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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Isis: Imitation of Life Chapter 1 & SJS DIRECT Cover Kickstarter Update

Well, we’re at the 30-day mark for the SJS DIRECT CoverKickstarter. And so far we’ve raised $75.00 or 2% of the money needed to pay Bill Walko to design the covers for this years’ SJS DIRECT titles. At the halfway mark with 30 days left, there’s still time to meet the goal of raising the $2800 needed to fund the project.

I’m offering lots of great rewards this year including paperbacks, eBooks, and book packages. Andnd Bill is offering ten (10) donors a chance to own a single figure art commission of a character of their choice for a $110 donation.

Over the next 30 days I’ll be giving readers a sneak peek at the four titles that are part of the SJS DIRECT 2016 catalog.  This week I’ll be offiering readers a look at the first chapter of Isis: Imitaiton of Life and the back cover blurb for the book. Set in 1937 Isis: Imitation of Life tells a tale in the Golden age of Superheroes and shows what made Isis a hero during the tense time of Jim Crow and racism in America.

Isis: Imitation of Life Back Cover Blurb:

 Life! To help Negro women in the 1930s, Isis establishes The Thetas, a sorority dedicated to teaching them the values that will allow them to live the best life possible. However, when she tries to teach Pledge Marva Connors her lessons, she soon learns her greatest challenge won’t be Jim Crow in the South or discrimination in the North, but the negative perceptions Marva has about herself. Can the goddess teach Marva to live on her feet? Or is she destined to die on her knees?

