Monday, 19 November 2018

In Memoriam: Stan Lee

Hi, Everybody!

As we all know, Stan Lee has died.

Everybody's Friend (and Superman's Frenemy) David Birdsong sent in:
 And because 2018 has been a bit of a cluster#$@% for comics fans, he also sent in:
And now, my Stan Lee story:

I met Stan Lee once in 1998 at the Wizard World Chicago comic convention. It was the 35th anniversary of the X-Men and Marvel had announced that Stan would be there for a special panel. I figured that he would be doing a signing as well, so I brought along my copy of Origins of Marvel Comics

Stan was gonna be there on Saturday, so that Friday, I went to the Marvel booth, and asked if Stan would be doing a signing. A nice young man told me that he couldn't say one way or the other, but if I showed up at 1PM on Saturday, I might be in luck.

That's when I got the brilliant idea to have as many creators that had worked at Marvel to sign the book as I could BEFORE I got Stan to.

So for the rest of that day, I pestered everybody I could to sign my book. Explaining, that I was gonna get Stan to sign it on Saturday. Everybody thought that was the neatest thing ever.

On Saturday around one, I showed up at the Marvel booth and was told to hang around in a certain area. So I loitered, with intent. If anybody asked me what I was doing, I said I was waiting for Stan, because he was doing a signing. And then they'd loiter with me.

Soon, there was a crowd of between twenty or thirty people loitering with me, and a Marvel employee told us we had to disperse. So I moved to the other side of the Marvel booth. And the process began again.

The next time a Marvel employee came up to us, they said that we couldn't form a line yet.

To which I replied, "We're not a line, we're an unruly mob! Tell us WHERE we can form a line, and we'll do it."

The Marvel employee walked away.

Then another Marvel employee came up and told us we couldn't line up yet. And I said, "we're not a line, we're an unruly mob," and then I pointed to the first Marvel employee and said, "when he comes back and tells us where we can line up, we'll move." And the second Marvel employee walked away.

Then the THIRD Marvel employee walked up... for this one I just pointed at the first two and said, "they're dealing with us." And the third employee walked away.

Then all three of them came back and told us we had to leave. I asked, "where are we supposed to line up?" And they marched us over to a roped off area.

That's how I went from the first guy in line to the twelfth.

But I was in line!

Then the signing started. And I met Stan and shook his hand, and he signed my book:
I can not tell a lie. I'm more proud of this photo then I am of my kids...
After I left the Marvel booth, there was an autograph dealer who asked what I got. I showed him the book, and he offered me five hundred bucks. I declined. I've since gotten more signatures in the book.
Fifty points to anybody who can name ALL the signatures.

And then Kevin, remember Kevin? Here's some columns by Kevin, had a Stan encounter:
I met Stan Lee once. True story.
I'm standing outside The Rosemont convention center having a cigarette (this is during Wizard World Chicago probably 1999 or 2000) [1998, it was 1998 - Matt] and minding my own business, when the front doors open and out walks Stan Lee. I have a total Brodie in "Mallrats" moment and blurt out, "Holy shit, you're...", at which point Stan turns and looks at me.
At this point I'm fumbling in my backpack for an old issue of Thor he had written, when he reads my t-shirt, emblazoned with Tom Smith's "Timebomb 3:16", and he says to me, "Timebomb? We better get out of here!"
Before I can even register this, two Marvel security goons throw him in the back of a car and take off. As I stand there dumbfounded, my best friend, Matt Dow, walks out clutching our grade-school's copy of "Origin of Marvel Comics" saying, "I got Stan to sign it." All I could do was laugh.
I thought I had a photo of the shirt, but no dice.

Next time: Dave and Comicsgate

Bonus: That time I ruined two guys lives by having them stage a photo:
Literally, as I walked away, forty people asked to take this same photo...

Sunday, 18 November 2018

TL:DR: The Genesis Question part twenty-eight

Hi, Everybody!

These things:

10 August 14

Hi Troy & Mia; David & Marie

I seem to be getting bogged down in endless digressions lately. Matthew 11:

The question posed -- what came you out into the wilderness to observe? in reference to John the Baptist only comes after the Synoptic Jesus has been asked -- through intermediaries by John who is in prison -- You are the ___ coming, or different ____ are we expecting?  A question the Synoptic Jesus avoids by citing the various miracles he has performed and concluding: and happy is who likely not might have been stumbled in me.  As I read it, he knows that John will draw the proper inference: the Synoptic Jesus, by not answering I am is admitting that he isn't.  But only to someone like John who will see the evasiveness of the answer. And (I would also infer) by any Sanhedrin member or theological authority listening.

