(wow I can’t believe I totally forgot to post about this back in April) (yes I realize I’ve been neglecting this site) (I could have sworn I posted about this when it happened…)
I recently published another comic book story, this one with Boston Comics Roundtable / Ninth Art Press and featuring artwork by my friend Jim Gallagher. Our story is part of an anthology series about Boston-centric superheroes, and what’s even cooler is that our superhero “Louie the Lone Dervish” (inspired by Louie With The Tricycle, a popular homeless guy around these parts) is featured right there on the cover on the anthology as well. Not bad for a story about a crazy superhobo on a refurbished three-wheeler!
The comic was originally set to have its debut at Boston Comic-Con back in April, but, well, that kind of got postponed because, you know, all kinds of craziness. So it’s now available online following the re-scheduled Boston Comic-Con from last weekend. You can pick up a copy of “In A Single Bound” #2 over at the Ninth Art Press website, a scant $6 for 36 glorious black-and-white pages done entirely by Boston-based writers & artists.
UPDATE: this blog post managed to make the rounds today, thanks to the magical powers of the Internet, and I was interviewed by Boston Magazine about it. You know, ’cause I’m awesome n’shizz. Check out the interview over on their website!
This has often been on my mind, but the specific inspiration for this piece goes back to the preview screening of THE AVENGERS that I attended. Naturally, there were a lot of people in the audience wearing comic book t-shirts. Because it was a preview screening for an epic comic book movie, and comic book fans (unsurprisingly) enjoy comic book movies (although I suppose “enjoy” can be argued…) and are also the type of people who would seek out passes for a preview screening and stand in line for 2 hours just for a chance to see the movie 3 days before its release.
You know. People like me.
But in any large gathering of comic book fans (more than most other subcultures), I tend to notice a lot of awkward compliments. Kid in the Fantastic Four t-shirt sees kid in the Spider-Man t-shirt while we’re all waiting in line to go to the bathroom, and of course, he has to go up to him and say “Hey. Cool shirt,” as if he’s somehow surprised to see that someone else here likes comic books (or that somehow, someone else besides him has heard of the Amazing Spider-Man!). I don’t mean to be a miserable cynic — I’m glad that people can find those social connections, because it is both comforting, and important — I just find it odd. It’s like going up to someone wearing a Red Sox t-shirt at a Red Sox game and saying “Oh hey man, you like Red Sox, too? I love the Red Sox!” Well yes of course you’re at a fucking Red Sox game.
But I digress.
I have a strange relationship with cosplay. I typically find cosplayers to be somewhat annoying, and I don’t understand the whole idea behind spending absurd amounts of money on making elaborate geek niche costumes to wear at conventions. That being said, I’m endlessly fascinated at the hordes of people who do feel that urge (and of course, I am entertained by some of the more ridiculous and hilarious costumes that are out there. You know, like BANANA WOLVERINE.
Seriously, WTF? Also, hilarious and amazingly entertaining (you’ll find my fascination/distaste/totally lack of comprehension for cosplay also sneaks into my full-length play True Believers).
This week’s Five By Five Hundred was inspired by a few specific instances at New York Comic-Con this past weekend. First, that I felt weird about inadvertently objectifying women while I was there — some girl walks by dressed as Mystique, covered in blue bodypaint and wearing a tiny bikini top, I’m naturally inclined to look. But then I don’t want to be a creep, like I’m just staring at breasts — although certainly my attention is drawn to them because of the nature and design of the costume because females in comic book/anime/pop culture are often scantily-clad and sexualized, and it’s this whole crazy internal moral debate I have in my head over the course of 4 seconds (during which I am too busy mentally deliberating to realize that I’m still staring).
But I also saw some cosplayers who would get annoyed when people asked them to pose for a picture, or do any kind of interaction. This was also difficult for me to wrap my head around. Why would you dress up like Power Girl if it wasn’t for some kind of desire for attention? And then I realized, that’s the same argument used by men who sexually harass women on the street: “she’s asking for it.” But this particular question was not based in sexuality; hell, there’d be men dressed as Doctor Who that would be equally annoyed at posing for a picture (side note: Doctor Who cosplay appears to be the new Slave Leia at conventions).