July 1937
Alma and I shuffle out of the lobby of the Carlsbad Theater with disappointed looks on our faces. I could think of a better way to spend a Friday evening. That was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in my life.
My best friend gives me an I told you so look as we push past the tall ornate doors of the theater and step out into the balmy air swirling around Oneonta County’s Main Street. She warned me about Imitation of Life. But me being the open-minded intellectual I had to see it for myself so I could form my own opinion.
“I told you that you weren’t going to like it.” Alma says.
“Yeah, but I had to see it for myself.” I sigh. “I’m sorry I wasted my time with that crap-”
“I’m sorry I wasted my money. I can think of a better way to spend ten cents-”
“Yeah, we could go watch one of those westerns where your people wind always up being portrayed as the savage.”
Alma grimaces on the jab. But I know how she feels. In between the coons, minstrels in Blackface and Indian squaws we colored people don’t have many options for seeing ourselves at the movies these days. I thought this movie was going to make a real statement about Negro people. But I should have known better than to trust anything that comes from Hollywood.
“Next time we go to the movies I’ll let you pick the feature Almie.”
“Let me drown my sorrows in a root beer float at Chester’s and we’ll call it even Andi.”
We march a few stores down Main Street towards Chester’s Drug Store. As we push past the tall wood and glass door the bell on it rings alerting Chester to our presence. When the short stocky chocolate colored man dressed in a white shirt, apron and a bow tie looks across the counter he greets us with a friendly smile. “Afternoon, Miss Andi, Miss Alma.” Chester greets. “Ya’ll awful dressed up for a Friday afternoon. Something going on in town?”
 “Nah, we have to pick up Doc and a Pledge from the bus station in an hour.” Alma replies.
“That new girl from Charleston?” Chester says. “I hear she’s a real smart one. Got herself a Master’s degree and everything-”
I’m hoping she can behave herself better than the last group of pledges we brought up here last month. That bunch of girls seemed to lose their mind when they got off the bus. Once they got up here all they wanted to do was go to the dancehall, shoot crap, and flirt with the boys in town. I had to send all but one of them home on Monday Morning. “Yeah, I’m hoping she’ll be a real asset to The Thetas.” I say.
“That’s if she can survive pledging us.” Alma says. “It’s a miracle one of those girls doesn’t wind up running out of my house in a straitjacket with all the crazy stuff we put them through.”
A Theta Challenge is nothing compared to what the rednecks put them through when they get back home. “At least they can have a laugh after going through a Theta Challenge Alma.” I say. “I can’t say that for any encounter you have with someone outside of these city limits.”
“Anything I can get for you ladies?” Chester inquires.
“Root beer float and a chocolate milkshake here for my best friend.” Alma requests.
Coming right up.” Chester says.
While Chester digs under the counter for the ingredients to prepare our beverages, we stroll over to the magazine rack and peruse the titles.  “Hey Chester, the new Doc Savage come in yet?” I inquire.
“Came on the rack yesterday.” Chester calls out. “This one’s got Pat Savage in it.”
I light up on hearing my favorite heroine will be featured in this one of this month’s Doc Savage adventures. I quickly find the magazine on the rack and eagerly take it off the shelf. As I flip through it Alma shakes her head. “I still don’t see what you see in Doc Savage Andi.”
 “All the muscles and that steely resolve.” I say. “He’s the handsomest Negro I’ve ever read about.”
Alma gives me a quizzed look as she examines the cover. “Negro? How is Doc Savage a Negro?” Alma inquires.
I peer down at the copper haired bronze skinned he-man in his tattered white shirt on the cover and smile.  “Why do you think they call him the Man of Bronze?”
“He sure doesn’t look like a Negro on that cover with that slicked back hair-”
With the way most of these Negro men fry their hair these days with conk you never know. “My skin color’s just a shade darker than Doc Savage Almie. And if I’m considered a Negro then he’s got to be Negro-”
“Yeah, you’re a Negro by way of Ancient Egypt Cleopatra-”
I may come from Nubia, but my skin’s still dark enough to be considered a Negro in this part of the world. “White folks always put stuff between the lines regarding us Colored folks Almie.” I say. They don’t want to admit the good things about us, so they try to be covert about paying us a compliment.”
“Sometimes I wish they wouldn’t be so overt sometimes.” Alma says taking one of the dimestore paperbacks off the rack next to the pulp mags. “Forbidden Squaw?”
“This one’s probably about a young Cherokee who falls in love with a White man and has to make a choice between her people and her heart.” I jab taking the pulp novel from her.
“Aren’t they all about that?” Alma laughs taking it back. “I swear, all these White people see us Indian women as is a hot piece of redskin ass-”
“But you Iroquois are far more sophisticated than that.”
“I’d kick a White man in his crackerjacks if he ever touched me-”
“This from the proud Chieftains’ daughter married to the town’s most prominent Negro citizen-”
My buffalo man can have his way with me any time.” Alma says as she puts her hand to her head and pretends to fawn.
“You think Forbidden Squaw was bad, wait’ll you get a load of this one.” I say taking another paperback off the rack. “Mark of the Beast.”
We grimace looking at the cover featuring a tall muscular Black man standing under the spotlight of a streetlight looking lecherously at a blonde haired, blue-eyed White woman felled to the pavement of a city street. “How about this one?” Alma says taking another book off the rack “Halfbreed-The Tragic Tale of a Mulatto Woman.”
I roll my eyes on seeing the light, bright, nearly white woman on the cover sitting on a bed with a worried expression on her face as she anxiously looks over at her White lover standing in the doorway. “The only thing worse than the fiction is the nonfiction these days.” I snarl picking up a copy of the Amsterdam News on the display of Negro newspapers adjacent from the magazines. My stomach turns reading the headline about the lynching of another Black boy by the Klan down in Georgia. “Is it always going to be this bad?”
Alma gives me a look. “I wish I could give you an answer Princess-”
 “Sometimes I’m wondering if I’m really making a difference this go around the world with crap like this still going on-”
Alma puts her hand on my shoulder. “Hey, you do what you can Andi. Even someone like you can only do but so much.”
I wish I could do more. But the Elders insisted I not get directly involved in the political affairs of the Negro when I returned to America. “I guess I can’t do everything-”
Before I can finish my statement, Chester lets us know our beverages are ready. “One root beer float and one chocolate milkshake for the two sophisticated Theta ladies.” He sings.
We head over to the ice cream counter, take seats at on the stools in front of it and prepare to enjoy our beverages. “I guess we’re gonna have to wait for God to change things regarding us colored people.” Alma says.
“I guess so.” I sigh. “Until then I’ll be reading Doc Savage.”

Monday, February 8, 2016

Isis: Bride of Dracula Rough Cover Concept

I spent the weekend drawing! And I came up with a rough cover concept for Isis: Bride of Dracula.

This is just me getting ideas on paper, nothing is final here. There are some things I want to change like composition of John’s body. I want him at a ¾ pose so people can see his full face and him expressing stronger body language as he faces off against Isis. I also want to do some better positioning of the figures because the perspective is way off. Isis needs to be a little further back and John needs to be a lot taller. The photo does a better job of telling the story than my drawing. 

The story I’m trying to tell here is that Dracula is in a mist and he’s floating above a hypnotized Isis who is holding a butcher knife and is about to attack John. John is in a defensive stance ready to defend himself. And while these two heroes take each other on, Dracula is smiling anticipating the carnage that’s about to ensue.

The mood for the cover I’m planning is very dark and spooky with Dracula’s fog swirling about at the bottom of the cover and rising to the top where Dracula floats.

