

Longer Author's Note for Comic Vine

I knew I couldn't leave the "Garcia and Barbara as cross-dimensional cyber friends," alone. And I'm not crazy about Barbara's re-imagining.

I posted this originally on to reach to out avid fans of the TV show Criminal Minds whose curiosity about the comic may have grown after seeing The Dark Knight Rises. It is honestly the perfect place to write a crossover addressing what happened in Aurora, Colorado as the FBI is has been call down to help assess the situation which is something the characters featured in the TV show about profilers might have done in an episode. Barbara Gordon is also a great character to provide some perspective. I really hope this reads as tasteful, respectful, sensitive to all those affected by what happened in Aurora Colorado.

I do not own any DC characters or Criminal Minds.

Rated T for references to violence.

I am one of many comic fans who felt extremely sad and shocked by what happened in Aurora Colorado. This is just my way of writing out some of my frustrations and I hope it gives some readers support.

SPOILERS ahead for The Dark Knight Rise though you don't have to know much about either the movie or the TV show to enjoy the story.

I literally copied and pasted the first two sections from "When Hackers Say Good-bye." It will save new readers some time. I knew I wasn't ready to let go of the Oracle-Garcia interaction idea. Readers of the first story keep in mind: Flashpoint hasn't happened yet in this universe. I'll explain within the story. It is long, but it was also too short to divide up properly.

One last thing: I'm not very familiar with net-speak, so even though some of it supposed to like a chat transcript won't be accurate.

Look for an endnote.

Dedicated To the Victims of the Aurora Movie Theater Shooting

When Hackers Comfort Each Other

Sometimes members of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit wonder how technical analyst Penelope Garcia is able to track down information so quickly. How she is able to hack into networks without being noticed and finding the key piece of data that leads the team to finding the UnSub just in time to save someone.

The same can be said of Barbara Gordon. Confined to a wheelchair, she is one of Batman's most trusted allies. She is a master strategist and is able to get her best associates to the right locations. Even with all her informational prowess, her friends and fellow heroes still wonder what other resources she might have that she refuses to talk about.

The answer crosses the barriers of reality. These are two women who live and breathe computer code. Sometimes they go digging into the deepest depths of the cyber information universe. And somewhere along the way they found each other.

At first they were just two cyber hackers working late at night in their own timelines. They were both looking for random pieces of information that might help with their own "side jobs" that had little to with their regular responsibilities. They became aware they both had pieces of the same puzzle and decided to share and were able to find the answer. As a result they decided to keep in touch by communicating in this pocket of cyber space to discuss data puzzles that no one else seemed to understand.

Over time they became comfortable enough to share more information about their identities to one another. "Baby Girl Hacker" and "Oracle" began to trust each other enough to share information relating to problems that involved less "net speak" and more physical world terms. It didn't take long for two genius hackers to come to the same conclusion: They were both from alternate realities.

Garcia was the one who figured it out first. In her version, "Oracle" was the code name for Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl and now information coordinator for a team of mostly female vigilantes known as the Birds of Prey. In her reality this was a comic book series. Garcia was over the moon once Barbara confirmed that her suspicions were correct. But Garcia was also smart enough to keep this to herself. Who would honestly believe she could communicate to a comic book character?

It took Barbara a little longer to figure out where Garcia was from. Barbara didn't watch as much TV and it was until Dinah, The Black Canary "borrowed" one of her screens to watch a show featuring a woman wearing cutesy colorful jewelry surrounded by computer screens. It was an FBI drama about a team of profilers who tracked criminals with the help of a tech analyst based in Quantico. Barbara cursed herself for not figuring it out sooner. She decided to keep this information to herself also. She hated the idea of people learning that she sometimes sought help from a government of any universe.

Neither tried to think much about the fact that lived and worked in universes where they were considered fictional characters. They both reasoned that the world of computer codes and cyber navigation wasn't confined to one single dimension. The fact was that they were smartest tech analysts in their worlds and when they worked together, they helped people.

O (Oracle): Baby Girl Hacker! Wake up! If I wanted someone to decrypt the code this slow I would have just gone to Proxy.

Garcia blinked she was shocked to see Barbara had opened a chat window. There was just so much on her mind lately. She quickly typed a response.

BGH (BabyGirlHacker): I'm sorry. Things have been a little crazy. What's the next line?

