Support Shawn's writng with a donation

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why We Haven’t Seen A New Original Superhero in Twenty Years at Marvel and DC

-->



Why aren’t their new original superhero characters made to relate to today’s tweens and teens? Why hasn’t their been a new generation of superheroes with stories that relate to today’s social and political situations? Why hasn’t there been a new breakout character in the last twenty-five years? The answer to that question is simple: MONEY.


People like Stan Lee plead for creators to make new characters. But at the Big two comic publishers Marvel and DC most creators have to work under a “Work for Hire” contract. And under that kind of contract a creator like myself signs away ALL the rights to any intellectual property we create while working there. So if we create a character who becomes popular we get absolutely no compensation for it.


In contrast if a writer like myself takes that same character to a Trade publishing house and write those same adventures in a Kids’ book or Young Adult fantasy Fiction we get to not only get to publish our work but we also get to retain all our intellectual property rights. And those rights can be worth millions if not billions of dollars.


Creators like myself who publish work or self publish work own almost all their remaining intellectual property rights including foreign publishing rights, eBook publishing rights, film rights, television rights, Trademarks on character designs, action figure rights for multiple scales from two inches to two feet, and licensing rights on merchandising and marketing. And a savvy writer or creator with a good business sense can capitalize on selling those rights to build wealth for themselves.


Under the current “Work For Hire” agreements used at Marvel and DC use a writer or a creator like myself has no financial incentive to create characters for a publisher like Marvel or DC. It’s just more profitable for a creator like myself to take a concept to an indie comic book publisher like IDW, Boom! Dynamite or Image where we retain not only creative control but ownership of all our rights. But in most cases, Creators are just taking their work to a trade publisher to be produced as a Young Adult Novel. Thanks to the success of book franchises like Harry Potter and Twilight Most new tween and teen readers and readers of all ages tend pick up Young Adult books and have a stronger positive impression of YA titles than they do of comics.


What further exacerbates the situation regarding the development of new characters is that creators like myself find the comic book industry virtually impossible to break into. Unfortunately, there’s no internship program or even apprenticeship for writing comics. Heck, you can’t even find a class that teaches comic book writing at a local college! Trying to find an entry point into the comic book industry is almost as impossible as finding an entry point into comics these days.


It’s easier to break into trade publishing than the comic book industry. It’s easier to break into Hollywood than the comic book industry. You can easily find books on screenwriting and publishing. You can find the names for all the people and the prodcos and publishing houses in Los Angeles and New York. But finding out who the editors are at a comic book publisher?


Good Luck. No one has figured that out for the last twenty-five years.


And because creators like myself can’t answer that question no one has created that new breakout superhero for twenty-five years. Many of the concepts creators like myself have come up with like Isis that would have probably become comic books instead became YA novels, fantasy novels, graphic novels or even TV shows and movies.


So that new breakout superhero is having their adventures. In a YA novel, a fantasy novel like the Harry Potter series or the Twilight series, A Graphic novel or even on a TV show like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


And a whole host of writers and artists like myself are honing their talent in places outside of the comic book industry. And due to this brick wall in editorial that keeps new people out and old veterans in, archaic business models for compensating creators and just plain old apathy the big two publishers continue to suffer from creative stagnation.


I’ve been wanting to write comics since the 1990’s. Unfortunately I couldn’t find an entry point to work in the trade. And when the industry collapsed in 1993 due to the numerous gimmicks and excesses, I gave up my lifelong dream of writing comics and started working on novels. Later on in my writing career I started writing YA fantasy fiction like the Isis series.


What many readers don’t know is that Isis was originally planned to a comic book character. And I originally planned to make the stories a series of graphic novels. But because I couldn’t find a way to get an internship or even an entry-level job at a comic book company in the 1990’s to learn the craft of writing comic books I was forced to take the story over to the fantasy market of trade publishing.


And now that I’ve learned about Work for Hire and the poor compensation that comic creators receive at the Big two publishers I see that was the right business decision. Currently I own all the rights to the Isis character and her supporting cast and I’m in a better position to make business deals such as licensing if that possibility ever comes to fruition.