If I had to sketch this out again I’d love to put in a background like a living room of a postmodern home with moonlight shining through the skylights or beaming out of a picture window. This scene in the story is set in the Hamptons and I thought it’d be fun to make a postmodern House of Horrors as those gaudy homes are kind of horrific from an architectural point of view.

This is John Haynes’ first cover on the Isis series and I wanted him to make a powerful statement on it. The body language I want John to have in the proposed cover is a man who is courageous and brave, determined and ready to take on the challenge of Dracula and his vampire goddess. 

I wanted John’s image to display strength and confidence for this cover because I believe it’s important for my readers to see a strong masculine image of a Black man in media. These days it’s rare to see that kind of image of Black men in media and I wanted readers to be presented with a strong masculine image of a Black man who was confident and ready to take on whatever challenge was placed in front of him.

The Image of Isis is inspired by actress Yvonne Monluar who was featured in the 1960 Hammer Horror film Brides of Dracula. In the picture I saw in my Google searches she was wearing an off-the shoulder nightgown I thought would show off Isis’ ankh pendant and would look great in pictures. I saw a picture of a nightgown to the one Yvonne was wearing on a lingerie website downloaded it, sketched it up and it really set the mood for the story I was telling in pictures.

Dracula himself is a Classic Bela Lugosi inspired version of Dracula with some Christopher Lee influences and some of my own contemporary touches like a higher cape collar, a tailored business suit, and a chain. This Dracula is more a businessman and is out to protect his business interests from the threat John created in Isis: Night of the Vampires.

Isis: Bride of Dracula is the final story in the John Haynes arc. If you’ve been following the Isis series that arc started in Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess, continues in Isis: Night of the Vampires and E’steem: Undercover and concludes here in this adventure. I want to close the arc with a bang and leave readers eager for the next Isis series adventure coming up Isis: Samurai Goddess.

I’m really excited about this story and I’d love to see Bill Walko’s art on the cover for it. After seeing some of his horror comics featuring The Teen Titans and the Wonder Twins I think he’d tell an amazing story in pictures using these characters and this setup!

Isis: Bride of Dracula is one of the books that is part of the SJS DIRECT Cover Kickstarter! Every donation you give helps me raise the funds to make this cover concept a reality! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why I want to Hire Bill Walko to design this Year’s Book Covers

Why do I want to hire Bill Walko to design this year’s book covers? Simple. I believe my readers deserve the very best. And I believe Bill is one of the best comic artists in the market today. His webcomic the Hero Business is one of the best strips out there today. And I want to help him get more exposure by featuring his art on my publications.

I believe when readers pick up an SJS DIRECT paperback or eBook they should get something special. And seeing one of Bill’s covers lets the reader know they’re going to get something spectacular when they take that moment to look at an SJS DIRECT title. One of Bill Walko’s covers gives readers that first impression that makes them go from that glance at a webpage to taking that look inside to read a book and possibly making a purchase.

A quality cover by a professional artist like Bill makes a statement to customers. That I care about the books I publish. And it shows how I’m making an effort to improve the quality of SJS DIRECT Publications. Bill has a reputation for producing great images on great products like Arizona’s Shaq-Fu Punch and he’s done an amazing job on the covers for Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess and last years’ Isis/E’steem Crossover. I’d love to have him design this years’ covers and give readers their first look at his interpretations of John Haynes and his interpretation of Dracula! And I’d love to see how he’d render Isis in a Golden age style for Isis: Imitation of Life.

Over the past two years that I’ve had Bill’s art featured on my books they’ve gone from lousy book cover lists on web pages to receiving Twitter likes and Facebook likes and there’s been an increase in sales on SJS DIRECT fantasy titles. Thanks partially to Bill’s great cover Isis: Night of the Vampires got over 200 facebook Likes and E’steem Undercover got over 60 Facebook likes on Smashwords.

I’d like to keep that positive momentum going this year by having Bill design all four of the covers for this year’s titles. But I can only do that with your help. I need to raise the entire amount of funds for the Kickstarter to pay for the covers on this years’ books. I’m offering more great rewards this year like eBooks so that my foreign customers can donate, and Bill is offering 10 donors a chance to get one of his single figure art commissions. (Shipping is included in the donation price.) Usually the only way you can get these commissions is through attending a comicon but if you donate to the Kickstarter you’ll be able to get one without having to pay for a con admission or gas!