Garcia could almost see Barbara's eyes roll when her response came.

O: What else is new? The next line is a C++ double variation with a Fibonacci binary infusion.

Garcia tried to her best to decode it but she couldn't focus. She had been tempted to ignore Barbara's request for help. She just hated to think too much about the world where Barbara was typing from. Then a new response came.

O: I give up. Tell me what's going on.

Garcia hesitated.

O: Wait a minute. Didn't that new Batman movie come out? Let me guess, my dad did get killed. Was I right about the Batman Inc. connection? If the Nolan guy did kill Batman, I'm okay with it given what you've said about quality of his work. It's only a movie Garcia. It would be classified as 'based off a true story' if it premiered in my world.

Garcia bit her lip to stop herself from crying. It was too much. People were killed watching what she knew had some basis in reality in another world.

O: Penelope please, I care about you in a strange way even though you exist in another world. My operatives are becoming suspicious about why I am so interested in this creepy-strange show about profilers you're in. Tell me what's going on and maybe I can help.

BGH: I am not sure you want to hear this.

O: I want to hear this before my operatives call in with their status reports.

Garcia knew she couldn't describe it properly without getting too emotional.

BGH: Barbara do you think you can open a link from a news article. I don't think I can write it out properly.

O: You can try. We've sent larger things through this cyber pocket.

With some trepidation, Garcia sent an article describing what happened at a midnight showing of the newest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado. Garcia waited, terrified to read Barbara's reaction. Her answer was not what she expected.

O: Garcia, you attended a midnight showing of the movie in D.C right?

BGH: Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?

O: Everything. The movie is about two and a half hours long, so the film ended around 2:30 a.m. You are more two hours ahead of Colorado, so you were able to enjoy the film in its entirety and then some time afterwards before learning about the shootings in Colorado correct?

BGH: That sounds about right. Where are you going with this?

O: Describe what you felt when you were watching the movie. I'm guessing you went with members of your team. That nerdy Reid guy, Morgan, maybe Emily Prentiss if she's still in town, and how's your relationship with that semi ex-boyfriend of yours?

Garcia cringed.

BGH: Don't ask.

O: Okay fine. Tell me about the movie. Did the genius try to point out the different filming locations used?

Garcia had given up. She decided to play along.

BGH: We managed to collectively shush him for good after the second the over-head view.

O: I was going to guess three. Tell me about Cat Woman. Is she irritating or completely different from the comics?

BGH: Intriguing actually. It was hard to guess what her motives were at times. Oh, and she totally kicked Batman's butt a few times!

O: That sounds like a decent interpretation of Selina. Bruce and I have different opinions about her though.

BGH: You'd hate what happened to their relationship in the end though.

O: Then I don't want to hear it. Tell me about the plot. Does my Dad get to be a hero?

BGH: Several times.

O: That's nice. I've lost count of how many times he has been the target of the creeps in Gotham. So did you like it more than this Avengers movie? I've heard whispers about this other universe where super-heroes are common.

BGH: It's hard to compare them really. The Avengers is fun, but the Dark Knight Rises is just epic. When I think of scenes from the Avengers I want to laugh, but when I think about Batman, I get so lost in the scenes I realize I had been holding my breath the whole time.

O: I can't remember the last time I went out to see a movie without worrying about some of catastrophe and deciding which team members to deploy. It sounds like fun. What did you do afterwards?

BGH: We went to one of those all-night diner places and ordered breakfast. Emily and I discussed where we could find Cat Woman's heels while Morgan tried to explain to Reid the Adam West reference in the movie.

O: Hold on a sec, is that the guy who starred in that terrible live action show you were telling me about? I thought Nolan was serious about steering away from that campy stuff!

Garcia couldn't help but laugh.

BGH: I promise it worked in the movie! It doesn't come off as silly. It's more of homage to the show that created interest in the comics.

O: I have hard time believing that. But I'll take your for it.

Garcia suddenly realized how happy she felt. Slowly the sadness of the reality of the situation set in again.

BGH: Barbara what was the point of all that? It doesn't change the fact that 12 people are dead because they went to see a movie about the man who inspired you to become a superhero.

There was another long pause.

O: Garcia you try to find the people who killed and abuse people in vicious ways beyond imagination. In your world, what my associates including Batman and I do for a living brings joy. Some of it is creepy and some of is inspiring. It is a form of exciting escapism you can't let ANYONE take that away from you!