Where do I see the next breakout superhero coming from? Thanks to the lack of compensation for creators and the inability of new artists and writers like myself to access the job market there I don’t see them coming from Marvel or DC. Instead see that next big breakout superhero character coming from the Indie comic publishers, self-published webcomics or the YA Book market. In these marketplaces creators like myself have the financial incentive to produce new content and share our work with a large diverse audience. Right now new readers are accessing new characters in places like YA series, toys like Monster High and other forms of media. If just one of these concepts had been introduced as a comic it could have been the next breakout character for Marvel or DC.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Dan Didio explains the Post Convergence DC Universe…WTF?






Dan Didio has had to explain how his new Post Convergence DC Universe works to readers on multiple occasions with multiple articles. 


Good Gravy.


If an editor has to explain a story to their readers then something is wrong at that publishing house. Editors don’t have to explain how things work in a story to readers, readers will figure things out for themselves.


Most people can figure out a comic book universe on their own in less than ten seconds. That’s how I figured things out back when I discovered my brother’s comic collection when I was four years old. I saw all the characters on the covers of an Avengers comic and figured things out when I looked at other Marvel titles in his collection.


And that’s how I figured out comics when I was fifteen when I started collecting DC Comics on my own in 1989. I had read a lot of New Teen Titans back in my brother’s old comic collection. And in New Teen Titans I learned that Wally West was Kid Flash. When I picked up a Flash comic in 1989 and saw Wally West was the Flash, I figured things out.


And I figured thing with Fire. I had read an old DC Comics Presents with Superman and the Global Gaurdians. In it Beatriz De Costa was the Green Fury. I picked up a Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League and soon figured out that Fire was the Green Fury.


And the funny thing was I never read a single issue of Crisis of Infinite Earths. Yet at the age of 15 I was able to figure out the DC Universe both Pre-crisis and Post Crisis by picking up a few issues of Batman, Justice League, and Flash.


When a comic is written well readers have no problem figuring out the entry points. When a comic book universe is structured well readers won’t have a problem figuring out the world or the entry points to it.


Because every story is an entry point. A seasoned writer will treat each story as its own entity with its own beginning, middle, and end. Yes certain events in certain stories interconnect. But a reader will figure things out by the end of the story. And those elements will have them picking up future titles in the series and the books of other characters in the universe.


Why is getting a universe to work so hard for Dan Didio at DC Comics? Why does he have to explain something that no one really needs to explain? For over 75 years people have been getting into fantasy and science fiction stories without a map like the one Dan Didio created for his new DC Universe.


Back in the 1980’s no one needed to explain Transformers to kids. Most kids figured out that the Autobots were the good guys and the Decepticons were the bad guys. Sure the cartoon gave characters like Optimus Prime, Megatron and Starscream a “voice” and a personality, but most kids got into the world of Robots in Disguise without watching a single episode in 1984.


And thirty years later and multiple versions of Optimus Prime and his Autobot crew kids are still able to follow the story of the Transformers in toy stores all over the world without a problem.


And twenty years ago no needed to explain Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to kids. Even with all the multicolored rangers all the Dinozords, Megazords, Dragonzords, Titanuses and Ultrazords, kids and their parents managed to figure it all out on the store shelf. Again, the TV shows gave the toys a “voice” a personality most kids identified with, but it was fairly easy for most to figure it out.


And kids still figure it out twenty years later. We’ve had at least 23 different versions of Power Rangers in 23 different series. Yet kids still figure things out easily as they did in 1993 on a store shelf.


And just recently as 2009 No one at Mattel needed to explain Monster High to kids. They just figure It out on the shelf. The package tells the story of how Frankie Stien, Draculaura, Clawdeen Wolf, Ghoulia Yelps and Cleo De Nile are the daughters of classic monsters.


And kids today have figured things out seven going on six going on seven years later. Because it’s so easy to follow, Monster High is now more popular than Barbie, Mattel’s once iconic brand.


But we need a Map to explain the DC Universe to readers. A map that the co-publisher has to continue to explain to people again and again.


Good gravy.