 I’m making every effort to improve the quality of SJS DIRECT publications. And I’d love to get to the point where there is absolutely no difference between an SJS DIRECT paperback or eBook and that of a trade publishing house like Scholastic or Simon & Schuster. Thanks to everyone’s help with funding last year’s Kickstarter I was able to make another step towards that goal. I’d like to keep moving forward and I really need your help to take the SJS DIRECT’s books to the next level. So please donate to the Kickstarter today!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Why A Business Should NEVER Hire a Mangina

One of the most destructive people to a business is a Mangina. In between his co-dependent way of thinking and his demoralizing antisocial behavior he can turn the most productive work environment into a dead zone where nothing gets done. With this guy around you won’t have to worry about your competitors putting you out of business. He’ll do it all by himself.

Why shouldn’t you hire a Mangina? Let me explain:

He’s a short-term thinker. Manginas are all about NOW. And because they’re all about NOW they can’t see three to five years or even ten years down the road. Most Manginas lack the vision creativity and imagination to plan long-term and because they can’t think about the long-term they never go past a certain point in their careers.

He’s a small picture person. Because Manginas are all about NOW they can’t see the big picture. And because they only see their part in a picture they lack the vision to help an organization grow.

Due to their limited perspective, Manginas wind up impeding the growth of an organization long term. Because they only see now, They can’t adapt when things need to change or create unique solutions to problems that aren’t outside of what he knows.

He thinks using Circular Logic Whenever things aren’t working A mangina’s solution in the workplace is: Do more of the same. The rest of the world calls this insanity, but this is business as usual for a Mangina.

Thanks to this circular logic, Manginas have a hard time adapting to situations and do not like change. And because change represents conflict, Manginas avoid it. So they keep trying to do the  same things expecting change. This circular way of thinking he has can lead to a downward spiral that can drive a business into a death spire.

He Gives Women a Pass for unprofessional behavior. In an office with an objective manager, everyone is held accountable for their bad behavior. But in an office with a Mangina, women are given a pass for irresponsible, unprofessional, reckless and egregious misconduct.

The only reason the Mangina gives women a pass at work is because he wants her to give him a pass for his own unprofessional, reckless and egregious behavior. Manginas are masters of the covert contract, and they always give just to get. They’re hoping that by letting a woman come in late or act out on the job he’ll be able to get away with inappropriate behaviors like looking at porn on a work computer or embezzling funds from a company account.

He Creates a triple standard. In the world of Manginas there are three standards. One for men, One for women, and one for HIM. And Under these three standards Women he likes get a pass for everything, men get punished disproportionately, and he’s an absolutely perfect person who does no wrong and never makes a mistake. Under these three standards the workplace becomes an unstable and unbearable place to be in. Good workers get lost in the shuffle, Bad workers get promoted and business slows to a crawl.

He Abdicates Responsibility. Manginas love power but hate responsibility. Whenever there’s a task to be completed Manginas spend their time looking for someone to pass their work onto. That way when something goes wrong they have an easy scapegoat to blame for things go wrong. In a workplace Nothing is ever a Mangina’s fault, but the fault of someone else.

In businesses run by Manginas women can come in late, not do their work, not turn in projects on time and it all gets a pass. However if a man makes one mistake he is threatened with discipline and termination. This deliberate gender bias often demoralizes co-workers and makes a work environment hostile.

He Delegates Leadership to Women. In Management positions Manginas do not lead. While they love power, they hate responsibility.

In management, Mangina will always delegate his power to a woman. Usually he’ll make up a pseudo supervisory title for this female and use her as a parrot to tell the employees what he wants them to do on the job. And he does this because he fears taking responsibility for the projects and people he’s in charge of.  

 Usually this poor woman will think she’s being thought highly of never coming to understand that the passive-aggressive Mangina is abusing her. Yes, he’s giving her more responsibility, but he’s not compensating her for her work. If the woman is going to be the manager of a company then she should be paid for the same job and have the office.

Unfortunately many don’t understand the Mangina is re-creating the dysfunctional relationship he shares with his mother on the job. And because many women are maternal by nature they have no idea they have been tricked into entering into a covert contract for a co-dependent work relationship. In his childhood his mother would be the one who would solve all his problems, and she’d be the one who would take responsibility for all the stuff he didn’t want to be responsible for. And now that she’s not here, this poor co-worker is forced to take on the role of Mommy to a man who probably couldn’t tie his own shoes if he were left on his own.

He Avoids Conflict. Manginas HATE CONFLICT. But they love money and power. However, conflict is a part of any job. Without conflict, there can be no resolution. And without resolution there can be no solutions a business can implement.

Because Manginas make every effort to avoid conflict a business often stalls. Whenever there are issues on a job, oftentimes a Mangina can be found hiding in their office or their cubicle. Some will even go on vacation or just resign. And thanks to their inability to work with others towards resolving problems businesses winds up with its productivity stalled at the starting position.