Garcia had trouble figuring how to respond.

BGH: How do I stop that from happening? People are saying the character Batman's legacy has been ruined. People think he is a monster already.

O: I can't count how many times I have heard that before.

BGH: But this is the real world for me! How are you able to act so, what's the word? Nonchalant about all of this?

O: You have no idea what I'm feeling, but that's not important. Right now I need to be here as your friend. Batman is fiction in your world. Fiction according to you, which has been around for more than sixty years. What happened in Aurora is truly a tragedy and their deaths need to be mourned. Their names will live on in many forms. That said Batman also needs to live on. He is a symbol of hope in both your world and mine in different ways. I doubt any single person can truly stop that from happening.

Garcia always knew Barbara Gordon was wise beyond her years no matter what her current age was in the comics. She always believed that Barbara was smarter than Batman and was one of greatest superheroes in the DC Universe (though she personally dreamed of having the powers of Superman).

BGH: How did you become so wise?

O: I learned a lot of it from you and your team.

Another shocking answer.

BGH: How?

O: Well Rossi's book inspired J.J. to join the BAU. Reid and Morgan both decided to join because of what happened when in their childhood to some extent. And YOU Penelope decided to use your incredible hacking skills for the greater good by working from within the system. Fiction has a way of teaching us lessons that cannot be stopped by the outcry of criticism.

Garcia couldn't believe how much better she was feeling.

BGH: Barbara I can't thank you enough! You have no idea how that makes me feel.

O: That's great Garcia. I have one other word of advice that I'd like you to take very seriously.

BGH: Name it.

O: Do everything in you can to make sure the shooter's name is forgotten. Not through hacking. Simply omit his name whenever you discuss what happened. I don't think I need to tell you that these kinds of killers want to be remembered more than anything. His name will be in headlines in the new cycles for the next few weeks and maybe months if there is a trial, but his name is best forgotten in the world the stories where Batman brings joy to people.

BGH: You have my word that I'll do everything I can.

O: Well time is up for me. I have to check on some of my agents. We'll have to find another time to deal with this infuriating puzzle.

Garcia was trying to type an apology but Barbara had already posted another message.

O: Don't worry about it Garcia. It's probably good that you told me as your team must be wondering what has been eating at you more than usual. Later Baby Girl Hacker.

Barbara then signed off.

"Hey Baby Girl I think that's the first time I've seen without your shoulder hunched over in the last few days."

Garcia swiveled around to see her real-life superhero Derek Morgan smiling at her.

"Oh but my knight, my shoulders still ache! They long for the powerful strength of your hands and to relieve their pain."

Morgan laughed a little and his voice rang through her body with ecstasy. "Garcia your persuasion skills never cease to amaze me," he said as he began to rub her shoulders.

"It is a gift," she said.

As he continued to rub her shoulders he asked: "Would you care to explain this sudden change in mood?"

Garcia smiled. "Let's just say I realized have friends who know how to make me feel better in ways I never imagined."

"Is there room in the budget for new boots?" Dinah asked as returned from her latest mission missing a heel.

Barbara was adding the last reports into the central computer from the night missions. "You need to stop wearing those spike heels. They're impractical for running across roof tops."

"But you did at one time."

Barbara glared at her. Garcia's message about her sending good-bye message was still bothering her. She kept wanting to tell her about how she had become regained the use of her legs but was somehow a younger character and Barbara refused hear more. Barbara sensed that things might be changing and she preferred to live in this reality to the fullest while it lasted.

"I wore kitten heels," she responded quietly.

Dinah Black Canary took the cue to back off. Helena, Huntress appeared next with leaves stuck in her hair. "Babs, can you please take me off Poison Ivy patrol? It takes hours to wash the pollen spore stuff out of my hair.

"I'll think about it," she replied.

Zinda appeared next in her usual aviator uniform that been slightly modified to resemble a wet suit. Her face was flush with excitement. "I do love chasing drug-smugglers on the jet-ski. The idiots really don't know how to take a flying punch."

Dinah and Helena looked at each other. "I want her mission," they said in unison to Barbara.

"I'll take it under advisement," Barbara said distractedly as she wheeled away from her computer banks.

Her three operatives looked at her with confusion. Dinah decided to take the lead.

"Babs are you okay?"