Back in the 1940’s no one had to explain the Golden Age DC Universe to people. In the 1950’s no one had to explain the Silver Age DC Universe to people. And in the 1980’s no one needed to explain the Post-Crisis DC Universe to people.


Even I don’t have to explain the SJS DIRECT Universe to readers. People figure things out on their own. When it comes to my fantasy titles most readers know that Isis: Trial of the Goddess ties into Isis. And that The Temptation of John Haynes ties into Isis through E’steem. And that the modern Isis series starts right after The Temptation of John Haynes. People buy books at any point and follow the events in the universe from the last book or the first book. Every story is an entry point.


And most of my readers aren’t veteran comic fans with an understanding of the small intricate details of a characters’ history or a universe. No, they’re just average Joes and Janes all over this world. What many in the comic book world would call casuals, readers who pick up a book just based on a cover or a synopsis. If I can reach new readers with time-tested story models the comic industry has used for close to 80 years then why can’t DC Comics, a subsidiary of Time Warner do the exact same thing?


That’s the question many want DC’s editorial to answer. But Dan Didio is too busy explaining his version of the DC Universe to readers to figure out where he made his mistake. If you have to explain a product to the customer then you’re not going to be able to sell that product. If the customer can’t figure out how a product works on their own in less than ten seconds they’re not going to buy that product. Business 101. 


I find it sad that an indie publisher like myself with a shoestring budget can make a universe of characters work but a co-publisher of multinational brand with multi-million dollar budget can’t. I find it even sadder that executives at Warner Brothers haven’t given this man his walking papers after nearly fifteen straight years of failure. When one of your top senior executives can’t figure out how the products they sell to customers work, then that person shouldn’t be an executive at your company.   

Monday, July 20, 2015

R.I.P Shawn’s Dell Latitude D830





My Workhorse in better days
A couple of weeks ago my Dell Latitude D830 bit the dust. The video card on the motherboard died.


As an A+ Certified IT Technician there wasn’t anything I could do to fix it. Once the motherboard is gone…the computer is pretty much DEAD.


I’m gonna miss my old laptop. My Dell Latitude D830 was my primary computer from October 2008 to January of 2015. It was the computer where I started the SJS DIRECT imprint, the computer where I learned how to format POD Paperbacks, design covers, and eBooks.


The Dell Latitude D830 was the computer where I learned Adobe Acorobat and Adobe Photoshop. In the past seven years I’ve become quite proficient. at using both software packages to create .PDF book interiors and covers for all my titles.  


It was also the laptop where I refined my writing craft. On that laptop I learned more about screenwriting, teleplay writing, the novel and the short story. With the help of online friends I learned more about writing and writing techniques.


Cover design on the old Dell
Thanks to all I learned about digital publishing on that computer, I cleared the backlog of manuscripts under my bed and published paperback editions of All About Marilyn, The Temptation of John Haynes, All About Nikki The Fabulous First season, The Thetas, The Isis series, and eBooks in theThe Simp Trilogy. Over the last seven years using that computer I expanded my catalog to almost 50 different titles.  


The Dell was the computer where I learned the ins and outs of book promotion. It was the computer where I learned how to write press releases, and strategies for targeting readers with promotional campaigns for books.


On the Dell I learned more about social media and met lots of great people. In the last seven years I’ve met a national bestselling author, models, actresses, lots of awesome comic artists like Terry Beatty, Mike Williams (Artist on the AWESOME Deak Sledge strip) , and Bill Walko (artist and writer of the GREAT Hero Busine$$ strip), reconnected with classmates from CES 132, and met lots of great men and women all over the world on Facebook and YouTube.


On that laptop I expanded the audience for my blog from a hundred hits a day to over one thousand hits a day. At one point the blog was averaging 5,000 to 6,000 hits a day! With the blog now at well over a million hits, shawnsjamesblogspot.com has grown in popularity and now has a growing following of regular readers. 


While my old laptop was a solid performer for the last seven years, it did have its share of problems. The DVD drive died. But thankfully it was under warranty and I got a new one. Unfortunately when the extended Warranty ended, the cooling fan died. And I went through FIVE count em’ FIVE AC chargers. And finally both hinges that held the screen up broke. For a time I had to literally prop the laptop up on pillows or my briefcase just to use it to write. 