He can’t solve problems. In business employees are hired to do two things: Perform Tasks and Solve Problems. A Mangina can’t do either of these things. Why? Because Manginas fear conflict.

Performing tasks and problem solving especially with people require dealing with conflict and conflict resolution skills. Manginas fear conflict and will do everything they can to avoid dealing with problems in the workplace. Whenever a problem arises, a Mangina will just sweep a problem up under a rug. Then when the problems get too overwhelming, he just resigns and leave everyone holding the bag.

He Does NOT ask For Help. Whenever an employee has an issue they ask for help from a co-worker or a supervisor. Whenever a Mangina has a problem they simmer and brood. Then when things don’t get done, they look for someone to blame.

Manginas hate asking for help. Why? Because asking for help means they aren’t the perfect person they imagine in their head. And that people may have a chance of learning the truth about what a bad employee he is.

Ready to give “help” and advice to co-workers.  While a Mangina won’t ask for help, he’ll be ready to give it to co-workers. Unfortunately, his “help” is nothing more than a hindrance to the employees of an organization.

Manginas often appear and sound intelligent. But oftentimes what comes out of their mouths is just gibberish and jargon. And when people don’t take the Mangina’s advice he becomes resentful and refuses to work with them.

He Does not provide help and support to Men on the job.  A Mangina always has a helping hand…For a female Co-worker. Especially an attractive one he likes. 

Thanks to his gender bias a workplace’s productivity oftentimes will slow to a crawl. While a Mangina will bend over backwards to help a female he’s attracted to, he’ll make every effort to ignore male co-workers on the job. And because he doesn’t help his male co-workers they often become frustrated and demoralized.

He Does the work of women. Because a Mangina gives a woman a pass for all her bad behavior, he’ll allow her to get away with NOT doing her work. If a Mangina likes a woman he’ll go out of his way to do her reports and do her projects for her. He’ll make excuses for her if she makes mistakes. And she’ll get away with collecting a paycheck for doing absolutely nothing.

Thanks to this free pass he gives women a workplace can wind up with poor quality work being produced. And because the Mangina is doing the work of two people there can be bottlenecks that stall a workplaces’ productivity.

He Delegates a woman’s work to a man. Oftentimes when a Mangina is in management and there’s a woman he likes, she’ll be able to collect a paycheck for doing nothing. And that’s because he’s giving another man all her work.

And while this guy gets overwhelmed by the double load they have to carry the productivity of an organization stalls. Even worse, worker morale declines because the men on the job feel undervalued and underappreciated.

He Wants a “Smooth” work environment.  Manginas avoid conflict in the hopes of having a “smooth” work environment. And that’s a place where there’s no problem, no trouble and no issues.

That’s the total opposite of every workplace in the world. Jobs are all about problems, trouble and issues. But the Mangina won’t see any of this because he hides in his office all day. As long as he’s getting a paycheck for showing up everything is “smooth” for him.

And because a Mangina doesn’t confront the problems, troubles, and issues that arise in a workplace due to his inability to effectively deal with conflict chaos arises in a workplace. Employees become frustrated and overwhelmed because he refuses to lead or take responsibility. Customers become aggravated because he refuses to resolve and solve problems. And a business winds up losing business to competitors because he refuses to take care of it.  

He Caretakes a Problem or a project. In business, an employee is expected to come up with solutions to everyday tasks at work. When one task or project is finished the organization moves on to the next one. In an efficient organization, problems are solved quickly.

However, Manginas do not know how to finish anything on the job. Sure they’ll start a task or a project. But they’ll spend weeks or months or YEARS caretaking things. Doting on every nuance and detail to get things “right”. And while they spend their time caretaking one project or problem the entire business suffers.

The main reason why the Mangina will caretake a problem instead of solving it is because he’s insecure. Manginas don’t like ending things because they fear failure. If a project ends and mistakes are made he fears people will see the truth about him. Worse, he’ll have confirmation that he’s not the perfect person he thought he was.

He Micromanges. Manginas are notoriously insecure. And because they can’t trust others to do their jobs they hover over them like a helicopter. Constantly asking questions about Minutiae in projects. Constantly Nitpicking every period, comma and apostrophe in a report.

On the surface it’ll appear like he’s being meticulous to detail. But this smokescreen is just something he uses to cover up his own feelings of inadequacy. Manginas fear any flaw that would disrupt their “smooth” world and make them appear to be imperfect.

He Makes people Crazy In the smooth world of a Mangina manager everyone else has to deal with chaos. And just talking to this guy can drive a person insane. He’ll tell people he said things and then say he didn’t say them. He’ll not say things and then tell people he said them. Up is down, down is up and nothing makes sense.