"I've been better," she said in the same tone as she went into the kitchen. She opened the fridge and suddenly squealed with delight. "Alfred you're a saint," she muttered as she pulled out the casserole dish.

"Hey," she said brightly, "who'd like some chicken a la king right now? I know everyone is tired but I don't think I can sleep right after nearly going cross-eyed from staring at rows of numbers all night. I never saw the entire season finale of Criminal Minds. Do you guys feel up for watching it with me?"

"You had me at chicken," Dinah replied.

"I'm willing to share the wine I got while on the trip home," Zinda said as she pulled the bottles out of her coat.

"As long as you let me heat the thing properly," Helena said and took the dish out of her hands.

Barbara went into the living room and began to set up the flat screen. Dinah watched her closely. "Is there special reason for wanting to watch this show tonight? Especially since you never watched anything but news programs up until several months ago."

Barbara brushed the comment off. "Sometimes a little escapism can do the mind a world of good."

As the screen pulled down from the ceiling she caught a glimpse of the Bat Signal. Her Dad didn't really need to use it to contact him these days. But it was symbol. A symbol of hope for the people who feared that they were truly alone in world filled fear and despair.

End Note:

I know it is wish-washy on so many levels. My characterization of Barbara Gordon is probably off in a few places as I haven't read a pre New 52 comic recently. Some it may come off as personal commentary more than anything. But nonetheless, I hope you enjoyed it.

I'd also like to mention that I have not abandoned the story I have been working on for the past few weeks. I simply ran out steam and will return to it soon. The earlier magic story is on hold for the foreseeable future.

One last thing: I love reviews. I can't get enough of them (except maybe flames). My only request is that you keep the name of the shooter out of your reviews. His name needs to be forgotten in the world of comics as quickly as possible. He doesn't deserve to be recognized in anything connected to the comics he tried to ruin by using it as the setting for his murdering rampage.

Start the Conversation

The Batman Will Be Waiting

Let me just first off say that I hate the guy. I hate the guy responsible for killing at 12 people and 50 others at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora Colorado. I refuse give his name.

I hate him because he made people afraid of going to the movies. I him hate for taking the lives of innocent people who came out late at night to see a piece of cinematic history.

For the next couple weeks talking heads will be spinning stories about how comics are a bad influence on society. Instead of celebrating the beauty of this cinematic masterpiece, people will be questioning whether there is even a future for comics in the movie industry. No one will be able to talk about The Dark Knight Rises without adding a comment of condolence for the families who are grieving because they chose to see the film.

There will be no stories about historic box office records being broken. There will be no stories comparing the Avengers to the Dark Knight Rises is terms of which people enjoyed more, (even though most comic fans will tell you the films are too different compare side-by-side anyway). One of the great stories to be told about this summer of super hero movies will be tainted to some extent by the fatalities that occurred during one movie showing.

Minor Spoilers in the next paragraph. If you've read some of the reviews you'll already know something about this story line.

On a personal note I hate the guy for shooting up the film that fulfilled one of my comic dreams. I read the novelization of No Man's Land by chance and fell truly in love with Batman. I then acquired all the trade additions of the story arc and devoured them within days. Greg Rucka became one of my favorite writers as a result. I dreamed of one day seeing this incredible story adapted to some form of TV, movie, or animated mini-series. But I never actually thought it would happen as the plot was too complicated for non-comic fans to understand. I saw the bridges exploding, Gordon leading the resistance, the theft of the apple, and I almost wanted to cry after seeing theater.

But the most important thing to remember is: The Batman will be waiting. This movie will outlive the senseless violence caused one madman because Batman is in it. Somewhere in the world of comics, there will always be a bat-signal on. I am not in any way downplaying the tremendous sadness of the loss of life today. Warner Bros. will feel the sting of losing what they thought would be their highest grossing film, but I think we all know that doesn't matter. The Batman will endure because his character means too much to the world.

Let the people mourn their loss. Let movie-goers enjoy the experience of The Dark Knight Rises in theaters with a little trepidation at times. But do not fear or mourn the loss of enthusiasm for the character. The Batman is the Dark Knight, waiting for the time to rise above the sadness and fully capture our imagination again in new and exciting ways.