As an A+ Certified IT technician I fixed quite a few things on this laptop to keep it running over the last seven years. I replaced the cooling fan. Replaced the broken hinges with new ones. Partitioned and formatted the hard drive TWICE and reinstalled ALL the software TWICE. I’d have to say I learned more about PC repair fixing this laptop than I did in my PC repair class. I don’t know if that’s a testament to my skills or Dell’s poor build quality.  


I’d love to replace the motherboard in this Latitude, (You can donate through the PayPal link to help me do that)  but with me STILL being out of work, money is tight right now. Even with me selling toys on eBay I’m still living day-to-day. And with this computer being seven years old I don’t know if it’d be worth it to invest in another motherboard.


For now I’m working from my Macbook Pro, a computer I bought as a backup in 2011. I remember being in a jam in August of 2007 when my first laptop, a Dell Inspiron 2500 died. And I had to live without a computer for a year. I was right in the middle of revisions on All About Marilyn when that laptop died. That was one of the worst experiences in my life.


Living without a computer put my entire life on HOLD. I couldn’t get e-mail, or communicate with anyone about jobs, queries, or even access the budding world of social media. I swore I wouldn’t be stuck like that again. Which is why I bought the Mac as a backup. Living without a computer means you can’t do anything and these days. With most of the job leads online and most of the business going on with e-mail and social media having no computer is a death sentence.


My Dell Latitude D830 opened up the world to me and allowed me to connect to a large international audience of readers. It was a tool that allowed me to build a publishing imprint and an eBook business. It was a tool that allowed me to reconnect with people and build an audience of readers. It was a way to make friends with people all over the world. If I had a full-time job I’d replace it in a heartbeat. Buying that computer was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. It helped me move my writing career forward.
R.I.P old friend. You helped me come a long way...


I’d love to buy a new PC to replace the broken Dell, but until I have a new full-time job I’ll have to make do with my Mac. Thankfully I have Parallels Desktop installed on this Mac and Windows XP with all my old software on it like Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Photoshop Elements on its partition. So I’ll still be able to publish books like Spinsterella this Halloween. I’m still persevering, still pushing and still trying to keep going like God told me…

Thursday, July 16, 2015

If Shawn Wrote Comics: The Origin of Wonder Girl




The cast I'd use in a WW run! Great art
by Bill Walko! 
A couple of years ago I proposed ideas for a hypothetical Wonder Woman run of comics I wanted to write. And currently I’m using many of those concepts I proposed in the Isis series of paperbacks and eBooks. However, one of the proposed Ideas for my Wonder Woman run was revamping Donna Troy. If anyone needed a simplified origin it’s Donna Troy.


Donna Troy has one of the most jumbled and confusing origins in all of comics. One writer says she’s young Wonder Woman. Another says she’s the reflection of Wonder Woman in a mirror, And another says she’s a baby that was saved and brought back to Paradise Island. It’s a mess. Throw in a few decades of Teen Titans, New Teen Titans, New Titans, Team Titans Byrne’s run on Wonder Woman with Dark Angel, and most of the FUBAR mess of Graduation Day and the 21st Century and her history becomes a bigger mess. Sadly the more people try to fix Donna Troy, the WORSE she becomes.


It’s sad because Donna Troy is a GREAT character. She’s DC’s superheroine next door, the best friend everyone can count on in a crisis or have a good time with. She’s the character every girl and boy can relate to. I believe I believe she deserves an origin that’s as easy to follow as her teammates Robin, Speedy, Aqualad and Kid Flash, something every kid can remember right off the top of their heads.  


In my proposed simpler origin for Donna Troy she’s Diana Prince’s 13-year old next-door neighbor, the daughter of a Photographer and an artist. A precocious kid who Diana and her crew (I want bring in both Artemis and Nubia, because most real women travel in groups) meets and takes a shine to. Donna relates to the ladies and soon becomes a fan of her alter ego Wonder Woman and a mascot to the Paradise Island crew when they’re in the city. In a few story arcs we see her taking heroic action without powers against school bullies, and being helpful around the neighborhood. She even saves Diana Prince out of a jam of two! Donna imagines herself as a sidekick to Wonder Woman, but Diana tells her to focus on school, and leave the superhero adventures to Wonder Woman.