Worse, He’s always right. And in between his micromanaging and crazy making good workers wind up becoming demoralized and worker morale drops to 0. Oftentimes the only way for a person to preserve their mental health is to wind up quitting their jobs. Which costs an organization productivity and profitability long term.

He Tries to Control others.  Manginas have serious power issues. And they need to control others to make their world “smooth”.  So they’ll caretake projects for years and micromanage co-workers they’re in charge of. They feel if they’re in charge nothing will be “Right” and nothing will get done.

Ironically due to his control issues nothing gets done. Because he’s so tight fisted and tyrannical people aren’t able to get any work done. Due to his inability to trust others and his obsession with perfection, work often slows to a halt and productivity becomes nonexistent.

He Feels inadequate and insecure in the presence of Male co-workers. Most workplaces are filled with men. And Manginas feel inadequate and uncomfortable around men. Men represent conflict to a Mangina and they make every effort to eliminate them from a work environment.

Thanks to his efforts to eliminate men from a workplace, a company can lose productivity and profits. When employees turnover, it costs money to replace them. And it can take six months to a year for a company to regain its productivity when a single employee is replaced and by that time a company can lose productivity, market share and a whole lot of profits. It’s just cheaper in the long run for a company to get rid of mangina than to deal with his nonsense.

He’s Passive Aggressive.  Manginas are notoriously passive aggressive. They’ll do little things like “forgetting” to attend meetings, “losing” documents and these little things will completely disrupt the operations of an organization.

He Undermines Co-workers. Whenever a Mangina starts feeling inadequate around co-workers he does things to sabotage them. Whenever he “Forgets” meetings and “loses” documents it slows down the productivity of an organization. And thanks of his efforts to undermine co-workers lots of great talented people wind up leaving a company to go work for a competitor.

He Sabotages co-workers . Manginas feel inadequate around other men. And they fear competing with other men. So he makes efforts to eliminate other men from the business. And he eliminates other men by sabotaging their projects and assignments. Some will sabotage a co-worker by “losing” a document or stealing it off their desk, others will “caretake” their part of a project to prevent a co-worker from meeting a deadline. A few will use technicalities in work rules to get a co-worker in trouble.

 Long-term this sabotage of co-workers by a Mangina will hurt the organization’s business. Because he’s undercutting people who should be working together the business becomes fragmented. And because people are working against themselves won’t be able towards helping the organization compete against other businesses. Usually all of the infighting from Mangina sabotage sets up a business for going out of business.

He Gets others to do his dirty work for him. Manginas believe themselves to be “good” and they want their worlds to be “smooth”. So when they don’t want to soil their hands they get others to do their dirty work like setting people up and getting them fired.

The first person he usually uses in this fashion is the woman he gives his responsibility to. But when he really wants to do something unethical or egregious he’ll manipulate a co-worker or a boss into doing it for him. And while they’re out doing things that violate company policy or are even illegal, his hands are “clean”. And when those people point fingers at him, he’ll just say he never told them to do anything. And because he usually has witnesses, he oftentimes appears innocent when he’s guilty as sin.

He Starts Rumors and spreads gossip. When a Mangina isn’t hiding in his cubicle or his office, he’s at the water cooler or the breakroom listening to what’s being said in the company grapevine. He’s the guy starting rumors about co-workers and spreading gossip about people he doesn’t like. He believes he more misinformation he spreads and the more chaos he brings will lead to co-workers resigning and give him an opportunity to show how great he actually is. Unfortunately, oftentimes an organization winds up becoming demoralized and the work environment becomes intolerable due to his juvenile behavior.

A good organization needs clear line of communication between all its employees. And those lines get cut thanks to a Mangina’s rumor starting. Because employees feel demoralized and frustrated they stop talking to each other about business and stop caring about work. 

Manipulates People and Information. Because Manginas want a “smooth” world and they want to appear to be “good” they often twist information to interpret their idea of the truth. And to do that they manipulate people and data to make things appear to be “Smooth”.

But everything usually isn’t smooth. When one looks at things revolving around a Mangina objectively they see that a Mangina is LYING.  And thanks to his lies a business winds up in chaos.

He Lies, Lies, and Lies some more. Because a Mangina afraid of conflict, he’ a liar. And the most dangerous lies aren’t the ones he tells the people he manipulates. They’re the lies he tells to himself. And because he lies to himself he believes he’s telling the truth.