Kim Yale: Barbara Gordon's True Savior

I was looking through Barbara Gordon's entry for the eightieth time to find more information about her recent character development and noticed an interesting citation for the first time. In The Killing Joke entry, the last sentence piqued my curiosity the most:

Following the release of the graphic novel, comic book editor and writer Kim Yale discussed how distasteful she found the treatment of Barbara Gordon with her husband, fellow comic writer John Ostrander. Rather than allow the character to fall into obscurity, the two decided to revive her as a character living with a disability.

How is it that I have never heard of her? I'm not as "comic-literate" as I like to be, but I thought I knew the core history of Barbara's character. I love Babs and I couldn't believe I had never thought to look up who revived her character. I found out why Yale isn't as well known: She died of cancer breast cancer 1997. There is an award named after her as part of the Friends of Lulu a non-profit charity organization- that was disbanded last year.

Why isn't she given more credit for keeping Barbara Gordon alive in the comics? Because of what she and her husband started, Barbara became the smart and sassy character many of us came to love. The character became an icon to the wheel-chair bound who was not bald and manipulative. I have read a few Batman and superhero history books and there only passing references to development of the character with no names attached.

I really don't mind the fact that Barbara Gordon has become Batgirl again, what I do mind is how Gail Simone has written out a third of her intelligence. Barbara no longer has that mildly cynical edge and seems more wide-eyed and gleeful. I loved Gail's first run on Birds of Prey so much that I can't figure out how she has re-written her to say "yikes" and "oops" in a comical way.

This sounds like an incredible story about a writing team who wouldn't let a female character "go into the fridge". Is there anyone who can tell me more about this remarkable woman?


Would you go to a library comic book club?

I work at a library and have been given to start a summer comic book for teens and young adults. (My first draft of this blog was better but it would load so this one is shorter). I'm trying to find out how to find people and get them to come. Here my questions:

If I advertise in school, where would notice the flyer?

Where do I link the club on social networking sites without getting people from as far a Canada for example?

Would you be willing to be in a club with a mix of people who only know about comics from TV and the movies?

Do you pay much attention to the flyers in the comics shops and have you ever asked the workers about clubs in the area?

Basic plans for the club: It meets once a week in the evening for about an hour with alternating themes. One week is a discussion meeting (New 52, Av vs x, movie accuracy) and a book club. Here are chosen titles base on new use-user friendliness and availablity in the library system:

Batman Year 1

Iron Man Five Nightmares

Astonishing X-Men Vol. 1

Wonder Woman: Love and Murder (really don't like that one so I'd love better suggestions that fit my criteria)

My theme:

Summer of the Superhero Fan


Explain a Comic Character in 60 seconds

I was sitting at dinner with a group of people I meet once a week. The topic turned to Avengers (I wonder why?). I was the lead geek at the table. It is a loud interesting group with different perspectives an opinions so I had to keep it brief before I lost their attention. Here are some of the questions I tried to answer and add some fun facts:

(Hadn't seen the movie.) How did Captain American return to modern times?

The Super-Soldier Serum prevented him from aging so he was in something a like a cryogenic state until they discovered him. (Not sure if cryogenic is the right state and explaining how he was found in the comics would take too long.)

Who is Hawkeye?

For the purpose of seeing the movie, he is a guy with a bow. He has a problem with authority figures in the comics.

Who is the Black Widow?

For the purpose of the seeing the movie: A former Russian spy. She was originally a villain featured in the Iron Man comics (I am sure I messed that up a little) a Soviet Spy. Marvel was looking for a bad-ass female hero who didn't look like a wasp, who was the original token female character.

Who is Bane?

The guy who broke Batman's back and spirit in the comics. The mask pumps something like super soldier serum/steroids into his system. The co-creator of the character is from around here.

Who is Talia Al Ghul?

Ra's daughter and leader of the League of Assassins when her dad isn't being resurrected. (That's the best way I can describe her.)

And that was how long the conversation stayed on super-heroes and turned to the Hunger Games and the last Harry Potter movies. I know I botched a ton of facts but I needed to keep it simple. I am betting many people here a hitting the movies tonight with non-comic fans with lots of time to kill before the movie starts. I know I started a similar topic a while ago, but this time I am interested in how people describe comics to people who don't want history lessons, just fun facts. What are the things that movies miss/gloss over that you want other people to know about the most?


Creators born in Your Backyard

Bane: The villain who broke Batman's back. Who millions are going to see if he kills the Dark Knight in Christopher Nolan's trilogy.