Over time Dr.Cyber’s spies notice the relationship between Donna and Diana and target her in the hopes of sending a message to Diana Prince. Donna’s Dad gets some pictures of some Cyber wrongdoings by accident and to destroy the evidence, Cyber in her usual over-the-top fashion has the Troy’s apartment firebombed. In the flames Donna’s still a hero, trying to save her parents, but succumbs to the flames and smoke and a series of burns on her body. Wonder Woman saves Donna but the girl has been badly burned over most of her body. With her injuries far beyond mortal science and , Diana has two choices: Let her friend die or take her to Paradise Island. With the blessing of the doctors, Diana takes Donna to Paradise Island.    


Back on the Island Queen Hippoloytia is hesitant to help Donna fearing that she could be compromising Paradise Island’s secrets by allowing a mortal to use their technology. But seeing how much Diana loves Donna she grants her blessing to help the dying girl. Using Nubia’s Purple Ray, and clay from Paradise Island to soothe Donna’s burns the girl is healed.


A few days later Donna wakes up and learns the tragic news: Her parents have been killed in the bomb attack by Dr. Cyber. Reacting to the tragic news, Donna breaks a steel bed rail with her newfound super strength and gives the ladies more of a struggle as they try to console her. Diana, Artemis, and Nubia are surprised by this turn of events. As Donna is sedated she swears to get revenge on Dr. Cyber.


After Donna is sedated, the three women ponder what to do with Donna Troy now that she has powers like theirs. Artemis fears that her human nature may make her a threat to everyone, while Nubia fears that she has created a Frankenstein monster that may harm people. Diana tries to convince the ladies that Donna is a good kid and has been a great friend to them, and wouldn’t do anything to hurt anyone. If anything she’d use her newfound powers to help people. But the ladies aren’t convinced. The debate over Donna ends in a stalemate as the ladies go back to their quarters for some much needed sleep.

While the ladies sleep, Donna wakes up. Driven to get even with Dr.Cyber, she slips out of the Paradise Island infirmary and into Diana’s dorm room for some clothes. Rifling through the closets, she finds Diana’s old bracelets, (short blue version) an old “eagle” tank top similar to her oldschool shirt, star spangled trunks some blue jeans (she’s American and jeans are the most American thing out there, plus the idea of a preteen flying around in panties always creeped me out) and a pair of black red and white striped trainers. I’d put the gold =W= on her belt buckle and some stars down the legs of the pants to modernize things a bit, but I’d want all the classic elements to remain there so she’s instantly identifiable as Wonder Girl.


With the costume complete, Donna and goes to the hangar to “borrow” Diana’s invisible Jet. Unfortunately, the plane is not tuned to her brainwaves. On the trip down, Donna accidentally trips and falls out but stops herself in midair. In addition to the super strength, the Purple Ray gives Donna the ability of flight.


Donna flies around the world and returns to Washington D.C, New York or wherever Diana and her Royal Guard live and have their adventures. After getting a bite to eat from a fast food place after flying 8000 miles from Paradise Island to America, she stops a stick up at a neighborhood store blocking bullets with her bracelets and getting a kick out of it. Spectators watching her stop the robbery call her Wonder Girl as she flies away.


Donna soon returns to her burned out apartment for clues to the whereabouts of Dr.Cyber. She’s soon attacked by a Cyber Squad looking for Wonder Woman. Donna makes light work of the armored ladies and gets a clue to where Cyber is. Cyber watching from the helmet cam of her CyberSquad realizes that it isn’t Wonder Woman.


The ladies on Paradise Island wake up and plan to visit Donna. When they see her missing from her hospital bed, they wonder where she went to. Nubia tells them to look at the six o’clock news in their city on the TV. On seeing Donna in action, the ladies gear up, get in the invisible jet and head for the city. Diana worries that Donna’s desire for revenge could prove Artemis and Nubia’s fears right and ponders if it was in their right for them to give a human so much power.