So the follow-up question is really an example of artful misdirection on the part of the Synoptic Jesus, shifting the issue from Who is the Synoptic Jesus? to Who is John the Baptist?  And shifting it further to Who do you, the crowds, think that he is?  The Synoptic Jesus offers three options:  reed by wind being shaken? is the first, upon which he doesn't elaborate (and which is all I'm going to talk about here: I need to get past these digressions!). 

The only theological application -- again, to someone or someones well-versed in the Torah -- would be Egypt as an unreliable ally.  Only in this case, John isn't a broken reed, he's merely a reed by wind being shaken.  The reference could, in that case, be to John the Baptist being an unreliable ally of the Synoptic Jesus because he's asking the question. He's not necessarily an unreliable ally, but he's an ally whose alliance is being shaken.

The average listener, I don't think, would have caught the reference or have known what to make of it if they had. 

The, to me, obvious inference is that the Synoptic Jesus is taking advantage of the fact that the question has been relayed to him from John in prison.  John has been shaken sufficiently by the wind of public opinion -- the Synoptic Jesus might be the Meshiach, because the people are thronging to him -- to think the question worth asking.  The Synoptic Jesus knows that he isn't the Meschiach, but he does know he's a miracle worker and so do the crowds.  He poses his questions to the crowd to shore up his populist bona fides. It doesn't matter to him that he isn't the Meschiach as long as enough people are persuaded that he is.

So that adds another level to the misdirection. The Synoptic Jesus can formally answer No to the question -- which he has done by not answering Yes -- and even suggest that John the Baptist will be happy if he isn't stumbled in the Synoptic Jesus and at the same time maintain and reinforce the popular belief -- the crowds' belief -- that he is the Meshiach because

blind are seeing again and lame are walking about, lepers are being cleansed and deaf are hearing and dead are being raised up and poor are being given good news. 

The references are to Isaiah 35:4-6… (following on from the reference in 35:2 "they shall see the glory of the YHWH and the excellency of our god")

Say to them that are of a hasty heart: Be strong, fear not: behold your god will come vengeance, god a recompense, he will come and save you.Then the eyes  of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.  Then shall the lame man leap as a hart and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness waters break out and streams in the desert

John would, I gather, have gotten the reference to "them that are of a hasty heart" (the KJV 1611 translates it as "fearful heart" but, fortunately, retains the original Hebraic meaning in the margin) and would have seen that this is what the intent of the miracles was: to seduce those of a "hasty heart".  And that would have ended his meditations on the Synoptic Jesus.

[It's ironic that the KJV 1611 includes Isaiah 61:1 as a citation, which is a combination Lord GOD (God) and LORD (YHWH) reference:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD upon me, because the YHWH hath anointed me, to preach good tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them are bound: to proclaim  the acceptable year of the YHWH and the day of vengeance of our god, to comfort all that mourn

since there was no liberty to John the Baptist as captive or "the opening of the prison" for him!]

But -- the larger theological point at stake, as I read it -- the fulfillment of Isaiah 35:4-6 isn't what's in doubt.  As Matthew 11:2 asserts

The ____ (however, John) having heard in the jail the works of the Christ having sent through the disciples of him

He had already heard of the works.  What he was looking for was confirmation of the reason behind the works. Are you just a miracle worker or are you the one we've been waiting for?

I'm pretty sure John wasn't fooled.

 That was why he posed the question as simply and directly as possible in Matthew 11:3: You are the ___ coming or different ____ are we expecting? He would have said to his disciples, This is exactly how you are to phrase the question. Then come back and tell me EXACTLY what he said.

The only verifiable answer would be equally simple and direct:  I am.  That's what John would have been looking for.  And which the Johannine Jesus uses on several occasions -- translated as "I am he", I gather, because the Christian Church fathers didn't "get" the reference to "I am That I am" -- which God uses in identifying himself to Moshe as a means for Moshe to convey who has sent him in Exodus 3:14 (I would guess that Moshe was curious about the God/YHWH dichotomy):

And God said unto Moshe, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." 

There is God and there is YHWH.  Only God -- or someone directly delegated by God to do so -- self-identifies as "I am".

The account only appears in Matthew and Luke.  The Luke version (Luke 7:18-23)
varies in some ways.  The question posed by John in Luke 7:19 is

You are the ___ coming, or different ____ we are expecting.

"We are" in Luke as opposed to "are we" in Matthew.  But when the disciples pose the question in Luke 7:20 it's posed as

You are the ___ coming or another we are expecting? 