Green Hornet: Originally a radio character who became popular in comics. There was a movie made based off the character that people try to forget about.

Hal Jordan: The most well-known member of the Green Lantern Corps. in mainstream culture.

What do have in common? THEY ARE ALL FROM MY HOME REGION!

I bought that DC coffee table of a book. Read comic wiki profiles regularly. But I never learned much about where the creators came from. It was only through chatting up the owner of the biggest comic shop in Buffalo I that I learned that all these incredible writers were born within driving distance of where I live.

Everyone knows about the kids from Cleveland who created the most famous superhero of all time. But what about the other writers who came from slightly more obscure towns?

In almost every small town you see plaques dedicated to famous people who were born there. There is a statue in Youngstown, NY dedicated to the girl who wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln suggesting that he grow a beard. I think that it would be really fun find information about a comic creator while visiting a town.

So what comic character creators were born in your little known section of the country? I'm curious to hear from the Viners in Cleveland who know the neighborhood where the famous duo grew up and might have stories about fans come there on pilgrimages. That is just one example that comes to mind and I'd like to find more.

And another little-known fun fact: Mark Waid lived in Buffalo for ten years to be with his girlfriend. I'm guessing he left when the relationship ended.


Comic you've had the most fun explaining to a friend

Sometimes we as comic geeks (or nerds) have to take a step back and look at the crazy world we are obsessed with and laugh.

I have a friend who doesn't read comics but knows enough to humor my long rants about how screwed up "The New 52" or how much I hate Cyclops. We began to talk about Batman and he was curious about how he came back to life. I explained the whole business about the clones Darkseid created and how Bruce was sent back into time. By the end of my explanation we were both in hysterics.

Some of this stuff is just nuts.

We take it serious that Cassandra Nova was trying to cause a galactic war and are very invested in the outcome. Then you finish reading to series you realize you were reading about how Professor X killed his sister womb. Or how the population of mutants was whittled (supposedly) down 298 thus de-powering every one except the cool mutants. Or the re-animation re-awakening of Captain America. Or the Spiderman clone saga.

Try explaining the current Flash family tree. Or how many Green Lanterns there are. Or what earth the current events in DC comics are taking place. Or Starfire's back story to people who only know her as the cutesy girl on the animated show. Or how Jason Todd came back.

I truly love everything about comics. This is a form of escapism that I would not trade for the world. The world is somehow so much easier to understand compared to why people continue to fight in the Mid-East or why in 2012 we are still dependent on fossil fuels.

So what comic stories have you tried explaining to your friends that had them in stitches?


The Killing Joke : Role Reversal Part 2

Rated M because the nature of the story is a little violent and there is some sexual innuendo.

I own none of the characters related to DC Comics.

Side note: I know this is extremely long. A lot of it is summery and character development. There are different segments that I can't figure how to name yet. So read one part at a time or take some out of your hectic life to read something a little slower, but (at least I think) riveting nonetheless.

The story so far: The Joker paralyzed James Gordon instead of Barbara as a role reversal from the "Killing Joke." James Gordon was forced to leave Gotham P.D. and everything has gone a little nuts. After losing Jason Todd, and Gordon in some ways, Bruce went off the radar. Barbara Gordon had return from semi-retirement to pick up the slack. She discovers new vigilantes Black Canary and Huntress, that she has developed a guarded association with. Her father as has fallen into a state of madness. Sarah Essen has become the new police commissioner and she suspected that something was off. With the help of a former lover/private detective. She discovers that a drug is being used to destroy empathetic tendencies in the brain. She tracked down Bruce and is able to break him out of the spell.

In the finale, Barbara, Batman, and her associates are able to prevent the wide-spread distribution of the drug. Bruce saves Gordon from being killed in an auction. But there is still work to be done. Barbara and Bruce need to track down the remainder of the drug and Sarah Essen has to figure out how to save her police force. And there is still the big question of whether Gordon will be able to recover. And if he does, what does his future hold?

Find out now in "The Killing Joke: Role Reversal Part 2"

James Gordon's vision had began to fail in second grade. He was having a hard time seeing what was on the chalk board even when he sat in the front row. By the end of September, he could barely see enough to tie his shoe laces. His parent's, while not terribly poor, still had a hard time scraping together the money needed to get a pair of glasses that for such a specific medication. The end result was that he was forced to wear thick coke-bottle glasses. He was mocked mercilessly in school.