Donna looking for clues to Cyber’s wherabouts is surprised by a hologram that emits from the damaged helmet of one of the fallen CyberSquad members. She tells her if she wants to get her revenge to come to her office tower in the city. Donna flies out of the window and makes a beeline for Cyber’s office tower. On the way cross-town she spots another fire and is reminded of the one that killed her parents. When she hears the wails of a crying baby she realizes that she has the power to help others and stops to save the child. As she flies down, cell phone cameras capture her. More people call her Wonder Girl as she hands the child to her parents. Donna likes the sound of that name as she flies away and starts thinking of using it as her codename.  


Donna soon arrives at Cyber’s tower and walks in unchallenged. The guard tells her to go to the top floor. Donna being na├»ve heads upstairs on the elevator. When she gets off she finds herself trapped in a holographic simulator not unlike the X-men’s Danger room. Cyber in her usual over-the top style introduces herself in a hologram and mocks her calling her a little Wonder Girl, and sends another CyberSquad to attack her. Donna easily defeats the CyberSquad and then is forced to take on some holographic menaces as Diana and crew make their way to the burnt out remains of the former Troy home. There, Nubia finds the holographic message and the ladies race over to the CyberTower (think Apple) where they see Donna taking on the holograms. An observant girl, she spots Cyber at the controls and breaks through a two way mirror and confronts her as Diana, Artemis and Nubia break through the glass of the windows of the top floor the simulator. While Artemis is eager to engage Diana holds her back anticipating What Donna will do to the defenseless Cyber. Donna realizing that she has a responsibility to do what’s right with the great power she’s been given by her friends decides that vengeance is not justice, and she’d be betraying the people she loves by killing Cyber in revenge. As Donna’s walking away to rejoin her friends, Cyber in usual Diva fashion gets the last word in saying that she can’t pin anything on her. Like Corporate Lex in Superman, Cyber is a Teflon Tech queen.


The debate over what to do with Donna Troy continues as the ladies return to Paradise Island. Queen Hippolotya seeing how the arguing is effecting the girl takes action. She decides to let Donna stay with Princess Diana and her royal guard. Dubbing her the Pledge of Paradise Island (want to fit some sorority stuff in there), she’s given her own magic lasso, and is put under the authority of Diana, Artemis and Nubia and will be trained and mentored by all three women as they return to their journeys in America. If she proves herself worthy she’ll earn the title and privilege of a full sister in the Amazon fraternal order.


It’s a rough synopsis (wrote this in three hours), But in my proposed script I wanted to clarify some things about Donna Troy. The way I’d plan things readers would know Who Donna Troy is from day one. The girl next door. The friend who helps the helpless. A girl looking to learn from a group of strong intelligent women. The kid whose unfortunate tragedy is turned into triumph. Given power she shows how responsible she can be with it and has the potential to be as great a hero as the women mentoring her.


Moreover, the origin I’d propose is consistent with those of Wally West, Dick Grayson, and Roy Harper. So she has something a bit more solid to connect them with her as a Teen Titan when they form the team. It’s an origin that’s easy to follow, fits in parts of Donna’s previous history seamlessly within an easy-to-follow sequence and is so easy to remember a child could figure it out.


The reason why I wanted to use Dr.Cyber in Donna’s origin is because she was poised to become one of Diana’s big bads. I always felt Dr. Cyber could have become an A-list villain with Lex Luthor and the Joker with the right stories. Oldschool non-disfigured Dr. Cyber has an over-the-top BITCH personality that makes you just HATE her, and I wanted add Donna’s origin to part of Diana’s ongoing feud with Cyber, as another reason why she dislikes her so much. The Cyber/Diana feud never got PERSONAL and I believe if it did, it might have been one of the top feuds in comics, right up there with Green Goblin/Spiderman in the 70’s and Batman/Joker in the 1980’s. Cyber was the only woman who can push Diana’s buttons the way Lex pushes Clark’s. Readers need to see that kind of heat in a Wonder Woman comic to see what really makes her great as a heroine.