Two completely different Greek terms for "different ____" and "another".  This is the sort of things that make Orthodox Jew rend their garments (metaphorically) when they contemplate Christianity.  "They're theoretically disciples and they can't even get the phrasing of the question right? And you entrench these three different versions and call it SCRIPTURE?"   

Anyway, back to Ezekiel 29 and the references to Egypt as a broken reed.

When they took hold of thee by thy hand, thou didst break, and rent all their shoulder and when they leaned upon thee, thou breakest and made all their loins to be at a stand.

Again, as I read it, this constitutes inadvertent self-indictment on the part of the YHWH, identifying clearly the results of relying upon Not God in any form -- which is what Israel was doing in relying on Egypt AND in relying upon the YHWH.

God then prompts with:

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee. 

The YHWH is then left to either second the indictment -- it's the YHWH's metaphorical sword to use or not use -- or to refute it. 

And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste, and they shall know that I the YHWH: because he hath said, The river mine, and I have made.  [self-indictment again: water is God's medium, the rivers of Egypt weren't made by and are not the possessions of "Not God" either pagan Egypt or the YHWH] Behold therefore, I against thee and against thy rivers and I will make the land of Egypt wastes of waste from the tower of [Syene/Succoth] even unto the border of Ethiopia.  No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.  And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste, shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and will disperse them through the countries.

Which is a pretty thorough indictment which God then sees the need to qualify with another prompt. 

Yet, thus saith the Lord GOD, at the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people wither they were scattered.

Which leaves the YHWH with the choice of ameliorating the verdict, maintaining the verdict or worsening the verdict after the forty years have elapsed.  The YHWH definitely chooses the latter option:

And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation and they shall be there a low kingdom.  It shall be the basest of the kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations.

Which allows God to conclude:

And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I, the Lord GOD.

Which stands as the final verdict upon Egypt for a good seventeen years -- when God pronounces judgement, there's not much that you can add to it, even if you're the YHWH and you're only following the narrative on one level, not realizing that on another level you, YHWH, ARE Egypt.  What Egypt IS becomes "front of mind" in Israel because of the verdict.  it is "iniquity" that comes to "remembrance" when Israel looks at Egypt: not size, wealth and power.

This is distinctly unsatisfying for the YHWH even though the YHWH has reiterated God's judgement upon Egypt.  Everything is simple and straightforward.  For the YHWH (as Bob Burden famously remarked), "This calls for an emergency!" which it takes the YHWH literally years to come up with: 

And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first, in the first of the month, the word of the YHWH came unto me, saying, Son of man, Nebuchad-rezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it.

It's an artful assertion on the part of the YHWH, directed to Ezekiel:  Tyrus is evil -- definitely Not God -- and Babylon is evil -- definitely Not God -- but Babylon did a great service to God in attacking and subduing Tyrus.  Shouldn't Babylon have a reward for that service?

Of course, God, being omniscient, has anticipated and anticipates this.   

Therefore, thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchad-rezzar king of Babylon and he shall take her multitude and spoil her spoil and prey her prey and it shall be the wages for his army.  I have given him the land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord GOD.

As it says in the Koran, of those who plot, God is the best at plotting.  God rewards Not God Babylon for his service against Not God Tyrus by giving Not God Babylon Not God Egypt for a spoil and a prey to his army.  The YHWH has already made Egypt a low kingdom by pronouncing it to be such and has now engineered its being devoured by Babylon by posing the artful question.  

The YHWH appends to chapter 29:

In that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them and they shall know that I, the YHWH.

Basically the YHWH is saying, If Babylon has devoured Tyrus and is being given Egypt to devour as a reward for doing so, that still leaves a devouring mouth in the midst of Israel, Babylon, Tyrus and Egypt. 

The scenario is still hatching out in the present day.  When the Muslim Brotherhood was in control of Egypt through President Morsi, Egypt was potentially an Israel- devouring presence.


Muslim Brotherhood Egypt supporting Muslim Brotherhood Gaza supporting Muslim Brotherhood Hamas.  Borders wide open, tunnels being dug, munitions freely passing from Egypt into Gaza.  However, when General Sisi overthrew Morsi, that changed.  Now the devouring presence is Israel supported by Egypt -- the "opening of the mouth in the midst of them" is on either side of Hamas:  the Egyptian mouth and the Israeli mouth.  The question is always the same for the Israelis: is Egypt a broken reed that we shouldn't lean on?  The answer is always yes -- "bringing iniquity to remembrance" -- Egypt is always unstable.  You lean on Anwar Sadat and he proves to be the broken reed -- he's assassinated by his own troops for allying himself with you. 