The lies A Mangina tells can impede a business’ goals and slow down the productivity of an organization. Because a Mangina won’t deal with problems, he sweeps them under a rug. Then he denies things. And as these problems escalate and become bigger problem they wind up costing an organization in the long term if they’re not dealt with. In some cases a Mangina’s lies can put a business right of business.

He's Always a Victim. Manginas cause all sorts of trouble in a workplace with their dysfunctional, disruptive and unprofessional behavior. But he’s never responsible for anything. If something goes wrong on the job it’s always the fault of a co-worker, a manager or some other “phantom” person he points the finger at. And sadly because many women are either getting something from one of his covert contracts or men are completely clueless, they believe he is being victimized.

When in actuality he’s the one who is tormenting everyone. Manginas love having power over others, but HATE taking responsibility.  Whenever someone calls a Mangina to the carpet for their unprofessional and egregious behavior he’ll tender his resignation.  

If people in your business are demoralized frustrated, and angry, chances are there’s a Mangina in your workplace. And the faster you deal with this workplace gremlin the faster your work environment can get back to normal. A business owner should never hire a Mangina. Because chances are when he’s hired and combined with other dysfunctional workers like Simps and Hoodrats he’ll work to put your business right out of business.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

DC Comics Rebirth & The Didio Who Cried No More Reboots

DC Comics is rumored to be relaunching all of its titles with new Number one issues this June to coincide with the launch of the Justice League Cinematic Universe.

This time they’re calling it a Rebirth. But this whole New 52 concept has been stillborn since 2011. But DC’s editors keep charging up the paddles to jolt new life into its cold corpse.

Remember when Dan Didio said that Convergence was going to be the last reboot of the DC Universe last year? And remember when Shawn said he was lying? That there would definitely be another reboot of the DC Universe?

Welp, here we are. What is this, Reboot number 7, or is it Reboot number 8?
Let’s see Crisis of Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, Flashpoint, Convergence. And since Infinite Crisis that’s about Five reboots in about eight years.

Damn, the DC Universe has to be rebooted more times than a computer running Windows ME.

I haven’t had to reboot the SJS DIRECT Universe in the 14 years its been in print. Heck, even the numbers of dead characters in the SJS DIRECT Universe are still in the single digits. It’s a sad day when an indie self-publisher with a single employee and a shoestring budget has a tighter continuity and a more stable universe than DC Comics, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers that has a billion dollar budget, hundreds of employees making up dozens of creative teams and so-called seasoned editors in charge of it.

Just when you stop caring about what goes on in the DC Universe…They announce another reboot. Nothing like the umpmillionth new #1 issue to give readers an incentive to find another hobby. Why keep buying DC Comics if editorial is just going to reboot everything in three to five years anyway?

What happened to trigger the latest reboot at DC? Alienated fans? Slow moving DC licensed merchandise on store shelves? A loss of ten percent of DC’s market share to Marvel and indie comic publishers? Complete apathy among DC’s fanbase? An attempt to synergize the brand to coincide with the launch of the Justice League Cinematic Universe that starts with Batman V. Superman Dawn of Justice?

Probably all of that. But it’s been clear for over 15 years Dan Didio, Jim Lee, Goeff Johns, Diane Nelson and WB’s executives have absolutely no idea what they’re doing with that brand. So they go around in circles throwing the exact same shit at the exact same wall expecting things to change. It’s the definition of insanity, but the heads at DC and WB continue to expect a different result for doing the exact same thing.

I’m pretty numb to all these reboots now. At this point I just don’t care about DC’s Universe or its characters. Because no matter how many number one issues or big name creative team changes are announced, nothing really will change at DC unless WB’s senior executives wake up and have the common sense to end the Dan Didio era at the company.  In spite of all the changes to the characters the common denominator for all the dysfunction at DC are the executives at the top. If the same problems keep happening and the same managers are in charge, then it’s clear the managers and their approach to business are the problem.

But no one working at Warner Brothers wants to take this logical course of action.

And as indie publishers, Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios continue to gain ground and market share DC desperately is playing catch up. Only to watch itself get left behind with every bad business decision it makes. It’s just sad to watch all the momentum gained from the successful launch of Supergirl this fall on TV get squandered. Warner Brothers was blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime when those 19 million viewers tuned in for that first episode and they fumbled the football.

With Supergirl DC had a product that fans and families were united behind. I hadn’t seen that kind of solidarity behind a superhero product since Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008. Supergirl’s success showed everyone with a functioning brain what direction DC should have gone in, but instead DC’s executives and editors insist on staying on the dark n’ gritty gray road that has taken them nowhere for over fifteen years.