One day he was walking over to the kindergarten building pick up his brother up, when a pair of large tough boys blocked his way. They were far enough from the grade school for teachers to be watching. One-punch Tommy was standing his way, with Gruff Gary and Big Mike be his side.

"Hey Jimmy four-eyes, where do you think you're goin?"

"Leave me alone," he said as he tried to step around them. But their wall just expanded. Tommy pushed a hand against his chest, forcing him to step back.

"What's wrong Jimmy four-eyes? Don't you want to play?"

"I need to pick up my brother," he muttered.

"Why does he need you? I would be more afraid of being beaten up while being seen with you freak."

"I said leave me alone!" Gordon punches Tommy's chest with both his fists, but Tommy laughs. He knocks Gordon onto the ground hard.

"How pathetic. You know what might make you less a pathetic? If you were to lose these." He grabs his glasses off his face. He hands it to his friends and they viciously stomp on his glasses. Gordon is trying very hard not to cry.

"You know this the part where I'd punch you're lights out in one punch, but I think that'd be letting you off easy. Pick him up boys." Gary and Mike grab him and pull him on to his feet. Gordon feels sick and shaky without being able to see.

"Let's see how the blind chicken crosses the road." They throw him into the street. He gets up in time to scramble out of the way of an on-coming car, standing in the median. Tommy and his friends laugh.

"Good luck Jimmy Boy!" The boys walk away.

Gordon tries to scramble across the street, but falls on his stomach in the middle of the street.

"Get up Jimmy Boy! Get up!" a voice says.

Gordon looks up to see The Joker dressed in shorts and a tropical T-shirt standing on the other side of the road. "Or can't you?"

Gordon tries to move his legs, but with no avail and panics. He hears the roar of an on-coming vehicle.


Gordon screams. He opens his eyes and looks around wildly, barely able to see anything except pale reddish patterns with a warm light cutting across the room. He is can't register anything else before he falls back into state of random pieces of thoughts.


The room James Gordon is in gets the most exposure to light of any room in the house. Located on the third floor of Wayne Manor, light angles in from the slightly slanted windows. The room had red patterned wall-paper. The bed is made of pure maple wood. The quilt is burgundy with a rose petal pattern on the lining This was where Martha Wayne's mother stayed when she came to visit.

One a dresser across from the Bed there was a small angel with two marble eyes on top of it. Through the eyes Bruce Wayne is able to watch Gordon's progress. He was sitting his father's old private study watching on a small screen. Alfred came in with a plate of breakfast for him.

"Is this really progress Alfred?" Bruce said as he pushed back into his father's thick leather chair.

"His brain waves are becoming less erratic. And the anti-psychotics seem to be calming his manic fits sir." There were I.Vs attached Gordon's arm as well as tiny wired pads on the top of forehead.

"But he still doesn't seem to understand where he is! It's been three days Alfred, and he still hasn't come out of it."

"Master Bruce, I am not a professional psychologist. But during my post-war recovery days I saw many cases of P.T.S.D. The road back is different for everyone."

Bruce began to pick at the steak and eggs Alfred had put in front of him. He wished Barbara would allow him to get Martian Man Hunter or Zatanna to look into Gordon's mind. But she would have none of it.

"Bruce think about what you are suggesting. You would never let either of them inside your head for fear of having your memory altered."

"But this would be different. They would only look around to see where he is struggling."

"He has had enough people messing with his mind! They may be able to help and bring him back. But somewhere down the road, he is going to subconsciously discover their presence, and it might cause him relapse."

Bruce sipped some coffee. He knew that Barbara had a point.

"Did I do the right thing bringing him here? What will happen when does wake up? Will he even accept the his new position in my life that I am offering him."

"Only time will tell Sir."


Sarah Essen never believed in the after-life. But she couldn't help but think that if there was one, the scales would be heavily weighed against her.

She glanced out the window and saw that it was a surprisingly bright day, this late in November. It was so contradictory to the clouds rumbling in Gotham P.D. She was still typing up her reports. So much had happened in the past few days. The Bat and his co-hortes had intercepted a drug shipment. Dozens of crime syndicate representatives had been apprehended. When her officers arrived, they discovered the assailants locked in a S.W.A.T. Bus. She still had no idea how it was stolen. There was also the fact that a cargo ship had gone missing, but oddly that was the least of her problems.