But, it's a qualified "yes".  If General Sisi proves to be temporarily reliable -- a reed not broken YET -- until he breaks or is broken, you have the nutcracker you need to root out Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  But the act of rooting out Hamas in itself is definitely going to weaken -- and probably break -- the reed.  You have to get in at the right time and get out at the right time before the "opening of the mouth in the midst of them" starts opening under you.

Oy vey!



Next Time: Winning Lottery numbers? I'm "Past" Matt!

Saturday, 17 November 2018

NEW FEATURE: Please Hold For Dave Sim

Hi, Everybody!

So on Monday, I got a call from a 519 Ontario, Canada phone number. And there's only one (maybe two) people I know in Ontario, Canada. So I said, "Hi Dave!"

And it was Dave.

We talked for about ten minutes (including how the wrist is (next week's update.) and what's up with Ethan Van Scriver and the ComicsGate, (I'll get to THAT on Tuesday...)). He had heard that Stan Lee had passed away, and wants to save using the hand for Strange Death of Alex Raymond, so instead of typing out things like his remembrance of Stan, he'll call me, and I'll record the conversation and post a video.

Which we did on Wednesday. And then I uploaded it to the Youtubes, and now I'm sharing it here.

The plan is to have a conversation once a month. So Please Hold for Dave Sim:

(I came up with the title.) (And the logo. It'll get changed every time.)

That's my wife at the beginning. Dave wants her (or my seven year old,) to do the intro.

I apologize for the crappy audio, and video. This is the first one, and we're still figuring out what the hell I'm doing (Dave just has to talk on the phone...) (So Dave's quiet, and I'm loud. I'm working on it...) I'm also gonna work on transcribing these so you can read it if that's how you prefer it. (Unless some future "AMOC Special Friend Of The Day" wants to take a crack at it...)

If you got a burning question, email me at and I'll forward it up to Dave and he'll call me.

And Comicslink is here!

Here's the Kickstarter for the birthday card.

And if you wanna get in on the Vark Wars, I ain't gonna stop ya. All submissions to

Next Time: Sunday, Religious-post Day!

Friday, 16 November 2018

Comic Link & Kickstarter updates (Dave's Weekly Update #261)

Hi, Everybody!

Heeeeeere's Dave:

And Comicslink is here!

Here's the Kickstarter for the birthday card.

And if you wanna get in on the Vark Wars, I ain't gonna stop ya. All submissions to

Next Time: My Cerebus/Dave Sim cup runneth over. Seriously, I got so much stuff On Deck for the next few days... First up is a new feature for the New Year: "Please Hold For Dave Sim"! Here's the logo:

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Friend of Cerebus: Fred Patten

As reported by Jonathan Clements at All The Anime Fred Patten recently passed away:
Fred Patten, who died yesterday aged 77, was one of the foundational pillars not only of anime fandom in America, but of American anime fandom’s sense of its own history. Graduating with a Masters in Library Science in 1963, Fred was already active in American science fiction fandom when he entered the job market. For much of his career, he led a double life, writing for professional and amateur fanzines and running a comics shop, while also working as a technical manual archivist in El Segundo for the Hughes Aircraft Company.
Among all of the accomplishments listed by Jonathan, add to that Fred started the Cerebus Fanclub and with it the fanzine, Cerebus the Newsletter. The start of the fanclub and newsletter was reported in Cerebus #17, and the first issue was dated Jan / March 1981:

Cerebus the Newsletter #1
Fred didn't start the newsletter for money, as he had to give it up due to financial issues, and issue #5 was his last. During his tenure he would write back to the other Cerebus fans who sent him material for the newsletter. From his letters that I've seen, they've all been typed on scrap paper that has the letter on one side and some copy of something else, typically items for a fanzine he'd be working on. Like this letter he wrote to Steve about the Cerebus the Newsletter items and questions:

Click to make bigger
When Jeff Tundis and myself decided to start up the newsletter again, I got in contact with Fred and asked him if it were okay if we took it over. At this point in his life, he was in an assisted living, but still wrote back to me and gave us his blessing. He didn't have to do it, answer some random question about a fanzine he did over 20 years previously from some random people, but he did. And for that I'll forever be thankful.

So here is to Cerebus Fanclub member #1, Fred Patten:

Crossing Over Part Two

A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

We've already looked at a couple pages of Dave Sim's 21st notebook which contains pieces of his work on Spawn #10 back in October of 2014 in Crossing Over. The notebook had 260 pages scanned and was used not only for Cerebus #164 through 187, but for Spawn #10.

We've seen pages 25 and 26 which contained some dialogue. The next page also contains dialogue, but for a different part of the issue.