I have a feeling we’ll be seeing another relaunch/reboot of DC’s Universe in a few years. That’s if Batman V. Superman and the launch of the Justice League Cinematic Universe doesn’t bankrupt Warner Brothers. Five years ago I was hoping wishing and praying for the return of the old DC Universe and the Classic characters I grew up with. Now I’m just waiting to see when The Wall Street Journal announces the bankruptcy of Warner Brothers and wait to see who DC Comics will be sold to in the Big 5 in the media oligarchy. Maybe someone at Disney like Brad Bird or Pixar’s CEO will actually have the vision to bring these Iconic heroes back to greatness.

As I see it, the current incarnation of DC Comics owned by Warner Brothers is in its death throes and it’s time for the priest to come in and say the last rites for the company.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Shawn Reviews Fox’s Lucifer

Lucifer. A show about the adventures of The Devil roaming to and fro the Earth. All the potential for a devilishly fun hour of programming. Unfortunately, the show on FOX that adapts the DC Vertigo comic its based on is just a run of the mill, by the numbers cop show with a satanic gimmick attached to it. I could make a story much better than this premise. In fact I did when I wrote The Temptation of John Haynes.

Lucifer Morningstar, The Archangel you love to hate is tired of life in Hell. So he leaves his netherealm and heads to Hollywood to experience this thing we call life. His first stop is a bar where he chats up a she-demon bartender. A big Black bald headed chocolate colored archangel orders him to go back to Hell to bring back balance to things, but he decides he’s such a badass he’ll just roam to and fro on Earth for a while because we all know The Devil never follows the rules.

While hanging out at a bar he meets up with a girl named Delilah who he helped make a star. On the way out of the club Delilah gets killed by a dope dealer in a drive by shooter who dies when he gets hit by a bus. As he investigates her murder he meets up with a female detective and they go on a quest to find out who done it. At the end of the episode we’re supposed to believe that The Devil is being such a badass by showing how good he is by helping people he cares about.

Just after I typed all that I realize how stupid this show is.

Bettrer than Fox's Lucifer!
I just couldn’t get into FOX’s Lucifer. Maybe it’s because of my imagination and my own biases towards my own version of the character. In the SJS DIRECT Universe, Lucifer is a complete badass who looks and sounds like Keith David in his prime. He mindfucks people, manipulates people, and uses them like a Kleenex. And he has a shitload of fun while doing it. When you read The Temptation of John Haynes and compare him to the character in this show you’ll see that the SJS DIRECT version is far superior to the one on this show.

Part of the fun with SJS DIRECT version of Lucifer is he just enjoys being evil. He just doesn’t give a fuck. Instead of trying to stick it to God by showing how bad he is by being good, he does his evil deeds with relish. Reading about him mindfucking and manipulating his own demons like E’steem like chess pieces in his quest to take the soul of a man like John Haynes is part of the fun. And watching characters like John match wits with him as he foils his plans is what makes books featuring his appearances in books like The Temptation of John Haynes and E’steem series books like DemonsAnonymous entertaining must reads.

FOX’s Lucifer just isn’t devilish enough fun. Yeah, he’s a smarmy guy, but he’s not the kind of magnificent bastard who people would want to drop everything to watch. He doesn’t get a kick out of being an absolute dick to people. Instead the Lord of Hell being a devil may care douchenozzle who has fun screwing over people, He’s a “nice guy” who is searching for meaning while he tries to impress a detective single mom by helping her solve cases. I never thought you could turn The Devil into a Simp, but here we are.

Maybe FOX should just call this show Captain Save-A-Hoe. Because that’s who this guy is. In the first episode saves more hoes than Superman.

Damn. Just Damn.

The biggest problem With Lucifer is that it’s just so FORMULA. Pretentious British guy with a smarmy side and a heart of gold? Check. Love interest single mom with a checkered past? Check. Big Black bald headed chocolate colored Archangel nemesis? Check. She-demon bartender to tell all out his troubles to? Check. Stock characters revolving around a stock story all done in an uninspired way that makes you tune out. iZombie does all this cop show stuff with a fresh perspective that’s fun to watch.

Fox’s Lucifer has nothing on my imagination. In my head Lucifer is a guy who looks and sounds like Keith David in a red designer suit. He’s having fun while matching wits with John Haynes and his sexy secretary E’steem. And E’steem looks and sounds like Salli Richardson. My Lucifer is a dick with his balls securely attached and will fuck anyone over who tries to get in his way. In my stories Lucifer is a lion who roams the jungles of New York City seeking whomever he may devour and is having a grand old time doing it, not this lamb driving around Hollywood trying to find his way on earth as he saves hoes. If you really want to have some devilish fun, turn off the TV and read The Temptation of JohnHaynes.