Inspired by the Dr.Cyber/Wonder Woman feud from the Diana Prince Era I used a few story points in Isis: The Beauty Myth and Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess. In those two books I worked hard to get the chemistry right between Isis and Raheema so readers could feel the heat between the characters in their feud. I want to bring that kind of intense chemistry to Diana to make the relationships between her and her rogues gallery a bit more intense. After reading a lot of Wonder Woman comics I find while she’s got a decent rogues gallery, she hasn’t had that one big defining feud, the one where things got personal and readers got themselves emotionally invested in the story. I believe Cyber is the right villain to give her that kind of emotional involvement so they can get emotionally invested in Wonder Woman.    
 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Spinsterella Chapter 1


We call him the quiet man. And the only way you know he’s here is by the scent of his lunch.
The aroma of Italian spices wafts through the air as the husky toast colored man darts past the door of my office carrying a pizza box. I wonder what he’s having today.  Pizza? Calzone? Or maybe lasagna.
If I could only get a chance to talk to him. Maybe I could get him to share his lunch with me. Or maybe even just tell me his name. Nearly a year on the job and he hasn’t said a word to anyone. All anyone knows about Amalgamated Consolidated’s enigmatic new Claims Associate is that he comes in at around eight-forty, leaves his desk around eleven-forty-five for lunch, comes back around noon with a pizza box and at five on the dot he goes home. I don’t see how anyone could just come and go to work without talking to anyone. It’d make me go insane being by myself in a big place like this.
I have to wonder if dude is crazy. You’d have to be to stay to yourself like that all the time. Like that guy in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Or Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart. I just can’t see how someone can go and come to work and not say a single word to anyone unless there was something wrong with them.
I’m pondering the mystery of the silent stranger who stalks the halls of Amalgamated Consolidated when Nancy, my best friend from the Claims Department strolls into my office. The tall thin blonde woman dressed in a red cardigan sweater, navy gabardine skirt, and black heels flashes a smile at me as she checks her watch. “Hey Matilda, you ready for lunch?”
“Is it that time? I say springing up out of my office chair.
“The Quiet Man passed by me in the hall. So I’d say it’s about that time.”
I give her a look. “You set your watch to him?”
“Hey, he’s more accurate than most of the clocks around here-”
“I wonder what he does all day in that cubicle of his-”
“Probably plotting the deaths of us all in a shooting rampage-”
The thought of him going psycho and killing all my friends sends a chill down my spine. “Come on Nance, don’t joke like that-”
“Hey, he probably does what the rest of us do all day in The Pit. Process these damn claims forms. Lunch is probably the high point of the day for him-”
It’s the high point of the day for any of us. The archaic offices of Amalgamated Consolidated are like being stuck in a timewarp that never ends. Everything from the White Formica topped steel desks, off-white painted walls, lite elevator music, and overly bright florescent lighting are like something out of the 1950’s. It’s like nothing in this company has changed since my Mom worked here thirty-five years ago. These offices are so stifling when I’m not working I’m counting down the hours to the time when I can get out of here.   
 “I wonder what’s eating him.”
“What do you mean?”
“Junk food every day? Clearly dude has issues-”
“Says the woman dressed in all black-”
I give my best friend a look on the jab. “This is a fashion statement.” I say pointing to myself.
“Yeah right Spinsterella, Halloween ended two months ago-”
“Hey, I’m gonna get festive for the Christmas party tonight-”
“What? You gonna put your Santa hat on to add a little color to your dead wardrobe?”
Damn. She knows me too well. “Hey, I bought a little red dress just for the party-”
“Wow, you’re gonna be wearing a color other than black? I definitely need to capture that moment in pixels-”
“Everything at the Christmas party usually stays at the Christmas party. So I can get away with being a little daring-”
“You know that’s a great opportunity to talk to Mr. Mysterious.”
I don’t think I’m that bold. “With him being a newbie, I doubt he even knows about our annual Christmas bash-”
Well, Ms. Events Manager I doubt anyone knows about the Christmas party with all the invitations still next to your outbox-”
I look over at the box of invitations on my desk next to my outbox and my eyes grow wide. “Shit, these were supposed to go out in the inter-office mail last week!
Nancy smiles at me as she heads towards the door. “Well, it looks like you’re gonna be working through lunch.”
“Come on Nancy, help me get these out and I’ll buy you a sandwich-”
“Sorry Mattie, but it’s not my department.”
“I can’t believe you’re gonna go all official company policy on me-”
“Hey, I only get one hour out of this shithole and I’m not giving that up for anyone.”
 “Come on, I don’t want to be alone in the office with him-”
“Think of it this way. Hand-delivered invitations from our hardworking Events Manager adds a nice personal touch.”
“Nancy-”
“Tell the Quiet Man I said Hi.” Nancy says darting out of my office.