Notebook #21, page 27
The crossed out text on the far left says "It's a great house. . .satellite TV receptions great. . .should be able to get four different hockey games on a good night." For those of us into hockey, there is more hockey talk in the bottom right corner. Talking about the Leafs of course - Toronto's NHL team - how they have a home and home series against the Red Wings on the weekend (play in Toronto one night, Detriot the following night), and how Gilmour, a Toronto player - Doug Gilmour played forward for Toronto from 1991 to 1997, right during the writing of Spawn #10. Fuhr was their goalie (Grant Fuhr) and Clark was another forward (Wendel Clark).

The page also has a funny Cerebus line: "Babies all look like Winston Churchill to Cerebus."

The next page has some dialogue between Spawn and his wife. And what appears to be a sketch of the hands reaching through the jail cell bars.

Notebook #21, page 28

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The Evolution of a CIH? cover PART ONE

Benjamin Hobbs:

Welcome to the first installment of THE EVOLUTION OF A CIH? COVER! In this new intermittent series, I'll chronicle the creation of a CIH? cover from start to finish.

I sent a fax to Dave concerning a new idea for a CIH? cover.  He sent the fax back with his notes:

Then, 19 minutes later, he sent the fax AGAIN, with a couple corrections to his notes:
Next time: The cover mock up!

Aw geez... (The Anniversary.)

Hi, Everybody!

Has it been a year already?

Next Time: Anybody got anything for an upset stomach?

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Patty Cake: "In Good Company" (from Cerebus #200)

Hi, Everybody!

Comiclink is go! (Or will be shortly.)

We're still Vark Wars -ing.

And, Everybody's Friend (and Superman's Frenemy), David Birdsong sent in better copies of the exclusive Patty Cake strip from Cerebus #200:
Click for the biggering
We're still looking for high quality scans of It's A Whole New Look And Sound For The Weasels from Patty Cake #3.

Next Time: Come and listen to the story about a man named Hobbs,
A poor photoshopper, barely kept himself a job, 
And then one day he was shootin in the dark, 
And up from the ground come a angry aardvark.

Cerebus that is, black vest, surly attitude. 

Well the first thing you know ol Ben's a millionaire, 
The kinfolk said "Ben move away from there" 
Said "Hades is the place ya ought to dwell" 
So he loaded up the truck and they moved to Hell 

Cerebus in Hell?, that is. Lakes o' fire, Renaissance poets. 

Cerebus and Hobbs [Banjo solo]

Monday, 12 November 2018

The Face on the Bar-Room Floor

Hi, Everybody!

In regards to Saturday's post, we have the fourth AMOC Special Friend Of The Day (and the SECOND in November!): Paul Slade
Suitable for framing
How did Paul receive this "PRESTIGIOUS AWARD"?

By sending into
Dear AMOC,

Here it is.


The Face On The Bar-Room Floor (Bacchus #1, May 1995)
Art by Dave Sim & Eddie Campbell

As Tim W. noted back in the day,
(from Bacchus #1, May 1995)

First up is the Bacchus & Cerebus crossover, created by myself and the eminent Dave Sim. He was over here for the convention in Sydney and flew up to Brisbane afterwards. We holed up in a hotel suite for five days and improvised a five-pager around an old song from the 1890s (approximately) which was previously done in comics form by Kurtzmanand Davis in MAD with the face in the final panel dropped in by the one and only Basil Wolverton. We booked adjoining rooms. We'd work in one and he'd smoke in the other. I'd sleep in among the debris and he'd sleep in the fog. But while we discussed the piece we were to create we walked in and out and the smoke was everywhere and I was trying helplessly to open a window thirteen storeys up. I have stipulated in my agreements with the accommodating Mr Sim that I get to pick the brand of cigarette next time as I had to process the smoke from each one after he was finished with it. The fire hose reel was situated outside our doors and became in our heads a traditional Scottish dance to be performed after completing each evening with a trip to the pub across the road. As for the work itself, we just passed the pages back and forth until it was done. Diana Schutz correctly recognised who did what but was miffed that we didn't cast her in the role of the barmaid. Steve Bissette was miffed that we did give him the role of the artist. He threatened to get even, and judging from his brilliant new comic, Tyrant, he knows how to go about it. It fairly oozes with primal danger.

But Mr. Slade didn't stop there, he also sent in:

… and here’s some info on the original song. Quite interesting, as it turns out.

 Mad's version:
Paul Slade’s latest book, Unprepared To Die, is out now from Soundcheck Books.

So here you gJohn Pannozzi, The Face on the Bar-room Floor

Next Time: Patty Cake?