It seemed that the fiasco at the docks was only the first act. Her team then arrived at the ruins of the old Gotham Theater. There was some serious structural damage that witnesses claimed was caused by an earthquake. There were no casualties, and they were able to put some of Gotham's most notorious criminals back behind bars after bandaging them up.

Then there was "the psycho drug." When she finally returned to her office the next morning she found a note about the effects of the drug along with the dose of the antidote that she was "urged" to take. Once she did (against her better judgment), it felt like her mind was clear for the first time. She realized that her psyche had been compromised, that she had been destroying Gotham P.D. But the drug only messed with her rationality, there were still other forces pulling her strings. She tried several times to quit but the every time she was told to get back to work.

She stifled a yawn and opened a drawer. She shuffled around some papers and found what she was looking for. It was a three-by-seven inch photo that Jim had mounted on a small slice of wood. She placed it on her desk and stared at it. While filing away his personal effects she found this the photo behind the fold of a flag. It was a picture of Rachel Morgan and her fellow smiling officers holding their beer glasses together in a toast. Jim was deep in the background with only the slightest of smiles on his face. Rachel Morgan was the first women to ever be promoted to detective in Gotham. She and her husband were killed in during a home-invasion three days later.

She ached for Jim to be here right now. He would know what to do. He would place his strong arms on her shoulders and tell her that everything would...

"I knew you had kept it." Barbara Gordon was standing in front of her door. She looked like a mess. There was all sorts of cuts and bruises on her face that make-up couldn't conceal. In all the mayhem, her car had been crashed off the road while returning from a private library fundraiser. No one in her family could catch a break.

"I'm sorry, would you like it back?"

"No. Keep it. It is a good fragment of a memory reflect on every once and a while."

"So why are you really here?"

"I am here to ask you to call off the man-hunt for Batman."

Sarah was stunned by the request. "Why would I do that? Several witnesses reported seeing him pull your father out of the theater."

"Batman has contacted me. He says that he found a private facility that will help him recover his mental state."

"And where is this 'private facility' that accepts requests from someone who dresses as a bat?"

"It is affiliated with The Justice League."

"And are you going to tell me where this place is so that I can see that it is a licensed facility?"

"No. With all due respect Commissioner, I feel I have valid reasons for questioning your integrity."

That was a very brazen remark from her.

"Barbara, I know things have gotten rough since your father left. But I promise that I am working to make amends for what I did in an altered-"

"Ma'am I believe that you genuinely want fix things. But being a detective's daughter, I can read between the lines in what is being published in the papers. You are being held against the wall by someone and things won't change until you do seek help from the Batman."

That girl extremely perceptive. "Barbara, believe me when I say that I have come to accept that he has a positive effect on Gotham . But I don't think I should standing on roof calling for his support."

Barbara glared at her. "You really don't get do you? My Dad missed out on a lot of things in my life because he stood out on that roof! But I trusted both him and 'The Bat.' Life is never going to get easier here, but refusing help from the one man can who reach into crevices that law enforcement cannot touch is foolish."

Sarah was beginning to get angry. "Who do you think you are! Telling me how to do my job! Get out of my office!"

Barbara's didn't look the least bit disturbed. She opened the door. "It will never be too late to ask for his help. But it will save you a lot of suffering if you start now."

"Get out!" she screamed.

Barbara exited the room but her head popped through the door one more time. "I visited Harvey Bullock in hospital. He has stopped breathing on his own. They've put hm on full life support now." Barbara shut the door quickly behind her.

The last remark had stabbed her right in the gut. After arresting Bullock for obstruction of justice, she had him sent to Blackgate. Possibly on purpose, she had neglected to request that he be separated from the general population. He went missing during dining hours and was found twelve hours later,he had been beaten to a bloody pulp.There were at least a dozen inmates, all of whom Bullock had busted at some point, who are being considered as suspects. Odd were, they would never find all the culprits.

Sarah picked up the photo again. It was the only photo she had of Gordon, who looked very uncomfortable there but trying his best to support his fellow officer. She threw it across her office.

Damn you Jim, she thought. You were weak, you depended on someone outside of Gotham P.D. to help solve problems. She couldn't let her herself believe that the boogieman could be her guardian angel.

God she missed the man.