Is it about the sex, or is it about the costume? Are these cosplayers objectified — or fictionalized? Well, that’s where this week’s post comes in. No solid answers, but I thought I’d provide some food for thought.
The first public staged reading of my new play, True Believers, took place today at the Berkshire Fringe Festival, following two weeks of intense workshopping. The cast was as follows:
- Chad Mailer……….Ryan Marchione
- Billy Horowitz……….Joshua Ramos
- Ted Thompson……….Bill Shein
- Chloe Long……….Bethany Geiger
- Kt Watts……….Kristen Sparhawk
- Box/Ensemble……….Timothy Ryan Olson
- Calvin……….Hector Rivera
- Ensemble……….Clelia Sweeney
- The Cyborg Head of Stan Lee……….Himself
Special thanks to my director, Keith Bulla, and dramaturg/playwright mentor Laura Maria Censabella. Overall, the script seemed to be well received, and I made a lot of progress on it over the past 2 weeks, tightening the story and sharpening the edges. There’ll be another draft coming up, so stay tuned to see where your favorite Comic-Con play goes next!
I regret to inform you, dear readers, that I will NOT be attending San Diego Comic-Con this year. SO STOP ASKING ME IF I’M GOING. It just makes me more upset. I will not have any stories about armwrestling Joss Whedon, or hanging out with Maxim models on the rooftop of the Omni, or nearly getting my ass kicked by James Robinson, etc.
And what else do you do when you’re sad about something? Write a poem about it, obviously.
As mentioned before, my new play, True Believers, will be receiving a workshop production as part of the Berkshire Fringe Festival. I’ll spend two intensive weeks in the Berkshires, writing and re-writing, before the public workshop on August 13. Here’s the elevator pitch for the play to get you interested:
The heartfelt lives of starcrossed lovers, psychotic fanboys, aspiring comic book writers, cybernetically enhanced humans, and girls who dress like Princess Leia all intertwine over a whirlwind Comic-Con weekend.
(Also, part of the play is set in WORLD OF WARCRAFT. Like, the actual scenes play out within the world of WORLD OF WARCRAFT, when they’re not otherwise taking place on the convention floor. Totally cool, right? I’m brilliant)
To get everyone excited about the smörgåsbord of events going on at the Berkshire Fringe Festival (as if True Believers somehow weren’t exciting enough on its own), they’re holding a Facebook contest to get you extra pumped. One lucky winner will walk away with a $100 cash prize, a season pass to the Berkshire Fringe Festival, and — AND — a snazzy t-shirt. (because we can all use more free snazzy t-shirts, amirite?)
You can read the detailed contest instructions over at the Berkshire Fringe website. Win that money, use it to buy me a beer, and come check out True Believers on August 13!
Last night, we held a small reading (well, okay, it’s a fairly large cast, but there was audience, so whatever) of my new play True Believers, at the Westerly Street Theatre Company and BrewPub. Also known as My Backyard. Clearly of all of my neighbors were quite impressed by the psuedo-Bohemian lifestyles of me and my friends read plays and drank homebrewed beer.
Did I mention that True Believers is a play about Comic-Con, and includes cyborgs, girls dressed as Princess Leia, and scenes that take place entirely in WORLD OF WARCRAFT? Okay, so maybe we’re less Boheme, more Geek Chic. I’m cool with that.
Thanks to everyone who helped out with the reading; everyone had great feedback to share, and the response helped to get me even more excited for workshopping the play as part of the Berkshire Fringe Festival in August (during which there will be a public staged reading of the play, featuring professional actors and directors. Not that my friends aren’t professional actors/director [which, some of them are! No, really.], but they’re also, well, my friends, and I know them).
Stay tuned (for more information on) True Believers!