Spinsterella will be coming out this Halloween on KindleUnlimited and in Paperback! 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Todd West, Dylan Roof and Negro Hypocrisy



We’ve all heard about Dylan Roof and the mass murders he committed at the AME Church in South Carolina. However, we haven’t heard much about Todd West and the mass murders he participated in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.


Most people don’t know a thing about Todd West the 22-year-old Black man who murdered seven people in two states including his own cousin. Why? Because the murders were Black-on-Black crimes.


And because they were mostly Black-on-Black murders, they don’t fit the narrative of the Negro. Because the Negro can’t make himself into a victim of White Supremacy and racism in the case of Todd West most of the usual suspects in the Black community have become as silent as a rat pissin on cotton.


Notice in the case of Todd West has been no calls of outrage from the usual suspects in the Black community. Where’s Al Sharpton and the National Inaction Network? Where’s Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islost? Where’s the NAACP? Where are the Black fraternities and sororities? Where’s are all the Negro Pastors? Where are all the Pro-Black AFROSIMPTRICK Shines who were ready to declare war on Dylan Roof a week ago?


We saw all these people calling for justice on social media and in the streets protesting when Dylan Roof murdered all those people in the AME Church in South Carolina. But we have NOT heard a PEEP out of any of this assortment of mixed nuts in the case of Todd West.


President Obama came to the AME Church and sang for one of the victims of the AME Church shooting. But I doubt he even cares about any of Todd West’s victims to even send them a condolence card.


And we haven’t seen Scores of Negro protestors haven’t taking to the streets with signs telling us that Black lives matter in New Jersey and Pennsylvania after Todd West’s murder spree. We haven’t seen Negroes marching and protesting in those two states. 


Nor have we seen Negroes going into gang territory to take down gang signs. Nor have we seen Negroes scrawling BLACK LIVES MATTER on gang territory the same way they defaced Civil War statues and monuments. And we haven’t seen any of these Pro-Black Back to Africa Red, Black and Green AFROSIMPTRICKS going to declare war on thugs, gangs or the thug culture Todd West participated in.


All we’ve gotten from most of the mixed nuts in the Negro community regarding Todd West’s mass murders is….


*CRICKETS*


I’ve got a question for all the Negroes who protested so hard over Dylan Roof: Don’t Todd West’s victims deserve the same outrage that Dylan Roof’s victims got? Don’t they deserve the same calls for justice that Dylan Roof’s victims got?


How about a visit to the church where Todd West’s victims reside Mr. President? How about singing Amazing grace for them? Shouldn’t their Black lives have the same value to everyone that Dylan Roof’s victims had? After all, both were killed in mass murders. Only in one case the perpetrator was white and the other was Black.


But the one that seems to have the value to the Negro is the one where the perpetrator was White. It truly shows you the only time a Black person’s life truly matters to the masses in the Negro community is when it’s taken by a White Cop or a White person. 


The Negro’s actions in the case of Todd West clearly show their hypocrisy regarding Black lives matter campaign. When a White Cop or a White person kills a Black person, The Negro is ready to be outraged. But when a Black person participates in the same type of brutal violence against Black people not a single one of these Negroes from the White House to the Outhouse can be found to express any sort of anger or righteous indignation.  

Now I’m not condoning anything that coward Dylan Roof did in that AME Church. But I’m asking Black people to have the same anger and outrage they had in South Carolina towards Todd West’s murder spree in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Black people can’t say that a Black life matters when they don’t hold Black people to the same standard that they do Whites when they take the lives of their own people.